Verbum et Ecclesia
versão On-line ISSN 1609-9982
MAHLANGU, Elijah. The church's response towards orphans and vulnerable children as a result of HIV AIDS: A theological biblical perspective. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.32, n.1, pp. 1-6. ISSN 1609-9982. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ve.v32i1.467.
By its very nature the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) should invoke response and challenge fromall sectors of society, including the church and the academia (theological practitioners). However, in the early years of HIV and AIDS, more or less 30 years ago, the church has been apathetic in its response and engagement with issues relating to HIV and AIDS. Due to the fact that the HI-virus and the AIDS disease raises moral, ethical, gender, cultural, sexual and spiritual matters, it took a considerable long time for the church to become involved. In theological practice the responseand involvement in HIV and AIDS matters was also initially characterised by theological impotency. This article therefore, provides a philosophical, theological and biblical basis and reflection to the church especially, in Africa, to effectively respond to the plight,crisis and scourge of HIV and AIDS and its impact to orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC). The effects and repercussions of this pandemic are everywhere glaring, especially in developing nations. This worldwide epidemiology of HIV and AIDS has evoked resources from many national governments (particularly in developing countries), the United Nations bodies, Non-Profit Organisations, etcetra. Indeed, the bone-chilling statistics emanate from the World HealthOrganisation, AIDS conferences and newspaper articles The latest statistics on people infected with HIV and people living with AIDS, including the OVC, sends shock waves throughout the world. The apathetic and largely disengagement by the church towards the OVC, paucity and dearth of theological publications in current times on this subject and topic indicate that the church in Africa needs to come to terms with her theological and biblical mandate to care for the OVC. Thisarticle therefore provides a synopsis and survey of how God's people (Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New Testament) were commanded by God to care for OVC. Based on the biblical text, the contemporary church in Africa should break the vicious and dangerous cycle of silence, apathy and disengagement and start alleviating the plight of OVC.