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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versão On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versão impressa ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.35  supl.1 Pretoria Dez. 2009


His blood I will require at your hand: The issue of theological education for the laity



Erna Oliver

Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa




The "priesthood of all believers" was one of the most important principles which fuelled the Reformation, but it soon faded into a mere slogan. Theoretically, it is still proclaimed in some of the Afrikaans-speaking churches but in practice clergy often feel threatened by it and laity easily abuse it. Academics and theologians took firm control of formal theological education in an effort to secure their position in and influence on society. Laity - by using books, courses, programmes, seminars and camps as well as their first-hand experiences in life -developed into a priesthood of "knowers" for whom the institutionalised church with its inability to provide solutions to burning issues is rapidly losing credibility. As a result, laity are not able to perform even the basic functions and are in urgent need of intensive education and training before any changes in behaviour can be expected.



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