SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.32 número1Obeying God? obeying Paul? Bridging the socio-cultural context in the interpretation of Biblical imperativesDie sing van psalms in die erediens: Twintig jaar later índice de autoresíndice de assuntospesquisa de artigos
Home Pagelista alfabética de periódicos  

Serviços Personalizados



Links relacionados

  • Em processo de indexaçãoCitado por Google
  • Em processo de indexaçãoSimilares em Google


Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 2074-7705
versão impressa ISSN 1609-9982

Verbum Eccles. (Online) vol.32 no.1 Pretoria  2011 



Karabo ya kereke mabapi le ditšhiwana le bana bao ba lego kotsing ka lebaka la HIV AIDS: Maikutlo a sedumedi sa ka pebeleng


The church's response towards orphans and vulnerable children as a result of HIV AIDS: A theological biblical perspective



Elijah Mahlangu

Department New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa





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.



Full text available only in PDF format.




Benn, C., 2001, 'United Nations General Assembly on HIV/AIDS: The Commission of the churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches', International Reviewof Missions XC, 471-476.         [ Links ]

Bennet, H.V., 2002, Injustice made legal: Deuteronomic law and the plight of widows, strangers and orphans in Ancient Israel, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI.         [ Links ]

Bergmann, E., 1953, Codex Hammurapi: Textus Primigenius, Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, Rome.         [ Links ]

Dahood, M., 1968, 'Psalm 11', The Anchor Bible, Vol. 17, 51-100.         [ Links ]

De Bruin, P.J., 1990, 'Vigs en menslike gedrag: 'n Teologiese-etiese beoordeling' Koers 55, 357-375.         [ Links ]

De Gruchy, J.W., 2004, 'How shall we be saved? AIDS, community and redemption', AFER 46, 18-20.         [ Links ]

Dube, M.W., 2002, ' Fighting with God: Children: Children and HIV/AIDS in Botswana', JTSA 114, 31-42.         [ Links ]

Feinberg, C.L., 1970, The prophecy of Ezekiel, Moody Press, Chicago, IL.         [ Links ]

Fensham, F.C., 1962, 'Widow, orphan and the poor in Ancient Near East Legal and Wisdom Literature', Journal of Near Eastern Studies 21, 129-139.        [ Links ]

Fredericks, M.T., 2008, 'HIV and AIDS: Mapping theological response in Africa', Exchange 37, 4-22.         [ Links ]

Gowan, D.E., 1987, 'Wealth and poverty in the Old Testament: The case of the widow, the orphan and the sojourner', Interpretation 41, 341-353.         [ Links ]

Harrison, R.K., 1970, Old Testament Times, Amazon, Grand Rapids, MI.         [ Links ]

Hawthorne, P., 2000, 'AIDS in Africa: Fatal destiny', TIME Magazine 156, 30-35.         [ Links ]

Hosegood, V. & Floyd, S., Marston, M., Hill, C., McGrath, N., Isingo, R., et al., 2007, 'The effects of high prevalence on orphanhood and living arrangements of children in Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa',Population Studies 61, 327-336., PMid:17979006, PMCid:2216069        [ Links ]

Kitchen, K.A., 1966, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, Tyndale Press, London, UK.         [ Links ]

Lyons, M., 2007, The impact of HIV and AIDS on children, families and communities: Risks and realities of childhood during the HIV Epidemic, viewed n.d. from,        [ Links ]

Mahlangu, E., 2008, 'HIV/AIDS: The church's challenge and response', paper presented at the Pretoria Guidance and counseling Forum, Pretoria.         [ Links ]

Mahlangu, E., 2009, 'Theological and biblical mandate for the church's challenge and response to orphans and vulnerable children', Unpublished paper read at the Pre-Lausanne 2010, Pretoria.         [ Links ]

Maluleke, T.S., 2003, 'Towards an HIV/AIDS - Sensitive Curriculum', in M. Dube (ed.), HIV/AIDS and the Curriculum: Methods of Integrating HIV/AIDS in Theological Programmes, n.p., WCC,Geneva.         [ Links ]

Maqoko, Z., 2009, 'HIV/AIDS orphans as heads of households: A challenge to pastoral care', Unpublished MTh thesis, University of Pretoria.         [ Links ]

Matteson, R.E., 2008, 'AIDS orphans in Zambia, shattered hearts', Christian Century 125, 11-13.         [ Links ]

Moran, W.L., 1965, 'The Hebrew language in its Northwest Semitic background', in G.E. Wright (ed), The Bible and the Ancient Near East, n.p., Garden City, New York.         [ Links ]

Patterson, R.D., 1973, ' The widow, orphan and the poor in the Old Testament and Extra-Biblical literature',Bibliotheca Sacra 129, 223-134.         [ Links ]

Piot, P. & Belllamy, C., 2004, The Framework: The protection, care and support of orphans and vulnerable children living in a world with HIV and AIDS, UNAIDS Publication, New York.         [ Links ]

Pocock, J.W., 2009, 'Creating a strategic justice ministry in the local church to care for orphans in (Benoni) South Africa'. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Pretoria.         [ Links ]

Rademeyer, A. & De Bruin, P., 2009, '10,000 Prostitutes in Johannesburg', Beeld, n.d., p. 5.         [ Links ]

Renkema, J., 1995, 'Does the Hebrew YTWM Really Mean Fatherless?' Vetus Testamentum 45, 119-122.        [ Links ]

Speiser, E.A., 1963, 'The wife-sister motif in the Patriarchal narrative' in A. Altmann (ed.), Strangers and orphans in Ancient Israel, n.p., Eerdmans Grand Rapids, MI.         [ Links ]

Vitolli, R.J., 1989, 'AIDS: A challenge to church and society', African Ecclesial Review 31, 301-305.         [ Links ]

Whitley, C.F., 1969, The genius of Ancient Israel. Philo Press, Amsterdam.         [ Links ]



Elijah Mahlangu
Private bag X20
Hatfield, Pretoria 0028
South Africa

Received: 12 Oct. 2010
Accepted: 07 June 2011
Published: 12 Oct. 2011

Creative Commons License Todo o conteúdo deste periódico, exceto onde está identificado, está licenciado sob uma Licença Creative Commons