SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.32 issue2'Mission and Power' - The relevance of the Edinburgh 2010 discussion in the theological engagement with violenceReligion and violence in a globalised world author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Verbum et Ecclesia

On-line version ISSN 2074-7705
Print version ISSN 1609-9982

Verbum Eccles. (Online) vol.32 n.2 Pretoria  2011 



Overcoming modernity's individualism: Becoming a community of peace in the face of violence



Andrew G. Suderman

Department Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, University of Pretoria, South Africa





Modernity's understanding of the primacy of the individual represents a significant challenge to a holistic understanding of the vocation of the church. Furthermore, individualism, that is the understanding of oneself as separate and apart from others, is often the foundation for violence against the other as the interconnectivity, and therefore the dependence and vulnerability inherent within a relationship, is lost. When the church is relegated to serve individuals as private and individualised belief systems, it is banished to a cold, dark cell of isolation. In order to respond to violence, the church needs to create communities that restore and reconcile relationships, thus embodying peace.



Full text available only in PDF format.




Competing interests

The author declares that he has no financial or personal relationship(s) which may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article.



Augustine, 1972, City of God, ed. D. Knowles, Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, UK.         [ Links ]

Brown, A., 2007, 'On the Criticism of Being as Communion in Anglophone Orthodox Theology', in D.H. Knight (ed.), The Theology of John Zizioulas: Personhood and the Church, pp. 51, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Hampshire, UK.         [ Links ]

Cavanaugh, W.T., 1998, Torture and eucharist, Blackwell Publishers Ltd, Oxford, UK.         [ Links ]

Cavanaugh, W.T., 2001, 'Dying for the Eucharist or Being Killed by it? Romero's Challenge to First-World Christians', Theology Today 58(2), 177-189.        [ Links ]

Cavanaugh, W.T., 2006, 'Making Enemies: The Imagination of Torture in Chile and the United States', Theology Today 63(3), 307-323.        [ Links ]

Dyck, C.J., 1993, An introduction to Mennonite history, 3rd edn., Herald Press, Waterloo, ON.         [ Links ]

Dyck, C.J., 1995, Spiritual life in Anabaptism, Herald Press, Waterloo, ON.         [ Links ]

Farrow, D., 2007, 'Persons and Nature: The Necessity-Freedom Dialectic in John Zizioulas', in D.H. Knight (ed.), The Theology of John Zizioulas: Personhood and the Church, p. 110, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Hampshire, UK.         [ Links ]

Gunton, C., 2007, 'Persons and Particularity', in D.H. Knight (ed.), The Theology of John Zizioulas: Personhood and the Church, p. 98, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Hampshire, UK.         [ Links ]

Hegel, G.W.F., 1952, The philosophy of right, transl. T.M. Knox, Clacendon Press, Oxford, UK.         [ Links ]

Huebner, C.K., 2006, A precarious peace: Yoderian explorations on theology, knowledge, and identity, Herald Press, Waterloo, ON.         [ Links ]

Klaassen, W., 1981, Anabaptism in outline: Selected primary sources, Herald Press, Waterloo, ON.         [ Links ]

Lutheran World Federation Assembly, 2010, Lutherans take Historic Step in asking for Forgiveness from Mennonites, viewed 25 July 2010, from        [ Links ]

MacIntyre, A., 1984, After virtue, 2nd edn., University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN.         [ Links ]

Niebuhr, R., 1944, The children of light and the children of darkness, Charlies Scribner's Sons, New York, NY.         [ Links ]

Pickstock, C., 1998, After writing: On the liturgical consummation of philosophy, Blackwell Publishers Ltd, Oxford, UK.         [ Links ]

Prestige, G.L., 1952, God in patristic thought, S.P.C.K, London.         [ Links ]

Schmemann, A., 1988, For the life of the world, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY.         [ Links ]

Shklar, J.N., 1998, Political thought and political thinkers, S. Hoffmann (ed.), University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.         [ Links ]

Simons, M., 1981, 'Reply to False Accusations', in W. Klaassen (ed.), Anabaptism in Outline, p. 280, Herald Press, Waterloo, ON.         [ Links ]

Van Braght, T.J., 1938, Martyrs mirror, Herald Press, Waterloo, ON.         [ Links ]

Yoder, J.H., 1972, The politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.         [ Links ]

Yoder, J.H., 1998, The royal priesthood: Essays ecclesiological and ecumenical, M.G. Cartwright (ed.), Herald Press, Waterloo, ON.         [ Links ]

Žižek, S., 2009, Violence, Profile Books Ltd, London.         [ Links ]

Zizioulas, J.D., 1985, Being as communion, Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd, London.         [ Links ]

Zizioulas, J.D., 2006, Communion and otherness, T&T Clark, New York, NY.         [ Links ]



Andrew Suderman
PO Box 100594, Scottsville
3209 Pietermaritzburg
South Africa

Received: 03 Mar. 2011
Accepted: 31 Aug. 2011
Published: 16 Nov. 2011



Note: This article was prepared for the 'Violence in the Democratic South Africa: A Challenge to Theology and the Churches' Conference, held by the Centre for Public Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Andrew Suderman is a research associate in the Department Dogmatics and Christian Ethics at the University of Pretoria,  South Africa.

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License