SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.46 issue1Jakobus Marthinus Vorster's ecclesio-political philosophy: A critical interpretationTrinity and ethics: From a relational God to an ethic of the Other author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.46 n.1 Pretoria Aug. 2012




Do the prophetic and reformist approaches in Christian ethics exclude one another? A responsibility ethics attempt at reconciliation


Sluit die profetiese en hervormingsbenaderings in die Christelike etiek mekaar uit? 'n Verantwoordelikheidsetiese poging tot versoening



D. Etienne de Villiers

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





In the article the view that was expressed in, inter alia, the Kairos Document, that the prophetic and reformist approaches in Christian Ethics exclude one another, was challenged. A case was argued against this view by drawing on Reinhard Kratz's book on the latest research findings on prophecy in the Old Testament, James Gustafson's distinction of four modes of moral discourse and Walter Brueggemann's view that prophetic texts are acts of imagination that offer and purpose 'alternative worlds'. The conclusion was that the prophetic and reformist approaches rather complement, overlap and interpenetrate one another. In the last part of the article an argument was presented that both of the two approaches can be accommodated and integrated in a Christian ethics of responsibility.


In die artikel is standpunt ingeneem teen die beskouing wat onder andere in die Kairos Dokument uitdrukking vind, dat die profetiese en hervormingsbenaderings in die Christelike Etiek mekaar uitsluit. 'n Saak is beredeneer teen hierdie beskouing met 'n beroep op Reinhard Kratz se boek oor die nuutste bevindings oor Ou Testamentiese profesie, James Gustafson se onderskeiding van vier modi van morele diskoers en Walter Brueggemann se beskouing dat profetiese tekste verbeeldingryk aan ons die moontlikheid van 'n alternatiewe wêreld voorhou. Die gevolgtrekking was dat die profetiese en hervormingsbenaderings mekaar eerder aanvul, oorvleuel en bevrug. In die laaste gedeelte van die artikel was geredeneer dat beide hierdie benaderings geakkommodeer en geïntegreer kan word in 'n Christelike etiek van verantwoordelikheid.



“Full text available only in PDF format”




Bedford-Strohm, H., 2007, 'Public theology and the global economy: Ecumenical thinking between fundamental criticism and reform', Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 48(1/2), 8-24.         [ Links ]

Bonhoeffer, D., 2005, Ethics, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 6, Fortress Press, Minneapolis.         [ Links ]

Brueggeman, W., 2001, The prophetic imagination, 2nd edn., Fortress Press, Minneapolis.         [ Links ]

De Villiers, D.E., 2003, 'A Christian ethics of responsibility: Does it provide an adequate theoretical framework for dealing with issues of public morality?', Scriptura 82, 23-38.         [ Links ]

De Villiers, D.E., 2005, 'The vocation of the Reformed ethicist in the present South African society', Scriptura 89, 521-535.         [ Links ]

Gustafson, J., 1988, Varieties of moral discourse: Prophetic, narrative, ethical and policy, Calvin College and Seminary Library, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Kairos Theologians, 1986, The Kairos document: Challenge to the church: A theological comment on the political crisis in South Africa, Skotaville, Braamfontein.         [ Links ]

Kratz, R.G., 2003, Die Propheten Israels, Beck, Munich.         [ Links ]

Otto, E., 2005, 'Die hebräische Prophetie bei Max Weber, Ernst Troeltsch und Hermann Cohen: Ein Diskurs im Weltkrieg zur christlich-jüdischen Kultursynthese', in W. Schluchter & F.W. Graf (eds.), Asketischer Protestantismus und der 'Geist' des modernen Kapitalismus: Max Weber und Ernst Troeltsch, pp. 201-255, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen.         [ Links ]

Schweiker, W., 2000, 'Responsibility in the world of Mammon: Theology, justice and transnational corporations', in M.L. Stackhouse & P.J. Paris (eds.), God and globalization, vol. 1, Religion and the powers of the common life, pp. 105-139, Trinity Press International, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.         [ Links ]

Weber, M., 1968, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre, 3rd edn., JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübingen.         [ Links ]

Weber, M., 1994, 'The profession and vocation of politics', in P. Lassmann & R. Speirs (eds.), Weber, Political writings, pp. 309-369, University Press, Cambridge.         [ Links ]

Weber, M., 2005, Die Wirtschaftsethik der Weltreligionen: Das Antike Judentum, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen.         [ Links ]

World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), 2004, Covenanting for justice in the economy and the earth, WARC, Accra.         [ Links ]



Etienne de Villiers
PO Box 294, Pringle Bay
7196, South Africa

Received: 18 Apr. 2011
Accepted: 02 Aug. 2011
Published: 05 Oct. 2012

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