As an academic journal HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies (HTS) disseminates the results of the theological research of national and international scholars.


The library contains articles of HTS Teologiese Studies /Theological Studies as of vol. 1(1943) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Exploring the reasons for perennial attacks on churches in Nigeria through the victims’ perspective

    Enweonwu O. Anthony; Cletus O. Obasi; Deborah O. Obi; Benjamin O. Ajah; Okpanoch S. Okpan; Chukwuemeka D. Onyejegbu; Aloysius C. Obiwulu; Emeka M. Onwuama (AOSIS, 2021-03-01)
    Although there are several provisions within the Nigerian legal framework that, however, address the issue of church attack, the state capacity to implement effective constitutional sanctioning on perpetrators of this heinous crime has always been found wanting or completely absent, leading to countless religious attacks on churches with seeming state consent. This study employs semi-structured interviews to draw data from affected families from Benue and Enugu States, Nigeria. The article explored their experiences. The study participants were recruited through snowball sampling technique, and data were analysed thematically. The respondents stated that church killings or killing of Christians is rising because of the fact that perpetrators stand lower risk of detection and apprehension than other crimes. Also respondents interrogated that justification for the crime is land acquisition and religious intolerance. On the persistence of the challenge, all the 13 respondents stated that the crime seems to have state approval that has made it seemly impossible to tackle. The article calls for continuous inter-religious dialogue and intentional governmental responsibility in protecting lives of all persons living within the geographical enclave of Nigeria which is necessary for the common good. Closer understanding of other faiths and religions will help build bridges of peace and tolerance. The article also calls for the need to promote African traditional values, such as the value of sacredness of life, human respect and good neighbourliness. Contribution: This study initiated the discussions that will help the public understand the reason for continuous church attacks in Nigeria, what church crime connotes in the Nigerian context and its uniqueness from other crimes. These discussions sit quite well within the transdisciplinary religious perspective of this journal.
  • Table of Contents Vol 76, No 4 (2020)

    Editorial Office (AOSIS, 2020-12-01)
    No abstract available.
  • Turning religion from cause to reducer of panic during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Muhammad Y. Wibisono; Dody S. Truna; Mohammad T. Rahman (AOSIS, 2021-03-01)
    Muslim communities in the village facing the COVID-19 Pandemic attempts to find refuge from the plague and hope for survival. However, this led to more caution, which may lead to xenophobia. Via ethnography, this study unmasks the xenophobic attitude. This research discusses the root causes of panic in the community so that remedies can be implemented. The research attempts to explain, from a socio-anthropological viewpoint, how people and religious groups in the village perceive the pandemic of COVID-19 based on their belief in their faith and in the science. The research takes place in Cigagak village, an area of approximately 7000 m2 on the outskirts of Bandung of West Java of Indonesia. This study examines the selected respondents (20 respondents as the samples) from about 190 inhabitants (as the population) who had close ties to managing places of worship (mosques) and public places. This study utilises a collaborative self-ethnographic method and qualitative analysis. The influence of COVID-19 has moved to new exclusive and disintegrating practices from the inclusion-cohesive religious tradition. Therefore, this study tries to find out ways on how to reduce exclusive perception and religious practices to a minimum level and how to disappear xenophobia. Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, inclusive awareness and actions were re-established, and even social cohesiveness was fostered. This study concludes that in its deep conviction nature, theology can change exclusive behaviour to be inclusive if it is based on the religious principles that are raised in response to human events. In this case, the Muslim community in a village can change the fear of COVID-19 pandemic to be a reducer of the panic based on the support of the religious doctrines. Contribution: This article used a collaborative self-ethnography with a religious socio-anthropological viewpoint. This study could help to solve social problems through theological convergence in Islamic milieu, especially that of the government’s formal Islamic organisation and organic Islamic leaders of the society.
  • From a pit to a palace: Deconstructing the economics and politics of labour migration in the City of Tshwane through the lenses of Genesis 41:41–57

    Thinandavha D. Mashau; Leomile Mangoedi (AOSIS, 2021-04-01)
    Migration to the City of Tshwane has, amongst others, been propelled by economic and political dynamics. This has always manifested in the scramble for resources as internal and cross-border migrants struggle to access the mainstream economy of the host city and country. Competition between locals and foreign nationals, social exclusion and xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals has always been part of the narrative around political and economic migration. This article seeks to provide a deconstruction of the economics and politics of migration – particularly how cross-border labour migrants can benefit the host city and country. Using the literature review and contextual Bible study of Genesis 41:41–57 from the lenses of both trained and ordinary readers, this article concluded that cross-border migrants, given the necessary space and proper reception, can contribute immensely towards the growth of the mainstream economy of the host city and nation as demonstrated by Joseph’s contribution in Egypt. Contribution: This article’s contribution is within a paradigm in which the intersection of philosophy, social sciences, humanities and biblical studies generates a scientific discourse which involves a systematic, historical, exegetical and practical reflection.
  • Taking a holistic view of the biblical perspectives on childlessness: Implications for Nigerian Christians and the church in Nigeria

    Solomon O. Ademiluka (AOSIS, 2021-04-01)
    The belief amongst some Christians that it is God’s plan for everyone to have children, and that barrenness is a punishment from God is apparently derived from the Old Testament (OT). This article attempts a holistic study of the biblical perspectives on childlessness with a view to ascertain whether procreation is a moral responsibility of every individual. The target group includes Nigerian Christian couples suffering from infertility. The article employs the descriptive and exegetical methods. The study revealed that the belief that the OT views barrenness as caused by sin and a punishment from God was erroneous. A critical examination of the relevant texts revealed that infertility is a natural phenomenon, and God gives children as a blessing but not necessarily to every individual. In the New Testament (NT), the attitude towards childlessness is characterised by the concept of ‘alternative family models’, by which some Christians could adopt children whilst others might choose to be celibate, being satisfied with their membership of the community of believers. Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7 clearly mitigates natural childbearing, and thus negates any attitude of desperation for bearing children. In the Nigerian context, this interpretation necessitates a change of attitude towards infertility. The church has to develop a theological reconstruction with regard to procreation in marriage, in a manner that will assure Christians that a childless marriage is not lacking in any way. Contribution: The article is a contribution in the area of theology of marriage, and thus of high relevance in contemporary Africa, particularly Nigeria, where people, including Christians, still have the traditional belief that it is morally mandatory for everyone to have biological children.
  • A critical analysis of tithe and seed sowing on contemporary Christianity in Nigeria

    Gladys N. Akabike; Peace N. Ngwoke; Onyekachi G. Chukwuma (AOSIS, 2021-04-01)
    The issues of tithes and seed sowing have taken a central focus in contemporary Christianity in Nigeria among the preachers. Many a time, it is assumed that tithes and seed sowing are requirements for salvation, prosperity and total well-being of the members. Making many to believe that Christianity is a money-venture business one can succeed if he knows how to hoodwink the gullible. Many have been deceived that by parting with a substantial amount of money in the name of sowing seed, their problems would be solved. Unfortunately, the person’s problem may remain the same or even be compounded. This paper evaluates the activities, attitude and their inordinate ambitions. It examines the impact of tithe and seed sowing on Christianity in Nigeria. The research method adopted for this work is the qualitative phenomenological method. The paper observed that the value of tithe and seed sowing has changed from what is prescribed in the bible to what is preached on the pulpits. The study recommends among other things, that these preachers should preach the gospel with decorum and as it were in the bible so that its influence on Nigerians will bring about a reduction in crime, corruption and other immoral activities in Nigeria. Contribution: The article is focused on the issues of tithes and seed sowing. It underscores the fact that the message of tithe and seed sowing has become a means of siphoning members and enriching the preachers. It further reveals its negative and positive impacts such as, the promotion of corruption and fraud in the church and society, contribution to the decline of morality in the church and the society, increasing crime rate and increasing poverty rate in Nigeria among others.
  • Table of Contents Vol 76, No 2 (2020)

    Editorial Office (AOSIS, 2020-12-01)
    No abstract available.
  • Preaching: An initial theoretical exploration

    Hennie Pieterse; Cas Wepener (AOSIS, 2021-04-01)
    In this article the event of preaching is explored by making use of both older and newer sources. Whilst taking cognisance of continuous contextual changes and developments within the discipline of Homiletics, core hermeneutical, theological and homiletical aspects of preaching are revisited. The aim of this exploration is to formulate a preliminary theory of preaching that can be revisited and revised as part of a larger empirical homiletical investigation which makes use of Grounded Theory. Contribution: This article adheres to the journal’s scope and vision by its focus on a theoretical reflection on the practice of preaching at the intersection of theology, hermeneutics and homiletics.
  • Lowalangi: From the name of an ethnic religious figure to the name of God

    Sonny E. Zaluchu (AOSIS, 2021-04-01)
    This article shows the success of local cultural adaptation strategies in communicating the gospel to people of the Nias ethnicity in North Sumatra, Indonesia. This adaptation is the name Lowalangi, the name of the god of the pre-Christian era, to become the name of God, the creator and saviour of the world incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ. As a result, the use of this name was not limited to a translation process. Still, the whole concept of divinity for the Nias people was transferred and transformed into a Christian understanding. They know him as Lowalangi, have faith in him and pray to him in that name. The author uses a comparative analysis with other places in Indonesia. The author tries to establish parallelism with methods used elsewhere, assuming that the methods used tend to be the same. Contribution: Churches and Christians in Nias are strengthened in their beliefs by praying and mentioning Lowalangi’s name, which imparts the same faith quality as the biblical use of God’s personal name. This adaptation can be a strategy for introducing the gospel in missiology and church planting in response to local culture as a wealth that cannot be negated. This research also has implications for the sociology of religion regarding the relationship between tradition and religious practice.
  • Karl Barth’s doctrine of creation: Convergence and divergence with African Christology

    Patricia Ngwena (AOSIS, 2021-04-01)
    This article explores the intersection between Karl Barth’s doctrine of creation and African Christology seeking to elicit similarities as well as differences. It argues that this intersection is contested and open to different understanding and interpretation. The common goal amongst the two doctrines is that they derive from biblical teachings about creation and the creator. However, there is also divergence between the doctrines. Barth’s point of departure in his doctrine of creation maintains the Covenant of God to humanity which is not extended to all creation. African Christology’s point of departure, on the other hand, maintains that the relations between God, humanity and all life-forms are sacred because of its intrinsic value and sacramental nature. From an African perspective, creation is mutually related and interconnected to the web of life. All life forms hold intrinsic value. It is argued that African Christology implicates Barth’s Christological focus as something that reveals Barth’s doctrine of creation as anthropocentric. Contribution: The article promotes a multi-disciplinary approach to eco-theology by exploring the intersection between Karl Barth’s doctrine of creation and an African Christological perspective on ecology. It implicates Christian anthropocentrism as a contributory factor to ecological degradation and suggests that African Christology is an important resource for developing a remedial eco-theology
  • What do religion and natural science each have to say about origins, creation and evolution?

    Mark Pretorius; Daniel T. Lioy (AOSIS, 2021-03-01)
    The purpose of this article is to put forward an acceptable scriptural stance with respect to an evolutionary worldview. The authors posit that a theologically orthodox position can best be substantiated when the moral ideal embodied in Christ is the starting point for all deliberations. In light of this premise, the authors consider the following topics: the great divide between science and religion; the various theoretical shifts taking place on both sides of the science and religion arena concerning the veracity of evolution a substantive consideration of Darwin’s evolutionary theory; the issue of whether Genesis is only a myth or a narration of literal, historical events and the profound implications of evolutionary theory for religious belief. The authors conclude that a choice does not have to be made between evolution and religion but between good and bad evolutionary theory and good and bad religious beliefs. Contribution: The article’s challenge is to not only show that science and theology are not in conflict, but also that ascribing to an evolutionary worldview when discussing God’s creative acts, is also not in conflict with God’s Word.
  • Reading the Fourth Gospel in the COVID-19 pandemic context

    Johnson Thomaskutty (AOSIS, 2021-03-01)
    The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic situation persuades a reader of the Fourth Gospel to interpret the Scripture in new lights. In the contemporary context, the gospel of John has the potential to attune the attention of the reader towards the existential struggles of the people with myriad interpretative possibilities. The Jews often twinned sinfulness and sickness together, and in that light, they considered Jesus as a social sinner and his followers as a diseased community. The Johannine narrator realigns the struggles of the Sitz im Leben Kirche dynamically within the Sitz im Leben Jesu to present his defensive rhetoric. The Johannine community was composed of those who suffered quarantine, social isolation, sicknesses, resource deficiencies and continuous cleansing processes in the socio-religious and politico-cultural setting of their life. Jesus as the creator of the universe and the giver of life provides them hope in the midst of suffering and liberates them from the clutches of dehumanisation and marginalisation. A realignment of the Sitz im Leben COVID-19 within the framework of the Sitz im Leben Jesu/Sitz im Leben Kirche would guide us during the difficult times. Contribution: This article contributes to the reader a wider hermeneutical framework and a new way forward in interpreting the Fourth Gospel by taking into consideration the ongoing struggle of humanity across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic situation. As a narrative, contextual and theological interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, the current article fits well within the scope of HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies.
  • Theological reflection, divorced from the incarnational nature of the Christian faith, invalidates the Bible

    Jennifer Slater (AOSIS, 2021-03-01)
    This article draws its inspiration from the famous excerpt of the 5th century Father and Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church, Jerome, who firmly claims in his Commentary on Isaiah (Nn 1.2: CCL 73, 1–3) that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. By this exhortation he urged Christians to recognise the serious necessity to study the Word of God as it is not an optional luxury to be used and interpreted with tawdriness. The secret of this renowned biblical scholar was to adhere to a fundamental criterion, namely, to interpret the Holy Scriptures in harmony with the Roman Catholic Church’s magisterium, and thus no person is at liberty to interpret the scriptures alone and slip into self-righteous error. Jerome believed that the authentic interpretation of Scripture is harmonious with the faith of the (Catholic) Church and when ‘correctly attuned’, only then the reader is authorised to understand Sacred Scripture. Scripture is the foundation of theological truth and this article endeavours to disclose that when the bible is not perceived as an inexhaustible source of inspiration and guidance, it is left open for distasteful interpretations and becomes a recipe for scripture twisting. Relevant and engaging theology is biblically connected and when theological reflection is not embedded in the biblical narrative and contemporary life, Scripture is invalidated. Hence, Jerome cautioned: ‘[r]emain firmly attached to the traditional doctrine that you have been taught, so that you can preach according to right doctrine and refute those who contradict it’ (Eph 52, 7). Contribution: The point of departure of this article is that for Christians Scripture is the foundation of theological truth. Its contribution lays in the art of authentic scripture interpretation and by so doing the scholar keeps trend with the Christian faith and precludes complacent error.
  • Blessings or curses? The contribution of the blesser phenomenon to gender-based violence and intimate partner violence

    Brent V. Frieslaar; Maake Masango (AOSIS, 2021-03-01)
    This article examines the blesser phenomenon in South Africa, which gained rapid popularity in 2016. A large body of research exists that reveals that transactional sex is a significant theme within the phenomenon of blesser and blessee relationships. Scholarship has demonstrated that transactional sex has contributed to an increase in human immunodeficiency virus infection rates, especially amongst women aged 15–24 years, as well as a concerning increase in teenage pregnancy. Whilst these are dire realities of blesser–blessee relationships, the one that is most concerning in the current climate in South Africa is the increase in gender-based violence (GBV), intimate partner violence (IPV) and femicide. Therefore, this article concerns itself primarily with this epidemic as it seeks to demonstrate how the blesser phenomenon contributes to GBV and IPV. Blessees are the young women in the blesser–blessee relationships who experience trauma and shame because of the violence and abuse inflicted on them by the older male blessers. The article argues that the church should be seen to be taking decisive action in addressing the scourge of GBV and IPV. The narrative approach is used to give the blessees the opportunity to share their stories. By applying the techniques of narrative therapy, positive deconstruction and the art of holy listening, the study reaches its key outcome: to offer to the church a framework for a pastoral care and healing methodology to help our sisters in Christ to experience healing and to move from shame to self-worth. Contribution: The Blesser phenomen has never been dealt with in theology, especially from the African perspective. Both sides of the problem need pastoral care. The major issue is where do we begin? I started, pastorally working with the blessee, who is in relationship with an older man. The main question that could be pastorally followed is, why pursue an older man for provision? This is a major pastoral issue, especially in poor communities. The younger women are in need of finance, in order to complete their studies and eke out a living. Beside the Covid 19 pandemic, this is the second major issue affecting black townships.
  • Spiritualised political theology in a polarised political environment: A Pentecostal movement’s response to party politics in Zimbabwe

    Phillip Musoni (AOSIS, 2021-02-01)
    This article interrogates the interface between the older Pentecostal movement and politics in Zimbabwe. The country continues to face political violence and a breakdown in rule of law. The Zimbabwean populace is asking whether the Zimbabwean Pentecostal movement is ready and able to exercise its prophetic role in promoting real peace and democracy. Many Zimbabweans are asking this question, because the track record shows that whilst most mainline churches have been consistent in becoming the voice of the voiceless, some Zimbabwean Pentecostal churches seem to have been sitting on the fence for too long by adopting a middle of the road stance, thereby avoiding a head-on confrontation with the corrupt Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) government. In this article, I argue that for many decades the Zimbabwean Pentecostal movement has taken what one might refer to ironically as a ‘smart approach to politics’–in which the image of the ZANU–PF government is sanitised by espousing what I call a ‘spiritualised political theology.’ I use this critique, whilst remaining cognisant of the fact that the primary motivation of the movement on which I focus in this article, was evangelism, not politics. Thus, for the purpose of this research, the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (ZAOGA) of Apostle Ezekiel Guti was sampled to investigate its prophetic voice in a polarised political environment. This article examines the history of Apostle Guti’s political subterfuge based on the reflections of his pastoral letters referred to as the ‘Ten-days prayer letters’ issued since 1975 up to the time of writing this article. It is important at this early stage to outline that these letters were not political statements or meant to address politics only but theological letters addressing different social ills including politics. Thus, reading this letter one shall see that Apostle’s political subterfuge demonstrated a continuous oscillation of a theological position on how the church should relate to politics. Furthermore, I undertake a brief examination of other few millennial Zimbabwean Pentecostal churches to see if this political subterfuge transcended elsewhere thereby propagating a spiritualised political theology. Contribution: What is key to note is the fact that the Zimbabwean Pentecostal movement remained insignificant with regard to democratization agenda even after the removal of President Mugabe. The above claim is evidenced by the Zimbabwean Pentecostal church founders’ continuous political subterfuge authenticated by a propagation of a spiritualized political theology.
  • Table of Contents Vol 76, No 3 (2020)

    Editorial Office (AOSIS, 2020-12-01)
    No abstract available.
  • Many ways to God, many ways to salvation (A conversation on Isaiah 56:1–8 with Islamic tradition)

    Syafa'atun Almirzanah (AOSIS, 2021-03-01)
    Salvation is the objective of every religious tradition. Christian tradition claims Jesus as the particular redeemer, as he is viewed as the only one who reveals God, truly and fully. Thus, Jesus can be seen as the only way to Salvation. The question then arises, what about other people who do not follow Jesus, instead they follow prophet Muhammad or some other religious figures whom they believe that God has sent to save them? How then, the relationship between Christianity and other religions? By the study on Isaiah, this article is an interreligious conversation on the problem of salvation both in Christianity and Islam. One of the theological points of Isaiah is salvation, and it is also the Christian message. Isaiah is analysed from a hermeneutical approach and then the Qur’anic perspective is presented in conversation with Isaiah. Contribution: This article speaks for multidiscipline, inter-discipline and transdisciplinary approaches of religious studies in the global theological field. From a multidisciplinary theological perspective, it reflects on the textual and hermeneutical studies within the Abrahamic religions as revealed in the Judaistic scriptures, the Old and New Testament, and the Qur’an.
  • Hasan Hanafi, New Theology, and Cultural Revolution: An Analysis of Cultural Intensification

    Fadlil M. Manshur (AOSIS, 2021-02-01)
    In the perspective of Hasan Hanafi, the renewal of Islamic thought in the Arab world must produce a new concept of theology and present a cultural revolution. A new theology must be developed through a progressive life perspective rooted in liberation and social justice. It is intended to free Arab–Islamic society from regression and fragmentation, producing a society that is just, prosperous, and civilized. The renewal of Islamic thought must be progressive to ensure it can produce a cultural revolution that can create a populistic social and ideological structure in Arab life, thereby ensuring that the faithful are intelligent, modern, and have a high level of social solidarity. This study is guided by the theory of cultural intensification, which emphasizes that the relations between individuals and society are rooted in sociological, psychological, and theological challenges, and holds that social and divine laws are intended to promote a personal/collective emotional involvement in social life. The analysis emphasizes the relationship between Hasan Hanafi, as an individual, with general Arab society, with a focus on his understanding of social challenges, the psychological condition of Arab society, and classical theology. This study indicates that the Arab–Islamic world requires a new theology, one that is anthropocentric, populistic, and transformative, which remains grounded and oriented towards the realization of prosperity and social justice. Cultural revolution, meanwhile, offers a liberational ideology for the subjugated as well as legitimization for every social struggle. It also holds that no entity that exists on its own, without any humanitarian context, has meaning; there is only a correlational truth connecting objective reality and universal human values. As such, new theology—in conjunction with cultural revolution—can radically transform the orientation of Arab–Islamic thought from static, passive, and traditional to progressive and oppositional. In doing so, it can offer liberation and social justice. Contribution: This article provides intelectual framework to dissect Hasan Hanafi’s new theological ideas by using cultural perspective, particularly cultural intensification theory, as well as work praxis in effort to build democratic, egalitarian, just, equality before the law, and uphold human rights of Muslim society.
  • Hindrance as a motivation in divine guidance: The example of Paul

    Mark Wilson (AOSIS, 2021-02-01)
    A number of factors are at work as they relate to divine guidance in the life of a Christian. Examples of odegeology – the neologism given to this dimension of practical theology – are discussed in this article around the scriptural topos of hindrance as a motivation in Paul’s guidance. Four examples are considered that are drawn from the book of Acts and from his own letters. The circumstances related to these hindrances are discussed, and relevant applications are drawn from them. The article closes with a contemporary example of hindrance resulting from the coronavirus pandemic of 2019. It looks at lessons Christians are learning about the hindrances caused by this virus as they cope with restrictive stay-at-home orders. These are suggested as somewhat analogous to Paul’s two extended imprisonments. Contribution: This article is the first to explore systematically all the texts regarding hindrance as a motivation for guidance related to Paul in the book of Acts and his letters. Guidance in the Christian life remains an important dimension within Practical Theology, a theological discipline within the journal’s publishing tradition.
  • God, the beautiful and mathematics: A response

    Peter-Ben Smit; Rianne de Heide (AOSIS, 2021-03-01)
    Volker Kessler (‘God becomes beautiful … in mathematics’ – HTS 2018) argues two points to Rudolf Bohren’s list of four areas where (1) God becomes beautiful should be extended with a fifth one: mathematics and (2) mathematics can be argued as a place where God becomes beautiful. In this response, we would like to argue that (1) the extension of Bohren’s list that Kessler argues in favour of is superfluous and (2) that Kessler makes a number of questionable assumptions about (the philosophy of) mathematics. By arguing against Kessler, we intend to make an interdisciplinary contribution to the discussion about the relationship between mathematics and theology by pushing the debate into direction of a more careful consideration of mathematics as an area in which God’s beauty may become apparent. Contribution: Contributing to the interdisciplinary exploration of theology in HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies, this article further develops the consideration of the fundamental theological topic of God, the beautiful and mathematics as it was proposed in this journal by Volker Kessler, by discussing it from a systematic theological and mathematical perspective.

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