Acta Theologica is an accredited South African journal publishing independently refereed research articles on religion and theology. The Editorial Board will consider articles in English, Afrikaans, German and Dutch, written from any responsible point of view on subjects in any applicable field of scholarship. Before publication all contributions are refereed anonymously by at least two other scholars who are recognised as experts in the particular subject area.
The Globethics.net library contains articles of Acta Theologica as of vol. 29(2009) no. 2 to current.
The bible, open and distance education and learning, and spirituality : possibilities in a post-secular timeTo teach the Bible to students of theology at tertiary
level (university/seminary/(Bible/Mission) college) is at
the best of times fraught with difficulties. Combining the
initially often intellectually a-critical religious sentiments
of students with the demands of biblical/Old Testament/
New Testament studies as science (language skills,
exegetical methodologies, critical theories, hermeneutics
of understanding and of relevance) is characterised
by some difficulties, which lead to various and some
extreme reactions among students. The balance between
spirituality and exegesis is not always easy to maintain for
many teachers of theology. These problems are in some
respects compounded in Open and Distance Education
and Learning institutions such as the University of South
Africa, where direct contact with students and, hence,
spiritual formation (undertaken either implicitly or explicitly)
is limited and media-ted. Yet, new times also hold new
promises. This contribution outlines an intellectual matrix of these problems and dynamics, with possibilities
offered that align well with the more faith-positive cultural
sentiments currently dawning internationally, known as
Reconciliation as a missional paradigm for post-1994 South AfricaThe article aims to evaluate the church’s role in reconciliation as a missional paradigm and attempts to find answers from biblical and theological perspectives. It discusses the issues of church, congregations, reconciliation, the Bible and people within the post-1994 South African context. There is a need to spell out the reasons for reconciliation as a paradigm for missiology in South Africa. The article addresses theological reflection, spiritual formation and empowerment, reconciliation as the praxis of the church, and faith-based reconciliation. The development of a five-point process for conflict helps in discussing the context. In developing congregations to be communities of forgiveness; being Christocentric; living in Shalom; espousing the missional approach; being open and essential communities, as well as exploring spiritual formation and empowerment will be vital for the reconciliation process. The article attempts to show how reconciliation, as the praxis for the church in South Africa, can go a considerable way to minister and meet the need of the present-day church and community. This attempt will be further supported by the development of a faith-based people and congregation to contribute to the reconciliation process. The following research questions are posed: In a country that is statistically over 75 per
cent Christian, why are life, actions, behaviour, morality and integrity so far
removed from the Christian scriptural principles of the Bible, as the rule
book and guidance for life? Why does or is the ecclesiastical Christian life
not informing and impacting on life and experience in South Africa?
CHRISTIAN SELF-FORMATION: AN AUGUSTINIAN CONTRIBUTIONAugustine’s dense and probing thought about the imprint of the Trinitarian God upon human persons in De Trinitate (AD 399-422/426) provides an alternative spirituality of the self to that of a more individualistic Western liberal search for self-fulfilment through self-discovery. By referring to the Trinitarian images in De Trinitate and recurring to Augustine’s self-searching mode in the Confessiones (AD 397-401), his quest may be said to inspire a mode of Christian self-formation that, sub specie humanitatis, rejects the “discovery” of one’s “true self” – the sense that one really does possess a stable authentic core self, and that one can find it by following some process of interior self-scrutiny. Rather, for Augustine, it appears that to be human is to pursue the quest of self-knowing in a relational formation that opens into the life of the being who called one into existence. Consequently, the search for God (Confessiones) and for the Trinitarian imprints of God (De Trinitate) appear to raise the more serious questions that inform and shape Christian self-formation: Can one “know oneself”? What does it mean to be founded by a Trinitarian God? How does one know which goods to choose in order to construct a holy life? How would one construe a “Trinitarian life” for oneself?
EMPHASIS AND ADVOCACY IN ANNOTATING AND TRANSLATING THE BIBLEThe past decades have seen several editions of the Bible with distinct emphases. Examples of such special-audience editions of the Bible are particularly aimed at women, men or young people. There are also particular “Bibles”, or parts thereof, for bikers, for instance, or a Bible edition that highlights verses concerning issues of justice. The vast majority of these Bible editions, which try to address a particular audience or promote/advocate a certain cause, offer their particular emphases in the text and notes in the margins, but do not actually interfere with the text itself. However, there are also editions of the Bible, where the editors/translators introduce particular emphases in their actual rendering of the biblical text itself. The Complete Jewish Bible is one of the examples to be discussed in some detail in this instance. This article describes these approaches and assesses their validity.
INTERVIEW WITH PROF. NICO NORMAN KOOPMANNico Koopman is Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Social Impact, Transformation and Personnel at Stellenbosch University, and Professor of Systematic Theology, Ethics and Public Theology. He is also an ordained pastor of the Uniting Reformed Church in Ida’s Valley, Stellenbosch. He served as pastor in the congregations of Atlantis, Westfleur-Atlantis, and Bellville (as university chaplain and youth minister). He was Vice-Rector of Huguenot College in Wellington, and later Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University. He was a founding member and chairperson of the Global Network for Public Theology and is a fellow of the Institute for Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey. His research focuses on themes such as inalienable dignity, healing reconciliation, embracive justice, responsible freedom, equality, as well as the reciprocal and transformative impact of universities on various spheres of society, including politics, economics, the natural environment, civil society, and public opinion-formation. He is involved in public discourses in the academy, churches and broader society, both locally and internationally.
PROPOSING A SHIFT FROM CLASSICAL PENTECOSTAL BIBLE READING AND BACONIAN COMMON SENSE TO A SCIENTIFIC HERMENEUTICSAlthough early Pentecostals read the Bible in terms of common sense, it differed from fundamentalists’ use in their theological endeavours. However, by the 1940s, the vast majority of Pentecostals adopted a fundamentalist view of Scriptures. Since the 1990s, Pentecostal scholarship has revisited early Pentecostals’ use of Baconian common sense. In postmodern times, it is important to define a balanced Pentecostal hermeneutic to reconsider the use of Baconian common sense realism in Bible reading practices. A scientifically informed and Spirit-inspired inductive hermeneutic is proposed that emphasises the context of a text, leaving room for the viewpoints of other interpreters and reading in terms of contemporary encounters with God. This will enhance the exegetical process, by enabling the reader to read the Bible for its impact, value and significance.
USING BUSINESS LEADERSHIP MODELS TO ANALYSE LEADERSHIP STANCES IN A DEVELOPMENTAL ORGANISATION IN THE CAPE FLATSThis practical theological multidisciplinary research investigates the leadership stances in a Christian developmental organisation operating in gangster-ridden communities in the Cape Flats within the Cape Town conurbation. In this article “stance” is used as a technical term referring to certain well-defined aspects of a leader’s outlook and approach. The organisation is evaluated using a Christian transcendental leadership stance developed by integrating the transactional, transformational and transcendental business leadership stances with Christian spirituality. The analysis reveals that, within the overall transcendental leadership stance of the researched organisation, the primary purpose and motivational incentivisation is transformational. It is suggested that the research may provide leaders of other and African Christian developmental organisations with useful and productive insights into their own organisations.
THE SERVICE OF THE BELIEVERS: ARTICLE 55 OF THE 2015 CHURCH ORDER OF THE DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH IN PERSPECTIVEThe theme of article 55 of the 2015 Church Order of the Dutch Reformed Church was formulated for the first time in 1974 and amended in 2011. For this service, the term “the service of the believer” was used instead of the popular term “office of the believer”. Article 55 of the 2011 Church Order linked this service aimed at the church and the kingdom of God, without mentioning the congregation as the starting point thereof. The emphasis was on the principle that the service of the believers is, in essence, their service as “members” of the Dutch Reformed Church. As a rule, church members believe in God with the assurance by Scripture that they are saved people. This means that their service is being done out of gratitude for their salvation.
SIN IS A PERSON: SOME ONTOLOGICAL METAPHORS IN THE BIBLEThis article discusses the ontological metaphors relating to the personification of sin in the Bible. It aims to explore the metaphorical conceptualisation of sin as a person, as suggested in the sin expressions. Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980) Conceptual Metaphor Theory is used in analysing the data. The findings of the study indicate that sin is conceptualised as king, master, lord, paymaster, mother, and child. The use of these conceptual metaphors indicates that the writers of the selected biblical texts intended to project a deeper meaning of sin beyond the literal meaning of sin in daily language. The ontological metaphorical use of sin in the Bible seems to give a greater effect in comprehension to the reader of the texts.
THE PERFORMATIVE FUNCTION/POWER OF LITERARY DEVICES IN JUDITH: A SPEECH ACT CONTRIBUTIONThe compositional brilliance of the book Judith has, in research on it, been overshadowed by debates on its fictional nature, historical inconsistencies, canonical debate, gender and moral/ethical issues. While Judith scholars have made significant contributions on historical, ethical and gender matters, this article contends that the composition of Judith is a topic still wide open for exploration. The article suggests that the compositional nature of Judith is an intentional literary strategy of the implied author and has a performative functionwith respect to the reader. In composing the story, the implied author uses literary devices to invite the reader’s participation in the story. The article uses a speech act interpretive angle to explore the identified literary devices in Judith and to demonstrate their performative function to the implied reader. Instead of propagating the story’s fictional nature, ethical issues and historical inconsistencies, this study acknowledges the story’s compositional brilliance, particularly its performative nature with respect to the reader. The article thus asserts that Judith was intentionally composed with innate performative purpose towards the reader.
INTEGRATING THEORY AND PRACTICE: AN EDUCATIONAL CHALLENGEAs an introduction to this volume on the theme “Integrating theory and practice: An educational challenge”, this article unfolds various aspects of the relationship between and the integration of theory and practice. In conversation with Paulo Freire, Clemens Sedmak, Thomas Groome, as well as John Biggs and Catherine Tang, pertinent issues in relation to “theory” and “practice/praxis” are explored. This is done in the form of fictive conversations with research students and self-critical reflections of a supervisor. The article emphasises the embodied integration of theory and practice in the lives of theological researchers, teachers and supervisors. With this, the article intends to set the agenda for the Supplementum and provoke inspiring conversations.
THE BIBLE, OPEN AND DISTANCE EDUCATION AND LEARNING, AND SPIRITUALITY: POSSIBILITIES IN A POST-SECULAR TIMETo teach the Bible to students of theology at tertiary level (university/seminary/(Bible/Mission) college) is at the best of times fraught with difficulties. Combining the initially often intellectually a-critical religious sentiments of students with the demands of biblical/Old Testament/New Testament studies as science (language skills, exegetical methodologies, critical theories, hermeneutics of understanding and of relevance) is characterised by some difficulties, which lead to various and some extreme reactions among students. The balance between spirituality and exegesis is not always easy to maintain for many teachers of theology. These problems are in some respects compounded in Open and Distance Education and Learning institutions such as the University of South Africa, where direct contact with students and, hence, spiritual formation (undertaken either implicitly or explicitly) is limited and media-ted. Yet, new times also hold new promises. This contribution outlines an intellectual matrix of these problems and dynamics, with possibilities offered that align well with the more faith-positive cultural sentiments currently dawning internationally, known as post-secularism.
DER BEITRAG VON VERNETZTEN STUDIENINHALTEN ZU EINER GANZHEITLICHEN THEOLOGISCHEN AUSBILDUNG„Ganzheitliche theologische Ausbildung” (holistic theological education) means that, in addition to learning specialist knowledge, students are enabled to reflect and promote their own spirituality with the goal of being able to act on the basis of knowledge combined with a Christ-oriented life and ministry in the church. This article explains that the networking of course content from the various subject areas of theology makes an important contribution to this goal. At the same time, however, it becomes clear that this networking at theological seminaries and colleges in German-speaking countries is only implemented very slowly or even completely refused. The author names the reasons for this and makes specific suggestions as to how a networking of course content can be implemented. He does this in the following way: To begin with, the author presents how, in the current theological as well as didactic-pedagogical debate, a holistic approach of networking subject areas and course contents is considered to be important for theological education. Secondly, based on the findings of the author´s research it is attempted to show, outlining a variety of reasons, that as far as the practice of theological education is concerned there is substantial resistance to the idea of networking subject areas. Thirdly, suggestions are made on how to implement a targeted and meaningful networking of study content. Finally, the role of teachers in this process is examined. With their role model and an adequate understanding of mentorship, they have an important influence on the way that students can network course content in a meaningful and purposeful manner.
INTEGRATIVE MINISTERIAL TRAINING: METHODOLOGICAL AND PEDAGOGICAL INTEGRATION WITHIN THE CURRICULUMWithin theological education, there are ongoing concerns that ministry education is dis-integrating and needs to recover by engaging a holistic focus. Training institutions are criticised for producing academically astute graduates, who lack the pastoral exposure or the required spirituality for Christian ministry. As ministry situations become more complex, an integrative approach to teaching and learning is required, since it connects learning to experience in an intentional way. Despite its complexity in implementing, integration as a method should be embraced more fully in the design and reformation of theological education. This article discusses proposals that can create spaces for integration, highlighting the place of disciplines of knowledge in curricular approaches, the theory-practice challenge, together with fostering active teaching and learning. These proposals are important considerations for purposeful theological education in this time of complex curricular changes in higher education.
INTEGRATING THEORY AND PRAXIS IN EMPIRICAL MISSIOLOGYLectures on contextual theology rightly belong to the standard repertoire of academic training in missiology. While academic lectures on contextual theologies often focus on macro contexts or meso contexts, the concept of the lecture on context analysis at Ewersbach University of Applied Arts strives to focus on the micro context of missionary action. This lecture and the ensuing two-week internship “Missionary social space analysis” take place at the end of the BA programme. This concept leads to an investigation of a concrete micro context, using the methods of empirical social research and social space-oriented action research. The article aims to explore a theory-practice correlation in the training and application of empirical missiology as a practical science in cooperation with an actual local church. The article briefly presents the pedagogical model and the methodology behind this concept and then reflects critically, from a missiological perspective, on the prospects and limits of teaching practical science and action research in the academic setting of a University of Applied Science in Germany and beyond.
THE BALANCE BETWEEN THEORY AND PRAXIS IN SOUTH AFRICAN PENTECOSTALISM: PATMOS BIBLE SCHOOL AS A MODELRecent developments within South African Pentecostalism reveal that a number of pastors in new Prophetic Churches abuse religion and women and engage in other extreme practices of religion. The vast majority of scholars have linked these recent developments with the gap that exists between theory and praxis in South African Pentecostalism. This article bridges the gap by using Patmos, a Bible School started by Elias Letwaba, one of the first Black workers in the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) of South Africa, as a model. Patmos Bible School was an African institution located in Africa for African people. The Bible School offers relevant content to its students, provides specific training for lay preachers and community service, in addition to academic responsibilities. Patmos Bible School thus serves as a model for synergy between theory and praxis in South African Pentecostalism because of its relevant theological curriculum, embracement of African identity, and African indigenous knowledge.