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 library contains articles of Acta Theologica as of vol. 29(2009) no. 2 to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Jesaja 40:1-11. Jhwh as Trooster van Trauma Slagoffers1

    Odendaal,A.G. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    This article aims to show that Yahweh acts as a comforter of the traumatised: the exiles in Babilon. Some of them are eager to return to Jerusalem although they know that the city was destroyed. The prologue of Isaiah 40 gives the wonderful message that Yahweh will comfort the exiles and the city of Jerusalem. The exiles may return to Jerusalem. Yahweh will accompany them. The city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt. Yahweh knows of their suffering. He will comfort them and provide strength, food and help. The comfort will help make the traumatic experience bearable.
  • John Calvin on Social Challenges

    Potgieter,P.C. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    John Calvin's interpretation of Holy Scripture as the infallible Word of God dominated his approach to socio-economic, sociopolitical and human relation issues. This article endeavours to indicate that his 16th-century views have not lost their relevance for the current paradigm on social challenges. To him, theology was no mere theoretical or academic field; it always tended to become a way of living within the sphere of God's providence. He thus emphasised the stewardship of man in God's creation. Whatever affliction people experienced, be it caused by natural disasters or by human disrespect for society, Calvin felt it as profound grief, so that he urged the community to get involved where aid was required. His written legacy abounds in guidelines for dealing with various kinds of social and economic issues. His clear view and perspectives on the social challenges of his era provide more than enough to consider in the 21st century.
  • Present-day Mission Partnerships

    van Engen,C. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    The centre of gravity of the church and of mission-sending has shifted from the North and West to the South and East. Currently, as many full-time cross-cultural missionaries are sent and supported by churches in Asia, Africa and Latin America as those sent from Europe and North America. In this new reality, there is an urgent need to discover and create new patterns of missionary partnership among Christians worldwide. It is urgent that church leaders, mission executives, and mission practitioners talk together, analyse, critique, and articulate the possibilities and pitfalls of partnership in mission in the 21st century. This article reflects on three aspects of present-day mission partnership, namely the broad contexts of mission partnerships; issues related to the structures for mission partnerships, particularly the modality-sodality mission relationships, and some pitfalls of paternalism facing all those in mission partnerships.
  • Interview - Prof. Marilyn Naidoo

    Venter,R. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
  • God as pure Possibility and the Wonder of Possibilisation

    Hermans,C.A.M. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    How do we deal with the issue of permanence in time (Augustine), when we simultaneously experience the limits of our capacity to possibilise the future? The article addresses these questions in terms of the coordinates of the concepts of contingency, the priority of possibility, and free will. It is necessary to rethink theological concepts within these coordinates that are considered characteristic for the self-understanding of modern people. The article describes the development of subjectivity as natality, being capable, and being seen. The aim of this development is to be able to create new beginnings that make the good life with, and for others possible, and give permanence in time. What do we need to think and presume to be vital, for the wonder of possibilisation to emerge? God is imagined as the silent power of the possible ("Can" itself) that keeps in reserve the wonder of possibilisation ("You can").
  • Spatial Metaphors as a Means of Persuasion in Romans 5:12-21

    Potgieter,A. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's seminal book Metaphors we live by (1980) makes us realise that a metaphor is not merely a linguistic phenomenon, but also a conceptual, socio-historical, neural, and bodily phenomenon establishing mental models. Romans 5:12-21 abounds with with rich imagery. The rhetorical impetus of pericope is often highlighted and the imagery of persuasion is often overlooked. The value that spatial metaphors, in particular, add to Paul's argument also have a rhetorical function. This article investigates persuasion in Romans 5:12-21, drawing on spatial metaphors.
  • Homiletic Contours for Preaching to Listeners Who Fear the Disastrous Consequences of Corruption, with an Emphasis on Cognitive Distortions

    Kruger,F.P. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    Research in the field of homiletics indicates that preachers have to reckon with the problematic praxis of fear caused by the effects of cognitive distortions regarding corruption. This article investigates the role that preachers can fulfil by not merely being brave from a distance. The research problem is as follows: Is it possible that the distorted cognitions of preachers and listeners could cause them to engage in a nitpicking process that allows hope to be held captive by fear? To what extent can a clear understanding of the essence of sermon delivery enable listeners to realise that hope has to do with a definite calculating process (cognition) that incorporates the yet and not yet reality. The article provides descriptive perspectives on a problematic praxis, offers strategizing perspectives from social psychology and scrutinises the essence of people's understanding of corruption and societal issues. It explores the normative vantage points of seeing, fearing God and the paradoxical nature of hope. The role of people's ability to view reality seems to be pivotal for the experience of meaningfulness. The article uses a hermeneutical interaction between the elements of research. In conclusion, the article offers practical theological perspectives.
  • Practical Theology as a Snippet Discipline of "Verbing and Displaying the Praxis of God"

    Louw,D.J. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    This article aims to develop a diagrammatic depiction of how the different sections or ecclesial snippets¹ (operational functions) could be portrayed in an integral approach to theory formation in practical theological thinking. It explores the notion of the "praxis of God" as a kind of cohesive factor in a practical teleology, framed by the Christian spiritual paradigm of the passio Dei. It is proposed that an "operative ecclesiology" should contribute to a kind of "spiritual humanism", focusing on what one can call the "beautification" of life; practical theology as fides quaerens beatitudinem.
  • Αλλα Ρτσαι Ημας Απο Του Πονηρού (Mat. 6:13b): Reading The Lord's Prayer through Ewe-ghanaian Demono-logical Lens

    van Eck,E.; Sakitey,D. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    This article examines the phrase άλλα ροσαι ημάς άπό του πονηρού in Matthew's rendition of the Lord's Prayer through the Ewe-Ghanaian demonological lens. It employs a combination of the historical-critical and indigenous mother tongue biblical hermeneutics methods to address the ambiguity associated with the phrase άπό του πονηρού in the petition. It also engages the world of the text with the Ewe-Ghanaian demonological world view and defines the place of πονηρός (evil/evil one) in Ewe-Ghanaian Christian spirituality. The article discusses the various hermeneutical and theological positions on the text and juxtaposes them with popular Ewe-Ghanaian Christian demonology. The article argues that the aggressiveness with which the Ewe-Ghanaian Christian confronts his/her destiny issues is premised on the primal belief that everyone came to this world with his/her own destiny (gbetsi) or fortune (aklama). However, there are forces that interfere with one's destiny. It is against this backdrop that one must relentlessly wage a spiritual warfare against those forces through not only tumultuous and verbose prayers, but also ritual performances, in order to either protect a good fortune or reverse a bad one. The phrase άλλα ροσαι ήμας άπό του πονηρού (Mat. 6:13b) is, therefore, a call on "Our Father in the heavens" to reverse any misfortune in one's life, in order to fulfil one's destiny in life.
  • Book Announcements -"To Take Note Of"

    van den Berg,J.A. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
  • Towards an African Biblical Virtue Ethics? Reflections on the Letter to Titus1 Through a Progressive-negotiated-ethics

    Manomi,D.I. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    African conceptions of virtue, in comparison with the virtue-ethical perspectives of the letter to Titus, have foundational and narrative tensions, yet they are in tandem in some important respects. Consequently, appropriating a virtue ethic that is relevant to African contexts and simultaneously accountable to the virtue-ethical perspectives of Titus requires the application of a synthetic methodology. Hence, this article newly develops and describes such a methodology as "progressive-negotiated-ethics". In applying this methodology, the article negotiates, imagines and emerges a virtue-ethical horizon that is simultaneously African and biblical, described as "African biblical virtue ethics". Such a third virtue-ethical space, negotiated from the two distinct virtue concepts of African ethics and biblical ethics, takes both the intricacies of biblical ethics and the complexities of African ethics seriously.
  • Book Review

    Hoffman,L. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
  • Reconciliation as a Missional Paradigm for Post-1994 South Africa

    Niemandt,N. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    The 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?
  • Die Betrokkenheid Van Kerk En Staat By Die Bevestiging Van Huwelike Met 'n Perspektief Op Drie Gereformeerde Kerkordes

    Strauss,P. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    There are two main reasons why the church, in general, became involved in the solemnising of marriages: the history of the church and, with it, especially the involvement of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages as the church of the Western World in this regard and theologically based principles. Following the history of the Reformed churches of The Netherlands and taking three church orders in the Dutch Reformed tradition into consideration, the Dutch Synod of Emden (1571) coined a lasting phrase on marriages. It proclaimed that the solemnising of marriages is partly the task of the church and partly that of the state. The church should be involved, because a marriage should be "in Christ" and according to the principles of the Bible. In His covenant of grace as a key element of being a church, God uses marriage and family as his points of departure to relate to people. As the institution of justice in society, the state should settle the legal aspects of marriage. On the latter, and if justice is needed in the case of a certain marriage, the state should have the final say.
  • Pauline "Ethics of Relinquishing": "Implicit Ethics" of The Bible as a Source of Inspiration for Current Ethical Debate

    Zimmermann,R. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    Enhancing life in the world of the future will only be possible if people relinquish their claim to some of the legitimate rights to which they are entitled. This article is developed in three sections. In the first section, I contend that the source of inspiration for this ethics is the Bible and, in particular, the writings of Paul, which open up insights into moral principles and the ethos of Early Christian communities. In the second section, I take up insights from biblical ethics and develop foundational aspects of, and criteria for how such an ethics of relinquishing can be described on both a theoretical and a terminological level. In the final section, I describe possible acts of relinquishing in different fields of current ethical debate such as, for instance, the appropriate extent of medical treatment at the end-of-life, the use of media, and big data.
  • N.P. van Wyk Louw As Satirikus

    van Coller,H.P. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    Critics usually try to discern the crucial tenets or themes in a major poet's work. This is also the case in the reception of the famous Afrikaans poet, N.P. van Wyk Louw's oeuvre, especially after the publication of Tristia (1962), often regarded as his magnum opus. In this article, the hypothesis is that many literary devices, which critics in the past have discerned in his work, all fall within the ambit of the satirical mode. The definition of satire proposed in this article is that satire is an implied or explicit attack on a satirical object, but also with the suggestion at least of an explicit satirical norm. In conclusion, two seminal poems by Van Wyk Louw that were, in the past, read as detached and reflective are interpreted as satirical, with reference to Speech Act Theory.
  • The Conundrum Facing Christian Traditional Leaders

    van der Merwe,S.J.; Thebe,O.G. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    Although Christianity was introduced to and embraced by Batswana over two centuries ago, some Batswana still hold dear to their traditions, customs and cultures, which, at times, are not in line with the Word of God. Volz (2008:112) concedes that, although European missionaries introduced Batswana to Christianity, they had hardly any control over how early Batswana converts perceived and adapted their teachings. In some instances, dikgosi¹,as traditional leaders, are still facing a serious conundrum of being a Christian, on the one hand, and a custodian of culture, on the other. This is in line with the view expressed by Amanze (2003:43) that many Christians, especially members of the African Independent Churches, live a strange life, with one foot rooted in the African traditional beliefs and the other in Christian beliefs and practices. Given the statement "For there is only one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5), the question is: Where does this place traditions, customs and culture?
  • Karel Schoeman en die Leefwêreld van Vroeë Sendelinge in Suid-Afrika —'n Oorsig oor sy Sending-geskiedskrywing

    van der Watt,G. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    Karel Schoeman, the award-winning Afrikaans author, not only wrote several seminal novels (for which he received the highest Afrikaans literature prizes), but his contribution to research focusing on the 18th and early 19th century South African sociocultural history is also remarkable. He collected and put together an enormous volume of archival resources accessible to a large audience of interested readers and scholars alike. He especially concentrated on the history of missionaries and mission organisations; he wrote a long list of biographies, of which the most important ones were of women with some connection to the missionary endeavour. Schoeman's unique approach to historiography is making a significant contribution that is relevant to missionary history and theology as such. He retrieved often neglected but important voices from the past. Contrary to canonised, confessional and denominational church history, he opted to focus on missionaries (Black and White), slaves, women, and the historically marginalised. He wrote about their "lived faith" within the sociocultural contexts of their time.
  • In Discussion with Pieter Verster

    van der Watt,G. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
  • O Kom, O Kom, Immanuel - Veni, Veni Emmanuel: 'n Adventlied Wat Mense Oor Die Grense Van Tyd, Kerke En Lande Verbind

    Kloppers,E. (University of the Free State, 2019-01-01)
    O kom, o kom, Immanuel, one of the oldest hymns included in the Liedboek van die Kerk (2001), is based on a Latin Advent hymn, Veni, veni Emmanuel, which, in turn, is based on five of the seven O antiphons that form part of the Roman Catholic liturgy for Advent. In many of the Reformed churches in South Africa, the hymn is not sung, because the time of Advent is not sufficiently observed and Advent hymns are often ignored. This article discusses the origin and meaning of the text and provides the background for the tune. It also presents potential meaningful uses of the hymn, so that it can function effectively in the liturgy. The article aims to promote the active use of the hymn and to foster awareness for the time of Advent. It shows that the hymn connects the current singers with believers in the past and is directed towards the future. It connects people of different times, confessions and churches. It is argued that its popularity, even in circles outside the church, indicates that it could bring church people and people in the public domain together and be a medium through which believers and non-believers, or people who experience doubt, could communicate with each other. The pastoral function of the hymn is thus also emphasised.

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