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.

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

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  • SPIRITUAL DETERMINANTS AND SITUATIONAL CONTINGENCIES OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP

    Anthony, F.V.; Hermans, C.A.M. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-23)
    There is a strong evidence that transformational leadership gives rise to loftier motivation among the teaching staff, creative school innovation, enhanced learning results among students and critical openness to diversity in society. Little is known how school leaders can become better transformational leaders. Our research among school leaders of the Salesian schools in India seeks to verify if higher performance of transformational leadership is influenced by spiritual determinants (spiritual discernment, spiritual traits, spiritual capital, and spiritual experience), besides situational contingencies pertaining to personal profile and institutional features. The findings reveal that the prevalent leadership style in Salesian schools is transformational, and that it is strongly predicted by a combined spiritual trait of self-directed-cooperativeness and spiritual discernment, and moderately predicted by the situational contingencies of schools being private and having lesser student strength.
  • EXPLORING CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP IN PARACHURCH ORGANISATIONS IN LESOTHO

    Morenammele, J.M.; Schoeman, W.J. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-23)
    The article explores authentic Christian leadership, as it applies to workplaces of parachurch organisations in Lesotho. The leadership of parachurch organisations have a responsibility to transform society through the influence they can exert on their employees. A qualitative methodology was used that involved interviews with ten chief executive officers and ten focus-group interviews from ten parachurch institutions based in the Maseru district, Lesotho. The theoretical framework and empirical analysis propose a leadership strategy that pays attention to servant leadership and team leadership that peruse an open and inclusive communication strategy. The empirical analysis indicates that leadership, through a competent and ethical example, is an essential dimension of authentic leadership in the workplace. Christians holding leadership positions in parachurch organisations must have strong intentions if they hope to influence and impact on the workplace for God and become the answer to the problems facing Lesotho.
  • UNEXPECTED POSSIBLE. A BUILDING-BLOCK APPROACH TO SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES REVISITED

    Hermans, C.A.M. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-23)
    Both spiritual and religious experiences express an “unexpected possible happiness”. Unexpected is defined as a recognition of contingency. Possible is defined as transcendental openness towards possibilities that are considered ultimate. Happiness as a transcending anticipation of ultimate possibilities. Spiritual experiences are characterised by the recognition of contingency, transcendental openness and happiness. Spiritual experiences can be religious, but not necessarily so. Religious experiences include a reference to God as ultimate. Next, the author presents insights from neuropsychology and cognitive science, which assist in understanding human processing of surprise in embodied, cultural and social practices. Finally, five building blocks of spiritual and religious experience are formulated. Results from empirical research are presented to substantiate the concepts presented in the building blocks and the layered structure of these experiences. The author concludes by presenting four challenges and suggestions for further research.
  • SPIRITUALITY AND CONTINGENCY IN NARRATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL INTERVIEWS WITH PRIMARY SCHOOL LEADERS OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IN THE NETHERLANDS

    Copier, J.; Hermans, C.A.M.; Van der Zee, T. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-23)
    There is a growing interest in personal biographies of school leaders as a source of their leadership qualities. However, it is unclear what aspects of the biography informs these qualities as a school leader. This article proposes to focus on experiences of contingency in biographies of school leaders. Previous research has conceptualised various modes of handling contingency experiences: denial, acceptance and receiving. The authors suggest a new definition of the mode of contingency receiving that overcomes the constructivist bias and encompasses both religious and non-religious interpretations. Based on a qualitative analysis of 35 narrative biographical interviews with school leaders, the authors show that all three modes of handling experiences of contingency are present in biographies of school leaders. The redefined category of contingency receiving can be understood as a spiritual experience that includes experiences of religious and non-religious people reporting transformations in their self-understanding, understanding of the world, and what is of ultimate meaning in life.
  • SPIRITUALITY AS PASSIONS OF THE HEART. AN EMPIRICAL STUDY INTO THE CHARACTER, CORE VALUES AND EFFECTS OF THE PASSIONS OF THE HEART OF GENERAL PRACTITIONERS

    Hermans, C.A.M.; Kornet, L. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-23)
    There is growing interest in the spirituality of physicians, relating to burnout and emotional stress and in terms of dealing with their workload. The authors distinguish four different lines of research in this area and position their approach of the “passions of the heart” as a meta-intentional feeling for what is good and satisfying, which we derive from a phenomenological theory of feeling by Stephan Strasser (1977). Human beings are characterised by a transcendental openness that interpenetrates human feelings. Four markers of passions of the heart are identified: fulfilment, receptivity, life-organising power, and ethical nature. Based on these markers, the article distinguishes between concerns identified as passions of the heart, and other concerns. Four core values are identified in the concerns of general practitioners (GPs) studied: personal proximity, self-direction, the whole person, and giving all people access to the healthcare they need – specifically the vulnerable. Finally, the authors present the GPs’ testimonies, in which they voice that passions of the heart mitigate the effects of negative experiences (emotional stress and burnout) and inspire andmotivate them in their work.
  • A FRAMEWORK OF FIVE TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERSHIP COMPETENCIES FOR CHURCH LEADERS IN THE DRC

    Venter, L.; Hermans, C.A.M. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-23)
    What framework of transformational leadership competencies could guide the development of church leaders in the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) with regard to the changes facing the church in South Africa in the 21st century? The article summarises the results of a Delphi research to find consensus on the formulated research question in a panel of 25 DRC leadership experts. Five competencies are formulated: spirituality, sense-making, visioning, relationships, and implementing. Spirituality in the agreed upon framework is characterised as biblical and missional. The competencies are linked to the so-called 4 Capability Framework of Leadership (Ancona). The authors show what is new and unique in the transformative framework for ministers in the DRC. One of these outcomes is a very strong link between spirituality and transformative leadership.
  • ON THE HIGH SEA OF SPIRITUALITY. ANTECEDENTS AND DETERMINANTS OF DISCERNMENT AMONG SCHOOL LEADERS IN INDIA

    Hermans, C.A.M.; Anthony, F.V. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-23)
    Discerning the good is the spiritual compass of living a good life with, and for others. It is the core of “lived spirituality”. A person grows in discernment, when his/her spiritual character traits, spiritual capital and spiritual experiences grow. The authors first map the field of lived spirituality related to discernment. Next, they present the results of a research into lived spirituality of school leaders in India. School leaders have a task to discern the good in school organisations, in order to deliver good education. School leaders in India differ in the level of agreement with discernment. They report higher levels of discernment, if they report a stronger spiritual character trait of self-directed-cooperativeness, more spiritual capital (both claiming the absolute truth of their own religion and/or truth emerging from religious pluralism), and a higher level of mystic experiences.
  • A NEXT GENERATION? YOUNG DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH MINISTERS AND THEIR VISION FOR THE CHURCH IN SOUTH AFRICA

    Van Wyngaard, G.J. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-23)
    For the foreseeable future, the Dutch Reformed Church will be remembered for its role in the theological justification of apartheid and spiritual support for the leaders driving this political process. Questions on the faith, theology, and spirituality that made this theological and spiritual support possible have been analysed in detail over decades. This church is, however, poised to see a generation of ministers, who were trained after the Dutch Reformed Church’s position on apartheid changed, and after the end of apartheid in South Africa, taking over the leadership of this denomination. This article analyses responses to a 2019 survey among Dutch Reformed Church ministers and licensed proponents aged younger than forty years. Utilising a 7-point praxis matrix, it highlights the way in which these respondents describe the current ecclesial praxis and discern the future calling of the church. It focuses particularly on how they relate to the church’s past, and its historically White identity.
  • THE AESTHETICS OF COVID-19 WITHIN THE PANDEMIC OF THE CORONA CRISIS.: FROM LOSS AND GRIEF TO SILENCE AND SIMPLICITY – A PHILOSOPHICAL AND PASTORAL APPROACH

    Louw, D.J. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    Within the corona crisis, the core question is: What is the impact of Covid-19 on the spiritual realm of meaning-giving, hoping and pastoral caregiving? How does it affect the realm of habitus and religious convictions, specifically when pastoral caregivers become involved? With reference to the human quest for wholeness in healing and helping, existing paradigms are critically analysed. What is meant by the aesthetics of Covid-19? A soulful movement within an aesthetic approach is discussed, i.e. from the ugliness of the pandemic to the beautification of the virus. Thus, the question is about the challenge how to grow and revisit the meaning dimension of life within a re-evaluation of the value of compassion. In this regard, the God-image of divine companionship, as framed by the ugliness of a “suffering God”, is discussed within the parameters of the praxis of hope care in pastoral ministry.
  • BOOK REVIEW: GRACE UPON GRACE. REFLECTIONS ON THE MEANING OF LIFE

    Laubscher, M. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    Cilliers, J. (Stellenbosch: African Sun Media, 2020) 96 pp. ISBN: 978-1-928314-71-4 (R230); e-ISBN: 978-1-928314-72-1 (R185). DOI: https://doi.org./10.18820/9781928480617  is reviewed by M. Laubscher.
  • BOOK REVIEW: GOD AND THE PANDEMIC. A CHRISTIAN REFLECTION ON THE CORONAVIRUS AND ITS AFTERMATH

    Laubscher, M. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    Wright, N.T. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2020), 96 pp. Price: R220, ISBN: 978-0-310-12080-3 is reviewed by M. Laubscher.
  • PURSUING THE IDEAL OF INTEGRATION IN PENTECOSTAL THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION:: A CASE STUDY OF PENTECOST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, GHANA

    Quampah, D.; Naidoo, M. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    Theological colleges aim at training well-formed, well-resourced Christian leaders who possess a compelling personality and moral authority for impactful and transformational leadership. This is achievable largely through an integrated approach to the curriculum that places equal value on the development of the “head, heart, and hands”, the institutional ideal of holding the cognitive, affective and psychomotor dimensions of theological training in equilibrium. In addition, the contextual and contemporary relevance of such a curriculum is critical for maximum effect. The initial slow and hesitant approach of the Pentecostal movement to theological education has made them dependent on other Christian persuasions for models in theological education. This article reports on an empirical study to describe and evaluate the curriculum of Pentecost Theological Seminary in Ghana, in order to appreciate the extent of integration and relevance accomplished, and to contribute to institutional efforts at further integration.
  • BOOK REVIEW: TIMING GRACE. REFLECTIONS ON THE TEMPORALITY OF PREACHING

    Laubscher, M. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    Cilliers, J. (Stellenbosch: African Sun Media, 2019), 96pp. Price: R440. ISBN: 978-1-928480-22-8 is reviewed by M. Laubscher.
  • PREACHING WHEN VIRAL THREATS CONVERGE: USA SERMONS, 31 MAY AND 7 JUNE 2020

    Brown, S.A. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    How is God present and active in this time and place? This question has been a pressing one for preachers and congregations amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts. In the USA, the urgency of this theological question intensified when nationwide protests erupted following the release, on 26 May, of the video of the death of George Floyd. Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died pleading for breath, his neck pinned to the pavement by a police officer’s knee. Sermons preached in the USA in congregations of distinctive predominant racial identity on the two Sundays following Floyd’s death (31 May and 7 June 2020) are assessed hermeneutically, asking: “In what ways did US sermons, preached on 31 May and 7 June 2020, interpret divine presence and activity in relation to the preacher’s interpretation of listeners’ needs and responsibilities; biblical text(s) referenced, and/or the dual public crisis impinging on national life?”
  • A POWERFUL ENCOUNTER: THE RELATION BETWEEN DIACONIA AND SPIRITUALITY

    Ver Elst, D. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    Spirituality, when conceived of as a relation with the transcendent, can be experienced in many ways. This article explores how diaconia, when defined broadly as service work, can be a place where this relation is experienced. Based on the reviewed literature, the different ways in which spirituality and diaconia are related, as well as the influence of spirituality on diaconia and of diaconia on spirituality are discussed. On the basis of theoretical and empirical research literature, the article explores concepts such as calling, effectivity of diaconia through spiritual strategies, humbleness, perseverance and coping that influence diaconia. Spiritual transformation through diaconia is discussed by viewing diaconia as a spiritual act and the encounter with a greater good, love, calling, heterotopia and suffering in the practice of diaconia. These different forms of relation are examined critically, as an indication for further research and implementation in theological and communal praxis.
  • INTEGRATIVE MINISTERIAL TRAINING: A CASE STUDY IN THE BAPTIST TRADITION OF SOUTH AFRICA

    Naidoo, M. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    Relevant theological education for our context is key, and the sharing of best pedagogical practice can make theological education more sustainable in Africa. Many in theological education use the word “holistic” to describe integration in their curricula, yet with no clear consensus about what it exactly involves. This article reports on an action research on integrative curriculum development. It explores how the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa intentionally brings together the major learning dimensions of academic excellence, vocational training, and spiritual formation in a holistic way. The article provides key findings and reflects on the institutional, denominational, and contextual challenges that shape curriculum design. This article positions integration as a key approach to curriculum design, as learning dimensions are intentionally linked for meaningful learning, rather than simply the mastery of fragmented information.
  • ON THE FUTURE OF TEACHING PREACHING IN THE MIDST OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

    Alcantara, J.E. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    In this article, I commend a way forward in preaching pedagogy over the next ten years. I propose a turn toward improvisational teaching that is technologically innovative, intentionally collaborative, and strategically diverse. These commitments arise from ongoing pedagogical research, teaching and learning experiences in classrooms and conferences, dialogues with colleagues, and most importantly, from listening to students at various seminaries and divinity schools discuss how they learn, grow, and thrive as preachers.
  • IF GOD IS EVERYWHERE, IS GOD IN A BLACK HOLE? A THEOLOGY-SCIENCE DISCUSSION ON OMNIPRESENCE

    Bentley, W. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    This article explores the question of divine omnipresence in light of the recent visual representations of a black hole. It explores the notion of God’s omnipresence by considering world views, scientific theory, and the notions of embodiment and incorporeal nature of God’s being. The article then suggests an understanding of divine omnipresence against the backdrop of Psalm 139.
  • BOOK REVIEW: SUNDAY’S SERMON FOR MONDAY’S WORLD. PREACHING TO SHAPE DARING WITNESS

    Laubscher, M (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    Brown, S.A. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B. Eerdmans, 2020), 224pp. Price: R513. ISBN: 978-0-8028-7112-1 is reviewed by M. Laubscher.
  • TOWARDS AN “ENGAGED” SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY?

    Havenga, M.J. (Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, 2020-12-18)
    This article explores the question of what the scope and focus of theology should be, by considering two closely connected suggestions in this regard. The first suggestion comes from a group of theologians from the mid-twentieth century who played an important role in instigating the ressourcement movement. These theologians, it is shown, aimed at moving beyond the dualisms of Neo-Scholasticism, by turning anew to the theological style and method of the earliest Christian thinkers. The second related suggestion comes from the contemporary systematic theologian, Graham Ward, a scholar who draws on the thought of the ressourcement theologians in his development of what he calls a “culturally engaged” or simply “engaged” systematic theology. After examining the contributions of both the ressourcement theologians and Graham Ward, the article asks how these insights could inform the way we approach and do theology in our own context.

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