Acta Theologica 2023-07-21T12:47:12+00:00 Dr Lyzette Hoffman Open Journal Systems <p><em>Acta Theologica</em> is an accredited, South African journal publishing independently reviewed research articles on broad Christian-theological and religion topics, aimed at a national and international academic audience/readership. The Editorial Board accepts and considers for possible publication articles in English and Afrikaans, written from a responsible point of view on subjects in a relevant field of study within the Christian-theology science.</p><p>For any enquiries, please contact the executive editor, Dr L Hoffman (<a href=""></a>).</p><p>Otherwebsites relating to <em>Acta Theologica</em> include <a title="" href="" target="_blank"></a></p> Pointing out persuasion in Philemon: Fifty readings of Paul’s rhetoric from the fourth to the eighteenth century 2023-07-21T10:40:32+00:00 P.B. Decock <p>No Abstract</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Theology and identity: The impact of culture upon Christian thought in the second century and in modern Africa 2023-07-21T10:46:00+00:00 K. Lamak <p>No Abstract</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Holy communion in contagious times: Celebrating the eucharist in the everyday and online worlds 2023-07-21T10:49:51+00:00 T.E. Ncapodi <p>No Abstract</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Stand-up preaching: Homiletical insights from contemporary comedians 2023-07-21T10:56:03+00:00 W. Wessels <p>No Abstract</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Interview with Nadine Bowers Du Toit 2023-07-21T10:12:34+00:00 M. Laubscher <p>No Abstract</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 To kneel or not to kneel: Appropriating a religious and sport symbol for racial justice in South Africa 2023-07-21T09:19:22+00:00 D.N. Andrew <p>The act of kneeling of the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) has its origin in both the religious and the sport environment. In some&nbsp; religious circles it is believed that kneeling is a form of submission to God and in other circles it is a symbol of resistance to oppressive&nbsp; and dehumanising practices and structures. This article intends to investigate critically the use of the symbolism of kneeling, its socio- political and religious implications, how it is appropriated to address racism and other inequalities in sport, and how it can become a&nbsp; symbol in the process of achieving racial justice. The purpose of the study is to investigate whether the BLM concept of taking the knee&nbsp; (as well as the related expression “I can’t breathe”) and its ambiguous interpretation can be appropriated in the South African context&nbsp; and whether it can assist the struggle to achieve racial justice in South Africa. The study will follow a multidisciplinary approach and will&nbsp; utilise comparative literature analysis.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Covid-19, racism, and the “state of exception”: A theological ethical engagement with identity and human rights in an age of “Corona” and beyond 2023-07-21T10:05:19+00:00 D.A. Forster <p>The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the role that religion and politics play at the intersection with individual and social rights. Religiously&nbsp; informed political actors capitalised on fears and prejudices to further science denialism, normalise nationalist ideologies, and curtail human rights. In the United States of America, Brazil, and South Africa, it took the form of problematic political theologies. In many&nbsp; instances, a state of exception, as understood in the work of Giorgio Agamben, was enacted. Such actions often have biopolitical&nbsp; significance revolving around making political choices informed by religious beliefs that impact on individual bodies and social freedoms.&nbsp; This extends from individual bodies to societies. This research employs a qualitative literature approach to investigate the intersection of&nbsp; political and theological beliefs during the pandemic. It highlights the impact of populist political theologies on the erosion of democracy&nbsp; and human rights in countries that have highly religious populations. It is argued that these strategies reach beyond the COVID-19&nbsp; pandemic.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 SAWUBONA: A theoethic for everyday decolonial gestures 2023-07-21T10:19:07+00:00 C.J. Kaunda <p>This article takes a pentecostalicity engagement with the Zulu notion of Sawubona to construct a theo-ethics of everyday decolonial&nbsp; gestures of life-giving, affirmation and enhancing in the context of global coloniality and cultures of death that define and determine life&nbsp; in modern capitalist societies. Pentecostalicity is grounded in the Spirit’s freedom to greet (Sawubona) creation as happened on the Day&nbsp; of Pentecost (Acts 2) with pneumatic gestures of redemption, liberation, emancipation and corecognition of the singularity of life and co- becoming of all things in the universe. I demonstrate how indigenous forms of greeting embody pentecostalicity resources that could be&nbsp; mobilised to construct a theo-ethics of everyday decolonial gestures. I underline that such an approach helps to perceive indigenous&nbsp; greetings such as Sawubona as dynamic philosophical terms saturated with incredible meanings deeply rooted in the pro-existential&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; spirituality of care for life.</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 An ongoing search for constant and sustainable Lutheran theological education in South Africa in the 21st century 2023-07-21T09:57:28+00:00 K. Mashabela M. Madise <p>This article explores the recent history of Lutheran theological education in South Africa, which is still confronted by the legacy of colonial&nbsp; and apartheid education systems. The latter need to be confronted with liberation and decolonisation systems that reclaim African&nbsp; indigenous identities. There is a need to cultivate a culture of quality and equal education, spirituality, politics, and socio-economic&nbsp; systems for the service of South Africans. Evangelical Lutheran churches in Southern Africa are committed to improve and reform Lutheran theological education in the 21st century. Lutheran theological education is necessary to make a meaningful contribution&nbsp; towards training theological students to assist the church in its response to societal concern and contextual issues. The article introduces&nbsp; a recent renewal of Lutheran theological institutions in a new teaching and learning environment by the Lutheran Church. It discusses&nbsp; the implications and successes of Lutheran theological education in South Africa.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Raising a thousand Tutu voices: reflections on the Truth to Power exhibition 2023-07-21T09:32:58+00:00 J. Meiring <p>This article explores the lifework and legacy of Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu who passed away on 26 December 2021. It relates the&nbsp; reaction of visitors to the newly installed exhibition, Truth to power: Desmond Tutu and the churches in the struggle against apartheid, in&nbsp; the historic Old Granary Building, home of the Desmond &amp; Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town. The Victims Wall forms part of the&nbsp; exhibition, in a room dedicated to the unfinished business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The article argues that&nbsp; the cries and bruised bodies of the victims of apartheid, such as those of Mrs Calata, widow of Fort Calata, one of the Cradock Four&nbsp; victims, and of thousands of “ordinary people”, are still reverberating down the decades to be heard and acknowledged by specifically&nbsp; White South Africans. The example and the courage of the poet and journalist, Antjie Krog, who covered the TRC hearings and who is still&nbsp; speaking poetry to power as a public intellectual, are used to reflect on the author’s own culpability and that of other White Afrikaans- speaking South Africans and their involvement in the TRC process. The article concludes with the immense and joyful task of the&nbsp; Foundation to raise a thousand Tutu voices, in an attempt to answer questions on how to keep the memories of the bodies of those who&nbsp; suffered under colonialism and apartheid alive, while seeking reconciliation and fighting for a just, equal, and inclusive society in a deeply&nbsp; divided South Africa and how to become more fully human.&nbsp;</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Digital ecclesiology and Africa’s digital natives: Prospects and challenges 2023-07-21T08:55:35+00:00 K.M. Ndereba <p>The COVID-19 pandemic has raised important issues for the church. Churches have grappled with ministering to their congregants in&nbsp; light of the changes in physical gatherings over the past two years. While the digital mode of ministry has strengthened the church’s&nbsp; missional outreach, churches have struggled with two foundational questions: the nature and the mission of the church. This article&nbsp; engages the emerging research in digital ecclesiology from the lens of reformed ecclesiology – particularly using the ecclesiology of&nbsp; Berkhof and the Westminster Standards as interlocutors – and offers prospects and challenges for the church’s ministry to digital natives&nbsp; in Africa. It argues that digital ecclesiology should not be perceived as a hindrance to the church or be blindly accepted. It should rather&nbsp; be critically engaged to delineate its prospects and challenges for the church’s ministry. More specifically, this article argues that the digital mode of ministry enriches the church’s missional calling as it reaches out to Africa’s digital natives; expands the understanding of&nbsp; church as organism and invisible, and creates specific challenges for the church’s ministry in terms of key concepts such as identity,&nbsp; authority, and community.</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 “This is what black girls do”: lamenting the bruised <i>umntu</i> and resisting dehumanisation 2023-07-21T10:26:16+00:00 N. Penxa-Matholeni D. Abrokwaah <p>This article seeks to analyse the infamous urine incident that happened at Stellenbosch University in May 2022. This analysis will be done&nbsp; in relation to space, language, and belonging. The question is: To what extent does the urine incident relate to the issues of space,&nbsp; connection through language, and belonging at Stellenbosch University? Indigenous storytelling methodology is employed to answer the&nbsp; above question. The metaphors of amaXhosa (umntu ngumntu ngabantu1 and endleleni2 ) are used to find a connection and pave&nbsp; the way forward.</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The <i>constant</i> reality beyond exception and rule in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theology 2023-07-21T09:28:44+00:00 K. Radler <p>Due to the many warnings at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic of an increased transfer of power to governments and the subsequent&nbsp; impending demise of democracy, this article presents a theological response to a persistent theory of autocratic power. Employing, but reinterpreting the semantics of the concepts of the jurist and theorist of state Carl Schmitt, the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer redirects&nbsp; the former’s rhetoric regarding history, rule, nothingness, creation ex nihilo and miracle. As a result, Bonhoeffer responds to a secular&nbsp; method with faith in Christ’s cross and provides for a reality that can serve as a constant grounding for a new life carried by ultimate&nbsp; hope.</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Common grace as theological encouragement for interreligious dialogue 2023-07-21T09:09:59+00:00 T. Salurante D. Kristanto M. Wibowo <p>The Dutch theologian-statesman Abraham Kuyper developed the doctrine of common grace in a lengthy manner. Common grace&nbsp; emphasises that God’s grace operates not only in a salvific way for the elect, but also in a general way for every individual. Despite sin, human beings are capable of doing beautiful, just, and wise things and are endowed with gifts and talents, due to God’s act of common&nbsp; grace. On that doctrinal basis, Christians are called upon to appreciate the people outside the church, for there are fruits of common&nbsp; grace in their lives. On many occasions, Kuyper acknowledged that people of other religions have better qualities than Christians.&nbsp; Although not salvific, common grace opens various possibilities for Christians to learn from nonChristians. Thus, common grace could be&nbsp; a theological encouragement for interreligious dialogue toward mutual enrichment. This doctrine shows how the interreligious relationship between Christians and non-Christians should not be reduced to evangelism alone; it should also include dialogue and&nbsp; further cooperation toward the common good.&nbsp;</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 “In the Spirit”: A Triune reformulation 2023-07-21T09:50:49+00:00 A. Santoso <p>The Ecumenical and Reformed Creeds and Confessions uphold the Trinitarian doctrine of God as three in one (Father, Son and Holy&nbsp; Spirit), first formulated in the Nicene Creed in 325 AD. Yet the role of the Holy Spirit seems to be undermined in such formulations. The historical context of the Nicene Creed emphasised the homoousios of the Son. This became the filioque in the Nicene’s later formulation.&nbsp; In this article, the author addresses the lacuna of the role of the Holy Spirit in the traditional Trinitarian formulations. Based on John Calvin’s understanding of an autotheos Trinity and his timeless view of eternity, the significance of the Holy Spirit should have an equally&nbsp; prominent role. The renewed position should leave no ontological subordinationism either of the Son or the Spirit – a correction to the&nbsp; Eastern and the Western church formulations. In addition, the reformulation read in an autotheistic interpretation shows how the&nbsp; inherent hypostasis submission is consistent with God’s mission in the history of salvation.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Christianity, “supernatural” beliefs, and COVID-19 2023-07-21T09:01:41+00:00 E. Shoko <p>COVID-19 arguably had far-reaching implications for Christianity and the church as an institution. Issues around social distancing and&nbsp; lockdown directly impacted articulation and religious expression, while understanding of the pandemic and the virus were mediated&nbsp; through constructions of religio-spiritual beliefs. Given this, the study sought to explore some neo-Pentecostal church leaders’ messages&nbsp; in South Africa regarding the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, what this meant to their followers and the associated implications for the&nbsp; spread and effects of COVID-19. Methodologically, the researcher viewed and listened to uploaded YouTube video clips of news related to&nbsp; the church and COVID-19, uploaded by media outlets and the neo-Pentecostal church leaders themselves as well as online newspaper&nbsp; reports from the period 2 March to 19 June 2020. The findings of the study reveal that neo-Pentecostal church leaders attributed the origins of SARS-COV-2 to “evil” spirits. Neo-Pentecostal church leaders had mixed messages on the possible cure for COVID-19, with&nbsp; some emphasising miracles as the panacea for COVID-19, and a minority believing that God exhibits his power through epidemiologists.&nbsp; Prayer was also viewed as a tool for Christians to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19 through the invocation of divine powers.&nbsp; The paper concludes that the pervasive influence of church leaders and their emphasis on spiritual remedies such as prayer and miracles&nbsp; may have given Pentecostal followers a false sense of security, which might have affected their awareness of COVID-19.&nbsp;</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Confessing church today? 2023-07-21T10:35:18+00:00 D.J. Smit <p>Confessing church today? The article responds to the question from Reformed ecumenical circles regarding what it could mean to be a&nbsp; confessing church today. It revisits Karl Barth’s influential contributions to the same discussion during the 1920s and for several decades after that. It calls to mind some major claims from Barth’s authoritative paper for the ecumenical Reformed world in 1925 on the&nbsp; question of whether the Reformed community needed a general confessional document – a proposal in regard to which he strongly&nbsp; rejected both the possibility and the desirability. It then traces the legacy of these claims through the reception history of the Theological Declaration of Barmen, the Confession of Belhar and the Accra Covenant on Justice and the Ecology, and thereby suggests possible&nbsp; answers to the original question.&nbsp;</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Feminist spiritualities, gender equality, and sustainable development: The possibilities of a countermovement 2023-07-21T09:41:48+00:00 N. Swanepoel T. van Wyk <p>Feminist historiography indicates that spirituality has historically been one of the instruments whereby women could “speak”. This&nbsp; “voice” implied recognition and authority, to a certain degree, in a patriarchal-oriented reality. In this regard, feminist spirituality became&nbsp; a vehicle for women to authorise their own religious and spiritual contributions and insights. Feminist spirituality became a&nbsp; countermovement – countering perceptions and ingrained convictions that a woman could not be a mediator between God and&nbsp; humanity. Feminist spirituality contributed to the creation of spaces for women to study and participate in the creation of religious- spiritual texts. Women’s contexts are diverse and intersectional, and so is feminist spirituality, to the extent that it is more appropriate to&nbsp; speak of feminist spiritualities in the plural. This article explores the possibilities of feminist spirituality as countermovement that&nbsp; contributes to the realisation of gender equality, in the way that gender equality finds expression in the Sustainable Development Goals&nbsp; of the United Nations. It is situated within a growing field of work that explores how faith communities’ religion and spirituality contribute to their being agents of sustainable development, and within the contextual urgency of the sustainable development agenda.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> 2023-07-21T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023