HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies 2023-09-22T11:57:23+00:00 Andries G. van Aarde Open Journal Systems <p><em>HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies</em> is an acclaimed Open Access journal with broad coverage that promotes multidisciplinary, religious, and biblical aspects of studies in the international theological arena. The journal’s publication criteria are based on high ethical standards and the rigor of the methodology and conclusions reported.</p><p>Other websites related to this journal: <a title="" href="" target="_blank"></a></p> Contextuality, interculturality and decolonisation as schemes of power relations 2023-09-22T10:08:07+00:00 Benson O. Igboin <p>Western imperialism and colonialism have tremendously affected the epistemological conception of Africa and Africans. In the same vein, early missionaries did not countenance the cosmologies and lived experiences of the Africans in their interpretation and application of the Bible. On the contrary, they imposed Western epistemologies and theological images on Africa. Although much work has been carried out in these areas, little attention has been devoted to how contextuality, interculturality and decolonisation are exercised in power struggles: the power to define what counts for Africa and Africans as they daily deploy the resources of the Bible. The author argues that contextuality, interculturality and decolonisation are schemes of power relations on the one hand and of owning the Bible on the other, rather than mere methods of biblical hermeneutics in Africa. As schemes of power, they reject imperialist agenda of unequal barter of cultural exchange claimed as civilising the African. Presenting contextuality as a finished product is a violation of the rights of Africans to productively apply the Bible as a text seeking understanding in a different clime from the West; it is also a denial of the reality of interculturality, and thus it ignites the need for decolonisation. By utilising conceptual analysis as a framework, it is argued that these schemes are beyond hermeneutical methods but have the power to resist the suffusing influence of Western theological suffocation in Africa.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>This study argues that contextuality, interculturality and decolonisation are not mere hermeneutical methods for studying the Bible in context; they are instruments of struggle to liberate it from Western epistemological stranglehold.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in South Africa: Biblical discourse 2023-09-22T10:24:24+00:00 Tshifhiwa S. Netshapapame <p>Churches have always been regarded as a safe haven during calamities. This changed during COVID-19 lockdown when churches were forced to shut down. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a new normal to the world at large, calling for immediate action from authorities and introducing vaccination as an antidote. However, some religious practitioners as a vehicle of change through the institution of the church have been acting on the contrary because it discourages the uptake of vaccines, leading to vaccine hesitancy. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy has been observed in the Christian community because Christians use Bible verses as a scapegoat for not getting a jab. There is a chasm that exists between faith and science, and it perpetuates the discourse of vaccine hesitancy.</p> <p><strong>Contributions: </strong>This article applies a qualitative descriptive phenomenological approach and seeks to address the conspiracy theories and the use of Bible verses as discourse on vaccine uptake.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 That they may be one (Jn 17:11): Mending the seamless coat of Christ in Assemblies of God Nigeria 2023-09-22T10:26:40+00:00 Ezichi A. Ituma Kalu O. Ogbu Prince E. Peters <p>Assemblies of God church in Nigeria, which has for over 40 years now, experienced various crises that have led to sucession and factionalism in that church. The once giant of spirituality and the mother of Pentecostalism has grappled with the problem of administration, leadership tussle and bigotry. This study is a review of previous and current crises that AG Nigeria has gone through at the General Council level in a bid to mend what seems to have torn asunder the seamless coat of Christ in line with the prayer of Jesus, ‘that they may be one’. The study uses historical-critical method and phenomenological design to analyse the depth of the crack in the church in order to predict the future of Pentecostalism in Nigeria.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>To chronicle the crises in Assemblies of God Nigeria through a study of current and past patterns of events with a view to recommending possible solutions.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 A theology of child rearing for Nigerian fathers: A socio-rhetorical reading of Ephesians 6:4 2023-09-22T10:30:14+00:00 Olubiyi A. Adewale <p>One of the major causes of juvenile delinquency almost anywhere in the world, including Nigeria, is abusive conditions in the homes. The abusive condition in the Nigerian situation is exacerbated by the authoritarian concept of the home. Children are usually seen as mere objects who are to obey their parents, especially the father who has an absolute power over his children. Christian parents too are guilty of being authoritarian and their favourite cliché is ‘children, obey your parents’. This article aims at developing a theological guideline that would assist fathers in rearing their children from the biblical perspective via a socio-rhetorical study of Ephesians 6:4. It examines the rearing of children in the 1st century among the Jews and the Graeco-Romans – the original recipients. Then, it compares the social condition of Nigeria with that of the 1st century Graeco-Roman. It concludes by stating that the key to understanding the verse is the phrase <em>μὴ παροργίζετε</em>, a combination of <em>μὴ </em>and a present active imperative, which is used to prohibit actions already in progress. Thus, the verse becomes an appeal to fathers to stop exasperating their children. To achieve this, fathers should see their children as full-fledged human beings with a right to their opinions and decisions about their lives.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>This article holds that rather than being treated as obedient objects to fathers in all things, children must be seen as human beings created with will, mind and intelligence and therefore be given a say in issues that concerns them and be disciplined in love and not harshly.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Paul, a stranger in Africa? 2023-09-22T10:32:27+00:00 Jeremy Punt <p>Scholars in the past have signalled the almost complete absence of Paul – as a cypher for the Pauline letters and tradition(s) – in Africa. The apparent lack of use or deliberate ignoring of Paul in Black, African and Liberation Theologies on the continent in all its pluralist variety and richness is generally taken as testimony to the perceived strangeness of the apostle in Africa. However, even if Paul’s strangeness does not equate with his absence, at least not altogether, Paul’s profiles in Africa include dimensions such as Paul as a stranger, as an unwelcome guest, as a conquering traveller and as a victim of tradition. I argue that Paul’s absence from as well as strangeness in Africa may be more apparent than real, and that hermeneutical patterns and practices more than epistolary content may have played a stronger role in the construal of Paul in Africa.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>Evaluating a range of entrenched interpretive profiles of Paul in Africa exposed certain hermeneutical tendencies that offer the potential for reinterpretation and reassessment of the use of Pauline materials on the continent and elsewhere.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Building a united community: Reading the Johannine concept of unity through the eyes of an Akan 2023-09-22T10:59:45+00:00 Godibert K. Gharbin Ernest van Eck <p>From the 1960s, African theologians sought to decolonise biblical scholarship, calling for a hermeneutical approach that pays attention to the African sociocultural context – inculturation. One of the undergirding principles of inculturation is that there are African sociocultural questions that the Bible can address through the appropriate interpretative methodology. Thus, this culminated in the application of inculturation on different levels. Similarly, an analysis of Akan aphorisms – the anthology of valuable data on Akan anthropology and communitarian egalitarianism – and the Johannine theology of unity reveals that there are sociocultural maladies that require inculturation. Consequently, the study employed Ukpong’s inculturation hermeneutics to read the Johannine unity ideation because it facilitates the cross-pollination of ideas – the Johannine unity ideation to critique the Akan culture and the conceptualisation of unity in Akan proverbial lore to enrich the understanding of the Johannine theology of unity. The findings indicated that Akan unity ideation receives its impetus from personal and communal benefits, making sustainability impossible without them. Additionally, it contravenes the tenets of Akan communalism and anthropology. Furthermore, it revealed that Christian unity is grounded on replicating the divine community; therefore, it can fill the lacunae in the Akan concept. Finally, it established that the culture enriches the text.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>Given that this article is an interactive engagement between the Johannine and Akan concepts of unity, it contributes to the ongoing discussions on contextual theology – the inculturation of the New Testament in the African context. Furthermore, it contributes to the discussions on Akan communalism.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Power and accountability – Using Biblical lenses to explore contemporary challenges in Africa 2023-09-22T11:06:06+00:00 Canisius Mwandayi Martin Mukole <p>The Bible is one of the most influential documents in human history that has not only changed believers’ lives but has also greatly influenced our society whether one is a Christian or not. While the Western world has somehow managed to remove the Bible from the public sphere and religion relegated as the opium of the oppressed masses in the Communist bloc, to Africans, the Bible has remained a moral compass without which human life becomes ungovernable. As the Bible has come to occupy such a high place of authority in African life, the aim of this article is to examine the contemporary challenges that Africa is facing concerning issues of power and accountability in light of selected biblical texts. Using largely the canonical approach and socio-cultural anthropology, this article takes the Bible as a mirror that leaders should use to self-introspect in regard to their exercise of power and accountability to their subjects. It is our observation that there is now a tendency among African leadership especially during elections to rush to claim <em>vox populi, vox Dei </em>meaning ‘the voice of people is the voice of God’, yet rigging and failure to live up to God’s dictates may be manifestly characterising one’s leadership. A fish begins rotting in its head hence it is our conclusion that it is only by having a leadership that cultivates a fear of God at its heart that Africa can be healed of its problems.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>In Africa, it is a paradox that while some political leaders purport to have been schooled in the Bible in mission schools, they lead a life divorced from it. This article adds a voice to the on-going religion and politics dialogue in Zimbabwe by soliciting an honest adherence to its principles.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The influence of Chinese ancient poetry and literature on college students’ mental anxiety 2023-09-22T11:08:29+00:00 Jie Chen <p>This study analyses the influence and infection of traditional Chinese culture, starting from the cultural influence of ancient Chinese poetry and literature, and explores the impact and healing effect of traditional Chinese poetry and literature on college students’ psychological anxiety. Combining with traditional Chinese culture, it proposes intervention and treatment strategies for college students’ psychological anxiety. Through volunteer recruitment, 100 college students were recruited for comparative experiments, and the subjects were divided into an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group participants regularly participate in Chinese ancient poetry and literature appreciation courses during the experimental period, and form an ancient poetry and literature learning group for discussion and learning. Research has found that psychological anxiety is a common psychological problem among contemporary college students, with most of them experiencing varying degrees of psychological anxiety. After the experiment, the number of patients with severe anxiety disorder decreased by 64.21%, while the number of patients with moderate anxiety disorder decreased by 57.36%. Under the artistic influence of traditional Chinese culture, the anxiety state of students with mental anxiety has been significantly improved, and the overall satisfaction score of students with treatment intervention plans is relatively high.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>This study uses the profound historical heritage of Chinese ancient poetry and literature to help contemporary college students adjust their psychological state and reach the psychological adjustment under the infection of Chinese tradition culture. During the learning and appreciation of Chinese ancient poetry, literature and culture, students can comprehend the literature advancement in Chinese society, also influenced by the excellent traditional Chinese culture, for enhancing the humanistic quality and mental health level. The results of this study can be utilised by scholars in the field of the psychology of religion and public theology.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The influence of Internet economy on consumer psychology in the post-epidemic era 2023-09-22T11:10:21+00:00 Junjing Zhao Qi Li <p>The article aims to argue that the pandemic caused by COVID-19 strengthened religious faith. This objective is argued from the perspective of advanced economies studies. In the post epidemic era people’s lifestyle and shopping habits have undergone tremendous changes due to the development of the Internet economy. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, research pointed towards an alleviating effect of Internet usage for religious purposes. This study explores the impact of Internet economy on consumers’ psychology and behavior in the post epidemic era, and analyses the factors that affect consumers’ purchase intention. The research has certain guiding significance for the development of Internet economy, the relief of residents’ psychological pressure and the solution of psychological problems in the post epidemic era. Consumers in the Liaoning province were interviewed by means of questionnaires through group chat links and website advertisements. Consumption information and data were gathered from 15 March 2020 to 15 March 2021. After collecting the questionnaires, 500 effective questionnaires were selected. Questionnaire data were analysed by self-rating anxiety scale (SAS), and the influencing factors of consumers’ purchasing psychology were judged by self-rating depression scale (SDS). The overall psychological status of consumers was evaluated by SCL-90. The software SPSS<sup>®</sup> 18.0 was used to analyse the data collected from the questionnaire. The corresponding strategies for the development of Internet economy are proposed according to the analysis results. The results of data analysis show that appropriate Internet economic consumption can alleviate the negative emotions and psychological pressure of consumers due to long-term home isolation.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>This study demonstrates that appropriate Internet economic consumption can alleviate the negative emotions and psychological pressure of consumers due to long-term home isolation. The research outcome can be utilised by scholars in the field of the psychology of religion, sociology of religion and pastoral care focusing on trauma caused be the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Research on psychological satisfaction of education work and learning of literary works 2023-09-22T11:13:35+00:00 Yuanyuan Wang <p>The findings of this article reveal that the development of the independent learning model in the American literature curriculum positively impacts teachers’ job psychological satisfaction. This study highlights the contribution of autonomous learning mode in empowering students’ subjective status and enhancing their initiative, consequently reducing teachers’ psychological pressure and improving their overall satisfaction with their work.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>The results of this study hold implications for scholars in the field, particularly those engaged in practical theology and religious educational studies.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Research on music education: Integrating synaesthesia theory and colour psychology 2023-09-22T11:20:01+00:00 Jingzhou Yang <p>Music education can alleviate students’ psychological stress and play a positive role in the healthy growth and development of students. Synaesthesia theory is a relatively special cognitive phenomenon that can achieve connections between different sensory organs. Colour psychology can influence the change of mental state through the change of vision. In this study, synaesthesia theory and colour psychology were applied to music education, and the traditional music education method was used as the contrast method to set up the experiment. The article focuses on the experimental results with regard to the Hamilton anxiety scale (HAMA) score of the use of traditional music by students. It shows that the music education mode integrating synaesthesia theory and colour psychology can better improve the classroom quality of music education, so as to better relieve the pressure of students and promote their healthy, happy and positive growth.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>Difficult learning tasks add pressure to the student’s learning capabilities, which leads to psychological problems such as anxiety and stress. Music education can relax students’ nerves and psychology, so as to relieve students’ psychological pressure. The research applies synaesthesia theory and colour psychology to music education to improve the classroom quality of music, so as to better alleviate student pressures and promote healthy, happy and positive growth. This research represents data, which can be utilised by scholars in the field of religious education and public theology.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The aesthetics of Gannan Hakka architecture in modern housing: A design psychology perspective 2023-09-22T11:24:09+00:00 Xiang Lei Hao Cao Limin Guo <p>The rapid acceleration of societal change has subjected contemporary individuals to prolonged periods of diverse pressures, leading to substantial psychological strain, resulting in anxiety, depression, and compromised mental well-being. Within this context, the home has evolved into a vital refuge for modern individuals, offering both physical and psychological respite. Through experimental intervention, this study examines two distinct residential groups: those adhering to traditional housing and those residing in characteristic folk houses, specifically Gannan Hakka architecture. Analysing the psychological state of contemporary individuals and integrating Gannan Hakka architectural elements into folk house design through a psychologically informed approach, this research aims to enhance residents’ aesthetic experiences and alleviate psychological distress. The study involved 120 volunteers with varying psychological stress levels, categorised into characteristic and traditional folk house groups. Psychological assessments evaluated stress, self-efficacy, and quality of life. Findings reveal significantly improved psychological well-being, self-efficacy, and quality of life among the characteristic residential group, affirming the benefits of Gannan Hakka architecture integration. This research underscores the importance of addressing modern individuals’ environmental needs and proposes the integration of Gannan Hakka cultural elements into residential design to enhance well-being.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>This study demonstrates the application of Hakka culture in contemporary housing profoundly influences residents’ lives, enabling both relaxation and a deeper cultural connection. This integration facilitates a comprehensive understanding of Hakka culture, promoting its preservation. Notably recognised for hospitality and diligence, Hakka culture enhances individuals’ appreciation of tradition, fostering physical and mental rejuvenation. These findings offer valuable insights for practical theology scholars and practitioners exploring the impact of religious aspects on modern residential design from a psychological perspective.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Innovation in ideological and political education in higher education institutions for student development 2023-09-22T11:27:24+00:00 Xiaohui Lin Caiying Zhong <p>This study aims to explore the promoting effect of the combination of mental health education and ideological and political education for college students on improving their comprehensive psychological quality and ideological and political theoretical level. The research adopts a combination of system analysis methods, experimental methods and clustering algorithms, and conducts course experiments through experimental methods, providing basic data. In the process of the experiment, from the perspective of educational psychology theory, the systematic analysis method is used to distinguish subject and object, and functional analysis is carried out. At the same time, clustering algorithms are used to classify the mental health problems of different students. The research results indicate that in terms of subjectivity, teachers’ psychological communication ability, psychological understanding ability and psychological guidance ability have a significant positive impact on students’ psychological state. The level of ideological and political theory and psychological strain ability also have a significant positive impact on students’ psychological state. Intervention on students’ values and personality psychological issues is also effective. These findings provide an important basis and guidance for further carrying out higher education reform.</p> <p><strong>Contribution</strong>: With the development of society, students need to face more and more external concepts during their growth. Students whose mental growth is not mature are likely to have certain psychological problems in this process. This research can be utilised by scholars in the field of youth ministry and religious educational studies.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The integration path of mental health education and college students’ ideological and political education 2023-09-22T11:32:16+00:00 Li Xu <p>The traditional ideological and political education should keep pace with the times, and the physical and health education should highlight its value, and must combine the two. This study investigated on the integration path of mental health education and college students’ ideological and political education. A stratified random sampling was conducted on 2021 students of a higher vocational college. The subjects were divided into the control group and the experimental group. The experimental group was given the integrated intervention course of mental health education and ideological and political education of college students, and the control group was given routine teaching. The depression score of the experimental group is significantly lower than that of the control group, and the mental health quality score is higher than that of the control group.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>The integration of mental health education and college students’ Ideological and political education can effectively improve the level of college students’ mental health. This course constantly improves the students’ subjective consciousness, subjective ability and subjective personality, and fully reflects the educational effect of the ideological and political education of college students’ mental health course. This research provides data which could be utilised by academics in the field of practical theology, especially youth ministry and religious educational studies.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The influence of ideological and political culture construction on students’ psychological quality 2023-09-22T11:36:02+00:00 Ming Zhang Buzhou Guo <p>Ideological and political education in universities focuses on cultivating people’s good psychological qualities and regards positive psychology as an important entry point for the construction of ideological and political culture. This will provide new ideas for the reform and innovation of modern education. This study selected 300 students from six universities as the research subjects and analysed the impact of ideological and political cultural construction on students’ psychological quality from the perspective of positive psychology. The Psychological Scale (SAS) is used to reflect the impact of ideological, political, and cultural construction on students’ psychological activities. The results indicate that from the perspective of positive psychology, the construction of ideological and political culture among college students has a significant improvement effect on various psychological indicators of students.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>The construction of ideological and political culture in colleges and universities faces social factors, teaching factors and personal factors, which have an adverse impact on the formation of students’ psychological quality. This study in order to better evaluate the improvement of psychological indicators, take positive psychology as an entry point, and take necessary teaching measures to promote the formation of students’ good psychological quality. This research represents data that can be used by scholars in the field of religious education and public theology.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The influence of cultural identity education on students’ positive psychology 2023-09-22T11:43:32+00:00 Meili He <p>The aim of this study was to Analysed the influence of Chinese traditional culture identity education on the positive psychology of university students. The study selected 200 students as the research object and divided into experimental group and control group. The students in the experimental group received traditional cultural identity education courses combined with practical activities, while the control group implemented conventional courses. After implementing the program, students’ learning efficiency is significantly improved and their learning anxiety is reduced. The learning effectiveness, cultural identity, and interpersonal communication barriers of the experimental group students have all improved, and the improvement in positive psychological status of the experimental group is significantly higher than that of the control group. The difference between the two groups is statistically significant. Chinese culture has a long history and contains profound life truth and positive thoughts. Good traditional cultural identity education can cultivate college students’ correct political position and establish correct outlook on life, values and the world. This study showed effective cultural identity education and practical activities in colleges and universities can effectively promote the cultivation of students’ positive psychology, improve students’ self-confidence and enhance national pride.</p> <p><strong>Contribution: </strong>The result of this study is applicable for scholars in the field of psychology of religion and the sociology of religion, as well as cultural studies and public theology.</p> 2023-09-22T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023