HTS Theological Studies
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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 0259-9422 - ISSN (Online) 2072-8050
Published by SciELO [727 journals]
- Beyond denial and exclusion: The history of relations between
Christians and Muslims in the Cape Colony during the 17th-18th centuries
with lessons for a post-colonial theology of religions
Abstract: Learning from the past prepares one for being able to cope with the future. History is made up of strings of relationships. This article follows a historical line from colonialism, through apartheid to post-colonialism in order to illustrate inter-religious relations in South-Africa and how each context determines these relations. Social cohesion is enhanced by a post-colonial theology of religions based on the current context. By describing the relationship between Christians and Muslims during the 17th-18th centuries in the Cape Colony, lessons can be deduced to guide inter-religious relations in a post-colonial era in South Africa. One of the most prominent Muslim leaders during the 17th century in the Cape Colony was Sheik Yusuf al-Makassari. His influence determined the future face of Islam in the Cape Colony and here, during the 18th century, ethics started playing a crucial role in determining the relationship between Christians and Muslims. The ethical guidance of the Imams formed the Muslim communities whilst ethical decline was apparent amongst the Christian colonists during the same period. The place of ethics as determinative of future inter-religious dialogue is emphasised. Denial and exclusion characterised relationships between Christians and Muslims. According to a post-colonial understanding of inter-religious contact the equality and dignity of non-Christian religions are to be acknowledged. In the postcolonial and postapartheid struggle for equality, also of religions, prof Graham Duncan, to whom this article is dedicated, contributed to the process of acknowledging the plurality of the religious reality in South Africa.
- The religious lives of students at a South African university
Abstract: Whilst significant research has been conducted on religious affiliation and on general levels of religiosity in the South African context, few studies specifically investigated the religious lives of South African university students in a comprehensive way. This is unfortunate as such research could significantly inform and support the effectiveness of youth and student ministries. As such, this article explored the religious lives of students at a university in the Gauteng province of South Africa, focusing specifically on students' self-assessed religiosity, the maturity of their religious attitudes, their spiritual well-being, the religious practices in which they engage and the relationship between such practices and their spiritual well-being. Gender, racial and religious differences concerning these variables were also investigated. Data were collected from 356 undergraduate students by means of a structured survey consisting of the Spiritual Well-Being Questionnaire, the Religious Fundamentalism Scale and two other scales aimed at assessing religiosity and religious practices. Results indicated that 98.9% of participants were religious with the majority (86.9%) being Christian. Generally, students espoused highly fundamentalist religious attitudes but had high levels of spiritual well-being. Prayer and virtual or in-person attendance of religious gatherings such as church services were the most prevalent religious practices whereas fasting and meditation were practiced least. All practices were positively correlated with students' spiritual well-being. Based on these findings, the article concludes with several specific, practical recommendations relevant to student ministries and those working with university students in religious contexts.
- A pastoral evaluation on the issue of 'vat en sit' with special
reference to the Black Reformed Churches of South Africa
Abstract: This article investigates the practice of vat en sit to offer solutions to church councils of the mainly Black Reformed Churches in South Africa and also to the couples and families involved in such a relationship. Vat en sit is fast becoming a common phenomenon in South Africa. It should be noted that some of the couples in the vat-en-sit relationships may enter into it with no formal agreement. However, there are partners who may enter into this kind of relationship through a universal partnership agreement whereby the couple plan to live together without marrying one another or a domestic life-partnership agreement whereby the couple opt to regulate their rights and duties in a vat-en-sit relationship. It does not, however, affect only the black members of the Reformed Churches in South Africa but also the family structures of society. The article thus endeavours to determine the reasons why many couples go this route and also how church councils could be assisted in dealing with the issue of vat en sit. This concept will be disseminated under the following headings: (1) The causes of vat en sit relationships (2) Implications of vat en sit (3) The effect of a vat-en-sit relationship in the church (4) The solution to the issue of vat en sit is to assist church councils, couples and their immediate and extended families.
- Theological education, considered from South Africa: Current issues for
Abstract: Taking into review the newly published series of substantial multi-authored volumes on ecumenical theological education internationally, this article identifies, from the author's own experience in ecumenical theological education and from his publications in this field, the central issue of specificity, locality and context in theological education. This takes place within two broadly developing new and relevant trends: post-secularism and inclusive liberalism, briefly described and then related to theological education. In the light of these trends, some questions are asked on theological education, and a plea for greater interdisciplinarity is made. The article thus contains a considerable part of self-reflective material, based on substantial professional experience in theological education, which enables engagement with the new publications and newly developing international contextual features that will shape theological education for the foreseeable future.
- Overcoming alienation in Africanising theological education
Abstract: Africanisation refers to a renewed focus on Africa, a reclaiming of what has been taken from Africa, and forms part of a post-colonialist and an anti-racist discourse. Africanising the curriculum involves developing scholarship and research established in African intellectual traditions. The idea is that this education will produce people who are not alienated from their communities and are sensitive to the challenges facing Africa. However, the idea of Africanisation is highly contested and may evoke a false or at least a superficial sense of 'belonging,' further marginalisation, or it may emphasise relevance. This article discusses the possibility of Africanisation and takes further the argument of Graham Duncan of how Africans can reclaim their voices in the space of theological education. It unpacks the idea of Africanisation within higher education in general, examining the rationale behind the calls for Africanisation, followed by a discussion on the implications of Africanisation for theological education.