Theology and Ministry in Context and Crisis: A South African Perspective

Theology and Ministry in Context and Crisis: A South African Perspective

Theology and Ministry in Context and Crisis: A South African Perspective

Theology and Ministry in Context and Crisis: A South African Perspective

Excerpt

For much of the past ten years I have been involved in teaching theology, and increasingly in teaching ordained ministers and priests, many of whom are doing graduate studies while at the same time involved in parish and congregational work. Such students present a very special challenge to the academic professor of theology. They bring into the seminar room the daily struggles, frustrations, and failures, but also the insights and victories of their life and work. Many of them minister in extremely difficult situations, especially those who are black, situations which have become particularly tense and even dangerous in recent times. On several occasions I have been privileged to teach students who have suffered greatly for their witness, some in prison and detention. In such situations theology has to be living and relevant to ministry; there is neither the time nor the space, or even the inclination for theological abstraction or dilettantism. Moreover, theology under such circumstances cannot be trendy, superficial or peripheral to the central themes of the gospel and the Christian tradition, or unrelated to the historical context and its crises, for then it will fail to provide the resources necessary for ministry. This conviction, perhaps more than any other, lies at the centre of what I have attempted to write about in this book.

The substance of what follows has been fermenting for a fairly long time in my own thinking and experience as a pastor and teacher. However, the immediate cause for attempting to express my thoughts on the subject was an . . .

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