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'n Hermeneuties–empiriese strategie rakende die verskynsel van kerkkrimping in tradisioneel Afrikaanse susterkerke in Suid–Afrika : 'n prakties–teologiese studie
Van Helden, Sophia
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The phenomenon of the decline in numbers in traditionally Afrikaans “sister churches” - in the midst of the complex South African society of the first decade of the 21st century - was researched in the light of the command that Jesus himself gave to his church (Math 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8). The Great Commission directed the aim of the research to evaluate this phenomenon hermeneutically and empirically in order to develop a reformed strategy in a practical theological way. The grounding of the investigation was the communicative action theory, which simultaneously integrates with a basic theoretical model developed from a combination of basic theoretical models as suggested by Dingemans, Heitink en Zerfass. To reinforce the exegetical/hermeneutical perspective of the basic theory, a historical study was conducted regarding the growth and decline of power basises since the Jesus movement until now. The interaction between perspectives was subsequently extended by metatheoretical perspectives, based on the research regarding the influence of schools of thought, as well as the influence of circumstances in the country, which determine the “sister church” praxis of the 21st century. The traditionally Afrikaans “sister churches” as a problematic ecclesiastical community of practice was further examined as part of the empirical perspective. On this basis an attempt was made to gauge the thinking of the “sister churches” in the intricate and problematic ecclesiastical praxis. The gauging was executed by means of a random test in one of the “sister churches”, namely the Reformed Church of South Africa (GKSA). It was found that this problematic church praxis is directed by strong institutional thinking. An adjusted practice theory, as well as a supporting practical theoretical model, were formulated in order to realise a reformed strategy for church growth as opposed to the decline in numbers. Considering the above mentioned interactive perspectives, the conclusion was reached that the praxis in the “sister churches” at the beginning of the 21st century, functions in an ecclesiastically imbalanced way. The imbalance lies in the fact that Christ-centred thinking, and thus also Christ-centred ecclesiology (as balancing thinking and balancing ecclesiology), does not manifest in “sister church” thinking. The unbalanced thinking as an all-encompassing factor in the church praxis, confirms and promotes the tendency of the decline in numbers. The proposed strategic perspective as the adjusted practice theory is thus a contribution to formulating an obedient, covenant-centred and reformed answer to declining numbers. This adjusted strategy can bring about the wonder of revival and growth in the “sister churches” by means of the basic theoretical truth elements, which were pointed out in this research.
- Theology