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Drie dae met John de Gruchy: Woord, Gees, Sakrament en Beeld

2010/03/27 by Danie Mouton No Comments »

Hoe lyk ‘n verstaan van die evangelie wat gemeentes werklik transformeer?  Wat is die teologie, die praktyke, die liturgiese gewoontes, die inhoud van die Woordverkondiging, die Bybelse houdings en gesindhede wat ‘n gemeente nader aan God se beloofde toekoms vir sy kerk skuif?  Wat is die verband tussen ‘n gasvrye, gemeenskapsgerigte (missionale) gemeente en die bediening van liturgie, Woord, sakrament en beeld / kuns?

Vandeesweek het 35 dominees werklik drie transformerende dae met prof John de Gruchy, emeritus-professor in Christelike Studies aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad, en buitengewone professor aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch, spandeer.

Professor John de Gruchy

Prof John de Gruchy tydens 'n predikante-konferensie in die Oos-KAap

Die sentrale tema van sy voordrag was: The Reformed Pastor as Theologian. So het Calvyn homself gesien: ‘n reformerende pastor wat ‘n teoloog is. (En het ons nuwe dinge oor Calvyn geleer!  Dit is duidelik dat die Calvyn wat ons deur ons studies leer ken het, en die ware Calvyn, twee verskillende mense is, het baie dominees gesê.)

De Gruchy is die skrywer van ‘n nuwe boek oor Calvyn, John Calvin – Christian Humansit and Evangelical Reformer (Lux Verbi.BM 2009).

De Gruchy het dié onderwerp verder uitgewerk deur van drie subtemas gebruik te maak:

  • Woord en Gees
  • Woord en Sakrament
  • Woord en Beeld (Eikon).

Uit sy vertelling van Calvyn se verhaal het duidelik geblyk hoeveel skeefgetrek perspektiewe oor dié man bestaan.  Hy het ‘n merkwaardige invloed wat, vandag nog, in groot dele van die wêreld ‘n impak maak.  In sekere opsigte is selfs die Rooms-Katolieke kerk beslissend deur hom beïnvloed.  ‘n Europa in transisie, onderworpe aan baie veranderings, was die agtergrond van Calvyn se lewe, teologie en bediening.  Hierdieomstandighede verskil nie veel van ons moderne wêreld met sy vele oorgange nie.  Sy erfenis is beide ‘n boek (die Institusie), of boeke, want Calvyn het baie geskryf, en ‘n stad, Geneve.  Die helfte van Geneve se inwoners was vlugtelinge, wat beteken het dat die integrasie en belange van ontwortelde nuwelinge versus gevestigde inwoners ‘n sentrale tema was.  Hoe word ‘n Christelike samelewing onder sulke omstandighede ingerig?  Wat is die rol van die kerk?  Calvyn se lewe en werk bied merkwaardige perspektiewe wat ook vir ons van belang is. read more…

 

Congregation and tradition

2010/03/23 by Danie Mouton No Comments »

As congregations journey towards God’s preferred and promised future, the question must be asked: how do they deal with their tradition? Tradition here in the sense of broader theological tradition, but also in terms of their congregational habits and customs. Various possibilities exist, e.g.

  • Part of our Protestant heritage is to be apprehensive of tradition.  Church tradition, it was feared, might overrule Scripture as the dominant force in the life of the faithful;
  • Modernity shames the past, therefore future possibilities and new developments always seem to be better. Progress is the name of the game.  To be old and traditional is almost to be backward, and to be closed to exciting new possibilities.

Prof John de Gruchy

Against this background I listened attentively at prof John de Gruchy, emeritus-professor in Christian Studies at the University of Cape Town, lecturing today (23 March 2010) in Port Elizabeth at a seminar for pastors.  He spoke at length about tradition.

Tradition, he said, is what is handed down to us; we all stand in a particular tradition.  It points to the Holy Spirit leading us over centuries in the truth.  How do we understand truth?  How do we built on what was given, revealed to and confessed by earlier generations of faithful people?  Our identity and ethos is shaped by our tradition. The ecumenical tradition is what binds all Christians together.

Tradition not only represents the handing down of faithful responses to the Word and the Spirit.  There is also customs and cultural hindrances towards the gospel in our tradition.

Tradition needs to be feared when it boxes us in, when it is hindering new life.  The Charismatic tradition can be seen as a reaction to us boxing the Holy Spirit in.  We will ignore the challenge to our boxing-in at our own peril.

How do you discern where tradition plays which role in the church – life-giving or boxing-in?  Certain indicators helps us, says De Gruchy, mentioning two:

  • When the church is not on a mission as a reconciling community, proclaiming the good news and living in the dynamics of being good news to others;
  • When church-life becomes a closed system, focused on itself, such as the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. read more…