Masters Degrees (Missiology)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    The common critical success factors determining the mission impact of the local church : an analytical study
    (University of the Free State, 2001-11) Hancke, Frans Johannes Van Heerden; Verster, P.
    English: From research referred to in this study it is clear that a growing missions awareness and involvement is developing across the globe. This statement is supported by the recent publication of growth figures in the Christendom. In apparent contrast, church .leaders and Missiologists indicate that a vast number of local churches are not involved in the proclamation of the Gospel in the world. This situation gives birth to the research problem which is addressed by this study: "What are the common critical success factors enabling churches, involved in mission, to mobilise people for the Kingdom of God?" The goals of the study therefore are: o to analyse and identify common critical success factors lil congregations who are effectively involved in mission; o to develop a conceptual model of such factors for the church-on-mission; and, o to identify specific areas for further research, as a follow-up on this exploratory research. The research approach can therefore be described as follows: 1. The founding of the Church's missionary task. Is it Scripturally sound to describe mission as the essential calling of the local church? Can we accept that mission is not just a New Testament phenomenon but that it finds its roots in the whole Scripture? Does the whole Scripture support God's involvement with humankind, or do we find uniquely new attributes of God in the New Testament? Is God exclusively concerned with Israel in the Old Testament? The study accentuates that God's plan of redemption is already made known early during Old Testament times. God calls Abraham in Genesis 12:3 and consistently promises His blessing in order for Abraham to be a blessing unto the riations - through Abraham all the families on the earth were to be blessed. It is indicated that the Great Commission is not a surprising, isolated New Testament phenomenon, but that God is truly the God of the Nations! The whole Scripture testifies about His involvement with His creation. 2. The development of a biblical paradigm for the church-on-mission. With the mission mandate of the local church firmly based on Scripture this study proceeds to develop a biblical paradigm for the church. Various perspectives are reviewed in this process. Charles van Engen's book, God's missionary people - Rethinking the purpose of the local church, is used as essential reference in developing a biblical paradigm for the church-on-mission. A series of other sources are utilised to evaluate Van Engen's views. 3. Empirical research determine the critical success factors in the local church. Five churches were selected and are reviewed in the study. Through qualitative research, supported by quantitative data, the critical factors in these churches are isolated and described. The study concludes by evaluating the empirical research against the created biblical paradigm. Through this evaluation ten critical success factors are integrated in a model supported by the biblical perspective of the missional church. This research re-affirms the essential commission of the Church. It integrates the biblical being and essence of the local church with those factors detectable in churches impacting creation. Eventually, this study should contribute towards the whole Church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The contextualization of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Christian churches in Maseru, Lesotho
    (University of the Free State, 2004-11) Tabi, Lefa Issac; Verster, Pieter
    English: The main issue in this dissertation is to establish what the different ways of contextualization among Christian churches in Maseru, Lesotho are. To reach this objective, church leaders from various churches were interviewed, with the aim of establishing their different approaches to contextualization. Their approaches to the main concepts of Church service were evaluated namely kerugma and leiturgia, diakonia, koinonia and marturia. Persons from the following churches were interviewed: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Maseru, Lesotho Evangelical Church, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in Maseru, St. John Apostolic Faith Mission Church and the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa. Views on contextualization of three main theologians were then also evaluated namely, Turaki, Sanneh and Bediako. After this evaluation the churches' position were reassessed. In the final instance the way forward for the churches in Maseru is discussed.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A study of Paul as a biblical model of contextualization through a hermeneutical approach
    (University of the Free State, 2009-12) Ji, Ho-Young; Verster, Pieter
    English: 1. The aim of this study The aim of this thesis is to indicate how Paul preached the gospel of Christ in the contexts of various mission fields through a hermeneutic approach to the Acts and Paul's epistles. To study Paul as a biblical model of contextual mission is invaluable. 2. The background of Paul as a model of contextualization Paul's Hebraic, Hellenistic and Roman backgrounds and the theological background relate to his missions. God orchestrated several factors in Paul's background that enabled him to become one of the most significant evangelists in the history of the church. Paul's Jewish- Roman background and cosmopolitan outlook fitted him for a unique ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. Paul was the ideal person to bridge the cultural and religious chasm. 3. The contextualization of Paul regarding ritual By its decree, the Council at Jerusalem, setting the standards for Gentile participation in the Christian community, manifestly upheld God's demand for truth and for love of the brotherhood. Faith in Christ could not and must not be made dependent on the observance of certain rituals and traditions. If inherited traditions hindered the liberty of Christ and the worship of God, they should be abandoned. This was Paul's consistent belief on contextual evangelization with regard to the ritual issue. 4. Contextualization of Paul's message As an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul struggled to find a relevant way to translate the supracultural gospel of Jesus Christ in the multiple cultural contexts. He proclaimed that Christ was good news for all people. The strategies employed by the evangelist were borrowed from the secular gentile realm because he preached to secularists. Paul dealt with the internal issues aiming to establish the church as a community of dynamic life. In the pluralistic religiosity of their cultures, Paul diagnosed the situation in theological terms, and reviewed the church's issues in light of the gospel. 6. Final statement Above all, on the basis of the revelation of Christ, he had given the Gospel, for both the Jew and Greek its fundamental character. He had built the Church of Christ Jesus totally on the basis of this Gospel. With regard to the Gentile mission, all his missionary acts were clearly based on the word of God. The unchanging centre of Paul's work was total preoccupation with Jesus Christ. Paul adapted to the style and needs of his day as evangelists must in every historical period and cultural context. He is a model of contextual mission to modem evangelists regarding cross-cultural communication in a pluralistic.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The witness of the church on HIV/AIDS in the Motheo District
    (University of the Free State, 2006-06) Phathela, Mzwandile Petrus; Verster, P.
    English: The complex and fatal illness, HIV/AIDS challenges the church and the community. The illness has a high occurrence in the Motheo District. The worldwide tendency of rising infections is also present here. In the research, the views of specific persons in the community towards the illness and the conclusions they reached on how to empower people to overcome and prevent the illness, were determined. The views of health workers, pastors, members of churches and traditional healers were determined. Suggestions on how people can be involved with the affected persons were also put forward. It is clear that those people suffering from the illness are not ostracised but that there is the desire to help them to live with the illness and to fight against it. Responsible sexual behaviour is strongly emphasized. The monogamous marriage, in which people are faithful toward one another, is the best guarantee against contracting the illness. Emphasis on Christian marriage is the best defence against the pandemic. Lastly, the church and community have a responsibility to become involved in the fight against the pandemic. The church cannot avoid her responsibility but must provide help and advice. The community must help via groups to give help and guidance.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A Seventh-day Adventist approach to Islam
    (University of the Free State, 2004-10) Coleman, Marc; Verster, P.
    From its inception the Seventh-day Adventist church has espoused the belief that as a distinct organization it has a unique biblical message for a world on the verge of apocalyptic events. Its official doctrine teaches that Seventh-day Adventist self-identity, in a church composed of people from “every nation, kindred, tongue, tribe, and people”, is based not on the cultural uniqueness or the ethno-theology of indigenous religious movements, but upon broad biblical truths and principles applicable to all people everywhere. This emphasis upon a universal message has had such great appeal around the world, that according to its own official documents it is one of the fastest growing Christian denominations and is represented in over 207 countries. However, this great missionary success in the conversion of individuals from various backgrounds, religions and people groups has not been translated into proportionate success in winning Muslims to the gospel. As in the mission efforts of other churches, the phenomenon of strong resistance of Islamic peoples to the gospel message and low conversion rates has led to greater discussion among Seventh-day Adventist missiologists of the benefits of applied contextualization theory. There is an ongoing discussion by Seventh-day Adventists concerning the creation of indigenous churches/worship groups among resistant Muslim peoples in an attempt to lower the cultural barrier that must be crossed for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. There is however a particular theological dilemma that SDA’s face in attempting to create fully contextualized churches of Muslim background believers because by definition fully contextualized ethnic or socio-ethnic religious bodies develop exclusive, ethnic or cultural theology. The very real challenge is that the goal of creating culturally homogeneous “Adventist” worship groups among Muslims that in many respects resemble Muslim culture, belief and worship style, runs counter to the inclusive, universal Adventist theology and self image. Given these dilemmas, in missionary efforts for the conversion of Muslim peoples to Christianity, an approach based on a thematic emphasis of Bible doctrine as believed and understood by the Seventh-day Adventist church and as outlined in its official doctrinal statements provides the ideal and superior alternative to missionary efforts based on contextualization theory by avoiding the theological inconsistencies for Seventh-day Adventists, the ambiguities and the predisposition to syncretism inherent in contextualization. Research Scope and Methodology This thesis used a descriptive–evaluative approach. The research relied for detailed descriptions of SDA doctrine and policy on its own official publications in book form, and electronic document format available on the church’s official web site. Equally broad descriptions of modern contextualization theory as it relates to missionary efforts among Muslims was provided with the aid of books on the subject, books in CD ROM format, online journals and pamphlets and brochures. Descriptions of Muslims belief and doctrine were drawn from a variety of original sources such as the Koran, hadith material, Muslim commentaries and other original sources in both French and English. In its evaluative aspect the thesis gave special significance to the SDA church’s official policy of the rejection of the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation upon which much of the church growth and contextualization movements are based. In the evaluation phase this document sought to answer several research questions: How does SDA theology conflict with attempts to contextualize the gospel among Muslims? What ambiguities exist in such efforts that make this an approach that it is not ideal? What alternatives are there to contextualized ministry to Muslims? The Seventh - day Adventist church like many other Christian denominations is grappling with the very real problem of how to win Muslims in larger numbers to Christ. As in many other churches, one vehicle being explored as a possible key to achieving the goal of seeing Muslim multitudes come to Christ is a contextualized approach that incorporates Muslim cultural and religious forms and seeks to blend these beliefs and practices with Christian worship and doctrine. It is a goal of the research outlined in this thesis to study out, elucidate, and evaluate some of the dangers and problems of this approach especially as it relates to SDA doctrine and to propose an approach that is less problematic and has great potential for success. It is vital that in such ventures as missions where syncretism is a potential hazard, that these dangers be clearly elucidated and that alternative measures be explored. As contextualization among Muslims is still a relatively new phenomenon in SDA circles, it is important that clear guidelines be established for all such ventures and where there have been errors leading to syncretism that these mistakes be corrected. As another voice in the debate and discussion surrounding how to approach Muslim people with the gospel, this paper has for another goal to lend a constructive voice toward developing an Adventist approach to Islam that is true to the Bible and yet sensitive to the special issues surrounding Muslim evangelism.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Conceptualising the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ in the Africa Pentecostal Independent Churches: a Bethesda Apostolic Faith Mission Church case study
    (University of the Free State, 2013-12) Tsiane, Modisatoli Motseokae Petrus; Verster, Pieter
    Abstract not available.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Contextualization and the Ovahimba Christian youth
    (University of the Free State, 2006-01) Petersen, Gideon Phillip; Verster, Pieter
    As a missionary to the Ovahimba, in north Kunene Region (Namibia), this researcher has discovered that although the Christian Church has had a presence for five decades it has not been able to establish roots in the Ovahimba community. In these five decades of ministry the Christian mission concentrated on teaching the children and/or youth about the gospel. This implied uprooting the children from their cultural moorings and introducing new and different moorings. Yet when family and friends challenged their Christian allegiance they returned to their traditional life experience. Jesus became an appendage to their ancestor-mediators. Jesus was just another helper. The underlying worldview of the person remained the same. The premise of this study suggests that mission belongs to God (Missio Dei). It starts with God and it ends with Him. He desires to have humanity in His presence. Based upon this premise it becomes imperative that the Christian community find a way to share the Biblical message so as to draw the Ovahimba into that mindset. To achieve this the thesis recommends the principle of critical contextualization that will enable the Bible to remain the focal point of a localized Christian community. However, such localization would need to remain within the local community yet be part of the universal Church. This is not a dilemma but represents the oneness of the body of Christ. It is not a unity in diversity but unity despite diversity. This study therefore proposes that contextualization is vital to planting a Christian Church within this community. To achieve a deep-rooted transformation the study suggests a model of understanding culture. This model is then recommended to the Christian community to help identify the Ovahimba worldview so effective transformation can take place.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The self-identity of the eschatological church: the Pauline theology of Albert Schweitzer and successors in the resurfacing of a missional ecclesiology
    (University of the Free State, 2010-05) Banfield, Colin; Verster, P.
    The Pauline Theology of Albert Schweitzer and the developments in this field of study a century on from him forms the core of this current Masters dissertation. The subject of the investigation is the extent to which Schweitzer was a catalyst in steering the conversation toward a self-identity of the Church which can be described as a participation with Christ in His mission. The motivation for this investigation is the growing interest and development in what has become known globally as, ‘Missional Ecclesiology’, with its claim to be a more faithful understanding of Paul and a true description of the nature and identity of the earliest Church. The dissertation concerns itself mainly with the work written in the early part of the 20th century by Albert Schweitzer called, The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle. The present work attempts to highlight and briefly describe Schweitzer’s Pauline theology on key themes such as eschatology, Christ-mysticism, the law, justification, and more. It then takes a fair selection of New Testament scholars who have been more influential than most in this field and demonstrate how and where they have contributed to the main thesis – that of the selfunderstanding of the Christian, the Church and her mission. These include such scholars as: Rudolf Bultmann; CH Dodd; Oscar Cullman; WD Davies; EP Sanders; Lesslie Newbigin; NT Wright, and others. The investigation is set within the changing context from a Christendom to a post-Christendom environment in Europe with South Africa following close on the heals of these changes. We are introduced to the statistical data in South Africa with its present situation of change, focussing particularly on the Church of England in South Africa as the Author’s personal context at the time of writing. After the core work on Schweitzer and his successors is completed with sufficient evidence of Schweitzer’s influence especially in eschatology, the dissertation analyses the post-Christian environment of England and Scotland. It quite deliberately focuses on the theological responses of the two large National Churches of these countries - the Church of England and the Church of Scotland - and not on the smaller missional initiatives from newer, independent church groups in order to observe the sense of urgency for change despite the long and historical complexity of these organizations. The dissertation concludes with an attempt to determine any detectable similarities between the theological response of these national churches in a post-Christian environment and the Pauline conversation of Schweitzer and his successors over the preceding century. The conclusion shows an overall eschatological orientation in both as well as a similar emphases on a corporate participation in the mission of God in Christ that determines the shape and life of the Church as a foretaste of the Kingdom.