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Conspectus

Volume 22

October 2016

Asumang, Review of Lioy, Facets of Pauline Discourse

Author: Annang Asumang
Dan Lioy is Senior Research Manager in the Postgraduate School of South African Theological Seminary, and also Professor at the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University, both in South Africa. As an ordained minister in the North American Lutheran Church and faculty member of the Institute of Lutheran Theology, he writes from a Lutheran perspective to contribute to the Publisher’s Studies in Biblical Literature Series. This book is the latest of Prof. Lioy’s prodigious publications that span studies in both Old and New Testaments and the wider fields of theological and theo-scientific disciplines. In his preface, the Series Editor describes the work as part of a series aimed at making ‘available to scholars and institutions, scholarship of high order, and which will make significant contribution to the ongoing biblical discourse’ (p. ix). With its enormous breadth and depth of excellent scholarship, the book does not disappoint in fulfilling this objective.

Asumang, Spiritual Formation at a Distance

Author: Annang Asumang
Due to its enormous advantages, especially within the current context of massive technological advances, distance education has globally become a major component of tertiary higher education. Despite this being eminently true of the theological disciplines, controversies rage as to its efficacy for nurturing spiritual and ministerial formation. Doubters view the enterprise in pernicious terms; their main objection being that bodily absence undermines efficacy of formation at a distance, which in itself also lacks sound biblical and theological foundation. Enthusiasts on the other hand, rebuff these criticisms and question whether it is currently viable to foster the formation of theologically effective ministers without adopting the insights, methods, and tools of distance education.

Curle, The Veneration of Ancestors and Magic in eSwatini

Author: Neville Curle
The roles of God, the ancestors, their mediators (the tangoma), and His Majesty Mswati III in the lives of the people of Swaziland are critiqued from a biblical perspective. It is shown that there are cultural beliefs and practices which are in conflict with biblical teaching, but which have found their way into the broader Church. This leads to a distortion in the preaching of the Gospel: God is portrayed as far removed and favour with God is believed to be accessible only through his interme- diaries (the ancestors), leading to fearful subjugation. These two aspects of the image of God converge in a way that obstructs the central importance of the grace of God as found through faith in Christ Jesus.

Du Toit, Messianic Judaism and the New Testament

Author: Philip du Toit
This article considers whether the New Testament supports Messianic Judaism. As a form of Judaism, Messianic Judaism is found to be anachronistic to ancient Israel of the Old Testament and the Judaeans of the second temple, making it problematic to use the New Testament in support of Messianic Judaism. The contention that the New Testament propagates an ongoing distinction between gentile and Judaean Christ- believers is contested in respect of the Apostolic Decree (Acts 15), the claim that Paul was fully Law observant and Paul’s portrayal of the nature of the identity in Christ in respect of gentile and Judaean believers. It is found that belief in Christ constitutes a new identity for both gentile and Judaean believers that fulfilled and superseded the identities in the old age before the Christ event. The notion of an ongoing Judaean- gentile distinction in the early church is thus incompatible with the way in which Paul portrayed the new identity in Christ.

Falconer, Review of Wolterstorff, The God We Worship

Author: Robert D. Falconer
Nicholas Wolterstorff is an American Philosopher with wide-ranging philosophical and theological interests in aesthetics, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of education, and is the Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale University. Previously he was professor at Calvin College, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the University of Notre Dame. Wolterstorff, together with Alvin Plantinga and William Alston developed and expanded upon a view of religious epistemology that later became known as reformed epistemology. Among the countless articles he has written, his recent book publications include the following: Justice: Rights and Wrongs (2008), Justice in Love (2011), The Mighty and the Almighty: An Essay in Political Theology (2012), and Art Rethought: The Social Practices of Art (2015).

Falconer, The Lion, the Witch, and the Cosmic Drama

Author: Robert D. Falconer
This paper intends to make a unique contribution in our interpretation of witchcraft in Africa by providing a socio-hermeneutic that is dramatic and meaningful. African theologians have sought to understand the ontology of witchcraft and its implications, as well as witchcraft accusations and possible solutions and remedies, which are all very important. This paper, however, offers something quite different, the possibility that witchcraft might have an important part to play in African cosmology, in the African cosmic drama. By employing Kevin Vanhoozer’s work, The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical Linguistic Approach to Christian Doctrine, and superimposing features of this work onto an African context, namely, African realities, we are able to explore issues such as witchcraft in light of an African theo- drama. It is argued in this paper that witchcraft, as abominable as it is, plays an important role in God’s ‘most glorious theatre’ as the antagonist.

Lioy, Psalm 1 and the Beatitudes in Matthew 5

Author: Dan Lioy
This journal article undertakes a comparative analysis of Psalm 1 and the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3–12. One incentive for doing so is to advance the field of scholarship concerning the intertextuality between the Old and New Testaments by examining two seminal passages in the Judeo-Christian canon. A second motivation is that this topic has received only a cursory consideration in the academic literature. The major claim affirmed by the study is that there are discernible connections between these two passages at the linguistic and conceptual levels. In turn, recognising the latter helps to clarify the meaning and significance of Psalm 1 and the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3–12 for ministers of the Gospel.

Watson Transformational Leadership

Author: Bert Watson
In recent years, the concept of church-based leadership training has gained momentum in various parts of the world, including South Africa. The emergence of new leader-intensive ministry models such as the cell church, along with the costs, complexities, and contextual issues associated with theological studies at an established tertiary institution, has motivated many churches to explore alternatives to traditional leadership training methods. Among these is church based leadership training.

Woodbridge, Interpreting Acts-The INCUR Model

Author: Noel Woodbridge
Over the centuries, numerous major theological errors, based on a faulty interpretation of the book of Acts, have crept into the teaching of the church. These errors have had and continue to have a detrimental effect on the church. For this reason, when interpreting the book of Acts, it is important for Bible scholars to pose the following key questions: Should the practices of the early church serve as the norm for our church practices today? Should we derive our key doctrines from the early church history alone? After discussing the nature and purpose of biblical narratives and some general guidelines for interpreting the narrative portions of scripture, the article examines Luke’s purpose for writing the book of Acts. In this article the author proposes the INCUR model for assessing the normative value of narrative passages in the Bible.