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Conspectus

Volume 24

September 2017

Falconer, Blessed are the Consumerists

Author: Robert Falconer
Church architecture is commonly a tactile expression of theology, revealing to us who we are, what we believe and how we practise Christianity. While the content of the Gospel message is significantly more important than church archi- tecture, we nevertheless ought to work towards an archi- tecture that creatively and meaningfully expresses Biblical Christianity, its faith, theology and praxis. In this paper I argue that most contemporary mega church architecture is unfortunately an expression of consumer-capitalist ideology, and fails to contrast itself as ‘other’, by aligning itself with secular architectural typologies. These generally govern the form, space and aesthetics of the contemporary mega church. It is argued that contrary to good architectural design theory, the mega church building all too often is a form that does not follow function, but is rather a manifestation of consumerism and capitalism.

500 Year Anniversary of the Reformation: SATS Webinar Presentations

Author: Johannes Malherbe
Today–31 October 2017–it is exactly 500 years since Martin Luther’s document with 95 theses was published in Wittenberg in Germany. It was an invitation to an academic disputation focusing on the selling of indulgences in the Catholic Church which was the dominant religious and political power in Europe at the time. The strong reaction from Catholic authorities indicates that this was experienced as a direct challenge to the Church and specifically also to the Pope. After a series of public disputations in which Luther refused to recant, he was excommunicated from the Church in 2021. By that time Luther was recognised as the leader of the Reformation movement in Germany. Though the movement had started even before his birth, and eventually spread to many other parts of Europe, this specific event of 31 October 1517 is usually seen as the spark of the Reformation that radically affected church and society in Europe and ultimately in most parts of the world. At the heart of this movement was a call back to the Bible and to salvation through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Thursday 21 September SATS hosted an online seminar entitled Reformation 500—SATS reflections. Six SATS academic presented papers dealing with aspects of the Reformation. These presentations appear as academic articles in the present edition of Conspectus.

Asumang, Bearing Witness Nicodemusly

Author: Annang Asumang
Johannine scholars routinely argue that the fourth evangelist regarded the secret behaviour of crypto-disciples as cowardly and contemptible. Some further propose that their shaming through the narrative was part of the evangelist’s pastoral strategy for ‘outing’ crypto-believers within the synagogues of his locality. While the broad outline of this assessment may be correct, a more nuanced picture emerges when particular instances of the phenomenon are examined in the light of the gospel’s Christology, for in John’s gospel, Jesus is some- times also depicted as operating in secrecy and behaving in a clandestine manner. Scholars frequently interpret this Christo- logical feature using theological categories, but there is copious evidence indicating that Jesus’ covert actions were grounded in his socio-historical and cultural setting. In that case, this article postulates that John does not always censure a disciple’s secret behaviour, and that each instance should therefore be evaluated with regard to its christomorphicity.

Asumang, Was Martin Luther a Charismatic Christian Reformation Presentation

Author: Annang Asumang
The rapid growth and near dominance of the Charismatic movement world-wide has inevitably raised the question as to its organic relationship with the Protestant Reformation. Answering this question is important not only for assessing Martin Luther's five-hundred-years-old legacy, but even more so for defining the nature, and predicting the future direction, of the movement. After critically evaluating two common approaches that are adopted for answering the question, namely, the historical and theological approaches, this article argues for and defends an exegetical methodology which enables Luther's expositions of Bible passages that are foundational to the Charismatic movement to more precisely direct such an investigation. As a validating test-case, it further engages Luther's expositions of Romans 12:3–8 to establish the extent of continuity, if any, with the Charismatic renewal.

Domeris, The Dignity Code of Jesus and the Reformation Reformation Presentation

Author: Bill Domeris
The Reformers, through their renewed and inspired reading of Scripture, rediscovered and applied, to their time, the teaching and practice of Jesus, including Jesus’s own code of dignity. Not that they declared that they recognised such a code or even gave it a name—rather it was a case of what Thomas à Kempis called ‘the imitation of Christ’ (1418–1427)—doing what Jesus did.

Falconer, Luther’s Theology of Atonement and its Development in Recent Theology on the Cross of Christ (Reformation Presentation)

Author: Robert Falconer
This paper aims to demonstrate the relationship between Luther’s atonement theology and the work of recent theologians who have in one way or another fostered and development his theology on the cross of Christ. I argue that Luther’s theology has shaped much of recent atonement theology. His theology was grounded in the earlier theological traditions as well as in scripture, and yet it was informed by specific spiritual, historical, theological and sacramental contexts. Some theologians have identified the Christus Victor motif as Luther’s theology of atonement, without consideration for the other themes. Others, on the other hand, have focused on satisfactio 2 or/and penal 3

Joubert and Maartens, The Use of the Bible as a Source of Divine Guidance on Matters which it does not Directly Address

Author: Callie Joubert, Nick Maartens
Many Christians believe that the whole Bible is the inspired Word of God. In it, they believe, they can find God's authoritative will for their lives and that it can be used as a source of divine guidance concerning matters which are not directly addressed in it. This belief has led to a practice that must be questioned: the decontextualising of scripture in order to recontextualise it to say something it was not originally meant to say. The recontextualised meaning is then taken as a personal message from God and used to legitimise beliefs, decisions and actions. The most unfortunate result is that this practice has led to the assumption that such guidance is not to be questioned, since it is ‘from the Lord’.

Lioy, A Literary Descriptive Analysis of Psalms 148 and 104 (Reformation Presentation)

Author: Dan Lioy
This journal article is the first in a two-part series that adopts as its rationale the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The current essay undertakes a literary and descriptive analysis of Psalm 148, using as its incentive the first two of five well-known solas arising from the 95 theses Martin Luther (1483–1546) published in Wittenburg, Germany, in 1517. The first in the pentad emphasizes that glory alone belongs to God (in Latin, soli Deo gloria). The second in the pentad draws attention to Scripture as the fountainhead of divine revelation (in Latin, sola Scriptura). When the structure and content of Psalm 148 are examined (i.e. sola Scriptura), attentive readers discern that the major theme is giving heartfelt praise to God (i.e. soli Deo gloria).

Mzayifani and Asumang, Temple Christology in the Gospel According to John (A Survey 1996 to 2016)

Author: Mzayifani H Mzebetshana, Annang Asumang
There have been several different proposals advocated in the last couple of decades about the role of temple Christology in John’s gospel. These proposals have moved Johannine scholarship significantly forward, based on the renewed appreciation of the Jewishness of the Gospel of John which has focused attention on the temple. The sheer volume of the contributions, however, demands that from time to time a concerted effort at surveying and summarising the new insights is in order. This article aims to summarise and analyse the different proposals suggested in the last twenty years (1996-2016). The contributions are categorised into four, namely, historical, Christological, soteriological and escha- tological perspectives. It is evident from this survey that Jesus in the Gospel of John is a promised true temple replacing the Jerusalem temple including its cultic activities.

Penner, The Left Wing of the Reformation (Reformation Presentation)

Author: Peter Penner
The time of the Reformation has determined today’s relationship between state and church. This is true, even though the society has gone through several stages of development and an individual’s relation in a democratic context has also changed toward both, the state and the church. The article raises the question of on how especially early Anabaptists have positioned themselves in their relation to the state, calling for a clear separation between church and state. For centuries, this has resulted in persecutions of this group. Today, most of their positions on the separation of church and state are lived reality. In praxis and even in today’s democratic contexts, this is difficult, as the case from the warzone of south-east Ukraine shows.

Quayesi Amakye, Maame You Are a Witch

Author: Joseph Quayesi-Amakye
This paper is an investigation into the phenomenon of witchcraft among Ghanaians. It approaches it from the perspective of Pentecostal prophetism. It argues that like in primal Akan belief Ghanaian Pentecostals attribute most evil to the activities of witchcraft. Considered as evil forces, witches are believed to possess destructive powers and are elusive in their operations to the ordinary person. Therefore, their activities cannot be ignored if people want to enjoy life to the fullest. This means it is important that believers engage in spiritual activities that help to break their powers over their human victims. This is where deliverance, an ambiguous spiritual activity, comes in.

Woods, Review of Dauermann-Converging Destinies

Author: David B. Woods
Anyone familiar with the development of modern Messianic Judaism will be acquainted with the name of Stuart Dauermann. Founder of the Hashivenu think tank and early pioneer of Messianic Jewish worship, Dauermann is among small group of leaders who charted an unknown landscape—the theology and praxis of Jews who believe Jesus (or Yeshua, his Hebrew name, as Dauermann naturally calls him). Dauermann holds a PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary and has authored several books from a Messianic Jewish perspective.2