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Verbum et Ecclesia

On-line version ISSN 2074-7705
Print version ISSN 1609-9982


WOMACK, Jonathan M.; DUNCAN, Graham  and  PILLAY, Jerry. The relevance and necessity of contextualising theological education and ministerial formation in South Africa. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2020, vol.41, n.1, pp.1-8. ISSN 2074-7705.

Theology is never performed in a vacuum. One's context impacts on theology and life. Local peculiarities have a huge impact on the needs and expectations of individuals and society at large. Ignoring the local context can have a detrimental impact on the development of ministerial formation. Church history practised in the 21st century can no longer afford to be 'Eurocentric' and cut off from wider socio-economic development. This article analysed some of the key challenges ministerial formation in contemporary South Africa faces. Its primary focus is ministerial formation. Through this focus, the disciplines of history of Christianity, church polity, missiology and systematic theology are implicitly referred to. This article challenged the current discourse on ministerial formation to be aware of contextual dynamics and to avoid oversimplification of the matter. This task was achieved through a comparative methodology through a narrative analysis of aspects of society considered to relate directly to ministerial formation. These phenomena were grouped into those that are 'new' to democratic South Africa and those that have remained since the dawn of democracy. Although current discourses have tended to focus on aspects of change or continuation, this article concluded by highlighting how both change and continuation need to be taken into consideration. This research showed that South Africa presents a dynamic context in which ministerial formation is to take place. Only when the dynamic context of contemporary South Africa is truly taken into consideration can effective development to ministerial formation occur.Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This work, focussing on contemporary South Africa, identifies the necessity of including a contextual awareness in ministerial formation. It involves the disciplines of history of Christianity, church polity, missiology and systematic theology. It challenges the current discourse on its awareness of contextual dynamics and to avoid oversimplification of the matter.

Keywords : theology; contextual; Africanisation; contextualisation; ministerial formation; theological education; change and continuation.

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