Sosialisering as modus van morele vorming in die kerk

Philander, N. C. (2008-03)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


The title of the study is “Socialization as a modus of moral formation in the church.” Specific attention is paid to the work of Johannes van der Ven on moral formation. Appreciation is expressed for Van der Ven’s interdisciplinary approach. He makes wide use of sources from philosophical and theological ethics, sociology, education, etc. Van der Ven does not only concentrate on First World scenarios, but also focuses attention on other areas, such as South Africa. His view of moral formation does not focus exclusively on the moral life of the individual, but also includes community life (primary groups) and the broader pluralistic context. His work, therefore, receives detailed attention. His methodology, theoretical viewpoints and identification of seven modi of moral formation receives attention. Furthermore, the relationship between morality and religion, education and communication is also discussed. This study therefore focuses attention on the following question: “The role of the church in socialising as a way of moral formation.” The structure of the study is as follows: The introductory chapter shows that societies today are characterised by moral problems and that there is an intense need for moral formation. The question and methodology of this study is explored against this background. In chapter 2 entitled: “A Theological rationale for moral formation”, the following aspects are discussed: , a theological rationale for moral formation; the relationship between life view and ethics/morals, the Bible and Christian ethics and a conclusion. In chapter 3: “Van der Ven’s theories for moral formation”, Van der Ven’s approach to moral formation, specifically to socialising as a way of moral formation, is explored. A short sketch of his intellectual biography is followed by his theoretical departure points and his approach to the 7 ways of moral formation. This view of socialising is awarded detailed attention. This description paved the way for the application of Van der Ven’s insights, which enjoys support from behavioural sciences, for the process of socialising in the church. In chapter 4, entitled: “The faith community as space for socialising and moral formation”, it is argument that congregational practices play an integral part in the process of socialising. The following aspects are discussed: the congregation as agents of the faith community, worship and socialising, baptism and socialising, holy community and socialising, role models and socialising, Christian education and socialising. The most important finding of the study is that Van der Ven’s approach helps the congregation to further the case for socialising by way of her practices. Socialising offers a way for the church to uphold her responsibilities to contribute to addressing the moral challenges of South Africa. Moral formation in South Africa and elsewhere in the world is very important. The church offers an indispensable space in which moral formation can take place.

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