Die gemeente as interpreterende gemeenskap in die preekmaakproses

Van der Westhuyzen, Albertus (2008-03)

Thesis (DTh (Practical Theology and Missiology))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


In the Reformed tradition the autonomy of the local congregation - as the concrete community of people who interpret the Gospel with their words and deeds - as well as the maturity of the ordinary believers, rest precisely in the fact of their knowledge of and in their being formed by, as well as having been brought up by the Gospel, and that they not stay dependent on the clerical office for ever. It was exactly against any form of sacerdotalism that the Reformation aimed their protest, because they saw that that would estrange ordinary believers from their God-given task to take up their office as believers in God’s interpretative community in the world. It is therefore regrettable in the Dutch Reformed Church19 to have to admit that - after so many centuries - the official church has for the greater part still failed its members in this regard, and are still not trusting them enough and engaging them fully as theologians in their own right into the congregation’s discerning process in general, and the sermon making process in particular. It is our belief that the stagnation of the congregation as the primary hermeneutic of the Gospel20 arises to a great extent from the church's inherited style of pastorship as well as it's process of sermonmaking, being solely the responsibility of the all-knowing and all-doing pastor. The pastor centered homiletical situation exclusively holds the dominee responsible for inter alia the whole sermon making process, the exegesis of the Biblical text, the understanding of the message of the Scriptures, to even discerning the will of God for the congregation! This leads the ordinary church members to sit passively and eventually loose their confidence to personally engage with the Scriptures as a whole. Their participation as theologians in any conversation usually ends up in “the sharing of ignorance by well-intentioned but ill-informed people”21. There is still today, to a great extent, a total lack of handling skills of, as well as a wisdom perspective on the Bible as a whole, although many would be most competent in reciting a number of impressive Bible verses. While biblical scholars have moved into a postmodern and post-structuralistic phase, we find that many ordinary members are still stuck in a pre-modern phase, which makes teaching with regard to their equipment as interpretative community extremely difficult. ...

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