An oral hermeneutics within the lay preaching context of the Nkhoma Synod of the church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) : a critical evaluation

Chifungo, Davidson Kamayaya (2013-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation aims at recording, evaluating and analysing sermons of the lay preachers in the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Nkhoma Synod in Central Malawi. Basically, these preachers have an oral culture. This analysis reveals the inherent ability of the oral lay preachers to communicate effectively using their indigenous knowledge system and modes of communication which are characteristic of an oral culture. Secondly, the analysis also reveals some lack in these sermons in terms of biblical understanding. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation is to develop a homiletical theory and praxis which will regard the biblical text and the people’s context - Word and world – as serious. Finally, the research proves that, if the strategy of implementing a training process in the congregations for all lay preachers, in order to empower them to use both their traditional modes of communication and an understanding of the Bible, could be realised, the spirituality of the people would improve and Christianity would have a greater impact in the society. To achieve the foregoing, we use Osmer’s practical theological interpretation methodology and the Heidelberg method of sermon analysis. Chapter two provides a general overview and description of the historical context, and cultural worldview of the people. The contextual challenges that affect the Church and the phenomenon of oral lay preacher are also described. In Chapter three, we analyse lay preachers’ sermons using the Heidelberg method of sermon analysis which has a strong Reformed foundation. The rhetorical strategy of using stories, retelling, parables, myths, fables and other strategies are exemplified. The critical evaluation of the context and detailed analysis of the sermons are done as we try to answer the question: “What is going on?” Chapter four uses the findings of the analysis and begins to develop the homiletical theory, theology and praxis of the oral lay preaching context. In so doing we explain why the oral culture understands, arranges and communicates indigenous knowledge in preaching. We also ask why the lay preachers preach the way they do and react to this question: “Why is this going on?” In Chapter five we develop an oral hermeneutics within the lay preaching context of the Malawian Church (CCAP); the art of doing theology in context is demonstrated using several examples of sermons. The Process of Reading and Re-reading of Texts as a means of interpretation is suggested. Furthermore, in this section, we respond to the question, “What ought to be going on?” And finally in chapter six, we make recommendations and suggestions for the implementation of lay leadership development using a model of the indigenous knowledge system found in the context. A strategy of training pastors who in turn will train local preachers is exemplified. Finally, we answer the question, “How may we respond?” The researcher believes that through this study many lay leaders will be trained in the CCAP Nkhoma synod and that there will be transformation in people’s lives.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie proefskrif het ten doel die opname, evaluering en ontleding van preke van die lekepredikers in die Kerk van Sentraal-Afrika Presbyterian Nkhoma Sinode in Sentraal Malawi. Hierdie predikers het basies 'n mondelinge kultuur. Hierdie analise toon die inherente vermoë van die lekepredikers om effektief mondelings te kommunikeer met behulp van hul inheemse kennis stelsels en vorme van kommunikasie wat kenmerkend is van 'n mondelinge kultuur. Tweedens, uit die analise blyk ook 'n paar gebrek in die preke in terme van Bybelse begrip. Daarom is die doel van hierdie verhandeling om 'n homiletiese teorie en praktyk te ontwikkel wat die Bybelse teks en die mense se konteks - Woord en die wêreld - as ernstig beskou. Ten slotte bewys die navorsing dat, indien ‘n strategie vir die implementering van 'n opleidingsproses in die gemeentes vir alle lekepredikers verwesenlik kan word, ten einde hulle te bemagtig om beide hul tradisionele vorme van kommunikasie en 'n begrip van die Bybel, te gebruik, die spiritualiteit van die mense sal verbeter en die Christendom 'n groter impak in die samelewing sou kon uitoefen. Om die voorafgaande te bereik, gebruik ons Osmer se metode van praktiese teologiese interpretasie, asook die Heidelberg metode van preek analise. Hoofstuk twee gee 'n algemene oorsig en beskrywing van die historiese konteks, en kulturele wêreldbeskouing van die mense. Die kontekstuele uitdagings wat die kerk in die oë staar, asook die verskynsel van mondelinge lekepredikers word beskryf. In hoofstuk drie analiseer ons lekepredikers se preke deur middel van die Heidelberg metode van preek-analise wat 'n sterk Gereformeerde basis het. Die retoriese strategie van die gebruik van stories, oorvertellings, gelykenisse, mites, fabels en ander strategieë word onder oë geneem. Die kritiese evaluering van die konteks en gedetailleerde ontleding van die preke word gedoen as ons probeer om die vraag te beantwoord: "Wat gaan aan?" Hoofstuk vier gebruik die bevindinge van die analise en begin om die homiletiese teorie, teologie en praktyk van die mondelinge konteks te ontwikkel. Deur dit te doen verduidelik ons waarom die mondelinge kultuur inheemse kennis verstaan, reël en kommunikeer in die prediking. Ons vra ook waarom die lekepredikers verkondig op die manier waarop hulle wel doen en reageer ons op die vraag: "Hoekom is dit aan die gang?" In hoofstuk vyf ontwikkel ons 'n mondelinge hermeneutiek binne die konteks van die Malawiese Kerk (CCAP), asook die kuns van teologie doen in konteks met behulp van verskeie voorbeelde van preke. Die proses van die lees en weer lees van tekste as 'n middel van die interpretasie word voorgestel. Ons reageer dus hier op die vraag: "Wat behoort aan te gaan?" En uiteindelik in hoofstuk ses, maak ons aanbevelings en voorstelle vir die implementering van leierskaps-ontwikkeling met behulp van 'n model van inheemse kennis stelsels, soos gevind in die konteks. 'n Strategie vir die opleiding van predikante wat op hulle beurt plaaslike predikers sal oplei word voorgestel. Ten slotte beantwoord ons dus die vraag: "Hoe kan ons reageer?" Die navorser hoop dat deur middel van hierdie studie baie leiers opgelei sal word in die CCAP Nkhoma Sinode en dat daar transformasie in mense se lewens sal plaasvind.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85597
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