BEVRYDENDE WAARHEID. Soteriologie as sleutel tot die verstaan van WD Jonker

Basson, F. D. J. (2015-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study attempts to show that soteriology is the key to unlock the theology of Willie Jonker. Through creative reordering, respectful representation and questioning interpretation of his thought it gradually becomes evident that soteriology according to him should be understood as both biblical and reformed. In chapter one of the study, the origin of the author's own interest in the question of the key to Jonker’s influential thought is explained, while definite markers, suggesting possible treatments of this topic, are indicated, throughout Jonker's life as well as in his writings and the ways in which he understood his life's calling. The critical question is therefore how these markers should be related to one another. From a hermeneutical reading of his writings and speeches, it becomes clear that soteriology is a legitimate key to understand his theology. Chapter two aims to explain one of the key pillars on which his theological insights rest. It also presents the doorway to his understanding of the gospel. It was namely Jonker's outspoken intention to do theology according to Scripture, to speak “as Scripture speaks.” Scripture was not merely a document to him, instead it was a Word intended to call human beings to faith in Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Spirit, human beings are called to trust and obedience, to accept Scripture as the authoritative witness to Jesus Christ. Jonker also incorporated this insight in respect to social ethics. The pivotal point of Jonker's theology is discussed in chapter three of the study. Jonker namely understands theology in the light of Christ. Christ is for him the Mediator. This enables him to echo Scripture more clearly and to emphasise that the Saviour reconciles those, chosen in Christ, with the Father. The covenant becomes the space in which this election in Christ is realized and in and through the sacraments this faith is strengthened. Chapter four of the study indicates why Jonker believes the Spirit to be the Spirit of Christ. In this way, the Scripture may best be honoured and the Reformed perspective on the soteriological work of the Spirit may best be expressed. In and through Christ, the justification and sanctification by the Spirit is mediated to believers so that in faith the assurance of salvation can be received as gift of the Spirit. Jonker’s views of both the experience and the expression of this salvation can therefore be discussed under the term “spirituality”. The diverse manners in which Reformed, Anabaptist and Pentecostal traditions view the experience of salvation are therefore also investigated in this section. Salvation in Christ can however easily be misunderstood as individual salvation only. Chapter five therefore demonstrates that Jonker does not follow this path. He holds a "wider view" on redemption in order to emphasize the full scope of the work of the Spirit according to Scripture, for the interests of total salvation including the fullness of human life. In order to provide concrete illustration of his convictions in this regard, his perspectives on the law, politics and culture are investigated. Chapter six deals with the church. The church was to Jonker a soteriological reality in the heart of the gospel. For him, the church was founded on God’s free grace of election and God’s saving and renewing involvement with the world. The church results from the Missio Dei. The Church of Jesus Christ is accordingly one and an absolute necessity. The church is ruled by Christ. Even church discipline is a sign thereof. The church must faithfully, according to Scripture, give form to her calling. The story of Jonker's position on the Belhar Confession as well as his own confession at the Rustenburg summit together demonstrate his specific views on the church. Soteriology is thus the golden thread that runs through the theology of Jonker. In chapter seven, attention is given to why he often speaks of “liberating truth.” For him, this truth was focused on salvation. It frees and from this freedom flows joy. He finds this liberating truth expressed in the church’s confessions. He warns on the one hand against political misuse of this message of freedom, yet on the other hand encourages that all of life should be taken seriously in the light of this truth. This liberating truth of the gospel is an “alien liberation,” according to him. Jesus Christ, the alien Liberator embodies this truth and calls human beings to the obedient acceptance of this good news.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie poog om aan te toon dat soteriologie die sleutel is waarmee die teologie van Willie Jonker ontsluit kan word. Uit die kreatiewe ordening, respekvolle weergawe en vraende interpretasie van sy denke word dit algaande duidelik hoedanig soteriologie volgens hom verstaan moet word as tegelyk bybels en gereformeerd. In hoofstuk een van die studie word die oorsprong van die skrywer se eie belangstelling in die vraag na die sleutel tot Jonker se invloedryke denke uitgespel, asook aangetoon dat daar definitiewe leidrade is vir die behandeling van dié onderwerp vanuit Jonker se lewe, geskrifte en die sake wat hy as lewensroeping verstaan het. Die kritiese vraag is hoe dié leidrade met mekaar verbind behoort te word. Uit ‘n hermeneutiese lees van Jonker se publikasies en toesprake is dit duidelik dat soteriologie ‘n geldige sleutel tot die verstaan van sy teologie is. Hoofstuk twee word gebruik om een van die sleutelpilare waarop sy teologiese insigte rus, uiteen te sit. Dit bied terselfdertyd die toegang tot sy verstaan van die evangelie. Dit was naamlik Jonker se strewe om teologie te beoefen volgens die Skrifte, “soos die Skrif te praat.” Die Skrif was vir hom nie bloot ‘n dokument nie, maar was afgestem om verkondig te word, ten einde mense tot geloof te roep in Jesus Christus. Deur die werking van die Gees word mense gelei tot vertroue en gehoorsaamheid, om die Skrif as gesagvolle getuienis aangaande Christus te aanvaar. Dié insig het hy ook ten opsigte van die sosiale etiek benut. Die skarnierpunt van Jonker se teologie word in hoofstuk drie van die studie behandel. Jonker verstaan die teologie naamlik vanuit Christus. Christus is vir hom die Middelaar. Daarmee kan hy die Skrif soveel duideliker naspreek en beklemtoon dat die Verlosser dié wat in Christus uitverkies is met die Vader versoen. Die verbond is dan die ruimte waarbinne die verkiesing in Christus realiseer en in en deur die sakramente word hierdie geloof versterk. Hoofstuk vier van die studie verduidelik waarom Jonker oordeel dat die Gees die Gees van Christus is. Só kan die Skrif volgens hom die beste gehonoreer word en die Gereformeerde perspektief op die soteriologiese werk van die Gees die duidelikste geartikuleer word. In en deur Christus word die regverdiging en heiliging deur die Gees aan gelowiges bemiddel sodat in die geloof heilsekerheid ontvang kan word as gawe van die Gees. Jonker se sieninge van sowel die belewenis as die uitdrukking van die heil kan gevolglik onder die term spiritualiteit behandel word. Die uiteenlopende wyses waarop die Gereformeerde, Doperse en Pinkster tradisies die ervaring van verlossing verwoord word ook in dié afdeling nagespeur. Die heil in Christus kan egter maklik heilsindividualisties misverstaan word. In hoofstuk vyf word gevolglik aangetoon dat Jonker nie dié weg gaan nie. Hy huldig ‘n “wyer blik” op verlossing om sodoende die volle reikwydte van die werk van die Gees volgens die Skrif te kan beklemtoon vir die belang van die totale heil vir die volle lewe van die mens. Om konkreet gestalte te gee aan sy oortuiging in dié verband, word sy perspektief op die wet, die politiek en kultuur nagegaan. Hoofstuk ses fokus op sy verstaan van die kerk. Die kerk was vir Jonker ‘n soteriologiese grootheid, in die hart van die evangelie. Vir hom het die kerk sy ontstaan te danke aan die verkiesende liefde van God en aan Gods herskeppende heilsbemoeienis met die wêreld. Die kerk vloei voort uit die Missio Dei. Die kerk van Jesus Christus is gevolglik één en is vir hom ‘n absolute noodsaaklikheid. Dié kerk word deur Christus regeer. Selfs die kerklike tug is daarvan teken, want die kerk moet suiwer volgens die Skrif gestalte gee aan haar roeping. Die verhaal van Jonker se standpunt oor die Belhar-belydenis asook sy eie belydenis by die Rustenburg-beraad, gee blyke van sy spesifieke nadenke oor die kerk. Die soteriologie is die goue draad wat deur die teologie van Jonker loop. In hoofstuk sewe word aandag gegee aan waarom dit vir hom die bevrydende waarheid is. Dié waarheid was vir hom afgestem op die mens se heil. Dit bevry en van daaruit vloei vreugde. Hierdie bevrydende waarheid vind hy verwoord in die belydenisskrifte. Hy waarsku enersyds teen ‘n eensydige verpolitisering van dié waarheid, maar andersyds moedig hy aan dat die hele lewe ernstig geneem moet word in die lig van dié waarheid. Die bevrydende waarheid is vir hom tegelyk ook ‘n vreemde bevryding. Jesus Christus, die vreemde Bevryder, vergestalt dié waarheid en roep mense op tot die gehoorsame aanvaarding van dié goeie nuus.

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