Browsing by Author "Van de Beek, Abraham"
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- Item... But also just : reflections on the severe God of the catechism(University of the Free State, 2014) Van de Beek, AbrahamThe seemingly harsh texts about God's justice and wrath in the Heidelberg Catechism turn out to be the core of the comfort that the catechisms proclaims, if we read the catechism contextually. The same is the case with regard to providence when the catechism claims that also poverty and illness come from God's fatherly hand.
- ItemChrist and creation : early Christian theologians on Christ’s ownership of creation(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2014) Van de Beek, AbrahamConfessing a good creation was not an independent issue for early Christian theologians. They stressed creation because according to their opinion only an independent Creator can be truly God (Athenagoras). The eternal God can deal with temporal things because He is acting by his Word and Spirit (Irenaeus). The core of the doctrine of creation, however, is its Christological focus: if Christ would not be the Creator He would not have come to his own and thus would be taking someone else’s property. That would not be salvation but a crime (Irenaeus). Only after the conflicts on creation had been settled could Christian theology deal with the topic in a more relaxed sphere. That is the case in the catechetical lectures of Cyril of Jerusalem who teaches his pupils to enjoy the beauty of creation in the freedom of Christ. The early Christian approach might be an eye opener for Christians’ dealing with creation nowadays.
- ItemThe future of the church : a forgotten article of Oepke Noordmans(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2016) Van de Beek, AbrahamAn English translation of a recovered article by the Dutch theologian Oepke Noordmans, Kerk en Toekomst (Church and future) is presented. The relevance of this article for the present context, especially in South Africa, is discussed against the background of Noordmans’ theology. Noordmans is not concerned about the future of the church (which in the final analysis is not meant to last forever), but calls for participation in the Kingdom of God. Noordmans’ theology is highly critical of tendencies in churches to escape from hard reality and responsibilities (Noordmans calls this weak ascesis), or to claim easily manageable solutions. He calls for a more critical attitude in accordance with the eschatological call of the Kingdom, and for a closer unity of human beings as fallible people who are united because they share a life at the foot of the cross (strong ascesis).
- ItemHilary of poitiers and theological language(University of the Free State, Faculty of Theology, 2020) Van de Beek, AbrahamHilary of Poitiers deals with the question concerning our knowledge of God. Knowledge of God will never be attained by human efforts. God is only known through Jesus who is God in the human flesh. We learn this not from philosophy, but from the apostle John. The reality of God in Christ precedes our knowledge of God, and this knowledge dominates language. The word "Trinity" refers to this knowledge, but it has no meaning apart from the confession that Christ is homoousios with both the Father and the Spirit. Consequently, Hilary does not attempt to render the Trinity understandable. It is simply another word for homoousios.
- ItemThe importance of early Christian thought for theology today. The church in the world(Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, 2020) Van de Beek, AbrahamEarly Christianity is not only a source of historical interest, it also challenges the systematic theology and Christian ethics of today. Early Christians saw themselves as a community of life with the Eucharist at its centre. Because they participated in eternal life, they were willing to sacrifice their earthly lives in times of persecution and in the care for those who were in mortal danger. As a community of life, they rejected killing any human being, and thus also rejected abortion and military service. They were not an alternative community marked by their diet, dress or emancipation. In such issues they adapted to their environment. They made a difference by their love for those who were in need and by their faithfulness to Christ - though their message was sometimes better than their praxis.
- ItemMission as reconciliation(Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State, 2019-12-02) Van de Beek, AbrahamFor a long time, missiology operated in the paradigm of civilisation and good citizenship. Since the end of the 19th century, inculturation and social justice have replaced this paradigm. The current focus is on self-affirmation. In his work, Pieter Verster pleads for understanding mission as reconciliation, and this not so much as a variation on social justice, but as a fundamental new relation of God to human beings. Christology is the centre of his missiological paradigm. Renewal of humanity is only possible in the perspective of transcendence: God’s coming in Christ and resurrection to eternal life. In this article, it is argued that it will be a great challenge for scholarly missiology and for the churches to accept this new paradigm, which involves a reconsideration of the basic paradigm of Christianity.
- ItemMoses, Elijah, and Jesus : reflections on the basic structures of the Bible(AOSIS Publishing, 2012-09) Van de Beek, AbrahamThis article deals with the end of the lives of Moses and Elijah as the representatives of the Torah and the Prophets. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land, and Elijah left it before he was taken up. These events are interpreted as indicating that the Law is not able to bring the people into the Promised Land and that the Prophets cannot keep them there. The end of Moses’ life is also the end of the Torah. The Prophets end with the call for a new Elijah. The Ketubim, as the human response on God’s acting, do not better. The Hebrew Bible ends with the exile. The New Testament begins where the Prophets end: a new Elijah, in the person of John the Baptist. He works at exactly the place where Israel entered the land after Moses’ death and where Elijah left the land. It is a reprise of the fulfilment of the promise. John points to Jesus, who begins his work at this place, not going on dry feet through the Jordan River, but fulfilling all righteousness when drawn into the water of God’s judgement. Then the way to the land is open to Moses and Elijah in the glory of God on the Mount of Transfiguration, when they speak about the exodus of Jesus on the cross. Salvation is not in the law or in conversion but in being baptised into Christ in his death.
- ItemThe preaching of the Greek church fathers(AOSIS, 2020-11-17) Van de Beek, AbrahamThis article deals with the preaching of the Greek church fathers. Genres, themes and hermeneutics are discussed. It appears that not only the biblical text, but also historical events are considered as messages from God and have to be interpreted in order to understand their meaning. A remarkable paradigm shift occurred in the 4th century when the church became a dominant cultural and political factor. In the early period, the preaching focused on Christ, glorious in his suffering. After the transformation under Constantine, themes of worldview and even submission to the emperor became the subject of preaching. Preaching, which supported existing political powers, replaced the early Christian view of life as strangers on earth. In the last section, the relevance of this for preaching in the 21st century is discussed.
- ItemThe reception of Galatians 2:20 in the Patristic period and in the reformation(University of the Free State, 2014) Van de Beek, AbrahamThis article explores the reception of Galatians 2:20 in the Patristic period, and in the Reformation by Luther and Calvin. As it turns out, the interpretation of the verse does not fit into popular notions of their theological traditions. Authors from traditions as different as the Alexandrians and the Antiochians, or Eastern and Western, do not interpret this verse as expected, when taking into account the theological framework in which later generations placed the communities wherein the former exegetes lived. This is especially striking when comparing Luther and Calvin. The result is an exhortation for further research in reception history. It might well fundamentally challenge frameworks of historical research.
- ItemReligion without ulterior motive(AOSIS Publishing, 2005) Van de Beek, AbrahamThis article deals with the relevance of Christian faith. It is expected of religion to be of relevance to society, to inform politics, to guide people in their personal development, and so forth. The article wants to explore the argument of whether religion should be relevant at all, and what the consequences of denying the relevance of religion would be.
- ItemSuffering in the perspective of God’s governance, eschatology and God’s council(AOSIS OpenJournals, 2014-04) Van de Beek, AbrahamFrom the beginning of Christian theology, theologians have struggled with the question of how suffering in the world is related to God’s providence. A classic response to this question is that, ultimately, God’s governance is beyond human understanding. More recently an eschatological solution has been preferred: God is involved in a historical process and he will finally overcome evil. This article argued that both responses have their own problems. In the first God is a hidden mystery, and in the latter either the outcome of history is uncertain or God is waiting unnecessarily long. On the other hand, both provide consolation to human beings in times of suffering. Which one of the two answers is more helpful, depends on culture and context. Therefore, they are both acceptable responses to the question. At a deeper level, one can argue that both refer to eternity − one in a spatial model (above) and the other in a temporal model (hereafter). Both space and time are metaphors in this context. That is also the case when we speak of ‘before’ with regard to God’s eternal council. Ultimately, from a perspective of eternity, God’s council, God’s governance and God’s final judgment coincide. In Christian theology these concepts can only be understood in the paradigm of God’s revelation in Christ, who is the expression of the mystery of creation − as is especially indicated in the letters to the Ephesians and Colossians.