The future of the church : a forgotten article of Oepke Noordmans

Van de Beek, Abraham (2016)

CITATION: Van de Beek, A. 2016. The future of the church : a forgotten article of Oepke Noordmans. Stellenbosch Theological Journal, 2(2):539–557, doi:10.17570/stj.2016.v2n2.a24.

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An 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).

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