The Holy spirit, the church and daily life : a theological search for an integrated pneumatology in the light of Chewa views of the spirit

Siwinda, Julius Chikhutu (2017-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study reviews the need to re-articulate the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Nkhoma Synod by incorporating certain traditional concepts. The research seeks to integrate certain traditional concepts (e.g. belief in spirits) with the biblical view of the Holy Spirit, with the aim of constructing a holistic pneumatology. It is argued that the Spirit is mostly viewed among Chewa people as being active and present in church related matters, and not in ordinary daily activities outside of church life. For this reason, the proposed pneumatology (apart from the conception of the traditional view of the spirits) will be approached from an African perspective, based on the views of John Mbiti and Jürgen Moltmann. Included in this process, are some important traditional concepts, i.e. the rite of birth and the rite of initiation held by Chewa people to establish the central role of spirits. This was then related to the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life as a way of enculturation, i.e. regeneration and sanctification, and how this relates to the doctrine of Holy Spirit. It is envisaged that the outcome of this research will positively contribute to the ongoing debate and articulate a relevant pneumatology in the African context. The following pertinent observations are also made: Firstly, the traditional belief in the spirits still has a significant influence on Chewa Christians. Secondly, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit taught by the CCAP Nkhoma Synod is in need of a fuller expression that is more holistic. Thirdly, for the proposed holistic pneumatology to be relevant to the local context it needs to include various traditional concepts on the integral role of spirits and relate these to the biblical notion of the cosmic spirit. In conclusion, the research established that the mainline traditions, to which the CCAP Nkhoma Synod belongs, should be more open to a holistic pneumatology, yet sensitive to the local context by incorporating certain traditional concepts.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die noodsaaklikheid om die leerstuk oor die Heilige Gees soos wat dit in die Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Nkhoma Synod neerslag gevind het, te herbesoek en te herartikuleer, met inagneming van sekere tradisionale konsepte. Die doel is om ‘n meer holisties en effektiewe bediening aan Chewa Christene te help vestig. Die ondersoek kyk na die redes waarom Chewa Christene skynbaar meer sensitief vir die geeste as vir die Heilige Gees is. Daarom dat hulle eerder raad by die tradisionele helers soek wanneer hulle sekere lewenskrisisse beleef. Die navorsing ondersoek verder die vraag hoe die leerstuk aangaande die Heilige Gees relevant kan wees om die geestelike en liggaamlike beoeftes van die Chewas aan te spreek. Die aanname is dat die tradisionele geloof in die geeste steeds ‘n betekenisvolle invloed op hulle lewens het. Dit kan tot sinkretisme en ‘n ongesonde vrees vir die geeste lei, ondermeer as gevolg van ‘n onvoldoende Bybelse pneumatologie. Die navorser poog in die studie om sekere tradisionele konsepte (sieninge aangaan die geeste) met Bybelse sieninge aangaande die Gees in verband te bring, met die doel om ‘n holistiese pneumatologie daar te stel. Die benadering sluit aan by wat Michael Welker realistiese teologie noem. Die tesis argumenteer verder dat die gebruiklike manier waarop die leer aangaande die Heilige Gees funksioneer reduksionisties van aard is, aangesien die Gees meestal as bloot aktief in kerk-verwante sake gesien word, en nie juis in die gewone en elkedagse lewens van gelowige betrokke is nie. Met hierdie aspek in die oog, fokus die ondersoek op die sieninge van John Mbiti en Jürgen Moltmann. Belangrike tradisionele konsepte, soos geboorte-rituele en inwysingsrituele, word in die proses verreken, en in met die rol van die Gees ten opsigte van inkulturasie in gesprek gebring. Die hoop is dat die uitkoms van hierdie navorising sal bydrae tot die poging om ‘n adekwate pneumatologie daar te stel wat relevant vir die Afrika konteks is. ‘n Aantal waarnemings word in die proses gemaak: Eerstens, die tradisionele gelof in die geeste het steeds ‘n groot impak onder Chewa Christene. Tweedens, die operatiewe pneumatologie in die kerk is reduksionisties en beperkend, aangesien dit neig om op geestelike aspekte te fokus, en in die proses materiële en fisiese behoefte rakend die elkedagse lewe nie genoegsaam verdiskonteer nie. Derdens, vir die voorgestelde pneumatologie om relevant vir die plaaslike konteks te wees moet dit bepaalde tradisionale konsepte integreer en dit met die teologiese gedagte van die kosmiese Gees in verband bring. Die navorsing dui dus in die rigting van die noodsaaklikheid van ‘n meer holistiese pneumatologie wat sensitief is vir die plaaslike sieninge en konteks en insigte vanuit die Bybelse getuienis aangaande die Gees.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102774
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