Original Research

Reformed theology and the identity of the Christian congregation

W. D. Jonker
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 29, No 3 | a1545 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v29i3.1545 | © 1995 W. D. Jonker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 June 1995 | Published: 12 June 1995

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W. D. Jonker,, South Africa

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Abstract

Throughout the ages, the role of theology was understood to be that of serving the church to become what it should be, to become true to its own identity. In the theology of the Reformation, the identity of the congregation was sought in its being created and sustained by the Word of God. Consequently, theology was intended to serve the preaching, teaching and pastoral care of the congregation. However, since the Enlightenment, theology as a university discipline has been deeply influenced by the presuppositions of the modern spirit and has mostly lost its close relationship with the church. Because of its resultant critical approach to the Bible it often destroyed the very fabric of the gospel by which the church should live. It often became an impediment on the way of the congregation to remain true to its spiritual identity. The author contends that the time has now come to see the presuppositions of the Enlightenment for what they are: relative and one-sided, the biased assumptions of a positivistic era which is rapidly drawing to its end. He is of the opinion that theology should not aspire to operate within the limits of the modern world view, but accept the challenge to operate on the basis of the faith of the congregation as interpretative community, and to read the Bible as the Book of the church with the presuppositions of the Christian faith.

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