Original Research

Friendship as a Theological Model: Bonhoeffer, Moltmann and the Trinity

Manitza Kotze, Carike Noeth
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 53, No 1 | a2333 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v53i1.2333 | © 2019 Manitza Kotze, Carike Noeth | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 November 2017 | Published: 28 January 2019

About the author(s)

Manitza Kotze, School of Christian Ministry and Leadership, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa
Carike Noeth, Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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Friendship has been valued since classical times and is also an important category from a theological perspective; Christians are even called ‘friends of God’ (Jn 15:15). For a theological reflection on friendship, we will be drawing upon the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Jürgen Moltmann in this contribution. While numerous differences exist in Bonhoeffer and Moltmann’s theology, both have written about the Christian community extensively. We will examine friendship as the theological environment in which we learn how to relate to others not only privately, but also in the public arena, seeking the common good. Friendship, we argue, should not remain in an enclosed area within the personal relationship where we remain friends with those who are similar to us. Rather, friendship, as a theological model, is the space where we can practice the attributes of friendship to enable us to live this out within the broader society with those with whom we are not necessarily friends, but with all people. Friendship can form the environment for us to be ‘trained’ in the characteristics of theological friendship where we are friends in freedom and without hierarchy, and, in so doing, learn to treat all human beings as equal.


Bonhoeffer; fellowship; friendship; Moltmann; Trinity


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Crossref Citations

1. Friendship in a time of protest? Friedrich Schleiermacher and Russel Botman on the fabric of (civic) friendship
Nadia Marais
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 75  issue: 3  year: 2019  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v75i3.5592