When looking at the society of today, we get a picture of a society that has lost hope in their lives. This picture also has an effect on the church. Regarding this phenomenon is the remark of Gerard Dekker that the church has become a fringe phenomenon and that the church has lost contact with the world. The church is in a situation of uncertainty and in a search of identity. The use of symbolism and rituals provides identity and security. When a person is confronted with the meaning of the symbol that is been used, it helps that person to give meaning to its life on to give hope for that person. But for this to happen it is necessary that the symbols are being used correct and from the basis of the Scripture. The main place were the symbols and rituals are being used is in the place of public worship. Therefore it is necessary that we will understand what happens in the public worship and who the person is that comes to the public worship. It is also necessary to look at reasons for the insufficient use of symbols in the public worship. In a study that is being made we find that the most significant aspect on the preaching is the atmosphere that there is in the public worship. The church lives in a time of changes and these changes have an affect on the church and the preaching. The public worship is also a creative process were the role of the Scripture, the traditions and the context are important. When using symbols in the public worship we have to look at the communication theory of Ricoeur. For Ricoeur the narrative plays an important role. The process of understanding is for him a creative process where he makes use of stories, metaphors and symbols. From his communication theory it is important that the listener are included. The use of symbols is for him a help in understanding. The symbols also have a double significance, namely unveiling and concealing. The thesis also shows out the role that the Reformation, the Modernism and the Post Modernism have on a person and the way we understand the Word of God. The use of symbols is helpful in the communication of the Word of God to the Post Modern person. The challenge for the preaching is that the symbols are being used in a manner that the other reality is being communicated to the Post Modern person. The last two chapters of the thesis concentrates on the role that symbols plays in our lives; the characteristic of symbols; the conditions for the use of symbols and the use of symbols and rituals. When it comes to the use of symbols we see that these symbols gives meaning and hope to a person.
Dissertation (MA (Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.