For decades Africa has tried to rid itself of the, most often, oppressive powers that have dominated the continent. Throughout the 20th century, and in the case of South Africa even further back in history, the church has played a vocal role in engaging the powers that refused Africans the right to be part of their own heritage. The church marched with the rest of Africa to a glorious victory over these powers. In 2004 the first decade of democracy in South Africa was celebrated. However, a number of challenging issues facing the very existence of the African continent, and especially the African church, did not disappear. Instead, over a number of years, these issues have surfaced, if not to a greater extent, at least in the full view of the whole world. It seems that the same vigorous voice of the church that spoke out against, for example, colonialism and apartheid, has now become silent. The goal of this study is to determine if the church, with focus on the church in South Africa, is taking serious cognisance of these challenging issues, and to find out what it is saying about these challenges. In order to assist us in this study, we look at what five of the South African theologians, who stand in different traditions of the church in South Africa, are saying about these challenging issues. The different theologians selected for this study are Archbishops Tutu and Tlhagale, Professor Maluleke, Bishop Mofokeng and Doctor Khathide. They, respectively, stand in the Anglican, Catholic, Reformed, AIC and Pentecostal traditions. Through the voices of these theologians, this study identifies various issues, defines areas of concern, and determines what the church is saying about these challenges. These challenges are identified as challenges in establishing the church in Africa as African church, challenges relating to social, economic and political issues, and challenges facing the church in a multi-religious society. Even though this study only refers to five of the church’s theologians, the finding resulting from this study indicates that the African church is taking serious cognisance of these challenging issues and is still speaking out.
Dissertation (MA (Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.