During 2017 Reformed churches will celebrate five centuries of church reformation. Seen from a historical perspective, Martin Luther was the central figure within the Reformation movement. The question is: To what extent could churches in Africa still benefit from Martin Luther’s theological insights? How relevant is Luther’s theology in contemporary Zimbabwe and specifically to the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA)? In the Zimbabwean context there are many divergent views in various Reformed churches on the work of the Holy Spirit. This diversity threatens the unity, relevance and survival of Reformed churches
The focus of this dissertation is to establish whether the pneumatology of Martin Luther is still relevant and applicable to Reformed churches in Zimbabwe. It analyses the current context in Zimbabwe and concludes that the practical situation in Zimbabwe presents theologians with similar challenges as those Luther had to face, specifically in terms of the misunderstanding of the work of the Holy Spirit. Reformed churches in Zimbabwe may learn from Martin Luther on how to face these challenges. The Holy Spirit is God who works in this world. It is imperative for Reformed churches in Zimbabwe to revisit the Reformed understanding of pneumatology in terms of contextual relevance. The insights gained are applied in terms of prosperity religion, African Traditional Religion, the Charismatic movement as well as churches in the Reformed tradition.
The methodology used in this research is typical of Practical ecclesiology, i.e. a multi-disciplinary, theoretical and practical study of the church. Practical ecclesiology departs from the assumption that the church exists as a complex system which requires a multi-disciplinary and integrated methodology to do justice to its complexity. Not only is the church an integral part of the Christian confessions (the church we believe), but it also manifests in our everyday life (the empirical church). The dialectical tension between the nature and mission of the church, between the visible and invisible church, requires a specific methodology to do justice to the research object. Because of this complexity and multy-disciplinary approach, the theme is approached from a hermeneutical, historical, practical and strategic perspective.
Dissertation (MA (Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2015.