A number of Indian theologians point out that there are certain ideas in orthodox Hinduism which are not found in rationalism and which serve as a preparation for the gospel praeparatio evangelii p.
The readiness to accept the possibility of the miraculous and even the incarnation are pointed out by the author in his discussion of Goreh p. In the Hindu world we are very often tempted to think that we have a harder task than many of our brothers and sisters in other contexts. This is a reminder to us to give thanks to God that we are witnessing in such an environment and to appreciate all that is good. The theologians surveyed have approached Hinduism in various ways.
Upadhyay conceptualized Hindu culture and religion as distinct and so advocated that one could be a Hindu Catholic p. He made a sharp distinction between what we might call social religion and soteriological religion, which he called samaj dharma and sadhan dharma respectively. Devanandan also inclined to the view that it is possible, though difficult, to distinguish between cultural and religious Hinduism p. It was his impression, it seems, that Hindu society was becoming increasingly secular and that all that might be left is Hindu culture.
The role of Christian mission, then, he asserted, should be permeate society and provide a new religious basis to replace the traditional one that is fast eroding. The relationship of the believer to the church has clearly been a vexed issue for many Christian thinkers in India. Chenchiah had an almost totally negative attitude toward the organised Church, which he regarded as a purely human institution p. Manilal Parekh remained apart from the church for most of his life p.
Clearly the problem for these men, as it has been for a great many Hindus, has been the foreignness of the church and the social and cultural tension that membership brings about. The influence of Christian missionaries crops up again and again throughout the book. Not every missionary made a positive impact on India's Christian thinkers.
But there were the individuals whose simplicity of life, clarity of Christian conviction, and ability to humbly point the way to Christ led one and another to the Lord. William Miller of Madras deeply influenced both Chenchiah and Chakkarai p. As an introduction to the thought of these men and women, this volume is well worth careful study. If you do not find it in your bookshop ask the shopkeeper why he has dozens of theological books by Westerners and so little by Asians? It should still be in print as the revised edition has been reprinted at least four times.
Inspect your copy before you leave the shop, my copy is missing pages When will such a book on Nepali theologians be written?
This reviewer hopes that such books as Boyd's will stimulate creative thinking this side of the border every bit as much as that side. This reviewer is not aware of any such subsequent systematic work. Tilak by H. Richard , VOB Vol. A honey bee goes to a flower to gather honey. While engaged in this delightful task, it is sometimes stung by a spider. It critiques significant movements like neo-orthodoxy, process theology, liberation theology and theology of hope.
And it assesses recent developments in feminist theology, black theology, new Catholic theology, narrative theology and evangelical theology. An indispensable handbook for anybody interested in today's theological landscape. Conservative readers will find this a challenging introduction to the theological discussion, but they will be heartened by its judgments. Liberal readers will contest some of its assumptions, but they will respect its full engagement with alternatives. Stanley J. Ordained into the gospel ministry in , Grenz worked within the local church context as a youth director and assistant pastor Northwest Baptist Church, Denver , pastor Rowandale Baptist Church, Winnipeg , and interim pastor.
In addition he preached and lectured in numerous churches, colleges, universities and seminaries in North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia. Grenz wrote or cowrote twenty-five books, the most recent of which is Rediscovering the Triune God: The Trinity in Contemporary Theology He contributed articles to more than two dozen other volumes, and has had published more than one hundred essays and eighty book reviews. Visit Stan Grenz's website for more information. Roger E. These three theologians were at loggerheads with each other, with Bultmann being the most radical of the three.
Bultmann is well known for his demythologisation of the worldview of the New Testament, and therefore also of the miracles of Jesus, especially in the Gospels of Mark and John. For Brunner , miracles, though central to the Bible religion, were an embarrassment to modern immanentism. As for Barth, he:. Brown 6. Miracles are hidden from us, though they reveal Christ for us to believe and honour him as Creator and Lord.
They are the displays of the divine omnipotence. Bultmann was christological in his theology, aiming to restore the dimension of the transcendence of God to the 20th century Christianity by proclaiming the central significance of the cross and the resurrection of Christ. The Gospels, especially those of Mark and John, were his analytical premise that their stories were created to preserve and to detect the Sitz im Leben - life situation of the early church. In a nutshell, Brunner was:. The Neo-charismatic phenomenon of the 21st century. Suppositional observation can deduce that the Spirit Movement of the postmodern era is growing exponentially and at an alarming rate.
In South Africa, the mainline Christianity suffers a set-back. The exodus from the liturgical Christianity to the new movement is momentous and seems unstoppable. The dawn of democracy opened the doors for the Neo-charismatic churches, especially those from West Africa especially Nigeria into the South African Christian terrain. It is not only the mainline denominations suffering this emptiness, but also the classical Pentecostal churches of the 20th century, such as the Apostolic Faith Mission, Assemblies of God, Full Gospel Church of God, et cetera.
These churches are constantly experiencing schisms as some of their devotees catch the spirit of the age where gospel power is witnessed in demonstrations such as healing, breakthroughs out of depression, wealth, et cetera. They make such a great influence where these manifestations are the centre of attraction. However, RCCG is difficult to categorise it strictly to these manifestations, because of its diverse polity and proclivity towards evangelical practices. The South African society went through writhing pains of agony and grief because of the loss of about 80 lives on a pilgrimage to Lagos, Nigeria, in September The historic tragedy of the collapse of Pastor TB Joshua's church guesthouse on the 12th September leaves theological analysts with the question of people crossing the borders to seek the miraculous experiences at a particular cultic centre.
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The recent miraculous events that sent the shock waves were those by Pastor Lesego Daniel who made his congregants to eat grass, drink petrol and eat flowers. Watching these incidents on the television and media in general clearly shows the acts of manipulation that cannot be cited as miracles. One Sunday Times Lifestyle Magazine's columnist relays her discussions with her friends about Pastor Lesego Daniel's petrol-drinking congregation:.
Some friends suggested that the controversial pastor should be arrested for endangering his parishioners. Still others suggested that the flower-eating, petrol-guzzling 'it tastes just like pineapple juice' members be arrested for mass stupidity. Still others thought the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities should have been involved.
The last lot never quite highlighted the commission's potential role, since I have never heard that it prosecutes anyone for religious beliefs that are detrimental to citizens' health. Wanner n. One of the salient features of the Neo-charismatic preachers is the lack of theological essence in their debates. This is because of their low esteem towards theological analysis, insights or debates. This absence or shallowness of theological insight is replaced with unconventional practices tagged miracles.
Both their ecclesiology and Christology are always on personal convictions rather than in the hermeneutical principles of the Bible. Hence, their ministries are exceedingly egocentric in structures, methods and objectives. Shenk argues that missions in the end times:. Many pretenders will proclaim themselves to be messiah, but these false messiahs cannot deliver what they promise Mark , Messianic options can also take the form of ideological and revolutionary movements that claim they will liberate humankind from its present dilemma.
Theological critique of the miracles in the Neo-charismatic movement. A miracle is when God not an apostle, prophet, evangelist or pastor breaks the rules of nature to reveal his power or will in a humanly impossible situation. A miracle cannot be orchestrated or demonstrated. It takes audiences by surprise and leaves them baffled. The thesis is clear that a miracle is an occurrence which is contrary to what is known of nature. The British theologian, Macquarrie , correctly asserts that theologically:.
Such an act may be a vehicle for revelation or for grace or for judgement or for all of these together. A miracle is providentia ordinaria , that is, God is fully involved with it through second causes in accordance with the laws of nature. It is an event that breaks into the order of nature. But a miracle is also providentia extraordinaria , that is, when God works immediately or without the mediation of the second causes in their ordinary operation.
A miracle happens when regular procedures of nature are suspended for a cause. One of the 20th-century theologians, Berkhof , cautions us that:. The distinctive thing in the miraculous deed is that it results from the exercise of the supernatural power of God. And this means, of course, that it is not brought about by secondary causes that operate according to the laws of nature.
If it were, it would not be supernatural above nature , that is, it would not be a miracle. This explanation calls into question the acts of people eating grass and drinking petrol. The leader is totally involved in orchestrating the events by giving commands as to what actions are to be initiated. The agent is in charge and directs the events towards his desired goals.
There is no obfuscation to open devotees' eyes and minds to Jesus. It is therefore theologically legitimate to examine these practices in the light of orthodoxy regarding doctrine and discipline in their context. One quality of a miracle is that it occurs unpretentiously and modestly Van der Meer This brings a spotlight to the methods applied by the Neo-charismatic leaders mentioned above. Watching the videos of miraculous healings at Synagogue Church of All Nations, whose building collapsed in Nigeria recently, one wonders of the place and the role of modesty and human dignity when people expose their nakedness in front of the audiences to prove their health status or the divine interventions.
People vomiting and urinating blood in front of the masses questions the chastity and authenticity of these events. This is a moral criterion. Moule Another quality of a miracle is its divine orchestration as opposed to human demonstration. Most, if not all, of these 'miracles', are human initiated. It is the preacher that the devotees look to, not God.
The theological validation of miracles is that God is the primun movens - the prime mover.
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Jesus Christ never received any reward after a miracle. His miracles were divinely orchestrated, hence left people with wonderment. Jesus never called people to come and witness a miracle. His miraculous acts happened unpretentiously and spontaneously without any call towards himself. Hence, people in bewilderment could exclaim: 'What kind of man is this?
Even the winds and the waves obey him! Miracles are also called 'wonders'. They stunned and amazed those who saw them. When Jesus healed a lame man, the response was: 'This amazed everyone and they praised God saying, 'We have never seen anything like this' Mark By these acts of power and signs and wonders, God was seen to be performing miracles through His Son.
Miracles are not the mark of spirituality or in consonance with theological correctness. The performance of miracles is not the sign of authentic discipleship. The performers are to be verified as to by which spirit are they doing these things? Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Away from me, you evildoers! Mt The morality and the character of the performers should be under the scrutiny of the biblical orthodoxy. The performer and the act itself must be synchronically aligned. Church history has proved that the false prophets do not last long.
They either align to the orthodox confession of faith, or disappear from the theatrum gloriae Dei - the arena within which the glory of God may be discerned and recognised 7 :. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
This fact is taken further by Bate that:. A local theology needs to provide a Theological Anthropology which incarnates the theology in the local context and culture, a Biblical Theology which roots the theology in the Scriptures and an Ecclesiology which roots the local theology in the tradition and teaching of the Church. By nature, the miracles performance is one of the corollary charismata. These charismata do not operate on their own. They are accompanied by other gifts to verify or confirm their authenticity, validity and theological correctness.
As a corollary gift, miracles performance is subject to discernment. Discernment is a process when the community of faith converge to wisely reflect, debate and contemplate on the miraculous phenomenon, to see how valid or authentic is the phenomenon De Villiers Miracles are to be scrutinised in order to discern the demonic manifestations and establish theological authenticity.
Miracles cannot verify themselves; they need an external extraordinary authority to validate them. In this case, they are measured by the canonical stipulations. The question that lingers all the time is whether these miracles are used to prove God his existence or his ability , or to prove faith of those who seek after them. If it is to prove the faith of the practitioners, then the apostolic caution is 'we live by faith, not by sight' 2 Cor There is no need to see in order to believe; lest faith becomes a temporary element of reality. The community of faith has the legitimate right exousia to check and discern miracles, as fake and deceit are rife in today's Neo-charismatic circles.
The authority by which miracles are performed must be exposed. Because lots of exorcism is applied, the origin of the miraculous must be identified judged in order to validate the genuineness of the miraculous event. It is highly possible for the miracle worker to elevate herself to the higher pedestal, and throw the community into confusion and chaos:.
Ecclesiological problems emerge when the ministry of the Church becomes subject to the preferences and proclivities of individuals which sometimes leads to confusion and controversy. Lastly, miracles, although not an article of faith, arouse interest or point people towards God, not towards the performer or an agent. It is theologically legitimate to accept that 'a miracle turns people's eyes upwards, towards God … miracles concern belief in God and his glorification' Kasper Miracles are examined by the criteria that are generally used to establish the historical Jesus.
They confirm the kerygma - verbal revelation. Miracles do not establish the credentials or the character of the agent. Jesus resisted the temptation when he was cornered with the question: 'By what authority are you doing these things … And who gave you authority to do this?
He did not want to attach his credentials to any human figure or institution. Fernando emphasises the fact that in the New Testament, it was Jesus who performed miracles, and the three reasons for these miracles were to show compassion, to glorify God and to give evidence to support his claims. In the current scenario, miracles are the magnet towards the preacher instead of a propeller towards God.
Hence, pilgrimages to a particular geographical location or a human figure have become a norm. Miraculous powers are associated with a particular personality or a cultic centre celebrity and centre cult. This tendency questions faith in the omnipotence and the omnipresence of God. The bottom line is miracles involve the extraordinary, the unusual and the amazing.
A miracle is a result of a personal initiative of God. They will always be open to interpretations, hence need to be theologically critiqued. They must be opened to spiritual discernment and scrutiny. This is confirmed by Kasper that:. This polyvalence is also the scope of faith's freedom of choice.
A miracle can only be seen as the act of God by faith. It does not force faith, but challenges it and makes it credible. Theology must rightly interest itself in the meaning of the mighty deeds of Jesus and his person. In Africa, health means not only lack of sickness but also well-being in a holistic sense. Sickness is not primarily a result of physical symptoms but also of deeply spiritual causes. Miracles are the divine intervention where laws of nature are suspended for the purpose of God to prevail.
There is a proliferation of miracles in the Neo-charismatic churches in South Africa and elsewhere. Most if not all of the events knighted miracles are human orchestrated; therefore, critically subjected to ecclesiastical and doctrinal scrutiny, analysis and evaluation.
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