Great by Choice – Hoe help dit ons in die bediening?

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Boeke, Dienste-Communitas, Gemeentes

 

1.Fanatieke dissipline.

Dit is die vermoë en bereidheid om met ‘n amper fanatieke dissipline konsekwent te hou by jou waardes, mikpunte, standaarde en metodes.  Dit vereis ‘n emosionele onafhanklikheid van gees wat maak dat jy ten spyte van eksterne druk en allerlei nuwe denkrigtings gefokus bly  op jou doelwitte en hoe jy dit wil bereik.

Die beeld wat hiervoor gebruik word, is die sg. “20 mile march”. Die suksesvolle maatskappye was uiters gedissiplineerd daarin om jaarliks haalbare teikens te stel en konsekwent te bereik . Hulle vordering word nie bepaal deur eksterne faktore nie, maar deur die doelwitte wat hulle self gekies het en konsekwent by bly. In terme van die beeld vorder hulle nie een jaar 10 myl en die volgende jaar 70 myl nie.  Hulle het gewaak teen onbeheersde groei in goeie tyd en teen die gedurige najaag van die “Next Big Thing”, soos wat die versoeking dikwels is. Hierdie konstantheid het vertroue ingeboesem en hulle gevrywaar van katastrofe in tye van onverwagte veranderinge. Dit het hulle gehelp om “self control” toe te pas in ‘n “out of control” omgewing.

Toepassing op die gemeentebediening

ÿ        Wat is die mikpunt[e] wat ons as gemeente en as leierskap in die gemeente moet nastreef om met absolute konsekwentheid en selfdissipline jaar na jaar na jaar suksesvol te bereik? 

ÿ        Hoe maak ons seker dat ons konsekwent die versoeking weerstaan om elke keer die Next Big Thing te probeer najaag?

ÿ         Wat is die soort konstantheid en konsekwentheid wat mense in ‘n gemeente soek wat by hulle vertroue imboesem en daarom lei tot betekenisvolle verbintenis?

ÿ        Hoe waak ‘n mens teen onbeheersde groei?

2.Empiriese kreatiwiteit

Dit is die vermoë en eienskap om  in tye van onsekerheid en onstabiliteit nie in die eerste plek na ander mense of gesagsfigure te kyk vir leiding nie, maar jou veral te laat lei deur empiriese bevindings  Dit vorm die basis van die besluite wat jy neem. Dit beteken nie dat jy heeltyd bly analiseer en nooit iets doen nie. Dit beteken wel dat die basis vir jou [dikwels dapper !] besluite konkrete feite en bevindinge is. Dit gaan dus oor empiriese en dus gedissiplineerde kreatiwiteit. Om in ‘n veranderende omgewing heeltyd innoverend te wees, is uiteraard belangrik. Maar innovasie alleen gaan jou nie suksesvol maak nie.  Nog minder om luk-raak nuwe inisiatiewe te neem. Die geheim is om te weet wat die skaal van innovasie in ‘n spesifieke situasie moet wees en om gedissiplineerd te bly in jou innovering.

Die beeld wat hier gebruik word, is “fire bullets, then cannon balls”. Toets eers kreatiewe idees op ‘n klein skaal; evalueer dit deeglik en eerlik; los dit as dit nie suksesvol was nie. Indien dit wel die teiken getref het, verbeter dit en skiet dan die “kanonskoot”!

 

Toepassing op die gemeentebediening

ÿ        Moenie iets nuuts probeer en net “hoop dit werk nie”.  Doen deeglik navorsing oor ons eie konteks en behoeftes. Begin dan met klein inisiatiewe wat na ‘n eerste rondte eerlik geëvalueer word en, indien suksesvol, verder verfyn word voordat dit ‘n groter inisiatief word.

ÿ        Wat beteken dit wanneer ‘n mens die resultate van ons Gemeente-Vraelys 2011 vanuit hierdie hoek lees? Watter “bedienings-teikens” is daar wat ons klaarblyklik raak “geskiet” het wat nou verder geneem moet word enmoonlik “kanonskote” moet word?

ÿ        Hoe maak ons seker dit raak deel van die DNA van die gemeente om seker te maak dat kreatiewe inisiatiewe altyd direk verband hou met die empiriese behoeftes en/of situasie?

3.Produktiewe paranoia

Dit is die deurlopende ingesteldheid van “waaksaamheid” wat maak dat sukses jou nooit op jou louere laat rus of selfvoldaan maak nie [hubris]. Jy aanvaar omstandighede gaan weer moeiliker raak . Jy maak jouself gereed vir “worst case scenarios”. Jy vra deurlopend “wat as”-vrae. Maar dit word nooit vrees wat jou verlam nie. Die onsekerheid word eerder gekanaliseer in kreatiewe beplanning en aksies.  Daarom is jy meer gereed en gerat vir ontwrigtende omstandighede.

 

Toepassing op die gemeentebediening

ÿ        Waak altyd teen [onbewuste] hubris en selfvoldaanheid wanneer dit in die gemeente goed gaan.

ÿ        Onsekerheid oor die toekoms van die gemeente en bediening en ons situasie mag ons nie in paranoia laat “vries” nie.  Dit moet ons juis laat groei in ‘n geloofsonderskeidende verhouding met God.  Dit is waarskynlik die mees kreatiewe en produktiewe aksie wat ‘n gemeente kan neem!

ÿ        Vertroue op God beteken nie niks doen nie

ÿ        ‘n Gemeente en die leierskap se “antennas” vir die werking van die Gees sowel as vir die skuiwe in die kultuur moet heeltyd op maksimum sensitiwiteit wees.

The best leaders we studied did not have a visionary ability to predict the future. They observed what worked, figured out why it worked, and built upon proven foundations. They were not more risk taking, more bold, more visionary, and more creative than the comparisons. They were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid.

 

Vlak 5 leierskap: die belangrikheid van ‘n SMaC-resep  [Specific, Methodical and Consistent]

Al die suksesvolle maatskappye wat ondersoek is, het ‘n duidelike SMaC-resep gehad: duidelike operasionele praktyke waardeur jy verseker [juis in onseker tye!] dat jy dit wat jy reeds goed en suksesvol doen, konstant en gedissipplineerd so sal kan bly doen.

  • Dit help jou om op die regte dinge te bly fokus terwyl jou omgewing onstabiel en onseker is
  • Wanneer jy aanpassings maak daaraan [wat jy natuurlik soms moet doen!], is dit op grond van empiriese feite en nie op grond van aannames of aanvoelings nie. [Wat is die “brutal facts”? Nie opinies nie, maar feite? Watter koeëls is al geskiet? Wat het dit getref? ….]
  • Daarom is die praktyk van “zoom out” en “zoom in” so belangrik. Wanneer jy dink jy moet ‘n belangrike verandering maak: zoom eers uit. Kry die groter prentjie. Maak absoluut seker van die empiriese feite. En zoom dan in enimplimenteer die verandering op die regte manier  [Vgl Microsoft se ontwikkeling van Internet Explorer, toe hulle absoluut seker was daarvan dat die internet die toekoms van digitale media gaan wees. Maar hulle het nie hulle SMaC-fokus op die ontwikkeling van sagteware opgegee nie.
  • Die moeilike deel van verandering is nie die verandering self nie. Die moeiliker deel is om presies uit te vind wat werk en waarom werk dit; en om daarom te weet wanneer om te verander en wanneer nie.
  • Die grootste fout wat ‘n  mens kan maak, is om van beproefde metodes weg te beweeg net omdat jy dink jy moet darem bybly by verandering.  Aanpassings aan jou SMaC-fokus  moet altyd die resultaat wees van empiriese kreatiwiteit en produktiewe paranoia.

Toepassing op die gemeentebediening

ÿ        Die waarde daarvan om gereeld en gedissiplineerd tyd te hê om “uit te zoom”. Vgl Bill Gates se jaarlikse “Think Week” : een volle week per jaar waartydens hy weggegaan het om tyd te hê vir lees en nadink. Behoort ons dit nie verpligtend vir al die predikante te maak nie?

ÿ        Die Vraelys het ons gehelp om te onderskei wat die dinge in die gemeente se bediening is wat ons “moet aanhou doen en nog beter moet doen”.  Hoe ontwikkel ons ‘n SmaC-strategie ten opsigte daarvan? [Kan Collins se vrae op p 188 help? Wie moet dit doen?]

ÿ        Watter effektiewe “zoom out”-metodiek het ons wanneer ons bewus raak van behoeftes of potensiële veranderings wat ons moet maak?

Keep in mind the premise of this study: the world is in a state of uncertainty and instability, full of rapid change and dramatic disruptions. Yet when we conducted our research through this very lens of extreme change and turmoil, we found that the 10X companies changed their recipes less than their comparisons. This doesn’t mean  10X leaders are complacent. Productive paranoids infused with fanatic discipline and fired up by empirical creativity in pursuit of Level 5  ambitions don’t have any conception of complacency. 10Xers are truly obsessed, driven  people. It’s just that they accomplish their huge goals by adhering with great discipline to what they know works while simultaneously worrying – for they always worry – about what might no longer work in a changing environment. When conditions truly call for a change, they respond by amending the recipe

 

 

Finale konklusie en boodskap van die boek

Indeed, if there’s one overarching message arising from more than six thousand  years of corporate history across all our research – studies that employ comparisons of great versus good in similar circumstances – it would be this: greatness is not primarily a matter of circumstance; greatness is first and foremost a matter of conscious choice and discipline. The factors that determine whether or not a company becomes truly great, even in a chaotic and uncertain world, lie largely within the hands of its people. It is not mainly a matter of what happens to them, but a matter of what they create, what they do, and how well they do it.

Baptism in the Early Church

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Boeke, Dienste-Communitas

Chapter 3 focuses on the literal and metaphorical meaning of words from the Bapt-root in Classical and Hellenistic Greek usage. The verb Baptizō literally meant “to dip” (usually referring to a thorough submerging of an object in a liquid). Metaphorically it meant “to be overwhelmed by something” (for example the influence of wine) (38, 59). Pouring and sprinkling were distinct actions that were represented by different Greek verbs.

Chapter 4 examines Jewish washings, baptismal movements and proselyte baptism as a more immediate context for Christian baptism than possible Greco-Roman antecedents (60). Ferguson comes to the conclusion than Jewish baptismal practices cannot be taken as the direct antecedent for Christian baptismal practices. Not only is the precise chronological relationship between the Jewish baptism of proselytes and the Christian baptism unclear, but are there also a number of important differences between them (although Jewish proselyte baptisms were also one-time, full immersions, they differed from Christian baptism in being self-administered (81-82)). The heart of the rabbinic conversion ceremony of proselyte males was also circumcision and not baptism.

In chapter 5 the primary sources for the baptism of John the Baptist is surveyed. From the New Testament it is clear that the practice and meaning of John’s baptism had some overlap with both Jewish and Christian practices.

l Like Jewish proselyte baptism it was a one-time immersion. It differed however in being offered specifically to Jews.

l John’s baptism shared the theme of purification with Jewish ceremonial washing practices, but differed in being an act of prophetic symbolism (85) that prepared Israel for the coming Lord by calling for repentance and granting forgiveness of sins (88-89). The baptism of John was also not self-immersion (95).

l It differed from Christian baptism in being a confession of sin rather than of faith in Jesus (89).

Theologically the baptism of John expressed conversionary repentance, mediated forgiveness, purified from uncleanness, foreshadowed the ministry of an expected figure (Jesus), protested against the temple establishment and was an initiation into the “true Israel” (93).

In part two Ferguson turns his attention to baptism in the New Testament. He begins by identifying the prominent motifs in canonical and noncanonical interpretations of the baptism of Jesus (chapters 6 & 7) namely; the descent of the Spirit (the possible fulfillment of Isa. 11:2), the beginning of the messianic ministry of Jesus, the identification and revelation of Jesus as God’s beloved son, the sanctification of water for baptism (109) and Jesus’ identification with humanity (112).

From chapters 8 till 11 Ferguson discusses the various New Testament baptismal texts in canonical order. In regards to the Gospels he focuses primarily on Matthew 28:19 (133), the references to Jewish purification rituals in Mark. 7:4 and Luke 11:38, before arguing that John 3:5 is indeed a baptismal text (142-145). Ferguson (in agreement with Kuss) summarizes Paul’s understanding of baptism as presupposing preaching and faith, occurring in the name of Jesus and mediating the eschatological gifts of salvation, forgiveness and the Holy Spirit (147). Paul’s characteristic teaching relative to baptism is to connect it with the death and resurrection of Christ and to draw out its moral consequences (164). While human cooperation (faith) is presupposed by baptism the decisive action it testifies to come from God alone (165). In Acts conversion accounts ordinarily include a mention of baptism. Where any details are given an immersion in running water is either implied or consistent with what is said (cf. however Acts 16:33). Baptism was also not self-performed but rather done in the name of Jesus. It was preceded by the preaching of the Gospel and promised forgiveness of sin and the coming of the Holy Spirit to the person being baptized. Acts shows little interest in who performed the baptism (185). Of the rest of the New Testament only 1 Peter makes a truly significant contribution to the understanding of baptism in that 1 Peter 1:3 and 23 refer to believers being begotten again by the resurrection of Jesus (193).

Ferguson summarizes the New Testament witness to the practice of baptism as follows: (i) there is no certain indication of infants or children being baptized. (ii) Baptism is adult baptism, initiatory and unrepeatable. (iii) It is connected to the eschatological baptism of John, but has its specific character in the saving work of Christ. (iv) Baptism grants the one baptized access to the eschatological community of salvation. (v) It affects salvation, forgiveness of sins, freedom from the rule of sin and death, purification, and washing. (vi) It gives the Holy Spirit and (viii) participation in the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6:3-4). (ix) Baptism names Christ and is rebirth. (x) It has an instrumental character and is closely bound with the paraenesis of daily life whilst being the gracious action of God. (xi) Not much detail is given in the New Testament on the manner in which baptism is given, though immersion in running water seems to have been the norm.

Part Three surveys baptism in the Second Century by focusing on the Apostolic Fathers (chapter 12), Christian Pseudepigrapha and Apocrypha (chapter 13), the Greek Apologist (chapter 14), the Pseudo-Clementines and Jewish Christianity (chapter 15), Jewish and Christian Baptisms (chapter 16), Marcionites, Gnostics and related groups (chapter 17), Irenaeus (chapter 18), and Clement of Alexandria (chapter 19).

The material Ferguson presents testifies to the developing diversity and general pragmatism of baptismal practices and theology in early Christianity during the Second Century. The Didache for example allowed for the use of collected water if running water could not be used, and the pouring of water over the head of the one being baptized if there was insufficient water for a full immersion (204-205). 2 Clement has the first baptismal use of “seal” in reference to baptism (208). In the Acts of Paul we find the self-baptism of Thecla (230), a baptized lion (231) and the earliest explicit testimony to triple immersion (231). A baptismal anointing is first attested amongst the Gnostics writings (282). It is interesting that the Valentinian baptismal procedure did not differ significantly from that of the great church (289). Irenaeus could be earliest reference to infant baptism (308), while Clement of Alexandria emphasized the period of instruction before baptism (315) and used regeneration, sign, bath, seal and illumination as important images for baptism (310-311).

Part Four addresses the Third Century up to Nicaea (325). It begins with the writings attributed to Hippolytus (chapter 20) and focuses on Tertullian (chapter 21), Cyprian (chapter 22), the rebaptism controversy (chapter 24), Origen (chapter 25) and various texts from Syria (chapter 26).

While the major controversy in the mid-third century was not over the baptism of infants, but over whether the church should accept the baptism administrated by heretics and schismatics (in short: Stephen of Rome said “yes” and Cyprian of Carthage “no” – chapter 24) the third century is important for understanding the origin and early development of infant baptism. Tertullian (in the late second century) refers to the baptism of small children as something already being done. He is also a witness to the role of sponsors who would guarantee that the baptized children would be brought up in the faith (364). While Tertullian did not explicitly oppose paedobaptism, he did regard it as unnecessary (366). It is important to note that after Tertullian we do not hear of any general opposition to the baptism of infant children (626-627). Origen (about 246) however does refer to questions about the practice of infant baptism and the argument that was used against it, namely that infants had no sins to be forgiven by it (368). Origen’s innovation was to extend baptismal forgiveness to the ceremonial impurity associated with childbirth. He could thus argue that while infants had no sin they were impure and therefore needed to be baptized (369). Cyprian and his fellow bishops concluded that infants should be baptized before the eight day (370). A verdict accepted by sixty-six bishops indicate a well-established and accepted practice of paedobaptism in 252 (372).

The general instruction to parents to baptize their children however only begins in the late fourth century, while infant baptism only became the norm under the influence of Augustine in the fifth century (627-628). There was also no agreed theology underlying infant baptism between the Greek and Latin churches (632), which gives the impression of a practice preceding its theological justification (cf. 369). The displacement of dipping by pouring only began at the end of the fifteenth or the beginning of the sixteenth century (631).

Inscriptions on tombs leads Ferguson to the conclusion that there was no common age at which baptism was administrated, and that there is no evidence that infants were routinely baptized shortly after birth. There is however ample evidence for the prevalence of emergency baptisms (377). For Ferguson the understanding of John 3:5 by the second-century church (as demanding baptism as a recruitment for entering heaven) lead to more and more emergency baptisms of ill children. The practice of emergency baptism is therefore for him the genesis of the practice paedobaptism (contra Jeremias – who argued for Jewish proselyte baptism and family solidarity; Aland – who saw its genesis in the acceptance of the doctrine of original sin and Wright – who took it as the extension of believers’ baptism to younger and younger children – 377-377).

Part Five gives an overview of the understanding of baptism in the Fourth Century by making a circuit round the Mediterranean, beginning with Egypt before moving on to Jerusalem (chapter 29), Syria (chapters 30 & 31), Antioch (chapters 32-34), Cappadocia (chapters 36-38), Milan (chapter 40), Italy (chapter 41) and Spain (chapter 42). Ferguson also has an excursus on the polemic regarding the delay of baptism (chapter 39). Part five makes it abundantly clear that the Fourth Century furnishes us with the fullest information of any of the early centuries on the richness and variety of Christian practice of baptism (455).

Liturgical practices associated with baptism in the Fourth Century were: Fasting (506), footwashing (492, 639), the ceremony of ephphatha (the opening of the ears – 636), sanctification of the water (507, 525, 653), exorcisms (476, 523, 538, 604), invocations (576, 638) and the renouncement of Satan (477, 566), pre- and/or post-baptismal anointing (540, 575), putting on new clothes (498, 515, 526, 543, 561, 594, 640), the celebration of Eucharist, eating milk and honey after baptism (467, 679). Baptism was only in a few instances not by single (668) or triple immersion (479, 567, 584, 607), but by sprinkling and pouring (456-458, 669). Baptism was commonly received in the nude (466, 477, 541, 649) and understood as enlightenment or illumination (474, 560, 572, 655, 673), becoming a member of the church (522), bestowing the Holy Spirit (530, 573), regeneration (571), receiving forgiveness of sins (556, 573), purification (557) and as death and burial with Christ (654). Martyrdom was also seen as a baptism by a number of writers (591). Numerous Old Testament episodes were also understood as types of baptism (490, 500, 586, 614, 641) while various connections were made between baptism and circumcision (497, 500, 544, 560, 577, 589, and 671). The role of sponsors for children also became more common (521, 536, 545, 578) as well as appeals to parents to baptize their children (568; 577; 594). Baptism was usually administrated by a bishop and in some instances by a deacon (664), but not by any women (568).

Part Six follows the pattern established in the previous part in doing a circuit around the Mediterranean in the Fifth Century. Egypt (chapter 44), Syria, Armenia (chapters 45 & 46), Asia Minor, Constantinople (chapter 48), Ravenna, Rome (chapter 49), Gaul and North Africa (chapters 50-52) all receive attention. In this era most of the liturgical practices associated with baptism in the Fourth Century continued to be elaborated on. A number of adaptations were however made in order to accommodate the increasing practice of infant baptism (699, 717-719, 722-723, 788). Augustine’s coupling of infant baptism and original sin served as the foundation of his and others’ reconstruction of baptismal practice that was to dominate the western churches for subsequent centuries (804). Another interesting shift was to a first-person-active formula (“I baptize”) in the Coptic and Latin rites in contrast to the third-person-passive form (“x is baptized”) that was used in Greek and Syrian rites (698).  

In part seven Ferguson examines the baptisteries and fonts in the East (chapter 53) and West (chapter 54). He arranges the material roughly according to the geographical expansion of Christianity and then in the approximate chronological order within each country (821). He comes to the conclusion that the design of baptismal fonts made baptism by full immersion (or in some cases immersion by kneeling in the font) the normal baptismal practice (849-850). The last chapter gives a number of Ferguson’s conclusions regarding baptism in the early Church.

Discussion

  • This magisterial study by Ferguson will deserveably be the standard work on early Christian baptismal practices and theology for a long time. It not only provides a detailed and clear account of how rich and varied baptismal practices were in the first five centuries of Christianity, but also a compelling thesis for the origin of paedobaptism. Ferguson argues that the most plausible historical explanation for the origin of infant baptism is to be found in the practice of the emergency baptism of terminally ill children. Dying infants and children were baptized so that they would be assured of entrance into the kingdom of heaven according to a literal understanding of John. 3:5. In time emergency baptism developed into precautionary baptism, before paedobaptism became the norm in the fifth and sixth centuries (857).
  • Ferguson’s methodology raises the question of the precise relationship between the historical descriptive task, as undertaken by him, and the normative theological task of discerning contemporary baptismal practice. Are the earliest (post New Testament) practices and doctrines still normative for the contemporary church or does theological insight and practice mature over centuries (cf. the doctrine of the Trinity)? There is also an inherent danger in Ferguson’s approach, necessitated by the scope of study, of focusing on selected parts of various ancient writers’ documents in isolation of their broader theology. While Ferguson does analyze most of the important writers at some length, numerous documents are understandably only briefly considered.
  • Ferguson’s comprehensive survey of the first five centuries allows him to give coherence to the available baptismal evidence, while also addressing some anomalies therein. Christian literary sources (backed by secular word usage and Jewish religious immersions), for instance overwhelmingly supports full immersion as the normal baptismal practice. Exceptions for a lack of water and sickbed baptism were however made (857). If this was the case the question arises when is a baptismal practice (for example sprinkling instead of full immersion) wrong and unacceptable (even heretical) instead of a practical matter to be decided by faith communities in terms of their own specific context? Put differently: what is the relationship between the sign (water) of baptism and what it signifies (redemption and regeneration for example)? To what extent can the baptismal sign be minimized (as in partial immersion, pouring or sprinkling) before it loses its theological significance? Early Christian text (like the Didache) seems to imply that the precise volume or nature of the baptismal water did not determine the validity of a baptism (204-205).
  • In his final chapter Ferguson comes to the conclusion that: “There is general agreement that there is no firm evidence for infant baptism before the latter part of the second century. This fact does not mean that it did not occur, but it does mean that supporters of the practice have a considerable chronological gap to account for. Many replace the historical silence by appeal to theological or sociological considerations” (856). Ferguson’s conclusion underlines the importance for denominations who practices paedobaptism (for example on the grounds of covenantal theology like my own Dutch Reformed denomination) to take the theological task of continually reflecting on the meaning of baptism seriously. I would however argue that both credo- and paedo-baptist continually need to reflect on the theological and sociological meaning of baptism. Present agreement with a historical practice (for example baptizing only adult believers) does not automatically imply full agreement with the theology and exegesis underlying the same practice in the early church (who found numerous typological references to baptism in the Old Testament). Not all denominations who reject paedobaptism for instance consider infants and children to be innocent of sin (as Tertullian argued), or conversely not all who baptize infants believe in the doctrine of the original sin (as Augustine did). Every Christian generation must therefore articulate their own theological understanding of the meaning and manner of baptism for their unique context and time in the light of Scripture. Questions that must be reflected on anew are: (1) Why was there a surprising lack of controversy in regards to the development of infant baptism in the Early Church? (2) Why were there almost no meaningful liturgical adaptations for the baptism of small children? (3) What is the precise theological position of infants and children in regards to faith, salvation and church membership?
  • I am not totally convinced by Ferguson’s arguments that there is no certain indication of infants or children being included in the baptism of entire families in the New Testament (cf. Acts 10:1-48, 11:14; 16:15; 18:31 and 1 Cor. 1:16) (185). I would rather argue that we have (a) no clear prohibition of the baptism of children in the New Testament, (b) the high probability that children were baptized along with their converting parents in Acts, and (c) no indication of the treatment of children born subsequent to their parent’s conversion. Ferguson however argues that when Luke meant to include children he did so specifically (as in Acts 21:5). The problem with this line of argumentation is that women are only specified as being baptized alongside men in Acts 8:12 (footnote 51, page 185). Are they thus also not included by Luke in his household conversions when they are not specified as being present? How should reference to “all of his family” in Acts 16:32-33 thus be understood? As only referring to men since Luke does not refer specifically to women or children? Or the entire household of Crispus (Acts 18:8)? Does Ferguson’s footnote 38 (page 178) also mean that if ancient authors did not specifically greet children in their letters none of the households they otherwise addressed contained any? Is it socio-historically plausible that in a context where life expectancy was in the low thirties that all of the households that converted to Christianity in Acts had no infants or children? Ferguson’s criteria for determining if children and infants were present in households also presupposes that Luke would have applied the same criteria for receiving baptism to the entire household – adults and infants (178).

In conclusion there is no doubt in my mind that Ferguson’s brilliant study has open up new avenues for the Biblical and patristic research of baptism practices and that it will lead to a fresh theological reflection on the meaning and manner of baptism. It should therefore be read and studied by all who are serious in reflecting on the richness of the Christian baptism.

Renovation of the Heart

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Boeke, Dienste-Communitas

Johan Kotze het ‘n opsomming gemaak van Dallas Willard se bekende boek Renovation of the Heart.

Die doel van die boek word soos volg beskryf:

  • Show that spiritual transformation is possible, orderly, and straightforward
  • Explain how spiritual transformation must occur in thoughts, feelings, the will, the body, the social dimension, and the soul
  • Articulate ways spiritual transformation impacts the Church and the world.

Laai gerus die opsomming hier af en geniet dit.

Die boek is ook beskikbaar by Communitas se boekwinkel ek kan bestel word by Zillah by projek@sun.ac.za of 0218083381

’n Nuwe tyd vir gewone mense.

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Boeke, Dienste-Communitas, Missiologie

Gesprekke oor gedeeltes uit Lukas en Handelinge.

Pieter van Niekerk

Dit is bedoel vir die gewone mense in die kerk, vir leraars, maar ook vir evangeliste, ouderlinge en ander gemeenteleiers, vir manne en vroue wat leiding moet neem by Bybelstudies ,Pinkster- en ander bidure en byeenkomste. Dis bedoel vir deurlees en nadink. Op ’n vars manier en uit ’n nuwe hoek kyk Pieter na ’n klompie bekende verhale. Hy ontdek opnuut dat die evangelie regtig bedoel is vir gewone mense, mense soos ek en jy. Dit is op ’n besondere wyse vir veral die armes, diegene wat weet hoe  afhanklik hulle is – wat die Here Jesus gekom het. En dis vir sulke mense wat Hy ons oë kom oopmaak het.

Prof  Jonathan Jansen skryf “Ek het ‘n lang ruk gelede al opgehou om kerk toe te gaan. Die rede is eenvoudig: ek kon nie die verhewe, hemelse prediking met die pyn en lyding, die werklike probleme van gewone mense, versoen nie. Hierdie versameling Bybelse leringe deur Pieter van Niekerk mag dalk net my siening oor kerkbywoning  verander… Die Skrif word lewendig deur die pen van dr. Van Niekerk – iemand wat sy geloof in ‘n wêreld vol beroeringe uitleef. Hy gaan nie net kerk toe nie, hy leef dit ook uit. Ek beveel hierdie titel ten sterkste aan”
Afrikaans: VAF40
Sotho: VSO40
‘n CLF publikasie @ R25

Be Not Anxious: Pastoral Care of Disquieted Souls

Written by Admin on . Posted in Boeke, Dienste-Communitas, Spiritualiteit

be not anxiousBe Not Anxious: Pastoral Care of Disquieted Souls
Allan Hugh Cole Jr.
224 pages; dimensions (in inches): 6 x 9; 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8028-6310-2
$20.00 sagteband

Kort resensie: Coenie Burger
Hierdie is een van die heel beste en interessantste boeke wat ek nog gelees het oor die moeilike onderwerp van angs en depressie. Die krag van die boek lê waarskynlik daarin dat Cole nie net sielkundig met hierdie onderwerpe omgaan nie, maar ook baie moeite doen om te kyk wat die groot teoloë deur die eeue daaroor te sê gehad het.  Die verdere wins is dat Cole dit regkry om baie verstaanbaar (en pastoraal) te skryf oor hierdie moeilike sake.
`n Mens sou die inhoud van die boek in vier dele kon opdeel.

  • Hy begin met `n beskrywing van wat hy noem “die baie gesigte van angs”.
  • Daarna – vir my was dit die interessantste deel – bespreek hy tien teoloë se gedagtes en sienings oor angs – oa Luther, Calvyn, Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, Barth, Niebuhr, Tillich en Moltmann. Die boek is die moeite werd om te koop net vir hierdie hoofstuk!
  • In die derde deel behandel hy drie sielkundige sienings van angs (Freud, Stack Sullivan en Aaron Beck).
  • In die laaste paar hoofstukke probeer hy praktiese raad gee aan leraars wat mense met angs probeer bystaan en help.

Ek kan die boek baie, baie sterk aanbeveel. Cole is `n jonger stem na wie `n mens kan luister.

Kommentaar deur Pierre Goosen

In terme van die praktiese raad in die laaste drie hoofstukke is daar onder andere drie aspekte waaraan hy aandag gee en wat die dominee van hulp kan wees om iemand wat met angstigheid (in ‘n toestand van disoriëntasie) verkeer te help.

Hy wys op die mens se behoefte om te behoort en bespreek die rol van die Kerk en gemeentes in die verband.
Hy bespreek die sewe kategorieë wat Pruyser, Minister as Diagnostician,  bekendgestel het as “guidelines for pastoral diagnosis”  en gee dit ‘n vars toepassing as instrument vir die dominee.

Hy bespreek die beginsels van kognitiewe terapie vir gebruik in die pastoraat en wys hoe dit toegepas kan word aan die persoon met angs(-tigheid).

In ‘n laaste hoofstuk wys hy op die belang van geloofsgewoontes waarin ‘n stuk vastigheid lê vir die persoon in disharmonie.
 
‘n Baie stimulerende boek met baie toepassings moontlikhede.


Description (Eerdmans)
As Allan Cole knows firsthand, both personally and pastorally, Christians are not immune from anxiety, and many believers go to their church leaders for support and solace. This helpful book draws on narrative approaches to theology and counseling to suggest how pastoral caregivers may effectively minister to anxious persons.
Be Not Anxious provides pastors and other caregivers with a basic understanding of anxiety, including how to identify those suffering from it and how to get at what is making them anxious. Cole focuses both on cognitive-based methods and on common faith practices — church membership, frequent worship, prayer, Bible reading, service, and confession — showing how these may provide relief from anxiety. By addressing the roles of both psychiatry and ministry as co-liberators from anxiety, he leads the pastor and the faith community in helping disquieted souls to find rest.

 

Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible

Written by Admin on . Posted in Boeke, Dienste-Communitas, Dogmatiek

Dictionary_Theol Interpretation of BibleDictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible

Vanhoozer, Kevin J. 
Baker/SPCK. 2005
896 pages
ISBN: 0-8010-2694-6
$27.50

Kort resensie deur Coenie Burger
Baker het met die publikasie van hierdie woordeboek ons `n groot guns gedoen. Hulle het een van die knapste jonger teoloë Kevin Vanhoozer gebruik om vir ons `n uitstekende, ensiklopediese eenband-volume oor Bybelinterpretasie te bring.
Ensiklopedieë en woordeboeke is nie maklik om te skryf nie.  Sommige woordeboeke se bydraes is so kort en bondig dat jy nie regtig iets daarmee kan maak nie.  Ander weer is so lank en uitvoerig dat die eindproduk te duur geword het (vgl bv Eerdmans se uitstekende vyfbandreeks oor Ensiklopedie van die Christendom).
My positiewe gevoel oor hierdie bundel het veral te doen met die feit dat Vanhoozer-hulle raakskiet wat die lengte van die opstelle betref. Jy kan redelik vinnig `n oorsig oor `n tema kry en heelwat informasie wat jou `n goeie greep om die saak gee.
Uiteraard kan jy in een bundel net soveel temas dek.  Maar ook wat dit betref het hulle goed gedoen. Die fokus is op Bybelinterpretasie. Dus is al die hermeneutiese temas daar; ook goeie inleidings op al die  Bybelboeke en dan ook goeie en soliede bespreking van die belangrikste groot temas van die Bybel en teologie.

Ek kan die boek sterk aanbeveel.


Description (Christian Books.com)
Today’s biblical interpreter, whether scholar, student, or pastor, is faced with a plethora of philosophies and methods for interpreting Scripture. Postmodern trends have emphasized one’s community identity in shaping interpretation, leading to differing conclusions. In addition, modern biblical interpretation has too often been characterized by a schism between the disciplines of exegesis and theology. The Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible is a groundbreaking reference tool that seeks first of all to marry the tasks of exegesis and theology with the goal of theological interpretation of Scripture that is, interpretation that has recovered a focus on the subject matter of Scripture: the nature and activity of God and the gospel. Second, it aims to provide a guide to understanding various interpretative approaches and a tool for evaluating them in light of this goal. The dictionary covers a wide range of topics related to biblical interpretation with both depth and clarity. Topics include the theological interpretation of individual books of the Bible, issues of hermeneutics, various biblical interpreters and interpretative communities, and the interplay of interpretation with various doctrines and doctrinal themes. The contributors represent a diverse range of theological backgrounds and interpretative approaches and are experts in their respective fields.

Providence and Prayer: How does God work in the world?

Written by Admin on . Posted in Boeke, Dienste-Communitas, Spiritualiteit

providence and prayerProvidence and Prayer: How does God work in the world?
Tiessen, Terrance
IVP. 2000. April 2000
432 pages (sagteband)
ISBN: 978-0-8308-1578-4
$29.00

 

Kort resensie deur Coenie Burger
Ek merk in die laaste tyd dat lidmate en predikante meer oor gebed praat en uitvra as wat `n mens vir `n tyd lank gewoond was om te hoor. In ons eie streek het ons verlede jaar `n baie geseënde konferensie oor die onderwerp gehad.  Ek weet van min resente boeke wat met meer teologiese diepte oor die onderwerp handel as Tiessen se Providence and Prayer.
Die boek handel baie spesifiek oor voorbidding en die vraag hoe (en “of”) ons gebede God se handelinge in die wêreld beïnvloed – dit is seker die heel moeilikste vraag oor gebed.
Tiessen het `n uitvoerige en uitgebreide studie oor die saak gedoen en bespreek in die boek elf verskillende maniere waarop mense die vraag beantwoord.  Hy begin by wat hy noem `n semi-deïstiese model en eindig by fatalisme.  In die proses gee hy aandag aan heelwat van die belangrike teoloë se standpunte oor die saak.  Hy kyk na bekendes soos Barth, Aquinas en Calvyn, maar ook na ander soos Brummer, Whitehead, Polkinghorn, Kaufmann, en vele ander.
Die meer interessante en aktuele modelle is nie die ekstreme op die kant nie, maar diè in die middel.  Tiessen uiteindelik self kies vir `n variasie van Calvyn se verstaan van die voorsieningheid en voorbidding.
Die groot waarde van boek lê waarskynlik daarin dat dit juis die temas van gebed en voorsieningheid in verband bring met mekaar. Ons gedagte kan baie skeefloop as ons net wil dink oor hoe ons God se planne kan beïnvloed. Die ander vraag in die boek – wat eintlik die belangrike een is – is die vraag hoe God vandag nog in ons wêreld besig is om te werk.  Die groot wins van die boek is dat dit ons wil help om oor die vraag na te dink – sodat ons met meer verantwoordelikheid daaroor kan praat.
Ek kan die boek baie sterk aanbeveel.  Dit verduidelik en sistematiseer `n groot klomp informasie en doen dit op `n helder en verantwoordelike manier. 


About this book (IVP)
“Lord, please give me a parking space!”
That prayer sounds right on your third time around the block, frustrated and late for an appointment. But is it consistent with how God works in the world?
Does prayer change God’s mind or only our feelings? Does God do things because we ask him to? Or do we ask him because he prompts us to do so? How much control does God really have in the world, anyway? If he has given us free will, can he always guarantee that things will happen as he intends or wishes? Is our need for parking spaces important enough to bother God, or is he only concerned about things that advance his program of salvation?
If God has already decided how things will turn out, what use is it to pray? On the other hand, if our freedom limits God’s ability to achieve his wishes all the time, how much could he do even if we asked for help? How much does God know about the future, and how does this factor into the way our prayers affect the outcome? And how does God’s relationship to time enter into the whole equation?
With such questions in mind, Terrance Tiessen presents ten views of providence and prayer–and then adds an eleventh, his own. He describes each view objectively and then tackles the question, If this is the way God works in the world, how then should we pray? The result of his investigation is a book that puts us at the intersection between theological reflection and our life and conversation with God. It prods and sharpens our understanding, making us better theologians and better prayers.