Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Mathole, Ezekiel Mokwele Katiso firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-10032005-145427 Document Title The Christian witness in the context of poverty with special reference to the South African Charismatic Evangelicals Degree PhD Department Science of Religion and Missiology Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof P G J Meiring Supervisor Keywords
- Christian witness
- Charismatic Evangelical
- Kingdom of God
Date 2005-03-10 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe topic of my study is: The Christian witness in the context of poverty, with special reference to South African Charismatic Evangelicals. The big challenge that I am addressing is the endemic poverty that is facing our entire nation. The issue of the Christianís response to poverty needs to be addressed adequately. In this case, particularly, the focus is on the response of the Charismatic Evangelical Church to the plight of the poor. Poverty is more than just a theoretical theological question. Poverty is about existential problems faced by real people in their struggle for freedom from powerlessness and marginalization. Therefore, I seek to reflect on the many human faces of poverty in South Africa, highlighting the causes of poverty and the unique experiences of the poor.
I am also exploring the theological foundations of the Church and its witness amongst the poor. Reading through the Scriptures one discovers the foundational principles that are imperative in defining the Churchís mission, ministry and message. This is followed by a theological reflection on key aspects of poverty eradication in the 20th Century. This includes a reflection on relief, development, transformation and sustainability. These concepts have all influenced various responses of Christians in dealing with the issue of poverty in their witness.
Poverty should not continue unabated in the Christian community, the very people who received the commission to minister to the poor in their suffering from the Lord Jesus Himself. Throughout the centuries, the Church was challenged to minister to the poor in distress. The challenge has not disappeared. In our time, in our country, also in the circles of Charismatic Evangelical Christians, we are called to respond to the cry of the poor. Thus, in this study I present a brief background to the Charismatic Evangelicals in South Africa, looking at their fundamental teachings and theology, and the development of their missiological thinking when facing the realities of poverty. This is followed by their practical responses to poverty, based on a report on interviews that have been conducted with various leaders within the Charismatic Evangelical Church, which often has been accused of being apolitical and socially irrelevant.
Finally, I reflect on the conclusions that I have drawn on how the Charismatic Evangelical Churches have reconceptualized their Christian Witness amongst the poor. I examine the manner in which they have pursued an empowering ministry in poor communities, and how they have consolidated their theological and practical positions in their ministry to eradicate poverty.
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