Only the deliberate sinner is therefore damned being a child of Satan. The Scripture shows this clearly. Therefore to preach for everyone to be saved from hell that is, just punishment means to condemn the world — something Jesus said he came not to do — and to declare God unjust. Adding to the good news mentioned here, is the good news that in knowing the truth one does not have to live in the darkness of ignorance any longer; however, those that resist the truth will bring on themselves destruction. Introduction The purpose of this paper is to provide a documented overview of the major "Christian" sects, or what some have called cults.
Bibliology: The Source of Authority The source of doctrinal authority for spiritual truth is crucial. Acknowledgement by sects that the Bible is the inspired word of God Mormonism: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I have had no other guide in "the straight and narrow way" of Truth. In following these leadings of scientific revelation, the Bible was my only textbook. Our obligation is to back up what is said herein by quotations from the Bible for proof of truthfulness and reliability.
After we have let The Word speak, we must accordingly harmonize our beliefs, our actions, and our living. After we receive the inheritance of the Christian church we will be free to teach without the Bible. Ye were also in the beginning with the Father But, as I was only a scribe echoing the harmonies of heaven in divine metaphysics, I cannot be super-modest in my estimate of the Christian Science textbook. First: Because it is the voice of Truth to this age, and contains the full statement of Christian Sciences, or the Science of healing through Mind.
Second: Because it was the first book known, containing a thorough statement of Christian Science. Hence it gave the first rules for demonstrating this Science, and registered the revealed Truth uncontaminated by human hypotheses. They believe that the Bible, which they now have, is perfect and absolute in itself. Sects' claims that Jesus is not fully God Mormonism: "The divinity of Jesus is the truth which now requires to be received Hence he is called "the only begotten Son" of God, for God has no partner in bringing forth his first-begotten Son.
He was not Deity Sects' explanations of Jesus' "actual" identity Mormonism: "Jesus Christ is not the Father of the spirits who have taken or yet shall take bodies upon this earth, for He is one of them. He is The Son as they are sons or daughters of Elohim. Jesus is the name of the man who, more than all other men, has presented Christ, the true idea of God Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ.
Thus he is ranked with God's creation, being first among them and also most beloved and most favored among them. He is not the author of the creation of God; but, after God had created him as his firstborn Son, then God used him as his working Partner in the creating of all the rest of creation. It is so stated at Colossians and at John , NW. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ was a man conceived by the Holy Spirit, God, whose life was without blemish and without spot, a lamb from the flock, thereby being the perfect sacrifice. Thus he became our redeemer. Never is he called "God the Son" By sheer weight of this evidence alone, 50 to 4, the truth should be evident.
Soteriology: The Work of Christ on the Cross The Bible claims that man's acceptance with God is based entirely on Christ's work on the cross, completely apart from man's works for God Gal.
The Last Temptation
Sects' explanations of Christ's death on the cross Mormonism: "Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offenses are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf. That God's wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son, is divinely unnatural.
One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin. The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon "the accursed tree", than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father's business. Rather, trinitarian dogma He was crucified before He could marry. It was never God's predetermined purpose that He die. Sects' statements on the conditions for salvation Mormonism: "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
You conquer error by denying its verity. Therefore physical restoration is still to be accomplished by another Messiah at the Second Advent. Sects' positions on the return of Christ Christian Science: "The second appearing of Jesus is, unquestionably, the spiritual advent of the advancing idea of God, as in Christian Science. It is a marked coincidence that those dates were the first two years of my discovery of Christian Science. It does not mean he is on the way or has promised to come, but that he has already arrived and is here. We are not to expect the return of Jesus himself, but another Messiah - a man who will be born in Korea He will be confirmed as the Messiah through the spirit world.
Sects' positions on the fate of unbelievers Mormonism: "We need a little more explanation as to just what we mean by unconditional redemption. That means to restore us from this mortal state to the immortal state; in other words, to give unto us the resurrection. This comes to every creature, not only to men but also to the fish, the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the field All of them had spiritual existence before they were placed upon the earth; therefore they are to be redeemed.
There they are "doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels, in eternity"; for their sin "there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come". Their torment will be endless, for "their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment - and the end thereof, neither the place thereof, nor their torment, no man knows. This kingdom, which will be located on this earth after its renewal, 'is prepared for the righteous, those who have been faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord, and have been cleansed of all their sins.
This kingdom will be located on some sphere other than the earth, presumably another plant. Into this kingdom the following will go: Accountable persons who die without law Those who reject the gospel in this life and who reverse their course and accept it in the spirit world; Honorable men of the earth who are blinded by the craftiness of men and who therefore do not accept and live the gospel law; Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints If man should not progress after death, but should remain in error, he would be inevitably self-annihilated.
Moon so that they can develop into divine spirits. Evil people will go through a similar reincarnation procedure. The law of Karma is operative in this procedure, for, ' Communication Guidelines It is not enough for the Christian to able to discern false doctrine and defend true doctrine.
Treat the other person with love and respect. One of the most common mistakes in dealing with sect-members is to regard them as the enemy to be defeated. It is imperative to remember that it is the thought system itself, not the adherent to it, that is to be defeated II Cor. The person involved in the sect is to be rescued from the false system Jude 22, A sincere attitude of love and respect for the person is necessary for this to happen.
Avoid heated argumentation and any form of abusive speech. Stay focused on essential doctrines. The focus should stay on the essential doctrines of scripture and how the teaching of the sect denies them. Avoid getting into many of the particulars of the sect. They may be interesting, but tend to move the focus of the discussion away from essential scriptural doctrine. Also avoid attacking the founder or history of the sect. This kind of argumentation is fallacious: the behavior of the followers can neither verify nor falsify the sect's doctrines.
Christianity would fall prey to the same kind of attack, as any experienced sect member will be quick to point out! Be prepared to ask specific and repeated questions about the sect's stand on essential doctrines. Some sects school their people to avoid discussing concrete areas of doctrine. When this is the case, the Christian should insist that a clear answer be given to the doctrine in question. Be prepared to discuss hermeneutics. Sect members are usually aware of the biblical passages which contradict their doctrines as well as the ones which supposedly support them. Because of this fact, the discussion will often center around the interpretation of the given texts.
The Christian should be able to defend his interpretation of texts which support essential doctrines, and refute the wrong interpretation of the texts used by the sect member. Respond to people according their degree of openness. It is unwise to have the same immediate goals for all people involved in a sect.
Several factors should be considered in forming a realistic goal for the discussion: Is the person a highly committed sect member, perhaps engaged in evangelism? Luther introduced two authorities i. Both are ordained by God as forces to combat the empire of Satan. Christians are subject to both authorities; firstly, however, to the spiritual authority and because they are subject to both authorities, Christians cannot live exclusively in either the spiritual 'kingdom' or the civil 'kingdom' McGrath This theory helped to strengthen the separation of state and church.
John Calvin's theology was one which took the believer's responsibility in the world more seriously than Luther. For Calvin, the Christ who was exalted to God's right hand was pre-eminently the active Christ. In a sense, Calvin subscribed to an eschatology in the process of being fulfilled. He used the term regnum Christi [the reign of Christ] in this respect McKim , viewing the church as intermediary between the exalted Christ and the secular order.
Such a theological point of departure could not but give rise to the idea of mission as 'extending the reign of Christ', both by the inward spiritual renewal of individuals and by transforming the face of the earth through filling it with 'the knowledge of the Lord' McKim This particular view led Calvin into bringing about social transformation in Geneva. He believed that the best possible way to transform society was to make it a truly Christian community. It is interesting to note how he linked his religious views with the transformation of society. He believed that his own time was caught up in a spiritual and moral crisis whose resolution required his own ardent efforts.
To set the world right was what he was most insistently 'called' to do; 'God sends prophets and teachers', he proclaimed, 'to bring the world to order' Bouwsma This is what he attempted to do in Geneva. Calvin's programme for dealing with the problems of his own age was based on his conception of God as ' legislateur et roy' [Ruler] of the universe.
It was crucial for him 'that God governs us' Bouwsma Sermon No. This meant that religious reform pointed also to the reform of the secular realm. Calvin added that believers 'truly worship God by the righteousness they maintain within their society'. For those acquainted only with the characteristic theological face of Calvin, it must be noted that Calvin's theological thinking, like all great classic theologians, was deeply involved with the structures and realities of everyday life. Graham observes that:. For Calvin the world was to be taken seriously, and for him the real world involved shoemakers, printers, and clockmakers, as well as farmers, scholars, knights, and clergymen.
Calvin's world-affirming theology is quite apparent. It must be made clear, however, that even though Calvin argued for Christian involvement in the world he maintained a clear position about the world to come. In this sense the Christian stance which Calvin urges is a via media. Christians are to live midway between the 'brutish love of this world' Inst.
What separates godly people from the worldly is 'their opposite attitudes to this present world and beyond' Ins. With this view in mind Calvin attempted to transform the society of his day. It was an endeavour to create a better world in which everyone could live with justice, righteousness and peace. By and large, we know from Calvin's preaching that he tried to reform Geneva from the pulpit and state policies.
Whereas medieval society was largely one where common men were non-participants:. Calvinism taught previously passive men [ sic ] the styles and methods of political activity and enabled them successfully to claim the right of participation in that on-going system of political action that is the modem state.
Graham Here again is evident a responsibility for society fostered by the Calvinist insistence that the will of God must extend to the total community. Like Luther, Calvin expressed a particular concern for the poor. He pointed out that the poor, in fact, serve a positive function in God's overall scheme of things. As his procureurs or receveurs , they serve as a type of barometer of the faith and charity of the Christian community:.
God sends us the poor as his receivers. And although the alms are given to mortal creatures, yet God accepts and approves them and puts them to one's account, as if we had placed in his hands that which we give to the poor. Sermon 95 on Deut [CO For this reason he severely criticised, 'the apparently liberal, who yet do not feel for the miseries of their brothers' Commentary on 1 Jn [CNTC Calvin did not oppose wealth as such; he, however, was concerned that God's gifts be used for the relief of the whole community of God's people.
Indeed, if there is any central theme in Calvin's social and economic thought, it is that wealth comes from God in order to be used to aid our brethren. The solidarity of the human community is such that it is inexcusable for some to have plenty and others to be in need. Calvin considered poverty a serious problem. He believed that it was the Christian's responsibility to address this issue. Calvin and his pastors lived in conditions close to poverty, raising funds for the needy and lobbying the state to act for the poor. He employed the traditional organic metaphor for society as found in Ac ft , in which, as he wrote, no member has 'power for itself nor applies it to its own private use, but each pours it out to the fellow members'; what chiefly matters is 'the common advantage of the whole body' Inst.
Occasionally he identified this community with the whole human race. This particular view generally yielded, for him, to a more practical view of community based on neighbourhood. What we see here in Calvin's teachings is that we have moral responsibility as individuals, to act with personal integrity and show love towards one another. But we also have a collective responsibility for the society in which we live. We cannot act justly as individuals, if structures within which we live are unjust.
The vision of Christianity then is a corporate vision to transform the world in which we live. In Calvin's view money and goods ought to circulate in human society to the welfare of all. Humanity in solidarity one with another would participate in contributing according to one's vocation to the good of all. He maintained that the church teaches and acts to promote equality and restore human solidarity. It helps people to put their property to use of all. Calvin saw the governing authorities as the agents of God for the welfare of the people.
He thus condemned the rich and powerful who exploited their material edge to increase the poverty of the poor. He insisted on personal morality, righteousness and hard work. He seriously attacked the lazy who did not contribute towards a working society. His stress on hard labour led to a distorted view that linked hard labour with salvation. However, Calvin certainly did not intend this. He rather assumes hard work, but he wanted it clearly understood that hard labour did not give wealth. Only God provides wealth. No one will be advanced unless God advances him or her.
Calvin's stress on hard labour was to be taken and used by the capitalists to justify their personal ego, greed and selfish-acquisitiveness see, for example, Weber Preston points out, 'Calvinism did crystallise its ethic round the new commercial society, and in a more confused way Catholic moral theologians were to follow' Preston Tawney rightly points out that in an age of impersonal finance, world markets and capitalist organisations, the church tried to moralise economic relations by treating every transaction as a law of personal conduct in Preston This is to say that in its individualism it failed to comprehend the new structures of economic life and the power relations that went with them.
Traditional Christian thought on social issues became increasingly irrelevant, and in the end capitulated uncritically to the laissez faire view of the state and the economic order. The latter, however, was not intended. This view is supported by an examination of Calvin's interest in the welfare of the poor. Calvin's concern for the poor resulted in his attempt to transform his society, especially in Geneva.
He concerned himself with the issues of commerce and economic justice Olson His theology was not disembodied, divorced from the realities of life where labourers and employers are often at odds over economic matters. Calvin realised that because of the nature of humanity and the sinfulness all of our institutions, our endeavours are to some extent motivated by self-interest, pride and greed.
Yet his is a 'world-affirming theology' in the sense that he sought to apply the gospel to all of life. For him, that meant seeking the guidance of scripture for the problems besetting humanity, particularly those besetting the citizens of Geneva. Thus Calvin as a theologian and pastor became involved in everyday matters as diverse as the high cost of dying, hospitals, sumptuary laws and the regulation of business and industry and the question of wages Olson Calvin and Farel instituted the first free public education for both sexes.
Beyond the welfare system and education the work of Calvin and the pastors reached out to suggestions for railings to protect children on stairs and balconies. Fires and chimneys were regulated and efforts were made to clean the town and for street repair.
Regulation of prices for the necessities of life was an accepted principle of the early reformation in Geneva McKim At the heart of the reformation was the intent to reform, revive and renew the church. In their minds the church was not standing up to the realities of its time in confronting financial corruption, sexual immorality and political power.
Reformers such as Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and others called for the 'reawakening' of the Church to address these issues.
"Christian" Cults and Sects | Xenos Christian Fellowship
In so doing they did not hesitate to point out the inadequacies and corruption of the church which impacted on its life, work, witness and theology. Thus the 16th century Protestant Reformation was an attempt to reform and transform both church and society. The Reformation embraced a number of quite distinct, yet overlapping, areas of human activity: the reform of both the morals and structures of church and society, new approaches to political issues, shifts in economics thinking, the renewal of Christian spirituality and the reform of Christian doctrine McGrath The Reformers generally advocated an involvement with the world though not all of them, for example, the Anabaptist.
However, unlike the Middle Ages, they went a step further in the attempt to transform society. And this they engaged as they influenced social and economic policies of the government of the day Stivers It is thus not surprising that some 'secular interpretations' tend to discount the importance of the religious element in the Reformation. They simply state that Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli and others are products of their socio-economic and political backgrounds and circumstances Van Der Walt Further, the school of social history that views the religious motives behind the Reformation as marginal phenomena specific to the period has, not surprisingly, found the thesis that the Reformation failed to be very attractive Oberman As Gerald Strauss argues, the 'official Christianity' throughout the centuries was able to capture only a very narrow elite layer of the population, not the 'underground' constituted by popular culture Strauss It can be said of Luther and Calvin, for example, that they did have a vision of the 'common man' and wanted to remodel faith in a practical and lasting way.
However, did they want or attempt to realise Reformation in the terms of transformation? Steven Ozment offers a significant affirmative comment in response to this question:. There can be no doubt that other factors played a role but the religious one cannot be ignored. The Reformation movement did not only renew and change the church leaving the world uninvolved. This movement intervened dramatically in the lives of all and brought about radical changes in the social, political and economic aspects of a new developing world.
It gave rise to a new epoch in the history of humankind. And all through this time there were small groups of Christians who kept to the task of transforming the lives of the poor. It is thus not surprising that one of the theological miracles of the late 20th century is the rediscovery of the biblical witness to God's particular concern for the poor and oppressed.
We shall now show this by focusing on the church in South Africa. The church as transformation and change agency in South Africa. The early missionaries, especially in the 19th century, are to be commended for sowing the seed from which the black churches of the 20th century grew. They did extensive evangelistic work and built churches, schools and hospitals. John de Gruchy points out that Black Theology has its foundations in the work of the early missionaries:. The church has been involved in the establishment of society, though its contributions were not at all times positive.
In South Africa the Dutch Reformed Church, in particular, used its economic and political power to secure the rights of the white minority, seriously impoverishing the majority black people in South Africa, and even providing theological justification for such economic and political policies by misinterpreting Calvin's theology. This was evident in the policy of separate development which led to the rich white getting richer and the poor black getting poorer. This is a classic example of how Reformed theology was [ ab ]used to perpetuate racial and economic injustice.
Duchrow points out that we need to today understand and judge the theological positions of the Reformation and the resultant churches on the double criteria: 1 are they life-enhancing? This is precisely what Allan Boesak did in his academic contributions, preaching, church leadership and in his brief stint in politics. Particularly outstanding is his theological contributions and his pioneering efforts to interpret Reformed theology in the South African and African context. Given the devastating misinterpretation of Reformed theology and tradition in the justification of apartheid, Boesak managed to recapture the true essence of what Reformed theology is all about.
His books Farewell to Innocence and Black and Reformed , among others, are incredible attempts to cast a new light on Reformed theology while seriously engaging the black experience and context. This is further explored in his endeavour to connect the concept and quest for an African renaissance with Christian theology and faith which he does so well in his book The Tenderness of Conscience In essence, living under apartheid the ecumenical church had no real choice but to fight for the majority of people who were poor and oppressed.
In living out the gospel it attempted to transform society and enhance the quality of life of the poor and oppressed. In this sense the church has a history of being a transformation and change agent in South Africa. This can be seen by some of the things we will now mention. In October a circular was sent to heads of churches and superintendents of missions to investigate their attitude towards the Bantu Education Act.
The Committee believed that the Act would violate certain principles of education. This greatly stirred the Sharpeville incident in , and the subsequent banning of black organisations. The result was the Cottesloe Consultation, led mainly by dissatisfied Reformed Christians reacting to racism, in December which attempted to address 'Christian race relations and social problems in South Africa'.
Clearly, one can see from this that the CCSA was working towards the transformation of the human person and community, free from discrimination, racism, exploitation and oppression. Assisted by the World Council of Churches, a Department of Inter-Church Aid was started in , to collect and distribute funds for disaster relief and community development projects.
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The SACC became more and more a place where the Churches could witness together on the problems which faced them in South Africa - above all, the social and political problems produced by the government's apartheid policy. Further, the evil of apartheid was clearly exposed in two documents that attempted to express a Christian and theological understanding of South African society: The Message to the People of South Africa and The Kairos Document The message was a serious attempt to interpret what the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ means and implies within our complex and difficult situation Balia The key question concerning the message was: Who does my first loyalty go to - a human being; an ethnic group; a tradition; a political ideology or to Christ?
The document called on Christians to be truthful to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to be aware of the false gospel apartheid. The message stated that apartheid by its very nature is both divisive and antithetical of a just social order and reconciliation. Hence, it established that the struggle for justice is for the sake of overcoming the alienation of our social order and enabling reconciliation between the conflicting parties to become a reality De Gruchy The most significant fact that emerges here is that the 'message' drew the church into addressing the socio-economic and political injustices of the time.
This was to be further enhanced by the formulation of the Kairos Document much later. The Kairos Document is a Christian, biblical and theological commentary on the political crisis in the country that took seriously the experiences of black people. The document spoke of the crisis in the church, which was born out of the divisions in the church. Consequently three trends developed from these divisions, that is, state, church and prophetic theology. The document challenged the state on its ideologies and condemned apartheid as a heresy. Firstly, it pointed out that church theology lacked social analysis and that the analysis of apartheid that underpins its theology is simply inadequate.
Secondly, this theology lacked an adequate understanding of politics and political strategy. Changing the structures of a society is fundamentally a matter of politics. It requires a political strategy based upon a clear social or political analysis. The Church has to address itself to these strategies and to the analyses upon which they are based. It is into this political situation that the Church has to bring the gospel. Hence there is no way of bypassing politics and political strategies.
Thirdly, it challenged the type of faith and spirituality that has dominated church life for centuries. Spirituality has tended to be an other-world affair that has very little, if anything at all, to do with the affairs of this world. Social and political matters were seen as worldly affairs that have nothing to do with the spiritual concerns of the church. The Kairos Document rejected this notion. It asserted that the Bible does not separate the human person from the world, in which he or she lives; it does not separate the individual from the social, or one's private life from one's public life.
God redeems the whole person as part of God's whole creation. Hence a truly biblical spirituality would penetrate into every aspect of human existence and would exclude nothing from God's redemptive will. We see in this document a new theological orientation in South Africa that directed itself to a radical social involvement. The document did not give a blueprint for an alternative political future, but challenged the church to side with God by deliberately supporting the oppressed and poor.
The ecumenical movement in South Africa identified itself with the poor as it joined forces with the exploited working class. Embracing liberation theology, it insisted that God is on the side of the poor and it therefore joined with the poor to fight for justice and human rights. In seeking the liberation of the oppressed it radically opposed the structures that dehumanised the masses. It encouraged the participation of the poor in the processes of enabling them to become more human and took up the struggle for justice. For Allan Boesak, who comes from the Reformed tradition, the issue of justice is crucial; it is part and parcel to the Christian Gospel.
In fact, it is the declaration of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Whenever Christians speak out and act against injustice, inequality and the dehumanisation of the human being, they serve as the ambassadors and servants of Christ. Boesak singles out the Belhar Confession in this respect where it states:. Boesak points out that this Confession helps us to, firstly, stand up and be counted for the poor and the destitute, and secondly, to stand where God stands. Not just in front of, in protection, but alongside, in solidarity of struggle.
Not in mere sympathy but in identification with. The church must do that not because it is obsessed with the poor, but as the possession of God, in Whom its grounds of being, its identity is found Boesak It actively resisted the apartheid laws that were imposed on the majority people in South Africa by calling for disinvestments and international sanctions on South Africa. The World Alliance of Reformed Churches played a vital role in this regard by suspending the membership of the Dutch Reformed Church and supporting the call for disinvestments in South Africa.
The SACC played a very vital role in the demise of apartheid, and it continued to play a role in the reconstruction and transformation of South Africa since then. It is not possible to cover these details in this study but the point I wish to make here is that the ecumenical church in South Africa has always served in the role of bringing about transformation and change. Originally the whole phenomenon of African Independent Christianity was interpreted as a protest against the Westernisation of the Christian mission in South Africa.
More recent research has shown that the complex phenomenon of the AICs cannot be attributed simplistically to a single protest factor Saayman It can be established that the rise of the AICs was an attempt to preserve, develop and transform the African community and way of life. The AICs, especially the Zionists, attempted to develop and give expression to the African way of life. This quest was further realised in the rise of African Christian Theology. African Christian Theology is a deliberate attempt to strip Christianity of non-essential additions.
African Christian Theology is a decision by Africans to worship God as Africans and to look at and interpret the Bible from an African perspective. It attempts to build on the existing African religious tradition Pobee It tries to tap the resources of the entire African community in arts, literature, sculpture and all human and academic disciplines. The concern of African Theology is to attempt to use African concepts and African ethos as vehicles for the communication of the Gospel in an African context.
This, undoubtedly, is a further indication of the role the church played and continues to play in the transformation of society and community. This ecumenical impact on missional thinking can be seen in South Africa today. Many are of the opinion that ecumenism in South Africa is dying, and this view is largely associated with the struggles of the SACC to survive, mainly financially. In my opinion, ecumenism is not dying; instead, it is morphing into something new. This new development is not driven by ecclesiology, doctrine, tradition and denominationalism but by a missional focus.
How can we exercise a prophetic voice together? How can we journey with the poor? The evangelical churches, in particular, are at the forefront seeking to influence government and business with the gospel. Sometimes one wonders whether their goal in mission is Christianisation or transformation. Whatever the intentions, one thing is sure that we are experiencing what I call a missional revolution with the intention of inspiring, motivating, equipping and nurturing Christian disciples. We are realising that the goal is not to get people to church but to get the church into the world - to transform the world with the justice and peace of God so that all may experience the 'fullness of life' on the earth.
In this endeavour the church has to work with government, business and labour and other religious bodies to create a better life for all people. In a recent meeting The World Communion of Reformed Churches had with Pope Francis 10th June in the Vatican to discuss Reformed-Catholic relationships, he pointed out that 'our faith in Jesus impels us to live charity through concrete gestures capable of affecting our way of life, our relationships and the world around us' p.
In this context he heightened the role of the church as an 'Agent for Justice'. He went further to state: 'There is urgent need for an ecumenism that, along with theological dialogue aimed at settling traditional doctrinal disagreements between Christians, can promote a shared mission of evangelisation and service '. It is the latter that is of significant interest today. The world is not so much interested in what we believe today but in what the church is doing to transform society and the world so that justice and peace may prevail.
In this article, we have shown that the Christian church has always been involved in the transformation of society, especially as it took sides with the poor and oppressed. At times it seemed to have lost this focus, but somehow, throughout the ages, it has managed to sustain this mission responsibility. Today, more than ever, given the increasing poverty, violence and injustices in the world, the Christian church is called upon to embrace, engage and continue with its task of being an agent for transformation and change.
It has to fulfil the gospel imperative of making the world a better place for all to live with justice, peace and harmony. The author declares that he has no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article. Balia, D. Batey, R. A social-ethical study of black theology and power , Ravan, Sandton, South Africa.
Boesak, A. Bosch, D. Bouwsma, W. Cannon, W.
Cochrane, C. De Gruchy, J. De Santa Ana, J. Duchrow, U. Hopf, Berlin. Elliston, E. Frend, W. Graham, W. Henry, P. Hunt, E. Kairos Document, , 'The Kairos document', in W. Logan ed. McGrath, A. McKim, D. McNeal, R. Nurnberger, K. Oberman, H. Olson, J. Ozment, S. Perkins, J. Burrus ed. Pillay, J. Pobee, J. Preston, R. Saayman, W.
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Prozesky ed. Scott, W. Sugden eds. Sider, R. Stanmaugh, J. Stivers, R. Strauss, G. Tanner, N. Tauris, New York. Van Der Walt, B. Von Harnack, A. Walker, W. Clark Ltd, Edinburgh. Warneck, G. Weber, M. Winter, B. Correspondence : Jerry Pillay jerry. Received: 22 Sept. Project Leader: J. Pillay Project Number: 1 To transform, dictionaries say, is 'to change in character or condition, to alter in function or nature'. The noun transformation then refers to the action of bringing about such a change.
The Greek-derived synonym of this Latin-based word is metamorphosis. Such movements, more often than not, attempted to transform their own societies, or at least to focus on both evangelisation and service to the poor, the marginalised and the oppressed. Thus, it is natural that the missions coming out of such movements took the same concerns for the poor and oppressed to their fields of labour. Others feel they were a product of cumulative changes in social welfare in the late medieval era. Still others have attributed changes in social welfare to the Renaissance and particularly to interested humanists or to better business practices during the Renaissance.