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What hope is there for South Africa? A public theological reflection on the role of the church as a bearer of hope for the future

Dion A. Forster

HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies; Vol 71, No 3 (2015), 13 pages. doi: 10.4102/hts.v71i3.2814

Submitted: 27 August 2014
Published:  29 April 2015

Abstract

What hope is there for South Africa? What role can the church play as a bearer of hope in South Africa? This article seeks to address these important questions. Firstly, it problematises the contemporary notion of hope in South Africa by showing that it is a complex theological and social concept. Next, a nuanced understanding of hope is presented by adopting a public theological methodology that brings dominant theological perspectives on eschatological hope into dialogue with the most recent statistics about the quality of life in South Africa from 1994, 2004 and 2014. The article proposes that the complexity of Christian hope necessitates an understanding of the present reality that is held in dynamic tension with the desired future – namely a present-futurist eschatology. Finally the article shows that from this vantage point the church, in its various forms and understandings, is able to be a bearer of Christian hope that can contribute towards shaping a better future for South Africa.

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Author affiliations

Dion A. Forster, Faculty of Theology, Systematic Theology, Ethics, and Public Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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ISSN: 0259-9422 (print) | ISSN: 2072-8050 (online)

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