Interfaith Theology: A Lecture for the Interfaith Symposium of the KZN Legislature

Interfaith Theology: A Lecture for the Interfaith Symposium of the KZN Legislature

5th April 2019

Introduction

The quest for the religious sector to advance their participation towards promoting interfaith theology is the subject of this lecture. The religious sector in KwaZulu-Natal to some extent has not addressed the subject of interfaith theology, or theology of religions in the context of science of religion or philosophy of religion, consciously as a body that is conscientiously, and systematically dealt with.

Among other things, the religious sector must deliberately do a mission theology of religion that consciously seeks to attend to social ills and moral regeneration.  This may happen when some entry points can be explored around interfaith dialogue. In this short essay, one would suggest some proposed entry points towards interfaith dialogue that seeks to introduce an interfaith theology.

Theocentric Approach

Engaging in interfaith dialogue that seeks to consciously confront interfaith theology is our challenge of the moment. The theocentric approach according to Knitter (1989) and Samartha (1991) “… makes it possible to recognise the theological significance of other revelations and other experiences of salvation, a point that for many Christian theologians is frightfully difficult even to admit. Theocentricism  allows for an evading quest for the meaning of Jesus Christ (a Saviour) in which neighbours of other faiths can also participate, as in fact they already do, thus opening for Christians undreamed of possibilities of enriching  others and being enriched by them”.

The realisation of the fact that most religions are theocentric may be an entry point of cooperation not for expediency but for joint operation on dealing with the issues of interfaith theology and moral regeneration from a united front of people of faith. Theocentricism is the provision of a united vision of a participatory theology of mission of religion this time of attending to interfaith theology and moral regeneration programmatically and consciously.

Dialogical Pluralism

South Africa and specifically KZN is mainly a society of diversity and religious pluralism. Dialogue in the religious sector, in search of tools of promoting interfaith theology and encouraging moral regeneration should consider the religious plurality and cultural diversity in which we are called together to act in unity. Dialogical pluralism as an entry point for religious cooperation in the quest for interfaith theology is aware that not all faiths use theology to interact with issues. So, a dialogical pluralism acknowledges the identities, the particularities, the peculiarities   and the limitedness of all faiths especially when it comes to social action in the context of interfaith theology and the need for the elevation of moral regeneration, freedom of religion and the quest for justice, peace and righteousness among all people.

Christic Mystery

Dubuis (1991: 183) is proposing a ‘Christic Mystery’ as one entry point towards interfaith joint social action. The notion of Christic Mystery is affirming the Christic element in all religions and cultures. “… The centrality and obligatory pressure of this mystery in any experience of salvation is maintained, as constituting that salvation ; but instead of claiming salvation to be inseparable from Jesus of Nazareth, it is suggesting that Jesus is only one particular  historical manifestation of it among others … Jesus is no longer essentially linked to the mystery. He is one symbol of it among others, a manifestation or expression – perhaps special, perhaps   eminent somehow, but surely not unique. Krishna, for example, or Gautama, the Buddha, are also historical manifestations of the mystery of Christ”.

Caution is taken however that Dubuis (1991) borders too close to the normativity and superiority of Jesus of Nazareth. The concept of Christological pluralism advocates for a pluralism of saving epistemes (epistemologies/ science of knowing) and living experiences of all religions. This concept does not extinguish the claims and identities of other religions. The discussions of the Christic mystery must be brought in the centre of religious dialogue in the spirit of dialogical pluralism.

“One model of reaching common ground on many difficult issues and doctrines, approaches and methodologies which have dominated ecumenical relations since the late 1950’s has been that of dialogue. Dialogue rather than debate, using reason rather than falling back on ideological positions has been successfully employed in many ecumenical circles of theological, political, social and economic discourse. We get our inspiration from the fact that dialogue at the end of it all remains an instrument of final resolve in any dispute including that of land” (Ngoetjana M. L.  2014, unpublished).

Iconic Reductionism

The implication of reductionism is that God is not ashamed to become like us and to be a creature as it happened in Jesus. God was manifest in creation as a person. The interfaith mission theology proposed the implication that God may not be confined in the revelation through one form of creation, a human being. This understanding could open up a possibility of regarding the revelation of God in other religions and cultures in the manner that is culturally and religiously valid for them. This, iconic reductionism implies that God can be revealed in multiple forms. The iconisation of God through many cultures and religions could be one platform of understanding that can enhance interfaith dialogue which may give us a premise of commencing to conceptualise the possibility of religions embracing interfaith theology and championing moral regeneration, religious freedom, justice, peace and righteousness in the world commencing from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Interfaith Symposium.

Love (Agape) towards the Neighbour

Our search for interfaith dialogue can be enhanced and realised when there is a notion of the love for neighbour among religious people. Where there is no mutual love and commitment to a particular social course people of faith are bound to fail in their endeavour to take social action and thus fulfil their mission on earth. Fellow believers must just make up their mind and mend their relationship and make a difference or be counted where matters of social concern and common good bid us work together.

For now let us deal with this short, first lecture. More lectures will come. They will be dealing with interfaith theologies on Koinonia, Diakonia, Kenosis, Liberation Theological perspectives and insights on interfaith relations, mystery of soteriology, the cosmic Christ, pneumatological comprehensions, translational theology and encountering the Saviour anew.

Conclusion

In this short lecture, comments and suggestions were made around the Theocentric Approach, Dialogical Pluralism, the Christic Mystery, Iconic Reductionism and Agape towards people of other faiths in interfaith encounter inquiring about the possibility of deliberately engaging the issues of interfaith theology and the mission of religions towards world peace and justice. This short lecture is supposed to generate themes or topics that may inform the coming interfaith symposium in the province of KZN.

Dr. L M Ngoetjana

Primary Source

Ngoetjana M. L. 1994. A Christian Theology of Mission which Takes the Existence of other Religions Seriously: With Special Reference to Radical Evangelicalism in South Africa. Unpublished Master of Theology Dissertation: University of Natal.

KZNCC REPORT ON SEXUAL REPRODUCTIVE AND HEALTH RIGHTS (SRHR)

KZNCC Report – Community dialogues on Sexuality and LGBTIQ Issues Final report 30 January 2019

In order to intensify the work that the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) has been doing on the issues of human sexuality and the plight of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexed, Intersexed (LGBTI) communities, we went to the churches, church leaders and communities we had workshopped before to see whether there has been any change of heart. In general, like it was with the issue of HIV and AIDS, the churches are moving away from the condemnatory paradigms to more caring attitudes and relations with the LGBTI communities. This report is about progress made so far.

We have published over 200 000 pastoral letters educating churches’, congregants and communities concerning LGBTI issues. Some of the pastoral letters are appended in this report. We shall continue with the same method of producing and disseminating pastoral letters. With the prospect of a new funded programme we are aiming to produce and circulate 400 000 pastoral letters to the 4 regional offices of KZNCC, i.e., KRCC, TAMCC, SKZNCC and MCC i.e., 100 000 per region.

Mediation and Conflict Transformation Workshop !!

Whether you are a pastor, church leader, or denominational official,you may not be sure how to proceed or where to turn when your church (or churches) are in conflict.  Bishop Oscar Siwali of the Southern African Development and Reconstruction Agency (SADRA) in partnership with KwaZulu Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) helps you to faithfully address threats to the viability and effectiveness of your ministry.

Please let us know if we can assist you. Contact Fr. Siyabulela Gidi on 033 345 4819.

 

Incwadi Yokwelusa Mayelana NeNdluzula Eqhubeka kulesisiFundazwe

INCWADI YOKWALUSA MAQONDANA NENDLUZULA YE-KZNCLG

Incwadi Yokwelusa YesiGungu sabaHoli BamaBandla aKwaZulu-Natal Mayelana NeNdluzula Eqhubeka kulesisiFundazwe

31 October 2018

Bafowethu noDadewethu abaThandekayo kuKristu.

Lena yiNcwadi YokweLusa mayelana nokhetho lukazwelonke kanye nezifundazwe lwango-2019.

KwabaseRoma 12:17-19

“Ningaphindiseli-muntu okubi ngokubi; nakani okuhle phambi kwabantu bonke; uma kungenzeka, ngokwenu hlalisanani ngokuthula nabantu bonke;…” isho iNkosi.

Thina siGungu sabaHoli bamaBandla aKwaZulu-Natal (KwaZulu-Natal Church Leaders’ Group – KZNCLG) sikanye nombuthano wamaBandla abambiseneyo kulesisiFundazwe, siyanibingelela nonke. Ngalencwadi Yokwalusa sifisa ukuniqaphelisa ngokuthi izinga lendluzula selenyuke laze lafinyelela eqophelweni elingemukeleki neze. Sidinga ukukhuleka sinxuse ngesineke ukuba uMoya oNgcwele kaNkulunkulu asisize ukwenza isiFundazwe sethu sibe nokuthula.

Ilukuluku LokuLungisa izinto Ngempindiselo: IsiFundazwe sakwethu sesizithola futhi sesisengozini enkulu, yobuhlungu kanye nokulimazana ngenxa yezehlo zokubulalana esezisabalele nalolonke izwe laseNingizimu Afrika, kepha esezivame kakhulu kulesisiFundazwe. Ukuze sihlangabezane nalesisimo, sifisa ukunikhumbuza ukuthi ubulungiswa bukaNkulunkulu buhlala njalo bugebele ngasohlangothini lwesihawu nomusa kunokujezisa nempindiselo. Ngakho-ke, nathi masiphokophele izinto ezinhle lapha eKZN, ngaleyondlela-ke, imiphakathi yelakithi iyokwelapheka amanxeba.

Isimo Sokwanda Kwezigameko: Izibalo zezigameko zendluzula ezikhishwe ngamaPhoyisa emnyakeni ka-2017/18 zikhomba ukuthi izigameko zokubulalana lapha eKZN zenyuke zisuka ku-4014 zaya ku-4382, amacala aphathelene nendluzula yocansi wona enyuke asuka ku-8484 aya ku-8759; kwathi amacala anesihluku esivamileyo, wona akhula esuka ku-22285 aya ku-22842. Ngaphezu kwalokho, sekube nezigameko ezingamashumi amane (40) ukusukela ku-Meyi 2016 kuya ku-Agasti 2018.

Ukubuka lesisimo ngeso loKholo: Uma sibhekisisa lezizibalo ezethusayo ngomqondo nje owodwana woKholo, othiwa yilukuluku nesifiso sabantu ukuziphindiselela, kuyasikhanyela ngokusobala ukuthi ukuvumela ukuchuma kwalokhu kuyokwandisa izinkinga. Kanti imfundiso yokuxolelana, ukuthula, nokubuyisana nokuphokophelela njalo ukwenzela isintu okuhle, kusinikeza ithemba lokuthi ukuthula okwesekeleke esimweni sezomnotho esisabalalisa amathuba ngokulinganyo kubobonke, ukunakekelana nokuhlomulisana, yizona zinto eziyokhulisa isithunzi sobuntu kubobonke.

Inhlabamkhosi YokuSukuma Senze:

Genesise 4:9-10 “Wayesethi uSimakade kuKayini: Uphi umfowenu uAbela na? Wathi: Angazi; ngingumlindi womfowethu na? UNkulunkulu wathi: Wenzeni na? Izwi legazi lomfowenu liyakhala kimi lisemhlabathini”.

  • IsiGungu sabaHoli bamaBandla aKwaZulu-Natal sinxusa bonke abashumayelayo ukuba basabalalise umyalezo wokuthula, ithemba, isimo esizinzileyo, umoya wobuntu nokuhlonishwa kwempilo yesintu.
  • Kufanele ukuba sinxuse ukuba kwande ukuphathana ngobumnene nesihawu, nokuthethelelana, njengalokho noNkulunkulu wanithethelela ngoKristu (Kwabase-Efesu 4:32).
  • Sinxusa onke amalungu amaBandla kaKristu ukuba akukhuthalele ukubikela amaphoyisa ngezigameko zobugebengu kanye nalokho okusolisayo ukuthi kungase kugcine sekunomphumela wendluzula ezindaweni esihlala kuzo.
  • Sidinga ukukhuleka singaphezi; sikhulekela ubulungiswa nokuthula, ikakhulu ngaphambili nangasemumva kwesikhathi sokhetho luka-2019, sikhuleke sinxuse ukuba lube ngolukhululekileyo, nolungasolisi, nolunokuthula kuzo zonke izigceme zemiphakathi yakithi.

Isiphetho: LeNcwadi Yokwelusa ingumzamo wethu ukuqwashisa abantu ukuthi izehlakalo zendluzula emphakathini wakithi sezifinyelele ezingeni elingenakubekezeleleka. Nokho, ukuhlangabezana kwethu nesimo sayo akufanele kube yizenzo eziqhutshwa yilukulu lokuzama ukudala ubulungiswa ngempindiselo; kepha kufanele ngasosonke isikhathi kube yizenzo ezikhuthaza ukwabiwa kwamathuba ezomnotho ngokulinganayo.

Okungaxhunyanwa Nabo:

  1. Diakonia Council of Churches: 031-310 3500| the director@diakonia.org.za
  1. Midlands Christian Council (MCC): 071 697 8209| simphiwemanqokontsi@gmail.com
  2. KwaZulu Regional Christian Council (KRCC): 082 672 4035| nyuswa@krcc.org.za
  3. Southern KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (SKZNCC): 078 624 5897| skzncc@gmail.com
  4. Thukela-Amajuba-Mzinyathi Christian Council (TAMCC): 078 429 0774| sonto6150@gmail.com

The SAPS: 08600 10111. Provincial Commissioner’s Offices: (031) 325 4825

  • Premier’s Hotline: 0800 596 596
  • Presidential Hotline: 17737

KZNCLG Secretariat: |KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC): 50 Langalibalele Street, Pietermaritzburg, 3201. 033-345 4819|  info@kzncc.org.za

TAMCC elects its New Executive Council

    

On Tuesday the 23rd of October 2018, the uThukela Amajuba Mzinyathi Christian Council (TAMCC) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) to review its policies and programs, followed by the election of new officers to govern the organization. The Chief Executive Officer of the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council (KZNCC), Douglas Dziva (Dr.) alongside his Deputy, Lucas Ngoetjana (Dr.) and the KZNCC Consultant, Paddy Kearney (Dr.) participated in the AGM  to provide technical support and to ensure that the proceedings and outcomes of the AGM were consistent with the principles and policies of the ecumenical movement.

During this meeting, members of TAMCC briefly reviewed and adapted their draft statute to ensure that the adopted statute conforms with progress and new developments within TAMCC. They also addressed constitutional gaps that have been constraining decision making with the organization. Among key issues that were outlined in the new statute, were fair gender representation in decision making and program delivery.

The AGM has elected eighteen (18) new officers of the Executive Council who will also be serving as the Board of the organization, providing oversight to employees involved with project implementation and administration of the organization. The newly elected Chairperson, Bishop Tsietsi Seloane had been formerly acting in the position since the last AGM in 2017. The Bishop expressed gratitude to his colleagues for re-electing him and re-affirmed his motivation for this position.

The newly elected TAMCC Secretary is Rev Mpuqa and Rev Lauren Schoeman has been re-elected as the Treasurer.

 

Omotoso Rape Trial -Council of Churches’ statement

Media release OMOTOSO RAPE TRIAL

SACC STATEMENT ON OMOTOSO RAPE TRIAL

October 18, 2018
Media Release

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana

The people of South Africa and the churches have watched with gripping horror and disbelief the
trial proceedings of the so-called pastor, Mr Tim Omotoso, charged with rape and human
trafficking. The manner in which the victim, young and courageous Cheryl Zondi, was brutalised
in a cross examination that was reminiscent of the apartheid Security Branch interrogation, left
many aghast and with serious questions about the conduct of the judicial system.
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) condemns outright any of the despicable practices
for which Mr Omotoso has been indicted. To name anyone who conducts such practices as a pastor
is to grossly misrepresent what it means to be a pastor. The brutalisation of a rape victim in the
manner we have witnessed urges us to call on the Judicial Authorities – the Department of Justice,
the National Prosecuting Authority, and the Office of the Chief Justice, to give serious
consideration to the creation of special courts for rape charges that will have a particular code and
culture, that prevents the additional victimisation and brutal humiliation of victims. The SACC is
making representations to the justice authorities in this regard.
Secondly, the SACC is exploring an appropriate way of establishing an “Unburdening” Process
for both the religious and business sectors. On the former, to provide a facility for people and
victims to tell their stories and be afforded appropriate ministries even ahead of possible court
proceedings for which they would need to be emotionally prepared. Cheryl Zondo’s heroism is
outstandingly remarkable, and very few would have survived that frightful Omotoso defense
grilling. An intermediate “unburdening” process might encourage more victims to come forward.
The humanitarian NGO Rape Crisis has previously estimated that if all rape cases were reported,
the number would more than 1300 cases per day in South Africa; adding in summation, that “the
nature and extent of rape in South Africa, as well as the inadequate systems in place to respond to
it, continue to pose a significant obstacle in the path towards achieving a just society in which
citizens, and particularly women, can live with dignity and freedom from the fear of sexual
violence.”
For this reason, the burning matter of gender based violence is in the current SACC initiated
National Convention of South Africa Process to Reimagine, Redesign and Reorganise the South
African life experience.
2
The Omotoso case, together with the Eastern Cape Ngcobo “Seven Angels” religious rogues who
preyed on innocent people, brings into sharp focus the urgent need to root out criminality
masquerading as religious practice.
This comes back to the pressing matter of concluding on the acceptable manner of regulating the
church sector in ways acceptable to churches and to government for the protection of citizens, and
the upholding of appropriate ethical and professional standards in the practice of Christian pastoral
ministry in all traditions of Christian expression.
— End —
Issued by the office of the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, Bishop
Malusi Mpumlwana.
For media queries contact:
Moagisi Sibanda
Communications Director
South African Council of Churches
Tel: 082 295 1581
Email: moagisi@sacc.org.za

2018 KZNCC Annual General Meeting

DATE     : 06 September 2018

VENUE  : KwaMkhize Community Hall, Hlathikhulu (Estcourt)

TIME      : 08h00 – 14h00

This year’s AGM was a huge success in that the meeting commenced at the Hlathikhulu Taxi Rank with intercessory devotions led by uKhozi FM’s Bishop Scelo Mbokazi. The session aimed at soaking KwaZulu Natal  and the nation at large, in prayer.

Subsequent to this was the formal programme and  lunch that was held at the community hall;  courtesy of Inkosi Sibonelo Mkhize.