Mission as dialogue in the context of religious pluralism in South Africa : a Pentecostal-Evangelical perspective
Mokholela, Lerato James
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The main aim of this study, as indicated in Chapter 1, was to study and evaluate the recent attitude of Pentecostal-Evangelicals towards mission as dialogue within the context of religious pluralism in South Africa. The study was also to make an evaluation of the Pentecostal-Evangelical view regarding Mission as dialogue in the light of the Scriptures. The study analysis within Christendom and Theologiae Religionium shows that the debate on “mission as dialogue” is dominated by three positions: namely, Exclusivism which states the atoning work of salvation is exclusive and limited to the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross, Relativism which implies the radical relativity of all cultures and, finally, Inclusivism which sees the middle ground between exclusivism and relativism and that people of other faiths can be saved within their religions. The study analysis in the Pentecostal-Evangelical perspective shows these three types as: firstly, separatist fundamentalists who insist on the inerrant verbal inspiration of the Bible, the second type being open fundamentalists and the third type being Ecumenical or New Evangelical-Pentecostals. The method of research followed in this study was a literature review methodology conducted to study and outline the nature of religious pluralism in South Africa. A review was to be conducted to study and outline the Pentecostal-Evangelical view regarding mission as dialogue within the South African context of religious pluralism. Chapter 2 of the study was to outline the nature of religious pluralism in South Africa, and the development of religious pluralism in the world context, with reference to World Mission Conferences in regard to the theology of religions (Theologiae Religionium). An analysis was made of the South African landscape of religious plurality in post-apartheid South Africa. In Chapter 3, a definition of mission was outlined, taking into account the historical development around the concept of Mission as dialogue with people of living faiths. In Chapter 4, “The PentecostalEvangelical perspective” was identified, outlining the historical development of Pentecostals towards ecumenism and attitudes towards people of living faiths. Perspectives on mission as dialogue by noted Pentecostal scholars in South Africa were outlined, regarding the different positions on the subject of mission as dialogue with people of living faiths. In Chapter 5, an evaluation of the Pentecostal-Evangelical view regarding mission as dialogue in the light of the scriptures was to be outlined. A comparative analysis was carried out on the matter, regarding other religions and Christianity’s self-understanding and perception in the context of other religious writings, like the Koran in Islam and other Holy writings. In conclusion, the truth about Pentecostal-Evangelical Mission in South Africa to people of living faiths is that it is reaching and witnessing about the Christian faith in the context of Theologiae Religionium, without focusing on differences.It seeks common ground for dialogue and cooperation in matters of mutual interest like the social ills of society such as morality, substance abuse and other matters of social concern. Joint co-operation in community-related matters opens the door to dialogue and witnesses to people of other living faiths.
- Theology