Kategese as middel tot heilsekerheid en heilstoe-eiening in konteks van die verbond en die koninkryk
Van der Merwe, Carel Nicolaas
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The observation is made that the spiritual well being of the church youth - i.e., the covenantal youth -is not healthy. The aim of this thesis is to study this observation. It seems that when children come to the point that they confess their faith they do not grasp the full implications of this undertaking as they do not bear the fruits of faith in their daily lives. There exists empiric evidence that the church youth are well equipped in the knowledge of faith, but when it comes to subjective acts of faith, there is a great lack. The assumption is made that the catechist is not always sufficiently equipped to apply the balance between knowledge of faith and subjective acts of faith in catechises. The focus point of the study is: Catechises as a means through which salvation is secured and appropriated within the context of the covenant and the Kingdom of God. The fundamental question at stake is: How does the believer share in the salvation that Christ has earned on the cross, and in which way can the catechises serves as a vehicle to achieve this goal. Essentially catechises is the official service of the church through which children of the covenant are assured of their salvation. They must also come to the point where they claim this redemption. The church obtains this objective by proclaiming the truths and instructing the doctrines of the Word of God to these children in such a way that each individual should come to confess his/her faith publicly and personally. Catechists must shepherd and guide these children not only to obtain certainty of faith (certitudo fidei) and to be obedient as believers, but also to be convinced of their salvation (certitudo salutis) and to make this redemption their own. The unity between God and man is not a polar one, but an apolar covenantal relation. Within this polar relation the covenant is like a solid foundation in which this oneness is rooted. The monopleuric (one-sided, unilateral) and dipleuric (two-sided, bilateral) character of the covenant proves that God treats man as a responsible associate in this treaty. God's sovereignty or objective salvation, on the one hand, and human responsibility or subjective faith, on the other hand, coexists without any strain or uneasiness whatsoever within this apolar covenantal connection between God and man. There is no contradiction between God's redemptive word and man's responsibility. It is therefore compulsory for man to believe; that man has faith is not something that rakes place without his decision. However, it is through the power of the gospel that faith is created in man - the gospel that Christ was crucified. The grace of God does not cause the believer to be a passive being; it has the effect that he is in active service of the Lord. The requirement to believe and to repent is not set aside; in fact, it remains a condition of the covenant. This means that, in the relation between God and His people, the promises and the demands of the covenant must be operative and active in the personal lives of the people of the covenant. The purpose of this exercise is that the believers will be able to experience the grace of the promises of the covenant as a reality. There is also a call at the address of these people to appropriate the salvation promised in the covenant. The children of the covenant must share in the promises of the pact on a personal basis. The reality of these promises, as well as the urgency of the demands - according to the gospel of God - must be proclaimed to the catechumens. There is a close relationship between certainty of faith and the objective truths of religion. This certainty is built on the truths that form the content of the Word of God. Certainty of salvation links up with the subjective acts of faith. A believer takes part on a personal level in the redemptive work of Christ. The fact that he is saved, through this redemption, forms the foundation of the Christian's life.
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