Biblical mediation as a short-term method for reconcil[i]ation in troubled marriages : a pastoral study
Grobler, Johann Herman
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The central theoretical argument of this study is that biblical mediation may be a useful short-term method for use in pastoral care, specifically within the bounds of reconciliation in troubled marriages. The goal of formulating a basis theory was to explore what the Biblical teaching is on marriage, marital conflict, mediation and reconciliation. In general, a revelation-historical approach was followed. Specific cases of marital conflict in the Bible were examined. In researching reconciliation the role of Jesus Christ and pastors as mediator was explored. A grammatical-historical exegesis was done on Mat. 59, Mat. 18:15-17 and Rom. 14:19. It was concluded that marriage is a union of companionship based on a covenant and ordained by God and foreshadowing the eternal joyous relationship between Christ and the Church. God hates divorce, which is permitted only in certain circumstances. It was found that biblical teaching on conflict in general may be applied to marital conflict. It was concluded that although not all conflict is caused by sin, sinful attitudes and behaviours, including sinful desires or legitimate desires elevated to demands and distortion of the husband - wife roles designed by God before the Fall, do play a part in causing conflict. With regard to reconciliation it was concluded that Jesus acted as Mediator on the cross, making possible reconciliation between God and man, which also reflects God's will for the horizontal relationship between his people, particularly in marriage. Several examples of informal mediations and of calls to peacemaking were found in the Bible. It was found that Mat. 185-17 allows for mediation or counselling by one or two others in the church in certain circumstances. For establishing a meta theory the goal was to examine biblical mediation as a third party intervention in pastoral care for reconciliation in troubled marriages. A literature study was conducted on mediation, biblical mediation as taught by Peacemaker Ministries and on marital conflict and intervention methods resembling mediation by a survey of the literature in the social sciences. A qualitative empirical study was conducted, by doing biblical mediation with three Christian couples. It was concluded that mediation, and particularly the biblical mediation model used by Peacemaker Ministries, may be used to advantage by pastors for reconciliation in troubled marriages. The aim of establishing 'a practice theory was to propose a biblical mediation model to guide pastors in working toward reconciliation in troubled marriages. This was done by an analysis and synthesis of the basis - and meta theory in hermeneutical interaction.
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