Theology is crucial for the survival of the earth, says Prof Jurgens Hendriks

Theology is crucial for the survival of the earth, says

South African professor

“Penny Blachut” <>
Date Wed, 26 Oct 2011 14:20:05 +0200

>World Communion of Reformed Churches >News Release >26 October 2011

Theology is crucial for the survival of the earth, says South African professor

The combined effects of globalization and networked communication are transforming the world in ways that can lead either to better life or disaster. How Christians understand what their faith is calling them to do in response to this challenge could make a significant difference according to a South African theologian.

*Theology now is crucial for the survival of the earth and its people,* says Jurgens Hendriks. *God calls to us in a specific place at a particular time and we are at an altogether new time and place.*

Hendriks who is Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Stellenbosch made his comments in an address to participants in the first global consultation of the Network of Theologians. The event, organized by the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), brought 15 theologians from 12 countries to Mangalore, India from 21-26 October. Douwe Visser, head of WCRC*s Office of Theology and Communion, says the objective of the consultation was to create an opportunity for Reformed theologians to reflect on key issues affecting the contemporary world, including the impact of the media on Christian beliefs and action.

*This is a group that will give guidance in a theologically changing landscape,* says Visser.

Plans include developing a theology of church unity (*communion*) among the 230 WCRC member churches and a theology of justice. The two would be closely interconnected says Visser.

Hendriks believes the need for new theological models is urgent in light of the negative impact of the current global economic system. He points to increased polarisation between rich and poor, noting that in the past 30 years the share of global income for the world*s poorest people declined from 2.3 percent to 1.4 percent while the share for the richest people rose from 70 percent to 85 percent. In addition, the South African professor recognizes the impact of communication networking. Hendriks believes that these two forces have practical implications for the church.

*In a networked society, networked social movements are the key drivers of transformation. The church needs to learn to understand how it works in a digitalized world.* Visser says Hendriks* paper and other input offered at the consultation point to ways of developing and applying theology in WCRC. This includes working with related networks such as young theologians, justice advocates and regional groups of theologians. Recommendations from the consultation will be presented to WCRC*s Executive Committee at its meeting in Indonesia in May 2012.

WCRC was created in June 2010 through a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC). Its 230 member churches representing 80 million Christians are active worldwide in initiatives supporting economic, climate and gender justice, mission, and cooperation among Christians of different traditions.



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