Original Research

Abuse in the church? A social constructionist challenge to pastoral ministry

Rosemaré A. Visser, Yolanda Dreyer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a1939 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.1939 | © 2013 Rosemaré A. Visser, Yolanda Dreyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 February 2013 | Published: 11 July 2013

About the author(s)

Rosemaré A. Visser, Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Yolanda Dreyer, Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The article focuses on abusive practices in the faith community. It indicates that abusive behaviour is more often than not unintentional and is ostensibly driven by a zeal for God and the church. The article explores this anomaly by examining the phenomenon of abuse in the faith community from a social constructionist, psychological, sociological and theological perspective. Pastoral ministry is challenged to foster self-reflexivity and awareness, as well as to revisit current (outdated) beliefs and practices, to test their suitability for the postmodern context in which the church is to tell and live her story.


Abuse in the church; social constructionist; psychological; sociological and theological perspectives; pastoral ministry


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