Original Research - Special Collection: Society

Love as the core of the diaconal dimension of the church

Johannes Eurich
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 2 | a2778 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i2.2778 | © 2015 Johannes Eurich | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 July 2014 | Published: 15 June 2015

About the author(s)

Johannes Eurich, Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Practical Theology, Heidelberg University, Germany


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Abstract

This article will discuss different understandings of love. In particular, two modern perceptions of love will be differentiated: love as consisting of individual, often inconstant, emotions between human beings, and a Christian understanding of love, which is often expressed through caring for other members of the community. Aspects of Christian love will then be examined in ethical terms, emphasising the relevance of love for the diaconal dimension of the church. Before one is able to help one’s neighbour, one first has to be actively identified within the complex social structures of society. Next, the nature of diaconal action has to be defined and adapted to individuals who are in need, or who have become needy or been disadvantaged by society, for example, migrant workers, refugees or asylum seekers. A central aspect of diaconal action – in addition to meeting basic needs – lies in giving a voice to such individuals and in empowering them, including politically, to represent their own interests in public life.

Keywords

Love; Diaconia; Church; social needs

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Crossref Citations

1. Towards a multi-method approach to addressing violent protest action in South Africa: A practical theology perspective
Gordon E. Dames
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doi: 10.4102/hts.v74i2.4788