Original Research

Recovering core identity, hermeneutical and contextual preaching

Craig Linden, Malan Nel
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 3 | a3220 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i3.3220 | © 2016 Craig Linden, Malan Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 October 2015 | Published: 08 July 2016

About the author(s)

Craig Linden, Baptist Union of South Africa; Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Malan Nel, Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The church has the privilege of participating with God in his saving mission in a broken and suffering world, also known as the missio Dei (Bosch 1991:8–11, 390–393). This is its core, missional identity. However, many local churches are facing an identity crisis at their very core. The reasons are numerous. This article seeks to define, in a theoretical and theological way, the core identity of the local church and in the light thereof to explore two areas: (1) how the local church and particularly its pastor view the core identity of the local church, and (2) whether the identity of the local church is affected through the ministry of preaching – preaching that takes into specific consideration the aspects of hermeneutics and context. The research indicates that while the church may have an understanding of its core identity – certainly when it answers the questions ‘who are we?’ and ‘what are we called to be and/or do’ – it lacks significantly in its missional identity. Contributing factors are mentioned and remedial action is proposed.


Core Identity - Identity and Purpose; Preaching; Hermeneutical Preaching; Contextual Preaching; The Mission of God (missio Dei); Missional


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