Original Research - Special Collection: Yolanda Dreyer Festschrift

Practical theology ‘[re]entering vernacular culture?’ New frontiers and challenges to doing theology as life goes on

Hans J. Hendriks
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 4 | a4425 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i4.4425 | © 2017 Hans J. Hendriks | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 November 2016 | Published: 25 April 2017

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Hans J. Hendriks, Department Practical Theology and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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This article critically discusses the necessity for (practical) theology to transform. Taking as a point of departure church historian Andrew Walls’ remark: ‘Christian faith must go on being translated, must continuously enter into the vernacular culture and interact with it, or it withers and fades’, examples from ministry are discussed, specifically from the Dutch Reformed Church. These examples reveal the inability or ability of faith communities to enter vernacular culture and to interact with it. Historical cycles of church growth and decline as outlined by Phyllis Tickle are used to explain the concepts of entering and interacting vernacular culture, and consequently, what it means to ‘do theology as life goes on’. The latter refers to more than a rationally controlled process as it is also intimately connected with issues of identity, understanding of the missio Dei and a way of life and discernment that flows from being actively involved in life.


Transformation; institutionalism; practical theology; cycles; uploading; missional church; identity; networks; reformation; emergence


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