Original Research - Special Collection: Gateway to the Future from a deconstructed past

Mission as breaking down walls, opening gates and empowering traders: From contextualisation to deep contextualisation

Cornelius J.P. Niemandt
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 1 | a4621 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i1.4621 | © 2017 Cornelius J.P. Niemandt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 May 2017 | Published: 31 August 2017

About the author(s)

Cornelius J.P. Niemandt, Department Science of Religion and Missiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The research addressed the issue of symbolic walls that divide, segregate, preserve and institutionalise. The way in which institutions and especially the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria facilitated symbolic ‘walls’ was discussed in the overview of the Department of Science of Religion and Missiology in the first century of the Faculty of Theology. The concepts of ‘gatekeepers’ and ‘traders’ were then applied because walls, paradoxically, need gates to facilitate control, movement and, eventually, life. Gatekeepers were described as the guardians of the status quo, and traders as agents who, in one way or another, facilitate movement, trade, flow and life in the midst of the shadows of walls. Missionaries are, by the very nature of the missionary enterprise, more traders than gatekeepers. Here, the work of Bosch – specifically his ground-breaking work on mission as contextualisation – provides an explanation of the art of mission as breaking down walls, opening gates and empowering traders. That is precisely why Missiology is particularly well suited to assist the church and theology in the art of breaking down walls. The theological imperative of contextualisation means that the life of the church, theology, and  thus theological training, cannot do without Missiology. The concept of ‘deep contextualisation’ was discussed as a particularly relevant approach to include a post-anthropomorphic discourse in Missiology. It can assist with the reorientation of the history of mission on the whole of history and, thus, also deep history. The concept also provides a way to address the discourses on colonialisation and includes a reorientation on the future and embracing hope.


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