Original Research - Special Collection: HTS 75th Anniversary Maake Masango Dedication

Theological reflection, assurance and the doctrine of God

Maake J. Masango, John D. White
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5360 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5360 | © 2019 Maake J. Masango, John D. White | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2018 | Published: 05 December 2019

About the author(s)

Maake J. Masango, Department Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, United States
John D. White, Department Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa; and, Congaree Presbyterian Church, United States


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Abstract

This article focuses on the anxiety about whether God loves one or not. In the author’s nearly 30-year ministry, this pastoral difficulty continues to perplex and afflict. While the presenting problem is what in theological parlance is ‘a lack of assurance’, a side difficulty is the poor and incorrect doctrine of God often associated with this. A Baylor University Study in 2006 characterises the kind of God that different groups of Americans believe in. While the phrase ‘a lack of assurance’ is a part of dogmatic parlance, and has fallen out of use, the feeling of not belonging to God can be overwhelming for people. This feeling may be overwhelming. This makes it a pastoral issue. This article suggests a pastoral response to this issue and a proposal for a clarification in the nature and character of God using the therapeutic theology of 19th-century Scottish minister-theologian John McLeod Campbell.

Keywords

assurance; God; theological reflection; parrhesia; frame of reference; reframing; election

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