Original Research - Special Collection: The Church in Need of Change (Agency)

Rethinking the message of the church in the 21st century: An amalgamation between science and religion

Dirk G. Van der Merwe
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5472 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5472 | © 2019 Dirk G. Van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 March 2019 | Published: 11 November 2019

About the author(s)

Dirk G. Van der Merwe, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Throughout its history, Christianity has stood in a dichotomous relation to the various philosophical movements or eras (pre-modernism, modernism, postmodernism and post-postmodernism) that took on different faces throughout history. In each period, it was the sciences that influenced, to a great extent, the interpretation and understanding of the Bible. Christianity, however, was not immune to influences, specifically those of the Western world. This essay reflects briefly on this dichotomy and the influence of Bultmann’s demythologising of the kerygma during the 20th century. Also, the remythologising (Vanhoozer) of the church’s message as proposed for the 21st century no more satisfies the critical Christian thinkers. The relationship between science and religion is revisited, albeit from a different perspective as established over the past two decades as to how the sciences have been pointed out more and more to complement theology. This article endeavours to evoke the church to consider the fundamental contributions of the sciences and how it is going to incorporate the sciences into its theological training and message to the world.


Dialectic; Sciences; Theology; Demythologising; Remythologising


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