Original Research - Special Collection: Christianity as a Change Agent in the 4th Industrial Revolution World

The questions for post-apartheid South African missiology in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Eugene Baron
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 2 | a6122 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i2.6122 | © 2020 Eugene Baron | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 May 2020 | Published: 23 November 2020

About the author(s)

Eugene Baron, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


South African missiology has seen a shift in its praxis since the late 20th century. David J. Bosch made a crucial contribution in this regard. The shift includes mission as a contextualised praxis and agency. In mission studies, agency has become necessary in postcolonial mission, primarily because of the loss of identity of the oppressed in colonised countries. Through contextual theologies of liberation, African theology, Black Theology of Liberation and postcolonial studies, theologians were able to reflect on the human dignity of the colonised. However, there are still significant efforts needed in this quest, and therefore, the praxis cycle used in missiology is useful to also assess effects on the oppressed and marginalised through the emerging context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). In the task of doing mission in the world differently, the questions that missiologists ask are important. The emergence of the 4IR aims to merge the biological with the technological and will bring more challenges to mission work in Africa. This will bring upon us the responsibility to reflect on the notion of human agency, the theologies espoused in such a time and missiologists’ contextual lenses and strategies employed. These should have to be carefully considered especially in a post-apartheid context. The researcher will, therefore, use the commonly used praxis cycle in missiological research to explore through a Socratic (questioning) approach what the implications will be for missiologists and mission agents in the quest of transforming church and the post-apartheid society.

Contribution: Though there has emerged a few theological contributions from missiology, there has not been a missiological contribution on the 4IR. The author therefore uses one of the theological methods in the discipline to put on the table the imperative questions that those doing missiological research should pose in the context of the 4IR.


Fourth Industrial Revolution; Praxis cycle; Human agency; Spirituality; Mission strategies; Spirituality of communion; Spirituality of incarnation; Post-apartheid


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