Original Research - Special Collection: Festschrift for Prof Stephan Joubert

The Emmaus narrative and contemporary Christian followership – An empirical case study

Pierre B. Engelbrecht, Willem J. Schoeman
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6440 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6440 | © 2021 Pierre B. Engelbrecht, Willem J. Schoeman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 December 2020 | Published: 28 June 2021

About the author(s)

Pierre B. Engelbrecht, Department of Practical Theology and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Willem J. Schoeman, Department of Practical Theology and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

This article aims to explore a ‘lived discipleship’ by determining whether and how contemporary communities of faith could implement the norms and principles reflected in the Emmaus narrative of Luke 24:13–35 within a plausible epistemological framework that might facilitate a fresh understanding of Christian followership as discipleship. This was done through an empirical case study using two focus groups as co-researchers, in order to actively listen to their respective understandings of lived theology in their unique South African contexts. The two focus groups consisted of (1) a contemporary Christian grouping of Afrikaans-speaking, active churchgoers situated in Hazeldean, a suburb in Pretoria East, Tshwane, Gauteng and (2) a contemporary Christian grouping of African, active churchgoers situated in Ivory Park, a suburb in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. This article concluded that Luke 24:13–35 nudged the co-researchers to re-evaluate their contemporary understanding of discipleship and moved them to additional and new perspectives in terms of practical expressions thereof that can be best described as ‘lived followership’. A shift from perceiving Jesus in terms of an ‘act to follow’ by gaining the correct knowledge, to following Jesus as ‘a performative act’, a shift from ‘theoretical knowledge’ to ‘heart knowledge’.

Contribution: This article is a part of the Festschrift for Prof. Stephan Joubert. This article plays into similar creative interdisciplinary relationship as seen in the work of Prof. Joubert, by looking at the relationship between New Testament and Practical Theology in order to improve practices of faith that is rooted in a biblical understanding of Jesus.


Keywords

Emmaus narrative; discipleship; lived religion; empirical case study; Luke 24:13–35; contemporary faith communities

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