Original Research

Missio hominum for social justice in South Africa: From missio Dei to missio hominum

Jonas S. Thinane
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a7109 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.7109 | © 2021 Jonas S. Thinane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 August 2021 | Published: 26 November 2021

About the author(s)

Jonas S. Thinane, Department of Hebrew, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


Decades after the fall of apartheid, South Africa continues to face problems such as racism, heterosexism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, and gender-based violence leading to feminicide, which undermines all efforts being made to achieve social justice. Every Christian mission begins or flows out from missio Dei and has a common endeavour to achieve its goal. This article examines missio hominum as the new fundamental paradigm from the perspective of Nico Smith. It believes that when Smith saw the need for missio hominum, social justice was thought of as a prerequisite for the accomplishment of missio Dei’s goal. It examines how he developed the missio hominum paradigm with the aim of advocating for social justice in South Africa. It perceives a potential and a fundamental element for social justice in this new paradigm. Significantly, missio hominum represents a fundamental theological paradigm by which human action is integrated or linked with divine action in order to achieve the goal of the missio Dei. It provides an overview of the literature relating to the featured works on Christian mission and social justice. To the best of the author’s knowledge, little or no work has been published on missio hominum as a missiological paradigm on the way to social justice.

Contribution: Missio hominum from the perspective of Nico Smith is described here as a new fundamental missiological paradigm aimed at bringing social justice to South Africa. This paradigm integrates the active participation of all people in the broader discourse of the missio Dei and its fulfilment. Adoption of this paradigm will enrich the field of theology in general and missiology in particular as it expands human participation in missio Dei.


missio Dei; Nico Smith; missio hominum; missio ecclesiae; social justice


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Crossref Citations

1. Missio hominum in missio Dei: Biblical embodiment of missio hominum
Jonas S. Thinane
Verbum et Ecclesia  vol: 44  issue: 1  year: 2023  
doi: 10.4102/ve.v44i1.2583