Original Research - Special Collection: Public Discourse

Prophetic witness: An appropriate mode of public discourse in the democratic South Africa?

Etienne de Villiers
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 66, No 1 | a797 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v66i1.797 | © 2010 Etienne de Villiers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 February 2010 | Published: 08 October 2010

About the author(s)

Etienne de Villiers, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The question asked in the heading was answered in this article in four steps. In the first step, an attempt was made to find an accurate account of biblical prophecy by means of a critical discussion of certain influential interpretations of it. In the second step, the extent to which biblical prophecy could serve as a model for contemporary Christians was discussed and an acceptable Christian model of prophetic witness was formulated by drawing on the views of different authors. In the third step, the impact of democracy on the prophetic witness of the church was discussed. The Dutch theologian, Gerrit de Kruijf’s view that the public prophetic witness of the church is not appropriate in democratic societies was criticised and the legitimacy of certain forms of prophetic witness in such societies defended. In the final step, a number of examples of the prophetic witness that is needed in the present democratic South Africa were provided.


Accra Declaration; biblical prophecy; democracy, inner-directed spirituality; Kairos document; mode of moral discourse


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Crossref Citations

1. The (demanding) history of South African public theology as prophetic theology
Martin Laubscher
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doi: 10.4102/ids.v56i1.2856