Original Research - Special Collection: A.G.van Aarde Festschrift

Back to basics: 'The Almighty Father' revisited

Riet Bons-Storm
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 1 | a902 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i1.902 | © 2011 Riet Bons-Storm | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 June 2010 | Published: 11 April 2011

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Riet Bons-Storm, Women Studies and Pastoral Theology and Counselling, University of Groningen, The Netherlands Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa, Netherlands

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The article focused on the questions of how male dominance came about in theology and the church, what makes it so persistent and what can be done. It argued that patriarchy is based on androcentric ways of thinking, feeling and acting that colour all of culture and society. Patriarchy and androcentrism perpetuate the status quo through language. They provide a template for attributing meaning to reality. They still have a profound effect on theology and ecclesial institutions. This can be seen clearly in the concept of God, the ‘Almighty Father’. The article made a case for a theology that has the courage to analyse how and where it idolises the patriarchal template and that imagines a God other than the patriarchal ‘Almighty Father’: a God who walks with Her or His friends in gracious, empowering love, not ‘almighty’ but honouring the responsibility She or He gave them. The article concludes that the life of Jesus as the human being who mirrors God’s love, friendship and passion for justice inspires a different way of how God could be imagined.


Patriarchy; feminist theology; Almighty Father; androcentrism; power


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