AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Empowering hope? : Jürgen Moltmann’s eschatological challenge to ecclesiological responses in the Zimbabwean context of poverty

by Collium Banda

Institution: Stellenbosch University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Moltmann, Jürgen; Hope  – Religious aspects  – Christianity; Eschatology; Poverty  – Zimbabwe; UCTD
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2065899
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98641


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study wrestles with Jürgen Moltmann’s eschatological concept of the ‘church of hope for the poor’ within the Zimbabwean context of poverty, in search for an empowering and liberating ecclesiological ethical framework of responding to poverty. The first section of the study analyses how the notion of the church of hope for the poor is conceptualised in Moltmann. The section argues that in Moltmann’s eschatological vision the church of hope for the poor emerges from at least three notions: the historicity of the trinitarian God of hope, the kingdom of God that promotes the restoration of life and the communality of the church of hope. The central argument is that, for Moltmann, eschatological hope stirs and empowers the church that believes in the triune God of the exodus and is waiting for God’s life-loving and life-promoting kingdom to use its communal nature to defend the poor. Using Moltmann’s categories of the church of hope, the second section assesses the dominant church responses to poverty in Zimbabwe. The section highlights that in the colonial period, the church combined the preaching of the future hope with addressing the poverty of the local people, but also aided their oppression and segregation by the colonial administration. The slow rise of critical theological education among the indigenous ministers heightened the irreconcilability of the Christian hope for the future and present poverty, which resulted in the challenge of socio-economic marginalisation in the colonial era. However, in present liberated Zimbabwe, the church that challenged the impoverishing nature of oppressive colonial structures has either aided similar oppressive structures by the present ruling elite or seems too powerless and disinterested to oppose those structures that perpetrate poverty. The last section formulates an eschatologically informed ecclesiological ethical framework of liberating and empowering the poor to respond to poverty meaningfully. It establishes an eschatological basis for the church’s prioritisation of responding to poverty. Using the metaphor of the church as an African kraal, Moltmann’s notions of the historicity of the God of hope, the kingdom of God and the communality of the church of hope are unpacked as resources for empowering the church to engage with the Zimbabwean context of poverty. Imaged as the African kraal, the church is affirmed as a place where communality functions as a resource of empowering the poor, where the historicity of God is a place for human capacitation of the poor, and where the kingdom calls for a public theology model that rejects the church’s co-option by the ruling elite who oppress the poor and powerless. Thus, eschatological hope calls the church to play a critical and empowering role in a context of poverty. AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie stoei met Jürgen Moltmann se eskatologiese konsep van die ‘kerk van hoop vir die armes’ binne die Zimbabwiese konteks van armoede en soek na ʼn bemagtigende en bevrydende ekklesiologies-etiese… Advisors/Committee Members: Van der Merwe, I. J., Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology..