In July 2011 ATS conducted a qualitative research study in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape. The aim of this study was to understand the economical activities and context of people who are not employed within the formal employment sector.
One lady acted as an interpreter for us. We did not give any training, advice or input. Our only aim was to discover what was going on at grassroots level.
Yet, when we later went back to report our findings to the community, to our surprise we found that our interpreter, who had helped us the previous time, was there to meet us with the exiting news that she had started her own business.
We did not expect this and when we asked how this had happened she remarked that during our interviews with the community she felt challenged to find a way to secure an income for her and her child.
Here is her story. She had a tremendous feeling of pride in what she had managed to achieve and explicitly explained the role of the Holy Spirit in her new venture.
Hier is vir u ‘n beskrywing van die herlewing wat onder kinders in die vroeë dae van Pinkster in Suid Afrika plaasgevind het (Al bruis die Jordaan, 1969. J.C. de Ferrieres – Tant Sannie):
“In 1940 het die Uitvoerende Raad van my kerk die eerste nasionale Paaskonferensie op ‘n plaas in Emmarentia (nou ‘n voorstad van Johannesburg) gehou. Ek is gevra om verantwoordelikheid te neem vir die dienste wat twee keer per dag vir die kinders gehou sou word. Hierdie dienste is gehou terwyl die ouers die konferensie dienste in ‘n aparte tent wat sitplek vir 4,000 volwassenes gebied het, bygewoon het.
One Saturday afternoon, I drove with my dad to uncle Lukas’ plot to drop-off the grass cuttings from our lawn. I was always excited to scramble onto the back of our trailer, dig the shovel into the cuttings and throw it as far as my pencil-thin arms could manage.
At some point during our excursion one of the farm gates swung open and pinned down my left foot. My dad rushed to help and lifted the gate to free my foot. I was 10 years old.
In the coming days my foot became so swollen that I could not even pull on a sock. I was in agony and the swelling would not subside.
I think many Christians do not know who the Holy Spirit is. Often He is described as the unknown God. But the Bible’s view of the Holy Spirit is that He is the unseen but real person, presence, power and activity of God.
In the SynopticGospels the Holy Spirit was active at the birth of Jesus and his anointment by God during his baptism (Mt 3:16, Mk 1:8, Lk 3:16). The Synoptics also articulate that Jesus is the source of the work of the Holy Spirit for he …baptises in the Holy Spirit and with fire… (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16). In the Gospel of John the Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete (or Comforter, Counsellor, Helper, the Spirit of truth; Jh 15:26). In Acts (2:4, 38) the baptism with the Spirit was an act of God who empowered the disciples and early Church and was accompanied by both unusual visible and audible phenomena. Paul articulates the Holy Spirit as the divine energy or dynamic of the new life whose Head is the living Christ (1 Rm 15:13; Eph 5:18; 1 Th 1:5). Paul helped to personalise men’s thinking about the conception of the Spirit. In Revelation the Holy Spirit is called Seven Spirits or the Seven Eyes of God(Rv 1:4, 3:1, 4:5, 5:6). The number seven is a symbolic indication of the plenitude of the Holy Spirit. The Seven Eyes of God are symbolic of the Spirit as the eyes of God. He sees the entire cosmos. Nothing escapes him. He is the Spirit of perception (the Deus praesens). He is also identified with the eyes of every individual believer (5:6). Through the Spirit, John is able to perceive the need in the seven congregations.
“A man with an experience is not at the mercy of an argument.”
Prof Francois Möller gave the following presentation at Auckland Park Theological Seminary during the one-day seminar on the Holy Spirit on the 18th of October 2016.
The heading: The Law of God and the Fruit of the Spirit might seem to be an unusual combination, because when the Law is discussed, it is usually done opposed to grace and not in connection with the Fruit of the Spirit.
However, the connection between the Law of God and the Fruit of the Spirit is actually something very real in the Bible. But before discussing this connection, the meaning of the concepts “Law of God” and “the Fruit of the Spirit” should be clarified.
As far as the Law of God is concerned, also called the torah of God in the Old Testament and later translated in the New Testament with nomos, we refer to the will of God. For the Jews torah was seen as the direction in which God’s finger points. In other words,torah is an expression of the will of God for man. Therefore, it stands to reason that the Law of God can never be seen as something that has fallen away or having been abolished. The will of God cannot be dealt with like that!
The subject of the spirit world is awfully overlooked in Christian theology. What contributed to this theological omission was largely due to the Enlightenment presuppositions which essentially denied the existence of the spirit world. This caused early missionaries to simply fail to see a natural consequence of the primal worldview which allows for the interrelationship between the natural world and that of spirits and gods or simply between the material and the spiritual worlds. This secular or non super-naturalistic worldview tends to exclude such a relationship, so it questions the whole concept or phenomenon of spirit possession. Witchcraft and sorcery are explained and analysed in psychological, medical and non-religious terms.
Baptism should be understood in terms of Christ – in Him we find the truth of every Biblical doctrine. To understand the sacrament of baptism, one should therefore start with how Christ was baptized, and what He has said in this regard.
The Bible refers to two events where Christ was baptized, and we are going to discuss both events in order to give us clarity concerning the sacrament of baptism.
Do you sometimes feel as if God isn’t interested in you? Do you experience times in your life when you face a situation of hopelessness and despair? You pray, but God doesn’t answer; your circumstances stay the same; you feel that you have come to the end of your tether. Facing darkness and despair is part of our lives. The question before us is how do we continue to live the life of faith in the midst of darkness and despair? Let us look at Psalm 88 as an answer to this question.
Psalm 88 has been called “an embarrassment to conventional faith”. What we hear in the psalm is a voice of despair, fear, and hopelessness, crying out to a silent and absent God. It is little wonder that Psalm 88 is often regarded as one of the darkest corners of the Psalter. The psalm is the desperate cry of someone who seeks to connect with God, but the sound of God’s silence explodes in his ears. The psalmist finds himself in the deepest darkness of abandonment and despair. Yet, his unanswered cry does not silence the poet. God may stay quiet, but not the psalmist. He continues to hurl his cries into an empty sky, convinced that even in the face of God’s inattention, He must still be addressed. Even when confronted with the reality of death, the poet sticks to his protest, to be met yet again with more silence. God doesn’t speak, and He doesn’t act. The poet is ignored, snubbed, shunned, and rejected. The last word he speaks is darkness. His life of faith has ended in darkness. Nothing has changed, nothing has been resolved, and life has been denied.
The Small Group Leader Certificate is a vocational certificate that was especially created to equip leaders of small groups or cell groups.
The programme has been designed to sharpen you Biblical knowledge of both the Old and the New Testament. ATS has a specific view of how to understand and work with the Bible (hermeneutic principle) and this is especially helpful with regard to the Old Testament (in the past Pentecostal and Charismatic people often shied away from the Old Testament). The programme also gives guidance on specific skills such as preaching and pastoral care, and it provides responsible answers to critical faith issues and Christian ethics.
Auckland Park Theological Seminary ("ATS", for short) is the oldest Pentecostal and charismatic theological seminary in Africa. The seminary is an academic institution and has been engaged in theological training and education for the past 60 years.