Original Research

‘Public theology’ from within the church? A reflection on aspects of the theology of W.D. Jonker (1929–2006)

Piet J. Naud
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 35, No 1 | a1136 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v35i1.1136 | © 2014 Piet J. Naud | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 July 2013 | Published: 19 March 2014

About the author(s)

Piet J. Naud, Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


In this essay, aspects of the work of theologian W.D. (Willie) Jonker are reframed to complement current debates about ‘public theology’ in South Africa. The introduction points out that Jonker worked during a crucial period in South Africa’s history and that his theology is intrinsically linked to the church struggle between 1955 and 1994. The second part reframes Jonker’s theology as a public theology from within the church by referring to his understanding of preaching, confessions and public witness. The last part attempts to move beyond Jonker in appropriating some of his ideas for a public theology in South Africa today.


Public Theology; WD Jonker; DRC; Ecumenical church


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