Original Research

Response of public theology to the voices of the voiceless in pluralistic South Africa

Kelebogile T. Resane
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 40, No 1 | a2006 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v40i1.2006 | © 2019 Kelebogile T. Resane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 2019 | Published: 25 November 2019

About the author(s)

Kelebogile T. Resane, Department of Historical and Constructive Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


This article identifies public theology as reflective endeavours and tasks of the Christian community seeking to address the societal ills and concerns. The aim of public theology is to bring hope to the culture that is increasingly cynical about common human future. The historical sketch of South Africa since 1994 as a secular state helps to understand the impact of pluralistic ideology in formulating the laws of the land. In many cases, these laws are at loggerhead with the needs of the masses who become unheard and unseen. The current status quo in hierarchies of societies had become a concern to be addressed from theological perspectives. Realpolitik had become elevated and vox populi become relegated. It is herein argued that the Christian faith in South Africa is silenced by the powers of secularism and majoritarianism within the civil structures. The role of public theology is explored and expanded to include uniqueness, prophetic role, critical role and public initiatives that lift up the dignity of humanity in the face of pluralistic influences. The call is made for theology to enter the journey of transition from stoical passiveness towards communal, formative, critical and public activism as demonstration of the love of Christ incarnate. Parochialism and defeatism are not the ideal options for the public theology. As an epistemological discipline, an appeal is made for theology to become significantly and visibly public in civil matters despite the pluralistic penchants and predilections.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article challenges public theology to take a lead in addressing human misery in pluralistic society of South Africa.


politics; public; theology; prophetic; power; voice; discourse; pluralism; secularism


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Crossref Citations

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