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Help to read and interpret the Bible

Posted on: October 12, 2000 2:54 PM
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The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane, addressed the Christian Organisation Research Advisory Trust for Africa (CORAT) at its recent Silver Jubilee symposium in Nairobi. The theme of the gathering was the "Sustainability of Churches in a Changing Context."

The Archbishop said that leadership, which enables sustainability, was beset by many problems and challenges. One of those challenges was for teachers of theology to help people read and interpret their experience, the signs of the times and the Bible, in ways that will be liberating good news for everyone.

"If our reading of scripture and the theologies we develop are not good news for [everyone], then we are not only wasting our time; we are also undermining the very gospel we pretend to proclaim," the Archbishop said.

The Archbishop observed that too often churches, organisations and institutions are rendered ineffective because of inside conflicts. "Very often an organisation's energy is taken up with side issues and distractions, which are not the real issues and the real focus of its mission," he noted.

"Good leadership will need skills to deal effectively with realities within organisations and institutions," the Archbishop said, addressing the CORAT symposium on the theme of 'The role of leadership in providing an enabling environment for sustainability.'

"Leadership, needs to maintain a 'balcony perspective'," said the Archbishop, regretting that the Bible and Christianity have been used to oppress and control people. "How much worse could it get if we use our reading of Scripture to perpetuate forms of oppression?"