The Prophetic Witness of Amos and its Relevance for Today’s Church in African Countries for Promoting Social Justice, Especially in Democratic South Africa -- By: Noel Woodbridge

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 16:1 (Sep 2013)
Article: The Prophetic Witness of Amos and its Relevance for Today’s Church in African Countries for Promoting Social Justice, Especially in Democratic South Africa
Author: Noel Woodbridge


The Prophetic Witness of Amos and its Relevance for Today’s Church in African Countries for Promoting Social Justice, Especially in Democratic South Africa

Noel Woodbridge

and Willem Semmelink1

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to show that the prophetic witness of Amos is relevant for today’s church in African countries for promoting social justice, because of the growing corruption in African societies, especially in democratic South Africa. Firstly, relevant concepts relating to the prophetic witness of the church for promoting social justice are defined. Secondly, an attempt is made—using three theological arguments—to demonstrate that the church is called upon by God to be a prophetic witness for social justice in secular society. Thirdly, a biblical examination of the prophetic witness of Amos is presented, especially relating to the context, the call and the message of Amos. Fourthly, a discussion on the relevance of the prophetic witness of Amos for African churches today, especially in South Africa, is provided. Sixthly, recent developments and challenges for today’s church in African countries like South Africa to revive their prophetic witness are described. Finally, the

article proposes certain practical guidelines—based on the prophetic witness of Amos—for today’s church on how to promote social justice in African countries, especially in democratic South Africa.

1. Introduction

An examination of the prophetic witness of the church in African countries, especially in South Africa, is relevant for the reasons listed below.

Firstly, there is growing corruption in African societies. In spite of obtaining independence, many African countries have ‘inherited indelible scars of exploitation, injustice and misery from colonial rule’ (Nyiawung 2010:791). Since then, the situation has declined resulting in ‘an ever growing chasm between a few elite in leadership positions who oppress and a vast majority of followers grounded by the load of oppression’ (Nyiawung 2010:791).

The situation of corruption in post-apartheid South Africa appears to be no different. Charles Ayoub, in an article entitled, Corruption in South Africa indicates that ‘the 2010 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index assigned South Africa an index of 4.8, ranking South Africa 54th out of 178 countries.’ He further states that in South Africa corruption includes ‘the private use of public resources, bribery and improper favouritism’ (Ayoub 2011).

Notable in...

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