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Christian Identity In The Public Square—Karl Barth On The Beyers Naudé Centre For Public Theology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter talks about a need for a public ecclesiology. Is the Christian identity necessarily linked to the public square? The founding of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology illustrates how serious the questions are, taken in the South African context. For Barth, the entire creation is epistemologically rooted in Christology. Christianity for him is about being visible and concrete in the world. Barth does not want to reduce or manipulate theology 'for' public interest, but sees theology as being inherently public. The stories of Beyers Naudé are all very important markers along the way that show the important role theology has played in the public domain-contributing to end the apartheid government's rule. A public theology through the church provides space for the wrong starting points and motivations to express the inherent public intention of theology, but also assures the wrong results for both theology and public life.

Keywords: apartheid; Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology; Christian identity; church; Karl Barth; South African



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