Prophetic preaching in South Africa: exploring some spaces of tension

  • Johan Cilliers
Keywords: Prophetic, Preaching, Space, Voice, Analysis


In this article a sermon that was preached during the height of the apartheid era by the well-known South African preacher and political activist, Allan boesak, is re-evaluated, utilizing the Heidelberg Method of sermon analysis in conjunction with certain elements of the Grounded Teory Model and the administrative support of the Kwalitan Computer Program. The sermon represents an interesting reflection on the South African context at the time, as well as the homiletic methodology implemented by one of South Africa’s most gifted preachers – indeed a brave effort to articulate the living voice of the gospel within this context. The analysis strives not only to reveal the basic hermeneutic structure of the sermon as it becomes apparent on a linguistic level, but also to offer a theological interpretation, specifically in terms of the God-images and ecclesiology that underline the preacher’s efforts to address the South African context under apartheid. The sermon and analysis open up the possibility for a retrospective reflection on the question: did this form of prophetic preaching in fact serve the “living voice of the gospel” in a time of trial and transition?