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Chammah J. Kaunda


This article employs a public theology approach from the perspective of a decolonial theory. It analyses how the Declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation functioned as a nationalist neo-colonial ideology during the presidential campaign of 2016. It did so in a way that was designed to legitimize President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s political candidacy and moral authority within the Pentecostal-Charismatic religious sector. The analysis seeks to demonstrate how the Declaration and the photography of the social media presidential campaign intersected in order to represent the image of Lungu as an idea Christian President. Informed by a thematic analysis and a decolonial public theology, the article unmasks and exposes how ideology can become normalized as social practice within a particular historical context. The theological-ethnographic material within the analysis was collected during the period from January 2016 to February 2017.

Mark Dawson


Church action for Fair Trade in the United Kingdom serves as an example of an activity, inspired and guided by theology, which has grown to involve the active participation of large numbers of churchgoers. Public recognition of Fair Trade is high, embracing a wide, secular society. The expansion of Fair Trade has come at a price, however, with the increasing involvement of large commercial organisations threatening diminution of the original theological insight. In learning from the experience of the mainstreaming of Fair Trade in the United Kingdom, it could be argued that the theological reflection that gave rise to the Fair Trade movement was the beginning of a public theology. It needs to be acknowledged and now taken further, to respond to the changing context. A public theology involving congregations should be nurtured, so that the public theological insight can be disseminated and its guidance put into practice.

Nico Koopman


This article discusses the development of a public theological response to the various challenges that have confronted South African democracy over the past twenty-five years. A public theology addresses three interdependent themes, namely the inherent public contents of faith, the public rationality of faith and the public significance of faith. The praxis of a Trinitarian theology and anthropology of vulnerability captures the emphasis liberation theology placed upon dignity, healing, justice, freedom and equality. The focus on human rights is a vehicle for justice while the call for unity—within the church and society at large—seeks a reconciliation that overcomes alienation. It seeks an end to oppression and dehumanization. In a context where the democratic vision of dignity, healing, justice, freedom and equality for all, especially for the most vulnerable, are not fulfilled, the prophetic modes of envisioning and criticism have to enjoy priority.

Caroline Redick


This article seeks to offer a theological response for the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis (2011–19) by examining the doctrine of the Trinity in light of the contemporary landscape of displacement. In order to explore divine identity in relation to displacement and hospitality, the theology of Jürgen Moltmann will be utilized in order to interpret the current crisis through the lens of Trinitarian salvation. Moltmann’s understanding of Trinitarian persons as spaces will be explored to highlight the role of risk in love and to illustrate how salvific enfolding even embraces the possibility of harm. Finally, building from his theology, the article will argue that this understanding of Trinitarian salvation impacts a Christian ethic of hospitality during the refugee crisis.

Where Public Theology and Public Administration Meet

Reflections on Jürgen Habermas’ Post-Secular Turn

Robert van Putten, Patrick Overeem and Ronald van Steden


Since 9/11 Jürgen Habermas has paid considerable attention to religion in the public sphere. He has described contemporary Western societies as ‘post-secular’, arguing that believers and non-believers should show a mutually cooperative attitude and engage in complementary learning processes. Although public theologians have urged for policies that would encourage such collaboration, public administration scholars and practitioners seem to have completely neglected this call. In this article we inquire into the possibility of a ‘post-secular public administration’, which grants a more significant place to beneficial forms of religion in modern societies. By presenting a case study on Street Pastors in the British night-time economy we offer an example of both a post-secular religious contribution to the public sphere, as envisaged by Habermas, and a piece of post-secular empirical social science research. Finally, we critically assess Habermas’ post-secular turn within the context of a cross-narrative between public theology and public administration.


Gerrit Bos

Edited by Gerrit Bos

Translator Michael R. McVaugh