Study Cohort

The study cohort exists for those wanting a more in-depth programme of theological and practical reflection in understanding and applying cross-centred, contextual justice to the South African context. In-depth study and reflection on Scripture will form a central tenant of this course, which will also include discussion of church history, the history of South Africa, sociological understandings of race and power, and reflections on relevant theologians or theological schools of thought. This course will give the participant not only a robust theological understanding of Cross-Shaped Justice but also a practical framework for actually doing justice and mercy in contemporary South Africa.

This cohort is suitable to all Christians but particularly to those who find themselves in some form of leadership in a local church or Christian NGO. This cohort is evangelical and non-denominational.

What format will the course take?

The course will run for ten months from February to November with a monthly contact session taking place for a full morning each month (9:00-12:30). There will a number of set readings and short assignments which each participant must complete before the contact session. The contact session will be a mixture of seminar, group discussion, presentation of set assignments and contextual learning exercises. A full set of notes will be provided for the participant at each contact session.

You can also download this information as a PDF here

What content will be covered?

The cohort will comprise of ten units, each unit being the topic of one contact session.

Unit One: What is Cross Centred Justice?

For over a hundred years the church has had running debates as to which is more important, social justice or gospel proclamation. In this unit we will briefly trace through the integral nature of both justice and evangelism to God’s plan of redemption through the biblical story.

Unit Two: What is the Mission of the Church?

If God is a God of justice who cares deeply about the poor, what then is the mission of the church? In this unit we will explore the relationship between evangelism and social action in the life and mission of the church.

Unit Three: Biblical Economics

In this unit we will explore a biblical understanding of the roots of poverty; discuss what role God’s people ought to play in caring for the poor and the marginalized, and develop a brief biblical theology of economics, power and wealth among God’s people.

Unit Four: A History of Evangelicals and Social Action

In this unit we will briefly touch on the history of social action among the early church, the reformation, the Great Awakening and the early missionary movements. Most of our attention though will be focussed on the rise of the Social Gospel, the Great Reversal and the subsequent recovery of evangelical social action for at Lausanne and post Lausanne developments.

Unit Five: The History of the South African Church and Inequality

This unit explores the complex and inconsistent history of the church in South Africa. On the one hand, the church’s legacy has been silent acquiescence or the legitimizing of racial division and economic inequality, and on the other hand the gospel has provided the seeds of liberation and equality. Division and exclusion, has equally permeated and shaped the church’s own structures and dealings with one another. How we understand the past is crucial to our role and legacy as the church in contemporary post-apartheid South Africa.

Unit Six: Contextualization

In this unit we explore the basic principles of contextualization and ask questions about the contextual nature of the gospel in Africa and what it could look like to contextualize our theology and practice into an African context

Unit Seven: White Theology, Whiteness and Decolonization

In this unit we will explore a biblical understanding of race and question how our understanding of colour affects how we formulate and practice our theology? Is there a need for a decolonizing of our theology whilst maintaining gospel fidelity? Is there such a thing as white theology?

Unit Eight: Reconciliation and Restitution

In this unit we will firstly explore a biblical understanding of reconciliation and restitution and then we will contemplate the contextual implications for us today, as both the church organic and institutional. A key area of concern will be the relationship of the gospel to the issue of land in South African today.

Unit 9: Ministry in a non-Western Context

Most of our framework and methodology for ministry has been developed in and for a western context. What might a non-Western, gospel shaped methodology look like? What are the issues or concerns which would shape or drive such a methodology?

Unit 10: Three Levels of Justice

This unit will explore a working framework for churches or individuals to engage both strategically and compassionately with issues of justice and mercy. This session will explore the different aspects of justice (charity/relief; development and structural), how they relate to each other and why it is crucial that we clearly understand at which level of justice we are operating, as well as the dangers of confusing the different levels for unintentionally perpetuating existing cycles of dependence or injustice. We will also introduce some tools used for contextual analysis.

You can also download this information as a PDF here

What does it cost?

The cost is R750 per quarter due at the beginning of each school term (January, April, July, October). A R300 deposit is required at registration which will be offset against your first term’s fees.

How do I apply?

Download the registration form here and send it back together with the proof of payment of your deposit to


Any queries of further questions please contact John Scheepers at