Study Cohorts


Due to recent events in the world, there has been an increased interest in our Cross Centred Justice Study Cohorts. As a result, we are going to be running a special completely online cohort, starting the end of August and running through to May 2021 (we may have to get a bit creative over the summer months).

Study cohorts exist for those wanting a more in-depth program 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 will be run completely online using the Zoom platform and Google Drive for readings and course notes. Each unit will consist of a monthly contact session via Zoom supplemented by prepared readings, short preparation exercises, and course notes.

The contact sessions themselves are a mixture of seminar, group discussions, presentation of assignments, and contextual learning exercises. A full set of electronic course notes will be provided for each participant.

Exact times and dates will be set in consultation with the participants in order to fit into their schedules. We currently have a mix of cohorts running either during the working day or in the evenings. Maximum of 12 participants per cohort. Sign up now.

Download the Registration Form here

All of this information may also be downloaded as a PDF here

What format does a cohort take?

Cohorts run for ten months usually from February to November each year. Each unit consists of a monthly contact session taking place each month, supplemented by prepared readings, short preparation exercises, and course notes.  Each year we run a number of different cohorts who meet up on different days and at different times suitable to each cohort.

The contact sessions themselves are a mixture of seminar, group discussions, presentation of assignments, and contextual learning exercises. A full set of electronic course notes will be provided for each participant.

Cohort Options for 2020:

We are offering four potential cohort options (exact dates and times are flexible and may be changed to suit the cohort participants) for 2020. Upon registering please indicate which is your preferred cohort.

** PLEASE NOTE  that the running of all cohorts are dependent on having a sufficient numbers of participants**

OPTION 1: Monday Evenings:

CAPE TOWN BASED. 19:00 – 21:30 (once a month). Venue and exact dates and times will be confirmed with participants upon registration and may be changed to suit cohort participants needs where possible. Cohort Leader: John Scheepers

OPTION 2: Thursday Mornings:

CAPE TOWN BASED. 9:30 – 12:30 (once a month) Venue and exact dates and times will be confirmed with participants upon registration and may be changed to suit cohort participants needs where possible. Cohort Leaders: Jeremy Koeries and John Scheepers

Download a Registration Form here

OPTION 3: Online Cohort

ALL LOCATIONS. With the online format the exact time of this cohort can be at the discretion of the participants and will be discussed with participants upon registration. All contact sessions will take place using the Zoom Video Conferencing Platform (there will be no extra cost for participants for this). Cohort Leader: John Scheepers


JO’BURG BASED: *BRAND NEW COHORT OPTION* to be offered on either a Wednesday Morning or a Thursday evening (once a month), depending on participants preferences. Venue and exact dates and times will be confirmed with participants upon registration and may be changed to suit cohort participants needs where possible. Cohort Leader: Ryan Saville

What content will be covered?

The cohort will comprise of ten units, each unit being the topic of one contact session. You can download all this information as a PDF here.

Unit One: Locating Yourself in the Story:

This unit will focus on who we are and what we bring into the process of learning. None of us start a process of learning from a neutral position. All of our stories are a complex interaction of personal journey, inherited theology, contextual and historical formation, as well as personal spirituality and individuality. This unit will prepare us for the learning process by helping us recognise who we are and what we bring “into the room” with us. In particular how has your story influenced how you understand the gospel, church, theology, race and justice? This unit will also briefly examine the contextuality of our faith, theology and Scripture.

Unit Two: What is Cross Centred Justice?

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 Three: 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. Are they both equally valid components of God’s mission? Is there a priority for evangelism? What about the danger of the social gospel?

Unit Four: 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 Five: 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. Much of our attention will be focussed on the rise of the Social Gospel, the Great Reversal and the subsequent recovery of evangelical social action at Lausanne and post Lausanne developments.

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

This unit explores the complex and inconsistent history of the church in South Africa, through on the one hand, silent complicity and active promotion of apartheid’s racial and economic oppression. Whilst on the other hand the providing the seeds of liberation and the struggle for inequality. This unit will examine how division and inequality has permeated her own structures and significantly shaped her mission to the world. Particular attention will be given to the role of evangelicals and apartheid.

Unit Seven: Race and Faith:

In this unit we will explore a biblical, as well as an historical and sociological understanding of race. Is there only one race? Isn’t race a sociological construct? Does the gospel make us colour-blind? What is implicit bias and how does it affect how we do theology and the shape our church’s and ministry takes? What is white privilege and how do we see it at work in the church today?

Unit Eight: Decolonisation: Christianity as a non-Western Faith:

In this unit we explore briefly explore some principle of contextualization and the contextual nature of the gospel. We will then explore further questions around contextualizing the gospel for Africa. How context affects how we read the Bible and formulate our theology? What a decolonising theology whilst maintaining gospel fidelity could look like? Does the Bible itself need to be decolonised? What could a non-Western or decolonised faith look like?

Unit Nine: 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 within the South African context. Particular attention will be given to the relationship between repentance, restitution and reconciliation, and the importance and role of lament in the process of reconciliation and healing.

Unit Ten: Prophetic Imagination:

In this final unit we will explore the concept of the Prophetic Imagination, the capacity to move beyond what the world seems to be to see the world as it might be. Prophetic imagination shaped by Scripture and context opens up our imagination to the possibility of a different world, shaped by God’s vision of the world.

You can download all this information as a PDF here

What previous participants have said:

It is with real delight that I commend the Isiphambano Study Cohort, which I had the opportunity to partake in this year. I have so appreciated being exposed to outstanding scholarship regarding the history and mission of the church and learning about perspectives of significant evangelical leaders in the ‘two thirds’ world. What was even more valuable was engaging with this material in a diverse group of men and women from different churches across the city. These monthly learning moments were facilitated with skill and grace and the opportunity to reflect on what my theology and practice is in relation to the biblical call for cross-centered and contextual justice has been invaluable.

Leigh Berg

“The Isiphambano Cohort is a phenomenal space to grapple and grow Theologically with the issue of Justice. The yearlong cohort has helped me fill in some of the blinds spots I have around this critical issue in our time, and it has also informed the way I do theology. I would encourage anyone seeking to grapple and develop a contextual ministry philosophy to be a part of this.”

Grant Porthen
Jubilee Community Church

“The cohort has introduced me to work of remarkable, Southern Hemisphere-based evangelical leaders like Samuel Escobar, Ruth Padilla Du Borst and Rene Padilla. Prior to joining the cohort i had never heard these names. I’m thankful to have been exposed to their work in the justice arena. The prescribed readings in the cohort are engaging and challenging and helps to sharpen my theological perspectives on justice.”

Jeremy Koeries
International Lead Team and South Africa Country Leader, J-Life Africa

“The Isiphambano Centre for Biblical Justice is providing a much-needed voice in the justice arena. Through the Study Cohort, I have learned essential paradigms and frameworks that equip me to be faithful to God’s text and the context of South Africa. Through the cohort, a diverse group of South Africans have been grappling and discussing rich theology. This cohort creates an environment that makes this a heart journey, shaped by the Word. I recommend this cohort to anyone who wants to ensure that the cross is at the centre of their passion and practice of justice.”

Richard Lundie
Common Good Congregational Support Team Leader

“The Study Cohort has been an amazing engagement as we met as Christians of different churches. Both the readings and group discussions cut to the core of one’s everyday life experiences on matters of justice. Lessons learnt in the study cohorts compel you to reflect deeply on how far the church (your church) is dealing with matters of justice in our times. It’s sad to admit that we still lack behind as we did pre-democracy in SA. I encourage every maturing Christian to take part in such studies. They will sharpen your everyday Christian living in our times.”

Katleho Meslane
Children’s Pastor, St Thomas’ Church, Heideveld

Being part of the Isiphambano cohort sessions were (for me) a definite life changing experience. The cohort was an open and comfortable space to interrogate, discuss and evaluate how we as God’s people, His church, His Kingdom; understand His justice and righteousness. The readings and discussions helped not only reflect on our church, societal or political structures and systems; they decanted deep self-reflections. I believe the cohort was my first step in living an articulate life of God’s justice and love.

Ulibo Maake, 2019 Cohort Participant

What does it cost?

The cost for 2020 will be R 900 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 or further questions please contact