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Prof Jerry Pillay inaugurated
15 September 2017

 

The Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria celebrated Prof Jerry Pillay's inauguration with a special address in August 2017. Prof Pillay is the Head of the Department of Church History and Polity in the Faculty and the President of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and has been the General Secretary of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) since 2008. He was also the Senior Minister at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Benoni (1998 to 2008) and Senior Minister at the Bridgetown Presbyterian Church in Cape Town (1989 to 1998).

Prof Pillay has a PhD in Missiology, Church History and New Testament (University of Cape Town, 2002), MTheol (cum laude) in Missiology and Church History (University of Durban-Westville, 1988), and a BTheol (Hon) (University of Durban-Westville, 1986). In addition, he has an honorary doctorate in Theology from the Debrecen University in Hungary.

In his address, Prof Pillay presented a vision for the Department of Church History and Polity. He explored the purpose of universities and the meaning of theology, while arguing that theology has a definite place at public universities. He proceeded to examine the meaning and value of history, pointing out that history is essential to learn about the past, understand the present, and shape the future. He then related this understanding to the significance of church history, pointing out that church history is a part of general history and, more significantly, it is a reflection of what God has done and is doing in the world. Therefore, it is a necessary part of the Faculty of Theology and of the University of Pretoria.

Prof Pillay concluded his address with these significant remarks: 'In the final analysis, what matters is not a history of theology but a theology of history. How have we understood and applied the 'God question' to the whole of life? This is important for the public university as well, since the whole world is the 'Sphere Divine'.'

Prof Johan Buitendag, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, noted that Prof Pillay's address has stimulated different ideas and views. 'In particular, it outlined a vision for the Department of Church History and Church Polity that gives further impetus and direction to the vision and strategic plan of the Faculty of Theology and the University of Pretoria.'

 

View the inauguration's photo gallery 

 

 

- Author Faculty of Theology
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Prof Jerry Pillay