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Title: The Silence of God: An Exegetical And Theological Study of Habakkuk 1:1―2:20
Authors: Gatti, N.
Ossom-Batsa, G.
Atitsogbi., A. S.
University of Ghana, College of Humanities, School of Arts, Department of Religions
Keywords: Charismatic Churches
Theological Study
Prophetic words
Charismatic theology
Issue Date: Jul-2015
Publisher: University of Ghana
Abstract: The silence of God and the problem of evil are mysterious issues and a major concern for human history which many have tried to unravel. However, some contemporary Charis-matic Churches try to use motivational or prosperity gospel to resolve the problem of evil. Some of their leaders preach that Christians must not lack anything. If that is so, how do we explain the circumstances of poverty, sufferings, natural and man-made disasters that claim so many lives? Is it because those who suffer such calamities are not ‘good’ Chris-tians? The above questions are not new, the prophet Habakkuk in a different situation shares in the same agony. In his book, he discusses the confusing and often controversial issue of evil in his society. Against this background, the research analyses Hab 1:1―2:20, a literary unit composed like a dialogue between the prophet and God dealing with a single question: “Why say nothing while the wicked swallows someone more upright than himself?” (1:3).The inves-tigation employs a synchronic approach to the exegesis of the text. Among the main ap-proaches available, the research follows a text centred approach called New Rhetorical Criticism. The method is suitable to the study of the text because prophetic literature is a ‘purposive literature’. The study analysed how the biblical author used rhetorical features (structures; metaphors; repetitions; parallelisms, etc.) to impact his readers and to confirm their faith in time of crisis. In the awareness that the hermeneutical cycle is not complete until the text becomes relevant in the life of the reader, in our case the Ghanaian reader, the communicative/dialogic approach proposed by Ossom-Batsa was employed. In answering the major research question — i.e. how does Hab 1:1―2:20, articulate the problem of the ‘silence of God’? — The exegetical analysis indicates the concept of אֱמוּנָה , (faithfulness/steadfastness) as the rhetorical climax of the text. Therefore, the researcher concludes that God was not ‘silent’, as the prophet thought. The Almighty God has a plan for those who remain faithful to Him and in their steadfastness do not answer to violence with violence. At the appropriate time, the Almighty God will respond to His creatures. The text challenges Charismatic Churches in Ghana to reconsider their preaching of ‘faith’ as ‘positive confession’, ‘investment’ and ‘prosperity right’. The engagement with the text invites Charismatic readers to embark on a journey from ‘positive confession’ to ‘dialogue with God’ even in the suffering; from ‘investment’ to trust and from ‘prosperity right’ to relationship, in order to cleave totally to God and to collaborate with him in transforming the world. Therefore, they are called to care and identify with the sufferings of the members of their various congregations and be actively involved in promoting social justice. Finally, the researcher recommends a further academic study on the concept of the silence of God in Charismatic theology and prophetism, with respect to social action and social justice.
Description: Thesis (MPhil.) - University of Ghana, 2015
Appears in Collections:Department of Religions

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