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After completion of his theological training, he furthered his studies
in Philosophy at the University of Tübingen, Germany, on the principle
of hope (E Bloch) and theology of hope (J Moltmann). He served as minister
in two congregations near Cape Town and, since 1978, has been a lecturer
at the University of Stellenbosch. He is responsible for Practical Theology,
Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Counselling. Pastoral Care focuses on chaplaincy,
terminal care, marriage and family enrichment, as well as on social issues,
such as poverty and Aids.
Pastoral Care is viewed as a theological discipline. Within the framework
of the traditional understanding of pastoral care as cura animarum (care
of the human soul), we endeavour to develop Pastoral Theology as a healing
enterprise, which focuses on care from the perspective of salvation. Pastoral
Care is faith care applied as life care. The main objective is to help
people towards a meaningful life with the aid of an appropriate understanding
of God and his presence. The following important existential life issues
should be addressed:
- Our anxiety for rejection, isolation and death - hence the human quest
for intimacy and acceptance.
- Guilt and guilt feelings - hence the human quest for liberation and
- Despair and doubt - hence the human quest for hope and a meaningful
Prof Louw's research focuses on the link between healing/salvation and
burning life issues, such as conflict in marriage relationships, the pain
of divorce, tension within families, caring for people suffering from
Aids, and an outreach to poor communities. His special field of interest
is the interplay between God-images and suffering. The core question in
pastoral theology is the problem of theodicy and our search for guidance:
the will of God in suffering.
1994. Illness as crisis and challenge . Johannesburg: Orion.
1995. Love lasts : A couple's guide to growth and enrichment.
Cape Town: Lux Verbi.
1998. A pastoral hermeneutics of care and encounter . Cape Town:
1999. A mature faith : Spiritual direction and anthropology in
a theology of pastoral care and counseling. Louvain theological &
pastoral monographs 25. Louvain: Peeters Press (Eerdmans).
2000. Meaning in suffering : A theological reflection on the
cross and the resurrection for pastoral care and counselling. Frankfurt: