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Prof. D. J. Louw

Background
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.

Vision/mission
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 freedom.
  • Despair and doubt - hence the human quest for hope and a meaningful future.

Research
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.

Publications
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: Lux Verbi.
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: Peter Lang.