Journal index

Adorjáni Zoltán220 -- 222Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)In memoriamOther
Visky Sándor Béla183 -- 186Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)EssaySystematic theology
Buzogány Dezső173 -- 182

During the inspection visits in local congregations, the committee used a series of questions addressing both the local pastor and the congregation. Such sets of enquiring questions survived only from the end of the 17. century in the Hungarian Reformed Church. Nevertheless, we cannot exclude that the church inspection committee used such questions even during earlier periods, as the Western-European church model had been implemented in the Hungarian Reformed church since the beginning of the Reformation. According to Zepper, when the day for inspection arrived, the entire congregation was supposed to have been gathered in the church building before the inspection committee. This was the place where the local minister had to be enquired not only about his preaching, but about his entire pastoral activity. Furthermore, the congregation was enquired about the local minister’s services and behaviour, whether the church members were able to follow the sermons delivered by the minister, whether the sermons adhere to the Bible and the confessions, whether catechetical work was regularly carried out among the youth, etc. Such enquiries aimed to smoothen communication between the minister and his congregation.

Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)Research articleChurch history
Lőrinczy Petra136 -- 172

This paper aims to discover the various problems of the term syncretism, and its definition in anthropology, religious studies and theology in relation to the Korean Protestant inter-denominational discourse. Before being able to evaluate any case or accusation of syncretism within the Korean context, we need to realise, that even the term itself is a widely disputed concept. The first half of this paper examines the various standpoints related to the relevance or irrelevance of the scientific use of syncretism. The second half of the paper aims to shed light on the specific areas of the traditional Korean religiosity found to be in a direct or indirect relation to the Protestant Korean Christianity. The study chose to work through the traditional shamanism of Korea, since it is the tradition, that is most frequently correlated with Korean Christianity. In the last part of the study, the author brings several pro and contra examples regarding the question of the syncretic relation between Korean Protestant Christianity and the local shamanistic traditions. A Korean source-based research is still to be conducted for a more conclusive standpoint on the matter and further research on the question of the terms syncretism, inculturation and indigenization could also yield interesting results.

Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)Research articlePractical theology, Missiology
Balogh Péter119 -- 135

The study focuses on the human side of apostle Paul: his mentality and his characteristics manifested in social interactions. Analysing the changes related to his conversion we realise that he did not become a different person, rather his real God-given personality came to be revealed in his ministry for God. We may consider Paul’s way of life a practical lesson, exposing an example to follow. Tracing the chronology of his mission trips we observe the dynamics of his social network, referring to companions joining and leaving the team and contacts of various intensity. Considering the findings of social psychology, we examine the features of mission teams formed around him which cohere with recent recommendations on how to be effective in teamwork.

Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)Research articleNew Testament
Mezey Mónika109 -- 118

Many of the parallels between rabbinic and early Christian writings can be explained by their common heritage and their shared opposition to pagan society. Their attitude towards spectacles may be an exception because the Hebrew Bible does not provide any guidance in this regard, yet their arguments against pagan entertainments are often based on the same proof text (Ps 1:1). This may be the result of intensive academic communication, but it could also be traced back to a common oral tradition.

Református Szemle 115.2 (2022)Research articleOld Testament, Antiquity studies, Judaica
Buzogány Dezső62 -- 68

According to Wilhelm Zepper, church government has two distinctive responsibilities: the
meeting (synodus) and the inspection or control (visitatio). The visitation of the members of a
congregation (visitatio domestica) is the most useful and most important of all kinds of visitations
in the Church. The duty of the local minister is not only to preach from the pulpit once or twice
a week. He needs to know the members of his congregation personally. These personal meetings
also belong to the area of pastoral care. Some congregation members could be prohibited to
participate in the regular church service due to some kind of illness or weakness. They would,
nonetheless, need to be strengthened by the word of God considering their special condition.
The official visitation (visitatio specialis) of the inspector (dean) of the classis should take place at
least once a year. The dean inspecting the life of the church is accompanied during these
visitations by a few colleagues and the local state authority.

Református Szemle 115.1 (2022)Research articleChurch history
Bálint Péter37 -- 61

In the folktales of the ethnicities of the Carpathian Basin, the phenomenon of stepchildhood (due to orphanhood, separation, removal from home, transfer or remarriage) occurs quite frequently. This phenomenon has been thoroughly mapped by mythologists and folklorists, by exegetes and prominent scholars of medieval and modern history from the perspective of different disciplines. However, the literary hermeneutic analysis of these narratives reveals the historical and socio-cultural background, the individual and local community experience from which the existence of a marginalized child, sometimes barely tolerated and sometimes totally deprived of rights in the family, can be interpreted. As a compensation for the unbearable foster-life, the storytellers aim to overwrite the bad experience by creating a good fortune through the intercession of a helping being, a ‟God-sent man”, assisting the hero.

Református Szemle 115.1 (2022)Research articleVarious
Marjovszky Tibor, Márton János25 -- 36

In ancient Israel, the lack of winter rains was not only seen as an economic crisis, but also as a warning from God. Whenever the rainy season passed without rainfall, the sages proclaimed a public fast. Part 2 of the Mishnaic tractate Tacanit treatise deals in detail with the rituals that the patriarch, the president of the tribunal, the clergy and the members of the congregation were required to perform. The external ceremonies, such as the sprinkling of ashes on the ark, included various blessings which pointed to the real purpose of fasting: to set the heart back on the right path. The days of fasting, therefore, provide an opportunity to fulfil the prerequisites for conversion: confession and repentance of sins. The chapter also mentions the days on which fasting is expressly forbidden and those who are exempt from fasting in the strict sense. Lastly, because it was a matter of the repentance of the community, the sages also took care to ensure that thus traders did not fall into the sin of greed, and tried to exclude any attempts of abuse in business.

Református Szemle 115.1 (2022)Research articleJudaica
Máthé-Farkas Zoltán5 -- 24

Job 19,25–27 are probably the most widely known verses from his book. This pericope is often evoked on funeral occasions, and many Christians undoubtedly ponder those while struggling with the issue of death. The current study does not aim to correct the Christian faith. From the perspective of systematic theology, the Redeemer of Job and that of the Christians is the very same Christ. This essay attempts to outline the meaning of the text through linguistic and poetical analysis. A text (including a spontaneous one) informs a reader even by the way it was created. That is emphatically true in case of a writing formed, handed down, redacted in a stabilized version. (Scribal mistakes, of course, cannot be excluded, but until proven let the principle of lectio difficilior be followed.) The present essay strives to understand the meaning of Job’s words about his Restorer, who is able to redeem even when the flesh and the heart are consumed.

Református Szemle 115.1 (2022)Research articleOld Testament
Ambrus Mózes709 -- 720

As a consequence of the Second Vienna Award of 30 August 1940, the Transylvanian Reformed Church was split into two parts. Broadly 240 000 Reformed believers in Southern Transylvania came under the jurisdiction of the Romanian state. Bishop János Vásárhelyi and the Council of Church Directors of the Transylvanian Reformed Church entrusted Ferenc Nagy and Count Bálint Bethlen with the task of organising the administration of the congregations in Southern Transylvania. The church also had to decide on how to organise the training of pastors in the South Transylvanian Reformed Church District. In the spring of 1941, a training course was organised for theologians, after which they could complete the theological studies they had begun. In September 1941, the Bethlen Theological Academy in Nagyenyed was opened, with four departments and four full-time teachers.

Református Szemle 114.6 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Biró István687 -- 708

In our study, we examined a significant change of administration and power: what was the impact of the Second Vienna Award of 30 August 1940 on the Faculty of Theology of the Transylvanian Reformed Church in Cluj/Kolozsvár? This historical turn of events was not only a cause for joy, but also a major change and challenge for theological education.

We were able to gain insight into the challenges the faculty and its leadership faced in the new situation and the solutions they sought to address them. After the second Vienna Award, the integration of the faculty into the ecclesiastical higher education of the Hungarian state was one of the primary tasks. The academic situation of the students also had to be sorted out, and the Faculty had to face a significant reduction in its staff and the financial crisis. These influences changed the internal and external life of the faculty; consequently, we see that social, administrative and political changes had a particular impact on the functioning of the institute and on the training of ministers.

The writings of the theological teachers in ecclesiastical publications have provided a basis for understanding the processes of power change in Transylvania in their ecclesiastical context. They helped to develop a correct vision and to identify the perceived and expected consequences of the decision. Our study also shows that during this period, ecclesiastical and public activities were deeply intertwined.

Református Szemle 114.6 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Buzogány Dezső679 -- 686

The synod of the Classis or deanery was the assembly of the church supervisors which gathered once a year. But if unavoidable affairs of local churches required, the synod could be convoked any time it was necessary. In this case they had to notify the public authority to convene an extraordinary meeting even before the regular date of the synod. The proper place for the synod was the main Church Town hall or the palatine’s assembly hall. Thus, the authority may be present at the synod as the one ordained by God to be the upholder and guardian of the church. The task of the chairman was to say a prayer, to collect the votes, to build a bridge between the public authority and supervisors, to see that the decisions of the synod are duly recorded and put in writing, to have them signed by all, and to give them to each participant to take to their congregations. During discussions the public authority has no decisive word like in public administration or society affairs, it has only the right to deliberate. For in ecclesiastical matters, it is not the approval and will of the authority that is decisive, but the word of God, and in the synod this word alone can have the authority of command. To this the authority also owes obedience, for the authority is not lord, but lamb and member of the church. God has not placed the authorities above the church, but in the church.

Református Szemle 114.6 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Magyar Balázs Dávid616 -- 678

The reception of John Calvin’s theology and social thoughts in Hungary raises several historical, judicial and theological questions. The multi-faceted legacy of Péter Melius Juhász makes it clear that Calvin’s theological and ethical considerations had a profound impact on the sixteenth century moral life of the local townsfolk of Debrecen. But the exploration of the practical aspects of this influence has been neglected in current Calvin-studies. For this reason, the primary intention of the present study is to show what practical implications in the field of public morals the ecclesiastical and literary ministry of the early modern preachers of Geneva and Debrecen had. Readers will find that the Hungarian reformers did not directly refer to the written legacy of Luther or Calvin, but the sifting examination of the Registers of the Magistrates of Debrecen contributes significantly to demonstrating the effectiveness of the doctrines preached by the reformers in Eastern Hungary. Moreover, the elaboration on the public morals of Debrecen also allows a comparison of the moral life of the inhabitants of the two Reformed cities of Geneva and Debrecen.

Református Szemle 114.6 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Literáty Zoltán607 -- 615

Fifty years ago a short book on homiletics was published, entitled As One Without Authority, by Fred B. Craddock, which proved to be a milestone in the history of homiletics. The interval of half a century since its publication allows to appreciate the homiletical concept that was built on the narrative paradigm. This evaluation emerges from the Hungarian context, where narrative preaching has always been a faraway guest for the last fifty years.

Református Szemle 114.6 (2021)Research articlePractical theology
Kulcsár Árpád553 -- 593

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Reformed Church District of Király- hágómellék, this paper examines the work of alliances within the church (Women’s Alliance, Men’s Alliance, Youths’ Alliance, etc.), with special focus on the social and diaconal work. The paper builds on articles, reportages, footages, and shorter studies of the Reformátusok Lapja (Reformed Magazine), published by the celebrating church district. A synthesis of the available data reveals the difficulties involving the organisation of these alliances and the limited results achieved. 

Református Szemle 114.5 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Higyed István-Levente530 -- 552

In this study we trace back the life of Reformed minister, dean and bishop János Gachal until his traceless disappearance. We also present the organisational development of the Reformed Church in southern Hungary at the moment of the collapse of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the border modifications that took place during the Second World War. János Gachal spent most of his ministry in southern Hungary where he experienced the horrors of both world wars. One can discover his integrity in a world that changed abruptly around him. He became active in saving communists, Jews and Yugoslav partisans. He was a skilled organiser of the congregations. The era of his ministry is characterised by a vibrant atmosphere regarding both the life of the church and the cultural and economic life of the communities. During the Second World War he has fallen victim to the unstoppable ethnical cleansing. Even today, nobody exactly knows what exactly happened and where was he buried.

Református Szemle 114.5 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Buzogány Dezső517 -- 529

The structure of the Transylvanian Reformed Church in the 16–17th centuries showed many similarities to the West-European Reformed church models. Except for the institution of elders (Presbiterium), all other church institutions were established as early as the middle of the 16th century. The main cause of the lack of the institution of elders was the dissimilarity in the struc- ture of the society. While the society in the West was founded on civil democracy, the social system of Transylvania was rather feudalistic, consequently the lower part of the society had little influence on governing, both on a local and on a regional level. This is why the Presbiterium, as one of the democratic institutions of the church in the West, failed to be implemented within the structure of the church government in Transylvania. Thus the lowest level of church gov- ernment was the synod of the classis or deanery (synodus particularis), lead by the dean (in the west: the inspector). As the entire church structure reflected somehow the structure of the secular society, the church as an organization could have been incorporated into the feudal secular society.

Református Szemle 114.5 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Opra Koppány496 -- 516

While the Qur’an often refers to Jesus Christ, it presents a picture which is different from the New Testament. The Qur’an “denies” that Jesus Christ would be the Son of God, implicitly also discounting the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Jesus is only a creature, a prophet of God, whom God saved from death on the cross. The denial of the death of Jesus Christ was presum- ably theologically motivated, insofar as Muhammad’s successful career was aimed to prove that the servant of Allah cannot fail or suffer because God protects his people and leads them to prosperity. In contrast, Jesus Christ is the One who, if necessary, will take the way of suffering for the sinner and even make the substitutionary sacrifice for his salvation (Is 53:3-6). Muham- mad could have encountered heretical Christian teachings. When the Qur’an refutes teachings concerning the person of Jesus Christ that are irreconcilable with the Bible or the traditional dogmas of Christianity, it refutes, in fact, the heresies of certain Christian sects.

Református Szemle 114.5 (2021)Research articleSystematic theology
Mezey Mónika487 -- 495

The Mishnah tractate Avodah Zarah (Idolatry) contains a list of items that are forbidden to be sold to pagans. This study discusses whether these items played such an important role in pagan cults as it was suggested by the rabbis, or they were special ingredients of magical recipes.

Református Szemle 114.5 (2021)Research articleAntiquity studies, Judaica
Buzogány Dezső473 -- 475Református Szemle 114.4 (2021)AnnouncementChurch history
Sógor Géza449 -- 453Református Szemle 114.4 (2021)ReviewSystematic theology
Viczián István428 -- 448

This is the third, closing section on the life of Countess Anna Teleki (1783-1851). In Part I we dealt with her youth, in Part II with her marriage to Simon Kemény, and in this last section with her widowhood. After the death of her husband, Anna Teleki moved to Enyed (Aiud), where her home, the “Burg”, became not only a centre of her family life but also of cultural and political life. She was responsible for the financial support of Farkas Bolyai. Her sons and sons-in-law played a nationally important role in the Union and during the War of Independence (1948). They were forced to flee from Enyed because of the attack of the Romanian Moț groups. After the War of Independence, the family went into hiding in Tiszaroff and Érmihályfalva (Valea lui Mihai). Here she received a letter from Farkas Bolyai evaluating the recent events of those days. She died on her return to Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) in 1851. Her life and moral example deserve respect even by biblical standards.

Református Szemle 114.4 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Buzogány Dezső409 -- 427

The election, education and ordination of future ministers has always been a responsibility of church officials, such as teachers, ministers, deans, respectively the assembly of the deanery. Teachers and ministers have also had the responsibility of identifying bright and talented students and church youth who can be directed to higher education to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for pastoral ministry. In addition to the usual biblical and theological subjects, they had to learn Latin grammar, dialectics and rhetoric, and after completing their secondary education, they had to consolidate what they had learned at university level. Young people applying for the ministry first had to acquire the necessary practical skills as assistant ministers under the guidance of ordinary ministers, and only then were they ordained as ordinary ministers in a congregation.

Református Szemle 114.4 (2021)Research articleChurch history
Borsi Attila János398 -- 408

This short text discloses Karl Barth’s idea on confession and prayer as it is presented in his Church Dogmatics III/4. Confession of faith and prayer are central to Christian thought, but most often they appear in theological literature only as a topic of Christian confessional piety. This short paper seeks to answer the question of whether prayer and confession of faith carry both an outward and an inward ethical charge in Christian thought. Barth treats the question of confession and prayer in his Dogmatics as belonging to the domain of special ethics. The confession of faith, whether implicit or explicit, always points to Christ and as such cannot avoid affirming and critically evaluating the reality of the world. By doing this, it becomes essentially an expression of ethical awareness. Likewise, prayer, rooted in the revelation of God, by its actualising the relationship between God and man it becomes in every situation an occasion for a decision in favour of God and neighbour. By these means Christians can show that they take Christianity seriously.

Református Szemle 114.4 (2021)Research articleSystematic theology
Steiner József377 -- 397

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the life of the churches and the local congregations. The Hungarian experiences fit into the international trends. The ongoing paradigm-shift in mission-ecclesiology has become even more complex. The pandemic amplified some of the ongoing changes and, at the same time, has brought about new phenomena. This study describes these changes and provides suggestions that could strengthen the churches in order to effectively fulfil their mission even under the current circumstances.

Református Szemle 114.4 (2021)Research articleSystematic theology, Practical theology, Missiology