Published Academic Articles

Retaining an Apostolic Approach to Church Life

I co-authored this article with my M.Th student Malcolm Black and we published it in the SATS Conspectus in March 2008.

This article briefly examines the current return to apostolic Christianity in various parts of the world and references three earlier Christian movements that came into existence at approximately 100-year intervals, beginning with the Methodist movement in the 1700s, culminating with observations of a current apostolic movement that began in the early 1980s, known as New Covenant Ministries International, in an attempt to ascertain how they embraced early apostolic principles.

The article highlights the strengths of several movements but also makes observations about how these movements lost their initial effectiveness by becoming institutional and, in many cases, forfeited their initial vision of impacting the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We examine possible reasons why these movements lost their fervour and discuss possible ways of how current movements could learn from their mistakes not only maintain their spiritual fervency but sustain their vision and momentum of reaching the nations with the gospel to succeeding generations.

HERE is the full article.

Retaining an Apostolic Approach to Church Life Read More »

Perceiving God’s voice: divine guidance for everyday believers

 

I co-authored this article with my M.Th student Hugh Goosen and we published it in the SATS Conspectus in May 2015.

 

Vagueness exists amongst Christians with regards to what it is like to experience divine guidance practically. This problem is aggravated by conflicting perspectives on the will of God, whether or not His will is discoverable, and how Christians are to go about seeking it. This article seeks to reveal what we can reasonably expect to experience when God speaks by considering (1) perspectives on the will of God and its discoverability, and (2) the levels of awareness and certainty of divine communication as evidenced by select biblical characters. The article shows that the ways in which Christians experience divine direction are as unique and varied as each individual relationship with God is unique and varied. It shows, furthermore, that we should have, as our primary concern, a focus upon fostering a deep and intimate relationship with God, out of which direction and instruction will naturally and invariably flow. Finally, it shows that the primary way in which God communicates with us today is by means of the subtle and unobtrusive guidance and direction of our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit.

 

HERE is the full article

Read

Perceiving God’s voice: divine guidance for everyday believers Read More »

What it Takes to Lead a Seminary

 

 

I wrote this as the introductory chapter in the book Priorities for Evangelical Theological Education published by SATS Press in 2020

 

The Lord led me to establish the South African Theological Seminary after I had been pastoring the Lonehill Village Church in Sandton for nine years. For the first four years of its existence, my small team and I set in place the legal, institutional, and biblical foundations for the seminary. In August of 2,000 Reuben van Rensburg joined us and six years later took over from me as the Principal. I continued for another nine years as Chairman of the Board until June 2015. Therefore, I have had about twenty years either doing the job of Principal or working closely with Reuben – so I feel reasonably qualified to comment on ‘what it takes to lead a seminary’.

 

HERE is the full article

What it Takes to Lead a Seminary Read More »

1 & 2 Corinthians

 

I wrote this as a chapter in the book ‘A Student’s Guide to New Testament’ published by SATS Press in 2019.

 

While 1 and 2 Corinthians are presented as two separate letters in the New Testament it is convenient to deal with them together in an overview of this nature; the two letters were written to the same local church within a fairly short period of time, and in addition to this it is possible that they are both compilations of several letters.

Almost all scholars agree that Paul is the author of these letters. Both the external and internal evidence is overwhelmingly strong (Morris, 2000). There is, however, some debate concerning when they were written, with estimations as early as AD 53 and as late as AD 57. The general opinion is that 1 Corinthians was written from Ephesus (1 Cor 16:8) in AD 54, and 2 Corinthians a year later, probably from Philippi (Belleville, 1996). Paul therefore appears to have pastored the Corinthian church for between 18 months and three and a half years.

Some commentators argue for a unifying theme holding 1 Corinthians together which several suggest is an extended appeal for unity. Others believe the theme to be the idea that Paul is countering the infiltration of secular values (Johnson, 2004). However, Thiselton contends that there is a lot more to these letters than correction of problems arising from factions, discord and worldliness (Thiselton, 2000).

These letters open a window into the life of a first century local church. The Corinthian church had its problems and challenges, as do churches in our day, but it was full of spiritual vitality. Paul had to counsel moderation in the application of spiritual manifestations whereas if he had been writing to many of today’s churches he might have had to admonish them for quenching the Spirit.

The letters also provide fascinating insights into Paul’s temperament and personal challenges. In some places his own feelings of hurt, anger and frustration come through so clearly (2 Cor 10-11) that they beg a productive debate on just how God chose to inspire the writing of the scriptures. More than this though, the letters speak right to the heart of current church life. The problems and possibilities are cloaked in the culture of that time, yet the underlying issues and principles remain pressingly important today.

 

HERE is the full article

Read

1 & 2 Corinthians Read More »

Same Sex Marriage

This article was published in Conspectus, the peer-reviewed journal of the South African Theological Seminary.

The paper deals with same-sex marriage from a Biblical Christian perspective. It is not a treatise on homosexuality from either a Biblical or sociological point of view. The article deals with homosexuality, per se, only in as much as is necessary to examine the question of the Biblical Christian stance concerning same-sex marriage.

.
The article starts with a brief overview of the South African civil legal history of same-sex ‘marriage’ partnerships leading up to the current ruling by the Constitutional Court. The debate then starts with the Biblical definition of marriage before mining down to the two main arguments in favour of same-sex marriage and the homosexuality that underpins it – the appeal to the concepts of justice and love. Only then does the focus turn to the Biblical prohibitions concerning homosexual activity.

.
The second part of the article deals briefly with implications for church life, firstly from the perspective of how the church approaches same-sex marriage in general society, and then from the perspective of those within, or seeking to join, the church.

.

Click here for the full article

Read

Same Sex Marriage Read More »

About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.