The Bible and racism

Years ago, in South Africa, you were classified according to the colour of your skin and the coarseness of your hair.  You were told where you could and couldn’t live.  You were told which bus you could and couldn’t ride. You we told who you could and couldn’t marry.   Racism is part of our history.  South Africa, the USA and many other countries have struggled and continue to struggle with racism.

A good definition of racism is: an explicit or implicit belief or practice that distinguishes or values one race over other races.

A racist believes that their race, whatever it may be, is superior to other races.

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Sex has a price-tag

A World War II venereal disease poster

As I read the CNN article, “STD rates reach record high in United States”, I remembered watching (twenty years ago) the DVD, “Sex has a price-tag” by Pam Stenzel.

Pam, while speaking to high school learners, made the point that condoms may prevent pregnancy, but they certainly don’t protect one from a whole host of venereal or sexually transmitted diseases. Pam’s point is even more urgent today.

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God has spoken!

We are familiar with the concept of a spokesman or spokesperson.  It’s a person who speaks for another person or group.

Zizi Kodwa is the South African presidential spokesmen.  What Zizi says, the SA president says.

Sean Spicer, probably has one of the worst jobs in the world, he is the current spokesperson for President Donald Trump.  Officially he is the White House Press Secretary.  What Sean Spicer says Donald Trump says.  Mr. Spicer must also explain what Donald Trump says and tweets.

Individuals and organizations have official spokesmen who speak for them or the organization.

One of the functions of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Triune God, is to be the spokesman of God.

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The inevitable decline of society

In 2013, shortly before taking her last breath, raped Bredasdorp teenager, Anene Booysen, said she was tired and was going to go to sleep.

Anene’s biological mother had died when she was very young and she was taken in by another family who raised her as their own, despite serious financial problems. Anene had to leave school in Grade 7 to help support the family.   One Friday night, Anene had gone to a pub, about six blocks from her home.

The next morning, she was found at a building site brutally raped, and abused and injured.   Anene’s fingers and legs were broken, and besides other heinous injuries, she was disemboweled.  A horrific crime.

Gender-based violence is a huge scourge in our country, especially considering that men are called to respect, love, care for and protect women, not rape, abuse, neglect and kill them.

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Religion Exposed!

The Tibetan Buddhists’ life consists of constant religious observances to obtain a better reincarnation. The believer is constantly spinning prayers wheels, going on pilgrimages, meditating, prostrating, using prayer beads and going on monastic isolations.  All this to build up merit to improve their karma to gain a better reincarnation, and – if possible – nirvana.

This kind of devotion is not uncommon.

The religious systems of our world are all schemes to obtain merit with God.

Whether you’re Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, a spiritualist, or whatever, you seek – by your own works – to get God to credit your salvation account.

Religion is spelt D.O. You DO things to get God’s approval.

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The faithlessness of the Word of Faith movement

I’m sure you’ve had contact with the “Word of Faith” movement.  They’re the well-meaning folk who say things like, “You just have to have enough faith”, or “If you speak life into it, it will come true”.

According to Wikipedia,

“The Word of Faith (WoF) movement has many distinctive teachings including physical, emotional, financial, relational, and spiritual healing or prosperity for any who has the right, belief-filled confession. The movement emphasizes choosing to speak the promises and provisions that the speaker wants, that agree with the Bible, as an act of faith and agreement with God’s plans and purposes. They believe this is what Jesus meant in Mark 11:22–23, when he said believers shall have whatsoever they say and pray with faith.”

The WoF people are the “Name it and Claim it” – by faith – people.  They believe that the Bible promises health, wealth and prosperity to all Christians – if they have enough faith.

The small problem with that the WoF movement is that God has not promised to give Christians health, wealth and prosperity.  Jesus was homeless and died young.  The Apostle Paul was constantly in prison and bad things happened to him.  The Apostle John was exiled. Stephen was martyred. Epaphroditus nearly died of illness. Timothy had constant stomach ailments.  Health, wealth and prosperity were not on the radar of the early Christians.

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The calling and confidence of church

Most Monday mornings I feel like resigning.  Did I explain God’s Word well enough?  Was my sermon understandable? Was I faithful to the biblical text?  Should I have used more illustrations?  Would another minister do a better job?  Is it all worth it?

Monday morning blues can be quite typical for those in the ministry of the Word.   I constantly need to remind myself that the success of the church is definitely not up to me (thank goodness!). I need to remind myself of the calling and confidence of the church.

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