Where is the God of justice?

You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

Malachi 2:17

Where is the God of justice?  Is there any justice in the world?  Why does God allow evil to go unpunished?

This is a very common dispute people have with God.

It’s a dispute you’ve probably had with God.

God is supposed to be just. God says we must be just. But we live in an unjust and wicked world?

In Malachi’s time, the unbelieving nations surrounding Judah and Jerusalem were prospering, while their own crops were failing. The great promises of renewal remained unfulfilled and God seemed very distant.

Where was the justice?

We see the high crime rate in South Africa, we hear of murders and rapes, old people in our suburbs and townships are robbed of their life-savings, corrupt business leaders and politicians prosper, and the sordid list continues.

We live in a country of huge inequalities, where many people were hurt by state-sanctioned abuse.

We see our non-Christian friends ignoring God, doing their own thing and having the time of their lives.

All this while Christian people seek to be godly, face hardships,  endure temptation, struggle with sin, and face disappointments and hurts.

Continue reading Where is the God of justice?

Top 10 Posts for 2018

  1. Why the Prosperity Gospel is so poisonous
  2. The dangerous theology of Spiritual Breakthrough
  3. Lord, deliver us from deliverance ministries
  4. What are the greater workers Jesus promised we would do?
  5. The (unintentional) battle royal
  6. Why Christians eat pork
  7. A thought and a prayer about land expropriation
  8. Why we can’t approach God on our own terms
  9. The faithlessness of the Word of Faith movement
  10. Pastors as “Christian” witchdoctors in Africa

Sex in the real world

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis 2.24

The Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

Malachi 2.24

God’s general purpose* for people is heterosexual, monogamous marriage.

The Bible tells us when two people of opposite sexes are joined together in marriage, there is a bonding, a new togetherness, an emotional attachment and a mysterious oneness.

Once you are married, you no longer live just considering yourself; there is a new bond with your spouse.

Sexual oneness demonstrates and evidences this oneness of marriage.

It is extremely dangerous, therefore, to be sexually active before marriage; the emotional baggage simply piles up.

This will sound very strange to most people today.

Continue reading Sex in the real world

O leaders, this warning is for you!

Derby Cathedral

“And now, O priests, this command (warning) is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honour to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings.

Malachi 2:1-2

Unfaithful leaders have continually harassed the church in South Africa and around the world.  

Locally, Pastor Mboro, from the Incredible Happenings Church, is a self-proclaimed prophet.  He owns a fleet of luxury cars, including a Bentley and BMW i8 (which costs an estimated R2 million).  Guards carrying AK47 assault rifles guard him.

In 2016, he claimed to have gone to heaven. He took a selfie with his Galaxy smartphone to prove it. For R5000 he will WhatsApp you the photo.

Many in his church are poor and struggling to make ends meet.

Further afield, in the Church of England there has been a huge turning away from the Bible by many ministers and bishops.

Recently, Melvin Tinker, an evangelical minister, was banned from preaching at a Carol’s service at Derby Cathedral.

Astonishingly, the Cathedral was willing to host the viewing of sexually explicit movies earlier this year.  The Dean of the Cathedral permits erotic films, but banned an evangelical preacher.

There are countless examples of leaders in the church falling far short of the standard God requires. 

Malachi teaches us that God holds leaders accountable.                                 

In Malachi 2:1 God singles out the leaders of God people, the priests, for rebuke.

Continue reading O leaders, this warning is for you!

Sometimes no loaf is better than half

Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors (of the temple), that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts…  (Malachi 1:10)

The attitude of the people and priests towards God in Malachi’s day was, “Lukewarm is sufficient; half a loaf is better than none.”

God said, “You go through your lukewarm religious activities, but by your attitude and actions you show that you despise me.” (1:6-9)

God said that he wished there was someone to shut the temple doors.

For God, silence is better than blasphemy.  Quiet is better than hypocrisy.

They thought they were worshipping God, but they were despising the Lord of Hosts (1:11-12)

Cultural or nominal (in name only) Christianity is a huge challenge in South Africa, and most probably in many other countries. 

If you are not Muslim, Jewish or an atheist, you must be a Christian.

Our churches are full of people who consider themselves Christians.  However, they are not.

Our pews are full of churchgoers who think they are worshipping.  However, in reality, they are despising God’s name by their lukewarm, mediocre, second-rate, unacceptable religious activity.

Continue reading Sometimes no loaf is better than half

Do some churches inadvertently promote gender-based violence?

This week was the start of the international campaign of “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” (focussing on violence against women and children).

“Police statistics indicate that the murder rate of women in South Africa has increased by 16% in the past five years and the number of reported child rapes in the same period has gone up by about 3,000 from 15,000 to just over 18,000.”  (EWN News)

According to research, intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most common form of gender-based violence (GBV). GBV includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviours by a current or former intimate partner or spouse.

As Christian people, we ought to be at the forefront of condemning any form of GBV.

We are commanded in the Bible to love our neighbours as ourselves and to especially care for the weak and vulnerable.  Husbands are called to love their wives and be willing to die for them.

Our churches ought to be safe-spaces where victims of abuse receive help, care and support.  We ought to assist in reporting any perpetrators of violence to the civil authorities.

I wonder, however, if some of our more conservative churches may unintentionally promote intimate partner violence in their teaching about marriage and divorce?

Continue reading Do some churches inadvertently promote gender-based violence?

Why Christians eat pork

Leviticus ch. 11 is all about clean and unclean animals and what the Israelites in Old Testament times could and couldn’t eat.

Therefore, every time someone hunted, ate a meal, went to a petting zoo, or came across roadkill, they had to ask themselves, “Is this clean or unclean?”

Land animals. Sea animals. Insects. Clean or unclean?

You shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, and become unclean through them. For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.  For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:43-45)

Ch. 12 is all about childbirth and how that made one unclean.

Ch. 13 is all about skin diseases and mould on clothes and how that made one unclean.

Ch. 14 is all about skin diseases and mildew in houses and how that made one unclean.

Ch. 15 is all about different bodily discharges and how that made one unclean.

What was the point of all these rules?

The point of the rules was not personal hygiene, but a picture or symbol of sin.

Continue reading Why Christians eat pork

Why we can’t approach God on our own terms

We are familiar with the concept of mediators.  Someone who represents us or goes in our place.

I can’t argue my case at the Constitutional Court.  I need an advocate, with the necessary qualifications, who will represent me.

The Springbok rugby team represents South Africa when they play rugby. We all say, “We won the game!”, but we didn’t even touch the ball.  The Springboks represented us.

The book of Leviticus answers the question: How can a Holy God dwell in the midst of sinful people?

How can we, with all our failings, sin, brokenness and rebellion, be in a relationship with the Holy God of the Bible?

Ch. 1-7 is about the sacrifices. A holy God demands that sin deserves death, but an animal dies and the sinner gets to live.

Ch. 8-10 is about the ordination of the priests, Aaron and his sons, who will manage the sacrifices, mediate between the Israelites and God, and represent the Israelites before God.

Continue reading Why we can’t approach God on our own terms

Homosexuality (still) isn’t the new black

The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa voted in 2015 to permit those in same-sex relationships to serve as ministers.  The synod also voted to permit same-sex unions to be blessed in Dutch Reformed churches. That decision was then appealed in 2016.

At present the DRC is experiencing huge turmoil as the issue of sexuality continues to be debated.1

Many of those who were pleased with the synod’s original  decision to permit same-sex marriage equate discrimination towards those who practice homosexuality as essentially the same as the discrimination towards black people under apartheid.

For them, the 2015 synod’s decision was a great moment of liberation to be celebrated.2

However, homosexuality is not the new black.

Continue reading Homosexuality (still) isn’t the new black

4 unpopular truths about gender and sexuality

Many years ago, there were relatively very few issues around sexuality and gender.

It was largely accepted that there were only two genders and you were either one or the other.

It was largely accepted that males’ anatomy was designed for sexual intimacy with females, vice versa.

It was largely accepted that the best, safest, and most secure place for sexual intimacy was marriage.

It was largely accepted that marriage was between one woman and one man.

Today, these concepts are no longer widely accepted.

Continue reading 4 unpopular truths about gender and sexuality