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