Dressing African Traditional Relgion in Biblical Garments?

These are excerpts from an article on Conrad Mbewe’s blog.

Dressing African Traditional Religion in Biblical Garments?

Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?……………………………………………..

Whichever way, the power of the witchdoctor is not in explaining truth but in mindless frenzy. His grip upon the popular mind is his eerie mysteriousness and his capacity to knock you out of your senses and then pronounce you delivered. Of course, this is never done by benevolence. You pay for his services…………………………………………………………………………

Whichever way, the power of the witchdoctor is not in explaining truth but in mindless frenzy. His grip upon the popular mind is his eerie mysteriousness and his capacity to knock you out of your senses and then pronounce you delivered. Of course, this is never done by benevolence. You pay for his services…………………………………………………………………..

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I do not mean to be unkind, but what the modern Charismatic movement in Africa has done is to simply take this entire erroneous superstructure of African religious worldview and baptise it with wrongly applied Bible verses and Christian language. The only difference is that the layer of dead ancestors and evil spirits is now one hotchpotch of confusion. This is why the nonsense of demons becoming spirit husbands and wives, and wrecking havoc in marriages,……………………………………………………………………………………………

In the African Charismatic circles, the “man of God” has replaced the witchdoctor. He is the one who oozes with mysterious power that enables him to break through those two impregnable layers, which us lesser mortals cannot penetrate. So, when blessings are not flowing our way despite our prayers, we make a beeline to his quarters or his church for help. This explains the throngs in these circles. The crowds are not looking for someone to explain to them the way to find pardon with God. No! They want the “man of God” to pray for them.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Read the the rest of the article herehttp://www.conradmbewe.com/2013/07/why-is-charismatic-movement-thriving-in.html

will be interested in knowing what your views are about this article from Conrad Mbewe.  All debate should be civil.

Praying for friends

Praying for friends

    For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.Philemon 1:7

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Eccles. 4:9-12

Heavenly Father, I cannot imagine how storms can be navigated, burdens borne, and hardships handled without the company of a few good friends. I praise you today for the gift of friendship—for the joy, encouragement, and refreshment you give me through my friends.

When we walk through difficult and draining seasons, we’re inclined to think, “No one can possibly understand what I’m going through. Nobody can relate to my feelings and confusion. Everyone would handle this mess much better than I am.”

Those are the times when it’s easy to withdraw into isolation, fall into the pit of condemnation, and reach for some ill-chosen medication. That’s when the gift of long-standing, all-weather, burden-bearing friends becomes especially precious.

Father, I praise you for the gift of hearing my friends say these two words: “Me too.” I praise you for friends who know how to “refresh the hearts of the saints”—including this saint. I praise you for friends who remind me of the truth and power of the gospel, of the love of Jesus, and of the bigger story you are always writing.

I praise you for friends who share their lives and not just their gospel. I praise you for friends who offer tears and not just their answers. I praise you for friends who give life-giving wisdom and not just mess-fixing formulas.

Father, my all-weather friends turn my heart heavenward. They simply remind me that the foundation and fountain of all good friendship is found in the gospel. It’s overwhelming, settling, and centering to hear Jesus say to us, “I no longer call you servants… I call you friends” (John 15:15). Indeed, Jesus is the friend that sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24).

What wondrous love is this, indeed? “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Hallelujah, what a salvation! Hallelujah, what a Savior! So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ most glorious and gracious name.

Taken from The Gospel coalition

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2013/07/07/a-prayer-of-thanks-for-the-gift-of-good-friends/

Why are you not married?

It seems it is couples season. There are a lot of relationship seminars in town. I see the flyers everywhere and on radio programs. I spoke to a friend during the week. And he told me how happy he was that he was going to one of such programs.

‘It is a singles seminar.” he told me bashfully. “You know what that means? A lot of ladies are single and are coming for one purpose.” he winks. “It is the best place for a single guy to go to.”

This would probably add to the pressures of being single in this society. As if the kindly old woman who would nosily ask you, “So when are you getting married?” or the constant badgering of family and friends as to why at least you are not dating, is not enough. They say marriage is tough, but being single is a lonely life filled with harassment and badgering.  This helps to fuel the appetite for these summits and conferences.

I have quite honestly not been to any one of these, therefore I do not know and cannot speak into the content of these summits. I am not criticizing these summits. It is just an indicator as to what the culture thinks of marriage. I am more concerned about the societal status given to marriage and the lower status given to the single among us. It is not just the culture,  as individuals we crave companionship. Everyone at one point or the other, one time or the other, has thought about companionship and craved to have someone in our lives. Relationships we say are the bedrock of society. It is almost as if the craving for companionship is hardwired in us. The reason why isolation could be the cruelest punishment given to anyone is because we are social beings. Evolutionary biologist would say we have evolved into that habit.

The Bible says that in the beginning God created the heaven and earth and He saw that all He had created was good, it was very Good, Genesis 1:31.The only thing that was not good was a lonely man. And hence enters the helper. Note man’s reaction it is one of great joy.

“This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”  Genesis 2:23.

In Genesis 2:25, Marriage is declared, there is separation, unification, and consummation. The relationship is perfect with trust. As illustrated by the nudity with no shame. This is a perfect relationship. A relationship established by God and enjoyed by man in the presence of God. This is so because we are created like God (Genesis 1:26); a God that has enjoyed a perfect relationship since from before time; the relationship of the Trinity.

Surely that points out why we are so relationship crazy. Everyone should be in a relationship. But the picture above is a very perfect situation. You have probably been around long enough know things aren’t that perfect. The reason why things are not the same is because Genesis 3 happens. There is a sort of coup d’ etat against God. God’s abundance and good work is treated with disdain and cast away. The relationship between God and man is fractured, along with that is the relationship between man and woman (Genesis 3:6).

The most important question would be the function of relationship or marriage in our society. What does it mean? Is marriage a sort of high stool or crown that becomes the goal of every individual? What happens if you don’t get married? Well the Bible talks about marriage in the shadow of our relationship with God. Marriage points us to a greater more fulfilling relationship. In Ephesians 5:21-33, when Paul speaks about marriage, there is a direct correlation between the relationship between a man and a woman to that between Jesus Christ and the church. The man is to love the church like Christ loved the church even to the point of death. The submission mentioned in verses 24 points to a loving relationship not one to be abused. The man has the responsibility to make sure that they love their wives as their own bodies. Bringing no harm to them. And the holiness of the wife is also the responsibility of the husband; verses 27. Verse 31 quotes the proclamation on marriage from Genesis 2:24. We are in an everlasting relationship that is more important than the physical one we crave. It is growth in that relationship that would determine how our other relationships go. The cravings that we have for a relationship act as a sign board pointing us to a greater relationship. The relationship between God and the church; God and I; God and you. Our desire reminds us that we are social beings and are created for a close and intimate relationship with God. A very personal and relational God. Not a distant God or a God we need rituals and customs to get to. But one that came down in flesh to die so he can be that close to you and me.

What is there to be said about those of use who are single in this marriage happy culture? Does the fact that we are single make us defective in some way?

In 1 Corinthians 7, the Bible talks about relationship status and being Christian. I know a lot of people that are slightly disappointed in that part of scripture. Some friends claim Paul is too laissez faire on the matter and some just presume he is just discouraging on the matter. In 1 Corinthians 7:7, Paul says I wish everyone was like me, but each one has his own gift. I wonder if we see singleness as a gift. Especially if we are considered to be of marrying age or even beyond it. I don’t think our society treats singleness as a gift. It is often treated with disappointment and quite honestly with disrespect.

Do you see singleness as much a gift as marriage? For every one of us, whether we are in a relationship or not, our status is seen in the Bible as a gift. The place in life in which we find ourselves has been assigned to us (1 Corinthians 7:17). The goal has always been and will always be to grow in the relationship of our God and savior. The most important relationship you have is your relationship with God. Hence every other relationship you have or go into serves the purpose of glorifying God or ushering you into a better relationship with God. You see the Bible is not quick to compare one to the other or to say marriage is a bigger blessing because that is not the goal. Even marriage itself is but a sign an illustration of a marriage sealed by blood: one we have with God. If that is your stance then the question will not be so much why you are not married. But rather is your status leading you towards God? How well are you using your status for Christ? Your marriage decisions, like who to meet, where to meet,  how to grab,when to marry and who to marry are all viewed in the umbrella of Gods relationship.

If you are single like me, then know that our desires are right and good. But they are not an end in themselves. They point us to something greater. Something more fulfilling. I will continue to pray for a wife, a family. A family that I can love, because that is good and right and Godly. But I know that it will lead me to a more everlasting relationship. I won’t be in a hurry to change, but rather, no matter my status my first and foremost priority will be to grow in Christ. To get to know his will. I wonder whether in all these single seminars and relationship counseling sessions the center of relationship is Christ. I know most have heavily Christian overtones. But I wonder if we are taught to be content in Godliness 1 Timothy 6:7.

I am indeed single now and do not intend to remain single for the rest of my life. But If I am to be a Godly husband, the best thing I can do right now is to seek the number one relationship. It is to grow in Christ so that no matter my status, God is glorified. I wonder if our society understands this. I think if we did we wouldn’t put singles under so much pressure (aside the internal pressure we feel). I think if we did we would support them and help them grow.

Let all our relationships and the ones we don’t have lead us to Christ.

Living for Christ