Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What doom,petrol and grass reveal about the Charismatic movement!

In the past few years there has been an increase in the number of reported shenanigans done by the clergy. I do not know if the mischiefs have increased or access to information has increased due to the internet and social media. The incidents range from a pastor asking people to drink petrol to another making people eat grass and yet another claiming to walk on thin air. From the rather embarrassing failed prophecies to the recent spraying of the insecticide “doom” on people’s faces, these are just a few of the many issues that have become common practice in the many charismatic churches around our country and the African continent. Some issues are silly, comical and embarrassing while others are unhealthy, disturbing, unacceptable and utterly shameful. Yet with all the drama and activities, I see three major problems with the current happenings and teachings of the Charismatic movement in our country and the continent in general. 
Prophet Lethebo spraying insectcide to heal and drive out demons
It dilutes the gospel

The gospel according to the Bible is a holy God as the creator, father and judge of the world giving His only son Jesus Christ as a perfect sinless sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins by dying in the place of a sinful, rebellious people who deserve wrath and judgment, and yet if they believe in the work of Christ and repent of their sins, they will be saved (Acts 17:22-32, Romans 3:11-18, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, John 3:23). That is gospel, the good news! Sadly all we hear now is deliverance and promotion. If you believe in a “Jesus” you will be delivered from all sorts of demons, spirits and curses that need binding or loosening and have been hindering your progress in life. And the Bible makes it very clear: a diluted gospel is no gospel at all.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:6-10

It belittles sin

The consequence of a diluted gospel is that you invariably belittle the horror of sin. The Bible teaches us that Christians wrestle with three enemies namely self (sinful and does not seek God), the world (hostile to God and his word) and the devil (the enemy of God and his people). A man-centered gospel will always have an unhealthy preoccupation with the devil and world as being the problem and not sinful self. The common message now is that there are spirits and demons for everything the Bible calls sin. So you have the demon of adultery, theft, murder, drunkenness, lust etc. If it is not a demon, then it is the spirit of one of your ancestors. Therefore, man becomes a victim of his sinful nature and desires and is not responsible and answerable for his sins. This belittling of sin has led to the damning to hell of a lot of people. Unless a person acknowledges his sins and repents from them by calling on the name of Jesus he cannot be saved. What a tragedy!

It promotes materialism

It is true that the prosperity gospel finds fertile ground in poverty stricken Africa, but more than that it finds fertile ground in a naturally materialistic people, whose desire is to amass more and better things. We have a longing desire to quench the thirst for satisfaction in life with possessions and positions, and the prosperity gospel promises to fulfil that longing, and it promises health, wealth and promotions. Again this message is leading thousands to hell, and in a sense is God’s judgement on a people who do not desire him but simply want to use Him to get what they want. Paul Washer is spot on when he says:
“False teacher are God’s judgment on people who don’t want God, but in the name of religion plan on getting everything their carnal heart desires… those people who sit under him are not victims of him but he is the judgement of God upon them. And they want exactly what he wants, and it’s not God”[1].

Any preacher or church that does not preach Christ is false and is misleading people. The church and its ministers should have Christ central to their message and ministry; they should decrease and Christ should increase. Every minister of the gospel should echo Paul’s charge “woe is me if I do not preach gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16).

[1] Grace Community Church.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Meet Kennedy Kaseke

Faith Baptist Church’s third mission point is Immanuel Baptist in Kalulushi. The church became a mission point in 2015 after the brethren from Immanuel Baptist approached the leadership of Faith and asked if we could take them on as a mission point. After several discussions and prayer, it was agreed that we should initially take up Immanuel Baptist as a preaching point, and we urged the members to consider taking up the opportunity to be part of teams that would go and preach at Immanuel Baptist every Sunday.
Two families took up the mantle and owned the work, so there was no need for teams to be rotating. The two families were Kennedy and Gwyneth Kaseke and Danford and Jennipher Banda with Kennedy Kaseke as the leader. Like Paul and Barnabus the two have labored for close to two years, and the spiritual growth at Immanuel Baptist is evident and heartwarming. Three weeks ago they held their second baptism service for the people who have been saved as a result of the ministry. And in the middle of this year they began to redo membership, and the response has been overwhelming.
The Banda's and Kaseke's
Kennedy Kaseke grew up in a Christian family and got saved in 1997 in Chililabobwe when he was invited to attend a service at Grace Ministries where he heard the gospel clearly preached and surrendered his life to Christ and joined the church membership. While in high school he was actively involved in Scripture Union and sensed the call to ministry in grade eleven. After high school he worked for the mines for four years while actively participating in the ministry of the church and later became youth pastor in 2005. The following year the church sent him to Christian Voice for theological and later to CABC in 2009, and he graduated in 2012. He joined Faith Baptist Church in the year 2012 and served as an intern for six months while helping with the Church’s mission plant. In the middle of 2012 he joined CABC as the admissions officer and went on to pursue his masters with Piedmont International University.
The Kaseke family
Kennedy is married to Gwyneth, and they are blessed with two children: Karisa and Japheth. It is our prayer that he becomes our missionary pastor and takes up the work in Kalulushi in the coming year. We appreciate your prayers for Immanuel Baptist and the two families spearheading the work.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Corruption is a Cancer

Corruption of any kind has a devastating effect on any community and nation. It is no wonder therefore that the levels of corruption in different sectors of our country are daily eroding the moral fabric of our nation at an alarming rate and hindering any form of sustainable development.  The Lord warned the children of Israel in Deuteronomy about the evil of corruption when he said;  
You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 16:19-20).

Oh how we need to heed this charge from the Lord today before our country is completely ruined and utterly destroyed. Isn’t it common practice today that for one to receive services in public offices one has to “buy people lunch” or “buy talk time” for someone or for one to get a contract one has to “give a token of appreciation”. In some cases your files go missing and they can only be found if you grease people’s hands. In other instances, when you go to shops the workers want you to buy from them under the counter. It’s terrible that money can buy you a job, a contract, a school place and even a pass in school.

What we need to realize is that corruption eats away the moral fiber of society like cancer destroys the cells in the body. It never stops until it has completely wiped out everything. The Lord warned the Israelites not to be corrupt and instead to pursue justice. The problem with corruption is it breeds laziness in a country. Everyone does not want to do their job despite being paid for it because they want you to give them “something” for motivation. As a result work never gets done in companies and institutions. Workers are not concerned about productivity but with how they can make self-enriching deals. More seriously corruption in the different sectors of society incurs the wrath of God because even though the deals are done in secret, the Lord sees how corrupt minds are perverting justice and causing the innocent to suffer. God cannot be mocked, whatever a man sows that he shall reap.

Thankfully there is hope! The solution to corruption is changed hearts. Ultimately the anti-corruption commission or any other non-governmental organization cannot wipe out corruption. The ultimate solution to corruption is a radical and life transforming change that comes from a knowledge of Jesus Christ. What we desperately need as a country is people to hear and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ which takes corrupt, self-serving people and turns them into dignified and God-honoring individuals living with integrity. The bible says we become a new creation and the old passes away. This then begs the question, if the members in our churches are truly Christians, why is corruption seemingly on the rampant? Are we living holy lives and pushing back the kingdom of darkness by proclaiming the gospel? 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"You are what you wear"

The saying “you are what you wear” is not an accurate statement. It is in fact more accurate to say your dressing says a lot about your character. In biblical terms however, “you are what you wear” is a very true and accurate statement. Christians are supposed to be in the business of putting off dirty clothing (sinful habits), undergo renewal and put on clean clothing (Christ like virtues). This is Paul’s exhortation to the Christians who were recipients of the book of Colossians. He says in the third chapter from verse twelve to fourteen;

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

 Who should wear the spiritual clothes?

Paul uses three phrases in verse twelve to describe the position of the people who should be doing the putting off and putting on. The phrases also point to the work of God in drawing a people to Himself. God calls people to a community and the traits are to be seen and worked out in the context of a community i.e the church. He says that those who are to be putting these spiritual virtues are;
a.         Chosen: He freely and lovingly chose us not by merit or worth but because of His pure and perfect purpose and knowledge, which we do not deserve.
b.         Holy: God has declared you holy, set part for Him- the pleasures and wondrous opportunities to be used by Him.
c.         Loved: God loves you and accepts you more powerfully, passionately, purposefully and deeply than you could ever fathom.

What should they wear?

Clothe yourselves/put on carries a sense of urgency and notice we have a responsibility to be growing and emulate the character of Christ. And he gives us examples of the traits to put on.
a.         Compassion/tender mercies: This is caring empathy of another person outside of selfish nature. It is to recognize, emotionally identify with and interact with those who are hurting, and helping them by gathering others with the abilities and resources to them.
b.         Kindness: Readiness to respond with righteousness and thoughtful consideration beyond how people treat us or how they may or may not deserve it.
c.         Humility: Lowliness of mind, acknowledging your poverty, not exalting yourself. This comes from the realization that Christ is supreme and all in all and we are mere servants.
d.         Meekness/gentleness: Strength under control. We encourage and place others first with action and encouragement, not manipulating, deceiving or over powering them.
e.         Patience/longsuffering: Joyfully enduring the trials, persecution and suffering that people bring in our lives.
f.          Bear with/forbearing: Hold up or put up with those who rub you the wrong way; liking the unlikable and loving the unlovable with a good attitude and response.
g.         Forgive: We must be willing to bear the cost, just as the Lord did. Lack of forgiveness fuels discord and reconciliation. Remember how you have been forgiven.
h.         Love: Above all (this is a priority) it is not earned and given freely. It is a choice you make and it is despite the person. It is love that binds these together.

What is the goal of wearing these clothes?

Have you ever wondered why most homes, churches and countries lack genuine peace? Why there is persistent conflict between people? The answer is simple we are not applying ourselves in the business of putting off sinful habits and putting on Christ like virtues.

Love for others encourages unity and oneness in the home and in the church.   If homes, churches, communities and nations are going to know harmony and Christlikeness these traits must be evident among us.