This other day, I was attending a certain Christian gathering and one of the speakers at the meeting made a remark that ended up being my food for thought. The speaker said that one of the major challenges facing Christianity today is that Christians don’t want to critically examine various messages that are being preached in the name of Christ. It is true, is it not?
It seems very few Christian today bother to scrutinize various messages we listen to or read. As long as the speaker or the author is mentioning God or Jesus that’s fine. However, this tendency renders us susceptible to error that has serious consequences to both our spiritual and physical life.
We ought to be challenged by Bereans of Acts 17:11. Apostle Paul was a great man of God. Almost half of New Testament books were written by him. Yet when he went to preach in Berea, the Christians there never ceased to critically examine Paul’s message in the light of Scripture. This was not disrespect but maturity and the Bible strongly recommends the Bereans for this.
“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).
Christians today ought to be like Bereans by receiving the messages that are being preached with eagerness but we should not stop there. We should go further to examine if the messages being preached are true according to the Bible. This is a noble character.
And may add that you even examine the contents of this blog in the light of Scripture. That too is a noble character.
Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes, or He doesn’t care to, or He doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.
Or maybe there’s a fourth option, Mr. Harris.
Maybe God is neither impotent, nor evil, nor non-existant. Maybe He is, in fact, GOD: wholly sovereign, wholly wise, wholly good. Not subject to your whims and wishes. Not dangling on a string from your finger. Not concerned with what you think is “fair” or “unfair,” “right” or “wrong.”
Maybe He is, in fact, working all things (yes, Mr. Harris, even catastrophes) for His glory. Maybe He moves as He pleases and does what He pleases because He is the infallible architect of a Greater Good which you, in all your fallible human wisdom, cannot see or understand.
Maybe. Just maybe. And if so…
Who are you, Sam Harris, to reply against God? Who are…
I know, I know, you are saying to yourself that the writer of this blog is completely delusional because you the reader are an atheist and therefore there is at least one atheist in the world.
In my response, I would tell you that you are no atheist. First to be an atheist, you would have to have all knowledge. You see the word ‘atheism’ basically means ‘no God.’ Of course, you knew this, right. But what you do not seem to be able to comprehend is that you can’t state that there is no God, unless you are omniscient or all knowing. By stating that there is no God, then you are trying to convince the rest of us, that you are God.
Secondly if there is no God, then why do you live as if one exists? You get up every day and go to work. You feed…
I remember while in Bible college, my Church History and Systematic Theology professors (both of them from the West) used to reiterate that Africa is the hope of Christianity. The Church History professor could go further and foretell that a time is coming when missionaries from Africa will go and evangelize the West reversing the trend of having Western missionaries coming to evangelize Africa.
Their observation was mainly based on what is happening in Africa where more people are being converted to Christianity unlike in the West where Christianity is not growing very much and in some parts it is slowly dwindling into oblivion.
All along I have believed my professors’ observation but now I have started having second thoughts because the main issue is not just having many Africans becoming Christians but what type of “Christians” are these people becoming. Indeed, Christianity is growing in Africa but what type of ‘Christianity’ (if I may use that word) is growing roots among us Africans.
I stand to be corrected, Christianity in Africa stands at the crossroads today because despite that we have some people who are preaching the Gospel as given to us in Scripture, there are also others who are advancing Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy. It is sad that many Africans, knowingly or unknowingly, are buying into Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy as pure Gospel.
But what do I mean by Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy. Allow me to use the word ‘Biblical Christianity’ to define better Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy. Biblical Christianity recognizes and teaches that the Bible is God’s Word. But Liberalism teaches that the Bible is man’s word about God. In other words, the Bible is not God’s word. Neo-Orthodoxy, on the other hand, teaches that the Bible is God’s Word only in the passages that speaks to you the rest is man’s word.
Now, on first glance, many of us would dismiss the fact that liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy are growing roots among some Christians in Africa but when you take a closer look, you will be greatly surprised.
Is it not in our churches today where people can stand up and say something like: “Well, the Bible says … but that was then, things have changed let’s do it this way.”
Again I ask: Is it not in our churches where statements like: “I know the Bible says… but I have received a new and special revelation, God wants us to do….” are made?
Don’t we have some people within our churches who stand in authority over God’s Word and we tend to believe what they say and teach more than Scripture?
I can go on and on; however, the truth I am endeavoring to put across is that if we keep on compromising on Biblical Christianity and let Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy rule in our churches then we should forget of Africa being the hope of Christianity. If Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy have killed and continue to kill Christianity in the West, should we believe that they will revive and grow Christianity in Africa?
The number of conversions to Christianity should not deceive us and cause us to take our eyes off the ball. We need to be sure of what type of Christianity these people are being converted to. If it is not Biblical Christianity then Africa cannot be the hope of Christianity and we will never see African missionaries going to evangelize the West. What message will they take there?
I always pray that God in His greatness and grace will open the eyes of Christian leaders in Africa to see and realize how evil and destructive Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy are. It is my prayer that God in His mercy and grace will raise Christian leaders who do not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God. I pray for leaders who pay careful attention to themselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers, to care for the church of God (Acts 20:27, 28). If this can happen, then, for sure, Africa is the hope of Christianity.
Please Lord, help and bless Africa to contended for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). In that way, we will become the beacon of hope. All this to your glory alone. Amen!
On Thursday, April 5, 2012 the then president of Malawi Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika passed on after experiencing cardiac arrest. Later on Saturday, April , 2012, the then Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda was sworn in as a President of Malawi by the Chief Justice, His Lordship Lovemore Munlo. No one, except God, knew that these things will happen. Again, God showed us that He is sovereign over His creation and no one can second guess Him. What Apostle Paul wrote about God in Romans 11:33-36 is very true:
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.
After I heard the news of the passing on of Mutharika, I, just like most Malawians, have keenly followed the developments that have occurred since then. A couple of thoughts have entered my mind.
First, I, strongly, believe that God loves the nation of Malawi in a special way. Going by media reports, some individual fought hard to violate the constitution of Malawi so that Banda should not become the president. However, their plans never came to fruition and all Malawians witnessed the rule of law prevailing in the land as Joyce Banda was sworn in as President. I don’t believe that this just happened but God being in control, he guided the events in our country to be what they are today. To Him alone be the glory indeed!
Secondly, my thoughts go to Her Excellency Joyce Banda. This should be a very difficult time for her as she has a huge pile of decisions to make in order to propel our country out of the current quagmire of problems to better days. Just to remind you. The President has to appoint a new cabinet. She, therefore, has a challenging task of choosing selfless people to serve our nation. She has to appoint people who will put the agenda of turning around the problems of our country before their own personal gains. Believe you me, such people are hard to find since the heart is deceiving above all things. Some might appear very good people who love the country, but deep down their hearts, they harbor selfish plans and are mere opportunists not true servants of the people.
Apart from this challenge, the country is in a very serious economic crisis. We are facing forex, fuel and drug shortages. The cost of living is rising almost every day. Our record of human rights has been worsening. There has been bad governance in the country and the rule of law has in some cases been comprised. Our relationship with most international donors and neighboring countries is not cordial.
Now, addressing these challenges is not easy. Some will even take longer to be sorted out. No matter how wise and knowledgeable Banda can be, she cannot solve these challenges without the guidance and help of the Lord. Therefore, this calls for us Christian to spring into action and continually pray for her that God should guide and lead her.
We should pray that God should give her the courage to take even those difficult actions that in the end will improve our situation for the better . As a matter of fact, our responsibility to pray for our leaders is very clear in Scripture:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
We should pray for President Banda that power should not corrupt her to become insensitive to the suffering of Malawians due to careless and selfish decisions of the government. We should pray that in all things she should trust in the Lord with all her heart and not lean on her own understanding and that in everything she should acknowledge the Lord so that He can make her path straight (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
Thirdly, my thoughts go to the former first lady, Callista Mutharika and the entire family of late Bingu wa Mutharika. This is, no doubt, a very hard time. They have lost a husband, a father, a grandparent, a brother, an uncle and what have you.
As this is not enough, there have been some people, especially politicians, who were very close to late Bingu who have deserted the family during this time when the family needs them most. It should be very painful seeing those whom you thought were true friends to your relative deserting you because the relative is no more.
Despite whatever bad things that the late Mutharika did, as Christians we are supposed to mourn with family. By mourning with them, we are not approving the bad things rather we are carrying out our responsibilities as God’s children to “rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
So, we should pray that God should comfort the family when some of the close friends of the late Bingu are deserting the bereaved family. Above all, we can pray that God, in his grace, should help the family focus their attention on Jesus rather than on man because man can and will always disappoint, but Jesus never disappoints. Although the context might be different but I believe the Psalmist put it better when he said:
Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me (Psalm 27:10).
These are some of my random thoughts on the passing on of late Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika and the ascension into the office of president of Malawi by Her Excellency Madam Joyce Banda. God bless our land of Malawi and continue to keep it a land of peace. Amen!
It is that season once again when we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We celebrate and not mourn because Jesus’ death paid the penalty for sin of all believers in Him. We can now confidently declare that “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ” (Romans 8:1).
We also celebrate Easter and not weep because although Christ died, death could no longer hold him. After three days in the grave, he rose from the dead and right now he is at the right hand of God the Father. His resurrection defeated death that was the penalty of our sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23).
We, indeed, celebrate because the penalty of our sin was paid by Christ’ death as Scripture affirms: “While we were enemies (of God) we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10).
We, surely, celebrate Easter because Christ’s resurrection signified the defeat of death hence all believers in him are assured of everlasting life. “Thanks to God! He gives us victory (over death) through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57 ). Jesus also says, “I am the resurrection and life. Whoever believes in me though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
We celebrate and we shall forever celebrate Easter because the work of saving sinners was completed. The old hymn writer put it better when he wrote “Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain; he washed it white as snow.”
This is the essence of Easter. We miss these truths, Easter loses its meaning. Happy and joyous Easter to you!
Three decades ago on a day like this one, a baby boy was born and was later named Confex Mwayi Makhalira. As usual, little or nothing was known of who and what this baby boy will become. But now, looking back from where I have come, I have every reason to fall on my knees and praise God the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ for his immeasurable love, grace, kindness and mercy upon my life.
I wouldn’t say I have had it all, however, through it all, God’s gracious hand has led me. The journey as usual has passed through mountains and valleys and yet even though I did not know it, God guided every step and movement I made. Where I am is where he wants me to be and where I will be tomorrow is where he, before the foundations of the earth were laid, determined that I would be. Honestly, I can’t fully understand it all but because Scripture tells me so, I believe it entirely.
As God has been molding me to be who and what I am today, he has used many vessels. I thank God for my mum and dads for being there for me always. God thank you so much for my grandfather who taught me to work hard and love mankind despite where they are from and what they do in life. From the very early days of my life, he taught me to love God and value Him above all. I always cherish that gift of Westminster Shorter Catechism you bought me when I was still young and said, “Son, next to the Bible, believe this teaching.” I also thank you Lord for my grandma who taught me generosity and the importance of sharing, especially, within the family.
Many teachers in primary and secondary school, college and church have also done a great and commendable work in producing the final product that I am today. Oh, how can I forget relatives and friends, too numerous to mention, for supporting and lending a helping hand through out my journey of three decades.
My wife of one and half years, Mwai, also deserves a special mention and thank you. I thank you Lord for this wonderful and great friend and lover. Apart from you Lord, she is the next person that is ever close to me. Some only hear of tears I shed when the going gets tough, but she is always there to wipe the tears and offer a comforting hand. Similarly, when I laugh, she is the first person to hear the laugh before it echoes in the lives of others.
Above all Lord, I thank you for the gift of life in Christ Jesus so that I can appreciate all these people and things. Freely you have given me this life and freely you sustain it according to your will. Words can’t fully express how grateful I am. I am now feeling the way King David felt when you made a covenant with him:
“Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And this was a small thing in your eyes…and what more I can say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant. For your servant’s sake, O LORD, and according to your own heart, you have done all this greatness…There is none like you, O LORD, and there is no God besides you (1 Chronicles 17:16-20).
Jesus once again, thank you for my life of thirty years. Thank you for saving a wretch like me that today I can sing of your goodness, grace and love. Oh, how I love you. Friends, join me as I celebrate and exalt the greatest name of all, Jesus Christ. You are my all in all.
There is a song that was done by one of our local musicians, Lucius Banda. In the song, the musician asks this question: “You who believe that God ordained everything that comes to pass in this world, tell me, did God really ordain that we should suffer?”
I believe that many share this musician’s concerns. Of course, we may understand that God is not the source of the evil that goes in this world, but we still wonder why He allows evil in this world.
This is the same struggle that Prophet Habakkuk experienced. He knew that God is sovereign. By saying that God is sovereign, we, basically, mean that God is in full control of what happens in heaven and on earth. He carries out all that he wills and nothing can stop His plans. In other words, when we say that God is sovereign, we mean that God is God.
Now it is easier to say and believe that God is sovereign when things are going on alright but in hard and difficult times, our theology is tested. Habakkuk also struggled with the truth of God’s sovereignty when his nation, Judah, experienced evil and violence.
It is believed that the book of Habakkuk was written just before the people of Judah were taken into captivity in Babylon. It was written at the time when one of the evil kings of Judah, Jehoiakim was ruling and this is believed to be between 609-598 B.C. During this time, the kingdom of Judah experienced moral and spiritual decay. People were breaking the Covenant law of God as they willed. Everyone did as he pleased. Violence and injustice prevailed in the land and Habakkuk cried to the Lord in 1:1-4:
O, LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will you not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife, and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth; for the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.
In other words, Habakkuk was saying, God you are good and sovereign, but why do you allow evil, injustice, violence and destruction to occur in this land. How long should I cry for help, Lord?
Then the Lord gave a response in 1:5-11. In summary, God tells Habakkuk that He is not just sitting idle looking at evil in the land of Judah rather He is raising up the Chaldeans or the Babylonians whom He will use to punish the Kingdom of Judah.
Now, the mere mentioning of Chaldeans or Babylonians did not please Habakkuk because these people were even more evil than the people of Judah. Habakkuk did not hesitate but to question God’s wisdom regarding this development. He reminded God that He is too holy to look at evil, why would he then allow an evil nation of Chaldeans to punish God’s own people of Judah?
It is interesting that God did not answer all the questions of Habakkuk. God just told Habakkuk that after He has used the Chaldeans to punish Judah, He would later destroy the Chaldeans and turn their glory into shame (Habakkuk 2:16). God also assured Habakkuk that through what He would do to Judah and the Chaldeans the earth would be filled with the knowledge of His glory (2:14).
After this response from the Lord, Habakkuk was humbled by God’s greatness. He learned that God’s ways are not our ways. He also reaffirmed, in his heart, that indeed God is in full control of whatever goes on in heaven and on earth hence he turned into prayer and worshipped God (3:1-16). Again, notice that Habakkuk worshipped God even though all his questions were not answered. Towards the end of his book, Habakkuk shares with us what a true understanding of God’s sovereignty will do in our lives.
First, an understanding that God is sovereign will bring joy in our lives even though we are passing through hard times. Hear what Habakkuk says in 3: 17, 18:
Though the fig tree should not blossom Nor fruit be on the vines, The produce of the olive fail And the fields yield no food, The flock be cut off from the fold And there be no herd in the stalls, Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
This is what the realization of God’s Sovereignty does in our life. It brings us joy in the midst of hardship because we realize that God is bigger than our challenges. We can rejoice in the midst of those harsh times because in all things, God works the good of those who love Him and of those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
This is the uniqueness of Christianity. The joy in our hearts does not depend on what is surrounding us but it comes from our faith in God. The storms may rage, but our joy remains steadfast because God perfectly holds the whole world in his hands.
Secondly, when we understand that God is sovereign, we are filled with strength. This is what Habakkuk says in 3: 19:
GOD, the Lord, is my strength. He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places
While some people when they hear that God is in control of everything in heaven and on earth tend to believe that then there is no need to do anything but just seat and watch what God is up to, those who fully understand God’s sovereignty are filled with strength and have a reason to spring into action because they know that God is guiding their steps and He will use them to achieve His intended purpose.
God is in full control. Let this truth give us a reason to go on in life without being discouraged. Let’s know that as God’s children we are not lost in the midst of confusion or hardship we may find ourselves in. Rather, we should be courageous and strong by knowing that even in that confusion and hardship, God’s strong hand is leading us as that Hymn writer wrote:
Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.
I would like to wrap up with the story of a man named William Cowper. This man was a Christian poet and a composer of hymns but he often struggled with depression. One day at the age of 32, he struggled with a very serious depression and he thought of committing suicide. He took poison, but it didn’t work. He then tried to fall on a knife, but the blade of the knife broke. Two weeks later he tried to hang himself but was rescued before dying.
Then one morning, not knowing what to do, Cowper turned to the Bible and read the entire book of Romans. After reading it, he composed the famous hymn, God moves in a mysterious way. I would like you to pay so much attention to what the third and fourth verses of the hymn say:
You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
That’s our sovereign God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Behind a frowning providence, he hides a smiling face. This is why I love the fact that He is sovereign.