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Category Archives: Christianity and Society

Introduction to DBS Podcast

Note: This is a script of today’s podcast. The audio can be accessed here 

Welcome to Doctrine for Body and Soul (DBS) hosted by Confex Makhalira. Doctrine for Body and Soul is a Christian podcast, which comes out every Mondays and Fridays. On Mondays the podcast brings you devotions for your encouragement in the walk with the Lord, and on Fridays the podcast analyzes current affairs, more especially, those of Africa, from a Biblical perspective. Thank you for joining us today.

Indeed a warm welcome to the very first episode of Doctrine for Body and Soul. Being a new podcast I need to give some introduction.

First, what is Doctrine for Body and Soul all about? As already mentioned at the beginning, this podcast will be made up of two components. The first component is devotional. Every Monday, the Lord willing, I will be bringing you devotions, which are brief exposition of Bible passages, to help us grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The second component is a commentary from a Biblical perspective on issues affecting believers all over the world, more especially, in Africa. Every Friday, the Lord willing, I will be providing a Biblical worldview analysis on current affairs in our world. It is no secret that the world is increasingly becoming so hostile to Christians that often we are faced with the major question: “How should we then live?” In Friday’s podcasts I will be endeavoring to bring God’s Word to bear on various developments, good or bad, around the globe.

We need to remember as the hymn writer once put it, “This is my Father’s World.” Although sometimes evil seems to gain the upper hand, the truth is that our Triune God is still sitting on the throne and is guiding all the affairs of his world and his Church toward one goal which is to glorify himself. This is why Paul reminds us in that beautiful doxology in Romans 11:33 and 36: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways…For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

Indeed all things belong to God. This is why again the Psalmist in Psalm 24 reminds us that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. So let’s not lose sight of this important truth. This is our Father’s world. “O let me never forget. That though the wrong seems so strong, God is the ruler yet.”

Second, why this name, Doctrine for Body and Soul? Well, the word “doctrine” is derived from a Greek word which when translated into English means “teaching” while the phrase “body and soul” means the whole man. Often the Bible uses this phrase to refer to man as being both a spiritual and physical being. So Doctrine for Body and Soul podcast is about the Bible’s teaching regarding our spiritual and physical lives. In other words, this podcast is all about what the Scriptures teach us about our spiritual lives as citizens of heaven and also our physical lives as citizens this world.

Third, who is the man behind this podcast? Confex Makhalira is a trained broadcaster and a teacher of the Bible. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies with a minor in Radio Communications from the African Bible College in Lilongwe, Malawi. He is currently in his final year of studies for a Master of Divinity at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Having given this introduction, I would like us to look at this story from Zambia. In his blog post last week, Pastor Conrad Mbewe of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia, bemoaned the growing trend among Christians there to skip church on Sundays in order to attend a football or soccer match in which the Zambian National Team is playing. Pastor Mbewe wrote on his blog, Letter from Kabwata “Zambians need to ask themselves a heart-searching question: Could it be that football has become our idol?”…When we spend a whole week anticipating a football match instead of the worship of God on the Lord’s Day and then when the day comes we abandon the worship of God in order to shout and jump and scream in a stadium (or at home in front of a television set)…is this not idolatry?”

Then following this post, this week Pastor Mbewe, has blogged another post with the title, “We have lost the sense of God.” In this post he explains that he has been struggling to understand why Christians would prefer going to watch a football match to going to church. He writes, “After my last blog post in which I addressed the issue of believers abandoning going to church on a Sunday in preference for watching a football match, I tossed and turned most of the night. I kept asking myself how believers could do this. I could not understand how even pastors are now joining in this (practice) with a clear conscience. I mean, how?”

As he continued to think through this Pastor Mbewe came to one conclusion: “We have lost the sense of God.”  He then continues to observe that this loss of sense of God has come about because of the poor view of God, which many Christians have due to poor worship and preaching in Zambian churches. “When it comes to church…there is very little pausing for a moment of silence to prepare the soul to meet with the living God. You have a band that is already playing as people chat. The worship leader starts with jokes to get the atmosphere exciting. The songs are painfully repetitious of next to nothing—“God brought me from here and has taken me there,” over and over again! The preaching is also deliberately calculated to bring people back next week rather than to bring them face to face with the living God. Hence the preacher behaves more like a superstar than a prophet from God. Can such gimmicks surely give us a sense of God?”

And I would add that this problem is not only in Zambia but throughout the continent of Africa and even throughout the world.

Now one important thing we can learn from the observations of Pastor Mbewe is that if we are to develop a solid Biblical worldview, we need to attend churches where people worship God as he has commanded in his word and where the Bible is preached faithfully. A sound church is indispensable for equipping believers who will honor God in all areas of their lives. This then means that Christians who are not attending health churches can never develop a health Biblical worldview. Therefore, we should never underestimate the grace that God gives to his people through the ordinary means of faithful preaching and God-honoring worship. That’s what all Christians need.

 

T

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in Christianity and Society

 

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Why Churches in Malawi Should Refuse to Endorse Abortion even on the Grounds of Rape or Incest

Recently, the Nyasa Times, one of Malawi’s online news sources, reported that Malawi churches are endorsing abortion here. I am saying Malawi churches because Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), which represents almost all denominations in Malawi has given a green light to the bill that legalizes abortion and is scheduled to be tabled in Malawi Parliament soon.

I already wrote against abortion here. But I am writing again because I believe that Malawi Council of Churches has failed to shine the light of the gospel in a world that is struggling to do what is biblically right in regard to the issue abortion.

The General  Secretary of MCC, Bishop Gilford Matonga, was quoted in the article asserting: “The church opposes abortion on demand; meaning if a woman is pregnant should not just seek abortion at free will. The proposed law gives three grounds on why abortion can be done. One is when she is raped, when her life is threatened by the pregnancy and on incest thus when a family member impregnates a child. But also when there is a malformation of the fetus- no proper development of the child in the womb.” The article then continued to say that MCC has endorsed and thrown its full support behind the bill.

The aim of this post is to critically look from a Biblical perspective the three grounds that MCC is advancing for its endorsement of the abortion bill which are rape, incest, and malformation of the fetus. I will not tackle the issue of therapeutic abortion (when the life of the mother is threatened) because I already discussed that in my previous blog post.

First, the MCC supports abortion of pregnancies due to rape cases. For sure, rape is one of most horrible and heinous sin that can be committed against a woman and ultimately against God himself. I believe human words cannot fully express the pain, shame, and disgrace that the victim of rape undergoes. So my argument does not intended to minimize the impact of violation that rape victims experience.

Having said that I still believe that rape should not justify abortion of the pregnancy that has come out of it because of the following reasons:

  • The Bible prohibits us from taking away the life of anybody including the baby that has been conceived in rape (Exodus 20:13). This is the obvious reason, is it not?
  • Every conceived baby is knitted together in his/her mother’s womb by God (Psalm 139:13) and is fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14).
  • God is sovereign which means that God works all things according to the counsel of his will (Eph. 1:11) and there is nothing that can take place in this world without him willing it to occur. Now this is very hard to grasp and swallow, especially, in cases where a woman has been violated. However, for us Christians, we can rest assured (not without pain and sorrow) that all things work together for our good although we might not always see the good right away (Romans 8:28).

It is also important to remember that the baby conceived is as “innocent” as the mother carrying him or her. The baby is not the criminal and by God’s grace he/she might grow up to be a great instrument that God uses to advance his kingdom and glory in this world. So I believe the church should encourage Christians who have been raped not to abort the pregnancy rather it should come along and assist them through their trauma.

The words of Stephen Schwartz in his book, The Moral Question of Abortion, are worthy pondering: “Refusal to allow abortion for rape cases is not a failure of compassion…Saying no to the woman is not a lack of compassion for her, but simply calling attention to what abortion really is: murder. Refusal to sanction murder is not lack of compassion” (147).

Before I move to the next ground endorsed for abortion by MCC I should point out here that according to the literature that I have laid my hands on, the percentage of pregnancies that are due to rape is very small and within the single digits. Again, this is not to trivialize the sin or the problem of rape but only to acknowledge that the church will experience fewer cases of women who contemplate abortion because they were raped.

Secondly, MCC has backed abortion of pregnancies due to incest. Incest is a horrible sin and the Bible strongly condemns it in both the Old and New Testaments (Leviticus 18:6-18; Deut. 27:22; 1 Cor. 5:1-5). However, the Bible does not command us to murder babies that are born out of this sin. My reasons against abortion of the pregnancy due to incest are the same as those I have highlighted above namely: it is murder; the baby conceived is fearfully and wonderfully made by God; and as horrible as incest is, we still understand that it occurs not apart from God’s will.

Furthermore we need to consider the story of Jesus Christ. His family tree reveals two acts of incest. Two of his ancestors Lot and his first born daughter committed this sin and through them came the nation of the Moabites from which Ruth came from and through her came king David and ultimately Jesus himself (Gen. 19:30-38; Ruth 4:13-21; ). It’s not just Lot and his daughter but also two more other ancestors, Judah and Tamar. These two also committed incest (Gen. 38:1-30). Yet through their heinous and abhorrent sin, God worked all things according to the counsel of his will to bring the best out of it, Jesus Christ the only Savior of mankind (Matt. 1:2-6). Do you now see why we should believe that in all things God works for the good of his people?

According to the literature that I have read, the percentage of pregnancies that are a result of an incest relationship is also very small. Just as I have already stated, this is not to belittle the sin of incest but to acknowledge that the Church in Malawi and indeed the rest of the world will deal with fewer cases of pregnancy due to incest.

Lastly, MCC has endorsed abortion of pregnancies in which it is feared that the baby will not develop well. My apologies for repeating myself, but the answer to this issue is, again, God’s sovereignty. He is the one who has knitted together the baby with that disability. Any perceived anomaly does not mean that the child will not develop to the full. How many stories have we heard of couples who were told by doctors that their conceived baby will not develop to the full and later the doctors were proven wrong? Doesn’t Job remind us that our lives are in God’s hand from the day we are conceived (Job 12:10) and no single person has the power and the right to decide that because there are fears that a baby might not develop well in the womb, he/she should be killed?

Moreover, we need to remember that all of us are conceived deformed with sin. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me,” confesses David in Psalm 51:5. It is only through the grace of God that we are brought to the Chief Surgeon, Jesus Christ, who reforms and transforms and makes whole again through the Holy Spirit and the gospel. Can’t we trust God to do the same to the babies who might be deformed physically? Doesn’t he have the power to preserve and sustain their lives?

All in all, abortion is very horrible and no single church in Malawi should endorse a bill that seeks to legalize it. Therefore, without fear of contradiction, I can boldly state here that MCC has missed it. They have failed to be the light and salt of the world as Christ commands his Church to be. However, it is not too late to recant and withdraw the endorsement. My prayer is that MCC will do just that.

 

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2016 in Christianity and Society

 

Family Worship

A couple of years ago I lamented the passiveness of some Christian fathers and husbands who are not taking up their spiritual leadership roles as given to them by God in his holy and inerrant Word here. I also went on to appeal to my fellow Christian husbands and fathers to stand up and guard their families from various errors and false teachings that are bombarding us everyday. Today, I would like to continue and point out one of the ways of doing this namely family worship.

We are all familiar with the worship that takes place in our churches when we meet on the Lord’s Day. But there ought to be another worship that takes place in our homes when we are not gathering with fellow saints. Parents, especially, fathers should gather their children, and teach them the word of God, pray, and sing hymns and psalms with them. These are some of the means that God uses to bless his people and to build strong and godly families and churches that are able to discern false doctrines.Thomas Manton was right when he observed, “A (Christian) family is the seminary or theological school of Church and State.”

More importantly, we need to do family worship because it is our act of obedience to God’s Word. God’s command for it dates back to the Old Testament times. “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (Deut. 11:18, 19). Similar directions are also given in Psalm 78:1-4 and Ephesians 6:4.

I hope, by the grace of God, you are convinced of the need to observe this important practice, if you were not doing it. But you might wonder on where to start. Be encouraged, it is not as complicated as you think. To begin with, set aside time for family worship in the evening when every member of your home is available. If you can do it both in the morning and evening, why not! That’s far much better since you can’t overdose prayer.

Before the worship, take some time to prepare what you are going to share from God’s word. To make it easier for yourself, plan to go through one book of the Bible after another. You can use John Calvin or Matthew Henry’s commentaries in your preparation, which you can access for free here and here. After your preparation, pray for God’s blessings upon your family worship. Then gather your family together. Pray together that God would speak to you through his word, and then read the Scriptures. Explain the passage and give a chance to your children to ask questions regarding the passage. After that sing at least one or two psalms or hymns then pray that God will apply the truth of the words you have shared to your hearts. Remember also to pray for the needs of your family, and to thank God for his blessings. Keep on doing this at an established time until it becomes an inseparable part of your family.

May God bless you as you continue or venture into this wonderful experience.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Christianity and Society

 

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Malawi, Legalization of Abortion is Really a Bad Idea

As I am writing this post, my heart is filled with fear. I can literary feel it as if it is sinking down into a bottomless pit. Why am I afraid? I hear that the movement pushing for legalization of abortion in Malawi is gaining momentum. They are courting religious leaders, chiefs, law makers and other people of influence and power in our land to sway them towards supporting legalization of abortion.

I cannot help but fear for my country. Friends, legalization of abortion not matter on what grounds is ugly and should not even be the last thought for Malawians. Please let’s learn from the countries who have taken this path before and we will discover what a dangerous beast legalization of abortion is to any society. It will devour our nation.

Right now, I am living in a part of the world that has taken this path. It is sad and heartbreaking to hear that every day women are killing so many unborn children even for lame reasons like “I just don’t want this baby.” Just open your browser and google the numbers of children being killed in their mothers’ womb in the countries that have legalized abortion and you will be shocked. Malawi should not cheat herself that she can legalize abortion and never reach that point because she will sure do.

It is a very dangerous trajectory but it all starts with that one step of legalization. The advocates of legalization of abortion are making it to sound as if it is a very good and harmless idea as they fly their statistics in our face of how many women are dying due to the so called unsafe abortion and how much money our government is spending in post abortion care, but believe you me the consequence of legalizing abortion will overwhelm us. Once Malawi opens this door, there will be no any other way of closing it. Any woman even without any reason would choose to murder their unborn baby. Who would stop them if the law would leave the door wide open?

Those advocating for legalization of abortion argue that they are many women who are dying due to unsafe abortion. But what is causing abortion? Is it the law that prohibits it? Definitely not! No one would abort just because the law states that abortion is illegal. There should be factors that are causing this murdering of unborn children. Why not then address the causes instead of spending more energy on effects.

Life is very sacred and priceless. God the creator and giver and sustainer of life has not entrusted the right of taking it to a mother who thinks that she does not need the child in her womb for various reasons . “You shall not murder,” he commands us in Exodus 20:13. He also tells us in his word, the Bible, that life begins at conception (Psalm 51:5) hence abortion is murder and sinful.

Malawi, seriously ponder on this: according to God’s Word, God’s wrath shall rest heavily on a nation that perseveres in such murderous tragedies as abortion. Dr. Joel Beeke and Jim Beeke have explained this point very well in their essay, “Is Abortion Really So Bad?” and I will borrow some of their thoughts to expound it.

In Exodus 21:22-23 we read: “When men strive together and hit a woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judge determines. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life.”

If God commands such a heavy and great penalty for an accident like this one, will he stand aside and idly look at a deliberate and planned abortion? Legalizing abortion is tantamount to calculated and legalized murder of nameless, voiceless, helpless human beings created by God. Like those ungodly nations we read in the Bible who sacrificed their infants to their gods (Deuteronomy 12:31), I am afraid that if we legalize abortion in Malawi, it will also one day be said of us that Malawians sacrificed their unborn sons and daughters to the god called Selfishness on the altar of abortion. I pray that we will not reach that extent. May God bless Malawi and keep it a land of peace where we continue to value, respect and appreciate the lives of unborn children just as we value, respect and appreciate any other human life.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Christianity and Society

 

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My Prayer and Thoughts as Malawi Goes to Polls

Finally, one of Malawi’s long awaited days this year is almost here. Tomorrow, on May 20, 2014 the people of the land of my birth go to elect the President, Members of Parliament (MPs), and Councillors for the next five years. Sadly, for first time since I reached the voting age, I will not be able to cast my vote.  Distance has a way of limiting us in a number of ways. But still my prayers and thoughts are with you my countrymen.

I pray that my Malawian brothers and sisters will not forget to remember that whatever happens during the elections was already ordained and written in the Almighty God’s eternal script for his world. History is not autonomous, but it is His (God’s) story. This should comfort us knowing that although  we may not be sure of what the future holds, we know for sure who holds the future. Christ is still on the throne.

I also pray for my fellow Christians that they will not take their eyes off  Christ as our perfect hope in this fallen world and place it on politicians. Malawi like any other nation in this fallen world has so many challenges. Knowing this, our politicians have  promised a lot in regard to making our country a better place to live in. But it might not be long before we find ourselves in the valley of frustration as the hopes that were raised are shattered into smithereens. “Promises and lies” is often the politicians’ best game everywhere.

This is not to say all politicians are not to be trusted. There are some who are godly and have good intentions. But how can we single them out knowing that the heart is so deceiving above all things (Jer. 17:5)? It’s not easy!  Yet it is of great comfort to know that the Lord knows all men very well. I pray that God will give Mother Malawi godly leaders. But, even if this happens, we should never never look up to politics as the solution to our fallen world. Ravi Zacharius put it better: “Let’s face it, politics is seldom the answer to any society because it just swings from one extreme to the other and it goes with the whim of whoever is in power.”

Realizing the folly of trusting politics to heal this sin-ridden world, Margaret Thatcher, one of the renowned politicians in our world,  used to say: “It is up to the people of faith (Christians) to change their culture, politicians can’t do it.” Brethren, may we continue to shine forth the light of Christ as the beacon of hope for our nation. Whoever becomes the president or MP or councillor is not good enough to bring the hope and satisfaction that vanished once sin entered the world and alienated mankind from God. Since then our hearts remain restless until they find rest in God as St. Augustine put it.

Finally, I know that even Christians just like as any other person voting have a particular expectation of results. But in case, the results do not come out  as we expected,  let’s remember that Christ still holds the whole world in his hand. He knows best. He alone directs the events and affairs of the world according to his good pleasure and will. Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 11:33-36: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him alone are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

Our prayer should remain the same as we have always prayed in the form our national anthem since 1964:

O God bless our land of  Malawi

Keep it a land of peace…

Our own Malawi, this land so fair

Fertile and brave and free.

With its lakes, refreshing mountain air,

How greatly blest are we.

Hills and valleys, soil so rich and rare…

Freedom ever, let us all unite…

One purpose and one goal

Men and women serving selflessly,

In building Malawi.

The Malawi National Anthem

 

 

Ravi Zacharius, an address at Brigham Young University in Utah (Accessed on January 19, 2014, http://www.rzim.org/rzim-news/ravi-zacharias-at-byu-and-the-mormon-tabernacle/).

 
 

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No Moderation, No Compromise

“Only you shall not go very far away” Exodus 8:28

This is a crafty word from the lip of the chief-tyrant Pharoah. If the poor bondaged Israel must go out of Egypt, then he bargains with them that it shall not be very far away; not too far for them to escape the terror of his arms, and the observation of his spies.

After the same fashion, the world…loves us (Christians) to be more lovable and not carry matters with too a severe hand…Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of “moderation.” According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced.

“Yes,” says the world, “be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little gay society…What’s the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?”

Multitudes  yield to this cunning advice, to their own eternal ruin. If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave its maxims, its pleasures, and its religion too, and go far away to the place where the Lord calls His sanctified ones.

When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is abroad, a man cannot be too far from its haunts. The further from a viper the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better. To all true believers let the trumpet-call be sounded, “Come you out from among them, be you separate.”

Taken from “Morning and Evening” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Christianity and Society

 

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Love: The Story of John

John one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ is an interesting character.  We first read about his problem with anger in Luke 9:51-56 in which Samaritans have refused Jesus a passage to connect to Jerusalem.  John is angered by Samaritans and he asks Jesus if they should command fire to come down from heaven and consume the Samaritans. Jesus rebukes John.

Later on John writes his First Epistle and the major them of the letter is love. “We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer… he writes in 1 John 3:1, 15.  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God,” he adds in 1 John 4:7.

What happened to the old short-tempered John? It is no doubt that the time that John spent with Jesus from the incident of Luke 9:51-56, John learnt more about love from Christ. The power of the love of Christ steadily transformed him and anger and selfishness slowly gave in to love.

This is what happens when we spend time with Christ. The more we turn our eyes upon Christ, the more we become like him. The more we look at the cross of Christ, the more his love fills and controls us. The world can, continually, remind us of the need of love for each other  but it is only Christ that will enable us to love truly.  Without Christ, there shall never be genuine love in this world.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Christianity and Society

 

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