Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hard Truth from Reuben Kigame

Dear Young Professionals and All,
When the term "politically correct" is used, the notion of accomodating everyone is implied. Along with it is the desire to talk and behave in a manner not likely to offend anyone.
While the notion has been around the world for some time,Kenya has gone a step farther in perfecting it.
Welcome to the Kenya you want; the Kenya of freedom; where the rule is that everything except Christianity can be accomodated; the Kenya you are working overtime to build:
A family friend was at Java today and asked for her favourite pork meal. She was shocked beyond description when the waitress told her that the management had removed it from the menu because their Muslim customers had complained about why they had pork products at the restaurant. She said they did not want to offend these customers! Of course, since that time, we have been mobilizing all our friends to find alternative restaurants. That is how far it has come! I am not spending another shilling at Java, my favourite Nairobi restaurant again!
A few weeks back, it was television and North-Eastern. A few weeks before that, Al-shabab had just banned the ringing of bells between lessons in schools in Somalia; reason: The bells resembled "Church bells (sic).
A friend of mine who lives in England told me a couple of years back that doctors in the U.K. can be sued for referring to the sick that come to them as "patients." They are not "patients." they are "clients." Patient as a term is viewed as demeaning. Welcome to "Hate Speech 101."
You see, even in the moral world, it has become increasingly offensive to criticize any lifestyle on the basis of moral absolutes. We no longer have prostitutes. We have "commercial sex workers!"
We don't have men marrying men or women marrying women; we do not have homosexuals and lesbians. these are supposed to be too derogatory. We have "same sex unions" and "gay" couples ...
We do not take lethal weapons and mercilessly butcher a helpless, progressively growing human being; in fact we do not abort or murder; we are "terminating an unwanted pregnancy." We are not killing; we are just "getting rid of a product of conception." We are not sinning; we are just "exercising choice." Those other people are "pro-life" because they want the child to live. We are "pro-choice" because we believe in the right of the woman "to choose whether the baby should live or die." You see, the opposite of "life" is "choice", not death! We are civilized, you know!
When you sleep around, you are not sinning. You are having fun. You are not committing fornication; you are just having "pre-marrital sex." When you sleep with another man's wife or husband, you are not committing adultery. You will be having "an extra-marrital affair."
When there is real room for choice, like the case is with the referendum, anyone who opposes the status quo is not exercising choice. He/she is anti-reform.
Welcome to the Kenya Young Professionals want. The Kenya where everything except Christianity goes!
Hebrews 9:27 says that it is appointed for man to die once, and after that, judgment. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1 that God catches the crafty in their own craft. Psalm 139 says that before even a word is on our tongues, God knows it well and that there is no place on earth we can run to where we can succeed to hide from His presence. We can only fool one another so far!
Thanks.
Reuben Kigame.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Responding to the Critic

A Response to Harry

Harry
: Folks G*****it,

Me: There's no good reason why you need to curse each time you write an email. A bit of decency here would be appropriate. At least if not for your own respect, for the respect your addressees.

Harry:When Jesus used to walk in Middle East, 2000 years ago, he must have had a pretty hard time. Without any fast, or efficient means of communication, he had to use word of mouth to communicate his message. And he had to wait until people gathered around him to listen to his message. If you happened to be in your house when he was explaining some religious dogma, you missed out....unless someone came and passed over the message to you....often misinterpreted. I sometimes feel Jesus should have used his vast powers to launch a more effective communication strategy, since the whole point is to get His message to as many people as possible.... and also because he was Son of God anyway.--- Funny Son of God.:). Africans Got his message over 1000 years later....

Me: Check the words of Christ himself in John 10:27 "My sheep hear my voice and they follow me..." Hi point was not to get his message to as many people as possible. It was to get the message to those who (being God) he knew needed to hear the message. He did not waste his food on the pigs.

I am thinking, going to Church on Sunday as instructed in the Good Books, or wherever it came from, is a practice that took evolved because of the limited channels of communication in the past. You spend the whole week working, toiling, and the only day someone can interpret the scriptures and give you spiritual nourishment is on Sunday. And looks like we have all come to appreciate Sunday as a day set aside for worship. Its almost a tradition.

Me: You are working from a false presupposition. Christians don't meet on Sunday because of limited communication channels whether in the past or in the present. yes, meeting on Sunday IS a tradition, an important tradition handed down to us from the apostles. After the resurrection, they started meeting on the day of the Lord which literally means the day Christ was raised from the dead, Sunday. You could study this from the 'DIDACHE', an extra biblical historical documents penned by the disciples. Moreover, it is erroneous to presuppose that Christians meet on Sunday for someone to interpret the Scriptures and receive spiritual nourishment. Christians are able to interpret the Bible and receive spiritual nourishment on their own daily in their homes for all believers are endowed by the Holy Spirit who illuminates all seek to understand the word, not just a few.

Harry: But let us look at the 21st Century world, where communication has improved drastically. With the internet, the shepherds of the Lord have quite a number of options. We have the Television, where you can reach a very huge audience, even if you preach from home, internet and even the cell phone. If the whole idea is to listen to the word of God, then must you go to Church? Switch to TBN and watch Mensa Otabil form Ghana. (BTW he makes more sense than our Kenyan Cheats). If it is all about giving offering, you do not need to do it in the traditional way. Send via MPESA. Or deposit into bank accounts. And if it is about mingling and fellowshipping.....a day other than Sunday can be chosen for that. If you want to sing and shout, we have a variety of options for you.....

Me: Again, wrong presupposition. the whole idea is not only to hear the word of God, but communal worship. Communal worship involves more than just the hearing the of the word; It includes sharing of testimonies, partaking of the holy Communion, baptism services and so on. And yes we could summarize all this say it is for the sake of fellowship. At this point you say a day other than Sunday should be chosen for this. I say why chose another day when a day is already in place? harry you must understand that its not about the day Sunday, its about choosing to frequently gather to worship God together.

Harry: So folks, isn't it time we got real with this whole Sunday thing and dropped it?

Me: I have proven that all your arguments are futile and therefore your appeal is also unjustified and rather senseless.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Understanding 1 Corinthians 13

LOVE
The Motive for Ministry
1 Corinthians 13
Introduction
• The message for Christians in this age is this, “do not go round looking for a church with manifold of gifts, look around for a church that loves.”
• I believe this phrase alone can summarize all that Paul as trying to tell the Corinthians in 1Cor. 13.
• While still on the most pressing discussion on spiritual gifts, Paul calls the Corinthian readers to consider a higher calling, that to love.
1Corinthians 12:31 “But1161 covet earnestly2206 the3588 best2909 gifts:5486 and2532 yet2089 show1166 I unto you5213 a more excellent2596, 5236 way.3598 “
• This should remind us that any discussion of spiritual gifts has to be under girded by love.
• Gifts help us in ministry but love is the motive for ministry.
Paul devotes a whole chapter (section) of his letter to talk about love. I see Paul outlining his teaching on love by emphasizing on three things why we need love , even more that any spiritual gift.

1. The Superiority of Love (1-3)
• The exercise of gifts without the underlying motive of love is worthless. The sounding brass and the clanging cymbals are used figuratively to represent loud but worthless noises.
• The gift may be conspicuous, like prophecy, speaking even in tongues of angels, mountain moving faith, selfless giving, singing, preaching, healing etc, but be absolutely meaningless.
• Not only will the gift be of no value in itself, even the one who exercises the gifts without love is nothing and gains nothing.
• Gift without love
i. No value in the gift
ii. No value from the gift
iii. No value in the gifted
• The nothingness of the gifted without love equals complete absence of spiritual value, that is, one may exercise gifts but without love he is as good as a non-believer! This is what Jesus meant when he said that some would come to him saying Lord didn’t I do this or the other in your name and he will say, “Away from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you!” Note that Jesus will say, ‘I never knew you!’
• The endowment of spiritual gifts in a believer’s life is not synonymous to spiritual maturity, or even salvation, though all believers have gifts. This was especially true of the Corinthians who, although not lacking in any spiritual gift as a church (1Cor. 1:7), were still immature (1Cor. 3:1-3).
Having made the point that love is superior to all gifts Paul makes a second point, that love sums up all virtues befitting for a Christian.

2. The Totality of Love (4-7)
• Paul makes the point that love covers all virtues that relate to obedience to God’s command, just like Jesus did. Jesus said love is the fulfillment of God’s whole law.
• Moreover, the Lord insisted that the world would know his disciples only if they love one another. We can never over-preach the message to love. To love God is to obey God’s command in it’s totally.
• Paul here says in other words that all that a Christian must desire to be, that is, patient, kind, not jealous or conceited or proud love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; not keep a record of wrongs; not happy with evil, being happy with the truth, enduring, believing, hoping, can be summarized in one word, Love.
• John MacAthur says, “1 Corinthians 13 has been called a hymn of love. It is a supreme literary achievement and deals profoundly and beautifully with the subject of genuine love.”
• Take special notice of the fact that he refers to this love described as genuine love. There are many counterfeit definitions and descriptions of love that are worldly, but which are sadly permeating into the Church. Two notorious notions are that love is :-
o Being nice and tolerant to everyone and everything irregardless.
o Any sexual indulgence. ‘Making love’
Love, says Paul to the Corinthians, is not only superior to spiritual gifts and a totality of all that a Christian is to desire, but also the only eternal virtue. Having described the superiority and totality of love, Paul goes on to describe the continuity of love.

3. The Continuity of Love (8-13)
• We must bring back to mind that Paul is addressing the subject of love in the middle of another subject on gifts. He does this to get things in focus.
• The Corinthian Church was notorious for showing off their gifts and competing against each other (14:26). In response to some questions that some members of the Church had asked about this state of affairs, Paul teaches that love is the only platform, backbone or foundation on which to exercise gifts.
• The strongest remark Paul makes in this regards is that love does not fail. Whereas all gifts will be rendered useless when the perfect comes, love will endure to all eternity.
• Here we come to a passage of much disagreement. It is from this portion of scripture that some teach that miraculous gifts like tongues, prophecy and mysterious knowledge would pass away.
• The cessationist’s argument goes like this, “The text says that when the perfect comes, the imperfect would disappear. The perfect came when the full canon of scripture was sealed, or the end of the apostolic age.”
• The biggest problem with this interpretation of scripture is that we have to infer into the text what we think it means (eisegesis) rather than getting the meaning from the text (exegesis).
• Paul teaches that the time that gifts are in operation as that which is in part, and compares it to being a child, seeing dimly in a mirror and knowing in part, when the perfect comes, the imperfect will be done away with, it is like being a man and putting away childish things, it will be like seeing face to face, not through a dark mirror, then we shall know fully.
• So then when is ‘the perfect?’ Grammatical and contextual evidence all point to the ‘perfect’ as the time that Christ comes back. Most theologians agree on this, even some who do not approve of the miraculous gifts.
• Matthew Henry summarizes this well, “It is plain that the apostle is here setting the grace of charity in opposition to supernatural gifts. And it is more valuable, because more durable; it shall last, when they shall be no more; it shall enter into heaven, where they will have no place, because they will be of no use”
• The consequence of this is that we have no grounds to disapprove the continuation of any spiritual gift until Christ comes back.
• Having said that, we must address ourselves to the current understanding and use of some of these gifts, especially the gifts of tongues, prophecy and healing.
 Tongues
o There are two kinds of tongues.
1. Actual human languages unknown to the speakers but known to the hearers, Acts 2.

Acts 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying, Behold, are not all these that speak Galilaeans?
Acts 2:8 And how hear we, every man in our own language wherein we were born?
Acts 2:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judaea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia,
Acts 2:10 in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
Acts 2:11 Cretans and Arabians, we hear them speaking in our tongues the mighty works of God.

-This tongue, according to Peter, was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy in Joel 2:28ff.

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Joel 2:29 and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.
Joel 2:30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh.

-The purpose of this tongue was a sign of judgment that called the listeners to repentance.

Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered;

Acts 2:21 And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

-It appears in Acts to validate salvation. First Jews speak in tongues in Acts two, then Samaritans in Acts 8 and finally the Gentiles in Acts 10. It is very significant that in all these times Peter was there to witness it. When the Gentiles also spoke in tongues, the Bible says, “Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision that believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. “

2. Tongues unknown both to the speaker and to the hearers, 1 Corinthians 14:2

1Co 14:2 For he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth; but in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

- This tongue has a quality of edifying the speaker’s spirit although his mind is not edified.
1Co 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
-This tongue, according to Paul, was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 28:11-12

Nay, but by men of strange lips and with another tongue will he speak to this people;
Isa 28:12 to whom he said, This is the rest, give ye rest to him that is weary; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

-It was a sign of judgment with no chance for repentance.

Isa 28:13 Therefore shall the word of Jehovah be unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

1Co 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to the unbelieving:
Summary 1 Co 14
- Tongues either awaken to spiritual attention the unconverted or, if despised, condemn.
- Both tongues are granted by the Holy Spirit and are not taught. We anathemize the current teaching of the tongues.
- Those who have the gift of tongues should pray for the gift of interpretation to edify their minds as well.
- If tongues can not be interpreted they should be spoken in private
- If there is the gift of interpretation one or two speakers should peak in turns.
- The gift of tongues or prophecy is not an out of the mind and control experience, it is possible to control yourself.
- There are many counterfeit tongues and it is important to take caution.
 Prophecy
o Although the word is the same as that in the Old Testament, prophecy in the New Testament is significantly different form the Old Testament.
o Whereas a prophet’s word in the OT was inspired and put down in paper as God’s very word, ‘Thus saith the Lord’, in the NT, Paul teaches that when a prophet speaks the rest should listen and weigh carefully what is being said 1Co 14:29.
o Prophets both fore and forth-tell God’s message to get God’s people to do something. (Hermeneutic of activation).
o We conclude that today prophets can generally be categorized together with pastors and teachers.

 Healing
o While God is able to heal, we are to take caution against imposters who will do anything to get followers.

Conclusion
- Gifts are not everything, Love is.
- Gifts must be exercised in love because of
The superiority of love
The totality of love
The continuity of love.
- As you seek to use your gift, seek love as well.
- If you are not using your gift, let love compel you to seek to serve.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Consitutional Watch

(REFLECTIONS ON KENYA’S CONSTITUTIONAL PROCESS BY REUBEN KIGAME)

5th March, 2010

Today Hon. Prof Margaret Kamar, M.P. Eldoret East, and Hon. Peris Simam, M.P. Eldoret South, addressed our journalists after the Moi University town campus opening. They criticized the NCCK position on the Kadhis’ Courts saying it would derail gains that have been made for about twenty years. They defended their position by arguing as follows:

1. The Kadhis’ Courts have been in the current constitution and we have lived with them;
2. Amendments to the constitution can and should be made after endorsing and voting for the new constitution.
I have a problem with both arguments purely on factual grounds, but let me say something about the statement that NCCK would be derailing the gains of twenty years. First, I find it unconvincing that to make honest observations regarding what NCCK finds contentious is synonymous with derailing a process that encourages exactly that. NCCK and the rest of the Church has the right to voice dissatisfaction with the process. The members are citizens of Kenya and speak as such. What the parliamentarians and the so-called Committee of Experts need to do is complete the process by evaluating every contribution so that it leaves everyone feeling the constitution is an honourable law of the land that must be respected by all. In fact, what the NCCK is doing is helping with the finalization of the process. It is actually this kind of pronouncement to the Fish FM journalists that is derailing to the process by closing out the views of some on the constitution.

Now to the issue that we should ratify the current draft into law with the Kadhis’ Courts because we have had them in the present constitution. This is a bad argument. If this be the reason for voting for the harmonized constitution as is now during the referendum, then why did we bother with writing a new constitution at all? We should have lived with everything else that is in the current constitution. It is tantamount to saying that everything else can change except the Kadhis’ Courts. Again, two issues are being confused here: The Kadhis’ Courts being entrenched in the constitution and Muslims having the freedom to go to the Kadhis’ courts as Muslims. No Christian is saying Muslims should not practice personal law under the jurisdiction of a Kadhi. We are saying, do not make provision for them specifrically in the Constitution and go a step further to exempt Muslims from the Bill of Rights which apply to every Kenyan. Perhaps here I need to clarify something as well. Islam makes no distinction between what is “secular” and what is “sacred” for the true Muslim Everything is religion for him. Islam means “submition to the will of Allah”. So, if one thinks that the Kadhis’ Courts are a legal affair and going to the Mosque a religious affair, that would be mistaken. The courts are sacred and hence religious. All religions are to be treated equally under the supreme law of the land. This is not rocket science. If the argument is that they have been in the current constitution, then let them stay right there and let us have a new constitution that does not make the same mistake.

Lastly, the argument that we should all just accept and accommodate one another and do everything to pass the current draft into supreme law. It is further argued that, should we find mistakes later, we can make amendments. This is not just simplistic. It is evil. It is saying that we should all board a vehicle that has a puncture and do everything to repair that puncture later, should we verify that it is a puncture. Nobody lives that way in life. Why should we opt to live that way with regard to the constitution? We do not graduate students who never sat examinations with the argument, let us just graduate them and then deal with their sitting for exams later. Besides, if we are truly willing to do something about mistakes in the constitution later, why are we unwilling to do something about such mistakes now? Put conversely, if we are not prepared to deal with those “amendments” now, what can possibly convince anyone that we would be willing to deal with them later? If we cannot trust the “Committee of Experts”, the best the country is offering now, what convinces us that that trust will be automatic after we ratify the draft? A Closing analogy will suffice. If you are dating a girl that is constantly badmouthing you and cheating on you, you do not go to a priest and solemnize the union, hoping that she will change and that you will deal with those issues later. If you cannot deal with them now, there is no proof it will be possible to deal with them in the future.

I need better arguments than the honourable members gave to our journalists or I will still vote “no” to the Harmonized Draft.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Forgive me Lord I did it Again

So last week I sent text messages to some of my closest friends and I received very interesting feedback. Let me quote exactly what I said,"Hey I have learnt that if we struggle with sin for too long, it is because no matter what we say, we still cherish it in our hearts and the Lord will allow a painful situation to show us the ugliness of that sin and to create a real hatred for it." Some asked whether I came up with this conclusion from a personal experience or from Scripture. I will respond to this later. First tell me what you think.