Is it possible that we will see the Christians in South Africa being persecuted in our lifetime?
A recent allegation brought against Joshua Generation Church, Cape Town, South Africa by the South African Human Rights Commission has sparked major concern in churches, all over South Africa, suggesting that our religious freedom might be under attack.
JGC is under investigation for teaching corporal punishment, as they understand it from a Biblical perspective (“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” – Prov 13:24). The SAHRC alleges that this teaching amounts to a violation of the rights of children to be protected from maltreatment, neglect and abuse.
“We believe the Government is aiming to outlaw spanking in South Africa, within the homes. They see it as abuse. (It has already been outlawed from schools in SA for a number of years.)” – Andrew Selley, Founding Elder of Joshua Generation Church.
“So, one of the challenges with this, is that In the State, trying to determine and tell me what is right and what I can and can’t preach and what I can and can’t believe, they’re beginning to infringe upon my religious beliefs. My beliefs about how I believe life works, but more importantly, how I believe that I need to train up my children in a way that God has instructed me to. … They are beginning to dictate what I can and can’t believe as an individual, and what I can and can’t teach based upon the Word of God. This would be a milestone moment in our country. If this had to go to court and they had a win in Constitutional Court, it would open the doors for ultimately the closing down of religious freedom in our country.” Andrew is concerned that should this happen, the church will lose its voice in society, muzzled by the state, restricting churches in what they can and can’t teach.
This is not an isolated incident. Previously the SAHRC found Creare Christian Arts Training Centre in Bloemfontein guilty of discrimination against homosexuals for holding a Biblical view that homosexual practice is sinful.
Currently churches and Christian organisations across South Africa, representing 6.2 million Christians are rallying together to defend the Church’s right to freely teach what it believes the Bible says, said Selley. The SA Muslim community has also agreed to oppose state interference in religious freedom.
I believe that we are living in a time when we need to wake up. We need to be aware of what’s happening in the world, start praying like we have never before, and stand together, united, as One Body of Christ, bringing His Kingdom in this world. A time is coming when we will no longer be able to stay lukewarm. We need to stand up for Christ, and live our lives radically, no matter the consequences that it may bring.
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Churches are asked to send messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org.