Dear Brother/Sister in Christ,
It is out of great concern that I write this blog to the Church in South Africa.
Our Church (Joshua Generation Church) is now under attack. A complaint has been lodged with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against us. The SAHRC have been appointed, by the South African Government, as a "watchdog" over human rights in South Africa. In brief the complaint against Joshua Generation Church (JGC) is that our doctrine accepts and requires the use of corporal punishment by means of a rod, and that we imply that corporal punishment (spanking, done in love and within reason, according to the Bible) does not negatively affect the child, and that our purposeful promotion of corporal punishment is also published in our teaching materials.
The State (in the form of the SAHRC) is obviously attempting to prescribe the internal workings of both religion and family life, and is making an attempt at enforcing its values upon the Church. If we do not act in this milestone moment the freedoms we have enjoyed for so long as Christians in South Africa, will progressively and swiftly begin to be taken from us, and we will find our beliefs, and then even ourselves outlawed. This will no doubt have grave implications on the way we are governed to raise our children. We believe that this matter is likely to become a test case, used by the State to pave the way for enacting legislation to outlaw corporal punishment in the home, as well determining what may be legally preached from our pulpits and believed by our people. If the State wins this battle the road will be paved for the Government to demand we follow their beliefs on issues such as homosexuality, how and what we can teach our children, what sin is, Christ alone as salvation etc. Thus this is an attack upon the gospel itself!
And hence the importance of asking for your voice to be heard…
This is not simply about corporal punishment, but about religious freedom. If we do nothing then evil will triumph and soon other freedoms we now enjoy will vanish, and the State will interfere with religion, our doctrine, beliefs and family life, as has been the case in so many first world countries.
Let us therefore not be caught sleeping but let us join together and stand united in Christ to boldly defend the religious freedoms we now enjoy in South Africa. Let us join hands against the evil pressing at our flanks and work to ensure that we can bring up our children in God’s ways and according to God’s instructions. Let us not for a moment think that the attack against us will end here. If we lose this freedom - we will swiftly lose others. May we fight peaceably and pray unceasingly for the religious communities’ right to continue to practice and preach the things God commanded us to do in Scripture. This is not a matter of us imposing our views on the world, but rather demanding that the world not force upon us their views by trying to legislate what we can and can't preach from our pulpits.
To do this the Church must stand together as One. Therefore, we urge you as a fellow Christian to ask your local pastor to contact us, or alternatively you can send us your leaders contact details (from any denomination/ apostolic group or network etc.) so that we can contact them and unite the churches and Christians of South Africa with a corporate response to the Government - asking them to withdraw from the direction that they are moving in and to uphold and protect our freedoms of conscience, family and religion. It is my belief that if we stand together we can push back this action by the State and keep our religious freedom, but it is imperative that we act NOW.
The SAHRC has given us a deadline to respond to this complaint and therefore we urge you to please write to us by 5 September 2013 (in order for us to meet our deadline, a week later). Please send any contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your prayer and support.
Pastor of Joshua Generation Church & Apostolic Leader of Four12