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Response to Rev. Jesse Gibson's E-mail (Part I) on the Topic: "There Is no Partiality With God (Part V)"
|Posted on December 1, 2014 at 11:45 AM||comments (1)|
This journal is aimed at responding to one of my subscribers who raised some concerns in response to Part V of my recent Journal: “There Is No Partiality With God.” The subscriber is The Reverend Jesse Gibson, founder and senior pastor of the Throne of Grace Ministries with headquarters in Worcester, Massachusetts. In my discussion of God’s sovereignty, arguing that God does what He pleases, Rev Gibson sent me an e-mail. I would like to summarize the key points he raised in his communication:
I appreciate Rev. Jesse’s e-mail. In fact, I would like my readers to communicate with me for clarification on something that I had written. My responsibility is to make the biblical texts meaningful to life by teaching faith, hope, love, and obedience to God in Christ. How can I accomplish this goal? It will be done through writing and interacting with my subscribers on any concern(s) that may arise from my Journal. Honestly, I will not be able to respond to the hundreds that may write. However, I will answer the ones that, I believe, will benefit everyone on my mailing list. What triggers Rev. Gibson’s concerns are the following lines in my last journal: “. . . God is not confined to our cultures, rules, nor regulations that define who we are. God does what He pleases, and his sovereignty is not partial. Because God’s redemptive plan, perfection, and His will are beyond man’s comprehension, we think that God is partial if He does anything against our cultural norm or standard.” I’ll begin with the first question, which I believe, has two major parts. Part I deals directly with whether God care for every culture, and Part II gives multiplicities of the African cultures and their practices, and its comparison to the Western culture as its standard, specifically, to marriage. Let me begin with Part I of his question, “… does God care about the cultures and rules?”
First, “… since God is not confined to our cultures, rules, nor regulations, does God care about the cultures and rules?”
Because human culture is tainted with sin, God cares for its redemption, including man. But He is not confined to it. I’m taking a biblical approach in answering this question, and not scientific or Darwinistic. In my book, Growing Missionaries Biblically: A Fresh Look at Mission in an African Context, I discussed the origin of human culture, using a biblical approach. I would like to summarize it here. Biblically, human culture can rightly be traced to Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1ff). Following Adam’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden, he created his own community outside the presence of God. It was God’s original plan for man to populate the earth (Gen 1.28), but that would have been according to His divine principles. The full picture of human culture is found in Genesis chapter 4 when Cain, due to jealously, killed his brother, Abel. God cursed Cain, and he went out of God’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden (Gen 4:16). There Cain’s wife had a baby, and they named him Enoch. Cain built a city and named it Enoch in honor of his firstborn son (Gen 4:17). What do you expect from a fugitive from God and his community?
St. Augustine of Hippo’s famous book, The City of God found its root in Genesis chapter 4. He discusses two cities: (1) The City of God, which is represented by Abel’s righteous offering to God, which resulted in his death, and (2) the City of Man, which is represented by Cain’s bloodless offering rejected by God. Augustine discusses two cities and two loves: The earthly, which is shaped by the love of self, even to the contempt of God, and the heavenly culture, which is shaped by the love of God, even to the contempt of self.
Because of our sinful nature, no culture is perfect, though every culture has some sort of goodness of God. Examples are family unity, love, altruism, respect for human life, providing for the needy, etc. God cares for our cultures, but He dislikes the ones that are demonic. For example, witchcraft of all kinds, human sacrifices, and African cults that have names, such as the Leper society, the Elephant society, the Negee society, the Ground Hog society, the Owl society, etc., that are found in other African countries. These societies are demonic and Satan is using the society members to accomplish his purpose. Yet, because God cares for man and his multiple cultures, He came in Christ and laid down his own life for our redemption. The redemption included our cleansing from those demonic societies that the devil is using to keep us captive, but thank God for Jesus, who has delivered you and me because He cares.
Because God cares for man and his culture, He promised to redeem us through the Seed of the woman (Gen 3:15). The Seed of the woman is Jesus Christ. He fulfilled this promise on the Cross of Calvary where Christ's heel was bruised through pain and suffering, and Satan's head was crushed.
Next week, I’ll continue answering Rev. Gibson's question regarding cultural practices about marriage in Africa.
To be continued.
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R. Zarwulugbo Liberty. Growing Missionaries Biblically: A Fresh Look at Mission in an African Text (Bloomington, IN: IUniverse, 2012), 113.