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Repent, overseers!

I read somewhere now the other day that “South Africa is a secular democracy with freedom of religion. Many religions are represented in the ethnic and regional diversity of the population, with Christianity overall being dominant.” {My emphasis.}

Repent, overseers!
maruping

Holy word can save us, says our columnist Maruping Phepheng in his weekly column.

That Christianity is a dominant religion did not surprise me but left me pondering.

Whether Christianity means being born again, or having an individual relationship with Jesus Christ, or coming from a Christian family, or whatever, I look around and wonder how can it be true that eighty percent of us are Christians?

Personally, I don’t remember the last time I walked through the doors of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Back in my boyhood, every Sunday morning my good friend (he has since left AMEC to belong to one of the new churches where things are done in English) and I would recant the popular mantra effortlessly: God our Father, Christ our Redeemer, Man our Brother!

Things have since moved pretty swiftly and right now I am not in a position to say I am Christian.

So when it is said that eighty percent of the country is Christian, I most certainly don’t belong in that majority. No. Not with the many ills that envelope us today.

What do we have in this predominantly Christian society? We have a really bad brand of politics. We have corruption. Nepotism. Violence. Racism. Poverty. Inequality. Bad to no service delivery. And so forth.

So today, as I throw a gaze through our murky political landscape, I thought of the Bible.  With about eighty percent of us said to be Christian, I wondered how the ‘holy word’ can assist. Is there guidance obscured somewhere in those many pages?

Let’s try Timothy. 1 Timothy3 says: “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.” Further, it says: “Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.

This passage left me wondering if our ‘overseers’ are Christian at all.

Now, over and above the fact that we are said to be a generally Christian society, I seem to remember reading in the news about nine or ten years ago that our own president is an ordained pastor.  If this is indeed the case, then as a pastor the president must know that other than “not (being) a lover of money”, 1 Timothy 3 also says that an overseer “must be of good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

Surely Pastor Zuma should also know that according to Proverbs 16:10, “A good leader …. doesn’t mislead, doesn’t exploit.

As a pastor, for instance, Jacob Zuma (and this applies to his breed too) should know that somewhere in Acts 2 there is a line that says: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

You are probably Christian yourself as you read this, and so you probably know a thousand other verses that relate to a nation leading a ‘God-fearing’ life.

So you should be worried, because if the Bible is not going to help change our ways, if it is not going to help ‘deliver us from evil’, then as a predominantly Christian nation I don’t know what will.

Ed Note: Maruping is an independent commentator. Visit other platforms for his work.

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