Archive for the ‘Current Issues’ Category

DOES GOD FORBID WOMEN BISHOPS IN THE CHURCH?

THE CASE FOR WOMEN BISHOPS IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND: THE WAITING CONTINUES
The General Synod of the Church of England has voted not to have women bishops, until it deems it otherwise fit. The decision comes in spite of the two decade-long or more deliberations on women ordination as priests. Interestingly, it turned out that it was the Laity which voted against the plan; no matter how small the majority was. For the benefit of the worried ones among the laity who are skeptical about having women bishops, it would be quite interesting to go along memory lane in the course of Church history regarding the various roles women have played and posts which they have held. A cursory examination of the Church during the First Century would be helpful. Biblical records show us that in pre-church era women had important leadership roles and posts in religious settings and society. Then it would be good to look at church membership and the position of women in church and society today. Another vital consideration is to ask what Jesus Christ would have said and done today. Having to wait for another General Synod decision for some years is a long, unnecessary but inevitable wait.
During the exodus of Israel under the leadership of Moses, he responded to Joshua’s anxiety and jealous, protective concern for him, while he urged Moses to forbid those who were prophesying outside tent where the select group of leaders and Joshua were with Moses. Joshua was not aware of the fact that those men were appointed by the LORD also. Moses was quick to encourage his assistant and said: ‘‘Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them.’’(Numbers11:29). The Lord’s gifts and ministry appointments were not and still are not the exclusive reserve or monopoly of a select few. The gifts are inclusive of the women too! Early In the Exodus, great Miriam was a Prophetess!(Exodus 15:20). Deborah was a Prophetess and a Judge in Israel during the early formative years of nationhood. By that she was NUMBER ONE person in the whole nation.As prophetess and Head of State,she heard from God and gave instruction to men and women,including Barak,who was the newly appointed military commander.Barak as a man called upon to lead the army was afraid,until this notable woman accompanied the army into battle. It should never be forgotten that whilst Barak was fearful,Deborah was full of courage and faith in God.Victory was won and all the prophecies of Deborah came true.In addition,a woman had the glory of putting finishing touches to the war(Judges 4:4-10, 21-23).
As a woman highly favoured of God, the Virgin Mary,was the vessel through whom our Lord and Saviour was born. Mary was submissive and obedient to the will of God.Greater than all other women before and after her,the Virgin Mary occupies a pride of place in the Church and an extra-ordinary place in Roman Catholicism.Eamon Duffy,in his book ’The Place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Roman Catholicism’,opines that the central Catholic teaching about Mary originates largely from the Gospels of Luke and John,from certain portions of the Pauline corpus and from the twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation.He asserts further that the Roman Catholic tradition almost deifies Mary and near elevation to that of the Christ.There is much controversy over the teaching,which is not acceptable to Protestant belief.However,the fact of Mary’s greatness has never been in contention.Shortly after the birth of Christ, his circumcision and the purification rites for Mary his mother, Jesus was brought to the Temple to present him to the LORD,being the first male child that opened the womb.That was done in obedience to the Law of the Lord.Prophetess Anna was in the temple when Jesus was brought in.Like Simeon,Anna also spoke of Jesus in the hope of redemption for Israel (Luke 2:25-38). Many women were responsible, committed and reliable supporters as well as facilitators in the earthly ministry of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Who would forget so easily the ministries of Mary and Martha of Bethany, Mary of Magdala and the additional unique ministry of Mary, the mother of Jesus? These were women who stood their grounds where most of the male leaders went into hiding,soon after the arrest, crucifixion and burial of Jesus! Mary of Magdala was the first to see Jesus after he rose from the dead and the first to testify about the resurrection. (Matthew 28:7-10; Mark 16:9-11; Luke 23:55-56; 24:1-11; John 20:1-18). Did the men believe her report or testimony? Certainly not; until Jesus appeared to them later(John 20:19-20).What a pack of timid men they were before Pentecost! The fact that Mary of Magdala was sent by Jesus to the Apostles made her qualify as a SENT person. It is asserted by some that she was the Apostle to the Apostles. How true indeed! Who and where then are those ignorantly undermining the status of women in the church? A Christian woman should be able to rise to any post in the church as a Priest.A Bishop is first and foremost a Priest. The same is true of an Archbishop,Patriarch, Prelate or Pope;they are all basically Priests!The Church of England should repent and retrace her steps in the unscriptural stand which informed the decision taken at the General Synod,to prevent women from being consecrated as Bishops.
In the upper room,in Jerusalem,on the day of Pentecost,there were women among the 120.Men and women alike were all filled with the Holy Spirit(Acts1:13-15,2:1-4). The first Christian in Europe was a woman,called Lydia(Acts 16:14-15). Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles recognizes and pays respect to Aquila and Priscilla,Christian couple,who had a church in their house (1 Corinthians 16:19) at Corinth. The couple were makers of tent as their means of livelihood alongside Paul, hence their closeness. Another notable couple; Andronicus and Junia were highly respected among the Apostles and older in the faith than Paul(Romans 16:7)!
Twenty-first Century observations in the church across the world show that majority of worshippers are women. Agape Focus observes in the United Kingdom and Nigeria that female worshippers and members are in overwhelming majority.News from around the Christian world prove this also. Statistical studies by the Christian Research confirm this fact for England.The Church, by the ordination of women as Priests has already set the stage for the elevation of deserving female priests to episcopal status! To act contrarily,is a negation of the original act of the General Synod, which ordained women as priests.The conservative members of the church coming to mess up Synod decisions should reread their Bibles,revisit the past synod decisions, repent and behave better next time!
It is a fact of the Twenty first Century that women in society do hold very important posts. Her Majesty,Elizabeth II,The Queen,is by the grace of God,the Official Head of the Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Spiritual Head.The United Kingdom has been privileged to have a female Prime Minister,in person of Margaret Thatcher. In her days in office,she was no push over and she was able to hold her place in the committee of nations.Women in England and across the world have proved and still continue to prove their mettle in various fields of endeavor;as educators,economists,politicians,soldiers,scientists,sportswomen,astronauts, responsible parents,priests,bishops,nuns,deaconesses,evangelists,and pastoral leaders.Women indeed are a formidable component of any category of human activity in past and modern societies. In spite of the array of evidences,one wonders yet why some so-called conservatives seem to present a stance of unawareness or ignorance about the significant roles and high potential of women!
However, it should be noted that it constitutes a disservice to Christ to appoint homosexuals as female Bishops.What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.Having halted the consecration of a homosexual male earlier, the same standard must be upheld for any lesbian. There should be no double standard.This is not being sexist in any way! Any man or woman in true practice of celibacy qualifies for consecration as Bishop. For other prospective aspirants to the office of Bishop,such a person must be the husband of one wife(or the wife of one man). Christ,who loved us and washed us from our sins by his own blood has also made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (Revelation 1:5-7). Let the women never be hindered again from holding higher positions(Bishop inclusive)in the ordained ministry;be it in the Church of England,other Anglican Communions,Methodist Church Nigeria,the Roman Catholic Church or any group of Churches! Which male Roman Catholic Priest in the Twenty first Century is able to match the exploits of the late Mother Teresa? Notable,diligent,zealous and faithful female priests do abound,who are competent to be made Bishops.There is neither Jew nor Greek,there is neither bond nor free,there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:28-29). In the words of the Apostle Peter we read: ”But you are a chosen generation,a royal priesthood,a holy nation,a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praise of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Which in time past were not a people,but are now the people of God:which had not obtained mercy,but now have obtained mercy.”(1 Peter 2:9-10); Earlier he described us as living stones, spiritual house and holy priesthood(1Peter 2:5). Jesus Christ,the chief cornerstone,elect and precious, is the owner of the Church. He never underrated women;neither should the Church do so this Century or ever again. Those who have ears should listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to the entire Church and not only the Church of England!

CAN HOMOSEXUALITY BE HEALED BY GOD? -Part 3

Yes.God can heal homosexuality now. In the previous posts in this series, we asserted that God is not only able to heal homosexuality in this world today, he is willing and eager to do so. Jesus said that those who are whole have no need of a physician. Conversely, it is the sick who need the physician.If a person sick of migraine goes to see the doctor and complains of belly ache, he only deceives himself and exposes himself to wrong medication or treatment! Such a person would have only himself to blame at the end of the day. In this 21st Century world, the multitude makes a lot of noise.Each person needs to be focussed and be sure of his or her goal or destination.Following the multitude to do wrong does not make such actions right in any way. Truth is very powerful, because it is full of light which cannot be dimmed by any degree of darkness such as wilful disobedience to God.Truth is also very strong,firm and constant.No matter how much truth is resisted or suppressed, it remains constant and unchanging!No government,group of individuals or negative pressure groups is able to succeed in suppressing or eliminating truth,because truth is of God.Human violations of the natural order in any form creates chaos and havoc to happy human existence. God Almighty,Maker of Heaven and Earth would not twist the hands or minds of anyone to obey his truth.However,each person would reap the consequences of his or her actions.It is common knowledge that sexualy transmitted infections and deseases are relatively more common amongst male homosexuals than males in heterosexual relationships!The anus is described as the hole in your bottom through which solid waste leaves your body.That solid waste is called excrement,faeces or dung!This is true for all human beings of male and female sexes.The anus is not a sexual hole,but the last part and opening of the alimentary canal,which starts at the mouth(It is hoped that this bit serves as a good reminder).No male dog,goat,cat,lion,elephant,sheep,monkey or gorilla would insert its genital into the anus of another male of its own kind!This is not an attempt to win an argument,please.It is definite chronic confusion and self deception to indulge in homosexuality.It is not a natural order,but chaos.In all these glaring state of confusion,God understands where you or that friend of yours are.He understands where you are coming from and this same God offers solution and victory.Some,since their formative years,had not enjoyed the blessing of a caring and loving father or mother.Sadly enough,some persons have not met their biological parents.This has created a vacuum in the lives of many,craving to be filled.The fact that you chose to find fulfilment in another person,as a substitute for your missing dad or mum is known to God.The fact that your relationship became so bent or skewed into sexual expression with a person of the same sex as you,is well known to God.The physical acts of masturbations and indecent massages plus insertions of abnormal objects into female genitals by lesbians are well known to God.All these inappropriate sexual inclinations and orientations are not hidden from God and he is not pleased with them!Though God knows all about you,he is willing to help you as soon as you ask for his help!The anger,protest,frustrations,fear,disappointment,sorrow and anxiety which many are passing through as a result of distorted sexual orientation is well known to God Almighty,our Maker.God has made a way of escape for you into victory.That shall be your experience as you call upon the name of Jesus Christ,Saviour of all human beings! Call upon Jesus now; just as you are and where you are. Burdens,sorrows,fears,anxieties and captivating habits are lifted,sorted out or broken in the life of whosoever comes to Jesus. We are praying for you.God bless you.

CAN HOMOSEXUALITY BE HEALED BY GOD? Part 2

Last month we posted the first part in a series of articles on the now sensitive topic of homosexuality.We assert that homosexuality is definitely a deviation from the normal, natural and old tradition of heterosexuality,as originally made by God Almighty.We uphold the conviction that God is willing, ready and able to heal and set free all those in any degree of homosexual inclination or relationship.We also know that no homosexual habit is inheritable!A homosexual man or lesbian lady cannot transmit his or her practice or behaviour through natural or biological inheritance.Traits or characteristics can only be transmitted when a man and a woman come together for procreation in a normal heterosexual relationship.Come to think of the new practice of making babies via surrogate mothers or fathers.It is self-deception that a rich and influential lady who chooses to be a lesbian goes to have babies via In-vitro Fertilization(IVF),making use of the sperm cells of a man. Similarly a rich man who elects to have babies by having his sperm cells introduced via IVF,into a willing surrogate mother,who donates her ovum and who after a nine month pregnancy plus a short period of maternal care, releases her baby to a homosexual male couple? In other procedures,sex cells from separate male and female persons have been brought together with the resultant zygote introduced into the womb of a surrogate mother, who allows her womb to be used for the development of the foetus.That has been used to help heterosexual couples who have problems with pregnancies. It is not right for homosexual couples to adopt this method. It is the peak of utter ridicule and self-deception! Why not stick to their chosen form of sexual orientation. If later on they choose to have babies, then they should repent and reject homosexuality entirely!They should not try to eat their cakes and have them at the same time! Modern society may legalize various forms of absurdities, but legalism or modernity cannot successfully naturalize all those deceptions outlined above, which run contrary to the plan and counsel of God Almighty, our Maker! Anatomical and physiological abnormalities are not the works of nature, but the effects of the stubborn, defiant manipulations of nature my human beings, under the guise of experimentations and some via geniune mistakes of drug abuses! Incomplete cleavages during gestation, have been known to produce physical deformities.There is only one human calamity and that calamity is sin! The practice and experience of sin have made human kind live in rebellion to God our Maker. This negative stance has brought many problems to human society today. We talk of global warming, green house effects, pollutions of various kinds, and the race for nuclear power. All these are on-going in the midst of glaring poverty in most parts of the world. There is the problem of deforestation and the massive ecological disasters in our world today. Many poor countries of the world have found their shores being inundated with poisonous industrial wastes from the developed countries.The distruption of the ecosystem in the poor nations eventually have a cyclic effect on the so-called perpetrators of these ecological crimes! Do these affect sexuality? Knowingly or otherwise, the long term effects of distruption of our ecosystems is capable of producing various traits in human beings who are less capable of mounting lasting resistance.Congenital deformities have been reported in few individuals. Some of these have been found to develop sexual deformities. There have been cases of siamese twins which have been separated with some aspects of corrective surgeries. There have been cases of other forms of corrective surgeries on the palate, ear, face, heart and some other parts of the human body. This is also true for domesticated animals.Certainly, not all of these have inheritable traits. It is our firm belief that none of all the forms of homosexual life syle is hereditary.We challenge anyone to prove otherwise!Human manipulations have created distortions about sexuality and sexual orientations in this 21st Century world. Dear friend, if you are willing and obedient,God is ready now to set you free from your present homosexual life style. Mark you,we do not condemn you. If you insist on your present life style,you would only have yourself to blame at the end. The whole counsel of God Almighty forbids homosexuality totally;no half measures.Anyone,group,community,society,civilization,generation,religion or government which condones homosexuality is working against God! (Deuteronomy 23:17;Leviticus 18:22; 20:13;Romans 1:18-32). It was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah; two great cities in earliest centuries,which practised homosexuality,for which God destroyed them! How then can you or your homosexual friend or family member be set free from the strong grip of the chronic problem? Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.Homosexuality is an anti-God life style.Therefore it is a sin.Adultery,lying,theft,pride,racial discrimination,tyranny and such like are all sins.It is no worse sin than other sins.God says: Look unto me,and be ye saved,all the ends of the earth:for I am God and there is none else Isaiah 45:22. God is angry at all sins.This same God loves all sinners.Jesus Christ said:For God did not send his Son into this world to condemn it,but that through him the world might be saved (John 3:17). Special prayers can be prayed for you if you are willing and ready today.Please, get in touch with us. We love you sincerely and think well about you and offer you the free life line through Jesus Christ now.Please do not resist your Maker.Pray in your own words,or pray this simple prayer:O God,I come to you now in the name of Jesus Christ,who died on the cross as a substitute for me.I confess my sins to you,though you know them all.I renounce my wrong sexual orietation and lifestyle.I renounce homosexuality and I call on you Jesus Christ to save me.I believe you died for my sins and rose again the third day.Come into my life now and be my Lord.I confess you are my Lord.Thank you Jesus. A change has started in your life.Get a Bible if you do not have one already.Start to read it from the gospel as written by Matthew, Mark,Luke and John. Please,get in touch with us for additional support and encouragement. We shall also link you up with the nearest Christ-centered church to you.

CAN HOMOSEXUALITY BE HEALED BY GOD?- PART 1

Yes.Homosexuality can be healed by God because it is a chronic problem facing some people in our world today.God Almighty loves every man and woman,boy and girl,in this world, throughout every generation!He, as Maker, has made provision for all to enjoy in this world, as human beings treat their fellow human beings as they would wish to be treated- in reciprocal love,peace and harmony!A hungry person needs food. A thirsty person needs drink;or better still needs water,which is the best drink.A sad and sorrowful person needs comfort and encouragement.A sick person needs medicine;or better still,needs to see the doctor most suitable for his or her condition.A naked person needs clothing.A homeless person,who lives rough,needs good shelter and acceptance.The fearful person needs assurance and courage.The drug addict needs counsel, deliverance,healing,courage,faith and hope.The lonely person needs healthy and normal relationship.The Twenty-first Century world needs to listen to God,the MANUFACTURER,Maker of Heaven,Earth and the whole Universe.God the ALMIGHTY,made all things in this universe, perfectly and in order. He made human beings perfectly as the greatest of his creation. He made human beings male and female.He empowered human beings with the ability to respond to the spiritual, physical and intellectual realms.We were also given the ability to produce offsprings like us.Human beings were also given the liberty to make choices.God Almighty did not create us as robots,but as intelligent,creative beings!However, this liberty was abused by our first forebears(Adam- the first man and Eve- the first woman),through the manipulative,deceptive actions of Satan,one of the most powerful and beautiful created angelic beings made by God.Satan had plotted to overthrow God and raise rebellious beings like himself to oppose God and his sovereignty!(Please,read more about this in our posts of March 1,2012 titled’Grace Upon Grace:All-sufficient Grace’). Also read our post of March 18 2012 titled: ‘This World System and Saving Faith’ Our world today,more than ever before,needs to repent and run back to God!A confused person needs to be sorted out by appropriate verbal counsel,spiritual,physical,psychological and physiological counsel or a combination of some or all of these treatments!NOTHING is too difficult for GOD!A person in need should go to the person who can best solve his or her problem or supply his or her need.If a man lacks something and refuses to go to the person or place where his need would be met,he would continue to suffer unduly and if he dies in his needy condition,he would only have himself to blame.In the begining,God made human beings perfectly as male and female.As a result of drug abuses over many generations,human bodies have been subjected to abnormal changes and manipulative modifications!Chromosomal aberrations have resulted in the manifestations of both physical and physiological abnormalities in nature,contrary to the original creation by God Almighty!The resultant development of genes due to mutations can therefore not be attributed to a normal way of life,comparable to the creation by God.When an individual exhibits certain unusual,subnormal,or abnormal traits,it should never be misconstrued as God-given traits or characteristics!There are inheritable as well as non-inheritable characteristics.The mere fact that any person,male or female develops unusual interest in another person of the same sex must never be misinterpreted as an indication of a gift or a condition created by God! God is not and can never be the author or maker of confusion!Some individuals are shy from early age and as a result of poor handling,they remain shut in or badly oriented with inability to relate properly to the opposite sex!There have been cases of persons who have been abused during development and as such reach a chronic condition of inferiority due to fear and less physical ability to challenge their bullies or oppressors!Due to negative,unproductive,repetitive sexual abuses,such people settle in or resign to a life-time of unnatural sexuality!In some cases,men or women who have been jilted or maltreated by friends or intended marital partners in heterosexual relationships in the past resort to second-rate status of unnatural sexuality.Yet other cases exist of individuals,who out of curiosity,decide to experiment with homosexuality and thus get hooked on!It may surprise you, friend, that other cases exist who out of deliberate,conscious disobedience,adopt a homosexual life style.Some others have got into it through frustration,arising from parental or family abuses.This message is coming to you by the mercies of God and never intended to condemn you if at all you are already in a homosexual relationship.You might have been the victim of inflential persons in society who used their positions and wealth to lure you into homosexuality;It is not too late to decide to be set free today!Perhaps in your own case,you got into homosexuality gradually through the substitution of negative alternatives to normal sexual orientation:Alternatives such as gradual indulgence in pornography.There are also negative alternatives such as masturbations.Whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be delivered.God is able to change your negative sexual orientation into HIS NORMAL POSITIVE CREATIVE TYPE! You only need to ask for his help.Jesus said that God loves the world so much as to give his only begotten Son that whosoever believes on him should not perish,but have everlasting life.God did not send his Son into this world to condemn it,but to save it through his Son(John 3:16-17)God loves us all,but hates our sins in any form.Sin kills,but JESUS CHRIST Saves completely.For the wages of sin is death,but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ,our Lord (Romans6:23).ALL GOVERNMENTS AND THOSE IN POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY SHOULD STOP TOYING WITH THE ESTABLISHED COUNSEL OF GOD.The Marriage Institution should not be tampered with;otherwise,God would deal appropriately with all who disobey.The sanctity of marriage as being between ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN should be upheld!Do not allow any government,politician or religious leader to mislead you and give you false sense of security in continued disobedience to God! We love you by the grace of God.Jesus does not condemn you;neither do we condemn you.Jesus has come not only for the whole world,but in particular for you personally.Please,surrender your life to God through Jesus.Invite Jesus Christ into your life.When you do so he would come to you and the transformation would be evident. We are here as helpers of your joy. God knows about the tense condition of your mind and life. He knows all about your struggles.JESUS HEALS BROKEN HEARTS AND MINDS.Jesus invites you to come.We bring his message of love to you through this medium. Please,get in touch with us at AgapeFocus.Inform your friends too.God bless you.

ARROGANT, INTRANSIGENT, TYRANNICAL REGIMES

Undoubtedly, the Syrian regime has become increasingly,offensively and tyrannically notorious.The Syrian Government has joined the cruel band of reckless regimes! The glaring intransigence of the government in the face of global appeals, leaves very much to be desired. The United Nations should no longer watch the Syrian regime as the savage killings continue! The Syrian regime is no longer fit for purpose because it has chosen to massacre its own citizens. Peace initiatives have failed. Cease fire has not been properly observed. The latest savagery in Houla should provoke UN Decisive action. The observer status of UN Forces calls for urgent review.32 Children killed in cold blood among a minimum of 90! Shedding of innocent blood is the final straw. Innocent blood cry out aloud for justice and judgment! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!This regime must go now!The United Nations Security Council should take appropriate action now in addition to sanctions! There is urgent need for the cessation of all hostilities. There should be urgent political reforms. President Bashar al-Assad must resign and go, because he is cruel, brutal and heartless!. Terrorists must be excluded. Civil War could be disastrous and must be avoided! May God have mercy on Syria.