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Faithful Witness July 2024

The History of Evangelical Christian Network

The ECN (Evangelical Christian Network) began from a group of faithful friends concerned about global changes undermining the Christian faith. In September 2019, spiritual leaders from across the country gathered in Bloemfontein to reflect and pray… read more

Faithful Witness

Welcome to Faithful Witness, your source for evangelical truth and apologetical wisdom. In a world where the message of Christ is increasingly diluted by liberal and progressive theological trends, Faithful Witness stands firm in its commitment to the unchanging truths of the Bible. Our mission is to equip believers with sound theology, empower them with robust defenses of the faith, and encourage them to stay true to the message of the gospel… read more

A Prophetic Call

We believe that three banners need to be raised. The first calls upon the church to seek the Lord’s face for revival. The second urges the church to be more effective in reaching a lost world for Christ, especially within the context of contemporary cultural challenges. The third banner aims to facilitate encouragement and unity through networking. In times like these, when the foundations are overturned and destroyed, the remnant is called to respond to the urgent question: “What can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3 NKJV)… read more

A moment of soft hearts

In September 2023 at our annual conference …
We sensed the depth of need and the urgency to again wait upon the Lord in prayer.
These were moments when God filled hearts with his Spirit, softened hearts in contrition, moulded minds with His corrective Word. A glory-filled moment in time! .. read more

Election Results 2024 South Africa

As the new parliament convenes in South Africa following the May 2024 elections, it is an opportune moment to reflect on the election results and the influence of the Christian vote. This reflection is particularly pertinent for evangelical Christians who are concerned about the principles that should guide their voting decisions and the potential impact of their collective votes… read more

Strife to Space

Chris van Wyk

With David in Psalm 11:3 many churches worldwide ask: “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

This is because churches worldwide are experiencing conflict over the enduring authority of the Bible for our lives. There are many who are questioning the abiding authority of the Bible in ethical issues, especially around marriage and sexuality.

Believers are confronted with the questions:

  • Can Jesus’ teaching that marriage is only between one man and one woman still be upheld (cf. Matthew 19:1-12; Genesis 1:27; 2:24)?
  • Can Paul’s teaching that same-sex relationships be rejected still be upheld (Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9-11; 1 Tim 1:8-11)?

Upholding the authority of the Bible is being opposed by relativizing biblical truth in these ethical matters. Some say yes, these teachings about marriage and sexuality should be upheld because they are universal and absolute truths, and they remain a vital foundation of the Christian faith, never to be destroyed. Others say, no! This can no longer be sustained, and they change or reject the meaning of the texts and thereby relativize the authority of the Bible for our lives. They view these ethical issues as non-foundational.

Obviously these views directly oppose one another, so that those who accept the authority of the Bible on marriage and sexuality as absolute, are in conflict with those who relativize the Bible message about it.

Looking at the broader picture of Christianity in the world, there are different ways by which this conflict is managed. Some choose a benevolent way of dividing amicably into separate institutions. like Presbyterians, Methodists and Anglicans have done in the US. Others choose to accommodate and make room for the different views, a choice mainly favored by leaders on the relativizing side. Believers who maintain the Bible’s authority as absolute on marriage and sexuality, find such a choice compromising, because it relativizes the absolute content of the Bible. Accommodation invariably turns to intimidation and confrontation.

In the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, for example, individuals upholding the authority of the Bible on these matters, are allowed to leave the church, but if a congregation seeks to leave, they are often restrained by the threat of legal action regarding the status and assets of the local church.

The problem goes deeper than merely the accommodation of ethical differences. Inevitably it also involves dogmatic differences, like relativizing what the Bible teaches about the person of God or Christ, the Son. 2

A South African theologian has argued against “overburdening” the historic Jesus with divinity. His church took notice of this deviation from their stated confessions, but chose not to act against him.

Another SA theologian wrote publicly that God in Christ chooses against all violence, so to him this implies that all the texts in the Bible that connect God with violence are relativized by Christ on the cross, and thus all people are now recognized as God’s property and his chosen ones. Likewise large parts of the Bible, both OT and NT, are relativized. Yet Jesus Christ in his prophetic speech states emphatically that sinners will receive eternal punishment in hell, and those who do the will of God, eternal life (Matthew 25:46). The historic Jesus is not only the Savior, but also the Judge.

The question now remains: What are congregations to do, being discouraged by the conflicting ethical debate, and in addition having the core of their confession about God and Christ being relativized? Should we lay complaints to the ecclesiastical bodies that oversee these theologians? Should we have more fruitless debates at synods? More letters of objection?

Or is a new approach needed?