© November 4, 2017 | Schulter Etyang This week we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. On 31st October, 500 years ago, a German monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the All Saints Church. He also sent the theses with a letter to Albert of Brandenburg the Archbishop of Mainz. His one-act sparked religious, intellectual, political, and cultural change that completely altered the Church and the then world. What took place was earth-shattering, to say the least. The Catholic Church splintered, and the Protestant movement was formed with the after-effects still being felt to this day In his 95 theses, he argued that faith in Jesus alone and not selling of indulgences or good works was the only way to obtain pardon for sin (sola fide). He also argued for the sole reliance on scriptures (sola scriptura) as the foundation for the beliefs in the Church. Let me not get you tangled up in the weeds. Basically, his action was summed up in this – …
© October 18, 2018 | Schulter Etyang When Jenny and I celebrated our seventh-year anniversary, I wrote a blog on some lessons that we had learned through the years. You can read the blog post here. One of the lessons we shared was this – we are on the same team. In this lesson, I indicated how early on in our marriage, we were highly competitive – competitive that we demeaned the other, subtly or at other times openly. A simple game of squash would end up with angry outbursts and simmering tension that would brew for days. When a friend of ours read the post, she remarked that I was being a bit touchy about the competitiveness and that she liked to compete. In the conversation, she spoke of how she played simple games with her daughter and loved the competition. What I didn’t tell her is that for us, a simple game of squash would bring out the competitive nature in us, and the ensuing tension would simmer for days.
© October 16, 2018 | Schulter Etyang I think the founders of every major religion in the world, roll in their graves when they hear how their words are misconstrued by religious leaders. Every major religion in the world has had some form of their religion misinterpreted with brutal consequences. Within these religions are theologians, teachers, custodians of the traditions, etc. who have to constantly grapple with the threat posed by heretical interpretations and teachings of their faiths. At one stage in history, the Christian faith had to grapple with the Crusades. The Muslim faith is presently dealing with their own version of “the Crusades” namely ISIL/S. ISIL/S is the “Crusades” of the Muslim faith. Here’s the point – the Crusades and ISIL/S were formed out of misconstruing the words of the founders of their faiths, which led or has led to untold suffering to millions, even billions around the world.
© October 12, 2018 | Schulter Etyang Jesus, in the book of John, introduced us to this symbiotic relationship that he had with his Father. (John 5:17-47 NKJV) The Greek word pater, is the equivalent to the Hebrew word Abba, for father. Jesus was, of course, speaking in Aramaic, and he would have used Abba in reference to his Father. The Jews heard this phrase and instinctively knew he was making himself equal with God and that made them mad. Mad is an understatement. They made plans to kill him. Jesus, then, described this symbiotic relationship he had with his father. And in his long discourse, he made this shocking and improbable claim. John 5:25 (NKJV) Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
© October 5, 2018 | Schulter Etyang In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2 (NKJV) The Greek word that John used for the Word is logos. When John wrote these words, the Greeks believed in the logos. The Greeks defined logos as the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning. I will not go into detail in trying to explain how the logos evolved within Greek and Jewish philosophical thought. Needless to say, the simplest definition of logos is this – logos means reasoning or logic gathered together in the mind, and expressed in words, that gives our lives meaning. In our times, the Greek logos is ideas, principles, keys, steps, and how to’s.
© September 27, 2018 | Schulter Etyang In all of us is a Haman. Haman? Who is Haman? Haman in Jewish folklore is the man who plotted against the Jews, to destroy them. He hated the Jewish people and conjured a plan to have all of them destroyed. His real irk, however, was against Mordecai. Haman had been promoted by the king and had a seat above all princes. Whenever the king’s servant saw him they would bow down before him to show respect. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect. When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he became mad. And it’s at this point when he came up with a plan to destroy the Jews – a plan that was later sanctioned by the king. This same scene plays itself out later. Haman was invited to the palace to a banquet. He was the main guest. As he left the party, he saw Mordecai sitting at the palace gate, not standing up or trembling …
© September 24, 2018 | Schulter Etyang In South Africa, September 24th is Heritage Day – also known as Shaka’s Day or National Braai day. It’s a public holiday. On Heritage Day, we acknowledge and celebrate the ethnic, racial and cultural heritage of the diverse populace of our nation. The day has a feel-good factor about it. We don our different cultural attires, speak our languages, and many celebrate the day with a traditional meal. The different shades of South Africa come alive on this day.
© September 20, 2018 | Schulter Etyang Recently, I had the not so enviable and challenging task of trying to convince a Christian about God’s goodness. I tell you, this person was negative, cynical and bitter. Their words were incendiary and their emotions all over the place. Their kids are acting up and they are blaming everyone for their misery. Me trying to convince them that God is good and that God is fighting their corner didn’t end well. The accusation was thrown at me that I had not experienced what they are going through. The reason why I indicate this person is a Christian is the irony they embodied – they are of the faith that professes good news in a cynical world, and yet, they are as cynical as the world they live in. And as Jenny would tell you, I don’t back down from such fights. I take them on, sometimes, to the detriment of the situation or even relationship. I cannot stand Christians who are negative and cynical. Why? They confuse …
© September 14, 2018 | Schulter Etyang Whether you are a Christian or a non-Christian, in order for you to know and understand the Christian faith, you need to get somebody who is able to rightly divide the Bible and its contents for you. I cannot emphasize this point enough. It is crucial, even lifesaving, that you understand the Bible, to then properly apply its teachings. If the Bible is misunderstood, it can lead to untold suffering. Yes, it can. The Bible in the hands of a novice will become an Uzi submachine gun – a novice with trigger happy fingers, ready to shoot and kill at will. The Bible, on the other hand, in the hands of a gospel centered expert, will become a well spring of joy. When the Bible is properly understood, it can lead to unspeakable joy and delight.
© September 12, 2018| Schulter Etyang On the day of our wedding, Jenny and her bridesmaids, booked a chalet. The chalet was next to the chapel where our wedding ceremony took place. Jenny booked the chalet so that it could be easier for her to get ready and walk a short distance to the chapel. The next time I saw Jenny was when Robert, her eldest brother, walked her down the aisle. When I saw her, I was stunned. She was a different person. Who is this person, I asked? She had on an all white wedding gown. Her hair had been done well. She was adorned with costly jewelry. Her skin was radiant. The perfume she had on smelled like heaven. She was the most beautiful lady I had ever seen in my entire life. Not even the babes in Playboy magazine or FHM could match her beauty. She was exquisite. She was beautiful.