Author: Schulter Etyang

On grace and friendships. How the offer of friendship Jesus gives is way much better.

4 min read Open your voice memo app and ask a 21st-century man or woman to define who a friend is or what friendship is all about, and you will be inundated with many definitions. Make it personal and ask your friends what they think your friendship means to them, and the answers will be varied. Some answers might sound like these You are my friend because you make me feel special. You challenge me. You make me a better person. You inspire me. You’ve seen the worst in me and still stayed with me. You make me laugh. You are my normal when I go crazy. You are the person I can trust with my life. Notice the common refrain? Me! It’s all about the benefits that your friends get from you. It’s your friend basking in the sunlight and you are the sun. I’ve listened to countless sermons, talks, and read books that push this idea that you should only be in relationships that benefit you—cut off these bloodsuckers and ticks that suck from …

The shout of the King is among us

5 min read Numbers 22:12, 23:8-10, 20-24 (NLT) is a fascinating account in the history of the Jews as they travelled from Egypt to the Promised land of Canaan. At this stage in their course, they were at the plains of Moab, whose monarch was Balak. Balak and his subjects were so scared of the Jews that he solicited a witch or a sangoma (South Africa) or mchawi or mganga (Kenya) to curse the Jews. Apparently, he was so excellent at it that whoever he blessed got blessed and whoever he cursed got cursed. (22:6)  This story is fascinating in so many levels. First, God appears to this witch and briefs him on what to do. This is mind-boggling to religious people. How can a holy God talk to a sinner? And a sinner of this magnitude? This is the truth—God only has sinners to talk to. God talks with sinners. He did it with Cain soon after he had murdered his brother, Abel. (Genesis 4:9) God talks with sinners, even today. Christian, how do you …

Mummy, we see Jesus in you and we hear the gospel from you. Happy Mother’s Day

4 min read On, this Mother’s Day, I would like to pay special homage to mothers who have played a significant role in my life. At different stages of my life, I was nourished, disciplined, blessed and supported by mothers.  After the death of my father, my mother, Catherine and my sister, Evelyn, picked up the baton and raised 4 boys. It was tough. They made sacrifices, but they did so with grace. They prayed, guided, counselled, fed, educated, clothed, financed and fought with us and for us. Thank you for all you do, mummy and sis.  In the early days of ministry at Nakuru Christian Center, mothers, too many to mention, always prayed for and supported me. Special mention to Mama Dorah (Mrs. Lihanda). She loved my brothers and I like her own kids. When we were in primary school, Mrs. Kiveu, opened her home to us for after-school tuition. Mrs. Gicheru and her husband fed us. They owned a restaurant, and would often shop and drop goodies at our home. They were a blessing to …

Why the gospel is the missing piece in the fake miracles debacle in Africa

2 min read If you are a casual observer Africa’s spiritual landscape you won’t help but notice there is clamor for either religious governing bodies or local goverments to act and curb the spread of fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies. Such is the ongoing case here in South Africa with the CRL Commission, and in other parts of Africa. There is heated debate on both sides of the argument (proponents and opponents of legislation), with each side making justified points. Yes, church leaders are concerned about the spread of fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies, and are concerned about infringement of religious freedom. It’s both/and, and not either/or. I worry, however, the church’s response to fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies is anti-gospel. Here’s my point.

Are you a good Christian? Why you might need to rethink that term

5 min read Ever heard of this term ‘good Christian’? A term used to define good, intelligent and morally upright people. Sometimes used to mock Christians or even identity one Christian from another Christian—especially when non-Christians encounter Christians of dodgy character. It’s a term pervasively used that some believe it originated from the Christian scriptures. It’s one of those words like ‘Trinity’ used to explain the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is no such word in the Bible, however, we use the word to describe a relationship in words that fit the human experience. The same with the term good Christian.  If you read this post and are a Christian, I bet you think you are a good Christian—someone who is morally upright, good, honest, you faithfully obey the teachings of Jesus, you go to Church regularly, you tithe, you pay your taxes; you are faithful to your wife and kids; you obey the laws of your country; you are generous to the poor, the widow, orphan and immigrant, you pay your employees …

100% Black or White owned?

2 min read This week, a new 24-hour news channel went live on DSTV channel 405 here in South Africa. The company is being described as a 100% Black-owned channel. This description “100% Black-owned” caught my attention. It always does but not for the reasons you might think.  100% Black-owned? What does this mean?  Does it mean that it is only Black people who own and run this business? If so, will they attribute the success or failure of this business to the fact it is 100% Black-owned? If Black-owned, does this mean they won’t be able to consult other races for input in running the business? Can a qualified White, Indian or Colored presenter work for the business? When the business needs a capital injection (which it will need), can a White, Indian or Colored person make this investment? If this business accepts this capital injection, will that be construed as diverging from the core identity of the business? Can White people claim their business is 100% White-owned? Do White-owned businesses succeed or fail because they are 100% White-owned? Notice …

Paul F. M Zahl’s book, Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life – Part 5: On why the world and religious people have​ a hard time with grace

2 min read It is not only the world that detests grace. The Christian world also finds the absolution of grace to be a bitter pill. Every time you preach or embody grace, some Christians will accuse you of “antinomianism,” the idea that you are against the law. At the root of the finger pointing is the fear that if grace is given to a sinner, the sinner is going to take advantage of the amnesty and do a bad thing. This is the fear of antinomianism, the conviction that grace equals permissiveness. On this view, grace is against the law. Why do religious people have a hard time with grace? Why do religious people have a hard time with grace? People come to faith during times of trouble. Even if they grew up in church or had a religious experience as a teenager, they usually come to faith during a period of trouble. A specific problem in life leads them to question or to look at God in a new way. Sometimes it prompts …

Paul F. M Zahl’s book, Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life – Part 4: On original sin and imputation

1 min read Original sin is the idea that every woman and every man who has ever been born is infected in their DNA with a tendency to think the wrong and do the wrong. Original sin is the universal tendency in people to look out solely for themselves to such an extent that when they are on the defensive they become violent and libidinal.  Grace is listening to another person without bringing the conversation back to you. Original sin is listening to the other and compulsively, unconsciously bringing it back to you. You can’t help yourself. Perhaps you have never even thought about it this way. This taking turns talking is an automatic-pilot response. The fact that it is unconscious makes it a prime example of original sin.

Paul F. M Zahl’s book, Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life – Part 3: On Justification and Substitutionary atonement

5 min read …human beings need to be justified, which means that human beings need to live a non-accused life. They need to have the certainty that before God they are innocent.  By raising this perfectly innocent man, whom we understand to be the perfect expression of God, and by putting that man between us and our irrefutable accusation, God “justifies” us. Thus Jesus our Lord … was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25) What this theology of everyday life seeks to emphasize is the grace of the first Easter, by which our helpless need as pathetic, predatory human beings is given a remedy. Grace justification preaches! It preaches to the abandoned and those who pant for mercy. It preaches to criminals and perpetrators. It preaches to victims and to women. It preaches to children and to the oppressed pressed poor. It preaches to oppressors and abusers. It preaches to people caught in the act. It is thoroughly non-partisan, non-sectarian, and nonethnic. It tears down denial. …

Paul F. M Zahl’s, Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life – Part 2: On grace and the love of God

3 min 25 sec read What is grace? Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. It is being loved when you are the opposite of loveable. The cliche definition of grace is “unconditional love.” Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold. Grace is one-way love.