Carte Blanche interviews church after biased media report on spanking probe
By Andre Viljoen on October 3, 2013 11:51 pm
Derek Watts (left), co-anchor of Carte Blanche and Andrew Selley, Senior Pastor of Joshua Generation Church (JGC), will feature in M.Net’s Carte Blanche debate on the spanking issue at 7pm on Sunday (October 6). The two met under surprising circumstances days before the Carte Blanche team visited JGC.
Watts up with ‘Godincidence’ on plane?
A “damaging” and inaccurate Sunday Times report about the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) investigation of his church over its corporal punishment doctrine prompted Carte Blanche to request an interview with him, said Joshua Generation Church (JGC) Senior Pastor, Andrew Selley.
He said he had been in America for two days, after leading a pastors’ conference in the United Kingdom, when he got the telephone request from the Carte Blanche investigative current affairs TV programme team. JGC had been working hard to defend its name and the world’s perception of Christ and his Church following the biased newspaper report and so he decided to fly back to South Africa for the interview and back to the US two days later to continue his work with a church there.
There was a big surprise for him on the flight to South Africa. “Flying home for the interview I ended up sitting next to Derek Watts [co-anchor of Carte Blanche] on the plane and got a chance for him to see me and chat before the interview. We both were amazed at the “coincidence”, but I was seeing God’s hand giving us favour,” said Selley.
Prior to interviewing , JGC, the Carte Blanche team met with Adriaan and Hannah Mostert, the couple who lodged a complaint against JGC with the SAHRC, said Selley. He said the Mosterts have stated on the SA Secular Humanists and Atheists Facebook page:”I know our numbers are limited, but we do have laws that are on our side, that is what we can use, and the human rights as our vehicle to drive our rights forward to block their [JGC] backward ways.”
“Apparently they [the Mosterts] made some outrageous statements about us to Carte Blanche, which we were able to clarify,” said Selley. He said the team from Carte Blanche arrived on Sunday to film and were ‘blown away’ by the church — it was nothing like they expected. Derek Watts kept saying over and over how amazing the church was and mentioned that if he went to church this would be the kind of church would join”.
He said: “God’s presence was incredible in worship, and the sense of family tangible. We had run two holiday clubs — one in Sunningdale, and the other in Khayalitsha (for our over 300 orphans and underprivileged children). By coincidence there was so much feedback about this from those involved, as well as amazing testimonies of marriages being restored through a recent marriage course we held. The kids did a dance to begin worship and the Carte Blanche camera crew got all of it on film.
“They had planned to film only a few minutes of the meeting, but ended up filming the church for over an hour! My interview went very well and I felt God’s nearness as Derek Watts began grilling me with the allegations made against us, and on my thoughts. God gave me the answers and for over an hour they flowed easily and well. Our feeling is that if Carte Blanche is honest and unbiased the footage should show us as good reasonable Christian people, who love our kids.I was able to give multiple strong arguments to show the reasonableness of our stance on spanking and also religious freedom in SA.”
Selley said their interview lasted more than an hour but will probably be cut to around 10 minutes of the Carte Blanche programme on Sunday night (October 6) that will be devoted to the spanking issue. He said there was therefore a risk that “they could twist the interview very much, but we are hoping and praying that they will show the truth”.
He said that after leaving JGC the Carte Blanche team left to interview the Anglican Archbishop, Thabo Makgoba, who is anti-spanking and against a literal interpretation of the Bible on ‘sparing the rod and spoiling the child’.
“So again the church will seem confused and divided — the spiritual implications being that a house divided will not stand (Matthew 12:25)! Positively though- our support from other parts of the Christian church has now grown to leaders representing 8.9 million Christians. Also every religion (except Hindus) has come out ‘pro-spanking’, and all (including Hindus) have said they see this [the SAHRC investigation] as an attack upon religious freedom and want the State to back off! “
He said it seems that the outcry by much of the Christian church in response to JGC’s call for a united stand against attacks on religious freedom have led to a temporary reprieve as News 24 has reported that the ANC says it will not drive the anti-spanking Bill through until after the election.
He said the SAHRC has not yet responded to JGC’s submission to them on September 17, in response to their probe.
He urged churches to “hold our precious unity together in these matters” and appealed to churches who have not yet joined the united stand against the State attack on religious freedom, to do so.
“We remind churches to sign the freedom charter [Charter for Religious Rights and Freedoms] and also to send notice that they have done so to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also letters of support of us are still rolling in, so keep them coming please.”
Selley said he believed the Church’s response to attacks on it are critical in this season. ”While praying recently I had a very powerful God moment where I was taken into a vision of heaven, where I saw a heavenly council discussing what Heaven would do with the Church in SA( much like in 1 Kings 22:19-22 & Job 1). I saw different angelic beings in a court type setting discussing before God what heaven’s response should be, with God being silent — waiting to act depending on how the church in SA would act.
“I had a distinct impression that this is a pivotal moment for the church in SA, and that our actions in this next season will cause heaven to act for us, or against us (like in Revelation 2:16 where Jesus warned he would fight against His own people if they did not act properly). The Spirit reminded me of 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God said ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
“Heaven will respond to how we respond right now, and my sincere prayer is that we will take heed of the urgency of this moment and repent of our compromise, lukewarmness and lack of unity-standing together for Christ!
“I have a sense that somehow SA is key to Christianity in the West and with laws being passed almost weekly against Christianity in Europe, USA and SA — that it is possible for us to turn the tide here, and begin to drive back evil around the world — but we must respond properly, or we will be judged(1 Peter 4:17) most severely, as we did not heed God’s will and word.”
Selley said he was concerned by reports that the ANC hopes to drive the “Gender Equality Bill” through Parliament before the elections.
“Though well meaning this Bill (as I understand it) clearly states that religion (amongst other things) has held back women from holding key leadership positions. The implementation of the Bill in SA for the church, would be that the church would no longer be able to teach male headship in the family, as well as the State could, by law, demand that every church has a 50% representation of women in their senior leadership/eldership.
“While scripture commands men to actually lay down their lives and honour women above themselves in the leadership that God has given them, this Bill would demand that the church changes the teachings of scripture regarding the roles of males and females within the church/family communities and those who do not comply could face 5 years in prison.
“Unfortunately this too is another controversial subject today(which will undoubtedly divide the church further), but the ramifications of this Bill being passed would outlaw a large percentage of the church’s understanding of scripture in SA. We will need to rally again on this subject and while recognising that women have been unfairly marginalised in the public workforce, and that it is good for ladies to be paid what they are worth, we need the State to make a concession for religious communities to act according to their own central scriptural beliefs.Thus it will be another attack upon religious freedom in SA if we do not act quickly.”