Who has not heard of husbands who have demanded complete, unquestioned, and cruel dominance over their wives, wasting no time in quoting Ephesians 5:22-24, which states, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let wives be to their own husbands in everything”?
Similarly, how many men and women of God have we heard frightening those who seek to rebuke them by swiftly making reference to the numerous passages to the effect that “touch not the anointed of God”?
However, for the people of Zimbabwe – who have had to endure untold, and seemingly unending, murderous brutality, cold-hearted repression, and uncontrolled corruption at the highest echelons of power for decades – those who have ridden roughshod over their own citizens, and their willing allies in the Christian church, have never cease reminding everyone that Romans 13;1,2 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
“Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves”.
Indeed, all those are authentic biblical scriptures, which should be obeyed by all who profess to be followers of Christ Jesus, as that is the cardinal rule of any relationship and fellowship with Him.
Nonetheless, the main weakness, or even downright disobedience, of us as Christians, is that, most of us seldom take the time to study (and by study, I mean exactly that, as there is a fundamental difference between reading and studying) – as we lamely wait for our church leaders to show us which verses to read, and then wait for them to interpret these to us.
Such is the most foolish any Christian can ever get – since even the Bible commended the people of Berea, who had listened to Paul and Silas preach, but would diligently “search the Scriptures daily to find out if these things were so” (Acts 17:11) – as we are expected to understand all of scripture on our own, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth, and not be subjected solely to the limitations of church leaders and their own limited knowledge.
Failure to do so, only opens us up to the myriad of deliberate misinterpretation by those who have their own ulterior motives, or the ignorance of others – as had already been witnessed with regards to the examples I provided at the beginning of this discourse.
That is why this same Bible was so easily bastardized in carrying out some of the darkest and most evil acts of cruelty exercised by human beings on other human beings – for instance, slavery and colonization – such that, today, it is perfectly understandable why so many people in countries, especially in Africa, distrust Christians, the church, and the Scriptures.
No wonder, we so frequently hear the statement, “They (slave traders and colonizers) came holding the Bible in one hand, and the gun, in the other” – as such, verses as the previously quoted Romans 13, were perverted to maintain a repressive and brutal grip over the oppressed people, with them being urged not to complain, or even revolt, because that would invite the wrath of God.
Anything in the Holy Scriptures has to be understood in their proper meaning – and thus, words such as ‘subject’ and ‘submit’ do not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that one can not speak out, or stand up, against any form of injustice committed by those in power.
For example, a wife is commanded by the Bible to ‘submit to her husband’, as the church is ‘subject to Christ’ – therefore, does it mean that the wife should worship their husbands as gods, as that is the relationship between the church and Christ?
Does it mean that, when she is being battered, violated, and even tortured by her own husband, she should not express her displeasure and outrage, but merely keep quiet? Is that what those church leaders – who also instruct oppressed people not to speak out against state brutality – teach the married women in their churches?
The answer should be a huge NO. Besides the husband also being commanded to love her wife, as Christ loved the church, that He gave His own life for it – meaning that such abuse should not even take place – the words, ‘submit’, and ‘subject’, demand that there be ‘respect’ for the one in authority, but certainly does not mean that, when they abuse that authority, one can not raise their dissatisfaction.
Most of us, who have bravely stood up, and spoken out, against the misgovernance, corruption, and brutality by the Zimbabwe government, have not removed ourselves from being ‘submissive’ and ‘subject’ to those in authority – as with all my articles, I try my utmost best not to spew personal vitriol at the president, I respect the country’s laws and have always urged people to use legal means to express their outrage (such that, despite being a long-time vocal critic of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe era, I was one of those who immediately voiced disapproval at his clearly unconstitutional ouster from office).
Therefore, anyone – most particularly, church leaders – who turn a blind eye, or even endorse, an ungodly brutal, repressive, and corrupt regime (hiding behind the Bible), are themselves complicit to evil, and effectively sold their souls to the devil – as, Jehovah God expects us, as the light of the world, to expose the ‘dark forces’ that are reneging and violating their responsibilities to protect and bless all those that God has entrusted them to lead.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263733399640 / +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured