ChristianView Network have now had opportunity to review the parenting manual which gave rise to the Human Rights Commission's 21 January 2016 attack on Joshua Generation Church.
The manual covers a range of parenting topics over forty three pages, of which four pages are on the topic of spanking. The first page on spanking lists the Bible verses advocating spanking children and summarises the lessons from each of these (e.g. Proverbs 22:15; 29:15; 13:24; 19:18; 23:13-14 and Hebrews 12:10-11). The remaining three pages on spanking are devoted mostly to explaining detailed precautions to spank in a manner that is non-abusive i.e. that does not cause physical, emotional or relational injury. For example, not to do so in an outburst of anger or frustration. The SAHRC charge that the manual could promote child abuse are absurd, since the lengthy precautions do the very opposite.
The section on spanking quotes 9 passages of scripture, and explains what each means. Scriptures are quoted and explained on just about every page. It is really just a Bible interpretation.
This then focuses on the question raised by the General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of whether the lawyers of the Human Rights Commission would like to interpret the Bible for the Church?
WHAT IS THE REAL ISSUE?
The issue here is not about spanking children. The problem is that in this instance and numerous others, the so-called Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has been interfering with religious freedom based on a misunderstanding of
their constitutional mandate. The Bill of Rights creates space for a broad spectrum of viewpoints and free association, while the current group of lawyers running the SAHRC would like to restrict that freedom only to views that agree with their very narrow interpretation of the Bill of Rights - and thus threaten the freedom of churches, journalists and political leaders. One of South Africas most popular journalists, Jon Qwelane, has been silenced since 2008, pending the outcome of a prolonged court battle in which the SAHRC have attempted to censor his opposition to same-sex
The SAHRC instruction for example for Joshua Generation Church to send their trainers and pastors involved in this course on a course to be re-educated with the opposite viewpoint (point 10.3), assumes we live in an authoritarian Stalinist type state. It is a violation of the right to freedom of belief and opinion and freedom of association. In fact, Joshua Generation church has no right to force their trainers and pastors to attend such a course - it is their own choice if they wish to do so or not. Rather what is needed is for the SAHRC to be purged of lawyers who misunderstand the Constitution.
REBUTTING INCORRECT MEDIA REPORTS
* Certain media reports claimed that the manual contained 4 pages on selecting the type of rod to be used. Actually only 36 words on this topic in a 43 page manual of total 17,500 words.
* A news report claimed that Joshua Generation was a 'sect'. This is incorrect, as they are a mainstream evangelical church; their interpretation of the Bible verses on spanking is mainstream Bible teaching, and their right to teach their views on the subject is being supported by the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa and numerous other churches and organisations. The so-called Human Rights Commission is thus attacking the whole evangelical church and not just Joshua Generation.
* Please pray for us and for religious freedom in South Africa.
* Please consider donating towards ChristianView's campaign to defend your religious freedom and parental rights against the SAHRC. www.ChristianView.givengain.org