How a Wedding Sermon got Adulterated by Bishop …

Have you ever wondered why Jesus never got married? I mean, we know he was fully God; but if he was also fully man, why did he not set a practical example for us of this most sacred human relationship? Was it because he knew he was going to die young and didn’t want to put a wife and children through anxiety and grief?

We need not speculate. Have you not read the Scriptures? He himself said in John 6:38,

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

So there you have it: our Lord knew the Father’s will perfectly, and his perfect obedience included not getting married. It was, simply put, not the Father’s will for him.

But what does this imply? Is marriage somewhat diminished by it’s exclusion from God’s will for his perfect Son? Absolutely not. On the contrary, this same Jesus, whilst still doing his Father’s will, placed his stamp of approval on marriage by performing his first miracle at a wedding. Much in the same way that an American president would never attend—much less sponsor—an Al Qaeda luncheon, Jesus would not have debuted his public ministry by turning water into wine at that wedding in Cana of Galilee, if he frowned upon it.

Okay, I suspect that by now you must be wondering, “What does all this have to do with a bishop? I came here to read about the bishop!”

Well, as it turns out, I attended a friend’s wedding about a week ago. It was in all respects a joyous occassion, full of celebration and song and dance and food and dapperly dressed guests, along with everything else that is typical of Kenyan weddings. However, the most striking thing for me was the sermon. A little known pastor, from a little known church in Donholm, did an exposition of 2 Timothy 2:8 in a message entitled “Remember Jesus Christ.”

In a nutshell, he began by explaining what the Bible means when it instructs us to remember: using the example of Genesis 8:1 which says “God remembered Noah”, he elaborated that it’s not that God had forgotten Noah at all, but rather that God now acted. Hence, if we are to remember Christ, it’s not merely a mental remembrance we’re called to, but an acting upon our recollected knowledge of all that Christ is and all that Christ says. He then went ahead to outline exactly why we ought to remember Christ, warning us of ways we can actually forget Christ, then he finally gave Biblically practical ways to remember Christ. How pertinent, not just to the newly wedded couple, but to everyone in attendance!

Then … enter bishop. Bishop Mark Kariuki of Deliverance Church, to be precise.

I won’t dwell on the boisterous applause that welcomed him to the front, nor on his preceding introduction by a subordinate pastor as “daddy” of that church. No. What really had me squirming in my seat and trying really really hard not to visibly shake my head in consternation, were the things he said to the couple. To be honest, I am struggling even now to not be unfairly scathing, so I plead with you to be a Berean and just allow me to present bishop’s statements. See for yourself whether they measure up against the trustworthy scales of Scripture.

1. “This is a new family, therefore it is a new beginning. Which means that there are no more generational curses from now on.”

What the heck!!! Like … what the actual heck, man!!!

Before we even look at God’s word, just think about it … What sort of colossal, brazen insult is this to the parents of the couple?! Is bishop out of his mind?! He’s essentially saying nyinyi mko na laana tu mpaka imebidi watoto wenu waoane ndio tukomeshe hizo laana tupate mwanzo mpya. My goodness! Such nonsense!

You see, the whole concept of deliverance churches is based on a pernicious lie: the lie that one can be a Christian, and at the same time not be fully “delivered” from so-called generational curses, demons, Satan’s power in general, and a whole host of other voodoo stuff (there are various flavors to pick from, depending on the preacher): You’re poor because you are bound; your children are failing exams because of bondage; you can’t quit porn because you have a demon; you haven’t found a spouse because in your family there is a spirit of divorce and prostitution, which is why all your aunts are either divorced or promiscuous; and so on and so forth.

I’ll say it again, that is a massive lie.

I won’t speak for unbelievers here, because I know the Bible tells us in 1 John 5:19 that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” But do you know what the beloved Apostle John continues to say in verse 20?

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Did you catch that? The whole world is in the power of the evil one, but we (referring to all who are born again believers) are from God (v20) and are now in his Son Jesus Christ! Christian, you are in Christ! What fellowship has light with darkness? How can you be in Christ and allow someone to tell you that you may also have an evil spirit indwelling you? How can you be in the one to whom all authority was given (Matt 28:18) … how can you be in him … and yet believe that somehow the devil still claims a stake over some area of your life and that you have to be delivered by some pastor or prophet or bishop to be fully free? Run from such false teachings!

Look, when Jesus said on the cross, “it is finished,” it really was finished.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

— Galatians 3:13-14

and …

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

— Hebrews 2:14-15

I hope you’re seeing this for yourself. Through his death, Christ on the cross not only destroyed the devil, but also delivered us. The deliverance that we pray for in the Lord’s prayer is for the continued sustenance against our enemy, but it is with regards to temptation, and is based upon the already accomplished deliverance of our souls not just from sin and death, but from God’s wrath itself.

Fellow Christian, you are not only free and delivered in Christ … Hear what wonderful things God says to you in Ephesians 2:1:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, …

Every spiritual blessing! Past tense! “Has blessed us …” Do you really believe that?

Yes, you will struggle with sin, and yes, you will not be perfect until Christ returns and gives you a new body. But again, this is not surprising at all because the Bible tells us to expect it (Read Romans 7). It does not mean that you are under any curse, or under demonic influence, or under a spell of witchcraft, or in some sort of spiritual bondage. If you look discerningly enough, you’ll find that usually, those who spread this convoluted message offer you a clever way out of your superstitious spiritual misery: pay your tithes, and give prophetic offerings, and sow seeds, and bless the “men of God” so you can be released and delivered. I can understand a recently converted Christian being ignorant of the truth for a short while, but an entire denomination full of bishops and pastors that have propagated this twisted teaching for decades are a vexation to the true believer’s spirit and a gross embarrassment to the church of Christ and her head, who died to set her free.

NB: By the way, if you are wondering whether or not you have the Holy Spirit, I’d like to reassure you that every true Christian has the Holy Spirit, whether or not they “speak in tongues.”

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
Romans 8:9

Such dangerous grounds these self-appointed apostles and prophets and bishops and pastors tread when they teach that your Christian body, the very temple of the Holy Spirit, can be the house of demons—which only they can administer deliverance from.

2. “Ukiona vyaelea, jua vimeundwa. Kwa hivyo, unda (mold) your spouse into the husband/wife of your dreams!”

Now, when a bishop has been speaking for more than five minutes and they’ve reached the point of quoting Wahenga, yet there hasn’t been a single Biblical reference thus far, it’s “Houston … we have a problem!”

Surely guys, let’s just be real: do you even trust your own dreams? How fickle and self-centered is that? Seriously. This couple is going into an all-consuming and all-encompassing lifelong commitment, and your precious advise to them is that they should now try and carve one another into the image of the idols of their fantasies?

Isn’t this stuff making you angry?! How messed up is this, man?!

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?

— Jeremiah 17:9

That’s the same heart whose dreams you want to use as the template for unda-ing your wife? Good luck with that!

See, the Bible never tells us to be the direct agent of change, whether to a spouse or to other brothers and sisters in Christ; that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. Ours is to pray, remind one another of the gospel and of the truths of God’s word, and to lead by example (with the exception of both parental and church discipline). In fact, your focus should be on removing the log in your own eye rather than finding the specks in others so you can remove them. God’s instructions to husbands, are God’s instructions to husbands; same thing with wives. When God speaks, he’s concerned about you and who you should be, rather than her and what you should make her to be. Just who do you think you are?

God’s idea of marriage should be your highest goal, not “the husband/wife of your dreams”! I may not be married yet, but I don’t need to be married to know that that’s not only bad advice, but unbiblical and hence ungodly advice.

3. “I give you this gift, a Bible. This is the hammer which you will use to unda the husband/wife of your dreams.”

Let me just collect myself for a moment … This is too much …

Here, dear friends, is a classic example of the holy, precious, authoritative word of God being disrespectfully used as a mere means to an end.

You want your unregenerate congregation to give more? Find a verse you can use. You want to motivate a bunch of hell-bound KCSE students to pass their exams? Find a chapter you can use. You want to unda your wife into the image of your own dreams? Take this Bible, you can use!

The Spirit who inspired the Scriptures cannot smile upon such a low view of the word of God. Here’s what Isaiah 66:2b says:

But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

We are to hold God’s word in the highest esteem and submit ourselves to it, letting it tell us what it has to say rather than starting with our own intentions and trying to find verses to support our preconceived ideas. Only then will we begin to be conformed to the image of Christ.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

— 2 Tim 3:16-17

In Conclusion: Bishop Forgot(!) Jesus Christ

Remember what the title of the officiating pastor’s sermon was? “Remember Jesus Christ”. The bishop stepped up to speak afterwards … and completely forgot Jesus Christ, in spectacular fashion. A message that was pure and Christ-centered, became adulterated and man-centered. What a shame.

I began by asking whether you’d ever wondered why Jesus never got married. We saw from verse 38 of John chapter 6 that it was actually his Father’s will that he should not marry. But do you know what Jesus says in the next verse?

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

The reality is that Jesus is actually waiting for a far greater wedding than any we’ll ever experience on earth! He is coming back for his bride, and that is the Father’s glorious will! Jesus has already paid the price to purchase his bride and sanctify her with his blood and his word, and one day he will be one with the church in a blessed spiritual union that death will never put asunder! Oh Lord Jesus, come quickly! Is that not the cry of your heart as a believer?

Come quickly, Lord.

The ultimate advice to a couple, is not to consider the breaking of generational curses (whatever that means), or to unda each other into the husband/wife of their dreams, or to wield the Bible as the tool by which they will accomplish said unda-ing. Not at all. The most profitable thing a young couple can be told, is to remember Jesus Christ. To remember who they are in him: purchased sinners saved by grace. To remember that their own marriage is a shadow and a picture of a greater reality: the love of Christ for his bride, and vice versa. That is what will encourage a wife to respect her husband and submit to him in the Lord. That is what will cause a husband to carry his cross and lay down his life for his wife. That is the solid rock upon which their marriage is to be built, for it will weather the storms of sickness, and lack, and persecution, and indwelling sin, and all that life will throw at them in God’s providence.

Bishop, please remember Jesus Christ, not just for the sake of your hearers, and not even for the sake of your own soul which is in danger and which will account for every idle word you’ve spoken, but ultimately, for his name’s sake.

He is God.

He is all.

Remember Jesus Christ.