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YOU IMPREGNATE MEMBER, YOU MARRY HER - CHURCH

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MBABANE - Should a couple be forced to marry once they have a child before marriage?

The answer is yes for Sandlasemusa Church in Zion, while a human rights lawyer holds a different view. Interestingly, the church cites its constitution, which is derived from the Holy Bible, while the lawyer cites the country’s Constitution. In an interview yesterday, the church founder, Bishop Mkhumbikanowa Gina, said the church had a constitution which served as a guiding principle for the congregants. He said the constitution was clear on what should happen if congregants had a child.

Valued

“As a church, we say all women must be valued and appreciated. If a man has affection for a woman, he must make sure that he loves to marry her, not to gratify his sexual desires,” he said. The bishop said like in all other churches, couples might be successful in hiding their relationships until children are born. He said in the event children were born, the couple was compelled to marry. The man of God said the church had the responsibility to engage the couple before it facilitated a meeting between the two families. “The purpose of the meeting is to afford the couple a six-month period to prepare for  marriage. If one party shows reluctance, the church executive has no choice but to remove them from the church. The church cannot allow a person to plant a bad seed in the congregants,” he said.

Gina stated that the emphasis on marriage was aimed at avoiding a situation where the church had men and women who did as they pleased, resulting in orphaned and vulnerable children.
He stated that the principle was derived from Exodus 22:16, where it reads: “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price and she shall be his wife.” He stated that there were rare instances where congregants impregnated their church mates. He said he believed that their constitution and constant reminder through visits to all the branches had yielded fruitful results. Gina shared that the constitution of the church was against women wearing pants, short skirts, painting nails and having tattoos, as well as earrings. On another note, Gina stated that the church did not believe in the anointing of women.

Teaching

He said as per the teaching of the Bible in 1Timothy 2:11-12, women benefitted from the titles of their husbands. 1Timothy 2:11-12 reads: “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.” “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over man; she must be silent. The scripture calls twice for women to be quiet and it does not allow any form of teaching,” he added. Asked about the background of the church, Gina shared that it was founded in 2015, at Nceka in Siphofaneni, and had grown to have 14 branches across the country.
He said the church was formed following a series of events. At first, Gina stated that he fell sick, resulting in people saying a lot about his illness. He stated that as he consulted, a woman warned him against listening to all voices, but stick to what appeared to him in dreams.

The bishop mentioned that he used to have a dream where he layed hands on people inside a hut. He said he was sometimes shown mountains and rivers as well as pieces of clothing. “One day I was shown Melika Jericho Church in Zion Bishop Khanyakwezwe Vilakati, whom I had never seen before. I was told that Vilakati would give the exact interpretation of my dreams,” he said.

Dreams

Gina shared that Vilakati interpreted his dreams to mean he was called to establish a church with a huge following. He stated that Vilakati took him to the mountains and rivers that appeared to him in the dreams. He also shared that Vilakati warned him to listen to the Holy Spirit, as the church would be controlled in Heaven. Coming to the constitution of the church, Gina stated that it came as a result of fasting and praying. He mentioned that he wrote what was revealed to him while praying on the mountain. “I must say that even though a large portion of the constitution of the church was reveled in prayer, I sought input from some elders before we applied for membership from the League of African Churches. The constitution was approved and accepted by the League of Churches,” he said.

It appeared that the church condones polygamy. The bishop stated that the church accepted polygamy only if it was taken according to the Bible. He said polygamy was allowed in Exodus 21:10 where it reads: “If a man who has married a slave wife takes another wife for himself, he must not neglect the rights of the first to food, her clothing and sexual intimacy.” Gina said it was better for men to have more than one wife than commit adultery in secret, for nothing was hidden from God.

Understanding

He urged people to read the Bible with understanding before accusing men of God of having more than one wife. He said there was nowhere in the Bible where God said church leaders should have one wife. Instead, he said the instruction for one wife was specific to men with specific roles in church, such as deacons. He shared 1Timothy 3:12 where it reads: “A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.” He said the church had deacons who adhered to the Bible verses. To them, the bishop said the deacons were in charge of the administration of tithes which were collected after three months. He stated that the tithes were used to cater for the welfare of widowed women orphaned and vulnerable children.

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