What are your immediate thoughts when you read the post title today? Take a minute and reflect on them before you read on.
A news item posted Nov. 2, 2010 by The Mail Online about a South African Pentecostal pastor, Xola Skosana, who has recently started a sermon series entitled “Jesus was HIV-positive”, reported that the sermon series has “outraged” other Christians in South Africa. In an earlier article, published Aug. 25, 2010 by guardian.co.uk, Skosana was quoted as saying:
“The scathing attacks I’ve received from Christians are unbelievable,” he said. “They’re saying you can’t reconcile Jesus and Aids. They assume it means Jesus was promiscuous and had a louche lifestyle with many sexual partners” (Guardian, 2010).
Skosana explained that he intended to point out the way in which the national churches of South Africa have ignored people who are HIV+, and to remind his church that Jesus, according to Isaiah 53, took on the sickness and brokenness of the whole world, including people with HIV. While it may be inadequate interpretation of Isaiah 53 to say that Jesus became ill with every sickness ever known to a human person, Skosana pointed out that Jesus stated that our response to those who are sick is our response to Him (Matthew 25:31-46).
Some of the comments that I have read on the various articles about Skosana’s sermon series have been almost laughable in the light of the Matthew 25 passage. Several stated their desire to not be Skosana when he is “judged for publicising such terrible blasphemy” (MailOnline, 2010).
I would want to be Skosana when he is judged for publicizing this message of grace.
Here is a video about Xola Skosana:
These articles remind me that one of my professors, Johan Mostert, Phil. D., has recently collaborated on a book entitled “How to Become HIV+: Guidlines for the Local Church”. If you are in any kind of church leadership this would be a book to check out.