This seven-chapter book begins with the thorny subject of marriage. Chapter one deals with marriage as sanctioned in the Bible. Over the years Africans have struggled with what form of marriage to consider Christian. The main argument of this chapter is that the form that marriage rites should take is more of a cultural issue than a religious one. However, the ways in which Christian couples are to live must follows some universal principles laid down in the Bible.
Chapter two focuses on the question of divorce and remarriage. It is evident from the examination of the relevant Bible texts that God’s ideal is that marriage should last forever as long as the partners are alive. There are, however, extreme cases where divorce may be allowed. The next two chapters discuss polygamy and homosexuality. Both practices apparently fall short of biblical standards. The study noted that polygamous converts must be allowed to decide what to do with their multiple wives rather than being forced to divorce them.
The fifth chapter, which deals with childbirth, argues that while the Bible exalts child-bearing, it also recognises that certain circumstances in one’s life may necessitate putting a limit on the number of children born. Similarly, a couple may delay childbearing under certain circumstances as husband and wife seek to fulfill the mandate of being stewards over creation. The use of alcohol by Christians is examined in the next chapter. The chapter concludes that even though the Bible does not explicitly prohibit the use of alcohol, it is better to abstain from it in order not to sin by mistakenly getting drunk.
Finally, the study evaluated ethical issues related to funeral expenses in Africa. This is a big issue in contemporary African Christianity. The study contended that funeral expenses should be cut down and funds used rather for socio-economic development. A funeral does not have to be extravagant in order to fulfill its purpose of properly seeing off the departed into the unseen world.
In dealing with the various topics discussed in this book, we have contextualized what the Bible teaches for the African community. There are situations where we found the African worldview as a catalyst for appreciating the gospel. In other instances, however, the African worldview contradicted the gospel message. We have tried in each case to comment on such situations to help our readers to recognise what we consider to be proper contextualisation of the issue.
Frederick Mawusi Amevenku is an Ordained Minister of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church,Ghana. He is a Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Biblical Hermeneutics at the Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon in Accra, Ghana. He holds a PhD from Stellenbosch University (Western Cape), South Africa. Mawusi also holds BD and MTh degrees from Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon; LLB and MPhil degrees from the University of Ghana, Legon and Dip. Ed and B.Ed degrees from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He has served as District Pastor twice in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church Ghana. He edited A Handbook for Presbyters (2016), Co-authored Tithing in the Christian Church (2018) and edited Topics in Discipleship Series (2019). Mawusi has published many articles in refereed journals and contributed chapters to a few books in the areas of New Testament Studies, Mother Tongue Theologising and Biblical Interpretation. Mawusi is married to Dzifa and they live together with their son Elorm.
Isaac Boaheng holds a Master of Divinity Degree from the Trinity Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church Ghana and a Translator with the Bible Society of Ghana. Some of his recent publications include: A Study of Amos and Hosea: Implications for African Public Theology (2020); Is the Bible Really the Word of God (2019) and Basic Biblical Hebrew (2019). Isaac has research interest in Public Theology, Biblical Studies, and African Christianity. He is married to Gloria and they are blessed with Christian, Benedict and Julia.
CHAPTER ONE – CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE (1)
The Nature of Christian Marriage
What Christian Marriage is Not
Customary Marriage and Ordinance Marriage
Customary Marriage Rites: Engagement or Wedding?
Customary Marriage: Godly or Ungodly?
Duplicity in African Christian Marriage
An African Christian Customary Marriage Ceremony
Some Proposals for a New Orientation CHAPTER TWO – DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE (27)
Divorce is not God’s Standard
Divorce is not Permissible for Every Situation
Divorce Leads to Problems
Perspectives on Divorce
The Position Adopted by this Book CHAPTER THREE – POLYGAMY (POLYGYNY) (34)
Polygamy in the African Context
The Old Testament and Polygamy
Summary of Old Testament Teachings on Polygamy
The New Testament and Polygamy
How Should the Church Deal with Polygamy? CHAPTER FOUR – HOMOSEXUALITY (51)
Homosexuality in the Old Testament
New Testament Teachings on Homosexuality
An African Christian Response to Homosexuality CHAPTER FIVE – BIRTH CONTROL (66)
Methods of Contraception and Birth Control
Birth Control and Contraception in Biblical Perspective
An Evangelical View on Birth Control and Contraceptives
Which kinds of Contraceptives are permissible? CHAPTER SIX – USE OF ALCOHOL (79)
What is Alcohol?
The Meaning of the term “Wine” Examined
The Meaning of Wine in English
The Meaning of the Latin Vinum
Hebrew Words Denoting the Vine and its Produce
New Testament Words for Alcoholic Beverages
Biblical Position on Use of Alcohol CHAPTER SEVEN – FUNERAL EXPENSES (95)
Expensive Funerals: The Case of Ghana
Factors that Contribute to Funeral Expenses in Ghana
Economic, Cultural and Theological/Ethical Perspectives on Expensive Funerals