Welcome to the download center of the Adventist Pan-African Conference on Dynamic Family Relations hosted at the Adventist University of Africa in Kenya, from March 1 to 3, 2018.
Polygamy, Dual Career Marriages, and African Culture Among Topics at Groundbreaking Conference in Kenya
Three African Adventist regions come together to grapple with difficult subjects.
In another first for the Family Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, three African divisions, or world regions, came together from March 1-3, 2018 to discuss relevant and challenging subjects in the area of marriage and family.
The Adventist Pan-African Conference on Dynamic Family Relations, was organized by the world church Family Ministries department directors Willie and Elaine Oliver, together with Family Ministries departments from the East Central Africa (ECD), West Central Africa (WAD), and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean (SID) divisions.
The conference was organized for several reasons, primarily to discuss the relationship between deeply embedded cultures and traditions throughout Africa and the biblical worldview as related to families. “We are becoming more like the world instead of being salt and light,” Willie Oliver explained to Adventist Review. “This is just an opportunity to slow down and take another look at the biblical message for families.”
“This conference is important because culture is so important to all of us regardless of where we’re from,” adds Elaine Oliver. “Our culture usually drives what we do, how we behave, how we make decisions, how we live our lives. Specifically, we’re dealing with marriage and family so this conversation that we’re having here these few days is critical because most importantly we need our culture to be the culture of Christianity.”
Bride Price, Divorce, and Leadership in African Families
The Adventist Pan-African Conference on Dynamic Family Relationships continues with sensitive topics
This is Part 2 of a two-part report on the March 1-3 Adventist Pan-African Conference on Dynamic Family Relations. ~ Editors
The Adventist Pan-African Conference on Dynamic Family Relations, a milestone event that brought together the three Seventh-day Adventist Division on the African subcontinent concluded with an additional array of challenging topics affecting African families.
The conference, hosted in Kenya on the campus of Adventist University of Africa (AUA) was organized by the world church Family Ministries department directors Willie and Elaine Oliver, in partnership with Family Ministries departments from the East Central Africa (ECD), West Central Africa (WAD), and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean (SID) divisions.
Michael Sokupa, associate director of the Ellen G. White estate spoke on two separate topics specific to marriage. The first discussed the distinction between traditional and civil marriage in Africa.
Traditional marriage reflects the involvement of the extended family, and in some cases may include traditional norms such as polygamy, ancestor veneration, common law marriage, and marriage of convenience. “Has the church already taken a stand on [these and other] particular forms of traditional marriage?” asked Sokupa as he advocated an evaluation of traditional African marriage by the Church, which in many instances doesn’t even involve the Church.
Sokupa also shared that civil marriage is a growing African trend, requiring only a state official and two witnesses. The practice flies in the face of African custom and introduces tension between the couple and the extended family. However, civil marriage also tends to cut out the Church—a concern for the Christian community, which has sought to provide guidance for the marrying couple and a biblical foundation to the union.
Pointing out that both elements of both traditional and civil marriage are challenging to the Church, Sokupa argued that both tend to marginalize the Church’s involvement, including the participation of Christian marriage counselors.
Sokupa also tackled questions surrounding leadership within the Christian African home. He explained that the Bible demonstrates a “pattern of patriarchal societies,” but looking at various narratives throughout Scripture also reveals unique dynamics within various families.
A good portion of time was spent unpacking the story of David, Nabal and Abigail found in 1 Samuel 25. Abigail’s actions in carefully countering Nabal’s careless ones in the context of a patriarchal society, said Sokupa, reveal a principle for “dynamic leadership in marriage.” He also pointed out the difference in David’s and Nabal’s leadership style, asking “What kind of leader am I within my household: an autocratic leader or a democratic leader?”
Sokupa concluded with a discussion of “marriage in the context of group dynamics.” He postulated that a couple and a family exist in the context of a group, which requires a form of “group leadership” in marriage, characterized by interdependence. He referenced the biblical call in the book of Ephesians for wives to submit to their husbands, while husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself of her.
“The dynamic nature of leadership in marriage needs a careful study,” concluded Sokupa.
A TANGIBLE FOLLOW UP: RESOLUTIONS
Below is the list of the resolutions voted at the closing event of the Adventist Pan-African Conference on Dynamic Family Relations on Saturday night, March 3, 2018.
- To develop a renewed focus on the centrality of Family Ministries in all of the strategic plans and budget priorities of the church, given its important and productive role in church life, nurture, and outreach;
- To more assertively develop and promote the role of the family in TMI (Total Member Involvement – Total Family Involvement), Mission to the Cities, and Comprehensive Health Ministries;
- To reaffirm the family as the place of training and development for the transmission of Biblical principles, teachings, and understanding, primarily for the discipleship of children, modeling public service and outreach;
- To develop pathways and joint projects of Family Ministries with the 26 educational institutions of higher education in the three African Divisions;
- To explore further collaborations with Family Ministries and other departments with the goal of developing greater synergy in ministry;
- To widely promote the proceedings of the Pan-African Family Conference to the world field via websites, online products, social media, and print;
- To develop a list of practical ways Family Ministries can more assertively be brought to the attention of all levels of the church;
- To recommend to the Adventist University of Africa to launch a new Doctor of Ministry cohort in Marriage and Family as soon as possible to build capacity in adequately ministering to family-related concerns;
- To recommend to church administration the need to revisit the official church policy on polygamy to advance a more biblically-based position;
- To recommend to the administration the need to be more intentional about preserving the stability of pastoral families when considering moving them to new assignments;
- To ask the administration to develop a more precise set of guidelines to ascertain what constitutes an acceptable marriage for members.
- To conduct research on Adventist families in the three African Divisions to develop intervention strategies from an evidence-based perspective.
The Relevance of Scripture for Contemporary Issues in Marriage and Family by Ron Du Preez. Download Here (26Mb)
Challenges and opportunities of Christian Families in Africa by Sampson and Angela Nwaomah. Download Here.
Polygamy, Scripture, and the Institution of Marriage by Ron Du Preez. Download Here.
African Traditional Religion and Its Impact on Practices on Family Relations by J Papu. Download Here.
How to Tame the Tiger: Dual-Career Marriages and Its Impact on Family and Church by Kagelo and Boitumelo Rakwena. Download Here.
Traditional vs. Civil Marriage: A Biblical and Spirit of Prophecy Model by Michael Sokupa. Download Here.
Five Transformational Benefits for Marriage and Family Relations by Delbert W. and Susan M. Baker. Download Here.
The Challenge of Divorce and How to Arrest Its Progress by Kagelo and Boitumelo Rakwena. Download Here.
The High Cost of Lobola: Divine Perspective and Challenge to Self-assess by J. Papu. Download Here.
Trusting the God of the Bible on Marriage and Family Relations by Blasious Ruguri. Download Here.
The Foundation for Balanced Leadership in Marriage: A Biblical and Spirit of Prophecy Paradigm by Michael Sokupa. Download Here.
Leaving with Stronger, Healthier, and More Dynamic Family Relations by Willie and Elaine Oliver. Download Here.
Guidance on Abortion
“Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3, NIV). In Christ is the promise of eternal life; but since human life is mortal, humans are confronted with difficult issues regarding life and death. The following principles refer to the whole person (body, soul, and spirit), an indivisible whole (Genesis 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Life: Our valuable gift from God
1. God is the Source, Giver, and Sustainer of all life (Acts 17:25,28; Job 33:4; Genesis 1:30, 2:7; Psalm 36:9; John 1:3,4).
2. Human life has unique value because human beings, though fallen, are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; Romans 3:23; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 3:2; John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18,19).
3. God values human life not on the basis of human accomplishments or contributions but because we are God’s creation and the object of His redeeming love (Romans 5:6,8; Ephesians 2:2-6; 1 Timothy 1:15; Titus 3:4,5; Matthew 5:43-48; Ephesians 2:4-9; John 1:3, 10:10).
Life: Our response to God’s gift
4. Valuable as it is, human life is not the only or ultimate concern. Self-sacrifice in devotion to God and His principles may take precedence over life itself (Revelation 12:11; 1 Corinthians 13).
5. God calls for the protection of human life and holds humanity accountable for its destruction (Exodus 20:13; Revelation 21:8; Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 24:16; Proverbs 6:16,17; Jeremiah 7:3-34; Micah 6:7; Genesis 9:5,6).
6. God is especially concerned for the protection of the weak, the defenseless, and the oppressed (Psalm 82:3,4; James 1:27; Micah 6:8; Acts 20:35; Proverbs 24:11,12; Luke 1:52-54).
7. Christian love (agape) is the costly dedication of our lives to enhancing the lives of others. Love also respects personal dignity and does not condone the oppression of one person to support the abusive behavior of another (Matthew 16:21; Philippians 2:1-11; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:8-11; Matthew 22:39; John 18:22,23; John 13:34).
8. The believing community is called to demonstrate Christian love in tangible, practical, and substantive ways. God calls us to restore gently the broken (Galatians 6:1,2; 1 John 3:17,18; Matthew 1:23; Philippians 2:1-11; John 8:2-11; Romans 8:1-14; Matthew 7:1,2, 12:20; Isaiah 40:42, 62:2-4).
Life: Our right and responsibility to decide
9. God gives humanity the freedom of choice, even if it leads to abuse and tragic consequences. His unwillingness to coerce human obedience necessitated the sacrifice of His Son. He requires us to use His gifts in accordance with His will and ultimately will judge their misuse (Deuteronomy 30:19,20; Genesis 3; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 3:5,6, 6:1,2; Galatians 5:13).
10. God calls each of us individually to moral decision making and to search the scriptures for the biblical principles underlying such choices (John 5:39; Acts 17:11; 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 7:13-25).
11. Decisions about human life from its beginning to its end are best made within the context of healthy family relationships with the support of the faith community (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 5,6).
12. Human decisions should always be centered in seeking the will of God (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 6:6; Luke 22:42).
These principles were approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee at the Annual Council session in Silver Spring, Maryland, October 12, 1992.