Book Review: Freed By God but Imprisoned by Culture

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In his second book, author Afrika Mhlophe deals with the freedom of Christ as opposed to mindsets both African and European cultures adhere to.

In Word-based arguments, he breaks down the basics of what a culture is and how it can infringe on being and staying in a committed relationship with Christ as we are called to do.

“When you are imprisoned by ideas, you are cheated of the truth on Jesus Christ,” Afrika writes, warning about the deceptive cultural ways contrasting the Word of God.

Challenging ideas of culture being superior to faith, he points out that culture, as well as religion are man made ways of doing. Opposed to this, is faith in Jesus Christ, being a God created way of relationship between Him and man, also pointing towards a God-ordained way of doing.

“How can culture define what God has already defined?”, he asks.  “Life is not about who gave birth to you, but who authorised your birth.”

He makes an example of Abraham’s calling to move out from where he was settled, posing the idea that following God may involve stepping out from what we are born into to become what we are born for.

“Being bound to tradition means being bound to repeat the same errors,” he points out, making it clear that putting what people expects above what is pleasing to God, is controlled by flesh rather than the Spirt.

Especially relevant for citizens of countries such as South Africa where the African and European ways of doing are often juxtaposed and justified by opposing groups, Afrika helps the reader to come to grips with the changing nature of culture. Instead, he guides thinking towards purposeful Kingdom culture, built on identity in Christ, rather than the  race and type of community or lineage you have found yourself being human in.

A highly recommended read to any believer who is ready to lay down what (s)he has been taught is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in human eyes, the book is bound to make you pray about your purpose in community and prepare you for a renewal of mind.

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