Church must stand together to defend religious freedom — Selley

statechurchSouth African church leaders must put differences aside and stand together against a Government attack on freedom of religion said Andrew Selley, Senior Pastor of Joshua Generation Church (JGC)  in Cape Town which is being investigated over its doctrine on corporal punishment.

There has been a good response from Port Elizabeth churches to his call for united resistance and several large church groups with a combined membership of several million people are standing with him “but we still have a long way to go”, he said.

“I feel that differences of opinion on the issue of corporal punishment are sidetracking people from addressing the real and serious issue of religious freedom. This is not the time to argue about opinions. The issue is not so much about corporal punishment as much as it is about the freedom to preach the Word of God as we see it,” said Selley who hopes to go to the commission with the overwhelming support of the church in SA.

Test case
The church and its supporters believe the SAHRC want to create a test case in order to progressivley erode freedom of religion and further expand the role of the state in the life of the individual, family and church.

Referring to an article on the SAHRC website Selley said there is reason to believe that the Commission’s targeting of Christian institutions like JGC and Creare Christian Arts Training Centre in Bloemfontein,  is as a result of pressure on them to align with the United Nations which wants countries to ban corporal punishment and address discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Churches and other religious organisations are asked to consider signing a support letter calling on the SAHRC to dismiss the complaint against JGC. They may place the letter or some variation of it on their letterhead and send it to  GKC Attorneys, Attention: G Claassen, PO Box 119, Cape Town, 8000, or email it to: The correspondence should reach JGC by September 5.

Face-to-face meeting
JGC has to respond to the SAHRC in writing by September 17 but Selley said he and a co-pastor have arranged to meet with members of the Commission soon — possibly on Thursday (Septemeber 5). 

“We hope that we can achieve more in a face-to-face meeting with them,” he said.

The pastors hope to convince the SAHRC that it would be counterproductive to criminalise millions of Christians by trying to force them to abandon their convictions. 

“We will say to them [the SAHRC] ‘How will you police it? Why not rather let us work with you? The Constitution requires the state to provide adequate parenting training to people in rural areas. We can provide resources to help achieve this. We have the same agenda as you. We want to help achieve a peaceful society for all.” 

View a video message by Andrew Selley on the threat to religious freedom:


  1. You definitely have my support on this. Without a doubt.

    • Stuart Wragg I take it that you a dad? Is this your own personal thought out opinion or your pastors/churches?

      • Hi Tyron. I think Afrika put it perfectly. It is about religious freedom. We cannot have a government who dictates our beliefs for obvious reasons. I too cannot tolerate abuse of any kind and in my personal capacity campaign against it. Yes I am a Dad. My children are well adjusted, respectful and decent law abiding young adults of whom I am very proud and with who I have a loving relationship. When they were little I occasionally as a last resort, spanked. I also grew up in the corporal punishment era where lashes at school and boarding school were the order of the day. I was often at the end of the stick and can clearly testify to the difference between abuse and spanking.What this is about however as clearly stated, is freedom of religion. I am a biblical Christian and in this I personally stand.I advocate good, strong and loving, family values. Blessings Tyron.

  2. This isn’t religious freedom, It’s personal preference and misinterpretation. If spanking is so effective why does’t it line up with these documented facts?

    I think parts of the church need to re-think this one.

    The video link does a great job explain about this issue.

  3. I disagree with the sentiments you are expressing Tyron. The issue at Joshua Generation Church is about religious freedom. Whether or not you are agree with spanking is another issue altogether. If the government dictates on us on this one what is next area they would want to dictate on? Do you think they will just stop with the issue of corporal punishment? I am sure Joshua Generation are not teaching that people should abuse their children. Anyway when we focus more on what divides than what unites us as a Church we get into trouble. We now have abolish laws and legislation of same-sex marriage because of being polarised. Sure we don’t always agree on all doctrine issues but must have a civil government interfering with what we preach on our pulpits?
    Next we would be told that baptism by full immersion is illegal because it discriminates against those who prefer to be sprinkled.
    Let us rather iron our differences and clean our house rather than rejoicing when government wants to create a nanny state. How would they police a law banning spanking when they can’t deal with obvious criminal matters? I am a father and on rare occasions I spank and I don’t consider myself to be abusive. A rare occasion might be once in a month and sometimes two. It is a last resort for me but I like the fact that I have that choice. I don’t want that choice taken away from me by someone who thinks knows best about what is best for my child. We are abdicating parental responsibility to the state when God has given it to us.

  4. Afrika for president!!!