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Male circumcision: Its spiritual relevance today

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Bamgbola

Circumcision of male children is an old Biblical practice to ensure purification. How relevant is this practice today, knowing that Christ
emphasises the purification of the heart? CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.

‘God’s Demand For Male Circumcision Remains Relevant Today’
(Pastor Ezekiel Joel, General Overseer, Full Salvation Believers’ Assembly Int’l, Nnewi, Anambra State)

The subject of male circumcision dates back to the Book of beginnings, the Bible, in which God instructed Abraham, the covenant with him and that dire consequences will attend it’s violation, or refusal to comply.

We know that God is unchanging in His attributes, and His standards are not subject to amendments or reviews (Mal 3:6; Psa.119; 89.) It follows, therefore, that God’s demand for circumcision of male children remains relevant today, as ever.

Moses narrowly escaped God’s wrath, when he was returning to Egypt on his divine mandate to rescue Israel, and the boys got circumcised.

It would have been a tragedy of immense proportion for both Moses and his wife (Exo. 4:24-26).

This clearly shows that even if there are people – groups or cultures, which are opposed to it, that does not really matter.

And no matter how unstable the standards and scriptural bases for its trans-generational relevance, there are medical benefits, which serve as plausible reasons that male children’s circumcision is both good and relevant today.

Among others, medical experts say: it helps to prevent entrapment of penis in the foreskin.

It reduces the risk and incidence of Human Immuno Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It minimises transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) from male to the female.

It prevents phymosis and paraphymosis infections to which uncircumcised foreskin is liable or highly exposed. Females with circumcised male partners are less likely to have cancer of the cervix, which has recently assumed an epidemic status among women.

It has even been claimed that it enhances sexual satisfaction for both husband and wife, when the man is circumcised.

In the light of Biblical reasons and medical benefits of male children circumcision, methinks it should be embraced by every sane society, rather than being considered outlandish, outdated or irrelevant today.

‘Circumcision, As Given In The New Testament, Is Our Heart’
(The Rt. Rev. (Dr.) Peter Ogunmuyiwa, Bishop, Diocese of the North/Abuja of the African Church/Coordinating Chaplain, CAN, National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja) 

Going by provision of the New Testament scripture, the moment you are baptised into the Lord Jesus Christ, that is the greatest circumcision you need as children of God. You need to be circumcised spiritually.

Any other thing that has to do with the cutting of the foreskin and all that is Old Testament practice, but the circumcision, as given in the New Testament is our hearts, which need to be circumcised.

And then you also need to be baptised into the name of Jesus Christ, and that settles it.

The people practising it today are doing so not in the name of religion, but because of tradition or culture.

You know different people have different cultures, which they try to observe, but Christ is above culture.

If truly you are a child of God, there are some traditions you should avoid.

As a child of God, you need to go by what the Bible says and Jesus is the model. Once you see Jesus as the model, it settles the matter.

Once you are baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, that is the circumcision you need, the spiritual circumcision, and that is the position of the scripture.

‘Father And Mother Of Jesus Performed Circumcision On Him’
(Dr. El-Miram Dupe Akinwande, Spiritual Mother, Ebenezer Praying Band Church, C&S, Surulere/CAN Chairman in Mosan Okunola, Alimoso, Lagos)

Jesus Christ, Who is our perfect example was circumcised, when He was eight days old, because it is the law of the Lord God Almighty given to Abraham that all male children should be circumcised. They called the uncircumcised unclean children.

Even Jacob’s children were all circumcised. The Jewish laws dictate that all male children in the Bible must be circumcised.

Even here in Nigeria, when they are eight days old, male children are circumcised.

The New Testament didn’t take care of that; it is the law of God Almighty. It is in the Bible, and we must abide by what is prescribed by God that we should do.

We cannot make our own laws. For example, Jesus’ father and mother performed it on Him. Are we above Jesus?

If anybody wants to bring out any other doctrine contrary to that which is in the Bible, he/she is doing so for himself or herself.

If any pastor or organisation that is just starting his church says that in order to attract members, he is being funny.

We have to follow what is in the Bible. So, circumcision is still relevant today and tomorrow.

‘The Practice Is Still Very Relevant Today’
(The Most Rev. Michael Olusina Fape, Archbishop, Diocese of Remo, Anglican Communion, Sagamu, Ogun State)

Male Circumcision is a practice that is not only a custom or tradition among ethnic groups in a particular society, but also has a biblical antecedent.

This is contained in Genesis 17 to seal up the covenant between God and Abraham, “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.

He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner, who is not your descendant” (Genesis‬ ‭17:10-12‬).

From the above, it would seem as if male circumcision has a religious undertone, and should thus be confined to the Jewish nation.

Yet, it has equally been observed that it has some medical or health advantages.

The cutting off of the foreskin of a male is a healthy practice, which is still very much relevant today.

It has been observed that the foreskin could become a breeding place for germs and other bacteria, which could be injurious to the health condition of a male child at some point in time in the course of human growth.

In my candid opinion, while there is a religious colouration to male circumcision, the health benefits are of greater significance.

Therefore, religious sentiments apart, male circumcision is a practice that I still consider to be relevant today.

‘It’s Not Only Spirituality, Biologically, Medically It Is Relevant’
(Apostle Alexander Bamgbola, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Lagos State)

But as an individual you have been enjoying it all these years. Supposing you were not circumcised. First, what’s the origin of it?

Was there circumcision before or not? There must be reason(s) why they did it, not only the Jews because God commanded Isaac to do it.

Before Isaac was commanded to do it what happened that time? We really have to go back and look at what is happening to cultures of nations and maybe analyse it but you can’t look at it spiritually and say the Old Testament is gone but mind you there are other things in the Old Testament, which include circumcision and you can’t say they are not necessary.

You know there is a medical dimension to the subject matter. Circumcision had been in place for many years now.

From the point of view of the Bible you can’t tell the Jewish man not to circumcise his children.

If you are a non-Jew Christian you may say it is an Old Testament thing and therefore, you don’t need it.

In a liberal culture some people decide to do it in old age because of the biological reasons and again, for reasons of convenience for them.

It is not totally a spiritual matter. People, who preach that the Old Testament is a shadow, while the New Testament is the real thing.

My question to them is: what is Old Testament or who is Old Testament or New Testament? Jesus said: “I am the New Testament” and same our Lord Jesus Christ is the Old Testament.

There are things done in the Old Testament that we can’t continue to do, for instance, the killing of goats and stuff like that because Jesus paid the price. But, there are things in the Old Testament that are still important.

For example, Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus said: “I have not come to destroy the law but to fulfil it.

And He went on to say, “Whosoever teaches these things and do them, they shall be called great in the kingdom of God.” People who condemn the Old Testament same people also use it for their prayers.

Why? The Bible is the word and Moses didn’t write things from his head he was instructed by God to write them and how can we say that Mosaic laws are gone. .

If you refuse to circumcise your children today, believe me those children will grow and do circumcision for themselves, despite the inconvenience.

So, medically, and biologically it is relevant. It is not a spiritual thing alone.

‘Obedience To God’s Word Is Very Important’
(Bishop Moses Adedipe, General Superintendent, The Universal Christian Mission Int’l, Lagos)

Genesis 17:10-14, there God made a covenant of circumcision with Abraham. Remember He instituted it shortly after Abraham’s name was changed.

If you go down to verses 23 and 27 Abraham obeyed God and he was circumcised at the age of 99 years, as well as Ishmael and you can see how serious it is.

Now Acts 7:8 God said on the eight day after the birth of every male child they should be circumcised.

From Abraham it passed on to Isaac to Jacob and to the 12 patriarchs and they were all circumcised.

In Galatians 5:6; 6:16 and Philippians 3:13, they are saying the same thing but with different presentations. Christ taught us about love and new creation.

Spiritually, it is also okay and if you talk about decency it is also okay. But it should be done under good supervision.

I was circumcised as well as my male children and grand children. So, obedience to God’s word is very key.

We should continue to do it for the reasons, which I have enumerated above. It is not only relevant today, it is also relevant tomorrow and beyond.


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