Dear Rev Dr Ross Olivier,
I find writing this note rather daunting; the post-nominal letters following your name confirm you as an academic and your title as President of Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary affirms the regard your peers have for you. I’m just Mark, neither noted academically nor acclaimed in any way. Yet it is [precisely] because you are an academic and because you hold office in an academic institution that I feel compelled to write to you. I have read and reread the open letter you wrote last week to defend the slaughter of a cow during the opening ceremony of Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary and I ask you to consider the following two observations.
Firstly after espousing the virtues of “peace and harmony, diversity and unity” you insinuate that those who question either the slaughter of the cow or the prayers are characterised as “rebellious… pride, prejudice, conflict, xenophobia, bigotry and racism… casting aspersions on the cultural expressions of other peoples, and sinfully relating our differences in terms of superiority and inferiority… sinful and bigoted people” (paragraph 12). As the President of Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary you’ve effectively muzzled any genuine Biblical opposition your faculty or students might have. Who could possibly stick up their hand at the risk of been labelled such. Paul writing to the Thessalonians, and undoubtedly with the memory of Acts 17:10 – 11 near to his mind, exhorts them to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Th 5:21). While lack of discernment ravages our churches surely acuity needs to be fostered in our learning institutions?
Secondly, while you did address the issue of the slaughter of the cow, when one considers the timing of the slaughter (to commemorate the opening of Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary) and the method of the slaughter (“the throat-slitting of an animal”) it is clear that the act represented more than just a way to prepare food. It’s not a stretch to see that it was included into the itinerary as an act of worship. Because there is no evidence that the early church engaged in this form of ritual sacrifice (1 Cor. 10:18 – 20) and because we’re charged to “worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:23) the appropriateness of our worship is of great import. Could it be that not all cultural practises resonate well with Biblical revelation?
There is much to say but for brevities sake perhaps this is enough?
In the interests of truth (John 17:17) and towards the goal of unity in truth (2 John 1:1),