Newsletters

January / February 2011

GOSPEL DEFENCE LEAGUE


P O Box 587, Sea Point 8060, RSA; Tel 021-510-6854; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

January/February 2011

printable pdf version of this newsletter available here

Dear Friends,

We hope that 2011 will be a happy and blessed year for you. May it give you much opportunity to observe the aims of the Gospel Defence League which are

  • to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as that Gospel is set forth in Holy Scripture and affirmed in the historic creeds of Christendom, and
  • to oppose any attempts to secularise the Gospel, deny its supernatural elements, or question the full substantial deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Seldom in human history has the war against God been more determined than it is today. Therefore we need to look unto Jesus, “consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself…” and “strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for [our] feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:3 &12)

A new way of getting to heaven: Vote for the ANC

South Africa is preparing for local government elections, and some of the election rallies are becoming religious. Though the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has abolished Christianity in the public realm, it yet uses its imagery to gain new power. At a rally in Mthatha the State President, Jacob Zuma, reportedly said: “When you vote for the ANC you are also choosing to go to heaven. When you don’t vote for the ANC you should know that you are choosing that man who carries a fork and who cooks people.” He continued: “When you carry an ANC membership card you are blessed. When you get up there, there are different cards used, but when you have an ANC card, you will be let through to go to heaven… When (Jesus) fetches us we will find (those in the beyond) wearing black, green and gold… the holy ones belong to the ANC.” - President Zuma also called down the wrath of the ancestors upon all who might vote for parties other than the ANC, saying: “If you leave this organization (ANC) to form your own… you will struggle until you die. The ancestors of this land… Hintsa, Ngqika and Shaka will all turn their backs on you.” 1) - Such blasphemous talk is not new. Prior to an earlier election he had said: “God expects us (the ANC) to rule this country because we are the only organisation which was blessed by pastors when it was formed. It is even blessed in Heaven. That is why we will rule until Jesus comes back.” 2)

South Africa was stunned at the President’s words. Helen Zille, the leader of the Opposition, said: “If President Zuma has been correctly quoted, his words combine blasphemy, intimidation and blackmail. It is unbelievable that the president of a constitutional democracy can threaten voters with such untruths. In most democracies those words would result in a president being voted out of office…” 3) - The Bible says: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)

Pioneers of religious politics

Even the South African Council of Churches (SACC) appeared to be shocked. Its leaders requested an urgent meeting with the President. But why are they shocked? Is it not they who, in this country, pioneered the use of religion for political purposes? In the 1980s and ‘90s, did they not rally the churches in support of the ANC when it was yet a forbidden organisation? They showed the world how a revolutionary cause can be promoted by the Church. They made “the Church a site of (political) struggle.” They demonised the then government by claiming: “The use of God’s holy name in the preamble of the constitution is blasphemous.” The words “In humble submission to Almighty God, who controls the destinies of nations and the history of peoples,” they said, referred to a “God (who) is an idol… as sinister and evil as any of the idols that the prophets of Israel had to contend with… It is the devil disguised as Almighty God – the antichrist.” They even justified violence, and then made sure that all reference to God’s sovereignty was excluded from the present constitution. 4) Thus they contributed to the demise of Christian civilisation in South Africa. - These things were never recanted or repudiated. So on what grounds will they confront President Zuma?

War against God

God says: “All those who hate me, love death.” (Proverbs 8:36) But today world leaders outdo one another in banishing God’s name, even to the extent of falsifying history. President Barack Obama of the USA edits out of his speeches references to God contained in the United States’ founding documents and official declarations – such as “one nation under God,” “inalienable rights endowed by the Creator” and “in God we trust.”

South Africa also eliminates the name of God. The University of the Free State, for instance, changed its motto from “In Deo Sapientiae Lux (in God is the Light of Wisdom) to “In Veritate Sapientiae Lux (in Truth is the Light of Wisdom). One may, of course, argue that Jesus Christ is the Truth, but… student spokesperson Modieyi Motholo explained what this change is really about: “The styling of the brand reveals our true nature,” she said, “that we are a modern, retro varsity where the motto of work hard, but party harder, lives on in the hearts of all our students.” 5) To party harder, that is the aim. Indeed, God would be an obstacle to that. For “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:7)

Even Christian festivals are censored. In Europe, the EU Commission produced a diary which simply omits all Christian festivals. 3,2 million copies were printed without any reference to Christmas, Easter or Pentecost. Instead, Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu festivals are shown. This calendar cost €5 million to produce and was distributed to 21.000 schools in the EU. It was an insult to the whole of civilised Europe and caused a major outcry, but the EU shrugged it off as a mere “blunder.” 6) Could it have been a blunder in a culture steeped so deeply in Christian history? Never! - In South Africa, too, many calendars do not mark Easter, among them the Sunday Times’ educational “Read Right” supplement of February 6, 2011. Its colourful children’s calendar includes every other religion’s holidays but leaves out Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost. Who has the audacity to make us and our children forget God’s saving grace?

“Mandela is our Jesus.”

Where God is abolished, Man is made divine. This became obvious when past President Nelson Mandela was hospitalised in January. One of his admirers, the chieftainess Nokwanele Balizula who reigns in Qunu, Mandela’s home town, stated: “We are not trying to be disobedient to God, but when we look at him (Mandela), he’s our Jesus. By him saying something – it happens.” 7) It is not the first time that Mandela has been deified, and we hope that he understands the seriousness of this.

400 Years of King James Bible

In 2011 the Church, being beset by hostilities from within and without, celebrates 400 years of the King James Bible. This Bible, translated into English by William Tyndale, was produced with so much courage, suffering and sacrifice that it is a miracle that it became a worldwide success. Its very existence is proof that the Word of God is eternal and that the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. This Bible which shaped the language and character of the English speaking nations is bringing light to countless millions even now. Of all English translations it is the most reliable and its sources the most true. May it continue to illumine our hearts and minds. May we let it teach us the love of God, and what is true and false, right and wrong, good and evil, of God and of the devil – so that now and in times to come we may give all honour to God, avoid blasphemy and “ contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)

May God bless you richly,

D. Scarborough.

Footnotes:

  • Sunday Times, “God is on the ANC’s side, Zuma tells crowd.” 6.2.11; Times Live, 5.2.11.
  • Jacob Zuma – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
  • Op. cit. Sunday Times…
  • Kairos Document , pp 7-8
  • News24, UFS launches new brand, 27.1.2011
  • Der Südafrika-Deutsche Nr 731, EU-Kommission streicht Weihnachten aus dem Kalender, 18.1.2011
  • 7. ioL News, Reuters (The Mercury), “Our Jesus must rest.” 31.1.11


OUR WORLD BELONGS TO GOD (continued)

A Contemporary Testimony of the Christian Reformed Church, USA, 1986
Drafted in view of the secularisation of modern life and culture.

CHRIST

  1. God remembered his promise 1 to reconcile the world to himself; he has come among us 2 in Jesus Christ, the eternal Word made flesh. 3 He is the long-awaited Saviour, 4 fully human and fully divine, conceived by the Spirit of God and born of the virgin Mary.
    1. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 - “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us – we implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
    2. Galatians 4:4-7 - “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”
    3. John 1:1-14 - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men… To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God… The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
    4. Luke 1-2 - “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary…” In Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Caesar Augustus, “she gave birth to her firstborn, a son…” who was announced by angels saying: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord… Glory to God in the highest…”
  2. In the events of his earthly life – 1 his temptations and suffering, 2 his teaching and miracles, his battles with demons and talks with sinners – Jesus made present in deed and in word the coming rule of God.
    1. Luke 4 - “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil… Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit… and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read… ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor… to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour… Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”
    2. Philippians 2:1-11 - “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ… your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
  3. As the second Adam he chose 1 the path we had rejected. As our representative, serving God perfectly, and loving even those who scorned him, 2 Christ showed us how a righteous child of God lives.
    1. Romans 5 - “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us… Just as the result of one trespass [Adam’s} was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness [Christ’s] was justification that brings life for all men.”
    2. 1 Peter 2: 21-25 - “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
  4. As our substitute 1 he suffered all his years on earth, especially in the horrible torture of the cross. He carried God’s judgment on our sin; 2 his sacrifice removes our guilt. He walked out of the grave, the Lord of life! He conquered sin and death. 3 We are set right with God, we are given new life, and called to walk with him 4 in freedom from sin’s dominion.
    1. Isaiah 53 - “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows… He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed… The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
    2. Hebrews 10 - “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest [Jesus Christ] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those who are being made holy.”
    3. Romans 4:18-5:11 - “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
    4. Galatians 5 - “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
  5. Being both God and man, 1 Jesus is the only Mediator between God and his people. He alone paid the debt of our sin; 2 there is no other Saviour! In him the Father chose those 3 whom he would save. His electing love sustains our hope; God’s grace is free to save sinners who offer nothing but their need for mercy.
    1. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 - “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men…”
    2. Acts 4:10-12 - “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you completely healed. He [Jesus] is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
    3. Ephesians 1:1-14 - “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us…”
  6. Jesus ascended in triumph 1 to his heavenly throne. 2 There he hears our prayers, pleads our cause before the Father, 3 and rules the world. 4 Blessed are all 5 who take refuge in him.
    1. Acts 1:1-11 - “They [the disciples] were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’”
    2. Ephesians 1:18-23 - God’s incomparably great power “is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything…”
    3. 1 John 2:1-2 - “I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
    4. Revelation 5 - “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth, and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!… To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
    5. Romans 8:31-39 - “What, then , shall we say… If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?… We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Nothing “in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


All Scripture texts are taken from the NIV Bible.



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