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January / February / March 2013

GOSPEL DEFENCE LEAGUE

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January /February / March 2013

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Dear Friends,

In almost all parts of the world, Christians now live in religiously plural societies. This presents challenges not only to individuals but also to State and Church. The Church, for instance, has been looking for new ways of understanding and interpreting ‘community.’ - Prof Hans Küng, a German Catholic liberation theologian, has described it as follows: “There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions. There will be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions.” 1)

This way of thinking has also been popular in the World Council of Churches. As early as 1971 the WCC established a programme of “Dialogue with People of Living Faiths and Ideologies.” This programme does not aim at promoting the Cultural Mandate (Genesis 1:28) or the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-19), but it encourages the Churches to accept other religions. While the Cultural Mandate and the Great Commission tell us to bring all things under the Lordship of Christ, the Dialogue with People of Living Faiths encourages religious condonation and integration. Hence, inter-faith prayer, inter-faith worship, and inter-faith action have become ever more commonplace. The New South Africa, for instance, was conceived in terms of a multi-cultural inter-faith orientation. The formerly Christian foundation was abolished and a secular dispensation was adopted. Though Christianity was predominant, all religions were put on an equal footing. Christian observance was removed from public life and Christian teaching from schools. This was to allegedly promote greater social harmony, but the hoped for peace did not come. South Africa was struck by a wave of immorality and crime.

 

The Betrayal of the Great Commission

The World Council of Churches’ open approach to heathen religions began early in its existence. In 1961 the WCC united the world’s major missionary societies under its wing. Ten years later it recommended a “Moratorium on Missions.” The Church, it said, should no longer send out missionaries to the Third World. It should rather use its money for “new ways of mission education” (in the First World) and for the support of militant “liberation movements” (in the Third World). This new orientation they called “World Mission.” But it betrayed the Great Commission of Christ and God’s desire to show His greatness and holiness in the sight of many nations. (Ezekiel 38:23) 2)

Many of the WCC-affiliated Churches followed this new orientation. Instead of evangelising the heathens they engaged in dialogue with them. In 1990, in Baar near Zürich, after 4 years of consultation, the WCC published a study called “My Neighbour’s Faith and Mine – Theological Discoveries through Interfaith Dialogue.” This declared that human beings of whatever religion or faith could be saved without knowing Christ. “We cannot set limits to the saving power of God…” said the Baar Statement, “The God we know in Jesus Christ may encounter us also in the lives of our neighbours of other faiths… We need to move beyond a theology which confines salvation to the explicit personal commitment to Jesus Christ.” Hence they denied that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life, and that no-one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)

The Holy Spirit, they said, does not only dwell in Christians, but also in non-Christians. Archbishop em. Desmond Tutu, a former co-worker of the World Council of Churches, quite agrees, saying: “The Holy Spirit is not limited to the Christian Church. For example, Mahatma Gandhi, who is a Hindu… the Holy Spirit shines through him.” 3) One of his best friends is the Dalai Lama who is regarded by many as a living god.

Filtering into the Church

The WCC’s “dialogue” ideology has filtered down into the various programmes of the Church. One example is the liturgy of the Women’s World Day of Prayer for 2013. This international prayer event had begun as a day of prayer for Home and Foreign Missions. Because of this, the South African collections have always been donated mainly to the Bible Society. But this year’s Prayer programme was called, “I was a Stranger and you welcomed me.” It featured religious pluralism and focussed on migration and migrants. One of its prayers read: “We pray for families where one or both parents are of foreign origin… We pray with them as they integrate their religious and cultural values.” - Did God tell us to integrate religious values - light and darkness, truth and falsehood, Christ and Belial? (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) Jesus wants us to teach our families, and indeed the whole world, “to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-19) “Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

10th General Assembly of the WCC 2013

Many Christians believe that the World Council of Churches has changed since its radical days. But reading its “New Ecumenical Mission Affirmation” one is disappointed. This Mission Affirmation was prepared for the WCC’s 10th General Assembly at Busan (30.10.-8.11.2013) in Korea this year. It shows that the WCC’s priorities are not a change of heart, but a change of society. “Churches are called to transform power structures,” it says in the Affirmation. “Mission should be from below.” “God’s reign will be established through human rights, gender justice and climate justice…” but “not under capitalist terms.” - Does not this remind us of the marxist South African Kairos Document (1986), which demanded the tearing down of (the Reformed) Church and State? The Great Commission, i.e. Christian “proselytism,” says the WCC, “is not a legitimate way of practising evangelism…” Rather “the proclamation of the Gospel must involve transformation of societies with a view to creating just and inclusive communities.”

“Transformation of society” is the great watchword of “World Mission.” It is not the renewal of the human heart as effected by the saving work of Christ. But Jesus did not come to restructure systems. He came to save sinners! The World Council of Churches then (with its sub-councils such as the SACC) has led the Church astray, for by claiming that Christ is inherent in unbelievers, that these are saved without knowing Him, and that His Spirit is guiding them, is blasphemy. It has weakened and disturbed both Church and society.

FIRE

A world war of world views has arisen. Biblical Christians are faced by powers which strive for a One World Government and a One World Religion. The Church needs to summon all its strength to regain Scriptural Truth. If we want God to bless our countries, a new Reformation is needed. - In four years’ time (2017) Christendom will be celebrating the 500 th anniversary of the 95 theses which Martin Luther nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This courageous act set in motion a great desire for Truth, a great rediscovery of the Bible, and a great new love for our Lord Jesus Christ. In the hope that God will once again raise up His people, the Coalition on Revival (USA & RSA) has launched a 5-year plan to reform our congregations. Dr Peter Hammond of Frontline Fellowship explains: “This will work parallel with a seven-year plan to reform our communities, culminating in the 500 th anniversary of Ulrich Zwingli’s launching the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland (1519). Alongside these two movements will be a nine-year plan to reform our nations, culminating in the 500 th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther’s bold stand against the Emperor in Worms, 18 April 1521, where he exclaimed: My conscience is captive to the Word of God. Here I stand, I can do no other!”

In preparation for this endeavour, Dr Hammond has drafted a modern day version of the 95 theses, which we enclose. They summarise the dangers and demands of our own age. Please study them critically and suggest improvements. Martin Luther was a great hero of the faith, a lover of Jesus Christ, and a champion of the truth, who blessed the world for centuries to come. Let us then devote ourselves to much prayer, cast off the false visions of our time, and reaffirm the Biblical principles, which Luther so aptly summarised as: Solus Christus (Christ alone), sola scriptura (the Scriptures alone), sola gratia (by grace alone), sola fide (by faith alone).

May God find us faithful in faith, hope and love, and in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission, as we strive for Biblical Reformation and pray for Spiritual Revival. 4)

May God bless you richly,

D. Scarborough.

Footnotes

  1. Interfaith Dialogue, Wikipedia.
  2. Peter Beyerhaus, Krise und Neuaufbruch der Weltmission. 1987
  3. St Alban’s Cathedral, Pretoria, 23.11.75. The Archbishop and the Bible, Gospel Defence League 1989.
  4. Valuable Work has been done by the US Coalition on Revival in drafting sound doctrinal statements on the Authority of Scripture, the 42 Essential Articles of a Christian Worldview, A Manifesto for the Christian Church, 25 Articles on the Kingdom of God, 7 Essential Actions Local Churches Must Take, and Biblical Statements on the Sanctity of Life, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, Homosexuality, Biblical Economic Systems, Education, Freedom of Expression, The Discipline of Children and the 95 Theses for Reformation Today. For a manual of all of these, please contact the Christian Action Network, PO Box 23632, Claremont 7735; Telephone 021-689-4480/1; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

THE CHRISTIAN AFRIKANERS (4)

A Brief History of Calvinistic Afrikanerdom from 1652-1980

Rev Prof Dr Francis Nigel Lee, LL.B, ThD, PhD, STD, DMin, DEd.*

In view of the decades-long defamation of the Christian Afrikaners (which needs to be countered) we excerpt from Dr Lee’s lectures given at the Geneva Divinity School in Texas during 1980.

Diamonds and Gold  

After the establishment of the independent Calvinist Republic of the Orange Free State and British recognition of the South African Republic (Transvaal) in 1857, things went reasonably well in South Africa. Then, in 1867, diamonds were discovered on the Caledon River. Immediately, the British moved to grab the diamonds. They did this by stirring up a non-White nation called the Griquas – to claim that area for themselves. They “offered” to establish a British “Protectorate”, and thus Griqualand West was forcibly incorporated into the British Empire as a British Protectorate. That is how Kimberley, the greatest centre of diamond production in the whole world, was removed from the Orange Free State Republic and incorporated into the British-controlled Cape Colony.

While some of the Afrikaners moved on, establishing new republics ever farther to the north, gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand in 1886, near what is now Johannesburg. People poured in from all parts of the world. Exports rose. By 1910 gold represented 60% of all the wealth of South Africa, and diamonds a further 20%.

From 1875 onward, the British plotted against the Orange Free State Republic. They attacked the Orange Free State (and Transvaal), even though her freedom from Britain had been guaranteed by the British at the Sand River Convention of 1852! This led to the First South African War. After initial defeat, at the battle of Majuba the South Africans regained their independence. This was recognised at the London Convention in 1884.

The Boer War

Then a brand new factor entered onto the scene in 1885. All the European powers wanted a slice of Africa. Cecil John Rhodes, the British Governor in Cape Town, wanted to drive a wedge for Britain, from Cape Town in the south, all the way through to Cairo in the north. So the race was now on, as to whether the Germans would cut Africa in two from west to east, before the British cut Africa in two from north to south. Unfortunately for the British, an independent Calvinist Republic stood in the way. It was commanded by the colossal figure of Paul Kruger, the dour Calvinist President of the South African Republic. This would not permit the British troops to march through the territory.

War broke out on October 11th, 1899. It was a war between the whole British Empire on the one hand, and the tiny little South African Republic and the Orange Free State Republic on the other hand. The war lasted three years. There were never more than twenty thousand poorly armed farmers on the side of the South Africans, to oppose a quarter of a million troops from what was then the greatest military machine in the world. That is a pretty great disproportion! The amazing thing is that the war lasted for as long as three years. The British had moved onto the Afrikaner farms. They had burnt them down to the ground. They had herded their women and children into concentration camps behind barbed wire. Some say they even gave them doses of copper sulphate. At any rate, 26.400 White South African Calvinist women and children perished miserably, a huge slice of such a tiny nation, in the British concentration camps. The South Africans were finally defeated, succumbing with just a few armed farmers to the entire cream of the soldiery of the mighty British Empire. - The Boer War resulted in the annexation of the Old South African Republic and the Orange Free State Republic by Britain, and their incorporation into the British Commonwealth.

So it seemed in 1902 that Calvinism was finished in South Africa, at the “Calvary” of the South African and Orange Free State Republics. Yet, commemorating these events, there are two significant monuments in South Africa today. One is that of a man wounded by a dagger in his side, with the blood pouring down. Underneath it are the words: “Conquered but not Vanquished.” The other is a monument to the 26.400 Calvinist Afrikaner women and children who perished in the concentration camps. Such camps were invented not by the Germans in WWII, but (for the first time in history) by the British – against the Christian White South African nations in 1900. The Monument outside Bloemfontein portrays an Afrikaner woman looking out ahead with no husband, holding onto the Bible in her hand, and with her little children, tattered and torn, clinging to their mother’s leg. At the foot of this monument, there is a tribute to a noble Englishwoman, a wonderful nurse called Emily Hobhouse. Her name is revered in South Africa to this day. For she took care as best she could of these dying and starving Afrikaner women and children in the British concentration camps. But the most moving thing of all at that monument is the quotation from the Word of God (Hebrews chapter 13 ): “I shall never leave thee, I shall never desert thee.”

Resurrection of the Afrikaner

The Afrikaner was very depressed, both economically and spiritually. He was dispossessed and economically ruined. He became greatly impoverished. In many cases his women and children had died in the British concentration camps, his farms were burned down, and his crops destroyed. The catastrophe was awful.

Yet life had to go on. A very significant development was the establishment of the so-called “Christian National” Schools. These were privately owned, and generally started by the South African Reformed Churches – meeting in facilities owned and financed by the Church. The Church, too, of course, was struggling financially at that time. The Public Schools which had now fallen into the hands of the British conqueror, became a tool for de-calvinisation. They also became a tool for anglicisation, for turning the Afrikaner into an English speaker in the British Empire.

In 1910, a National Convention was held in South Africa for the purpose of discussing the creation of what became known as the Union of South Africa. After a great deal of talk, the people at the Convention decided on union rather than on confederation. Looking back, that was a most unwise move. Yet it was made by both sides. The two British Colonies (viz. the Cape and Natal) on the one hand, and the two Afrikaner ex-Republics (the Orange Free State and the Transvaal) on the other hand, had to make concessions towards the idea of union. They decided on two official languages, English and Afrikaans. A second difficult decision was as to which legal system to follow. It was finally decided that the system of Roman Dutch Law would prevail. However, the whole of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure in South Africa was, from this point onwards, to be derived from British Law.

They also wrestled with the racial situation, the relationship between White Afrikaner and White English and also the relationship between all Whites and all of the various Black peoples. At that time about one-quarter of the people in South Africa were White. About three fifth were Black (divided into a dozen major tribes). There were then (and still are) tribes and differences between the various Black nations. This was not really a problem back in 1910, because the Black peoples were still quite primitive. On the whole, the general stance of successive South African Govern-ments has been to allow Black customs (of marriage and land tenure etc) and to leave the Black people in their own areas (which the Whites have controlled from time to time) to determine their own destiny and to preserve their own language and culture.

There have been many White attempts to christianise these Black people, but usually not to try to turn them into “Black Europeans.” The aim has rather been to try to turn the non-Christian Blacks into Christian Blacks. It was hoped to develop the country into a system of different states in which ultimately all of the various groups of people, each living in their own area, would be Christian peoples. They would still be different from one another, but they would be united in Christ. (See Deuteronomy 32:8f; Matthew 28:19; Acts 17:26f; Revelation 15:4 and 21:24-22:2).

South Africa is the only country in the world at the moment (1980) which officially recognises the independence of Black Republics. Today (1980) one of the saddest things is that the United Nations, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, absolutely refuse to recognise the independent status and nationhood of these Black areas in South Africa. This is a very interesting phenomenon. Here are various countries, a White country and several Black countries, trading with one another and maintaining diplomatic relations with one another within Southern Africa. - But, the world humanist establishment wittingly ignores it. It implies that Vendaland, the Transkei, Bophuthatswana and all the other independent Black nations would then have to be given independent seats at the United Nations. That would indeed demonstrate to the world that the South African policy of separate development is working. That, of course, would be lethal to the liberals who do not want to see it work. For they believe in racial amalgamation and integration rather than in good neighbourliness between man and his fellow man and respect for one another’s differences and right to be different.

Well, in 1910, at the creation of the Union of South Africa, all of these future developments had to be projected as best they could. Many people had been killed, and the country itself had been ruined by war just ten years earlier, when about 25% of the population of South Africa had been Whites. By 1910 only 22% of the population of South Africa was White. By 1980, this figure had gone down to 17%. By the year 2000, it is projected that only 13% of the population of South Africa will still be White.

  • Dr Lee was Chairman of the Departments of Systematic Theology & Church History at the Queensland Presbyterian Theological Hall, Brisbane, Australia. He died at the end of 2011.

To be continued …



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