June / July 2009


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June/July 2009

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Dear Friends,

In July 2009 the world remembers the 500 th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. This will be celebrated in South Africa by an International Calvin-Commemoration Conference at the University of Stellenbosch from 30.8.-2.9.2009. 1) - Calvin was the most important of the second generation of Reformers of the 16 th century, and much of his work was built on that of Martin Luther. His teachings greatly affected Western Christendom. He systematised the Christian religion in his “Institutes”, founded an academy in Geneva and sent out ministers who, in France alone, established over 2000 Reformed congregations. He taught the separation of church and civil government - each standing independent of the other, yet recognising the other’s divine authority. His ideals were religious toleration, representative government, constitutional monarchy, rights for citizens, and the Christian work ethic.

The spirit of Calvin

Calvin was a deeply devout man. His motto was: “Promptly and sincerely in the service of God.” His personal emblem was a heart aflame in the hands of God. Born in France and called to Geneva, he made the latter into a centre of faith and freedom where persecuted Christians from all over Europe found a safe haven. In all this his chief prayer was: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

South Africa, too, was shaped by Calvinism. Jan van Riebeeck, his wife and companions were Calvinist Christians. The Dutch East India Company was committed to Protestant principles. Other arrivals at the Cape, and especially the Huguenots, stood for faith and freedom. So in South Africa, from the beginning, the triune God was worshipped, the Church was held in honour, Christian laws were established, and the native populations evangelised. The Word of God was so firmly established that, nearly 250 years later, the historian d’Arbez could say: “Nowhere on earth has Calvin’s work remained more alive than in South Africa, where the spirit of Calvin has not yet been weakened by twentieth century influences… If John Calvin were to rise today from his unknown grave on the shores of Lake Geneva to walk once again on the earth, then it would undoubtedly be only in faraway South Africa that he would find the fundamental principles of the doctrine for which he lived and worked still in a pure and uncorrupted form.” 2)

Puritan or liberal?

But in the last decades of the 20 th century these things changed. During the revolutionary “liberation struggle” a spirit of contempt for the truths of God arose. “Liberation theologians” declared that God’s law and Calvin’s teachings were “oppressive”. The people, they said, should be “liberated” from them. Rejecting Christian missions, a new elite started to dismantle the Reformed heritage. They wrote a secular humanist constitution (1996) and removed God’s sovereignty from the nation. They exchanged the Ten Commandments for a Declaration of Human Rights. With the National Gambling (1996) and the Film and Publications Acts (1996) they embraced chance and luck and pornography. They allowed abortion (1996) and abolished capital punishment (1997). The effects were far-reaching - like those described in Romans 1: “Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile… Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man…” As a nation, South Africa cast off much of her Christian heritage and encouraged the people to become their own god.

Women or prostitutes?

A spiritual downward slide, however, tends to accelerate. The Bible says: “Because of this, God gave them over to “shameful lusts,” to “indecent acts,” to “perversion,” to “greed and depravity.” (Romans 1:18-32) Since 2000, “homosexual marriage” was legalised, and the laws of nature were overturned. Today, in 2009, the Decriminalisation of Prostitution is planned. We are told that the “demands of the Constitution” and of “Ubuntu”, of the Fifa Games and of other “international obligations,” require a change of the law. This is to replace the old puritan “apartheid law”. To gauge public opinion the SA Law Reform Commission (SALRC) held public workshops throughout South Africa and presented four different models for regulating adult prostitution. The first option is total criminalisation (which is the current legal position). The second option is partial criminalisation (which forbids soliciting, brothel-keeping and living off the earnings while the prostitute herself is free from criminal sanction). The third option is non-criminalisation (which focusses on self-regulation of the ‘industry’ by pimps and prostitutes). The fourth option is regulation of adult prostitution (which makes prostitution legal but state-regulated).

At the Cape Town Workshop the SALRC presenters spoke of ‘sex workers’ and the ‘sex industry’ as if they were talking of regular employment, not the cruel exploitation of women. At times it sounded as if prostitution was seen as a human right, i.e. a woman’s right to do with her body what she likes. Though most participants were Christians, religious arguments were not welcome. The nature and purpose of Woman in God’s order was not mentioned.

In spite of the present prohibitions, prostitution is rife in South Africa. According to a report in Beeld (3.6.2009) there are 10.000 child prostitutes in Johannesburg alone, and SAPSA, a body investigating child abuse, claims that girls are sold by their families for between R2500 and R12.000. They are bought to earn for their “owners” between R1500 and R5000 per day. - The Catholic Archbishop Lawrence Henry of Cape Town has therefore called for action against such human trafficking. He said, an estimated 12,3 million people are trafficked globally every year. Children as young as ten are lured into the child sex industry, and child sex tourism is flourishing in some South African cities. “The Second Vatican Council,” he said, “pointed to ‘slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, and disgraceful working conditions where people are treated as instruments of gain rather than free and responsible persons’, as ‘infamies’ which poison human society, debase their perpetrators and constitute ‘a supreme dishonour to the Creator.’” 3)

Treated as instruments of gain.

At the end of the SALRC Workshop we were asked to fill in a questionnaire, and the Gospel Defence League pleaded (in the required non-religious terms) that “prostitution should not be decriminalised.” – “Women are the mothers of the nation,” we said. “They have a divine calling to bear and bring up good citizens. They should be protected by law against exploitation and degradation... South Africa’s Constitution demands respect, human rights and dignity for them. In fact, we celebrate public holidays which include Women’s Day, Family Day, Youth Day, Heritage Day and Human Rights Day… The liberalisation and legalisation of prostitution… will bring this nation low and gravely affect the new generation in whom so much hope has been placed for a better South Africa.”

When John Calvin ministered in Geneva, he encouraged the city council to outlaw immorality and establish Christian laws. Martin Luther, too, pleaded with the princes of Germany to rule by Christian principles. Both became builders of righteousness, and when righteousness flourished the people were blessed. 700 years earlier, Alfred the Great, the West Saxon King in England, also based his famous “Dooms” firmly on the law of God. They start with the words: “The Lord spake these words to Moses, and thus said: I am the Lord thy God. I led thee out of the land of the Egyptians, and of their bondage, (1) Love thou not other strange gods above me. (2) Utter thou not my name idly, for thou shalt not be guiltless towards me if thou utter my name idly. (3) Remember that thou hallow the rest-day. Work for yourselves six days, and on the seventh rest. For in six days Christ wrought the heaven and the earth, the seas, and all creatures that are in them, and rested on the seventh day; and therefore the Lord hallowed it.” Most of Alfred’s 77 “dooms” are taken directly from the Book of Exodus.

When we compare the spirit of those times with our own, we cannot fail but notice that the god of our New World is Mammon. Anything goes – as long as it makes money. But Mammon is a heartless master and a hater of God and man. Many of the new South African laws favour him. - Modern man tends to think that money is neutral, but it is not. God looks upon covetousness and greed as idolatry, (Col.3:5) and idolatry as prostitution. (Hosea) - Even though the SALRC representatives claim that “legislators cannot take religion into account,” they are dealing with a highly religious matter. Even though they say, “the state cannot legislate morality,” it is a fact that all law is legislated morality. Murder, theft, adultery, and other socially destructive sins are punished in every culture. In South Africa humanistic law is presently supplanting Christian law, and this causes tensions.

As a nation, we have come a long way since Calvin’s principles were applied to matters of state and society. In general, our civil law was Christian moral law applied to social and civic life. This law made South Africa the foremost country in Africa. But it is being broken down, and South Africa’s strength is declining.

John Calvin, the great French Reformer, showed the world how, by application of God’s principles to every area of life, a peaceful, prosperous, and free civil life can be achieved, for “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) He made Geneva into a centre of learning, a haven of refuge, a place of righteousness. He said: “The main care and concern of our life should be to seek God. We should long for Him with all the affection of our hearts, and not find rest and peace anywhere except in Him alone.” - By this standard the West was won, and by this standard South Africa can be restored.

May God bless you richly,

D. Scarborough.


  • Please contact Prof. Pieter Coertzen, University of Stellenbosch, Tel 021-808-3576 (w) or 021-887-2619 (h) or cell 076-180-9366, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • D’Arbez, Het Leven van Johannes Calvin.
  • Gaudium et Spes #27, Southern Cross, 13,5,09. Archbishop: Act on human trafficking.

How can South Africa find Prosperity?


The principles below are from the Franschhoek Declaration passed at the Christian Action Network Conference of 3.7.2007.

They are based on the International Church Council Project (ICCP) adopted at Knox Seminary, Fort Lauderdale, in 2003.


Statements of Affirmation and Denial

Article 10:

We affirm that one rule of civil government is to create an infrastructure, and a climate of justice and order, in which individuals are encouraged to create, develop, and produce products and services helpful to mankind, and to the earth’s creatures and environment.

We deny that civil government’s function is to manipulate, manage, or control economics, or the productivity of its citizens.

Exodus 20:15 - “You shall not steal.”

Deuteronomy 1:16-17 - “Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid… for judgment belongs to God.”

Deuteronomy 16:18-20 - “Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe… Follow justice and justice alone…”

Psalm 125:3 - “The sceptre of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous.”

Proverbs 29:2 - “When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.”

Romans 13:3-4 - “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.”

Ephesians 4:28 - “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work… that he may share with those in need.”

Article 11

We affirm that economic prosperity grows out of the freedom of the individual to labour and to receive for himself the rewards of his labour, and that history demonstrates that this is true.

We deny that civil government has the ability to produce lasting wealth through the organised production, or by the implementation of Marxist, communistic, or socialistic principles. We further deny that there is any example in history where civil government organised production, or where Marxist, communistic, or socialistic principles have inured to the long term benefit of its people, or to the production of wealth.

Article 12

We affirm that though all men are created equal in regard to their rights and liberties, yet they are not created equal in their intellectual, creative, or physical abilities, and that these inequities are a factor in an individual’s ability to produce wealth.

We deny that all people have the same intellectual or physical ability, or that all people should expect to enjoy the same level of productivity or wealth.

Leviticus 19:15 - “To not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly.”

Proverbs 17:5 - “He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.”

Proverbs 22:2 - “Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.”

Mk 14:7 - “The poor you will always have with you…you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”

Luke 19:12-27 - “A man of noble birth… called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work, he said…”

Acts 10:34 - “I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him.”

Romans 12:6-8 - “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us… contributing to the needs of others…”

1 Corinthians 12:12ff - “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts… So it is with Christ.”

Galatians 3:28 - “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Article 13

We affirm that the Christian is called to the compassionate use of wealth which includes a call to assist the poor and needy.

We deny that a Christian worldview allows for the selfish use or hoarding of wealth.

Exodus 22:25 - “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy… charge him no interest.”

Deuteronomy 15:7-8,11 - “If there is a poor man among your brothers… do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted…”

Deuteronomy 24:14-15 - “Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy… Pay him his wages… before sunset.”

Psalm 68:10 - “From your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.”

Proverbs 14:21, 31 - “He who despises his neighbour sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy…”

Proverbs 19:17 - “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.”

Proverbs 22:16 - “He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich – both come to poverty.”

Proverbs 28:8 - “He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.”

Ephesians 4:28 - “He who has been stealing must steal no longer… that he may have something to share with those in need.”

Colossians 3:5 - “Put to death, therefore… evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

1 Timothy 6:10, 17-19 - “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

Article 14

We affirm that God gives the individual the responsibility to make choices as to how he will use his wealth.

We deny that civil government has the duty or right to redistribute wealth, or to direct the individual in the use of his wealth, so long as the individual is not acting immorally.

Exodus 20:15 - “You shall not steal.”

Proverbs 10:15-16 - “The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.”

Proverbs 22:16 - “He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich – both come to poverty.”

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 - “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.”

Matthew 25:14-30 - “It will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them… The man who had received the five talents brought the other five… His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!”

2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 - “If a man will not work, he shall not eat. We hear that some among you are idle…”

Article 15

We affirm that it is the responsibility of the Church to teach the fundamental principles of Biblical economics, and to equip its people to discern between Biblical and unBiblical economic activities and systems.

We deny that the learning of, or practice of Biblical economics is optional to the Christian, or that the ministry of the Church may be deemed successful without diligent training of is people in Biblical economics.

Deuteronomy 28:1-68 - “If you fully obey the LORD your God… [he] will set you high above all the nations on earth… You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country… However, if you do not obey… the LORD will send on you curses.”

Psalm 119:142 - “Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.”

Romans 1:20 - “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities… have been clearly seen…”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”

Hebrews 4:12 - “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates…”

Article 16

We affirm that tithing (which is 10%) is a fundamental Biblical economic principle.

We deny that tithing does not apply to Christians today, or that a Christian’s economic duty is fulfilled when tithing is not practised.

Genesis 14:18-19 - “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine... Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”

Leviticus 27:30-32 - “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.”

Malachi 3:8-12 - “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.”

Matthew 23:23 - “Woe to you, teachers of the law… you give a tenth of your spices… but you have neglected justice…”

Article 17

We affirm that every man who practises Biblical economics may expect God’s blessing of provision and increase upon his labours, and that God is ultimately sovereign in economics, and may for his own purposes withhold economic blessing.

We deny that man should labour without hope, or that there is any formula that will automatically, and without fail, inure to economic prosperity, or that God’s sovereignty is excluded from the realm of economics.

Job 1:21 - “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall depart. The LORD gave and the Lord has taken away…”

Proverbs 22:29 - “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.”

Ecclesiastes 9:11 - “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong… but time and chance happen to them all.”

Haggai 2:15-19 - “Consider how things were… when anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, and there were only ten.”

Matthew 5:45 - God “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.”

Matthew 20:11-16 - “Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go.”

Matthew 21:33-43 - At harvest time “he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. The tenants seized his servants…”

1 Cor. 9:9-10 - “When the ploughman ploughs and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing…”

Hebrews 11:32-40 - “None of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us…”

Article 18

We affirm that there is only one legitimate economic theory for all people of all cultures, which is the Biblical economic theory.

We deny that there are multiple valid economic theories.

Deuteronomy 8:18-20 - “Remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…”

Proverbs 14:34 - “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

Proverbs 20:10 - “Differing weights and differing measures – the LORD detests them both.”

Ezekiel 5: 5-8 - “This is Jerusalem… Yet in her wickedness… she has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees.”

John 16:13 - “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

John 17:17 - “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

Romans 1:18-22 - “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men…”

Romans 2:14-16 - “When the Gentiles… do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves.”

1 Timothy 6:3-6 - “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

James 4:1-10 - “What causes fights and quarrels… You want something but don’t get it… because you do not ask God.”

Revelation 20:12-15 - “I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened…”

Land Invasions & Unlawful Seizure of Private Property : (Romans 3:15-17; 2 Peter 2:19)

Exodus 20:15-17 - “You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony… You shall not covet…”

Jeremiah 12:4 - “How long will the land lie parched and the grass in every field be withered…?”

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