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October/ November/ December 2013

GOSPEL DEFENCE LEAGUE

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October/ November/ December 2013
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Dear Friends,


On 19 September 2013 Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, made a memorable speech about the present cultural decline of the West which, for two millennia, had been the stronghold of Christianity and had been called Christendom. The West, he said, was in decline because in all areas of life it was putting Satan on the same level as God – e.g. marriage is put on a par with homosexual unions, bearing children is as valid as having an abortion (child murder), peace is equal to war and democracy is equated with bank feudalism. He said: “We see that many Euro-Atlantic states (the West) are busy denying or rejecting their own roots, including the Christian roots which have been the foundation of Western civilisation. - In these states the moral foundations and every traditional identity are being denied – national, religious, cultural and even sexual identities are denied. They pursue policies by which large families are put on the same level as homosexual partnerships; such politics equate faith in God with faith in Satan. 

Europe’s Self-Destruction
“In many European countries,” he continued, “people feel embarrassed and are downright afraid to speak openly about their religious affiliation. - In Europe Christian holy days and feasts are being abolished or renamed. It is as if the people are ashamed of these celebrations. In this way they hide or conceal the deeper moral value of these festivities. - Those states also try to aggressively force this model onto other countries all over the world. I am deeply convinced that this will lead directly to the decay and primitivisation of culture. It will lead to ever greater demographic and moral crises in the West… What then can be better evidence of the moral crisis of Western society than the loss of their (biological) reproduction? Today, almost all Western ‘developed’ countries cannot maintain themselves reproductively.   Not even with the help of migrants.” -

 

(Indeed, one of the greatest blessings of God is offspring. The Bible says: “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children are a reward from him. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” [Psalm 127:3] D.S.)


Putin concluded: “Without the moral values inherent in Christianity (and in other world religions), without the norms and moral values which have been formed and developed over millennia, men will inevitably lose their human dignity and become brutes. - We maintain that it is right and natural to defend these moral Christian values and to watch over them...” 1)      


The above speech comes from a man who lived and rose to prominence under the dehumanising system of Soviet Communism. He was one of its agents, a leading officer (Colonel) of the KGB in Russia and East Germany in the aftermath of Stalin’s purges which cost 20 million lives, mostly of Christians. But when, after the fall of the Soviet empire he looked back, he concluded: Without Christian faith and morals man becomes a dehumanised brute and his society becomes primitive.
 

South Africa
Since “liberation” in 1994, South Africa has adopted the same suicidal pattern. It has followed the secularisation policies of the First World and become the crime capital of the globe. 5900 crimes are reported by the South African Police Service every day. 161.000 people have been murdered in the past 10 years. Every 17 seconds a woman/child is raped, and R650 billion have been lost to corruption since 1994. 2) Nearly 4000 farmers have been murdered, rewarded with death for providing life (food). 3)   In this situation the South African authorities seem to be fixated on viewing law as either “apartheid law” or “democratic law.” They have spurned much of the old law founded on Christianity and instead embraced the laws of secular humanism.   When formulating or applying these laws they tolerate no moral arguments, but falsely claim that morality has no part in law. However, ALL LAW is legislated morality. The only question is: By whose authority is it validated? By the authority of a holy God, or by the authority of sinful man?
 

Moral arguments are rejected especially in discussions on moral issues, such as pornography, homosexuality and prostitution. The persistent attempt of TopTV to bring pornography into our sitting rooms by launching three hard-core pornographic channels in South Africa on 1 December 2013 (just before Christmas!), is a telling example. Countrywide objections have availed nothing, and the Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA), had to go to court for an urgent interdict to stop porn on SA TV. So serious is this issue, that even a group of schoolgirls joined JASA in the legal battle.

Morality
President Putin’s warning shows how far Russia has turned its back on Soviet doctrine which, in spite of massive financial and material support from the West, was responsible for the collapse of its empire   It also shows how deeply South Africa has opened itself up to the same destructive philosophy. South Africa’s rulers are much affected by the great prophets of materialism, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.  


   “We reject every attempt to impose on us any moral dogma whatsoever as an external, ultimate and forever immutable moral law,” said Engels. And Lenin added: “Our morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of the class struggle…” 3)

   The Bible, however, demands godliness to ensure well-being. God says: “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction… For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land… Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers.” (Deuteronomy 30;15-20)


In the New South Africa state policy decrees that the knowledge of God be withheld from school children and students. Young people learn that there is no divine Judge, no Lawgiver, no King and no Saviour but that a big bang created a world out of nothing and without meaning. “The materialist (i.e. communist),” said Lenin, “consigns God, and the philosophical rabble that defends God, to the rubbish heap.” And “every religious idea, every idea of every god, even every flirtation with a god, is an unspeakable abomination…” 4) By contrast, Christendom has built its civilisation on the knowledge that ”in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” (Genesis 1:1) and that “there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) It has taught every new generation: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)


Certain conditions in present South Africa, especially the waywardness and brutalisation of the youth, lead to social calamity. “All who hate God love death,” (Proverbs 8:36) and the death toll is highest among the youth. Yet, thankfully, there are many devout Christians who love the Lord and remember His sabbaths, who rejoice that He sent His Son into the world for our salvation.  
 

It is humbling that a man like Putin from an atheist background has to remind us of the treasure of our heritage. Though he is a most unlikely evangelist, let us listen to him. In Europe God, by His Power and Spirit, built up   a unique civilisation by which all the peoples of the earth were blessed, especially also South Africa.


At this holy time of Christmas when we can rise above our material existence, let us look at things eternal. Let us rejoice that God so loved us, that He gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Let us tell ourselves: Man is not a material being. He is a living soul! He belongs to God. He knows that God in Jesus Christ offers him a choice between the unspeakable joys of heaven and the horrors of Hell. What we do with Christ will decide what He will do with us. “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:12) For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Let us pray: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13) “… and the whole family was filled with joy, because they had come to believe in God.” (Acts 16:34) Let us “rejoice that our names are written in heaven,” (Luke 10:20) “because I know whom I have believed…” (2 Timothy 1:12) 

                                                                                                May God bless you richly,
                                                                                                         D. Scarborough.                         


Footnotes:

1.        Der Südafrika-Deutsche, “Russland wird sich bekehren und Europa zur Hölle fahren,” No. 809, 2.10.2013.     2. CrimeStats South Africa, Crime Stats simplified, Internet 2013.     3. Wikipedia, South African Farm Attacks.     4. Lee, Dr Francis Nigel, Communism: a Christian Evaluation.     5. Ibid.


THE CHRISTIAN AFRIKANERS (7)
A Brief History of Calvinistic Afrikanerdom from 1652-1980

By Rev Prof Dr Francis Nigel Lee, LLB, 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.

 


 

The Afrikaner’s Backbone: His Calvinistic Church
 

It has often been said that the Church is the backbone of the Afrikaner people. The strength of the people, that which has sustained them through many, many crises, has unquestionably been a rigorous Calvinism. The Reformed Church was brought to South Africa in 1652 by governor Johan van Riebeeck MD, the first Governor of the Cape. You will remember that he prayed on the seashore near Cape Town that the Reformed religion would be disseminated throughout the land. This was the Church of strict Dordt subscription to the five points of Calvinism, to the Belgic Confession from Holland, and to the Heidelberg Catechism from Germany.


Anglicisation not successful
However, from 1806 onward, the British began to arrive in strength. Holland sold her Cape colony to the British, you will recall, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the French who were overrunning Europe. The British brought to the Cape: Anglicanism, Methodism, and a small amount of Roman Catholics and Baptists. However, they also brought a considerable amount of Presbyterians. The British tried desperately to anglicise the Afrikaner people not only in language but also in religion. They imported a large number of Scottish Presbyterian preachers. At one time, more than half of all South African preachers were Scotsmen, the MacGregors, Moffats and Livingstones, the Robertsons, Browns and MacDonalds, and of course the Murrays – postmillennialists to a man. - Livingstone is a particularly famous figure in South Africa. Before he departed from Scotland he wrote to his wife, the daughter of the equally famous Robert Moffat: “I will go as a missionary to Africa, no matter who opposes… We work for a glorious future which we ourselves are not destined to see. We are only the morning stars shining in the dark. But the glorious morn will break!”- “Christianity will triumph!”
 

Dr Andrew Murray
The greatest and most famous of all the Scottish Preachers was the father of the world famous Dr Andrew Murray. He was soon afrikanerised and became the Minister of the Reformed Church in Graaff-Reinet. Dr Andrew Murray grew up in that Reformed manse. He was instrumental as a South African student, in fighting against Dutch theological liberalism. Back in South Africa, he soon became known as a godly man of great prayer and humility. In 1853 he represented the Orange Free State at the political independence talks in England. In 1860 he pioneered the annual ten day Pentecost Prayer Meetings. And in 1862 he became Moderator of the General Assembly of the Reformed Church of South Africa. He was instrumental in liberating the South African Church from the control of the British-dominated South African State. The three greatest characteristics that should mark the life of any Christian, he said, should be humility, humility and humility. It was a time of great revivals throughout the world, and great revivals also swept South Africa. Andrew Murray became a great power in education and got very much involved in the christianisation of the school system. He also became concerned about the social welfare services. He even pioneered a system of daily readings of the Bible called “Uit die Beek” to encourage people to read their Bible and meditate every day, and wrote many other devotional books. He established the Huguenot College in his town of Wellington which, to this day, offers courses to train not only Missionaries but especially Social Workers, to help the poor and needy and to rehabilitate people. His prayer was: “Lord Jesus, it is in Thee that the Father hath again crowned man with glory and honour and opened the way for us to be what He would have us be. O Lord, have mercy on Thy people and visit Thine heritage! Work mightily in Thy Church and teach Thy believing disciples to go forth in their royal priesthood and in the power of prayer to which Thou hast given such wonderful promises, to serve Thy kingdom; to have rule over the nations; and to make the Name of God glorious in the earth!”
 

In 1857 Reformed Christians in South Africa of Coloured skin sent a petition to the General Assembly to be allowed to separate from the White churches and to congregate by themselves in their own churches. A lot of the preaching, they felt, then delivered by White Ministers, was unsuitable for their needs. So a new denomination was launched, the NG Sendingkerk. - Some of the White Reformed Churches also seceded, mainly because of liberal influences.

Reaching out
After the Anglo Boer War, a godly leader known as Rev Dr John Daniel Kestell became very concerned about the “Poor White” problem and the economic uprooting of his people. And so he established an organisation known as the “Reddingsdaadbond”, the “Association for Accomplishing the Deed of Salvation.” This would try to re-educate the defeated Afrikaner people especially in the field of economics to teach them pride again. It strove to show them how to rise up from their defeat and to become economically self-sufficient. It involved establishing many towns on the edge of the desert, to which penniless “Poor Whites” were geographically transported, and were shown how to work in the development of these towns, while getting on their feet again economically. **) But the true greatness of Kestell is seen as the translator of the Revised Version of the Afrikaans Bible. He wanted the true seed of the Church, the covenant children, to understand the Bible translation loud and clear.


The diaconal work of the Reformed Churches is vast. At first they ran only schools and hospitals. Today (1980), they run homes for unwedded mothers, rehabilitation centres for “Poor whites”, homes for orphans, old age homes, youth hostels, rehabilitation centres for alcoholics and drug addicts, street-preaching stations, schools for the deaf and the blind, and cripple-care centres. All of this is done in the Name of Jesus and for Christ’s sake. For in Matthew 25 Jesus says: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” The Church is also much involved in organising conventions about social evils, Protestant Action, fighting communism, and promoting National Education. Indeed, the Church often makes pronouncements even against the State Government’s policies.


There is also a massive missionary outreach of the South African Reformed Churches into Rhodesia, into Nigeria, and into various other parts of Africa. There are denominational missions to Jews and Moslems, even missions to embassies throughout Europe and to communist seamen coming into our ports. There is a tremendous emphasis on Reformation Sunday. The Ten Commandments are read every Sunday from the pulpit, and the Apostle’s Creed is then professed by the people.  


Education based on the Bible
One of the three documents that govern the outlook of the Afrikaner Churches is the Heidelberg Catechism. In its exposition of the Fourth Commandment it requires God’s people to maintain schools: daily study for daily work! Exodus 20: 8-11 says: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” One could also put education under the Fifth Commandment in terms of honouring your father and your mother, and in terms of raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)


From the establishment of the Cape Colony in 1652 right down to the British occupation there existed a system of Christian National Schools in which the Church played a big role. It was not a system of Church Schools as such, but a system of Calvinist Public Schools in which the Church played a considerable part (2 Chronicles 17). But after the British takeover of the Cape, by 1820, the whole character of the Public School System changed. To a great extent it was de-Calvinised, and this became one of the fundamental causes of the Great Trek. Many South Africans moved away from the Cape, taking with them some schoolteachers and preachers, and setting up mobile Christian National Schools while moving into the interior of Africa. In the Calvinist republics to the north National Public Education became the rule. But after the Anglo Boer War the British non-Christian statist public education was extended to all the conquered territories. After the Union of South Africa was established the Calvinists slowly asserted themselves again. In 1920 the University of Potchefstroom for Christian Higher Education was created by a private Act of Parliament, a state University which was thoroughly Calvinistic and which could refuse to employ anyone who would not undertake to teach his subjects from a strongly Calvinistic perspective. Other universities were re-Calvinised. If you go to Stellenbosch today (1980) you will find the most prestigious university in South Africa, a real ivy-league university steeped in tradition. Nearly all the students attend Calvinist church services every Sunday. Indeed, a large number are also involved in missionary work. At some of the younger universities this is also very pronounced. Towards the 1970s the Calvinist educators had, ever-increasingly, recaptured control of public education from kindergarten through to PhD level.



·         Dr Lee was Chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology & Church History at the Queensland Presbyterian
Theological Hall, Brisbane, Australia. He died at the end of 2011.           To be continued…


**. Kestell also had a role in launching some very valuable books, e.g. Koers in die Krisis and others, setting out the programme to move forward toward the conquest of the earth, not just in church affairs, but also in politics, anthropology, biology, zoology and all themajor fields of learning.




 



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