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January / February / March 2015

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     Jan/Feb/March 2015

Dear Friends,                                                                                                 

In early September 2014 an atheist group calling itself Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie (OGOD) initiated a high court action against five South African schools which observe the  Christian world view.  The national constitution, they say, is secular and demands secular education. They seem to seek a precedent ruling which will take Christ and the Bible out of all schools.  The name OGOD shows their blasphemous orientation.  For the Third Commandment says: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.” (Exodus 20)  The targeted schools are all Afrikaans. They open the day with Scripture reading and prayer, and the class rooms display crosses and Bible verses.   Many learners belong to a Christian Student Association which teaches leadership skills and an attitude of goodwill to all men.  The love of God and neighbour is paramount.

War against Protestantism
The six targeted schools are three primary schools in Gauteng: Randhart (Alberton), Baanbreker (Boksburg) and Garsfontein (Pretoria); and three high schools: Linden (Johannesburg), Hoërskool Oudtshoorn and Langenhoven Gimnasium (Oudtshoorn).   Prior to the court action no complaints had been received by teachers and parents.  But on their website the atheists are showing their colours.  They are not against the Anglican or catholic religion, or against the charismatic one, nor against the social gospel.  They want to outlaw Protestantism, especially Calvinism.  This branch of religion, with its liberty of spirit and its Protestant work ethic, has historically produced the freest, most advanced, most successful and prosperous people and nations.  Protestantism, they claim, produces “Christian elitism and faith apartheid.”

The SA Authorities are secular/humanist/animist
Though 70% of South Africans are claiming to be Christian, the political leadership of the nation is mostly secular/animist and hostile to Protestantism, claiming that Protestantism was responsible for separate development.  They accuse  the Afrikaners and create a climate in which atheists can freely agitate against Christ and Christianity. The general elections of 2014 brought a swing away from the Christian world view. President Jacob Zuma appointed a number of hard core communists to high office.  For instance, the ministries of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Minister Senseni Zokwana is chairperson of the SA Communist Party); the Ministry of Trade and Industry (Minister Rob Davies is a senior member of the SACP); and the Ministry of Economic Development (Minister Ebrahim Patel likewise) are in communist hands.  The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, is General Secretary of the South African Communist Party.  It is in these areas that the Afrikaners (Boers) are particularly affected  and which can be used to disadvantage them.

South Africa is a mainly Protestant country.  Calvinism has shaped her to a remarkable extent.  For during their rule, the Christian Afrikaners codified much of the Protestant religion into civil law.  In the 20th century, and contrary to all the propaganda against her, South Africa became the freest and richest nation  on the African continent, having to protect her borders against a huge influx of starving Africans from the north.  Since 1994, however, a humanist/communist/animist government has changed much of the law. National submission to Almighty God was renounced.  President Nelson Mandela, though worshipped worldwide as a saint, was exposed as a staunch communist. 1)  It was he who abolished public Christianity.  Righteousness fled, and sin came in.  Crime and corruption became rampant, and prosperous South Africa was plundered. Jacob Zuma, the State President, declared that corruption was not a crime in Africa.  It was  a crime only in a “Western paradigm.”  Even if called a crime, say his lawyers, it should not be punished, because there are “no victims.” 2)  Protestant Christianity stands in the way of this kind of thinking. Hence the many attempts to banish and abolish it.

The Protestant religion which the OGOD atheists want to take out of the schools, is a major bastion against godlessness.  But not all who call themselves Protestants are strong enough.  Have not even Protestant theologians questioned Jesus’ divinity?  Have they not claimed that He came to liberate man from hunger, poverty and material needs?  That he promotes equality and a “just” society?  Christ the Saviour did not come to promote a socialist world programme.  He is our Creator, our judge, our lawgiver, our king.  He saves us. (Isaiah 33:22)  He did not say: ‘God loves the poor more than the rich.’  He says:  “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5-6).  Jesus was not executed because He resisted the state authority.  He gave His life:  “Now hath he… put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:26)

  

The Belhar Confession
Whereas Russia and its Soviet satellites are turning away from the atheist Marxist religion, learned men in the West remain mesmerized by its utopian hope.  In South Africa, formerly level headed theologians are embracing liberation theology which, like atheism, is making the Gospel null and void. A major example of this is the gladness with which the Dutch Reformed Church is accepting the Belhar Confession, a document which was drafted in 1982 at the height of the South African revolution (“liberation struggle”) as a protest document against apartheid.  It was later linked to the “Accra Confession” (1989) of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, whose socialist one-world aims are sub-titled, “Covenanting for Justice in the Economy and the Earth.”  The New South Africa is now 20 years old. Apartheid was abolished a generation ago, but the Belhar Confession (BC) is being adopted only now.  Prof. Piet Meiring, a Missiologist and Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa, says: “Belhar is a beautiful present for the ChurchWhat a pity that it takes the Church so long to open it.”  3)

A few years ago, Dr Allan Boesak, one of the BC’s original author/promoters, gave South Africans a preview of what the beautiful present contained.  “Justice,” he said, means to accept homosexuals into the Church and ministry.  He was addressing the synod of the Uniting Reformed Church (URC).  The delegates disagreed.  So he angrily left the conference, laying down all his offices.  4)  Since then, Dr Fritz Gaum, former editor of Die Kerkbode, has made the same demands.  But does not God call homosexuality an abomination?  5)  In time, the “beautiful present” will bring forth even more surprises, not least a loss of language as more non-Afrikaans speakers will join the Church, demanding services in English. 6) 

God in School and Church
The court case against the Christian schools and the belated acceptance of the Belhar Confession, are a double onslaught against the Afrikaners from within their own ranks.  This is meant to destroy Protestantism and wipe out Calvinism.  It has taken more than 20 years of false guilt manipulation, anti-Afrikaner propaganda, farm murders, and affirmative action to make the Afrikaners ready to forsake their identity.

Martin Luther pointed Christendom back to the Bible, to the great principle of Sola Scriptura.  The Scriptures alone, he said, contain all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness – not councils, not synods, not traditions, nor any new manipulative theologies or political theories.  He summed up the great Protestant Truths as: Solus Christus (Christ alone), sola gratia (by grace alone), sola fide (by faith alone).  He warned:  “Where the HoIy Scriptures do not rule paramount, I advise nobody to send his child.  Everything which does not teach God’s word incessantly, must perish… I am much afraid that schools will prove to be wide gates to hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them on the hearts of the youth.  I would advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.” - He said this 500 years ago, but it is valid for today.  Who will today “earnestly contend for the faith?” (Jude 3) As the hymn says: Fight the good fight with all your might.  Christ is your strength, and Christ your right.

                                                                                                May God bless you richly

D. Scarborough.,

                                                                                          

Footnotes:     1. New Statesman, 10.12.2013,  Why Mandela’s Communist Party Membership is important.     2. City Press, 12.10.14, Zuma wanted charges dropped because corruption is a Western thing.     3. Kerkbode, Prof Piet Meiring, ‘n Mooi geskenk wat die kerk moet oopmaak, 193, No. 2, page 24, 1 August 2014.     4. Sunday Times, 5.10.08, Boesak quits church over anti-gay row.      5. Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu said he would rather go to hell than worship a homophobic god.     6. Afrikaans schools and universities have become English-speaking as ever more Blacks have registered to study in English. 

THE CHRISTIAN AFRIKANERS (10 final)

A Brief History of Calvinistic Afrikanerdom from 1652-1980 (10)

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.

Afrikaner Thought in the Unsettling Seventies

During the cultural revolution of 1970 to 1980, Dr Piet Meyer, chairman of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, wrote optimistically about the Afrikaner from the culturological and sociological viewpoint.  Dr NT van der Merwe taught Christian logic, Prof Taljaard Christian philosophy and Prof. Bennie van der Walt “The Anatomy of Reformation.”  Other leading thinkers were Dr Hennie Rossouw, Prof Pieter du Plessis, and the brothers Schalk (“Calvin’s Vocational Ethics.”) and Ben Duvenage, (“The Church and the Future…”).  Prof Willie Jonker wrote on “The Church.” -  Dr Lee also lists a great number of other thinkers, many of whom agreed with Dr Klaas Venter, that “the Christian believer’s cultural vocation and his ultimate cultural destination consist of the Christian faithfully executing his baptismal promises – and living out in practice the Christian faith which he professes in his culture... The good works required by the Heidelberg Catechism are the products of the application of the Ten Commandments…”  Prof Kleynhans, Moderator of the National Assembly of the Reformed Church, in his work “Christ the Triumphant One,” concluded: “The unstoppable progress of the Stone of Daniel two is very conspicuous.  It hits and pulverises the mighty image.  The Stone which the builders refused, has become the Headstone of the Corner – and whosoever shall fall on this Stone, shall be broken.  But on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder…  At length it becomes a Stone which covers the whole earth. (Psalm 2; Ps 118; and Matthew 21)In the realm of the future, there is place for only one kingdom – the kingdom of God… The history of the world shall lead to the day in which the kingdom of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea!”

Forward into the Future

The Eschatology of Victory of the Afrikaner

There is a significant text in Zephaniah chapter three, which reads: “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my worshippers, my dispersed ones, will bring my offerings.”  Many Christians have regarded this as a prediction of the Afrikaner’s contribution to the expansion of true Christianity worldwide – from South Africa, beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.  Be that as it may, there is no doubt at all that the Afrikaner Calvinist, as indeed many another people, has much to offer the world.  An important book published by Calvinists in South Africa, has the arresting title “The Atomic Age in Thy Light.”  The best faculties of nuclear research in South Africa have Calvinists as their Chairmen.  Also much medical work, especially in the field of heart transplant technology – as is well known – is pioneered in that land.  And so too processes of enriching uranium at a very cheap price are being pioneered there.

(In 1980) the well-known American Calvinist Dr Rousas John Rushdoony wrote me a letter from California, saying:  “I believe South Africa, although unfortunately now showing signs of drifting, is still more Christian than any other country of today, and has a major contribution to make.  South African Reformed believers are more aware of the basic issues of our time.  Too many American Reformed thinkers are prone to sentimental humanism as they view social issues!”  Prof Dr Harold Whitney of Queensland University, after having visited South Africa, said:  “But perhaps the greatest feature of Reforned Church life in South Africa is its annual Pentecost meetings.  These begin with Ascension Day and go on for the following ten days until the arrival of Whitsunday.  People are invited by their Ministers to hear the infallible Word of God.  Thousands of people throughout the land attend these Pentecost meetings, and hundreds declare for Christ.  The message of Pentecost is proclaimed.  The Holy Spirit is honoured.”

“Andrew Murray’s well-known writings on the Holy Spirit,” he continues, “are still the standard for many Reformed people in South Africa.  The South African Reformed Church is opposed to the tongues movement.  But it is not afraid to preach about the true blessing of Pentecost.  This feature of Reformed church life in South Africa each year, should be publicised abroad.  I doubt if such a spiritual phenomenon could be found anywhere else in the world.  Here is a people, the Afrikaner nation, numbering just two million souls out of a total White population of 3½ million – dedicated to the belief in an infallible Bible; of strongly Calvinistic leanings; with widespread emphasis on discipline at both ministerial and lay levels.  It holds annual ten-day Pentecost meetings, where the results challenge the entire Reformed Church throughout the land.  Such a Church, with such an emphasis… could become the spearhead for national revival through a revived church…

Not only the inspirational side of the Reformed Church’s activities, but its missionary outreach and its theological and university training is of first rate importance.  Very large sums of money are annually given to promote missionary work among the Black Africans.  The bias of theological training is strongly conservative and very scholarly…”

The Rev Dick Begbie of the Evangelical Church of England in South Africa, is a retired Colonel of the British Army who went to settle in South Africa.  In a written statement Begbie declared that it was not the English-speaking forty percent but the Afrikaans-speaking sixty percent of the White population of South Africa which held the serious view that righteousness alone exalts a nation.  “It was the Afrikaans section of the nation, those of the Reformed persuasion, who were the real hope of South Africa’s future.”  This statement from one who was a Colonel in the British Army before being ordained, speaks volumes for the strength and moral stability of the Reformed Church of South Africa, which is the real backbone of the Afrikaans people.

Unpalatable as it is for us who are English speaking to hear such things as this, plus the added fact that it is not the English-speaking but the Afrikaans students who are securing the top places in school examinations in South Africa, the blunt truth remains that a liberal theology produces a liberal discipline.  And a liberal discipline soon degenerates into a licence which spurns laborious tasks and seeks the easy way out.  I repeat, the future of South Africa as a nation is with the sober-minded sixty percent of the Whites who are traditionally wedded to the belief that righteousness alone exalts a nation – the Afrikaners, who embrace the conservative view of the Book which preaches this austere yet salutary truth.  I look to see revival in South Africa come from this Afrikaans-speaking segment of the South African Church.

Christians today must be able to ward off the attacks of the devil and his agents.  They must actually take the offensive.  They are commanded to wield the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  With a secularistic society no longer optimistic as to its ultimate success, humanist society is more and more torn apart by doubt and despair.  The doom theologians have pessimistically made a major contribution to the state of defeatism of many of the present-day people of God.

God did not create His earth in vain.  He formed it to be inhabited; to be subdued; to be Christianised; and to be filled with the knowledge of His glory.  This teaching of Scripture, then, is the ultimate ground of our confidence.  For we are to pray each day, as enjoined by the Lord Jesus Himself:  “Thy kingdom come! For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory – forever!”

As the prayer says:      In thy power, Almighty, trusting, did our fathers build of old;

                                    Strengthen then, o Lord, their children to defend, to love, to hold –

                                    That the heritage they gave us for our children yet may be,

Bondsmen only of the Highest and before the whole world free.

As our fathers trusted humbly, teach us, Lord, to trust Thee still,

Guard our land and guide our people in Thy way to do Thy will.

______________________________________________________________________________________

  • 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.


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