April / May / June 2013


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April/May/June 2013

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Dear Friends,

From 30 October to 8 November, 2013, the World Council of Churches will hold its 10th General Assembly in Busan, Korea. The theme of the Conference is “God of Life, Lead us to Justice and Peace.”   For this auspicious occasion, it has drafted a new statement on mission and evangelism, titled “Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes.”

The Great Commission
The chief commandment that Jesus Christ gave to His Church is the Great Commission. After His Resurrection and before His Ascension, Jesus said to His disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-19)

This commandment was particularly meaningful to the World Mission Conference of Edinburgh in 1910, a meeting of all the major Protestant denominations and missionary societies of the USA and Northern Europe. It was a very hopeful event, and its participants were looking forward to “the Evangelisation of the World in this Generation.” The Spirit was such that it was seen as the culmination of 19th century Protestant Missions.

The World Council of Churches, though only founded in 1948, regards itself as the heir of this conference. One of its first major actions was to bring the International Missionary Council into its fold in 1962. It did not, however, encourage it to Biblical Missions, but to reinterpret Missions in political terms until, by 1973, at its mission conference in Bangkok, the WCC actually called for a “Moratorium on Missions.” Missionaries were withdrawn from all parts of the world, and their fatherless congregations introduced to liberation theology, to think and act in terms of a class and race struggle. By the 1980s the major activity of the WCC was “combatting racism.” All over the world it championed so-called liberation movements (e.g. the ANC, ZANU, MPLA, FRELIMO etc in Southern Africa) and supported marxist terrorists with church funds, while the cries of Christians persecuted under Communism were neither heard nor heeded. When, in the 1980s and ‘90s, the “liberation movements” became legitimate governments, their first action was to abolish public Christianity.          

Since that time of “liberation” the WCC has had to re-evaluate its aims. With racism supposedly overcome, what is its true mission now? For its forthcoming 10th General Assembly, the World Council of Churches has published a Mission Statement (for acceptance by its member Churches) entitled: “Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes.” This document, however, does not signify a return to the Bible. Its content is strongly anti-Western and very disdainful of traditional missions and missionaries. These noble servants of God, who literally laid down their lives for the Gospel, are falsely imputed to having been “motivated by an attitude of paternalism and a superiority complex…” What a missionary needs, says the WCC, is “a commitment to struggle.” He must “resist the powers that obstruct the fullness of life.” (p8) Mission should not be carried out “by the powerful to the powerless, by the rich to the poor, or by the privileged to the marginalized. Such approaches can contribute to oppression.” – Churches are called to “transform power structures.” (p 7) Favouring a One World socialism and a One World religion, the WCC calls for “dialogue” with atheists and heathens, “in order to discern how Christ is already present” in them. In short, the WCC advocates the same revolutionary “Liberation Theology” which it promoted in the 1970s and ‘80s.

“Sin” is seen only in the social, political and economic “structures.” That is why these have to be “transformed.” The Bible, however, says: “All [mankind] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Therefore, “God – who is perfectly merciful and also very just – sent his Son to assume the nature in which the disobedience had been committed, in order to bear in it the punishment of sin by his most bitter passion and death.” (The Belgic Confession, Article 20).

The Lausanne Movement
Towards the latter part of the 20th century, the world’s Evangelicals had become very unhappy about the WCC’s falsification of Missions. In 1974, they met in Lausanne, Switzerland, for a Congress on World Evangelization, led by Rev John RW Stott and the great evangelist Billy Graham. They wanted to create an evangelical counter movement to the revolutionary ecumenical World Council of Churches. They wanted to reaffirm the Great Commission and therefore drafted a “Commitment” which was renewed at two subsequent Congresses, in Manila 1989 and in Cape Town, 2010.

In 2010, a hundred years after the great World Missions Conference of Edinburgh, the third Lausanne Congress met in Cape Town. It was a huge gathering of 4200 delegates from 197 countries. In a gesture of exceeding graciousness the organisers had invited Rev Olav Fykse Tveit, the Norwegian General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, to come with a delegation from the WCC. In his address Rev Tveit said, the geographic distance between Geneva (WCC headquarters) and Lausanne was not very great, and he hoped that the theological distance of the two movements (WCC and Lausanne) would also soon be overcome. In later talks he said that the Evangelicals had in any case already adopted a concept of Missions which was not much different from that of the WCC, stating: “That which the Evangelicals condemned particularly sharply at the Bangkok Conference, has now become their own understanding of mission.” 2)

The New Watchword of Evangelical Mission - “Transformation.”
In the first (1974) “Lausanne Commitment” it says (3rd Article): “Jesus Christ has given Himself as the only salvation for sinners. He is the only mediator between God and man… All men are lost in sin, but God loves them all. He does not want that anyone be lost, but that everyone would come to repentance. Whoever rejects Christ, however, disdains the joy of salvation and condemns himself to eternal separation from God.” Since this Biblical statement was made, evangelical missions have changed. They have increasingly emphasised not only the transformation of the heart of man, but also the transformation of society. Economic and social projects, such as community development, have become ever more important, even such utopian projects as halving world poverty by a certain date. Missionaries still prioritise the saving of souls, but in wanting to build the Kingdom of God here and now, some Missions are pursuing political aims. They speak of a “missional theology” which is “holistic and incarnatory” and aims at the transformation of all areas of life, i.e. of society, politics, culture, psychology, marketing, medicine etc.

Recently at a Sunday Service in Cape Town, the minister wanted to encourage us to evangelism. At a seminar he had learned that a Christian should not just ‘proclaim’ Christ, but rather ‘live’ Christ. A godly woman, he said, instead of telling others of Christ, might invite her friends to bake bread for the needy in the community. Then the beneficiaries would ask: Why are you doing this? And she would answer: because I am a Christian. - “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15) What kind of a seminar had the minister attended? Was it sponsored by the WCC/SACC? 

“Transformation Theology” (just like “Liberation Theology”) reads the Bible from the life situation of the “poor.” It “contextualises” its message. Though Christian Missions do have a social responsibility, this is not their primary task. Until men’s hearts are changed by the miracle of Christ’s salvation, the economic, political and social conditions will never change. For the Gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16) - “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) If men repent of their sins and receive the living Christ as personal Lord and Saviour, they will be saved. This message has the power of God Almighty contained in it, to completely change the lives of men and to make them “a new creation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

   May God bless you richly,

                                                                                     D. Scarborough.


1.       World Council of Churches. Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes.
       Proposal for a new WCC Affirmation on Mission and Evangelism, 2012. Internet.
2.       Beyerhaus, Prof Peter, Ein angenehmer Traum wird wahr. Die Bedeutung des Dritten Internationalen Kongresses
       für Weltevangelisation in Kapstadt im Oktober 2010.
.3.   The German Professor Peter Beyerhaus, Honorary President of the International Christian Network, authored a “Call to
       Revive the Biblical Understanding of Missions.” It is entitled “World Evangelisation or World Transformation?”It is
       to alert Evangelical Missions to contemporary unBiblical theological trends, and can be found on the internet.

A Brief History of Calvinistic Afrikanerdom from 1652-1980
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 First and Second World Wars


In 1914 the First World War broke out. It created a crisis – even in South Africa. A great Afrikaner general who had fought bravely for the Orange Free State some fifteen years earlier against the British – General Hertzog – strenuously protested the actions of General Botha and his helpmate General Smuts. He wanted South Africa to remain neutral in this World War against Germany.

General Beyers, too, a famous general in the Anglo-Boer War, called upon the people of South Africa to make peace with Germany and not to fight Britain’s war. For, said General Beyers, the Bible teaches in Deuteronomy and Proverbs: “Cursed is he that moves his neighbour’s landposts!” It was not just individuals who can steal from one another, but nations, too. He felt that what Botha and Smuts were doing was transgressing the Law of God, and he protested in the name of the Lord. Well, a warrant went out for the arrest of Beyers. Trying to escape from the government forces, he was drowned in one of the rivers.

There was also the great General Koos de la Rey of the Anglo-Boer war. He, too, was on his way to Johannesburg and Pretoria to speak to Smuts about putting an end to this war against the Germans which he considered to be ungodly. He was gunned down in the streets. Feelings ran high in the country at this time about the death of de la Rey. - Then there was a young Calvinist named Jopie Fourie. He went into German South West Africa with the “rebel” General Maritz, to try to put an end to the fighting between pro-British White South Africans on the one hand and White Germans on the other hand. This man Fourie was hunted down by Botha and Smuts. But then the Sabbath day came round. Jopie Fourie refused to fight on the Sabbath. But he was captured on the Sabbath and shot to death for his role in trying to bring about peace.

The situation became more and more anarchical. Even after the defeat of Germany in 1918 we find a steady deterioration in the situation. We find the creation of a large mass of impoverished White Afrikaners whose farms had been burnt out during the Anglo-Boer war. They had never recovered, neither emotionally, economically, nor psychologically.

At this point we must go to the Soviet Union, and specifically to Lenin, for the next fascinating development in South Africa. I wrote my second doctorate on communist eschatology, and read through all the works of Marx and Lenin in writing it. I discovered that Lenin comes out in favour of the White South Africans, and against the British, whom he saw as agents of international capitalism. Lenin felt the Black people were culturally irrelevant. So we find the development of Communism in South Africa especially among White Afrikaners who had previously been nominally Calvinist This new movement, however, was not called the Communist Party. It became known as the Labour Party of South Africa and was not only anti-British, but also anti-Black.  

We must now, however, go back and look at the big goldminers’ strike. The White South African impoverished goldminers struck in 1922. The Communist Party exploited that situation so skillfully, that a Communist Republic was proclaimed in South Africa - for three days. But then General Smuts who was a man of some action, commandeered the army and marched into Johannesburg. He gunned down and destroyed this whole garrison of Poor White workers (the dupes of a handful of communists). He also quelled the rebellion of the Bondelswarts. But Smuts’ touch was a little too hard for most of the people. In the election of 1924 he was defeated and a coalition government, an alliance between the (Afrikaner) National Party under the leadership of General Hertzog and the (Marxist) Labour Party, took over. The motto of this coalition government was “Suid Afrika Eerste” (South Africa First). General Hertzog had favoured neutrality in the First World War. He also favoured neutrality in the Second World War.

In 1926 there was a meeting of British Commonwealth Prime Ministers and other officials in London under the leadership of the then British Prime Minister Lord Balfour. They came out with the Balfour Declaration. South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc were given self-governing dominion status. They became totally responsible to their own locally elected and legislating governments, and no longer in any way responsible to the British government in London. However, they still remained His Majesty’s dominions within the British Empire.

In 1927, there was a huge tussle in South Africa about the flag. After a lot of bickering and wrangling, all parties agreed on a compromise flag with three horizontal stripes, bright orange in the top, then a white stripe under that, and a bottommost stripe of pale blue. That is called the “oranje-blanje-blou.” It is the flag that Johan van Riebeeck, the first governor of the Cape, erected on the shores near Cape Town in 1652.   In the white middle strip there are three smaller flags, the Union Jack, representing the old Cape and Natal Provinces. Then, in the middle, there is the flag of the old Orange Free State Republic. Last, on the other side of this there is the old flag of the South African Republic.

In 1931, the great depression hit. A tremendous controversy was unleashed about the gold standard. This caused such a political crisis in South Africa, that even the two former arch-rivals Smuts and Hertzog now entered into coalition to get South Africa moving again financially. They joined forces to form the powerful "United Party." The depression spread. It was a shock that went around the world when Wall Street fell. The gold standard was removed in almost every country on earth. Yet, there were still those in South Africa who refused to enter into the new coalition. Such included the great Dr Daniel Francois Malan, a clergyman turned politician and a dour and obdurate Calvinist. He entered into opposition as Leader of the recently-purged National Party. There was also Colonel Stallard’s Dominion Party.

From 1932 to 1937, there was constant agitation for the separate political enfranchisement of non-White voters in their own areas. It was felt that more attention should be given to the overall relationship between the White people and the various Black peoples in South Africa. So they moved another step further in the direction of the separate development of the races. They removed the handful of Black voters from the Joint Voters’ Roll and created political rights for the Black people in their own areas (which would thereafter develop more quickly).

In 1938, a major event took place. It was exactly a hundred years after the Great Trek had occurred. The Afrikaner found his soul again. He got back to his Calvinist roots. These were the days of the great “Ossewabrandwag”, or OB. With the tremendous national movement of the centennial celebration of the 1836 ox-wagon trek, the reunited National Party began to make great progress. It launched its memorable motto: “Believe in God; believe in your nation; believe in yourself!”

Then, in1939, came the Second World War. It split White South Africans right down the middle, even the SA Parliament. There were eighty votes in favour of going to war against Germany, and sixty-seven votes in favour of neutrality. It was just like World War I all over again! In September 1939, General Smuts became Prime Minister of South Africa, replacing General Hertzog. The latter again declared: “We cannot get involved in Europe’s Wars.” Now the Labour Party and the Dominion Party entered into coalition with General Smuts’ South African Party and declared war on Germany. The Nationalists, under the leadership of Dr Malan, became the official opposition.

In 1948, there was a General Election. By a narrow majority, Dr Malan, by entering into coalition with the Afrikaner Party, took over the Government of South Africa. I was in High School at the time. The impact was quite unforgettable. We had never had the Bible in our (English-language) public schools before that election. One week thereafter, the teacher came in with a Bible and told us: “The new government says we’ve got to teach the Bible throughout the schools of the land.” It was that sharp a change! Immediately, we found many dramatic developments. There were improvements in education, in politics and in economics.

In 1960, a national referendum was held to determine whether South Africa should or should not become a Republic. In 1961, the Republic of South Africa was created, acknowledging Almighty God and the necessity of Christian education in its very constitution. The move was more and more toward the universal education and christianisation of all Black people and all White people within what is now the Republic of South Africa.

·       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….

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