ANIMISM, ANCESTORS AND ANC
The centenary celebrations of the ANC and their determination to dedicate the country to the ancestral spirits sparked nation wide controversy. How are we as Christians to respond? What does the Bible say concerning the spirits of our ancestors? To whom should South Africa be dedicated? Are there examples in history of other nations that have invoked the spirits of their ancestors? What were the results in those cases?
The African National Congress started off the year by throwing itself a lavish birthday party in Bloemfontein. To celebrate its journey from anti-apartheid movement to ruling party, they scheduled a golf outing, champagne toasts, and an inter-faith service which involved slaughtering a bull and invoking the ancestral spirits.
With drums pounding and chants filling the air, the ANC president, Jacob Zuma, initiated the traditional cleansing ceremony by ritually sacrificing a bull, killing it with a spear, while it was tied to a tree. ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, explained: “traditionally the act of slaughtering has different meanings. All nations have a way of celebration through slaughter… it is the same but in different circumstances.” The inter-faith service included messages and blessings from representatives of all major religions, including Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Rastafarian, and traditional Animist witchdoctors. Despite the ANC, secretary general’s assertion that “all nations have a way of celebration through slaughter…” journalists could not think of how the Queen of England, for example, marks national events by ritual slaughter of a helpless animal.
“You shall rise before the grey haired and honour the presence of an old man, and fear your God; I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32
Today’s child-centered parenting all too often fails to teach children respect. Seldom do we see: Respect for God, His Word and His Worship; Respect for people made in the image of God; Respect for other people’s property; Respect for God’s Creation. Ultimately lack of respect comes from lack of love for God and for our neighbour.
Today in so many ways we see cruel disrespect for elderly parents who are frequently abandoned in old age homes and neglected. One of my first ministries was preaching in Old Age Homes. Many complained to me how they “never” had visits from their children.
“Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” Proverbs 23:22
THE WAGES OF GREED
Volume 2 1993
Over and above the billions in grants, gifts and assorted aid, Africa owes Western creditors over $300 Billion.
The Continent’s debt burden amounts to 90% of its total Gross National Products.
Excluding the Arab nations of North Africa, the debt of sub-Saharan Africa is over 110% of its collective GNP.
Barely being able to pay half the interest on the debts, Africa spends four times more on debt servicing than on the provision of health care to its population of 600 million people. - Africa Debt Crisis - UN DPI 1993
“the borrower is servant to the lender” Proverbs 22:7
“Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.” Proverbs 16:8
AFRICA - THE CHALLENGE
Volume 4 1994
Africa presents the greatest challenges and opportunities for missionary service in the world today. The most intensive human suffering, the largest number of wars, the worst famines, the most severe persecutions, the sharpest confrontations between Christianity and Islam, communism and witchcraft, the greatest openness and hunger for the Gospel and the most promising potential for Biblical Reformation and revival - all of these aspects are concentrated in this vast and fascinating continent.
“Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35
In 1980 there were 20 countries in Africa which were “closed” for the proclamation of the Gospel and where Christians were persecuted. Now only 9 remain. There are many new - previously undreamed of - opportunities for evangelism in Mozambique, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Togo. One previously socialist country - Zambia - is currently undergoing a Christian Reformation.
PROFITING FROM POVERTY
Volume 4 1989
Imagine the heartache of bringing food to the starving, only to see them die in front of your eyes because the vitamin-enriched milk was too late. Then try and appreciate the outrage we feel when we see Soviet bloc ships exporting food out of Mozambique in return for the T54 tanks, MI-24 Hind attack helicopters and other military hardware imported into this starving country.
Try and understand our shock as we witness the abuse of foreign aid and relief aid in these needy countries. Corruption, intrigue, the deliberate creation of famine, the manipulation of famine, the combination of scorched earth policies to starve out local resistance to the communist government, and forced relocations by starvation, cynically abusing the relief aid as a weapon in the civil war.
Then imagine our disgust as Western journalists, relief agencies and clergy men ignore this cold-blooded exercise in manufacturing poverty, starvation and death. Not only do most of them ignore it, many rush to praise, support and fund the Marxist dictatorship which is responsible for over one million deaths — in a country which used to export food. Worse than that, they fuel the corruption, rewarding tyranny for having starving people in their tropical country.