A Conversation with a Priest
Volume 3 - 1989
A German Lutheran stepped up to me and declared loudly for all to hear: “You are a supporter of apartheid, oppression and racialism in the facist Pretoria regime!” I looked around me in surprise and asked, “Excuse me, but I don’t remember meeting you before. Do you know me?”
“You are a racist!”, he spat.
“You don’t know me. If you knew my life and ministry assisting Black Christians suffering persecution, risking my life to bring the Gospel to Black people in communist lands, then you would know what a stupid accusation that is.”
“Your whole stall here is racist!” he persisted.
“What — our ten Black members here are all racists?”
He swore at me and shouted: “Your literature condemns Marxism in Mozambique, Angola, Ethiopia and other liberated lands. You do not condemn South Africa! Why?”
“The day South Africa burns Bibles, destroys churches and forbids worship and evangelism you can be sure that I will make a bold stand against it. Now, what I would like to know is why your church conference has no stall dealing with abortion, child abuse, pornography, drug addiction or the “apartheid” separating East Germany from West Germany with 1 300 km of barbed wire, machine gun towers and landmines. By what twist of hypocrisy do you select South Africa as your priority when you have ministers who do not believe the Bible, churches that are empty and streets filled with immorality. What kind of racists are you to ignore the suffering of Black Christians under persecution in Black dictatorships in Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia. By what twist of mental gymnastics do you justify having worked to install Marxist oppression in Cambodia, Viet Nam, Laos, Nicuragua and other unfortunate lands?”
“The church must be involved in politics, serving the oppressed!”
“What oppressed? The people in Afghanistan? Poland? East Germany? Iran? Your selective conscience has ignored the results of your radical agitation and political activities. You should be ashamed of yourselves — supporting persecutors of the Church in Ethiopia and Mozambique with church funds. Are you a priest?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“What is your main function and purpose?”
“To serve humanity by opposing oppressive regimes like that in apartheid South Africa!”
“Do you have a Bible verse to support that? ... No, I didn’t think so. Jesus said that we must love the Lord our God with all our hearts and seek first His Kingdom. You have become a peddlar of politics instead of a proclaimer of the Gospel.”
“Jesus was a liberator — He came to set the captive free.”
“Yes, but was that a political or a spiritual role? Did Jesus organise a “Release John the Baptist Campaign? Did He join the Zealots and fight against the “oppressive foreign domination of the corrupt Roman colonialists?” No, of course not — Jesus set people free from the chains of sin and selfishness. Are you born again? Have you experienced full salvation in Christ?”
He was silent for a moment, “I refuse to answer that.”
“As a priest have you experienced God’s call upon your life? Do you have a personal relationship with Christ?”
He glared at me and walked away with his wife, who threw curses at me.
“False prophets appeared in the past among the people, and in the same way false teachers will appear among you. They will bring in destructive, untrue doctrines...” 2Peter 2:1
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