Volume 4 - 1989
Southern Africa is torn apart by terrorism and unrest, landmines and bomb blasts, crime and violence. Ritual murders by witchdoctors, human sacrifices and cannabilism for “muti” (medicine) are still commonplace.
Desecration of churches by Cubans in Angola, bodies thrown down disused mine shafts by the North Korean-trained 5th brigade in Zimbabwe, and British-trained pilots in British-made jet combat air-craft bombing, rocketing and strafing villages in Mozambique with bullets made in Birmingham, England — these scenes are all part of the tragic picture of Southern Africa today.
Children have been abducted from South West Africa/Namibia by World Council of Churches-funded South West African Peoples Organisation (SWAPO) terrorists. These kidnapped youngsters are then brainwashed with atheism and trained to hate and kill, by East German and Soviet instructors, in United Nations refugee camps.
Farmers and labourers travelling in rural areas of South Africa have been blown to pieces by Soviet-made landmines, planted by African National Congress (ANC) terrorists, who are also funded by the World Council of Churches, and have headquarters in London, England, and Lusaka, Zambia. Black town councillors, mayors, businessmen and other innocent people have been stoned to death, burnt alive, tortured, maimed and crippled by “holy mobs” blessed, encouraged and stirred up by the South African Council of Churches (SACC), and radical church leaders.
Most Western journalists ignore these atrocities, abandon the wide angle lens of context and balance, and choose instead the zoom lens of selective reporting, managed news and press prejudice. American TV News teams pay youngsters to throw rocks and petrol bombs to initiate a riot. British teams splice unrelated material together to present a false picture. A Dutch film crew sets up its cameras nearly an hour before a mob arrives to burn to death a whole family. Throughout the entire gruesome massacre the UDF mob conveniently provides the Dutch team with good camera angles and an unrestricted view. Arriving too late for a “necklace” mob murder — an American film team pay bystanders to pour petrol (gasoline) over the charred corpse and set it aflame so as to obtain a better “action footage”. When I challenged one of these television reporters about this abuse of the press, he declared: “Listen buddy. Life in Africa is cheap. My time is expensive. I’ve got expensive equipment, technicians salaries to pay and deadlines to meet, so don’t get self-righteous with me. These riots would happen somewhere else, some other time, anyway.”
Is it any wonder that there is bitterness and hatred, fear and suspicion in Southern Africa today?
Is there any hope for peace and freedom in this situation? Dare we hope that amidst all this treachery, deception, corruption and exploitation there could be reconciliation?
This inhumanity of man towards man is basically a problem of sin. The tragedy we see in the whole world is caused by people turning away from God and His objective standards.
The world is in a state of emergency and the emergency is sin. Mankind has declared independence from his Creator and is waging war to liberate himself from God’s laws. It is this rebellion of man that has led to all these evidences of greed and selfishness in society.
We missionaries have to pick up the casualties of this sinful society. After being slandered and ridiculed by the media and the world at large, it is all too often actually the Christian worker who has to pick up the down and out ruined life from the gutter. I’ve carried drunkards home as they’ve vomited down my back, cleaned them up and put them to bed. We’ve rescued runaway girls, counselled battered wives, divorced husbands, neglected children, drug addicts, alcoholics and attempted suicides.
The world offers so much, but actually stabs one in the back: Gambling promises riches — but invariably delivers poverty. Alcohol promises elation — but instead delivers a hangover. Drugs promise a high — but deliver addiction and withdrawal. Illicit sex and immorality promise pleasure — but deliver emotional scars, guilt, venereal diseases, illegitimate births and even aids.
Somehow the entertainment industry tends to focus on the bright, promising side of sin, and neglect to warn of the ugly reality that awaits us at the end of the road of sin and selfishness.
THE ONLY HOPE
Ultimately there is only one hope amidst the racial tensions, cultural clashes, denominational divisions, political strife, faction fighting, suspicion, jealousies, resentments, bitterness, hatred and fear:
The only hope is Reconciliation.
“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19
The major problem in Africa today is one of hypocrisy: Blaming others for all of one’s problems. A refusal to acknowledge responsibility for the result of one’s own actions. In Africa, an entire generation has been brought up blaming everything on “the West”, “the colonialists”, “the capitalists”, “the Whites”, “South Africa”, “the missionaries”, etc. And their solutions invariably are about what others must do in terms of foreign aid and charity!
Jesus emphasised human responsibilities, and never preached on human rights. He was merciful to the sinners but condemned the hypocrites for always pointing the finger without acknowledging their own sin or responsibility. (Compare John 8:1-11 with Matthew 23). Africa needs to learn repentance and responsibility.
The need is for reconciliation, first to God, and then through God — with other people. The basis of our reconciliation to God is repentance before Him. This involves:
Conviction of sin — change of mind,
Contrition — a change in attitude,
Conversion — a change of life.
We in Southern Africa can obtain unity only in Christ, upon the basis of the Bible. And there can be no reconciliation without repentance.
Now this Christian unity is not the same as a humanistic conformity. It does not involve compromise on Biblical principles. This must not become a modern tower of Babel — a slavery under the Anti-Christ — where man seeks independence from God. True Christian unity has to be brought about by God on the basis of our obedience to Biblical principles.
In this quest for peace, unity and reconciliation, we must beware of false reconciliation from the false church. As Jesus warned us:
‘Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15
In the Bible we are warned that those who say “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace are “loathsome” false prophets (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11).
“While people are saying ‘Peace and Safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3
The slogan of THE FRENCH REVOLUTION was: “Liberty! Equality! Brotherhood!” Nice words. Noble sentiments. However, 40 000 heads rolled as the guillotine went into overtime and Europe was plunged into a blood bath of 25 years of war.
One is also reminded of the tribal chief in MALI (West Africa), who led his entire tribe “in search of the holy land” and sold them all into Arabic slavery in Libya, to pay for his lavish retirement.
Closer to homer there was Robert Mugabe’s generous offer of “reconciliation” in ZIMBABWE after 15 years of brutal terrorism and warfare. Since then tens of thousands of Matabele tribesmen and dissidents have been butchered, dumped down mine shafts and buried in mass graves, the prisons are full of people pronounced innocent by the courts, but tortured and incarcerated nontheless, and the initial constitution has been scrapped as Zimbabwe moves towards becoming just another one-party Marxist dictatorship.
Such are the fruits of false reconciliation.
True, lasting reconciliation is Christian reconciliation — unity in Christ on the basis of the Bible. There is a personal cost involved in reconciliation — it is not just us demanding our rights.
A Christian is not someone who has been baptised or confirmed. Attending church does not make one a Christian any more than visiting the garage makes one a motor car.
A Christian is someone who has a personal relationship with God as his Father, one who has experienced the forgiveness that comes from Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. A true believer is one who has been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Real reconciliation is seen in the KWASIZABANTU mission station in Northern Natal, where for twenty-four years tens of thousands of people from every religious and racial background have found peace with God and love for one another. Witchdoctors, rioters, racialists, communists, terrorists, alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves, murderers and satanists have been converted and changed at KwaSizabantu. Business people, farmers, soldiers, ministers, labourers, policemen, politicians, foreigners and members of the Zulu royal family have come closer to God and to one another at this revival centre.
And the basis of their reconciliation? This is a quiet and refreshingly simple revival — born in prayer its emphasis is repentance from sin and obedience to God’s Word.
The solution to our situation is to be found in our relationship to Jesus Christ. There are three common ways in which people reject Christ. One way is to outright declare yourself an atheist, rejecting God’s authority over you and refusing to honour and obey Christ. For example, the first Marxist dictator of Angola, Dr. Agestino Neto, declared in 1975 that within twenty years he would have eradicated Christianity from Angola. At that same time the dictator of Mozambique Samora Machel actually declared war against the church, banning evangelism, closing churches, burning Bibles, imprisoning pastors and expelling all missionaries. These are some of the extreme examples of how far some people will go in rejecting God.
A second way of rejecting Christ is through apathy. Knowing the truth but not caring enough to do anything about it.
The third way is to reject Christ by procrastination. Knowing the Gospel, believing the Gospel but never seeming to get around to putting it into practise. Procrastination is perhaps the main problem for most people. You know what you must do. You want to do it. But you still need to get down on your knees before God, confess and repent of your sins, asking Him for forgiveness and freedom from sin, and trusting Him to answer prayer, even as you step out in obedience to His Word.
The single most important thing that you and I can do for our family, our neighbours and our country at this crucial time — is to get right with God, so that we can pray for our country — in humility, in repentance and in faith. Right with God. Right with one another.
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear them from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14