When President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa calls for “an African Renaissance”, what exactly did he mean? Was he calling us to the humanism of the European Renaissance that culminated in the French Revolution and the Soviet Gulags? Or was he merely desiring a return to the pre-Christian Paganism and Animism that afflicted Africa prior to the spread of the Gospel?
However, there is an alternative that South Africans should seriously consider: the faith that successfully campaigned against human sacrifices, eradicated slavery and introduced hospitals. The Christian Faith has made more positive changes on earth than any other force or movement in history.
Most of the languages of the world were first codified and put into writing by Christian missionaries. More schools and universities have been started by Christians than by any other group. Christianity gave birth to liberty. Constitutional republics, the separation of powers, limited government, freedom of conscience and the rule of law are results of the Reformation.
South Africa stands at the crossroads. One choice before us is the African Renaissance with witchdoctors at state events, legalised abortion, pornography, prostitution, gambling, social engineering in schools, racial quotas in the work place, situation ethics, the disarmament of law abiding citizens and an epidemic of crime and violence.
When you start off with the basic premise of humanism - that mankind is basically good, policy is no longer determined by what is right? but by what is popular?
We want God to bless South Africa. However, we cannot expect God to bless a nation which is in rebellion to His Laws. Consider how we have broken the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17):
Our leaders are too proud to bow before God in prayer at the beginning of Parliament. At state events, our leaders have committed idolatry, worshiping other gods who are not God at all. God's Name is routinely taken in vain on national television and at cinemas, and this blasphemy is Constitutionally protected and regarded as “entertainment”.
The Lord's Day is desecrated every week. What God ordained as a day of rest and as a Day of worship is being commercialised and abused for the worship of pleasure.
Respect for our parents and elders is being undermined everywhere by the laws, the entertainment industry and by the explosion of violent crimes against the elderly.
Every year over 20 000 people are murdered in South Africa and our justice system is failing to protect the citizens of this land. Most of the murderers who terrorise our people escape being bought to justice. In fact our laws now seem to favour the rights of the criminals, and all too often criminalise the victims.
Despite South Africa claiming to be a “human rights society”, the right to life of pre-born babies is denied. The government has interpreted the right to life to protect guilty murderers from execution, but not to protect innocent babies from receiving the death penalty through abortion.
Selfishness, greed, covetousness and deception are pervasive and we have become a nation infested with corruption and theft. Our constitution entrenches the rights of pornographers to exploit people made in the image of God for profit. Pornography takes what God has meant to be holy and perverts it, taking what God designed to be special and makes it sordid, distorts what God intended to be private and developes it into a multi-million rand exploitative industry.
Our cities have become breeding grounds for criminals and our homes have been changed into locked fortresses. The freedom of movement of most citizens has been curtailed by the ever present threat of vicious and senseless attack. Instead of decisive action against the criminals, the government seems more concerned to remove security barriers set up to protect crime ridden suburbs, and to deny licences for firearm applications, for self defence purposes, for the long suffering population of this country.
Anyone advocating socialism, or any of the other humanist policies, as the answer for South Africa, should seriously consider the disastrous consequences of socialism and humanism for the Soviet Union, Red China, East Germany, North Korea, Cambodia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In each of these countries, and in every other secular state, socialism failed to build the just, prosperous and free society that the humanist leaders had so confidently promised.
Instead of the promised dreams, humanism has consistently produced nightmares of beaurocracy, corruption, incompetence and oppression. To build upon humanism is to build upon the shifting sands (Matthew 7:26-27).
Ideas have consequences.
The consequences that flow from Atheism, Evolutionism, situation ethics and other cardinal tenants of humanism are very tangible and very tragic: euthanasia, abortion, gun control, humanistic education in state schools, concentration camps, massacres and marxist tyranny.
When you eradicate God and His Law from a society, you devalue human life and erode the only foundation for liberty and justice.
The other choice before us is for a Biblical Reformation. The Bible contains the Law of God, the absolute and unchanging principles by which all areas of life must be governed. History records that where nations are built upon the principles of God's Word true freedom and justice flourishes.
Those nations that enjoyed the most civil liberty, productivity and prosperity are generally those lands where the Gospel of Christ has had the greatest impact. The Ten Commandments provide the foundation for all law. The Christian work ethic and the Biblical free enterprise system have produced the greatest creativity, ingenuity and prosperity in history.
The Biblical principles of limited, decentralised government - with genuine separation of powers, serious checks and balances and consistent constitutional rule of law - have made possible unprecedented freedom.
“…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Cor 3:17
The choice is ours: it is God's Law or God's Judgement. Reformation or Renaissance. Christianity or humanism?
“…proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants…” Leviticus 25:10
Dr Peter Hammond is the Director of the Christian Action Network and the author of Biblical Principles for Africa, Character Assassins, Practical Dicipleship, The Greatest Century of Missions, Putting Feet to Your Faith and The Greatest Century of Reformation.
P O Box 74, Newlands,
7725, Cape Town, South Africa.