Christians and the South African crisis

windowontheword[notice]A monthly column by Michael Cassidy, evangelist, author, Christian leader and founder of African Enterprise whose ministry in Africa and the world has spanned more than 50 years.[/notice]

No one has to be a rocket scientist to know that South Africa is in enormous crisis, especially with the recent Constitutional Court’s ruling on the serious compromises on our Constitution by both the President and the ruling majority party in Parliament.

Not surprisingly this has led first to an impeachment motion in Parliament, as well as a historic call from religious and civil society leaders for the President to step down. The ever-widening sense in the country is that corruption is endemic in South Africa and has the nation by its throat. So what should Christians do?

Clear prayer responsibility
Obviously, first of all there is a very clear prayer responsibility. AE in these last weeks has called the churches of Pietermaritzburg together for a citywide prayer meeting in the City Hall. Several hundred gathered to pray specifically for our country. We encourage you to do the same wherever you are. You could call a day of prayer for your church or even get the combined churches of your community to do the same sort of thing for your town or city. One church I know fairly regularly calls for 40 day chains of prayer. Another countrywide prayer initiative is organising 40 days of prayer leading up to two special prayer and reconciliation days which will take place on the 11th and 16th of June in Soweto. You can contact the organisers at 083 297 5792 if you feel led to participate. I hope to do so in the Orlando Stadium on the 11th.

In this we register Paul’s strong exhortation and priority that, “… prayers… be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Speaking prophetically to the State
Secondly, I believe the Church needs to speak prophetically to the State, even as it was required to do, and generally did, in the apartheid era. It has been well said that, “For evil to triumph it only requires that good people say nothing.” Therefore the Body of Christ, who should know His mind, His purpose and His will through His Word, needs to speak and live it out. We also remember how Moses confronted Pharaoh (Exodus 5:1-9), how prayerful Hannah confronted the mistaken accusations of Eli (1 Samuel 1:10-17), how Daniel confronted Belshazzar (Daniel 5: 17-28), how John the Baptist confronted Herod (Matthew 14:1-12), how the deacon Stephen confronted the Jews and their authorities (Acts 7) and of course Jesus Himself rebuking Herod and calling him “that fox” (Luke 13:32). We shouldn’t forget too that the early Christians profoundly confronted the Roman Caesars, and in refusing Emperor Worship paid for it with their lives.

It is essential that the Church remind the State that it is, as Romans 13 says, “God’s servant for the good of all” (v 4), and as such is not autonomous as a law unto itself. As a servant it has a transcendent and final moral accountability to God. This was lost in the apartheid era, and it has again been lost in the Zuma era. Thus Samuel Rutherford (1600-1621) could write in his famous treatise, Lex Rex (The Law is King) that if the king and government disobey the law they are to be challenged. Rutherford’s position was that the basic premise of civic government and therefore law, must be based on God’s Law, as given in the Bible, and as such, all people, even the king, are under the Law and not above it. Rutherford added that, “Tyranny is to be defined as ruling without the sanction of God.”

Righteousness
Finally the Church is therefore required again to call for all that righteousness demands from our political leaders, knowing as we do that, “Righteousness exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:34), in other words lifts it up, whereas the corollary is equally true, that unrighteousness will take a nation downhill. That is now happening to us. So our South African Church, while primarily being very prayerful, also needs to be appropriately prophetic in these very troubled times.

Given what we have said above it is also incumbent on the Church to have its own spiritual and moral life in order so that its prophetic witness in society may have credibility. This is why the Apostle Peter emphasises, “For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).

This is why I think my book on The Church Jesus Prayed For has ongoing importance for what we are meant to look like as the Body of Christ. In this regard I am gratified that numbers of churches are still using my book for extended series on the ten marks our Lord prayed for, these marks being truth, holiness, joy, protection from evil supernaturalism, prayer, mission, unity, love, power and glory. I recently launched a ten-week series in a church in Pietermaritzburg, and will be repeating a similar exercise in Durban North, and yet another in Port Shepstone. Perhaps your church could also consider a series of studies like this or perhaps a home-group series. If you would like to order a copy of the book from us please contact Dave Rees at 033 347 7037 or drees@ae.org.za.

4 Comments

  1. Every Govt and every leader gets a time from Jehovah God to do what is right.If they do not there comes a time when God removes them.They need to learn that The High God reigns – not them.A well written article.Thankyou.

  2. Gods plans for our nation should be told on every occasion.The minds of hearts are in a wrong space,We Christians must embrace the moment and make God’s prescence
    guide us

  3. THE KINGDOM OF GOD MANIFEST IN CHRIST. That Jesus came to do the work of the father there is no doubt. That He preached the kingdom of GOD, there is no doubt either. That He was willing to die for the kingdom of GOD, is a known fact, for this is exactly what happened.
    Early on in His ministry, (John 7) Jesus made a clear distinction between the Kingdom of GOD whom He represented and the kingdom of the world, represented by unbelievers; the works of which were evil.
    Speaking to His brethren (brothers) He said: “The world cannot hate you, but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”
    Speaking of His Father (GOD), Jesus said that if any man will do the will of the Father, then he would know the doctrine of the Father and that doctrine was not of Christ Himself, but of the Father and that anyone who speaks of his own accord, seeks his own glory and not the glory of the Father. (v. 17 and 18).
    After the episode of the woman caught in adultery (John 8) Jesus says the following: “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
    Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus tells them that they neither know Him, nor His Father and that if they had known Him, they should have known His Father as well (v. 19). Jesus continues to make a clear distinction between those who are of this world and those who are not. “Ye are from beneath; I am from above; ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins; for ye believe not that I am he (the Son of GOD); ye shall die in your sins.” (v.23 – 24).
    In living in the world today, it is imperative that we as believers maintain the same relationship with the Father, as Jesus did, for we glorify the father by so doing and we can also say as Jesus Himself said: “…..I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things and He that sent me is with me; the father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him. “ This relationship we cannot maintain of our own accord, but do so with the help of the Holy Spirit, without which, it is impossible to do so. Those that are without the Spirit, remain within the world and cannot do anything other than what the world itself does!
    Having said the words above, many believed on Him and this is what he said to them: “IF ye continue in my word (following me in obedience to my word), then are ye my disciples indeed and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to do this and that is why there can be no affinity between a believer and Christ without the Spirit. (See Rom. 8 v. 8 – 11).
    Take care and GOD Bless,…………Peter.
    “The FRUIT of the Righteous is a Tree of Life; and he that winneth Souls, is Wise.” Prov. 11 v. 30.