Reportback on National Initiative for Reformation in South Africa (NIRSA)

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From 22-23 April 2008 hundreds of South Africa church leaders gathered at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg. The National Initiative for the Reformation of South Africa (NIRSA) had been convened by Michael Cassidy, the Founder of African Enterprise and Rev. Moss Ntlha, the General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of SA.   

 

An Urgent Call for Prayer and Action

The invitation letter of 5 April 2008 requested “that you attend an urgently convened consultation relating to the very serious situation prevailing in our country at this time.  Our intention is to come before the Lord to seek His face in this regard at this critical moment in our history.  We believe that it is a matter of urgency that we do so…the moral and ethical decline in the country…the nation has shifted toward a crisis of serious proportions.  This crisis has dimensions which are spiritual, moral, political and social.  In fact, so serious are these realities, that many in the country have reached a precarious tipping point into despair and hopelessness in recent months.  And those who do not feel these emotions have come at least to a place of very profound concern and anxiety…In the light of the seriousness of our situation we feel justified in making this urgent call…Will you therefore pray about this with all urgency and seriousness…” 

As we have been seeking through the Christian Action Network to alert Christians in South Africa to this crisis for many years, and through our publications, radio programmes, Biblical Worldview Summits, Reformation and Revival Seminars, etc, seeking to mobilize the Church for Reformation in South Africa, I responded with enthusiasm to this call.  Early on Tuesday 22 April I flew up to Johannesburg to join the other 450 Christian leaders at the Birchwood Conference Centre. 

 

Recognising the Crisis

The Chairman of NIRSA, Michael Cassidy, set the tone of the conference with a message emphasizing the seriousness of the crisis confronting us here in South Africa: poverty, AIDS, crime, corruption, the undermining of marriage, racism, sexism, xenophobia and the electricity crisis.  “Pre-1994 we had white power.  Post 1994 we had black power.  Now 2008 we have no power!”   

Michael Cassidy reported that African Enterprise experienced eight burglaries in eight weeks.  His wife and daughter had been caught up in the crossfire of a gun fight in  a shopping mall.  He pointed to Zimbabwe and the crime in South Africa as examples of “negative tipping points.”   

 

Reformation and Revival

He reminded us of the “positive tipping points” in the 18th century Revival under Whitefield and Wesley in England, Wilberforce’s campaign against slavery, New York’s success in turning the tide against crime, and the great rediscovery of the Bible as the Word of God by Reformers Wycliffe, Hus, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and Knox.  “We need a Christian coalition for national renewal and integrity.”   

 

The Need for Humility

He reminded us that American president Abraham Lincoln called for National Days of Prayer eight times during his terms in office.  “We need to be praying for leaders – whether we like them or their policies or not.  We don’t have the answers, but God does.  We need a new humility before God.”    

 

A Law Unto Ourselves

Michael Cassidy expressed his view that it was “catastrophic that South Africa’s lawmakers had taken ‘in humble submission to Almighty God’…out of our constitution in 1996.  This made us a law unto ourselves as a nation.”   

He stated that we need to, like Isaiah, see the Lord high and lifted up.  He is sovereign.  God is in control, and worthy of all worship.  “If our eyes are on an ex-president, or a departing president, or an aspiring president, or a political party, then our eyes are not upon the Lord.”   

“We come to Jesus singing ‘Just As I Am’ and then we go on living ‘just as we were.’”   

He mourned the prevalence of “politicians taking money from the public till, criminals taking lives with impunity, those who commit adultery, idolatry, sexual promiscuity…righteousness exalts a nation, sin is a disgrace to any people…we have unclean lips, unclean eyes, unclean feet, unclean minds, unclean hearts…when last did you hear the voice of God?  Whom shall I send?  Who will go for us?…we need a restoration of prophetic witness of the Church to raise up those who will lead the people of God in Biblical Reformation.” 

 

The Prayer of Jehosaphat

He led the delegates in praying the prayer of Jehoshaphat: “We are powerless…we don’t know what to do…but our eyes are upon thee.” 2 Chronicles 20:12 

 

The State of the Nation

The next speaker, Archbishop Buti Thlagale, dealt with The State of our Nation today.  Archbishop Buti observed that: “God’s Law is not the yardstick of our society…there is a disconnect between public and private morals.”  Archbishop Buti then reminded delegates of prominent public leaders of our society who have been charged with racketeering, money laundering and corruption on a large scale.  “All these facts are a matter of public record.” 

He mentioned the President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, and Police Chief Robert McBride, both of whose legal fees are being covered by the tax payer, despite the charges having nothing to do with their public office.  The theft of 1 billion rand from pension funds, the charges against previous Transport Minister McMaharaj, “These are the tip of the iceberg.”  “Nepotism is commonplace…to get contracts you need to be politically connected.” Archbishop Buti mentioned the corruption charges against Winnie Mandela and Police Superintendent Selebi.  “All of this threatens the integrity of the nation as a whole.” 

 

He referred to the “unprofessional conduct – taking of bribes and kickbacks” of professional people who have “sunk so low.”   Archbishop Buti mentioned the blowing up of ATM’s, the hijacking of cash-in-transit vans, the murder of police, the murder of the elderly, gang rapes, sexual abuse of children, all symptoms of the “moral and spiritual condition of our generation.”  He expressed his concern about those who seek to “exonerate individual responsibility” behind a smokescreen of group and collective responsibility. 

 

Greed and Opportunism

He grieved over the “deep sense of greed, absence of moral integrity and opportunism” in our society “What happened to loving our neighbours? We need to raise life to a moral plain.  Our institutions don’t seem accountable.  We are not considering God’s Law or the people who suffer as a result of our actions, or lack of action.” 

Archbishop Buti condemned the indifference to the suffering of others, and the failure to treat other people’s property and persons with respect.  “Given the moral decay in our communities, we have an obligation to do something.” 

 

Self Enrichment and Entitlement

He spoke against “the corrosive culture of self-enrichment which points to a misguided sense of entitlement and a get-rich-quick mentality.”  He condemned the corruption that had paralysed “our communities with fear and a deep mistrust for our institutions, undermining the rule of law.” 

 

Failure of Leadership

This is “a morally repugnant situation.  Government is not committed to eradicating crime and poverty in our society.” 

The moral disintegration of our society was the result of an absence of moral leadership throughout South Africa.  The churches have failed to present a Christian vision to counteract this decay in SA.   

 

A Call to Resistance

Archbishop Buti called on delegates to resist “the spread of secularism and materialism.  The country is sinking into the abyss of modern decay.  We as church leaders are responsible for this.  The killing of children in the womb is promoting a morally insensitive society.” 

 

A Prophetic Duty

As criminals hurt and kill and maim we have a moral duty to uphold respect for life and property.  This must be part of our church programmes.”  He called for an end to “political correctness and fear.  We need a prophetic church.  We need a strong church for a wicked and broken world.” 


Practical Solutions

This session was followed by the delegates breaking up into small groups to discuss what we needed to do in response to the crisis confronting us.  In my discussion group I was appointed the facilitator and scribe.  The following conclusions were recorded in our discussion group:  Most of us in the churches have been brainwashed by the secular news and entertainment media.  We have become worldly in thinking and behaviour.  We need family friendly news and entertainment sources.  We need accountable governments.  We need to restore respect for life and property.  We need the Lord to change our own hearts and lives.  We need to really repent and confess our own sins.  We need National Days of Prayer to be called.  We need to wait on God, to hear from God and to learn from God.  We need to humble ourselves and seek God’s face, turning from our wicked ways by studying God’s Law in His Word.  Every Revival in the Bible began with the study of God’s Law, and the reciting of His Law in a solemn assembly before the people of God.  This was always followed by definite action to destroy idols and obey God’s Word. 


Feedback From the Floor

Various other leaders were brought to the stage to give their perspectives on the state of the Church in South Africa.  Some of the comments made were:  

“Our charismatic churches were doing a lot of evangelism, but discipleship just never happened!” 

"We need a new project Nehemiah – to rebuild the walls of justice in Africa.  We need a shared vision that will enlist the participation of all in protecting and advancing justice in Africa – in the shortest possible time.  We must not only be good church members, we need to be good citizens.  We are all responsible for exercising our vote.  It is unacceptable that so many Christians fail to even register to vote.  The government determines whether we have electricity or not, how crime is controlled, or not, the economics and laws which affect each one of us on a daily basis.  You must vote!” 


Learning From Kenya

The crisis in Kenya was an example of the failure of churches in discipleship and leadership.  There was failure to teach allegiance to God above tribe or party.  Indifference and apathy led to the explosion of violence in Kenya.  Some church leaders were definitely partisan, taking money in exchange for influencing the vote of their congregation!” 

The Crisis Amongst Our Youth MinistriesOne young pastor quoted from Judges 2:10 “Another generation arose who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done.”  Many youth ministries are only building themselves and not interested in the Kingdom of God.  There is much divisiveness and antagonism between societies.  There are very aggressive foreign religions on university campuses.  We need Christian philosophers to challenge the academics on campus.  In general, most Christian youth ministries on university campuses are “intimidated, afraid, silent and sidetracked.”  They are missing opportunities. 


A Businessman’s Challenge

Graham Power stated: “God wants to shake our foundations, to get our attention.  There is a hunger for God in this nation.”  Mr Power quoted from the research of Transparency International, which had documented that corruption was most prevalent in Africa.  They concluded that 36% of African leaders had participated in bribery in the past twelve months.  He recommenced an ethics chart by which we should evaluate our decisions:            

1.  Is it legal?

2.  Is it balanced?

3.  If it was published could I feel proud of it?

 “We are either unashamedly ethical or ashamedly unethical.” 

“We swim in a dirty stream, but we don’t need to put our head under and drink of it’s filth.” 

“We cannot eradicate poverty in Africa while we have endemic corruption.” 

“We have failed to proclaim and advance the Gospel of the Kingdom.  Evangelism, yes.  Discipleship, we have failed.” 

“We need to be living integrity before we can preach it and teach it to our people.  The only righteousness we have comes from Christ alone.  We need to understand God’s vision for a nation.” 

“How we live in our communities with our neighbours is important.” 


Humility, Brokenness and Repentance

Up until this time, mid-afternoon on the first day, Tuesday 22 April, the spirit of the Consultation, and the tone set by all of the participants had been one of humility and repentance before the Lord.  There was an appreciation of the seriousness and urgency of the crisis confronting us.  Most of the participants had physically knelt in brokenness and humble prayers of repentance, confessing the sins of the nation, the failures of our churches, and our own personal responsibility. 


Diversion Into Bypath Meadow

However, unfortunately, after tea on Tuesday afternoon, the Consultation went horribly off track.    


Anti-Americanism

The last speaker of the day, Landa Cope, identified herself as an American who clearly did not respect, or even like, her own country, but she was most enthusiastic for what a wonderful country South Africa was.  Landa Cope made numerous derogatory comments about her native America, suggesting that the Americans were paranoid, and “full of fear”, imagining that people were out to get them, and “bombing the hell out of” other nations for no reason at all.  She stated that the reason why the Americans were obsessed with owning fire arms was because they were a fearful and paranoid people.   


Trivialising Sin

However, although she was most critical of America, Landa could not bring herself to be at all critical of South Africa.  In sharp contrast to the previous speakers, Landa Cope was jovial, making lots of one-liners, laughing out loud at her own jokes, sometimes after almost every sentence.  She trivialized the sins and crisis facing South Africa, undermining the repentant spirit established by earlier speakers.  Her presentation went way over time - preventing any interactive discussion or prayer as scheduled on the programme.   

Superficial Smokescreen

Superficial, feel-good statements predominated.  She declared that there are more robberies in Australia than South Africa!  More violence in Columbia than South Africa!  That the Philippines is more corrupt than South Africa!  That every nation in the world has an energy crisis!  That our country is only 14 years old and we shouldn’t take all these problems so seriously.   


Meaningless Statistics

She quoted meaningless and suspect statistics from the ANC government that murder, rape and robberies were down by 1 or 2%.  (The quoting of percentages up or down has been an ANC tactic to create smokescreens behind which their failures as a government can be hidden.  2,1% from what?  From when?  Why not state the number of robberies, murders and rapes?  How could anybody seriously state that there is more crime in Australia than South Africa!!)   


Flawed Arguments

Landa Cope’s presentation was characterized by very loud shouting, but that hardly makes up for poor argument, flawed logic and false statistics.  “So you’ve got an energy crisis!  So what!  Every country in the world has an energy crisis!”

“Sorry, South Africa doesn’t win the prize for being the most violent country in the world!  There’s more violence in Columbia!”!!? 


Then Landa stated that God holds the Church more responsible than the state for anything that might be wrong anywhere.  She then stated that from the perspective of the Old Testament prophets the four most serious sins, in descending order of importance, were: 1. Political injustice; 2. Economic injustice; 3. Adultery and the destruction of family; and 4. Idolatory – “thinking that is not God’s."

 

Just how she made adultery and idolatry less importance than “political injustice” and “economic injustice” was not explained.  From my reading of the Scriptures idolatry would be right at the top of any Biblical list. 


What Crisis?

Landa Cope ridiculed “the whites” for thinking that there was a crime problem in the country, stating that everyone throughout the whole world faced the same kind “challenges” and “problems” that we have here in South Africa! 

As the consultation was dismissed after her presentation, numerous other delegates expressed their frustration to me that this foreigner had been allowed to trivialize the very real sins that we had come together to confront and deal with.   


A Victim Mentality

The next day, Wednesday 23 April, Rev. Moss Ntlha under the title “Revalidation of the Word of God” took the Consultation even further off track.  Instead of building on the excellent foundations laid by Michael Cassidy and Archbishop Buti Thlagala on the first morning, Rev. Ntlha chose to cast aspersions on Archbishop Buti’s presentation on The State of the Nation.  

Instead of dealing with the issues which confront us today, Rev. Ntlha chose to mumble his way through a disjointed series of anecdotal stories giving the impression the present generation is more a victim of apartheid than guilty of breaking God’s Laws and reaping what we have sown.   


Back to Apartheid Again

He claimed the Bible had been “hijacked by the devil” which he clearly identified with “white racists.”  Completely ignoring the huge problems of Black racism, tribalism and “affirmative action” of today, Ntlha claimed that the Bible had been “discredited” because it was seen as part of “the religion of apartheid” and “part of the problem.” 

He mentioned stories of Muslim students being forced to recite the Lord’s Prayer every day at school under the “old apartheid government.”  “Our sacred text was compromised by apartheid” in “the dark days.”  “Scriptures were used to repress people.” 


Ignoring Reality

He mentioned some people being “tortured by deacons” of the same church denomination that they belonged to.  (He gave no context for these stories, completely ignoring the reality of the Cold War, the Soviet threat, the terrorist campaign, the landmines, limpit mines, car bombs, petrol bombs and necklace murders, which were used by the ANC and their allies to violently take the lives of thousands of innocent people during those years.  The way Rev. Ntlha presented everything, all whites were just being mean to Black people for no reason at all.  Without considering any of the wider context, such as the Mau-Mau terrorism in Kenya, the Simba massacres in the Congo, the horrific terrorism of the MPLA in Angola, and Frelimo in Mozambique, or the vicious intimidation that was taking place in the townships, he just chose anecdotal stories that always placed white people in the role of villain, and Blacks in the role of victim.  How this had anything to do with the crisis we were facing in South Africa at this time, and how any of this could unite the Church to deal with the crisis of today, was not even considered.) 

Defending Political Idols

Evidently Rev. Ntlha was embarrassed that the political idols of the ANC had been exposed in Archbishop Buti’s State of the Nation presentation the day before.  Ntlha murmured some comments about Archbishop Buti’s presentation not being accurate, but failed to give one single example of any factual inaccuracy. 


Compromise and Cowardice

Nor did Ntlha refer to communism, but continually described them as “the progressive movement.”  He admitted that Evangelical Christians in South Africa had “an inferiority complex.  We are afraid of being politically incorrect.  We have more confidence in politicians than in the Bible.  We have retreated from the public sphere and left atheists to determine public policy.”     


The Language of Secularism

He noted that in India secularism has failed to stop “religious conflict” which is actually is more social/cultural than religious.  He observed that “those who do not speak the language of secularism are denied full involvement in the public sphere.  Yet churches are far more trusted by the population than the politicians, or even the constitutional court.”   


Confusion

Ntlha confessed: “we have failed to even master being able to describe the problem…people need to be discipled in what reconciliation means…” He concluded by admitting that we are facing “serious, troubling, complex problems confronting South Africa and Africa.” 


Sidetracked and Hijacked

During the morning teatime, delegates expressed even more consternation and frustration over how the Conference had been sidetracked, and now hijacked.  “It feels like I’ve ended up in some South African Council of Churches conference against apartheid in the 1980’s!” declared one.  It certainly did seem like we were back in time and even further away from a positive program of action to resolve the crisis facing South Africa in 2008.   


At this point numerous delegates began to walk out of the Conference.  Some expressed their opinion to me that they had wasted their time, and had come under false pretences.  There was a sense of betrayal.  A number of pastors mentioned to me that if they had known the direction this Consultation would take, they wouldn’t have wasted their time rearranging their schedule and travelling up to Johannesburg at such short notice.  They had really thought that we were going to tackle the crime, corruption and immorality which was devastating our nation.  “The last speaker needs counselling to deal with the hurts and unresolved issues in his life, he should not be wasting the time of 450 church leaders by clumsily trying to cover for the failures of the ANC by bringing up the old apartheid again.”  “It’s easier to kick a dead dog than confront the monsters threatening us today” was how another one phrased it. 


Getting Back on Track

I mentioned to some of the key organizers the frustrations that NIRSA had lost it’s way and was far off track.  “Well,” Michael Cassidy responded, “we still have a couple of hours left.  Let’s see what we can do to bring the Consultation back on track.”   


Asking the Right Questions

Pastor Tim Makamu asked the delegates to consider: What does a Christian look and think like?  How can we bless the nation? What will believers have to change in order to change South Africa?  


Real Christianity

Those in my discussion group agreed that a Christian needs to be a student of the Bible, humble, repentant, devoted to Christ and dedicated to reaching the lost for Christ. We need to have our minds renewed by the Word of God so that we can evidence the Fruit of the Spirit.  We need to be people of integrity, whose word can be trusted.  We must be committed to fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ and obeying His Great Commandments to love God and to love our neighbour. 

Essential Requirements for Reformation

To change South Africa we need to restore the prayer meeting.  Get serious about evangelism and missions.  Thoroughly disciple our people with the Biblical Worldview.  Change our churches from comfortable social clubs to agents of change, bases for fulfilling the Great Commission, truly houses of prayer for all nations, bringing Biblical Reformation and Spiritual Revival to the nation and beyond.  To do this we need to Reform our families, re-establish Christian schools, be active as salt and light to Reform society.   

Christian Solutions

In our group we agreed that Christian solutions for South Africa included national repentance, a return to God’s Law, parental control of education, private Christian schools, free enterprise, privatization, and restitution by the criminals to the victims.   

A Socialist Suggestion

During some of the feedback from selected groups, we heard some good, and some very bad, ideas.  As an indication of how socialist education and humanist news media have muddied the minds of many, one prominent pastor recommended that instead of improving our church buildings and expanding our facilities, “churches should give cheques of R500,000 to the government to build more homes for the poor!”  


How to Fuel Corruption

All around me people were shaking their heads in disbelief.  Had this man not heard what Archbishop Buti had been speaking about all the corruption and wastage of national government?  Was he seriously suggesting that churches should give consecrated tithes and offerings to a secular humanist government which is killing babies with our tax money, and stealing billions from the Public Treasury - in a feel-good gesture to build homes for “the poor”?  How much of that money would even get to buildings for the poor?  Surely churches could build better facilities, much cheaper, and more efficiently, than any bloated government bureaucracy?  


How to Waste Money While Ruining Our Youth

However, this prominent church leader wasn’t through yet.  Next he stated: “We’re losing our young people.”  He stated that our churches should give money to “the government” to sponsor young people through university!  Some pastors sitting near me just about exploded in incredulity.  What about the secular humanism, situation ethics, evolutionism and rampant immorality on our university campusus?  Surely we should be sponsoring the establishment of Christian universities, not throwing good money after bad by pouring limited church resources down the bottomless pit of government inefficiency and corruption?  To support Christian ministries to evangelise and disciple university students is vital.  To support Christian colleges is strategic.  But to suggest that churches should hand over tithes and offerings to a secular humanist government seemed irresponsibility and foolishness in the extreme.

 

Thou Shalt Not Criticize the Government

This speaker concluded with the refrain: “Stop criticizing! Come to the party!”  It was not clear what party he was talking about, but I had a horrible suspicion he was suggesting that we come to some political party. 


The Church is Not the Problem – It Has the Answers

After this shocking and disappointing presentation, another pastor stood up and stated that he could not agree at all with the repeated claim that the Church is the problem.  “The church is not the problem.  We are the answer to the problem.”  As he declared what we are in Christ and how we have the solutions to the problems confronting us, he was heckled and shouted at by some of the more politicized in the audience.   

"Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.  We can unite on the Great Commission – to make disciples and teach obedience…we have allowed ourselves to be ghettoized in this nation, only allowed to speak on moral and religious affairs alone” and they don’t even seem to listen to us on that.  “The Bible is about all of life!”   


The Great Commission and the Great Command

This pastor challenged us that we could find unity in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ and the great Commandment to love God and to love our neighbour.   


Whose Agenda?

Another pastor declared that we need an agenda for the nation.  “The ANC have an agenda for South Africa.  The homosexuals have an agenda.  The Muslims have an agenda.  But where is the churches agenda?”   

Tim Makamu Declared:“We must be more proactive than reactive.  Ask powerful questions.  Get the nation thinking.  Lead conversations constructively.  Raise servant leaders. The Body of Christ in South Africa must serve South Africa.  We must learn from the example of Jesus.  Jesus dealt with root issues and went beyond the headlines to ask powerful questions.” 


Back to the Bible

It was pointed out that we need to get back to the Bible.  The great Revivals under Whitefield and Wesley, Luther’s Reformation, Shaftsbury and Wilberforce’s Reformations, all started with getting back to the Bible.  The Bible changes lives.  Changed people change societies.  Every Revival involved the restoration of the Bible to the Church. 


Praying for Zimbabwe

Michael Cassidy came back to the stage and reminded delegates that: “NIRSA has been a triple exercise of listening to the Lord, listening to the Word and listening to one another.”  He then led the assembly in a corporate prayer for Zimbabwe, for deliverance and relief for the traumatized, and suffering people of Zimbabwe. 

 

Declaration of Intent

He then read out a compilation of input received from the various discussion groups in a draft Declaration of Intent which included these statements:  “We declare afresh our commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord, Saviour and coming King.  We reaffirm our confidence in the Bible as the inspired Word of God and as our supreme authority in all matters of life and faith…acknowledging the foundations laid by past and present Christian initiatives, building on those foundations and committed to strengthening existing initiatives without compromise for God’s standards and Word, we issue a prophetic and urgent call to church, government and society at large, to reapply themselves with all diligence to the reformation and renewal of South African society…we resolve to call on all South Africans to seek out and expose systematic corruption and organised crime…we resolve to hold faithfulness in marriage and sexual abstinence before marriage as the only effective way to stop the HIV and AIDS genocide of the human race and sexual violence and note that the Bible holds men primarily responsible for upholding these virtues…we resolve to affirm to one and all that both the Bible and history conclude that nations without solid family units providing a safe, loving, nurturing environment are no longer sustainable and are in imminent danger of demise…we resolve to pray for Zimbabwe and as a matter of urgent concern to send a delegation to the Zimbabwean church leaders, to pray with them, and to urge on them a NIRSA-type gathering and, if need be, help them to mount one…” 

 

Submit to the SACC

After lunch numerous participants went to the microphone to point out various shortcomings in the programme or declaration.  A divergence of opinions were expressed, from the one extreme of someone insisting that everything be done through the South African Council of Churches as they already had a good relationship with the ANC government, and were respected and trusted by the government and that we mustn’t be seen in any way to threaten or bypass the SACC!   

 

You Must Be Born Again

Another delegate insisted that we emphasise the importance of being born again more clearly in the document, as plainly some at the Consultation did not understand this.  All the great Reformers and Revivals were united in accepting the Bible as the Word of God and the final authority for all faith and conduct.  They also insisted on the importance of regeneration.  This man was well supported in his comments, which I understood to be a direct rejection of the SACC suggestion. 

 

The Crime Wave Must Be Conquered

One mother gave an impassioned plea for the Declaration to be greatly strengthened and more direct in demanding that national government fulfill it’s primary responsibility for protecting it’s citizens particularly from violent criminals.  She gave a heartrending appeal for the drafting committee to not forget the terror and insecurity which most people live under on a daily basis and was not the crime wave a major reason that NIRSA had met in the first place? 

 

A Landmark Event

All in all, I believe that NIRSA was a generally positive event.  Although there was some division and disagreement on many key aspects, and although the final Declaration of Intent skirts around some issues and doesn’t directly deal with the abortion holocaust, homosexual marriage, and so many other obvious threats to South Africa, it was encouraging to see so many prominent church leaders acknowledging the crisis caused by compromise and cowardice and determined to seek the Lord for Biblical solutions.   

 

Evaluating the Event

It was unfortunate that every aspect of the programme started late, and most of the Wednesday programme was abandoned.  Because of some speakers, such as Landa Cope, going way over time, several scheduled times of interaction, feedback and prayer were lost or greatly diminished.  Charismatic forms of worship predominated.  Emotionalism and subjective opinions took precedence over Bible reading and exposition.  Frequently speakers declared “We don’t know what to do” and “We need God to speak to us!”  However, several delegates expressed their conviction to me that there was no need for ethereal guidance.  God did not need to speak out of the air in a subjective existentialist way.   

 

God Speaks Through the Bible

God has spoken through the prophets and in and through his Son Jesus Christ.  God speaks through the Bible.  There is therefore no need for confusion or mystery on this point.  We know what God’s will is.  It is clearly revealed in His Word.  We as a nation need to humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways.  We need to expose evil, rebuild Biblical walls, preach God’s Word in season and out of season.  Teach obedience to all things that He has commanded, making disciples of all nations.  In so far as NIRSA included such calls it should be supported. 


The full NIRSA Declaration has been added to the www.christianaction.org.za website. 


Report compiled by Dr. Peter Hammond 

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