There was a time when few of us were touched by crime. Then we all began to know somebody who had been affected by crime. Now each of us have our own stories of how we were stolen from, directly threatened by crime, or worse.
At a recent meeting, the 80-odd people in attendance were asked to name some of the crimes they had personally experienced. In short order, those present related house breaking, car theft, cell phone theft, fraud, assault, hijacking, armed robbery and murder - all experienced either by themselves or their immediate family, recently.
At almost any social occasion, you can find South Africans swapping stories about a brush with death or the long-hand of crime having stolen from them and their loved ones.
Crime is a reality that affects each one of us. The situation in South Africa got so bad that the government even placed a moratorium on crime statistics, forbidding the police to release statistics of incidents of crime in South Africa to the voters and tax payers they are meant to represent and serve.
Some people, when they hear the word “government”, think about the state capital with its large state government office buildings or the State House or Parliament. But that is only one aspect of government.
Basically, government has to do with the way in which people conduct themselves as they carry out their personal and community affairs. The Bible clearly defines four spheres of government that are all accountable to God to obey His Word.
1. Personal or Self-government is the first and most basic sphere of government (Gal.5:22-23, John 14:21). Each and every person is accountable to God for the way he conducts his life and will be judged accordingly in this life and the next. The more self-controlled, self-disciplined we are, the less we’ll need external government discipline from family, church and state. (Galatians 6:7, Rev. 20:12, Proverbs 16:32, 1 Timothy 3:45, 2 Peter 1:6).
Self-government is symbolised by our consciences.
Is Revival the desire of your heart? Do you long to see the churches and communities in South Africa revived and restored to a God honouring condition?
“Restore us, O God Almighty; make Your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.”
Are you praying for a great spiritual awakening that will change our cities and our country? Is it your prayer that God may be honoured and glorified in all areas of life?
“Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down, . . . come down to make Your Name known to Your enemies and cause the nations to quake before You!”
Duncan Campbell of the Hebrides revival observed that: “Revival is not churches filled with people, but people filled with God.” Jonathan Edwards described revival as “a special season of mercy.”
“Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to dwell in.”
That we live in a broken world should be obvious to anyone. That our fallen world needs changing is beyond question. When our newspapers and films glamourise immorality, undermine traditional family values and encourage selfishness, greed and lust; when criminals escape justice by legal technicalities; when half the world suffers under totalitarian dictatorships and persecution; when pornography, perversion, abortions, terrorism and the occult are increasing – then we must know that this is a broken world that needs to be changed.
But most Christians have abandoned their moral responsibility to bring the Light of the Gospel into heathen darkness. Many Christians are allowing their own children to be brought up by godless humanism in state schools and entertained by occultism and pagan magic through Hollywood films and television.
“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His Commandments.”
The Bible tells us that God seeks
The family is the basic building block of society. The battle for the family is in the very frontline of the World War of Worldviews.
Only Biblical Christianity offers a rational basis for opposing racism and for pursuing justice. Equality before the Law is a Biblical principle:
“The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the Lord. The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.”
“Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly.”
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
"Every school you see - public or private, religious or secular - is a visible reminder of the religion of Jesus Christ. So is every college and university."
Dr. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe document in their "What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?" book that the phenomenon of education for the masses has its roots in Christianity.
The pursuit of the knowledge of God in a systematic, philosophical and in-depth way gave rise to the phenomenon of universities all around the world. It was the Christian faith that gave rise to the idea of higher learning.
THE GIFT OF LITERACY
Christianity is a tremendous force for education. Most of the world's languages were first set to writing by Christian missionaries.
The first book in most languages of the world has been the Bible. Christianity has been the greatest force for promoting literacy worldwide throughout history.
The Christian missionary movement in the 19th Century pioneered tens of thousands of schools throughout Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands - providing education for countless millions, even in the remotest jungles, giving the gift of literacy to tribes which had not even had a written language.
“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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
Is there such a thing as national guilt? Should we take part in a National Day of Repentance?
Africa Christian Action has been organising National Days of Repentance in South Africa for the last 11 years. Every 1 February ACA marks the anniversary of the legalisation of abortion in South Africa by hiring a hearse and marching in mourning clothes, carrying little coffins, crosses, flowers and simple placards stating: Abortion Kills Babies. A huge Pro-Life trailer brings up the rear of the funeral procession marking the milestones of life in the womb and declaring how many babies have been killed so far through abortion in South Africa. The Scriptures are also boldly quoted on the trailer:
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.
It’s impossible! It can’t be done! Don’t be ridiculous – what difference can one person make?
Have you ever encountered those kinds of reactions? Anyone who embarks on a challenging enterprise – especially those determined to end legal abortions, eradicate pornography, establish a Christian school or Christian Teacher Training College, stop the ongoing slave trade in Sudan or work for national Reformation and Revival – will encounter those people who seem to believe that they have “the gift of criticism” and “a ministry of discouragement!”