By now many South African’s have heard of the Lead SA initiative. It seems to be a movement birthed out of the euphoria of the World Cup and the resultant national calm. For those of you who do not know about Lead SA, it “is a [certain media house's] initiative, supported by Independent Newspapers, that aims to highlight the achievements of the nation and celebrate the efforts of ordinary South Africans who continually seek to do the right thing for themselves, for their families and for their country”1.
Under the crucial question of “How can one lead SA” the answer comes, “As a South African, you have the resilience and passion needed to change the nation. It may seem like a huge responsibility and an impossible task, but it’s certainly achievable if you choose to simply do the right thing. Together we can achieve immeasurable success.2”
As a christian, I rejoice in the ideas of justice, equity, charity and the like. In short morality, which is what the website for ‘Lead SA’ says it is all about (albeit, some radio presenters prefer to called it the ethical thing rather than the moral thing, since they know the baggage morality has for secular worldviews).
While I agree with the sentiment of Lead SA, I can not go along with it. That may sound strange, but see why…
Under the question, “Why Lead SA”, the answer we get is, “The ability to change lives and the country is in everyones hands. Rather than feeling helpless, Lead SA encourages all to feel hopeful about the future and play an active part in unlocking the potential of the country. South Africa is filled with passionate people and the nation’s achievements are endless.3”
Notice, the question is, ‘why should I be moral/ethical’, and the response is ‘Well you have the ability to change lives. You should not feel helpless about the way things are, but rather hope that things can be great in this country if we use the potential in ever person. South Africa’s have a lot of passion and a lot of national achievements’.
This is no reason why. You have told me I have abilities, that I don’t have to have bad feelings, and that I can hope everything will be okay, and make it okay by taking part. But the question remains, ‘Why should I take part? Why should I care? Why should I not feel helpless but hopeful? Who says?
This underpins the futility of secularism. Secularism has absolutely no reason for anything. In fact, it can not even tell me why I should be reasonable, without begging the question. But since our leaders have decided, along with a liberal agenda to remove God from the nation, to have a secular worldview instead of a biblical one, they have no basis on which to demand or expect morality. The ironic thing is, all the other religious systems in the country (and the world for that matter) also trust in their own abilities to create morality, and so unlike Biblical Christianity which is grace based, other religions (and yes even ‘spirituality’) is works based – Yes you can, just try hard and do the right thing.
Jesus said, “The wise man build his house upon the rock… So is everyone who hears these words of mine, and obeys them”(Matt 7:24). I do hope that South Africa would be a place of hope, and joy, and justice and equality, but seeking these things in ourselves (as if we had the ability), is as futile as a first grader seeking knowledge within himself and declaring that he needs no schooling.
The history of humanity shows that whatever we have achieved has been in spight of ourselves, not because of ourselves, in reality it has all been the common grace of God. But as the parable in Matthew 7 says, when the storms come, when the opportunity to get rich quickly comes in the midst of your financial struggle, when you are late for your appointment but the emergency lane is open, when you have just had a terrible day at work and a taxi stops in front of you etc, then what internal impulse does anyone have to be good? None, because “the heart of man is exceedingly wicked and deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Rather, we should pray that God would grant revival and repentance to this land, that the gospel of Jesus Christ would permeate it, that He would give us new hearts so that we can turn from sin and serving self. That the gospel would go, as far as the curse has spread. We don’t need good rules and ideals, we need good hearts, and only Christ can give us that.