The Uniqueness of South Africa and the Role of Christianity

South Africa finds itself in a very unique situation, to put it bluntly, South Africa is a pre-Christian country enjoying many Christian benefits, and yet is thinking like a post-Christian country.

The reason I say South Africa is pre-Christian is because we have never had Biblical Christianity as a major force in the country. The type of Christianity that we do see is very much meshed with traditional religions and locked in forms of superstition. These days ‘pastors’ are promising to do the same thing that a sangoma (witch doctor) do. Furthermore, many people don’t find any contradiction between being a church member and going to a sangoma.

The other part of Christianity in this country seems to be tied to nationalism; it has been used in the past to try to condone organised racism- while anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the Bible knows this to be impossible.

Another interesting aspect of South Africa is that the ruling party is aligned with two ‘communist parties’, the party itself being a somewhat communist party in its policies, however, the ANC does not mind naming Christ. Often the president will use the name of Jesus to further his cause (while in another breath he threatens people with ancestors). The president even spoke at one of the major so-called churches in the country not long ago. Yet, at the same time, he continues (as does his party), to promote totally unchristian and unloving policies, i.e.: Abortion, homosexual marriages, closed market, state control of schools etc.

In a nutshell, biblical, conservative Christianity has not impacted South Africa, and in fact has not had the presence it has had at one stage in other nations.

Manifestations

What are some of the results of this weak Christianity in a still somewhat pagan land? Well for one thing, unlike other places where culture was often sifted through the grid of Scripture and what was left became the predominant culture, in South Africa often things work the other way, culture seems to trump faith. Culture is often the ongoing reason for disobeying Scripture. Issues like punctuality, theft, lying, hatred, racism and adultery often go unhindered despite the presence of some Christian ethic.

Furthermore, democracy is very slow to mature. People’s minds still run along racial and traditional lines. Since the Reformation was in a major way the driving force and foundation of Democracy it is to be expected that without that same reformation impetus by the Christian Church, democracy and the values it espouses and promulgates will be slow to come as well.

Another manifestation of this is the high unemployment rate in South Africa, 25% of the labour force is without jobs, which makes SA’s unemployment rate among the highest[i]. While studies have shown that Protestant countries have lower unemployment rates than none-protestant countries[ii].

One last observation, it is widely accepted that the majority of South Africans are not pro-homosexual marriages, and quite possibly are pro-life (against abortion), however that same majority does not vote in government that reflects its moral views. Thus there is a government that does not reflect the majority of South Africans on some important moral issues.

What does it all mean?

It’s hard to pin point what this means for the future of South Africa. Some countries like Japan seem to have succeeded in imitating protestant countries (namely America in this case) in a cultural way, and thus adopted much by way of work ethic and so forth. There is a good chance however, that since South African’s are striving to make things work on their own, instead of building on the foundation of Scripture, that collapse may be inevitable, no matter which of the liberal parties are voted in.

In the end, the hope for South Africa is the same hope that any other country has; the gospel of Jesus Christ. When Christian men and women stand up for the renown and fame of Christ, preach and live the gospel, and are unashamed, real change is possible. Our hope cannot be in political pragmatism, nor in moral regeneration (who says what’s moral without God?). The only hope is that God would show mercy and save many for His Name sake. And Christian, you must be a part of that. “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:12)”

  3 comments for “The Uniqueness of South Africa and the Role of Christianity

  1. May 30, 2011 at 7:15 am

    You are so right. When I worked as a missionary in the Grahastown farm district the people ould be coming to church on the Sunday and have communion and on Wednesday go to the Sangoma…eish.
    You are right, but people have rejected the stoci calvisnism of the old NG Kerk ( which I grew up in) because their theol;ogy was not connected to life.
    Higly recommend you get Jay Adams book ” The Grand demonstration” It speaks right into the situation you are talking about.

  2. Chrsit Only
    February 18, 2013 at 12:15 am

    I lived through Apartheid and was a university student just before the fall of Apartheid. I practically entered work-life a few years before 1994. I actually left the church at that stage, because all that preachers could talk about was politics. It showed to me that the focus was already off God and truth and became huministic in nature. Church leaders wanted to push humanisitc viewpoints and a lot of liberal and worldly ideas took hold of young thinking minds. South-Africa was also under the pressure of sanctions and political unrest was creeping in. The oderliness that was part and parcel of the pre-1994 was falling apart. I just knew that South-Africa had fallen, because we stopped obeying Gods Word and we followed the “Law of Man” rather than the “Law of God”. No-one today has enough faith and root in themselves to follow God’s Spirit. It requires faith to do that and therefore most people want to hold the hand of the world and at the same time try to show that they are actually believers. However, God’s word is very straight about this point: You cannot have fellowship with the tables of demons and also fellowship with God.

    The ANC is not Christian, that is why there is no real blessing and so much corruption. Everybody have been made to believe that Apartheid was such a great sin, but it is an Old Testamentical Principle not to have fellowship with non-Christians. If the ANC was Christian and straight it could have justified to replace Apartheid, but on a spiritual level, South-Africa is now worse of than pre-1994. My knowledge of God and his power to deliver people from sin is the main reason why I can state that freedom to sin is no freedom. People don’t want to know the truth about God’s wrath on sin, since South-Africa is a godless society. There are so many murders, rapes, corruption and evil instigated actions, that it is clear that the “Prince of the Power of the Air” has succeeded in swaying many people to blend Chrsitian religion with occult practice for example(Sangomas).

    This confusion about land reform is another evil principality manifesting in the air to influence people not to believe in the God that has given the land to those who receive his Bessings or who paid for it anyway.The riotious people who demand these thigs are clearly being instigated by the principalities and powers in the air. It is not a Christian prinicple to be jealouse of what your nabour has. You have no right to anything – God either choose to bless you or not bless you. If you follow God with body, mind and soul, you will end up having blessings. To follow non-Christian religion is as bad a allowing other gods(demons) to have say over your life. I know of cases where we prayed for the healing of Hindu-people. They asked us to pray for them, since they knew that true Christians have received the power to heal in His name. Even the nations who are non-Chrisitan do know that the Truth is with Christ. I am not just a believer in His power, but I have witnessed many miracles in my own personal life. Jesus Christ is the One and Only answer to South-Africa’s problems. If I could find only a few hundred men and women with the power of my own convition, I would be able to fight a winning battle in the Spirit and South-Africa will become a Christian country again. We don’t know how to fight evil, since we don’t even know our enemy and we don’t use out spiritual weapons corretly. If you can proof these principle on a small scale, you will soon fnd to your own astonisment that it does work and that it is very powerfull. In fact the evil men destroy themselves. I can give examples of people that was trying to detroy my family – they ended up detroying their own lives.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: