I believe that the South African Church is caught up in a civil war. This is not a shooting war, but a civil war about world views, values, morals and finding a godly ethical consensus for our nation.
Increasingly, Judeo-Christian values are coming under attack by secular humanism. This worldview denies Jesus Christ His rightful place as the Lord and Centre of created reality, and instead makes “humankind” (with its desires and experiences, its ideas of right and wrong – all of which are relative) the centre and reference point. The result is a society with no absolutes, and no common frame of moral reference.
The war rages in every sphere of our society – in the public sphere, where laws are made and justice dispensed. And also in the private sphere – in our places of work, of worship and even in our homes. Redefining the biblical understanding of marriage and family, secular humanism breaks the threads from which our social fabric is woven and threatens the stability of society itself.
Over the last year, we have witnessed an escalating threat to our freedom as Christians to believe, preach and live our lives according to the Word of God. Increasingly, the State is passing laws that impose a secular humanist worldview upon citizens, with consequences for those who choose (in cases of conflict) to obey their conscience rather than the law. Increasingly, Christians are finding themselves having to defend their freedom of conscience, religion and belief in courts of law and commissions established by the State.
I was deeply distressed recently to hear of a new complaint laid by activists driving a secular humanist agenda. The complaint, the particular details of which I am not at liberty to disclose at this stage, objects to certain (mainstream) Biblical doctrines and teachings. Should the complaint succeed, it will effectively mean that the State is:
- Interfering with the autonomy of the Church to govern its internal affairs according to its understanding of biblical prescripts; and
- Prohibiting the preaching and teaching of certain Scriptures which are regarded as ‘offensive’ or politically incorrect in a modern-day society.
For this reason, Christians cannot keep quiet and dare not do nothing. The Christian Church in South Africa needs to put itself on a spiritual war footing, stand up and be counted in new ways – for the good of our country, and to the glory of God. Yes, we must pray, perhaps as never before – for our leaders, our people and for moral and spiritual restoration in our land. But we must also act, with great wisdom but with great determination, to stop this harassment of Churches and this assault on Christianity before it is too late.
The Constitution guarantees every South African the freedom of conviction, religion and belief. Christians have the right to challenge where they feel there is an unlawful interference (by the State or otherwise) in that freedom, and we MUST do so where necessary. In this, we follow the example of the Apostle Paul who, in response to the charges made against him, invoked his rights as Roman citizen to raise an appeal with the Roman Emperor (Acts 25).
This is a critical time for our country, and we need every leader and every believer from every denomination to stand up and speak out – for Christ, for the Gospel, and for the freedom to share the Gospel with those we meet as Christ would have us do!
I, personally, have been greatly encouraged by the work of Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) , the Institute for Public Justice (IPJ), the Family Policy Institute (FPI) and other like-minded organisations, to keep our faith ‘free’ and to rally churches in South Africa behind this cause. Whether we like it or not, we are in a serious moral and spiritual conflict and interface. We can pretend it is not so, or knowingly choose not to engage – both of which would be moral cowardice, spiritually irresponsible and socially delinquent. Or we can link arms with Christian brothers and sisters, and fight this battle with the required unity of heart and purpose. I do hope you will choose the latter, as I myself have done along with other Christian leaders who have recognised the seriousness of the situation.
Finally, Beloved friends, I encourage you with all my heart – even in the face of rising and perilous challenges – to continue to be bold for Christ and for biblical Truth, and in no way to be ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
Warmly and always in the love of Christ,
(Founder of African Enterprise & Team Leader of AE South Africa)