In Defence of the Church
The church is South Africa is under attack. A misdirected attack.
The attack comes from two quarters at least, namely: the anti-Christian in general as well as the State and its agents.
The anti-Christians seem to think that attacking the Christian faith makes one a revolutionary intellectual. He/she harps on about the obvious foreign nature of the Christian church in Africa.
Of course, the Christian Faith in South Africa came through white domination, so that the Faith itself assumed European manners. Still, the fact that this Faith came through whites does not invalidate the faith in itself.
What’s at stake is whether Christ lives or not – regardless of who preaches Him and for what purposes.
The anti-Christian may think Christ never lived in this world– and this would be the anti-Christian’s own problem. It’s only Christ who can reveal Himself to the unbeliever. Until then the church has nothing to say to the anti-Christian, except to continue with its mission, namely: to preach Christ and Him crucified and raised from the dead.
And no doubt the true church will hesitantly welcome the false teachers and the gluttonous prophets to join in its mission. Lest we forget Paul the apostle:
Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defence of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice (Philippians 1:15-18).
It is this gospel – however distorted it was by the missionaries or anybody – that is able to convict many a black man or woman in South Africa. Say what you like – millions of blacks in South Africa will not stop taking Christ seriously! No amount of clever blackness will stop the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
On this note we should, at once, ask the wanna-be revolutionaryanti-Christian to give the Christian faith a break. After all, it is the same faith - through the church as a troubled institution – that absorbs the destitute (the orphan, the widow, the refugee).
It would therefore be very foolish for the wanna-be revolutionary anti-Christian to dismiss the Christian faith as an ‘opium’, without looking at the pivotal function of the church in the organisation of black life in South Africa.
The church continues to do much that a political party or an average NGOis unable to do. It is the same church that has trained and continues to train many a black musician. It is the same church that gets a poor child off the street.We’ll say more in the future…
Let’snow look at the second attack on the church.
The State and its friends/agents are clearly disturbed by constitutional democracy – their democracy. They are embarrassed by the fact that people in South Africa have the freedom to choose their religious affiliations – even if they should want to drink petrol. It matters little whether or not people make their pastors rich in the process.
It’s nobody’s business on how I use my money. No one is ever asked to account on the amounts of money they spend on arguably unnecessary things. It is therefore appalling why the church is asked to do so.
It is the business of the true church to teach what is appropriate, what the pastor should or should not get. It is the business of the church to devise processes of accountability. Church processes have got little or nothing to do with the confused CRL Rights Commission/Hawks, for instance.
There is even talk that the agents of evil/State wish to regulate who preaches to whom and under what circumstances. An interference with how the church should conduct its affairs is an infringement of the very constitutional rights to which such state agents as the CRL Rights Commission purports to protect. Again, it is the business of the church to deal with the so called false or corrupt prophets in a manner that it deems fit.
The State or its agents must leave the church (including the so called corrupt prophets) alone. The state must focus on its mission. It must give people what’s due to them, by any means necessary: help people put bread on the table without telling them how and where to eat or share it.