40 Comments

Mandela in Heaven or Hell?

nelson-mandela
This last week beginning on December 5, Thursday, the world began to mourn a man who has been considered as one of the greatest men of the 20th and 21st centuries. Sadly, even Christians have lauded this man without bothering to see the truth of what he believed.

The reality is that Nelson Mandela was a Marxist, a Communist, a terrorist, a leader of an organization that used such bizarre and horrific practices known as necklacing in order to achieve his own ends. Necklacing was the use of rubber tires hung around the necks of a victim and set on fire. He was not a man of peace, but a promoter of war and hatred. Further, he hated God and loved the abominations that God hates.

This post in no way can be assumed as a promotion of apartheid because we believe that it was wrong. However, we must remember that two wrongs never make a right.

Some would question why we are trampling on the grave of a man that has not yet even been dug in South Africa. The reason is because too many Christians are buying into the media hype without seeing the truth.

The bottom line is this though. No matter what Mandela did and no matter what anybody thought of him, the moment he died he found himself facing the sovereign Creator of the Universe who is the all-seeing and all-knowing Judge of the souls of men.

If Mandela crossed the line into eternity without having ever placed his faith in Christ alone, by grace through faith alone, and been brought to repent and confess his sins before a holy, righteous God, then he will pay the ultimate penalty for his sins in hell forever. He will not be in hell because he was a terrorist, a Marxist, or a Communist. He will be in hell because of his rejection of Jesus Christ.

This is not something we rejoice in, but it does serve as a warning to all those who think they can mock God and get away with it. Judgment will come because it is appointed unto man once to die and after that moment the time of judgment arrives.

American Vision has a great article that we recommend to our readers on The Real Mandela.

About Mark Escalera

Name: Mark Escalera - (formerly The Jungle Missionary) Blog: DefendingContending.Com Ministry: I am a sinner saved by grace, and learning every day how much more I need the Lord directing my life. In a graceless world, my desire is to show to others the grace that has been extended to me. Have been married for almost 25 years and we have been blessed with five children with the oldest three serving in the US Air Force. My passion is seeking to minister the precious life-giving Word of God to those dead in trespasses and sins! Humbled that He would choose me as one of His children! Preferred translation: English Standard Version (ESV) Currently studying: Psalms Currently reading: The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink

40 comments on “Mandela in Heaven or Hell?

  1. Mark, thank you for speaking the truth. I can’t believe how many so called Christians and Christian organizations are running loose at the mouth singing praises of Mandela. The man was also guilty of pushing abortion and was in favor of same sex marriage years ago. He had the same agenda as obama but was just quieter about it. Google it folks— he had a lot of blood on his hands,, sad,sad that our leaders don’t have any more discernment then this…..

  2. Grace to you Mark and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
    I agree whole-heartedly that too many Christians the world over en especially here in South Africa have lauded this Past-President Nelson Mandela in a manner inappropriate with their beliefs and I fear that some have almost attached Messianic attributes to his person.
    Through-out his post-prison life and shortly after Mandela assumed the office of President of South Africa he was on numerous occasions on record saying that he was just a very ordinary fallible human being. I quote just one such utterance, “That was one of the things that worried me – to be raised to the position of a semi-god – because then you are no longer a human being. I wanted to be known as Mandela, a man with weaknesses, some of which are fundamental, and a man who is committed, but nevertheless sometimes he fails to live up to expectations”
    May I be allowed to correct a few facts in your post and in the sermons of Peter Hammond?
    Nelson Mandela was a Marxist, a Communist. Absolutely true. During the early years and during much of the time Mandela was in prison, the prophetic voice of The Church was largely conspicuous by its silence regarding possible the most evil system of oppression since Hitler’s time – some say it was worse than Hitler’s. The greatest support for over-coming this hideous regime came from the communist world. These are facts that can be checked. However, once out of prison where he was held almost incommunicado, he dramatically changed his stance and although still deeply appreciative of the support he’d received, abandoned Marxism and Communism forever. It should also be remembered that the early indigenous people of South Africa practiced what we today would call a form of communism, virtually the only thing each person owned for himself was his prized cattle, and the rest was shared with the community.
    The fact that Mandela, after assuming office entertained so many dubious heads of state was purely out of gratitude for their aid and support during the so-called “struggle” years. He never abandoned or took for granted his erstwhile friends
    Nelson Mandela was a terrorist. What can one say to this excepting today’s terrorist is tomorrows freedom fighter. It needs also to be remembered that only after the black people of South Africa had petitioned the then Government, pleaded with them and went to other extreme and acceptable lengths and were ignored for decades (not years) that a decision was made to oppose force by force. Hence it was only after they were being murdered, oppressed and moved to unsustain “homelands” and dumped there in their thousands on open pieces of veldt that this decision was taken. These only targeted places and not people. Other misguided folk threw bombs into crowded restaurants etc. Should the USA be invaded by a tyrannically country, such as maybe Nazi Germany during 1944, would the USA citizens welcome them with open arms or take up real arms to defend themselves?
    Nelson Mandela was a leader of an organization that used such bizarre and horrific practices known as necklacing in order to achieve his own ends. Necklacing was the use of rubber tires hung around the necks of a victim and set on fire. This is a totally incorrect bit of misinformation. Mandela never ever condoned this nor accepted it. It was a practice carried out by adherents to the organization but not members. Much like the “Crusades” of centuries ago with all their cruel practices which were carried out in the name of “Christianity”.
    Nelson Mandela was not a man of peace, but a promoter of war and hatred. Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years on barren Robben Island of the coast of Cape Town. Here he suffered malnutrition, the torments of prison warders steeped in Nationalist Party ideology – they would wee into food, commit to solitary confinement and otherwise torture” the political prisoners to a degree that would today be unacceptable in any semi-civilized country. He was released at about 4pm one afternoon and about 3 to 4 hours later addressed a vast crowd of supporters from the balcony of Cape Town’s City Hall. His speech called for the forgiveness of all those who supported “apartheid” including his warders and for the co-operation of all races in the building of a united South Africa. If any man brought peace to South Africa it was Mandela. Remember the whole world, including the greater majority of South Africans, black and white, believed that the situation then prevailing could only shortly end up in literal flames created by real hatred. Just before the election bringing his party into power, a popular and revered figure (Chris Hani) among the black population was gunned down in his drive-way. South Africa was poised on the knife-edge of civil war and the then President (F. W. de Klerck) was powerless to do anything. He asked Mandela to go on national TV and Radio. Mandela did and pleaded for peace and his favorite theme of ‘forgiveness’. Crises over.
    Nelson Mandela was a man who hated God and loved the abominations that God hates. In reality Mandela always had a high regard for Christ’s Church. It was through missionary schools and colleges that he gained his education. It is not known if Mandela was a Christian or not, but like Wilberforce who saw his mission to free the slaves, Mandela saw his mission to be the unification of a peaceful South Africa. To do this he dared not alienate any sector that held string beliefs, be they Muslim, Jews or Christians so, rightly or wrongly, he kept his beliefs to himself. As far as his view on homosexuality went, Mandela was totally opposed to discrimination on any grounds. That was his laudable guiding Principle. To violate that Principle and move to a matter of degree as to how much the Principle should be adhered to and allow discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation would have opened up a hornet’s nest of debate – and made of him a lesser man.
    I trust that you Mark will accept these corrections in the spirit of that they are offered by a man who, at 70+ years of age, has lived through the horrors ‘apartheid’ perpetrated for 50 long years by the previous government and seen first-hand what man of peace and daily preaching forgiveness can do. By the way, I see Mandela as a very fallible fallen man but one who, in spite of his numerous faults and failings, has set Christians an example in the areas of love, peace and forgiveness that many could do well to follow.
    Thank you for reading this, admittedly, over-long comment

  3. Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  4. Another Pilgrim, thank you for the information and your comments. I would like to counter your thoughts.

    1. Where do we have information that Mandela a) renounced Marxism and Communism, and b) ever sought to redo the philosophies he adhered to as both a Marxist and Communist?

    2. To say that the ANC never targeted only places and not people is to be disingenuous to the truth of what took place in South Africa. In fact, it would be tantamount to (having lived in England for 14 years) as saying that the IRA of Ireland never targeted people but places. Again, this is just not true. Neither the ANC nor the IRA have shown concern for the well-being of all peoples. Collateral damage has long been an acceptable norm because the means justifies the end.

    3. As far as necklacing, Winnie Mandela (Nelson’s wife at that point) made it clear where she and the organization stood on necklacing. A simple google search will reveal the horrors of what was perpetrated by people within the ANC. I well remember the papers and the news events surrounding much of apartheid as it was all over the UK.

    4. Regarding terrorism, I do not feel that it is an equal fact to put what took place under the years of apartheid and the violence that ensued in the same camp as if Nazi Germany had invaded America. Huge difference, my friend. One is a foreign power that sought to subjugate the entire world to its wicked philosophies, but taking up arms by force through wanton acts of terror against the established government and law of the land under the sovereign hand and will of God is something altogether different.

    I truly appreciate your thoughts as one who has lived through this. Sometimes I am afraid that what we think is a message of peace and forgiveness though is not all that it really seems. I have no doubt, and have yet to see any contrary information, that shows that Mandela ever sought forgiveness for his own actions and the actions of the ANC.

    I look forward to a response should you desire to do so.

  5. Peter, your story is truly enlightening and needs to be shared around the world. Leaders compromise, they make deals, as they hope to make stuff work – hopefully for the good of most. Mandela is no better and no worse than many but your observations put a brilliant balanced perspective on it all.
    Thanks
    Andy

  6. For a revealing interview with an RSA missionary who personally confronted Mandela over his communist ties, not to mention his immoral stances on various issues, including tolerance of homosexuality, check out: http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/nelson-mandela-was-a-radical-marxist/

  7. Mark, I appreciate the obvious time gave to studying and then commenting on my comments. Unfortunately I am at the moment heavily engaged in a project and cannot immediately accept your kind offer to respond to your comments with the same thoroughness that you gave my original comments.
    I’d appreciate your patience and undertake to reply at the very first available time.

  8. Another Pilgrim as a South African I appreciate that you have tried to put your view forward. I did not live under apartheid but I see the hatred that Apartheid (which for years was justified using the Bible) has created in our country. It is a shame and we pray that God will grant us all a heart that seeks to love whenever we are faced with such hate.

    Billions4x did you read some of the comments posted on your link? Did you see one with the old SA flag? People filled with hatred will use this Christian perspective to continue their hate.

    Mark Escalera this point that your raise “4. Regarding terrorism, I do not feel that it is an equal fact to put what took place under the years of apartheid and the violence that ensued in the same camp as if Nazi Germany had invaded America. Huge difference, my friend. One is a foreign power that sought to subjugate the entire world to its wicked philosophies, but taking up arms by force through wanton acts of terror against the established government and law of the land under the sovereign hand and will of God is something altogether different.” Minimises the suffering of blacks who were completed dehumanised under Apartheid. Reach out to ordinary black South Africans who suffered under the system before making a statement like this which you cannot substantiate simply on what you have observed. I am deeply pained by this comment you made and hope God will give us both the discernment about it. I have learnt a lot from this site and I will endeavour to ensure that a comment like this does not influence me in any negative way.

  9. Furthermore Mark you maintain that “but taking up arms by force through wanton acts of terror against the established government and law of the land under the sovereign hand and will of God is something altogether different.” Do you realise how this “established government” came into power and remained in power? Black people in Africa were not allowed to vote. It was not a just system. When I consider the Apartheid system and any other unjust laws made in our country by our current government I look always to Daniel 6.

    In Daniel 6:6 So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever! 7 All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.

    Daniel in the Lions’ Den

    10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

    11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?”

    Please consider this in light of the “established government’ that you are referring to and the atrocities committed (you can do your own research). As I have said before we require discernment on these matters. I would have appreciated a Biblical based argument from you not mere opinion and statements like the Amnesty court believing that Nelson Mandela received a fair trial.

    Personally I don’t idolise Mandela, it is idolatory but in the judgement of him one needs to remember the system and the circumstances that led to his actions and both need to be judged on the same basis, as you yourself have said “two wrongs do not make a right”

  10. LeaP, thank you for stopping by. First of all, I speak from a position of some knowledge gained by personal friends who lived under apartheid. Some were black and some were white. So, I have reached out to those who were under the system. Second, I apologize for my comments coming across to you in a way that seems like I was undermining the suffering of any peoples under slave-like conditions. That was not my intention. Third, Nazi Germany invading America as a foreign power is not the same as an established ruthlessly crushing it’s own people such as seen in North Korea, BUT, neither one is right for what they do. Fourth, my point was two-fold. A) show others the reality of the man the world leaders are fawning over, and B) to again show the sovereignty of God in action. The Romans Christians (as have millions of others through history) have suffered at the hands of the world. It does not make it right, and anybody that tries to use Christianity as the means to justify war, terror, or Crusades is not a true believer. I hope this clarifies what I meant and thank you again for your thoughts and your comments.

  11. Another Pilgrim, that would be fine and I appreciate your thoughts so far.

  12. LeaP, again, I have shared a comment that I hope you read. There is nothing in my article that sought to justify what took place in South Africa under apartheid. Both the government and the terrorists were wrong. They both committed atrocities and sought to subjugate the people using the means of terror and fear. I fully appreciate the passage from Daniel and I have spent a great deal of time studying the book in 20+ years of ministry. It is interesting though that Daniel never waged war or used terror tactics in order to see a change of government. He actually served under at least 3 kings and two different empires. He was never ordered by God to seek to countermand the kings. Nor, are we in the New Testament age given leeway to take up arms against a ruling government. Be in submission to those who rule over you. Pray for those who despitefully use you. I am fully aware of what atrocities look like having served in Liberia. I know the horror of war and what happens when the depravity of the heart of man is allowed to have run free. Again, my point being made was that too many times we are idolizing the wrong people. Mandela was not a saint and he did stand against and opposed to the truths of God’s Word. There is no system, nor circumstances that can or will ever justify terrorism in any country by any government or opposition force.

  13. LeaP, I am frankly not interested in who will use what for whatever reason. The truth is the truth. Just because people “cherry pick” their favorite sayings of Jesus, making Him out to be this sin-tolerant sissy, and leaving out the whole picture (e.g., 167 verses directly or indirectly referring to hell) doesn’t mean I should never point people to the four gospels. Just because a bunch of liberal “theologians” rate Jesus’ sayings as genuine, doubtful or “no way,” conveniently tossing out anything that would hint of Him being the ONLY way, of being equal to the Father or of Him being judgmental of rebellious sinners (being judgmental of Pharisees is acceptable, however) doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t bring Jesus ENTIRE message to bear upon a sinful world, right?

    Don’t you believe in journalistic integrity, LeaP? Doesn’t truth trump anything else? Yes, timing is an issue, and maybe the fact that Mandela just died could imply bad timing on the “truthers,” but will there ever be a “right time” to divulge the truth about him? I say now is as good a time as any, especially when the world, not to mention the Church, is drooling over him as if he were some sort of “god” or something.

  14. billions4x.
    I approach you and your comment to LeaP with hopefully a tolerant heart.
    Now I trust that you have Christ’s loving heart but when you put fingers to key-board you don’t allow it to show and thus damage what the world would otherwise see.
    May I ask that you, as Mark is so graciously prepared to do, wait patiently for my response to Mark’s original post on this subject and our resultant dialogue. It will be done within 48 hours and perhaps thereafter you will be able to comment on Mandela in a little more temperate manner.

  15. Mark Escalera thank you for your response. I am just not sure how else the Apartheid government could have been overthrown. I could give all sorts of arguments (like why a legitimate government would want to release a convicted killer/terrorist on condition that he denounce violence while the SA defence force was ever present in the townships and political prisoners were being tortured) but it I don’t wish to enter into a debate as I don’t want to go down that route.

    I do not have 20+ years of ministry experience but I am getting there, thanks to sites like this for which I am very grateful.

    More than anything South Africa needs prayers, our country is at a crucial point and we don’t want to end up like the African countries that you’ve mentioned. On a daily basis some of us are teaching the message of tolerance and prayer because the other side of the idolising of Mandela are the comments that the “baboons” or the “animals” should “mourn their Mandela alone”. This kind of speak at this emotional time can send an already angry group of people over the edge. In this spirit I choose not to get into anymore arguments but I pray that God will grant us the wisdom on how to deal with this situation.

    I refer many people (mostly South Africans) to your website and I am afraid that an article like this might turn them away from a very valuable resource. A resource which has helped me to get many people to question doctrine and to make sure that we do not serve our own version of God.

    I understand completely that without God and accepting Jesus into their hearts NO ONE will go to Heaven but in times like these can we use Christ’s approach that He showed the samaritan woman at the well or even how He essentially let those who wanted to throw stones essentially convict themselves.

    Daily many are coming to the realisation that they should not idolise Mandela they do however still choose to show their respects. In time I believe that those who truly seek God’s direction on this will get the answers. Many are aware of Mandela’s short comings but I think that they simply don’t know how to deal with it in the face of the system of Apartheid.

    I do not want us to compromise the truth but I know that there is a way that we can present the truth without having people believe that we are trying to justify an unjust system. Perhaps your article could try balance the idolising of Mandela against the system that he unfortunately tried to change by human means?

  16. LeaP, I know your comment wasn’t directed at me, but I would ask you how Mark’s post could be interpreted by some as “trying to justify an unjust system?” Shedding light on a man and his biblical inconsistencies was done, as the post’s title clearly implies, to question if Mandela is in heaven or hell right now. Martin Luther King, Jr. also had a lot of inconsistencies, but we don’t question his cause – and the results of it – because of them.

    As for your “modern” concept of how to benefit from the gospel (e.g., “… accepting Jesus into their hearts…”), I would seriously recommend your delving into Ray Comfort’s material at http://www.wayofthemaster.com. The Church must get back to the gospel basics, including the use of its most important evangelistic tool: the Law.

    Grace & Peace!

  17. Hmmm, the dangers of social injustices like slavery, apartheid, etc. That is actually a good idea and I appreciate the suggestion.

  18. Hi LeaP.
    I appreciated your comments very much indeed and I’m sure when Mark comments he will agree.
    You say “I could give all sorts of arguments (but) I don’t want to go down that route. In this spirit I choose not to get into anymore arguments but I pray that God will grant us the wisdom on how to deal with this situation” And I’m sure God has already or will grant those lead us the wisdom we all seek but unfortunately sometimes, as James says, we are double-minded and sometimes we refuse to use the Wisdom granted by God. You add, “I do not want us to compromise the truth” which must never be done.
    You might have picked up in my responses to Mark that, after a distraction, I am, in the process of commenting in reply to Mark’s gracious invitation to do so and am struggling in preparing that comment. Subject to Mark’s and the sites approval I have decided it is exactly as you say, arguments are seldom worthwhile and have never convinced anybody, but uncompromised truth spoken can convince if the reader/listener is not either bigoted or prejudiced to the degree that he isn’t even willing to hear truth. But to do this I feel burdened by the need to first present the full back-ground of exactly what went on here in South Africa. Unfortunately, most folk from outside our shores glean what they know from bits and pieces from all sides of the spectrum and seldom get to fully appreciate the horror that existed here. It is only then that one can, against this background, present Mandela also with truth and his actual actions which are not always how some on DefCon have seen them. With truth presented, then each person can make up their own mind as to whether Mandela was right or wrong, whether he should be counted amongst those who worked for good or amongst those who worked to promote evil.
    Where are you based in South Africa?

  19. billions4x
    Hi, may I comment further.
    Two little interim additions to my previous comment.
    The first being that Dr. Peter Hammond, by his own admissions heard by me, was a supporter, as were so many misguided people, of the Apartheid Regime.
    Like those who were recently convicted of treason – these crazy, weird men confessed that they wanted to first kill Mandela, than take over the government by force – he feels the need to present Mandela and his organisation in the worst possible light. Perhaps he considers this will put his mis-placed support in the past in a better light?
    Secondly, there have (obviously) been many tributes and interviews with people who have met Mandela on national TV and Radio. One of the recent ones being with the administrator of the Cape Province. (Before Mandela there were 4 provinces in South Africa, now 9. These are analogues to your States but considerable less autonomous. The administrators, now known as provincial Premiers can be equated to you State Governors). Mandela stayed with him over-night in his official Cape Town residence the night before Parliament had to elect Mandela as President before he got be so inaugurated the next day in Pretoria.
    Before I proceed, the Afrikaner, which this man was, came from Boer (farming) stock – as I do – which are known (and I am generalising) for their straight talk and honesty, calling a spade a spade and not a shovel. In fact the black people actually preferred dealing with them rather than with the English speaking South Africans because they always knew exactly where they stood with them. Furthermore this fellow not only came across as honest, sincere (and rather humourless) in the interview, he retired shortly afterwards and now, 18 years later he had absolutely nothing to gain, or lose, from a favourable or unfavourable take on Mandela in the interview.
    Anyway, Mandela made an impression on this die-hard, Nationalist Party official who had spent his life to-date supporting the subjugation of his fellow black citizens. During the night this fellow felt an urgent need to approach Mandela on a subject before Mandela left for parliament the next morning. Consequently at breakfast the next morning said to Mandela that he felt that no man could handle what lay ahead for Mandela over the coming years without the help of God, so he asked if he could read a passage of Scripture and pray for him. He read Psalm 121 and then he prayed.
    Afterwards they got into discussion. Mandela confessed a Christian belief adding that his party was made up of Christians, Moslems, Hindus and one or two from other faiths and therefore he felt that for the sake of unity, his beliefs should be strictly private. Mandela also told this man what has never been known before until that interview, namely that for 4 years he, Mandela, had been a Sunday school teacher.
    Worth considering while awaiting my fuller comment for Mark to be given late.

  20. Mark (and others) at last my comment. Thank you for your patience. I have been struggling to decide the best way to present the facts – as opposed to the myths and inaccuracies held both for and against Nelson Mandela – and must honestly say that without a full understanding of the entire factual situation, possible unique to South Africa, with the best will and intentions in the world, no-one will fully grasp what I would otherwise have to say and so controversy will continue to rage. Hence with the indulgence of those that decide these things at DefCon, I will put forward what I have to say in three parts, of which this will be the first.
    At the very least my words should be a salutary lesson to all Christians who visit DefCon that, as in Nazi Germany, when we leave behind the dictates of our Sovereign Lord and King and proceed merely under our own wisdom, we fall far. Falling even further when we try and twist Scripture to justify what we are doing in the manner of the Pharisees on whose kind, God pronounced those seven awful woes to be found in Matthew 23. God is not to be mocked.
    As a small boy living in a little country town called “Oudtshoorn” I first became aware of racial prejudice. Somewhere in town was a siren similar to the air-raid sirens used during the world wars in Britain and elsewhere. This siren could be heard all over town and parts of the immediate country side beyond. It sounded at 9 pm every night. Regular as clock work. When I one day asked why the siren sounded, I was told that after the siren went off should any person of colour (Black and Coloured people) be found on the streets of the town they would be locked up and charged next day by a Magistrate!!
    As the years rolled by things became increasingly more onerous for the Black people.
    For example, they were registered as belonging or living in particular areas, an area normally defined by the nearest town or village. They were issued a “Pass” which defined their area and it had to be carried on their person at all times. If caught without such a ‘pass’ on their person they would be arrested and charged in a Court of Law. These passes carried varied restrictions such as those that indicated that the holder was defined as coming from a farming community and could not move into a city.
    Now the farmers, almost all of Afrikaans speaking Afrikaner stock – as I am – (called “Boers”) were notorious for exploiting their labour. They paid a weekly wage that would not sustain one man for a day, let alone his family. They sometimes allowed their labourers a small plot of land on the farm to grow crops but after long hours in the Boer’s fields with malnourished body there was little energy left for working on one’s own little piece of ground. If Black folk from designated areas were caught outside those areas they were also charged in Court and if caught in the cities they were in more serious trouble. In other words being confined on large numbers to areas where virtually the only work was to be found was on the surrounding farms, it was tantamount to slave labour and the farmers could pay less and less in wages. The occasional few paid nothing, allowing only a small piece of ground for their labourers to grow crops. Almost a replica of the USA in the year’s pre-Abraham Lincoln. It goes without saying that Black people thus did not have freedom of movement in their own country and were not therefore allowed to seek where they could sell their labour for the best possible return. Those privileges being the prerogative of the white man.
    Prisons became over crowded by otherwise law abiding, often Christian men and women who had in some way or another contravened one or other of the many “Pass laws”. Often merely having forgotten their pass at home.
    Then came the “Home land” policy and the Groups Areas Act.
    Under the Group Areas act, People of colour were summarily and forcefully moved from their homes to areas designated for their ‘group’. For example, Cape Town is situated on the beautiful Cape Peninsula and behind Cape Town were the lush vineyards on the mountain slopes and the original beautiful Cape-Dutch home of the Governor, van der Stel ((14 October 1639 – 24 June 1712). Between Cape Town and the hinterland of South Africa lay the ‘Cape Flats’ covering hundreds of square kilometers. Here the deep sand of the Flats made travel in the early years by cart or wagon extremely difficult. The area is today completely overrun by alien vegetation, mainly of Australian origin and about the early 1900’s was sparsely inhabited for obvious reasons. Under groups areas the Colored folk were moved from their homes in the wine lands of Constantia described above and large areas of central Cape Town and dumped on the wastes of the Cape Flats; some in houses and flats erected by the Government, the rest had to erect shacks to stay in. Come 1994 the area was a vast network of townships and shack settlements housing black, colored and Indian people. The result?; today the area is rife with warring youth gangs and drugs and alcohol have become a major problem
    Under the Home Land policy South Africa was carved up into so-called “Bantustans” (derived from the word Bantu meaning ‘a member of an extensive group of indigenous peoples of central and southern Africa’ – Oxford dictionary). These were normally open veldt, sometimes incorporating a town, and were dotted all over. Each Bantustan was allocated to a particular ‘tribal’ group and these tribes were to be regarded as citizens of their particular Bantustan and NOT of South Africa. Often a particular Bantustan was composed of relatively small areas separated completely, often by hundreds of Kilometers, from each other. Bantustans were and remain unsustainable.
    Again black people were forcibly uprooted from their homes and areas where they and their ancestors had lived in for hundreds of years and transported by truck to perhaps just an open piece of veldt hundreds of kilometers away where they were left and told to get on with it. Mostly there were no jobs and no prospects of a job. The Government didn’t even try and build or make availably alternative housing in these places.
    Somewhere in between all this the new Ninety-Day Detention Law applying to all races was introduced. This law allowed security officials to hold without charges for ninety days persons suspected of political crimes. During this ninety-day period, the men were denied the opportunity to consult with lawyers or see their families. Most were held in solitary confinement and some were tortured.
    A certain Steve Biko was held under this law and as later was proved, was viciously tortured in the offices of the Security Branch in the Eastern Cape. When he went into a coma. After a Doctor’s visit, he was thrown naked onto the back of a 1 ½ ton open truck and driven thousands of kilometres to Pretoria Central Prison where he died. As many people both sympathetic and unsympathetic to the Black Cause have said, civilised people treat their dogs better. The story can be found, amongst other places, in Biko a biography written by white South African journalist and editor of the local newspaper, ‘The Daily Dispatch’, Donald Woods. Biko never lifted a finger against another, never sabotaged the smallest building, never organized a strike, all he ever did was write in opposition to the Government and spread amongst black students the concept of “Black consciousness” i. e. pride in being a black person.
    As a further indication of the situation in that evil period of South Africa’s history, soon after Biko’s death, Woods was himself placed under a five-year ban (Couldn’t meet with more than two people at a time, couldn’t leave his house without permission and so forth). He was stripped of his editorship, and was not allowed to speak publicly, write, travel or even work for the duration of his ban. Over the next year, he was subjected to increasing harassment, and his phone was tapped. Banning was done by proclamation without recourse to Courts of Law. The final straw came when his six-year-old daughter was severely burned by an acid-laced T-shirt. Convinced that the government was trying to have him killed as they had Biko, Woods decided to flee South Africa.
    Ever increasingly the black towns became the object of invasion by the South African defence force and the South African Police. Arriving in armoured Saracens they shot people at random or otherwise the Saracen occupants would alight and man-handle everybody they could see, most often lambasting them with ‘Sjamboks‘ a sort of whip made from an adult Hippopotamus or Rhinoceros hide 1 to 1.5 metre long with a handle and a long tapering tip which has become synonymous with the Apartheid era. Although it was in traditional use for centuries before particularly by herdsmen to drive cattle. It was official supplied to members of the South African Police force ostensible for riot control. The sjambok is also used today in South Africa by those who mete out discipline imposed by extralegal (lynch mob) courts.
    Many people in Britain were shocked by the fact that armoured vehicles provided from their country had been used by the Union of South Africa (as it was then known) against the African people struggling for equality. The vast majority of progressive opinion in Britain deeply deplored the use to which these vehicles were so obviously to be put. Saracens shot down 56 Africans at Sharpeville. The Saracens built in Britain left an indelible blot on the history of South Africa.
    A group of outstanding war photographers followed these events in the townships and became known as the Bang-bang club. Their story, with gruesome photographs, are chronicled in both a film documentary and a book both titled “The Bang-Bang club”
    The black person was seen as inferior to the white and this was neatly summed up by Dr Verwoerd who introduced “Bantu education” while Minister of Native Affairs (he later became Prime Minister and put the finishing touches to grand apartheid); he stated, “”There is no place for [the Bantu] in the European community above the level of certain forms of labor … What is the use of teaching the Bantu child mathematics when it cannot use it in practice?” They took the cue from Scripture, Jos 9:27 “But Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, to this day, in the place that he should choose”
    Incidentally, the nationalist party leaders that brought about apartheid (separation) were deeply religious men. Their first Prime Minister (D F Malan) was previously a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church. Their later actions were supported by certain main stream denominations all of whom, excepting for a few die-hards such as Dr Peter Hammond, repented for this support years later.
    Job reservation also came into being whereby a black was confined to unskilled labor. Inspectors would visit factories, workshops and other places to ensure no black person was doing any sort of skilled job. On the mines they could not rise to any official level, not being allowed a “Blasting certificate”.
    In summary, the blacks were treated as an inferior race and many saw them as on a par with animals. Today still, as LeaP has stated in his comment, the occasional raciest still refer to them as “Baboons” etc. The poverty levels of the black people were abjectly low and their labor was exploited beyond measure. Wages being a mere pittance. Their places of residence were all far from the cities and towns and so what little they earned needed to go to transport. One place, Sophia Town, comes to mind, this was a black suburb amongst the western Johannesburg suburbs. It developed a culture of its own from which many internationally well-known musicians came. They were heavily influenced by the USA music scene most especially the Jazz artists. The Nat Government tried to forcible remove them all and somehow they legally resisted. Eventually the government won the day and the trucks arrived to move all of them to their designated new areas. When the area was completely cleared and all the little suburban houses empty, employing their small little minds, the government immediately renamed the suburb “Triomf” (Triumph)!
    Against this backdrop of degradation, of torture, of removals to obscure areas of the country, of enduring raids on their homes which were in the process often wrecked by Police and Army frequently in the dead of night, of denial of free movement within their own country, of denial of citizenship of their own country, of prevention of gaining decent work, of condemnation to inferior education and thus hopelessly forever trapped in the most abysmal poverty, that Nelson Mandela arrived on the political scene as a young lawyer.
    And it is against this backdrop that I hope to detail all Mandela’s actions

  21. This sounds rather bitter. I am a Christian. I am a South African. I am black. I do not believ that Mandela is in Heaven. The article sound bitter though.

  22. Robert, thank you for stopping by and commenting. As the author of the post, I can assure you that there was no bitterness or enmity in my heart towards Mr. Mandela. My heart grieves for those who have died without Christ and for those who will continue to die without having placed their faith in Christ alone. I mourn for all those who have been duped by the evil one (Satan) and his minions into thinking that there is hope without eternity and that there are many roads which lead to heaven. It is from this perspective that I shared what I did. I sincerely hope this clarifies.

  23. Hullo Robert, (Mark, I’m not sure if Robert was addressing your post or my comment when he says “… sounds bitter… “)
    Robert if me and my take on the Apartheid years you are referring to, I am a Christian, I am a South African. I am white. I have lived these 3 score years and 10.
    This is my take on what occurred from 1948 to 1992 and before. It is not meant to be bitter but as factual a picture as I could make it in the short space available. Please feel free to differ where you think it warrants.
    As to where Mandela now is we do well to remember that Samson appeared to be a rather lost cause but nevertheless to our surprise is mentioned amongst the men and women of faith in Hebrew 11.
    Go well my Brother

  24. Who are you to judge????????? You should,be thinking about your own life and where you will end up only God can see the hearts of the deceased as to know whether he will be granted into the gates of heaven a very pointless topic indeed

  25. Bocha, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Sadly, your comment does reflect the lack of Biblical understanding. It is not based on my opinion or anybody else’s as to whether a person goes to heaven or not. The Bible makes it clear that it is only based on if a person has placed their faith in Christ alone, by grace through faith alone. Thus, any person who does not come to Jesus Christ in the only way which He has ordained, that person will be damned to hell. Finally, I am afraid that you will only think that it is a pointless discussion until the moment you close your eyes in death. My prayer is that you will know the truth before that day comes.

  26. I just think everyone should concentrate on knowing Jesus Christ as his Saviour. As you said everyone is accountable for his own sin. But whatever Mandela did, it can be no worse than what the white Afrikaans did to the black people. How about we all ask for forgiveness of our own sins and look at how we can better ourselves.

    And Mark, for a person who is preaching love, maybe you should approach the topic in love. You sound like you are very bitter.

  27. Amie, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. First, as I have previously stated, I am not bitter about Mandela. I hold no personal grudges and held no personal vendettas against him. This was an article purely dealing with the eternal aspect of an individual who was not what many claimed him to be. Second, this was never about justifying what anybody did against anybody else. Apartheid is just as wrong as terrorism. Terrorism is just as wrong as slavery.

    Finally, you speak of forgiveness. You are correct that we need to ask for forgiveness of sins before a holy, righteous God, but we cannot better ourselves. This is part of the fallacy found within the general worldview. We, an individuals, will never be able to seek after that which is good in order to please God, apart from God. Not all are God’s children, and until one has placed their faith in Jesus Christ alone, by grace through faith alone that leads to repentance and confession of sin – there is no salvation and nothing will change. As for approaching the topic in love, there is nothing more loving that a true believer could do for the world than to proclaim the warnings that the Bible speaks of over and over.

  28. Do not judge…leave the judgement to God!

  29. Ismail, let me repeat what I said in the article -

    If Mandela crossed the line into eternity without having ever placed his faith in Christ alone, by grace through faith alone, and been brought to repent and confess his sins before a holy, righteous God, then he will pay the ultimate penalty for his sins in hell forever. He will not be in hell because he was a terrorist, a Marxist, or a Communist. He will be in hell because of his rejection of Jesus Christ.

    The only judgment for any person is what comes from God. However, the Bible says that we are to warn others of the coming judgment and to let them know where they stand according to the truth of Scripture, not based on man’s opinions.

  30. Ismail, you appear to have bought into the current cultural value of “personal” truth. You can have your “truth,” and I can have mine. Therefore, who are you to judge me, and vice-versa, right?

    What’s even more disconcerting is how some Christians (and non-Christians) have put a “Christian veneer” on this value by using Matthew 7:1 as their biblical basis: “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” This verse has become one of the, if not THE, most-quoted bible texts in the West.

    But let’s not forget that Jesus never said NOT to judge but, preaching to a mostly-unbelieving crowd during His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 7:28-29), He said in order to judge one had to take the plank/beam out of his own eye. We do this when we repent of our sin and place our trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. I mean, if Jesus meant we could never make any kind of judgment, why does he go on to say in verse 6 to determine whether an unbeliever is a “dog” or “swine?” That appears to be a judgment call, if you ask me!

    Not only that, but Jesus goes on in the same passage (vv. 15-23) to give us a sure-fire way to distinguish between a true and a false prophet/teacher/preacher: LOOK AT THEIR FRUIT! If we look at the fruit and conclude that they are “false,” have we not just judged them?

    I hope you are beginning to see that not all judgment is sin. Taking a hard look at a person’s life, no matter how much good he did in his lifetime, is not being overly judgmental; it’s being smart.

    I remember several Christians getting so excited during the 2008 elections over Obama’s claim to be a Christian. For them, since he said he was, he was. I said, “Wait a minute. Let’s look at his track record. The guy pushed for no medical assistance for babies born alive after botched abortions. Does that sound like a “Christian” position? Obama defended Planned Parenthood. Christian? He spent 20 years in a VERY liberal MAINLINE Protestant church. Truly Christian?” As we have increasingly seen during and after his first term is that Obama is pro gay marriage and super friendly with Islam. Is he a Christian? Look at the fruit. Then, judge for yourself, according to Matt. 7:15-23.

    I say let’s stop encouraging “gullibility” and “check the fruit” more. We might just end up with spiritual and political leaders more aligned with Scripture! We might just end up with a more spiritually-fervent and missions-minded church, not to mention more innocent babies being saved, the biblical definition of marriage being respected, less persecution of Christians, etc.

  31. Hi billions4x
    I have no wish to enter debates regarding whether or not Obama is a Christian or not. He claims to be amongst those who worship our Lord and King and whether or not we are asked to judge other matters we are very clearly told that come harvest time it is the Great Harvester who will do the seperating of the Wheat from the Tares from amongst those who claim to worship Him; that’s not our function.
    I wish to speak generally and can only say that if you and me and all those who post on this site and those that read and comment on these posts lived in the harsh glare of the media and whose every action is widely reported I have no doubt that as sinful men we can appear less Christian than the Obama’s, Mandela’s and Ghandi’s.
    This applies most especially when we rely on information from such as Dr Peter Hammond who to date seems still proud of the fact that he supported the Apartheid regime and has never repented for doing so.
    Please Brother, go back and read (study) once again the recount of the woman taken in adultery and placed before Christ to give a ruling. It behoves every Christian, very much including myself, to do that at regular intervals.

  32. Thanks for your reaction to my comment, Another Pilgrim. I do have a question for you: Do you honestly think a true Christian would appear “less Christian” than a pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-Muslim (or so it seems) and anti-Christian U.S. president? Wow! I don’t. If anything, the media would find a true Christian living according to his or her beliefs, for the most part. Sure, there might be some slip-ups to report, but the last thing you’d see would be that believer promoting ANY of what Obama promotes! Those things go totally against the Bible’s clear teaching on those subjects.

    Pilgrim, I appreciate your RSA perspectives on Mandela and even Gandhi, but I suggest you leave Obama to the American Christian. We’re much better informed than the rest of the world (I am a missionary to Brazil, so I know of what I speak.).

    As for the woman caught in adultery, while Christians can glean a lesson or two from Jesus’ reaction, Jesus’ primary intent was not to let the woman’s sin slide (“Go and sin no more.”), but to use her as an object lesson in showing some self-righteous, unconverted, religious hypocrites (e.g., some Catholic or Muslim leaders today?) that if they judged the woman, they would be bringing judgment upon themselves (Matt. 7:1-5; Rom. 2:1-3).

    Not sure about you, but just seeing a bible reference doesn’t always motivate me to look it up. Therefore, I will quote the Rom. 2 passage:

    “Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?”

    One comment on the passage: Although contained in a letter to a church, Rom. 1:18-32 speaks of/to the “brute sinner,” Rom. 2:1-16 speaks of/to the “moral sinner” (who looked down on and “judged” the brute sinner) and Rom. 2:17-29 speaks of/to the “religious sinner” (who looked down on both and judged both the brute and moral sinners). FYI. I’m not advocating being overly judgmental, but Christians CAN be judgmental to a certain degree. How else can we take letters like Jude, for example? How else can we exercise discernment?

    May I make a suggestion, Pilgrim? Why don’t we leave what you think to be my motivations for my comments out of the discussion from now on? Yes, written comments are easier to come across as harsh, and that harshness may or may not be intentional. But you’re dealing with a seminary-trained missionary/evangelist (campus and street), so you could say I’m a bit “battle hardened.” I don’t always mean to be offensive, but sometimes I do when I see misinterpretations of the Bible being used (e.g., Matt. 7:1)… especially by so-called Christian leaders! Sorry, but I don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to biblical sloppiness (not your case, rest assured). Just thought I’d clue you in on where I’m coming from. Having said that, can we stick to the “content only” of my comments in the future? Thanks!

  33. Hi billions4x
    I don’t think I made my point very clear about living in the almost 24/7 harsh glare of the media spotlight.
    Allow me to use two examples to clarify. Myself and Mandela.
    I’m well aware that should I be exposed to such media attention than I would be found sorely lacking in my Christian walk. Of course I don’t promote what you say Obama is promoting, but I would say that my sins of omission are as great as his or anybody else’s sins of Commission After all didn’t James tell us that “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it..”. So my lack of love, patience and peace-making would be exposed to all the world by the media and draw the same comments and posts that have been drawn by names such as Mandela, Obama and quite a few others here on DefCon. And while I have no doubt that your Christian walk is a closer walk with God then mine, as was Enoch’s who got a mention in Hebrew’s 11, I’d guess that if the media spot-light was on you, or any other Christian, 24/7, you, me and all would suffer the same condemnations on DefCon and elsewhere. My point about the woman caught in Adultery a point I’d like to return to later. But didn’t Paul also admit to this in Romans 7? And John speaks of the past tense where claiming to have not sinned makes Christ a liar (speaking perhaps of us as pagans before conversion and perhaps of us post-conversion) but also speaks present tense to us as Christians saying “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves”. There I believe God, through John, speaks to me, and of course you and all our fellow Christians.
    Now as to Mandela, who did actually live in that media spot-light; we can find nothing after his release from prison that he said privately or publically which didn’t promote the Christian way of love your enemies, the reconciliation of peoples, the peace-maker, the humility that we should all show as well as the qualities of patience and perseverance. In fact, didn’t “His capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation made him one of the most remarkable and respected individuals of modern times”? I cannot find a single thing from the time he walked out of prison to the day he died which promotes anything at odds with what we as Christians would aspire to, but so often fail to achieve. But we find all sorts of reasons to fault Mandela, but, being equally guilty of them, would probable excuse all my sins of omission mentioned above if I had been in that spot-light. We all allow the flesh to impair the new man’s aspirations too often, wouldn’t you agree billions4x?
    Aw come on Brother, the average American, like the average South African, hasn’t got much clue as to exactly how to judge Presidents or even political parties for that matter. Check out how many are still supporting the Republican Party with their divisive narrow-minded outlook and how many are still supporting the ANC after they have been demonstrated to have become even more corrupt then the old Nationalist party. I’d say the thinking, reading, aware South African is more aware of American affairs then most Americans … and vice versa.
    I’m aware that there are differences when it comes to a complete understanding of aspects of scripture such as the account of the woman taken in adultery. We are on the same page as regards the “not to let the woman’s sin to slide” but if I understand you correctly then we might just possible be differing as to who Christ was speaking to, both then and now. The passage referred to (any accentuations through capital letters are mine) is found in John 8: 3 – 11; “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
    Who brought the woman and who asked the questions and who did Jesus challenge? Only the religious leaders of His church of the day (this being before Christ brought in the New Covenant by His death on the cross). And today He speaks ONLY to the leaders (converted or unconverted) of His New Covenant Church and their fellow hypocrties. I’m not sure how this can be expanded to include, “some Catholic or Muslim leaders today” Why Christ should say that “Neither do I condemn you” I couldn’t say but maybe He was driving the point home that if he was slow to judge and condemn so should we be remembering He is a merciful and forbearing God who “ …. is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3; 9)
    You quote, “Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?” Precisely, well quoted, couldn’t agree more.
    I agree that we need to judge and discern, but is it each other that we judge instead of leaving that to the great Harvester? Isn’t Jude, and all the epistles, aimed at judging false teachers, false doctrines and false misleading directions of His Church? See also Mark’s post on “Feeding sheep or amusing goats” and Spurgeon’s sermon on the subject. That’s how my limited knowledge of Scripture compared to yours allows me to see it.
    “Sorry, but I don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to biblical sloppiness” and the rest of what you said in that paragraph is really what it’s all about and partly what I’ve been saying in this comment. This is the area where we should be speaking out. Please look again at what I’ve said immediately above.
    Go well Brother and I look forward to any comments that you might wish to make

  34. Before commencing my last comment on Mandela, let me say that I am trying in all my comments to convey that Nelson Mandela was to the majority of the world and the greater majority of South Africans a great leader. He was NOT a saint (in the broader meaning of the word), a demi-god or even some sort of modern messiah. My comments are aimed at getting the South African apartheid position generally and Mandela in particular into proper perspective that hopefully all Christians will be happy to accept.
    I closed my last comment of a day or two ago regarding what happened during the Apartheid years with the words;-
    “Against this backdrop of degradation, of torture, of (forced) removals to obscure areas of the country, of enduring raids on their homes which were in the process often wrecked by Police and Army frequently in the dead of night, of denial of free movement within their own country, of denial of citizenship of their own country, of prevention of gaining decent work, of condemnation to inferior education and thus hopelessly forever (as black people) trapped in the most abysmal poverty, that Nelson Mandela arrived on the political scene as a young lawyer”
    Mandela made a speech from the dock in 1963 at the famous so-called, “Rivonia trial” where he and 10 others were accused of, amongst other things, treason. And from there he went to serve his life sentence on Robben Island. Despite the best efforts of the prosecution during the trial, nothing that Mandela said in that speech was proved to be false and similarly, some 50 years later nothing said in the speech has subsequently been proved false either. I believe that any fair-minded person who is not hopelessly prejudiced one way or another, would agree that in the light of the acceptance of Mandela’s speech by the court and subsequently by the world as being without falsifications we can accept its veracity as well. Hence I will use that speech as the background to Mandela’s actions from the time he stepped onto the political stage as a young lawyer with a life-long passion for learning (although a poor student) until he died on the 5th of December of this year at the age of 95.
    Mandela, when charged, notwithstanding what Dr Peter Hammond has said to the contrary, pleaded “Not guilty” stating, “My Lord, it is not I, but the government that should be in the dock I plead not guilty”.
    Mandela made no secret of his links to the South African Communist Party (SACP).
    He said, “What is more, for many decades communists were the only political group in South Africa who were prepared to treat Africans as human beings and their equals; who were prepared to eat with us; talk with us, live with us, and work with us. They were the only political group which was prepared to work with the Africans for the attainment of political rights and a stake in society. Because of this, there are many Africans who, today, tend to equate freedom with communism. They are supported in this belief by a legislature which brands all exponents of democratic government and African freedom as communists and bans many of them (who are not communists) under the suppression of communism act. Although I have never been a member of the communist party, I myself have been named under that pernicious act because of the role I played in the defiance campaign. I have also been banned and imprisoned under that act”.
    The government at that time ‘saw communists under every bed’ and appeared to follow the lead of the McCarthyism anti-communism that was sweeping America in the mid-1900s. Of the McCarthy era it has been said, “The biggest effect though, was the anti- democratic atmosphere that McCarthyism created. Anyone who was liberal, a trade unionist, civil rights worker, showed sympathy for the poor, was automatically a ‘commie’” (extract from article ‘USA – a divided union 1941-80’) ‘. South Africa, under the suppression of communism act wrote this American situation into law.
    Mandela went on to later in his speech say, “It is not only in internal politics that we count communists as amongst those who support our cause. … “(Here Mandela elaborates before continuing with) “Although there is a universal condemnation of apartheid, the communist bloc speaks out against it with a louder voice than most of the white world. In these circumstances, it would take a brash young politician, such as I was in 1949, to proclaim that the Communists are our enemies”.
    He then clarified his own position.
    “I have denied that I am a communist … in the first place, (I am) an African patriot. … Today I am attracted by the idea of a classless society, an attraction which springs in part from Marxist reading and, in part, from my admiration of the structure and organization of early African societies in this country. The land, then the main means of production, belonged to the tribe. (My aside; much as God said the Israeli nation should view things?) There were no rich or poor and there was no exploitation. … I have been influenced by Marxist thought. … We all accept the need for some form of socialism to enable our people to catch up with the advanced countries of this world and to overcome their legacy of extreme poverty. But this does not mean we are Marxists. … Indeed, for my own part, I believe that it is open to debate whether the Communist Party has any specific role to play at this particular stage of our political struggle. … In so far as that Party furthers this task (of furthering the struggle) I welcome its assistance. . .. From my reading of Marxist literature … have gained the impression that communists regard the parliamentary system of the West as undemocratic and reactionary. But, on the contrary, I am an admirer of such a system. The Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, and the Bill of Rights are documents which are held in veneration by democrats throughout the world. … I regard the British Parliament as the most democratic institution in the world, … The American Congress, that country’s doctrine of separation of powers, as well as the independence of its judiciary, arouses in me similar sentiments. I have been influenced in my thinking by both West and East.” (In fact South Africa’s new constitution has just this separation of powers that Mandela then spoke about. In fact it goes further, having various “Chapter 9” bodies established as ‘watch-dogs’ over the entire system)
    I tend to think that this comment’s readers would agree that to be ‘influenced by’ no means infers that one ‘is a’.
    Mandela grew up in what today we’d call a rather back-ward rural community in the Eastern Cape. First herding cattle and engaging with other youngsters in “Stick-fighting”. He was of tribal Royalty and thus sent to mission schools for education. He then went on to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University College of Fort Hare but did not complete the degree. Being of Royal blood a bride was arranged for him and, not agreeing to this, at the age of 23 he ran away to Johannesburg some 660 miles (1070 Kilometers) from the Eastern Cape. There he first worked as a Mine Security Officer and after meeting Walter Sisulu he worked at a law firm where he did his articles. He completed his BA through the distance learning University of South Africa. He became active in politics in 1944, shortly after which he formed the ANC youth league.
    I think it would be to everyone’s benefit to here quote a portions of a lengthy extract from Mandela’s Rivonia trial’s speech because it sums up the aims, methods and means of Mandela and the ANC better than I ever could. The bold lettering is mine.
    “Who will deny that thirty years of my life have been spent knocking in vain, patiently, moderately, and modestly at a closed and barred door? What have been the fruits of moderation? The past thirty years have seen the greatest number of laws restricting our rights and progress, until today we have reached a stage where we have almost no rights at all”.

    Even AFTER 1949, THE ANC REMAINED DETERMINED TO AVOID VIOLENCE. At this time, however, there was a change from the strictly constitutional means of protest which had been employed in the past. The change was embodied in A DECISION WHICH WAS TAKEN TO PROTEST AGAINST APARTHEID LEGISLATION BY PEACEFUL, but unlawful, demonstrations against certain laws. Pursuant to this policy the ANC launched the Defiance Campaign, in which I was placed in charge of volunteers. This CAMPAIGN WAS BASED ON THE PRINCIPLES OF PASSIVE RESISTANCE. More than 8,500 people defied apartheid laws and went to jail. Yet THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE INSTANCE OF VIOLENCE IN THE COURSE OF THIS CAMPAIGN ON THE PART OF ANY DEFIER. I and nineteen colleagues were convicted for the role which we played in organizing the campaign, but OUR SENTENCES WERE SUSPENDED MAINLY BECAUSE THE JUDGE FOUND THAT DISCIPLINE AND NON-VIOLENCE HAD BEEN STRESSED THROUGHOUT. ….

    … During the Defiance Campaign, the Public Safety Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act were passed. These Statutes provided harsher penalties for offences committed by way of protests against laws. Despite this, the protests continued and the ANC adhered to its policy of non-violence. In 1956, 156 leading members of the Congress Alliance, including myself, were arrested on a charge of high treason and charges under the Suppression of Communism Act. The non-violent policy of the ANC was put in issue by the State, but WHEN THE COURT GAVE JUDGEMENT SOME FIVE YEARS LATER, IT FOUND THAT THE ANC DID NOT HAVE A POLICY OF VIOLENCE. WE WERE ACQUITTED ON ALL COUNTS, WHICH INCLUDED A COUNT THAT THE ANC SOUGHT TO SET UP A COMMUNIST STATE IN PLACE OF THE EXISTING REGIME. THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALWAYS SOUGHT TO LABEL ALL ITS OPPONENTS AS COMMUNISTS. This allegation has been repeated in the present case, but as I will show, the ANC is not, and never has been, a communist organization. ….”

    All the above would seem at odds with some later developments and I’ll try and enlighten readers in some areas.
    Winnie Mandela, Nelson’s previous wife) became one of the first detainees under Section 6 of the notorious Terrorism Act. She was detained for 18 months in solitary confinement in the condemned cell at Pretoria Central before being charged under the Suppression of Communism Act.
    She was also “banished to a dusty Afrikaner dominated town of Brandfort in the Free State where she was unceremoniously dumped at house 802 with her youngest daughter, Zinzi. There was no running water, no electricity, and the house had no floors or ceilings. The town was hostile, and the people spoke mainly Sotho, Tswana or Afrikaans, and hardly any Xhosa, which was Winnie’s home language. Winnie took a provocative stance, and would spend hours in the White shops empowering the shop-keepers with political ideologies. In her banishment order, Winnie was given a condition of either leaving South Africa for Swaziland or Transkei, which was regarded as independent by the South African government (One of the so-called Homelands spoken of in my previous comment). However, she chose to remain in South Africa, where she continued fighting for the liberation of her people and at times arrested for defying her banishment order.
    Her life in Brandfort was lonely. Helen Susman, a lone representative in Parliament of her party which opposed Apartheid, captured the isolation when she wrote that Winnie waited outside the local telephone booth between 10 am and 4 pm waiting for calls from friends and relations. But when friends and others came to visit her in Brandfort, they were harassed (and often taken to court and imprisoned for not notifying the authorities about their visits). (From SAHistory.org)
    When Winnie finally after 10 years of this life returned to Johannesburg, she appeared to go completely off the rails. She became engaged with all sorts of bizarre groups, admitted years later her involvement in the murder of a youngster and encouraged necklacing (A victim’s hands are bound, a motor tyre is hung around the neck, filled with petrol and lit. The victim suffers a cruel and merciless death).
    When Mandela came out of prison, the ANC leadership, who had been unsuccessfully attempting to curb Winnie’s excesses, spoke to Mandela. He also could do nothing. Eventually, while he undoubtedly loved Winnie very much and notwithstanding that she was one of his mainstays during his 27 years of harsh imprisonment, Mandela eventually separated from her and later divorced her. His loyalty to her could never bring him to denounce her actions although she and he knew this was the real reason for the divorce. Mandela nor the ANC as an organization ever approved or even condoned these activities that were taking place although some who were involved were undoubtedly supporters and even members of the ANC. The South African Truth and Reconciliation commission in 1998, found “MS Winnie Madikizela Mandela politically and morally accountable for the gross violations of human rights committed by the MUFC (Mandela United Football Club)” and that she “was responsible, by omission, for the commission of gross violations of human rights” Nevertheless She remained popular amongst a large group who called her “The Mother of the Nation” (But she was reviled by most) and hence she later became a member of parliament and even a member of the present ANC National Executive Committee. She learnt the art of appealing to the masses far, far better than most politicians.
    For Mandela, this was another dark – if not the darkest – moment on what he called, his long walk to freedom.
    The fact that man is a fallen creature with every part tainted by evil is clearly brought out in history. When man thinks he is on the side of right or in the majority of those acting against in a certain way he will join in the doing of unspeakable things to the more vulnerable. From the horrors perpetrated on early Christians in the name of Christ by the early Roman Church, through to the massacres perpetrated by Genghis Khan, through the excesses of the Christian Crusades, the slaughter of the Indian tribes in America, the joining of decent, otherwise law-abiding German people in the aiding of the Nazi Government in Auswitch gas chambers and holocaust generally, touching on what was done to the aborigines of Australia and the Rwandan genocide (what has been recorded in the Scripture has not even been mentioned) to name but a few events. Thus looking back over the sweep of man’s blotted history we can understand Pauls agony; “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” and his acknowledgment of the only source of help for each and every one of us, none excluded, “Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” and we find it not surprising that Apartheid leaders gained such following for their deeds? Nor surprising that eventually, after centuries of oppression and degradation, the black people generally, including supporters, and probable also members, of the ANC, perpetrated their fair share of sinful deeds?
    What was done though by the IRA of Ireland can never be equated with what the ANC did. The IRA shot out the knee-caps of dissenters, targeted civilians in their killing spree on the British Armed Forces and generally set examples of terrorism later seemingly followed by Muslim Jihadists and other terrorist organisations culminating in the horror of 27/11. In all the acts of sabotage acknowledged by all sides to have been undoubtedly carried out by Umkontwe we Swize, only one life was lost. The Umkontwe we Swiza is best described by the British Telegraph newspaper. “Mandela decided to lead an “armed struggle” and became the first commander of “Umkhonto we Sizwe”, the “Spear of the Nation”, as the ANC’s new guerrilla army was known.
    He then organized a bombing campaign in December 1961. Sabotage was the only aim – there was no plan to kill anyone – and bombs were placed at power stations, electricity pylons and empty government offices.
    The whole effort was a fiasco. Some bombs failed to explode, others blew up too early. The only casualty was a young recruit, Petrus Molife, who was so badly trained that he accidentally killed himself with his own explosives – a fact that Mandela omitted from his memoirs.
    This episode showed that Mandela was probably one of the worst guerrilla leaders in history. Unable to organize a bombing campaign, he also ignored basic security procedures, carrying incriminating documents and taking his habitual early morning walks even while hiding in safe houses. He was duly arrested in 1962 and jailed for leaving the country illegally.”
    Before finally (and at long last) closing please read further for more brief extracts on Mandela’s life
    Regarding Mandela’s life on Robben Island I will not here dwell on the degradations and what today would amount to torture and refer readers to the words of a description given, “The South African Prison Department officially took over the Island in 1961 and built a maximum-security prison here. This prison is famous for the brutality and inhumane treatment that the prisoners received. Visitors were allowed only once a year and children under 16 years of age were not allowed to visit the island so the inmates never got to see their children grow up. Even letters were restricted to two a year.
    The inhumane treatment intensified further in 1971 and the political prisoners were isolated and subjected to harsh beatings and physical labour in the lime quarry. Food, bedding and clothing were insufficient and they had to endure long periods of solitary confinement” further details can be found on such sites http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nelson-mandela/8286429/Nelson-Mandela-obituary-part-five-imprisoned-on-Robben-Island.htm
    But Mandela knew that, “the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” (A Mandela quote)
    On the way from his (Mandela’s) release from prison he is quoted as saying, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” And so he continued doing what he did while still on the Island, the preaching of forgiveness and tolerance and the need for peace. Famously, just a 4 brief hours after over 236,600 hours in prison he addressed a crowd of from on the Grand Parade, Cape Town, amongst other things saying, “Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans. I greet you all in the name of PEACE, DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM FOR ALL. … I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. You’re tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands. ….
    … In conclusion I wish to quote my own words during my trial in 1964.
    They are true today as they were then:
    `I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”
    `Since that renowned speech and until his recent death, Mandela has been preaching forgiveness, peace, reconciliation and freedom for all, not excluding the unfree of the world at large. He has done so with humility, a sense of humour and in a self-deprecating manner. The thousands of tributes that have been paid to him recently indicate that he has surpassed Lincoln, Ghandi and other leaders such as Churchill in all this. These tributes to Mandela have streamed in from all over the world. From world leaders, the common man (including many Christians) and those who shared his long years of captivity and all saying much the same thing about Mandela’s qualities and attributes. I have selected that of the British politician Peter Hain, not because I admire Hain in any way, but simply because I think he best summarises what all others have been and still are saying.
    Amongst other things Hain said;-
    “His capacity for forgiveness is what made him the absolutely critical figure, first during secret negotiations in the late 1980s from prison with the Afrikaner Government, and then after his release”; “Nobody else could have delivered such a healing (peace-making) Presidency in such a bitterly divided country”;
    “His life story of sacrifice, courage, endurance and suffering, in the great and noble cause of liberty, democracy and justice placed him among a very selected few”;
    “Mandela’s greatness, his stature, derived not just from an extraordinary biography that dwarfed the rest of humankind. It came from the humanity that he radiated, his common touch, his humbleness, self-deprecation, humour and dignity” and finally,
    “Throughout everything, Nelson Mandela remained his own man, not seduced by the trappings of office nor deluded by adulation of admires, always friendly and approachable”. Mandela was what South Africa desperately needed at that time, a peace-maker, a humble servant of the nation and its people extolling, and setting the example of, forgiveness.”
    We, the world, sees Nelson Mandela as a great leader, as an example to Christians and non-Christians alike and as a man to be admired. He is no demi-god, no saint, no object for veneration, just an ordinary man with perseverance and resolve. I know that many Christians prayed that he looked to Christ long before his death and perhaps this is where the final changes and refinements to his persona came about during his prison term.
    I’ll comment no more on Mandela except perhaps to clarify any points that I’m asked to clarify through the comments, if any, of others.

  35. He was a human being just like any other , he never claimed that he was God nor requested to be praised . Its amazing because you were all quiet when white South Africans were killing black south Africans during the apartheid era which I consider the era of the devil in South Africa , now Mandela came preaching peace and democracy and you call him a terrorist I guess you need a mental revolution . Your only problem you white folks is the fact that he defeated your favourite government system which is apartheid and promoted what you were deprived from birth .* Peace * so I really feel for you because according to your delusional Christian values and standards he is in hell bcz he was a man of peace and all the white south Africans who killed black people during apartheid are in heaven , I suggest that you get a thorough session with a psychiatrist .

  36. Mpumzi, thank you for stopping by and commenting. This blog was not around when apartheid was alive and well in South Africa, but had it been, apartheid would have been a target. I know what Mandela believed and what he claimed. His brand of peace and democracy came at a price that South Africans are still paying for today and probably will for a very long time. The economy for many black South Africans is little better today than it was under apartheid. Crime is rampant, and South Africa can boast of having one of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world.

    I hate apartheid as much as I hate slavery as much as I hate terrorism. It is all evil before the Lord. To finalize, you obviously did NOT read my article because if you had done so, you would know that what you said is not correct. He is NOT in hell because of his terrorism or his attempts at making peace. White South Africans are NOT in heaven because they killed black people during apartheid. Here is the gospel message again.

    IF a person does not place their faith in Jesus Christ, by grace through faith alone, which leads them to repent and confess their sins, WHETHER they are white or black or green or yellow or red, they will perish in their sins and go to hell when they die.

    However, if a person does place their faith in Christ, repents and confesses their sins, the Bible says WHOSOEVER will may come. Their sins will be forgiven them.

  37. Hullo Mpumzi
    I can see where you are coming from and from your point of view what you say is not wrong. Too many, mainly white, South Africans did remain quiet during those Apartheid years – myself included I need to add.
    However, what was never mentioned at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or by the ANC (because it suited them) or by the Whites (because the admission would be far and away too embarrassing) was the brain-washing undertaken by the Apartheid Government.
    Allow me to back-track to the 2nd World War. There is a premise that if one told people something loud enough, often enough and for long enough, the people will believe anything and Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda chief relied upon this premise for his efforts. And it did work. The German people swallowed, hook, line and sinker all the propaganda about Jews, Gypsies and other groups not being fit to even live, hence the later conflagration that sucked in nearly every nation in the world.
    The fact is (and I choose the word ‘fact’ very carefully and deliberately) that the Apartheid Government (AG for short) built on and refined what Goebbels did to a degree that all South Africans never understood or even realized. First; all negative reporting of the things you speak about was banned from Newspapers. It was a criminal offense to have a book which was banned because it reflected anything other than what they approved. The joke at the time was that a harmless novel about a horse was included in the ban, it was called “Black beauty”! The constant refrain repeated loud (enough) and often (enough) and certainly for long enough was that Whites were the superior race and Blacks a vastly inferior race. This brain-washing was re-enforced by the fact that the vast majority of Whites inter-acted with the less educated or totally uneducated Black who were laborers and suchlike and there was normally a huge language gap. The Whites saw this lack of understanding of what they were saying as a sign of stupidity and not for what it was, lack of understanding of English or Afrikaans. They very seldom interacted with the Black businessman, Black academic and those classes.
    Let me assure you, Mpumzi that the propaganda (brain-washing) worked on both Black and White. I had a small business sometime during this period and during all the strikes and boycotts that were called, my Black staff didn’t want to participate. Much research found this to be the case with most Blacks in the townships. But they were forced to participate by threats of violence and other means best not here detailed. There was never, as is today claimed, mass support for those working for freedom and democracy such as Mandela until nearer the end when the AG’s indiscriminate raids and killings in the Townships became better known to Black South Africans
    Remember that it was against the law that these things be reported in the Media. Newspapers that tried were summarily closed down. There had to be nothing existing that opposed the propaganda of the AG which succeeded so well. Steve Biko realized that the Blacks had succumbed to this propaganda (mass brain washing), although he possible didn’t define it as such but saw the need to instill in Blacks pride in being Black. This was anathema to the AG and Biko had to die. The AG never realized what a storm would be created when the details of his death came to light.
    And so Mpumzi, do please understand that firstly all people in South Africa, white and black, excepting those that were aware of what was happening, bought into the brain-washing that whites were superior and blacks inferior (This later altered to “Blacks are different”). Secondly, the greater majority of whites (and even many Blacks) did not know what was going on because of the media silencing (You might recall that after Mandela’s sentencing to Robben Island, not a word was allowed to be reported about anything he said or did – it being hoped that he would become a ‘forgotten man’). Thirdly, because some vocal Reformed Churches in South Africa gave their support to the AG and for other reasons, many overseas Churches and Christians accepted the situation and never bothered to find out what all was really going on. As you so rightly say, it was an “Era of the devil” in South Africa which tainted the rest of the world and, unfortunately, some Christians in the rest of the world also. You also say “only problem you white folks is the fact that he defeated your favourite government system which is apartheid and promoted what you were deprived from birth”
    I think you are being a little understandable harsh here. Do please consider that when things were coming to light as to just what Apartheid was really all about and what the AG was really doing it was at a referendum of the White, note White population, who well knowing that negotiations could (would) lead to total democracy of all peoples, overwhelmingly gave F W de Klerk the go-ahead to such negotiations.
    May I finally plead with you to understand what Mark is saying, he is not claiming that Mandela, or you, or me or anybody else, will go to Hell or Heaven by what ONE DOES or DOES NOT DO he is merely making the point, perhaps a little insensitively, that the road to Heaven or Hell is determined by one’s relation to Christ only. There is no other yardstick.
    Please do visit DefCon again, I for one would love to hear if you have considered my comments and if so, if your views are still as strong as expressed here.
    Go well my friend.

  38. Mpumzi, yes, I’m white. But just because I’m white doesn’t make me favorable towards the evil system of Apartheid. I second Mark’s response on why someone, independently of the color of their skin, ends up in either heaven or hell.

    Man, haven’t you learned anything from Mandela? It appears you have fallen into the trap of reverse racism, which Mandela – and not to mention a lot of whites around the world – was so against.

    You reveal a lack of logic and the same heart that fueled decades of Apartheid. This evil system was simply a symptom of a deeper problem, a problem that goes to the core of each of us.

    Jesus warned that, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:21-23) In other words, you need a new heart! God can give you one – the heart of Jesus (Ezequiel 36:26, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”) – so that you can genuinely repent of your sin and place your faith/trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Once you repent and believe, He will wash (not to mention continue to wash throughout your new life) your slate clean of all your sin using His supernatural cleaning product, the BLOOD of Jesus (Ezek. 36:25, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.”). Finally, God will place the Spirit of Jesus (Rom. 8:9) in you to enable you to live according to the desires of your new heart (Ezek. 36:27, “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”).

    Think about it, Mpumzi. Is living a life of reverse racism, hatred, unforgiveness, etc. worth an eternity in hell? If not, then cry out to Jesus to give you His sinless heart, His cleansing of your slate and His Spirit. There is really no other way to be saved (John 14:6).

  39. Having heard from a few readers, I want to add a few extra comments about my post on Mandela.

    1) It was not my intention, nor within my ability, to give an ultimate judgment against Mandela in regards to where he will be spending eternity. In the end, as with all people who have or who will ever live, only God knows the heart. We can know what the requirements are for eternal life, but we cannot know for 100% certainty the status of a person’s heart before God whether they have placed their faith in Christ alone by grace alone.

    2) Mr. Mandela’s death, along with all who cross the line into eternity should make us fully aware that eternity awaits each of us.

    3) It was not my intention to cause undue hurt to those who either liked or disliked Mandela and for that I can and do apologize and realize I could have used my wording a little more judiciously. I had no intention of offending anybody either those who struggled under apartheid or those who found a sense of freedom under the rule of Mandela.

    4) Again, I wish to reiterate that I soundly condemn what apartheid stood for and EQUALLY condemn what terrorism, Marxism, and communism stand for.

    5) Any time people operate at a government level without paying full attention to the dictates and principles of the Word of God that should apply to all who are in authority, you will end up travesties of justice and you will find a people who are or remain oppressed.

    Finally, we appreciate each of our readers from each country that comes here to DefCon to learn. Our intention remains to proclaim the Word of God in its entirety, to edify the saints, and to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.

  40. I came across this tribute from a young pastor who is totally committed to the gospel and the honouring of Christ. It is a simple tribute and I think it sums it all up:
    What Madiba Taught Us

    Posted by Ross Lester on 2013/12/10

    This last Friday I woke up to the news of Nelson Mandela’s death. It was something that we had been preparing for as a nation for a long time and so I didn’t expect to feel grief, or much anything to be honest, but I did. I was grief stricken, and then I was wracked with a feeling of guilt and stupidity for my grief, because unlike most of my Facebook friends, I never met Madiba. I was never in the same room as him, and yet I felt like I knew him. He was so much a part of the fabric that represents the enormous complexity of what it means to be a South African, that I felt like I knew him well. He felt like an old friend.

    For Friday and Saturday as I watched the news and listened to the radio I wondered if we should be doing anything as a church to remember him. I knew we didn’t want to worship him and place our hope in him, but somehow it felt wrong to pretend it didn’t happen and for us as a church community to pretend like this didn’t affect us in some way. The church did that for years with apartheid and that is to her shame to be honest. After chatting with Sue and the elders of the church, we felt that as Christians, we could honour Madiba without worshipping him, and that we could somehow display the spirit of Romans 13 that tells us to honour those to whom honour is owed, and we felt that Madiba deserved some honouring. So on Sunday I shared five things that Madiba taught me as a young Christian man. I hope that they are helpful to us in some way and that they spur us on towards a greater faithfulness and fruitfulness in the days that we have left in this realm.

    Five things that Madiba taught me:

    1. It is possible for very different people to coexist and to flourish in their shared humanity

    In a nation where people were defined purely on race, Madiba united us based on our shared humanity. He reminded us somehow that we are created first and foremost in the image and likeness of God. Before we are black or white, male or female, Afrikaans or Zulu, we are image bearers of the Divine. I am, and the church is, more committed than ever to racial reconciliation and supernaturally multi-racial flourishing. It is not only possible, it is absolutely consequential of a genuine understanding of the gospel.

    2. God can and does use imperfect and unlikely people to do remarkable things

    The tributes have been glowing and that is right and appropriate, but we do ourselves a disservice when we try to make Madiba into someone fundamentally different from the rest of us. He was a herdsman from Qunu, which means that his upbringing made him very unlikely to be a world leader. In his life he also made many errors. He sinned. He wasn’t always committed to nonviolence and passive resistance. By his own admission, he struggled to stay faithful to a wife and family. Madiba had feet of clay, and yet he used those feet of clay to take remarkable stands. That is a huge provocation for all of us. You aren’t too unlikely, or too imperfect to make a significant difference to our world.

    3. Our circumstances don’t have to define our attitudes

    If ever anyone had a reason to be bitter and unforgiving it was Madiba, and yet his choice to not be bitter enabled a nation to move forward. Many of us have been sinned against, and for some of us those sins have left deep wounds that have led to scars. We can be bitter or better, but not both. Madiba chose not to be bitter, and as a result he made us all a little better.

    4. Joy is powerful and contagious

    Most of the most iconic images we have of Madiba are of him smiling, dancing or laughing. He stood up and danced in the royal box at the Royal Albert Hall and got the queen to do the same and that apparently broke every piece of protocol in the book. He got laughs from the most stoic of leaders. We can all learn how discernable and clear joy in us brings the same out of other people. Sometimes Christians in our stream really do come across like they were baptized in lemon juice. A little discernable joy would go a long way in assisting us when we try to get the message of unending joy through Jesus out there.

    5. Grace really is amazing

    Why is it that the world is so spellbound by all of this? Why are news networks covering this 24/7? I think it is because we all really crave grace and we can’t believe it when we see it. Madiba displayed huge grace to the world, and I believe his actions point towards the much bigger acts of grace of the ultimate leader of the world, Jesus Christ. Jesus was also mistreated for three decades and has been rejected since the beginning of humanity and yet He not only forgave His enemies, He paid for their transgressions and invited them to be friends. Madiba’s life gave us a glimpse, a tiny glimpse of that grace and no-one can look away. Grace really is amazing.

    Let us as South Africans take the baton of grace-filled leadership that has been handed to us, and let us strive like never before to live the kind of life that makes a difference in this great land. I am grateful to God for Madiba. I am reliant on God for the strength to live out his legacy.

    Ross
    This tribute on audio, as shared on Sunday, is available here
    …- See more at: http://bbc.org.za/blog/ross-lester/2013/12/what-madiba-taught-us#sthash.SptImbcc.dpuf

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