I wrote the following two weeks ago at the height of the violence against foreigners. I trust it is still relevant.
The turmoil in our country over the last few weeks has been disturbing to say the least. Anger that has been simmering below the surface, finally erupted and the resulting violence was shocking. But it shouldn’t be surprising. When a nation has by and large shoved God aside, it shouldn’t be surprised at the resulting lack of restraint. This is the horrible reality of we reap what we sow.
There have been calls from the Lead SA initiative on Radio 702 to stand up and do something against the xenophobia (most of which I believe is sheer criminality). What are we to do? This isn’t a quick-fix; our land is in trouble in deep and complex ways. The Lord gives the answer as to what we should do the passage quoted above. In context the land is obviously Israel and I’m not sure that this is applicable to any land in general today, but the principle is that the Lord is concerned for his people to pray and seek his face and repent. How many in the church these days are really his people and what impact can we hope to have?
I know an elderly couple that have belonged to a local church for many years. They both play significant roles in the church and are well respected. But at home, it’s another story. There is strife all the time. The things they say and do are unbelievable and in no way reflect a Christian life. They are CINOs – Christian In Name Only. When I have visited they are charming, hospitable and solicitous, but their daughter tells us what happens when we are gone – the anger that simmers in our nation also simmers in the home of these ‘nice’ Christian people. There is no violence, but there is also no real Christianity.
How many CINOs are there in the church? Nice pastors preach nice sermons to nice people, who lead not-so-nice lives when they are at home. Read some of the revival day sermons and notice that pastors were not afraid to preach sin before preaching its cure. Today there are many who preach only God’s love and forgiveness for fear of offending. Sadly then people don’t fully realise that the way they behave at home is sinful. The result is that they live lives no different from their non-Christian neighbours.
How can we have an impact on our society if we are no different from it? How can we spread the gospel if we don’t live it? But the Lord is not addressing CINOs; he is addressing his people. If we are his people, we need to examine ourselves, humble ourselves, seek his face and turn from our wicked ways. We need to ensure that we live the doctrine we believe every hour of every day. Only then will others see that we are what we say we are. Our lives are to reflect the gospel, not our society. Then when we pray, the Lord will hear and heal our land, one person at a time as our gospel lives influence those we live and work with. May the Lord enable us to be his humble servants, righteously and relevantly playing our part to curb the wickedness in our land.
Featuring Afrikaans children’s books: We don’t have much in the line of Afrikaans titles, but we do have a small selection of good children’s books at Augustine. Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Helen Taylor (paperback; R114) has been translated by Marianne Swanepoel – Klein Pelgrem se Reis – and is available for only R95. The colouring-in book is available for R60, also only at Augustine. The ad below featuring this Afrikaans title was supplied by the translator and shows a very old price. We cannot currently match that, but offer a 15% discount off our price for the next week while this book is on promotion. (The Augustine email address supplied in the ad is also no longer functional. See footer for correct address for orders.)
There is also a variety of books in the Trail Blazer series translated by Marianna Viljoen. These are biographies of people like George Whitefield, Gladys Aylward, Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd and others. Marianna has translated about 20 of this series as well as all the Ten Boys… and Ten Girls… series of biographies originally written by Irene Howat. All of Marianna’s translations cost R48 – a bargain as the original imported English titles go for R63 each.
Yours in the Lord’s service