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Letters to the ed
Why is the church leadership failing us?
When we look at what is happening in this beautiful country of ours,
SOUTH AFRICA, I have to ask why our church leaders are not standing up
publicly and drawing attention to the severe failings of our government
and its leaders. The Ten Commandments are very specific about crime
(fraud and corruption) and sexual immorality.
Our church leaders are meant to set a prime example to which the public
can aspire. By condoning incorrect activities, by saying nothing, only
sends the wrong message to the public and thus we have an ever
worsening situation in our country.
Unfortunately we have certain leaders in the ANC, as well as within the
government, who fall short of the requirements of upright leadership.
We also have the Travelgate saga, among others, where no action is
taken to remove the perpetrators from office thus sending the incorrect
message to the people.
Over the past months I have been waiting for the Bishops and other
church leaders to come out with a statement publicly denouncing these
activities, but this has not materialized. It is said that at times
quiet diplomacy should be applied but one only has to look at what has
happened in Zimbabwe to see what has not been achieved.
Our church leaders should ask themselves, ‘What would Jesus
do?’ I am sure that he would say something at every
opportunity and not sit by and watch.
During the apartheid years, the church leadership stood up continuously
calling for change and it should be remembered that they did not have
the amount of Freedom of Speech that they have now.
I call upon our church leadership to actively draw attention to the problems of the country by:
a Calling for a properly publicized meeting with the government to discuss the situation.
b Separately call a similar meeting with the leadership of the ANC.
c A meeting of other religious groups to be followed by a public statement on their take on the situation.
d Placing adverts in the communications media calling for moral change and responsibility.
There needs to be a continuous call for change until such time as it
takes place. We need to lift up the moral fabric of the people of South
Africa if we claim to be a Christian nation. Failure to take action
will put a new meaning to Alan Paton’s “Cry the beloved
An open letter:
to the Bishop of Port Elizabeth and the Archbishop of Cape Town and hopefully, through them, to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
We are angry, dismayed and devastated, and have been in tears over the
announcements made on Thursday 7 February 2008 by the leader of the
worldwide Anglican Church.
It appears that the Archbishop of Canterbury is trying to embrace parts
of the Islamic Law for the Church, and judging by the storm of fury
that has broken out around his words I don’t think we have
misinterpreted his meanings. As I write this, five days later, there is
nothing that we have read, including excerpts from the
Archbishop’s opening address to the London Synod, that has
changed our views.
We cannot see any Biblical justification for what he is saying and we
know that it is the published intent of Islam to take over the whole
We have some very close friends in the UK whose lives are being
destroyed by a conflict with the teachings of Islam which has been
adopted by their son who has married a Muslim girl. The horrors of the
Islamic code of behaviour are being demonstrated in a Christian family
so it is rather close to home!
This has raised other serious issues.
We grew up in a Christian environment with strong leadership that did not compromise on beliefs.
It is now our perception that the leadership of the Anglican Church has
become “wishywashy” and is attempting to be accommodating
of other faiths and beliefs. We want to hear strong statements that the
law of Islam is evil and that the Christian church will never bow down
to try and accommodate it. Accepting chosen parts is but the thin end
of the wedge and surely the Archbishop of Canterbury must see this.
We went to a movie about 4 weeks ago (we have forgotten the title but
it came HIGHLY recommended by personal friends.) After 15 minutes we
both stood up - I proclaimed in my normally “quiet” voice
that we were not prepared to tolerate such foul language and blasphemy
- and we walked out! I also let the foyer staff and any customers who
happened to be around know exactly what we thought.
We need Christian leaders in all countries who will stand up and fight
the current legislation being passed through the British Parliament to
legitimise blasphemy. Where are our Archbishops on this issue as it
affects most of the data-sphere that surrounds us, or doesn’t it
The evil that appears in most television programmes is infecting the
minds of all viewers and it needs to be countered by a strong visible
leadership based on sound teachings from the Bible.
We Christians who are at the “coal-face” need to know that
we have strong backing from the topmost echelons. Unfortunately that
does not exist any longer. We will continue to fight, with the Bible as
our weapon, but some higher worldly support would help. Our fights may
be concerned with daily “mundane” issues but these are the
things that concern us deeply, and not brilliantly worded theological
or academic exercises.
We need to have Christian leaders who are not afraid to stand up and
say that homosexual and same sex marriages are evil and an abomination
to God. The current philosophy of political correctness is destroying
nations and cultures.
The 10 Commandments were not suggestions and it seems that some of our
leadership have even forgotten Exodus 20:3 (Authorised King James
version) “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. This is
in no way ambiguous!
We are aware that the possible future King of England has already
proclaimed that he does not want to be “Defender of The
Faith” but rather “Defender of Faiths”, whatever that
may mean. The UK Government is already planning for a
“multifaith” coronation whenever it next occurs. Where does
our Christian leadership stand on this issue?
The world is rapidly descending into a pit of evil and we know that
this is to be, but does that mean we should stop proclaiming our faith?
As concerned parishioners from St Cuthbert’s, Port Elizabeth,
this is a request for the Bishop of Port Elizabeth, the Archbishop of
Cape Town and hopefully the Archbishop of Canterbury, to let us know
where they stand on the issues raised.
Where is our strong Christian uncompromising leadership based on the Bible? At present it is absent.
People walk around with “What Would Jesus Have Done” wristlets. We wonder?
Bill & Jenny Wynn
Mike McCoy, the Diocesan Canon
Theologian, has put into perspective what Abp Rowan Williams said. This
will appear in the May issue. For the transcript of what the Abp
actually said go to: www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/1581
Much discussion has taken place about Easter being so early this year.
Bishop George Connor, chair of the Anglican Liturgical Consultation, sent the following info about the date of Easter:
“It may be of interest that Easter is early this year, yet this
is not the earliest possible date, that would be 22 March, but in the
250 years between 1875 and 2124 there is no instance of it falling on
that date. The last time it was on 23 March was 1913, and it
won’t happen again in the 250-year period. The next early dates
for Easter are 24 March in 2035, and 26 March in 2062! Of the late
dates: Easter is on 24 April in 2011, and on 25 April in 2038.
editors note: Easter Day is set as the first Sunday after the full moon on or after 21 March.
Francis Collins: The Language of God
– A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
Simon & Schuster, London, 2007.
Reviewed by Geoff Booth
Many books have been written about the interaction between Science and
Faith. Some, like the recent work of Richard Dawkins, purport to show
that the findings of science are incompatible with any form of belief
about the supernatural. Others, often written by scientists who claim
to have ‘seen the light’ argue that recent scientific
findings support the notion of a recently created Earth and Universe.
Collins does neither in this volume.
Francis Collins is the head of the Human Genome Project, and as such
must rank as one of the world’s foremost authorities on human
biology. He is also a committed Christian. He describes poignantly his
journey from atheism to belief, culminating in an acceptance of Christ
while hiking in the Cascade Mountains, west of the Mississippi. The
writings of the great CS Lewis influenced him profoundly, as did the
existence of a universally accepted (but widely violated) Moral Law.
Collins gives accounts of current understanding of the origin of the
Universe and the origin and development of life. There is a very
readable account of his work on the human genome. He considers various
world-views, including the strident scientistic atheism of Dawkins and
others, young-Earth creationism and the more recent notion of
Intelligent Design. He rejects all of these for cogent reasons. His own
position he describes as ‘theistic evolution’ or BioLogos.
This is the idea that God achieves his purpose through natural
processes, of which he is the author, and does not have to intervene
supernaturally on a regular basis. Collins is therefore quite
comfortable with evolution, an ancient Earth and other issues which are
deeply troubling for many Christians. Indeed he discusses some of the
quite spectacular evidence for evolution that the sequencing of the
human genome has revealed.
I found this book to be one that I could not put down. It is quite
possibly the best work on Science and Faith that I have ever read. In
the words of Desmond Tutu, it is a ‘real godsend to those with
questioning minds but who are also attracted to things
spiritual’. Christians from all persuasions and traditions will
find it a blessing.
iindaba apologises for the error made of one of the names under the
photo of St Mary Magdalene members in the Jan/Feb issue of iindaba.
Valmé’s surname is Bramwell, not Rockman. He’s not
new Thokoza Mngomezulu, who was instituted as rector of The Church of
The Holy Spirit, KwaZakhele, on Sunday, 24 February, is no stranger to
our diocese. Evelyn Kibble, who assists at St Katharine’s, told
iindaba that Russell (as she knows him) stayed with her about 23 years
ago when he was at, the then, St Paul’s College in Grahamstown
and was in Uitenhage for a mission. Welcome back Thokoza.
If you intend studying either for a Diploma or Degree through TEE
College in 2009, you are advised to register for the Study Skills
course now. This is a half-year course and registration is open from
now until 15 June. Registration forms and further information is
available from the Regional co-ordinator, Howard Lancaster, at All
Saints´ Church, telephone 041 360 1267. PO Box 10045, Linton
Grange, Port Elizabeth, 6015 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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