A Nation in a State – by Advocate Paul Hoffman
Scroll down to listen to an audio of Paul’s talk.
Opening Devotional given by Alex Anderson before Paul Hoffman’s talk
Luke chapter 9 verses 23 to 27
Cause Concern and Witness
A wounded buffalo in the African bush gives cause for great anxiety to any hunter or game viewer. For over 30 years southern Africa has been plagued with the existence of such an “animal” ruling in the city of Harare Zimbabwe. Much prayer by Christians has been exercised over these decades seeking abatement or removal of this “ beast” of African politics. In South Africa, in April 2017, we have now cause for concern as to whether we may ourselves have a “wounded buffalo” in our presence. God forbid that he endures his exercise of oppressive power for the period that Robert Mugabe imposes on our neighbour!.
We are called, as Christians, to be witnesses of and to our faith. To be, as our Lord experienced in the cause of his life and message of salvation. He died in and for that purpose. His sacrifice serves as an example as to what we should be prepared to do. Many of our forebears paid that price.
In the current way of modern urban living we find ourselves in a rut of complacency and comfort. This is particularly the case for those enjoying a middle and upper echelon existence in the various regions of the first world. Opportunity for witness in protest is essentially negated by the ever-present inclination of “going with the flow”. By this means we find ourselves being sucked into grey areas of behaviour and thought. The consequence is, creation of a society that lacks standard and concern for faith and holding of belief. Traditional values and the very basis of our beliefs receive little protection. We champion few causes. Given the issue raised by our Lord in Luke verse 24 of chapter 9; for what sake, today, would you “give up your life” or even “renounce yourself”.
I think back on the years after 1948, in South Africa and the implementation of apartheid. The immorality act, curtailment of the press, group areas act etc were part and parcel of standard “civilised” existence. As a youngster I was not made aware of these evils and their purpose. Parental complacency, with almost tacit acceptance of our “ white” societal ways was a further reason in my era of not being conscious of the issues, even horrors, of entrenched legalised racial discrimination. The schools and even churches I went to made no reference to the oppression. It was only at university when one came to Understand.
Witness is a matter of affirming to the genuineness of one’s belief in testifying support of faith and righteousness. The political status quo exacerbated the challenge to witness. “The government of the day was ordained of God”. Civil disobedience was generally not allowed or even considered within the white minority population. This injustice occasioned the mockery of the outside world towards largely white Christians enjoying the “South African Way of life”
The sacrificialmeaning of the above Biblical passage was proclaimed over 2000 years ago. It was a time of oppression, invasion and brutality. There were no laws attempting to refute or venerate human rights. Loss of life for a cause was more regular and apparent. Life was cheap.
Today we now have a South Africa that is characterised as being a “Nation in a State”. The British Economist newspaper classifies South African government decisions as being “clueless and immoral”, “a country that symbolises human rights and freedom and is turning its back on both”. With the lessons of the past, possibly occasioned by ignorance and indifference, do we now have the courage and commitment to act against the new evil? An evil perpetrated by another rogue animal of African politics. The potential of him becoming another self entangled “wounded buffalo”!. This time we have the Constitution and laws at our disposal. We need to establish a collectively driven, providentially inspired wisdom and strategy to bring righteousness to the fore and then apply concerted action. This for Christians is surely our only remedy and means of witness, using prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit.
By this means we will experience,by God,s grace, the way to demonstrate the power of the Gospel. We cannot again endure a repetition of the development of a new hegemonic form of dictatorial government in South Africa?
Against this background we have had the privilege of listening to Advocate Paul Hoffman on the various options that lie ahead of us in these turbulent times of 2017. He spelt out several avenues of endeavour that must receive our urgent attention and action.
Thank you, Paul Hoffman,