Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Goldmine of another Sort (Part 3) December 2015

13. Jesus disregarded societal Status: A Nudge towards imaginative Initiatives!
            Jesus was an expert in utilizing the low and despised for His service. Even before His birth, Mary praised God in her ‘Magnificat’ that He ‘took notice of His lowly servant girl’ (Luke 2:48). This would be repeated over and over again in the lifetime of Jesus. Born from extremely poor parents, His birth was first heralded to and relayed by the despised shep­herds. He chose the commonly resented fisher­men and one from the ranks of the hated collaborating tax-collectors as His first dis­ciples. The Lord impacted the formerly demon-possessed Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2) deeply, as well as a woman with doubtful morals from the ranks of the most des­pised group, the Samaritans (John 4). According to the Gospel of John these two were respectively the first evangelist of His resurrection (John 20) and the first witness to someone from an ‘un­reached people group.’ The only condition for divine service seems to be that men and women surrender and dedicate their lives to His service. Jesus himself was regarded as a very unlikely candi­date to be the Messiah, coming from the remote rural backwater nest Nazareth (John 1:46), that cannot even be found on ancient maps.
Biblical Misfits used by God
Paul refers to his own unimpressive stature and lack of luster in his public speaking (2 Corinthians 10:10). In His divine wisdom God deemed it fit to save those who believed through the preaching of the Cross, that was being regarded in the world as stupidity (1 Corinthians 1:21). Furthermore, Paul also stated clearly not only ‘when I am weak, I am strong’ (2 Corinthians 12:10), but also that the foolishness of the Cross is actually God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:18). It looks as if this has generally been forgotten or overlooked. The jet-setting big names are as a rule some of the eloquent sought after speakers.
            Jesus and Paul display the nature of God on this issue. The Hebrew Scriptures are full of examples of how God used despised/rejected people. The Lord entered Jerusalem on an inexpereinced colt, the foal of a donkey – not on a horse or a camel, the more fancied transport animals of the day. Even today the animal is more known because of its obstinacy and stupidity than in any other way.
It is remarkable that God seems to have a special place for young people who are ready to go all out for him. In fact, it has been generally overlooked that Jesus drove out the religious establishment – with animals and all – so that there could be place for despised, for those coming from the nations,[1]the lame, the blind and the children Matthew 21:14. All too often the religious church people have to be driven away so that God can be worshiped in spirit and in truth.
            Eli, the priest, was wise to discerrn that Samuel could be raised to become a divine tool already as a boy and David, the shepherd boy, was clearly initially overlooked as a future king of Israel. Joseph was initially rejected by his brothers; Moses was a fugitive and murderer when he was called by God. Ehud stemmed not only from the minute tribe of Benjamin, but he was also left-handed to boot. But he was raised by God to be a deliver of his people, as was Gideon who suffered from a serious inferiority complex (respectively in Judges 3 and 6).
            At a time when females counted for nothing, Deborah led the Israelite army (Judges 4 and 5). What distinguished the rejected and despised ones was their availability for God. Rahab and Ruth are specially mentioned in the lineage of Jesus, although they were originally a pagan prostitute and a despised Moabite respectively (Matthew 1:5). Rahab, the prostitute, is a very special case. She must have had special revelation to declare to the spies: ‘I know that Yahweh has given you the land’ (Joshua 2:8) and in Joshua 2:11 ‘Yahweh, your God is God in heaven above and on the earth’ ... To use scarlet, the dye which was known for colouring flax, was known for its durability, a colour of permanence, was prophetic. A piece of scarlet cloth  that turned white on the Day of Atonement gave a similar prophetic message. Centuries later the prophet Isaiah (1:18) would use that image for the divine cleansing and forgiving of sins. No sin is too big for Him to forgive!.
            Gideon had an inferiority complex needing a ‘fleece’ in two different ways for reassurance. Jephtha, a prominent leader during the time when Israel was ruled by the judges, was the despised bastard son of a prosti­tute and initially rejected (Judges 11:1+2). Saul, the first King of Israel, came from the weakest tribe and the smallest family in the tribe (1 Samuel 10:21). God had to teach Samuel in the process not to look at the outer looks and size, that God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:1-12) when David was clearly regarded as an outsider of the family at first and over­looked to become the future King of Israel.

A big biblical 'rational' Factor - Faith
Like a golden thread through the Holy Scriptures there is faith in Yahweh as the big 'rational' factor. The deeds of God all too often defy all rational explanation. To trust God for off-spring when you are 100 years old required exceptional faith. Abraham was also willing and obedient thereafter to sacrifice his 'one and only' son (Genesis 22;1), the one of promise as opposed to the one of compromise. Moses, in hitting a rock or Gideon, who had to send away just under thirty two thousands and keep only 300 men to fight the Midiates would not be able to say: My won hand has saved me (Judges 6:2). Similarly, the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17) was another personality who was required to do a completely irrational thing in faith. Steps of faith have also in the Bible resulted in various options including desperation or blind obedience, like when the disciples had to throw out the net on the other side, after fishing in vain the whole night, but obeying on the rhema of the Master (Luke 5).
            The 18th century Moravians were masters in taking leaps of faith or shall we rather say be obedient to death? It was customary for the early Herrnhut missionaries to take their coffins to the mission field. Many of them died there. In the case of the pioneerikng work on the Carribean island St Croix no less than 22 persons died in the space of two years (Lewis, 1962:82).

Comenius’s Vision on the use of 'misfits'      
Comenius was probably one of the very few who had a vision for the spreading of the Gospel to ‘misfits’. Because he was driven by the idea of Pansophia – an all encompassing wisdom – he taught that the task of the church is to bring all people to unity and wholeness, to direct everybody to the one God, Yahweh. But what about blind, deaf, dumb and those with other disabilities? The answer of Comenius: ‘only non-human beings have no part in this guidance towards God’ (Van der Linde, 1979:118). Naturally, Comenius’ progressive ideas clashed with notions about so-called ‘inferior races’ that were spread, sadly also from the precincts of the church.[2]
Zinzendorf followed in these footsteps. The Negroes had been regarded widely as a people doomed to slavery. The Moravian missionary enterprise shows that they are people who are graced by God and called to high honour as Christians. (Zinzendorf himself was however still very much a child of his day in this regard.[3]) The Count however fully understood the radicalism of the Gospel with regard to the misfits of society. Gottlieb Israel was sent to the West Indies in 1740 although he was half lame, only able to use one leg fully. The outreach of the Moravians was very much directed at those who would normally not hear the Gospel. Thus they were the pioneers for outreach to the ‘Hottentotten’ (Khoi), who were called the ‘Wilden’, regarded as game who could be shot without fear of punishment in the 18th century. Likewise, the primitive Eskimo’s and North American Indians belonged to their early missionary targets. In more recent years Brother Andrew was driven by the question of who would bring the Gospel to Communists and terrorists. Chuck Smith was challenged by the same token to reach out to the hippies of the late 1960s, who later became the alternative Jesus People. Floyd and Sally McClung followed that generation on the drug trail, ministering in Nepal and Afghanistan as well as to the misfits of the red-light district of Amsterdam. In the later case they actually went to live among them.

The Role of Children in the Herrnhut Revival         
Zinzendorf recognized like few, if any, before him how strategic it was how children and young people have been used since biblical times. Isaac and Joseph had God’s hand on their lives since boyhood.  Moses and his siblings were evidently well trained. Every Sunday school child knows the story of the birth and dedication of Samuel to the service of the Lord as a boy, while the unknown girl in the service of the high-ranking soldier Syrian Naaman possibly does not belong to Sunday school repertoire. But almost every Jewish child will have heard of young Esther’s commitment and willingness to put her life on the line to save her people.
            That the revival amongst the children started in the girls’ hostel of Berthelsdorf is not so surprising when one considers how Count Zinzendorf prepared it through prayer. After a visit there he complained to his wife that the nine girls there were so shallow. They would listen equally to tales of Essop than to stories about Jesus (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:28). He cried to the Lord on their behalf intensely. When he subsequently used a hymn about Jesus who can change hardened hearts on 26 May 1727, the Holy Spirit touched them. The next day he also sent to them Mr Klumpe, a faithful teacher, to guide them. Anna Nitschmann and Susanna Kühnel, an eleven-year-old, were one of four young girls who were revived on 17 August 1727. That must be regarded as a part of the general revival. Through the testimony of Susanna Kühnel more girls came to the Lord in the days hereafter. Mr Klumpe was also impacted. His witness contributed significantly, so that on 18 August all the girls in the hostel of Berthelsdorf prayed throughout the night (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:29). The Count joined them for prayer on Hutberg, the nearby hill top. By 23 August the revival had also spilled over to the boys, leading to the beginning of the famous 24/7 prayer that started on 27 August 1727 with 48 believers. On 29 August the girls were having a prayer meeting on Hutberg from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. that could be heard in the town, while eight to ten boys were in prayer at another location.
            In 1728, long before the actual mission work started out from Herrnhut, the young men were busy with training as ap­pren­tices and with study in preparation for mission service. Two years later also the single sisters followed suit, assembling in a building.

For Example Anna Nitschmann                                                                                                        When the time had come to select a "chief eldress" for the women in the bustling community of 18th century Moravians at Herrnhut, four names were put on slips of paper. Quite surprisingly there was also the name of Anna Nitschmann. Only 14 years old, she had already demonstrated leadership among the girls and the single women. They gathered together as usual for the drawing of lots that was used to discern the leading of God. But she was so young! Had there been a mistake in this case?
            Count Zinzendorf strongly advised Anna to refuse the appointment. But the young peasant girl respectfully reminded the nobleman that she was accepting the appointment as from the Lord. Just as the surprising choice of the shepherd-boy David proved decisive for Israel, so the choice of young Anna would be for the Moravians. Six weeks after this election, Anna led 18 of the "single sisters" to devote themselves so thoroughly to Christ that even marriage would take second place. This commitment was a major one, signalling a serious desire to serve the Lord. This "single sisters" group would grow over the following decades, providing a stream of courageous missionaries. Later, Anna became part of the “Pilgrim Church” a group of spiritual warriors ready to go anywhere to spread the name of Christ. Her missions travels took her to numerous countries, also to America, where she helped in the founding of Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pennsylvania. She also ministered effectively among various Indian groups.                                                   In an era when women were not looked upon as hymn writers, Anna Nitschmann wrote more than 30 hymns that were published in the Moravians’ German hymnal.  Anna twice refused offers for marriage. But a year after Count Zinzendorf's wife died, he asked Anna to marry him and she agreed. She was a commoner and he a noble, but within the Herrnhut community all were equals. They got married in June, 1757.    
Utilizing the Zeal of young People
When Paul and Barnabas set out on their first missionary journey, they took the inexperienced John Mark along as their assistant (Acts 12:25, 13:5). Later Barnabas took young John Mark as his partner in mission work. This could have been just the encouragement Paul needed – he had a tiff with John Mark on their first trip - to utilize the gifts of the young Timothy, entrusting to him leadership responsibilities.
            Zinzendorf and the Herrnhut fellowship were pioneers in utilizing the energy and zeal of young people. Even before some of them came to Herrnhut, the youthful believers were fearlessly involved in the spreading of the gospel. The 18-year-old David Nitschmann, one of the clan that would impact Herrnhut intensely in the next few years, went around the Moravian environs of Kunwald with others from his age, speaking about what they had experienced, spreading the fire in this way. Anna Nitschmann was given the leadership over the single sisters although she had just turned fifteen (Weinlick, 1956:84). Eighteen single ladies decided under her leadership to live solely for the Lord. In 1731 Martin Linner, a seventeen-year-old, became the ‘Älteste’ - the Elder - for the bigger boys.
            Before Melchior Nitschmann was elected as one of the first four chief elders of the church, Zinzendorf had reservations. The bare-footed youngster was not even known at all to the Count, but he evidently had the trust of the congregants.  Zinzendorf was humble enough to be the first to kiss his hand von ganzem Herzen (wholeheartedly) when he met him for the first time in his life (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:95). In 1728 Melchior Nitschmann went to Moravia with Georg Schmidt where they were arrested as they were fellowshipping with believers. Melchior died in prison the next year.
Martin Linner, who had proved himself as very capable when he was an Elder of the single men at the age of seventeen, became one of the four chief Elders, although he was still in his twenties. When the Herrnhut fellowship decided to choose only one chief Elder in 1730, he was chosen. In spite of his lack of formal education and experience, he impressed many. Zinzendorf reported: ‘I was ashamed like a little dog that I could not do it like him when I saw how the dear Linner preached to the Count of Lichtenstein in such godly simplicity. Never have I seen the Count more patiently and at ease as when he sat there listening to Linner. He is normally very much prejudiced against us’ (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:97). To be on the same level as the poor brethren, Linner would never sleep in a bed. In spite of being quite sickly, he slept on the floor throughout the year, winter or summer. On 21 February 1733 he died.
Still in their twenties, Tobias Leopold and Leonhard Dober were ready to go to St Thomas as the very first missionaries. Leupold was however turned down by the lot. Two years later Leupold led a team of fourteen brothers and four sisters to the neighbouring island of St. Croix, only to die there half a year later. Leonhard Dober, who was not much older, was recalled from St Thomas to be the chief elder after the sudden death of Martin Linner, arriving in Herrnhut in February 1735.
Matthias Stach led the pioneering missionary outreach to Greenland when he was only nineteen years old, doing it so effectively that the Moravians had great liberty to hand the work there over to the Lutheran Church. Georg Israel, a disabled tailor, who survived a shipwreck in 1740, was given leadership responsibility for the work on the island St Croix where he died three years later, only 27 years old.
David Nitschmann, the carpenter, Dober’s eventual partner to St Thomas, spied the land, returning to Herrnhut to report what it was like. He was inducted as the first Bishop of the Moravians on 13 March 1735 before he was forty years old. After passing a theological examination in Stralsund, Count Zinzendorf became an ordained Lutheran minister in Tübingen. He was inducted as Bishop in 1737, a mere 37 years old.
The phenomenal growth of Youth with a Mission, Operation Mobiliz­ation and many mission agencies of modern times like All Nations International can be attributed to their willingness and ability to challenge and harness young people for mission work, albeit that mistakes have sometimes been made due to inexperience.

God continues with a Remnant
An interesting scriptural feature is how God continues with a remnant. Many left Egypt, but only a portion of them entered the Promised Land. God preferred to use a small band with Gideon so that it would be absolutely clear whose victory it was. Gideon started with 32,000 potential warriors. God sovereignly deemed it fit to use only 300 from them, possibly not even the biggest, the strongest or the most experienced amongst them. The tribe of Benjamin had almost been annihilated in an act of revenge (Judges 20) when Saul was taken from the smallest family of the diminutive tribe - to become the first king. This was definitely not an act of God hitting back after the Israelites had rejected Him (2 Samuel 8). By contrast, when the Israelites looked completely forgotten by God, a pagan ruler, King Cyrus, was used to bring them back to the Promised Land after the lengthy exile.
            In the ‘New Testament’ we find the same principle. After the persecu­tion of the Christians in Jerusalem, the apostles remained there as a remnant. A minute group of believers started in Antioch. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Antioch Christians did not seek their identity in the past of Israel. They understood themselves to be a link to the future; ‘they were not the heralds of a reborn Israel, but the advance guard to a new humanity’ (Bosch, 1990:10f). About thefellowship in Antioch, Bosch (1990:9) said: ‘The church... was indeed remarkably innovating...’ There was no church apartheid. Jews and ‘heathen’ ate together, which was unheard of, especially in the light of the fact that the Gentile believers had not been circumcised. The role for the Church in Africa can be derived from the Antioch model. Those believers who hailed from Libya (Acts 2:10) and Cyprus were the movers (The Jews who were scattered by the persecution when Stephen was martyred, were still too preoccupied with the past.) The North Africans and Mediterranean island believers shared the Good News also with the Greeks, not only to Jews (Acts 11:19f).

The Hidden Seed revived again!
A comparative event in Church History is the Unitas Fratrum, the Church of the Brethren, that was almost annihilated in Bohemia and Moravia. The last Bishop of this church, Jan Amos Comenius, appropri­ately referred to them as the ‘Hidden Seed’, which was then of course revived in Herrnhut on the estate of Count Zinzen­dorf.
            The Count evidently understood this principle himself, prepared to see the Moravian Church die rather than compromise biblical principles. In fact, he wrote a song which is still sung in Moravian churches all over the world: ‘Herrnhut darf nicht länger stehen...’ The village should not stay intact, unless God’s works would continue to proceed from there. In fact, this was the gist of Zinzendorf’s sermon already in May 1722 at the site of a school intended for the nobility: if God’s honour would not be served by it, the Almighty should rather ‘destroy it or devour it with fire from on high’ (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:20). It is quite special that God used the prayer tower of Herrnhut to usher in a new prayer initiative at the end of the 20th century (Goll, 1997:17ff).
            An interesting case was the first South African missionary, Georg Schmidt, who was initially sent to the Cape ‘on probation’ as punishment.[4] The Word that he had preached before he was sent home by the Cape authorities was proof of the inherent power of the good seed after fifty years[5] (Steinberg et al, 1960:25). When the three new missionaries came to Baviaanskloof (Genadendal) in 1992 where Schmidt had ministered after almost 50 years, they found the equivalent of a little fellowship led by the aged Magdalena, one of Schmidt’s five converts.
            All revivals through the centuries can be attributed to the faithful prayers of believers behind the scenes. In the early decades of the 20th century C.T. Studd, the founder of WEC International, coined the term ‘prayer batteries’. The small prayer cells were intended to prepare the ground for missionaries to penetrate people groups that have not yet been reached with the Gospel. The Moravians of Herrnhut in the 18th and 19th centuries taught the world how the agonising in prayer for the lost is valuable Gospel seed. The seed sown by them from their prayer tower germinated once again in 1993 when a group of American prayer warriors under the leadership of Jim Goll visited the site. It is special that the group included a native from St Thomas, the island from where the slave Anton hailed. (Anton had been used by God to ignite the missionary move from Herrnhut in 1732.) The group around Jim Goll, which had a Pentecostal experience at the tower at Herrnhut in February 1993, was possibly the instrument God used to start off the prayer watch movement that swept around the globe in the late 1990s. Another variation of the ‘hidden seed’ germinating was the Global Day of Prayer of May 15 in 2005, which started with the 7-day initiative a year earlier in the Moravian Hill Church of District Six in Cape Town.[6]

Harvest Vision
We should pray to get a harvest vision, to have our eyes opened to see the strategic people in whose hearts God has already planted the seed of the Gospel. Let’s pray to be led to those Muslims and Jews who will invite their family and friends to come and see whether Jesus is not perhaps the Korban, the sacrifice, the true Lamb of God. We may take for granted without any shadow of doubt that it is on God’s heart to let the Jews discover that the one whom their ancestors had pierced on Calvary, is really their Messiah. Perhaps someone from the ranks of these people groups who is despised and rejected - for example a gangster, drug lord or prostitute - is exactly the one God wants to use to make the others spiritually hungry, thirsty and inquisitive.
When people like the unnamed Samaritan woman of John 4 are drastically changed, it could spawn a people movement from the most resistant people groups in terms of the Gospel. After seeing the movie The Passion of the Christ, many Muslims became ready to accept that Jesus did in fact die on the Cross of Calvary. The harvest from the descendants of Ishmael which is alluded to in Isaiah 60:6, 7 started to take shape. The prophetic dimensions of Isaiah 19:23-25, which received its contours with the completion of the highway between Baghdad and Cairo still look very unlikely, but how quickly things can change, the world witnessed after the crashing of the Berlin wall in 1989. The Arab spring of 2011 ushered in a significant exodus from Islam. The Syrian refugee crisis, ignited by the ISIS atrocities of the last months, resulted n many turning to Christ in unprecedented numbers.  There is a new urgency to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers to the Middle East … or Europe.

            There are not many cases known of churches, which actually disbanded because they have discovered that they had left the basis of the Gospel teaching, on which they had been founded. This is an important difference to churches, which closed down their buildings because of the aging of their members.[7] The church universal would greatly benefit if some churches would take the courage to close down rather than prod on in traditionalism with a greatly reduced membership. A good compromise in such cases could be the merging of churches.[8]

Dumping the polished Society
Zinzendorf brought the Moravian church at Herrnhut to dump the indifferent eighteenth century Christianity and the polite society. He taught: it was the Lamb and the Blood that bring deliverance to the poor and refuge to the outcast. In 18th century Herrnhut none of rank, wealth, special learning or age was a special recommendation. It was spiritual maturity that mattered. Thus Mordelt, a tailor and Gottfried Hahn, a gardener, were respectively made a teacher and an overseer (Lewis, 1962:49). Anna Nitschmann was given the leadership over the single women when she was only fifteen (Weinlick, 1956:84).
            It looks as if churches have generally ignored these biblical principles. Worldly standards are still used by and large in the appointment of workers. The prejudice and fear of other church people unfortunately obviously often carry more weight in such decisions. Somehow it remains a mystery why churches - after almost 2000 years - have not acknowledged generally that God seems to ‘favour’ using those who are despised by their respective societies.
            By contrast, Jesus was very critical of the high society of religious life. He exposed the ulterior motives of Pharisees and Scribes in no uncertain way. However, if a ‘clergyman’ was genuinely converted like the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus, someone who was originally so full of misguided zeal to root out what he regarded as the heretics of his time, then such a person can be used par excellence. As a former scholar of the famous Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), his intellectual and spiritual capability was fully used by the Lord after they had been put under His authority.

On the Look-out for modern Sauls
There may be other modern ‘Sauls’, for example some who genuinely still believe that Muhammad is the greatest prophet, whose spiritual eyes need be opened to the fact that Jesus died on the Cross; that He is the Lamb of God slain for our sins.
            Christians in South Africa - a country with poverty-stricken masses and an abundance of alcoholics and drug addicts of all races, could do the Church in other parts of the world a great service. We should pray to be given grace to look at these groups of people with the compassionate eyes of Jesus. He saw potential evangelists and missionaries in shepherds, fishermen and prostitutes, the outcasts of His society. In this way the Capetonian suburbs of Woodstock and Salt River, which have become infected with drug addiction and prostitution, could yet become pace setters for missionaries to the underworld. In the Cape townships there are already a few pastors and church leaders who had been gangsters and drug addicts, yes also ex-Muslims. But their recruitment as missionaries must still get off the ground. Prisons have been impacted in the countryside, such as at the youth prison near Wellington, where young inmates voluntarily started to attend Bible studies.
            And what about the South African clergymen who are still fighting so-called heresies of non-racialism, who are still not prepared to recognize that apartheid is much more than only a heresy, that it is demonic? (One of the names of satan is diabolos, which could be translated as separator.) What could still emanate from many right-wing Afrikaans-speaking churches if the ‘scales’ fall from their eyes? In fact, so much has already happened in this regard. Thus a group of intercessors from Heidelberg (Gauteng) - once the bastion of the AWB - came to Cape Town in October 1997, where they joined in prayer for new spiritual life in Bo-Kaap and District Six. We should not write off anybody. Jesus showed us the way: love and compas­sion to all and sun­dry is required!        

Selection Criteria for Missionaries
During the training and preparation of missionary candidates it should have become clear that these believers are ‘hospitable, not addicted to alcohol and free from the love of money’ (1 Timothy 3:12-13). The first Christians set an interesting example to appoint Greeks predominantly as deacons, after there had been accusations and complaints that the Greek widows had been discriminated against (Acts 6:1-7).
            The use of people from the ilk of the Samaritan woman of John 4 - as evangelists and missionaries - does not imply however that other selection criteria should be neglected. It merely means that we should shed our own prejudice with regard to certain people groups, professions and social standing. In the appointment of missionaries (and clergy!), spiritual norms should be applied. Biblically, the major criterion should be whether men and women have been genuinely converted to the Lord and called by Him into His service. South Africa has started to set an example by dropping the usual educational admission standards for Bible School training in the case of more mature candidates. Considering the discriminatory legacy of the past in the field of education, many Bible Colleges have already started implementing this policy. Biblical criteria like a good reputation, being spirit-filled and having wisdom (see Acts 6:3) may however not be set aside in the appointment of anybody.
            The Moravians of Herrnhut practised this principle: the first bishop to be elected was a non-theologian, the carpenter Nitschmann. The disdain and arrogance with which mainline churches look to the African Independent Churches in this regard needs urgent revision! (This may however not be interpreted as support for despotism displayed by some of those self-appointed bishops.)
Social Reform as a Result of Revival           
The mission-minded congregation of Herrnhut paved the way for the optimal use of the despised, for example (ex-)prisoners. When one of them was cast in prison (for spreading the Gospel), it caused great joy that they were found worthy to suffer for His sake. Georg Schmidt, the first missionary to South Africa, who came to Genadendal in 1737, had been imprisoned before he came to South Africa because of His faith.
Although it was official Moravian policy to refrain from direct political involvement, their treatment of slaves and their identification with the downtrodden challenged slavery and other practices of the 18th century from the beginning of the missionary ventures in the West Indies. Leonhard Dober consciously resigned his work as a steward to live among the slaves. This was followed by the marriage of Matthäus Freundlich to the mulatto Rebbecca in May 1738. Accepting the West African-born mulatto Christian Protten not only into membership but also sending him out as a missionary to the Gold Coast was another unprecedented move which challenged the society of their day
An indirect result of the revival, which swept throughout England due to the work of the Wesley brothers and George Whitefield, was various social reforms. They were all deeply influenced by the Moravians, when they looked into the putrid conditions in the British prisons. Evangelicals were at the fore-front of social reform at a time when the industrial revolution caused all sorts of misery. William Wilberforce, an evangelical parliamentarian - was influenced by the unorthodox missionary Dr Philip, who had returned to England after a stint in South Africa where he saw the results of slavery. Wilberforce was instrumental in the abolition of slavery when Britain took the lead in cleaning the world from this scourge.[9] Early in the previous century the courageous intervention of the lady missionary Gladys Aylworth in China, driven by her love for the Lord, stopped a major revolt of prisoners when she spoke to a former teacher, who had been imprisoned. She heard from this prisoner that the rebellious men needed work more than anything else.

South African Church and mission Institutions as the advance Guard?
South African church and mission institutions could become the advance guard so that genuinely changed ex-prisoners get responsibility in state services (such as prisons) and converted prostitutes in the social ser­vices. A necessary and logical condition is that they are tested and tried to see if they are equal to the task. After all, Jesus was also arrested; Paul, Joseph and so many other bibli­cal figures were prisoners somewhere along the line. Luckily, in South Africa this is not an issue anymore. What is still problem­atic in the new set-up is that a role in the ‘struggle’ seems to have become a norm for appointment or promotion. There is a real danger that more former anti-apart­heid warriors may become ‘gravy train’ (gravy aeroplane?) passengers,[10] unless they are thoroughly converted to committed service for the Lord.
            The distinction made between criminals and political prisoners should not be exaggerated. In the former case, it cannot always be taken for granted that their credentials are above board, i.e. that their remorse is genuine. But they should nevertheless be given a genuine second chance through pro­grammes of rehabili­ta­tion. South Africa has some strange ‘advantage’ with extenuat­ing circumstances in this regard. It is known now that prostitu­tion and homosexuality were nur­tured by the conditions in the Black hostels of the apartheid society and that thousands of ex-prisoners would never have been jailed in a normal non-racial set-up.
            I do not see any reason why converted ex-prisoners of the apartheid regime, any former prisoners for that matter, could not become missionaries in other coun­tries. We have already referred (p.??) to missionaries coming forth from the work of WEC among drug addicts in Spain.[11] Also the work of Jacky Pullinger in Hong Kong comes to mind when the lives of many drug addicts were changed through the liberating power of the Gospel.[12] Of course, the condition should once again be that any prospective missionary should have come to a personal faith in Jesus and that he/she has been clearly called to missionary service. A time of probation is taken for granted of course, just like for other missionary candidates.
          A former prisoner at Pollsmoor prison, Jonathan Clayton, became a pastor with a special concern for prisoners. His conversion was the fruit of the prayers of his family and friends including Jenny Adams, an Africa Evangelical Fellowship missionary, who later became his wife. Clayton attended the Baptist Seminary after his release. He started to minister in Pollsmoor prison on Saturday mornings while he was still a theological student. Members of the Strandfontein Baptist Church, the home congregation of his wife, assisted him. In 1999 Clayton became a prison chaplain. Another special ‘trophy of divine Grace’ is Marge Ballin, a former ‘Flower child’ who had not not only been a victim of abuse and become a later participant in all sorts of vice – along with so many hippies of the late 1960s. She narrated her story in A Rose, a Pearl and a Warrior (Iner Outreach Ministries, 2015)

The Lord’s Treatment of Traditions

I would like to draw attention - with regard to the Lord’s revol­utionary life style - to His treatment of traditions. The love of God and the love of the neighbour was to Him the supreme criterion for any custom. We note how Jesus assessed the age-old customs in Mark 7:1-23. One could say that He protested in the best sense of the word.[13] On the one hand He opposed old anti­quated traditions, especially when they were opposing God’s supreme law of love. On the other hand, Jesus gave a new content to customs which had lost their initial purpose. Sometimes traditions have to be radically turned upside-down, especially if they hinder the general law of love. (Compare Matthew 5:21-48, for example "You have heard... But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.") Jesus healed people on the Sabbath, knowing full well that he was treading dangerous ground according to the prevalent custom. Habits and traditions should be constantly tested by Scripture. At a time when females were not even supposed to be seen in public with men, Jesus gave dignity to prostitutes and demon-pos­sessed women. A former demon-possessed Gadarene was delivered to become an evangelist in Decapolis, a region known by its ten 'cities'.

Herrnhut-Moravian Innovations      
From its early beginnings the Herrnhut-Berthelsdorf experiment was innovative. The young pastor Johann Rothe was still a private tutor of Baron de Schweinitz of Löbbau and a theological student when he heard from a Bohemian refugee, Christian David, that Count Zinzendorf was about to appoint a faithful pastor on the estate he had bought and that the evangelical refugees might find the asylum there which they had so long desired. 
            Before long Pastor Rothe was the Lutheran minister of the village Berthelsdorf: He practised a revolutionary mode of worship which turned out to be a great attraction  The preaching was followed by a general conversation between the pastor and his hearers (Langton, 1956:68).  In a similar way a student church in Pretoria applies an adaptation of this practice with modern technology. The church members there send their comments and questions via an SMS via their mobile phones during the sermon. The pastor would then reply at the end of his prepared sermon. An innovation  introduced by Cops for Christ a few years ago when prayer points were sent via the mobile phone SMS, has become common practice for prayer chains.
         Count Zinzendorf grasped the revolutionary challenges of our Lord’s teaching very well. He showed little respect for whatever a nobleman was supposed to do and what not. Earlier we have seen how he had no qualms whatsoever to ordain Georg Schmidt by letter from Herrnhut, because this was the most practical way to clear the way for the baptism of new believers at the Cape. It seems that the Herrnhut Moravians were all but dogmatic. They only wanted to be guided by the Word, neither allowing general church custom to prescribe to them nor were they dictated to by the time in which they were living. It is typical that Bishop Spangenberg quotes Scrip­ture for the unor­thodox or­dination by letter. Thus Scrip­tures (1 Corinthians 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 2:10; Colossians 2:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:18) guided them for the written ordination of Friedrich Martin in St Thomas, which became the precedent for the ordination of Georg Schmidt in South Africa (Spangenberg, 1971:1033). When Georg Schmidt had to baptize his first converts, he simply did it in a river, perhaps knowing full well that it could cause a furore in the Church at the Cape. Herrnhut innovations which differed with customary Church practice like the Cup of the Covenant and Love Feasts, had their origins in Scripture. The Moravians had the courage to differ with society because their stand was based on the Word. But it was not their intention to provoke unnecessarily.
         In the modern era Dr Billy Graham and his team can be reckoned to the great innovators.  Already in 1970 the association utilized the latest advances of satellite technology to relay the evangelist’s messages from the German city of Dortmund in Westphalia to other European cities simultaneously.  The latest technology of the time was also put to good use so that by the year 2000 continued connection and follow-up was accomplished with the more than 10,000 widely scattered evangelists who had attended Amsterdam 2000. Cape Town was the recipient and source of state of the art Internet technology in 2010 when people could be kept abreast with the event from around the world around the clock. Governernment intervention to prevent Chinese participants to attend marred the unprecented participation of leaders from every corner of the earth.

Revolutionary Challenges     
To give permission for Friedrich Martin to marry Matthäus Freundlich to the mulatto Rebecca on 4 May 1738 was too radical for their day and age. She had been one of the best workers in the new congregation of St Thomas, a devout Christian. Friedrich Martin had no scruples to help his colleague into matrimony, against the prevalent laws and customs. She was not a slave, had a fair education and had endeared herself to the people by her skill in speaking to her sisters of the faith in spiritual matters. This was a very strategic missionary move, as the missionaries thus clearly identified with the despised slaves, while gaining a worker among the females at the same time and preventing isolation of the missionaries.
The wily White planters, who were known to father children with slave women, were enraged but happy to have found a stick with which they could beat the missionaries. The latter had been a thorn in their flesh from the beginning of their ministry.  For this purpose the colonists persuaded Pastor Borm of the Danish Reformed Church to hand in a series of complaints against the Brethren. He contended that Friedrich Martin was not properly ordained, because the ordination had not yet been confirmed by the King of Denmark. The end of an intricate story was that the missionary was forbidden to perform any church rites on pain of imprisonment. The Moravian missionary refused to comply.
Not less radical was the decision of Friedrich Martin to acquire a plantation with the assistance of their friend Lorenz Carstens, after some planter had been deported. As part of the ‘inventory’ of the plantation there were nine slaves of whom three could still work. The three Moravian workers, Friedrich Martin and the Freundlich couple, were all set to go and live among the slaves. That was nothing less than sensational. On 25 July 1738 an equally sensational event followed.  Friedrich Martin and the newly wedded couple were taken away to be imprisoned in the local fort, accompanied by many Negro believers as they sang hymns of faith.
            They were freed after Count Zinzendorf in person came to the island, landing there on 29 January 1739. He had come to the Caribbean, after accusations had been aired that he was sending others to die in the unhealthy tropical conditions while he basked in comfort in Europe.

Other revolutionary Stuff
Just like Jesus, who gave women a new dignity, Herrnhut took a lead in this respect. Zinzendorf and the Moravians ... ‘were the first to give regular encourage­ment and recognition to women as hymn writers’ (Lewis, 1962:163). The Count had a high regard of worship, but he was averse to a rigid form.[14] Zinzendorf had already seen in worship ‘the purest and most effective address of man to God, and the purest and most effective evangelism towards man’ (Lewis, 1962:163).
The liberal and progressive spirit which Zinzendorf radiated, inspired many innovations in education. An American scholar noted that ‘many twentieth-century educa­tional programmes were inaugurated in eighteenth-century Moravian schools’ (cited in Lewis, 1962:174). Long before children’s Bibles became common, Zinzendorf arranged a shortened edition for them. And when study Bibles and the like were still unknown, he produced in Ebersdorf at the Moravian press an edition of the Bible with prefaces and summaries at a price within the reach of the poor.
            South Africa could pave the way in getting rid of ques­tion­able customs in church and society, by testing it scrupu­lously to Scripture and by giving new content to worn out traditions. One way could be to heed advice given in 1959. Gerdener (1959:94) wrote: ‘We dare not cleave to the idea that the Gospel should always be presented in the same way.A beginning has already been made with alter­native forms of presenting the Gospel, like drama and dancing. The use of audio-visuals is not taboo any more, even though they are still fairly rarely used. However, Sunday evening ser­vices, in stead of being a fertile soil for innovation and experimenta­tion, by and large spread an odour of death; stag­nation and habit is still the order of the day.

A joint Venture of another Sort

This country has a wonderful chance to make a new start with unconventional means, for example by a combination of traditional African society and modern Western life-style and using it for the furtherance of the Gospel. This could not only be used on African soil, but it could perhaps also be exported as a ‘joint venture’ to secular­ized Europe and other continents where imaginative ways and means to spread the Gospel are being sought.
            The gospels (as well as Paul, the apostle) stressed that the strength of the believer is his weakness (for example 2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Jesus demonstrated his inner strength by willingly allowing God to fulfill His purpose, even though it led to His death on the Cross (Matthew 26:39,42). Chris­tians should definitely attempt to give to the notion ‘small is beauti­ful’ a new dimension.
            Count Zinzendorf was already a pioneer in this regard. Referring to his church, he included in one of His prayer litanies the words "Save us from an unholy growth." Through stringent measures of scrutiny and also by using the lot, potential new members were kept out. Zin­zendorf preferred Christians to be the leven and the salt in their churches. Thus the Moravians remained a small church in the countries in which they oper­ated, albeit usually with an influence completely dispropor­tionate to their size. Voluntar­ily the Moravian mission sta­tions in Austra­lia were handed to the Anglicans and those in Greenland were given to the Scandi­navian Lutherans.

Questioning big Edifices for Fellowship        
With due acknowl­edgement to all the blessings God has evident­ly bestowed on massive congrega­tions in some countries, it is still debateable whether this is the best way of spend­ing the funds and energy which were needed to build these gigantic struc­tures. Having said this, I am quite aware that some of the huge cathe­drals with their valuable paintings started off as a (perhaps misguided) token of love and worship to God. The problem with big buildings is that later generations so often do not display the same commitment, with the inevitable result: white eleph­ants. This also happened to the Moravians. The big church in Genadendal, which was built in faith by earlier generations, is seldom filled to capacity.
            The question must be raised whether the sums budgeted for the erection of big edifices, should not have been used more effectively for world evangelization. The issue to face is whether the striving after big congregations is not tantamount to worldly thinking and actually strange to the spirit of the ‘New Testament’. The waste of funds for the building of new churches where there are already good evan­gelical churches in the area, is just as deplorable. This is especially the case in the townships, where there is thus a proliferation of small finan­cially struggling churches, whose pastors are forced to do other secular work to make a living. The deceiver will invariably see to it that the vision for the lost goes down the drain in the process. Churches which started off vibrant­ly often end up just as traditional - with their own new paraphernalia and worship patterns: just like the bigger denominations of yesteryear.
This is not new at all. Even in ‘New Testament’ times there was a ‘tendency towards stagnation... also in those churches which came into being out of the hea­thendom through the tireless work of Paul’ (Bosch, 1990:13).

Taking it up for the Lowly and Meek           
Jesus upset the apple-cart of His days by taking it up for the lowly and meek. He rebuked the disciples who wanted to send the children away (Mark 10:14) and He used the sacrificial giving of the widow as an example. Wherever missionaries clearly sided with the weak and oppressed and without a clear political agenda, there was usually spiritual fruit. One of the best examples of this is still the missionary work of the Moravians in their first missionary decade 1732-1741. They put themselves on an equal footing with slaves and those people who were treated as hunting objects in certain countries. The actions of some missionaries were regarded as political, for example in South Africa because of their stand on racial equality and their treating ‘Hottentotten’ as human beings. But first and foremost the Moravian missionaries wanted to be true followers of Jesus. Similarly, Christians everywhere have the moral and biblical duty to side against injustice; to get actively involved for a more just society.[15] Very rightly Bosch said: ‘We must expose every form of economic injustice and exploita­tion in our society and witness against it - as part of our Christian calling’ (Bosch, 1990:44). South African Christians could become modern pioneers in taking it up for the lowly, meek and down-trodden. There is still so much inequality in our so-called post-apartheid society that no Christian should be complacent about it. Christians should be taking the lead in the fight against corruption, the present scourge of South African society.

Food for Thought:
What innovative ways could be used to ‘upset the apple-cart’ in a positive way? How could (small) churches work together, demonstrating their unity in Christ?
What traditions are there in my
 church which should go over­board because they have no scriptural basis?

And some Ideas:
How about coming together as believers not only for worship services and prayer on a regular basis, but also for a religious film or a service to stimulate a missionary vision?
How about sharing facilities and resources with other fellowships in the area?
Pray for possibilities to emulate Jesus in making use of the gifts of the low and despised!
Usually church members are expected to switch off their mobile phones. Are there possibly other creative ways to let the congregation be more inter-active, apart from the Pretoria student church model?

                        14. Jesus taught ‘Enemy Love’: The Power of Reconcili­ation

            Jesus showed by his life-style that the teaching is not only theory to love your enemy. It has a deep meaning that the Master looked up to Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1ff), the collabor­ator with the Roman oppressors. When everybody in Jewish society was condescendingly looking down on the mean tax-collectors, Jesus showed respect. When it was normal for a respect­able Jew to despise the outcast Samaritans (compare John 8:48 to see how Samaritans were equated with being demon-possessed), he gave them dignity.
            The Cross became the symbol of reconciliation. It has been ingeni­ous­ly suggested that the vertical bar symbolizes the recon­ciliation with God and the horizontal bar the reconciliation with our fellow men. Traditionally, the vertical bar is expected to be longer: thus reconciliation with God should also be the pri­mary one. Indeed, this would condition the relationship to those who have hurt us. By nature one can still be selfless, idealistic and generous, but to be forgiving and to reply with love when one is wounded and hurt, is only possible if one lives from the forgiving love to which Christ enables us (Ephesians 4:32).

The radical Quality of Jesus’ Love
The quality of the Lord’s love is especially shown by the inci­dents at his cruci­fixion. His first words of love from the Cross - even before he addressed his friends - were forgiving words directed at his enemies. After his resurrection he rushed to those who had denied and rejected him in the hour of his deepest need. Jesus has every right to put forward the high standard of sacrificial love because he had demon­strated this through his life and death. He showed the way to be prepared to sacrifice your life for your friends... and for your enemies.
            Within this framework the beatitude encouraging us to be peace-makers (Matthew 5:9) follows naturally. Paul echoed this injunction in one form or the other in almost every epistle.
            Jesus went to have a meal with the hateful tax-collector Zacchaeus and He used a despised Samari­tan (Luke 10:30ff) as an example of border-crossing benevolence. He challenged the establishment of His society by bringing them in contact with the gifts of the marginal people. In the Gospel of Luke, the Pharisee Simon becomes a witness to the devotion and dedica­tion of an ex-prosti­tute (Luke 7: 36-40). Common prejudice would not have expected anyone to find Jesus in normal company with a Pharisee, let alone to dine with him. The Lord’s presence brings a very improbable visitor into the house of Simon. What an example the Master gave, what a challenge for Christians to bring together whosoever belongs together, namely the body of Christ, regard­less of social status! Even more, our Lord dared to praise the prostitute and reprimand the Pharisee. What a reappraisal of their prejudi­cial value system must have followed from this encounter! How powerful this dynamic can be was demonstrated in Herrnhut in the run-up to 12 May 1727 when Count Zinzendorf brought the warring factions together. The reconciliation achieved was possibly the most important ‘ingredient’ towards the ultimate revival three months later.
            Even within the close circle of the disciples Jesus had to reconcile opposing factions. We do not understand fully why John always referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Or was he pushing himself to the front all the time, like at the last supper? Even after the Lord’s resurrection, rivalry between him and Peter is still reported. The few verses which are recorded about the meeting of Jesus with the eleven at Lake Tiberias indicate enough of the mutual dislike of Peter and John (Acts 21:20-22). The two could have become bitter rivals for the leadership after the Lord’s ascension. The Holy Spirit is powerful to reconcile minds who would normally be at loggerheads constant­ly. This is evident in the case of the vastly different dis­ciples. In Acts 3:1ff it is reported how the couple operated as a team. This exposes the lie of giving incompatibility as the reason for a separation; that it is utterly impossible to work together with some Christian. If both parties are open to the work of the Holy Spirit, reconcili­ation should be the eventual result and even teamwork is possible there­after. South Africa had a notable example when Bishop Tutu and Dr Allan Boesak were at logger­heads in 1980. The reason for the rift was the willingness of Bishop Tutu and other clergymen to speak to Prime Minister P.W. Botha, while Dr Boesak and his Broeder­kring[16] colleagues maintained that this would only give credibility to the evil system. After the reconcili­ation of the two clergymen they teamed up in their opposition to apartheid. This combination was definitely used by God - along with the prayers of God’s people around the world - to stave off a major bloody conflict in our country.

A practical Consequence?
From a biblical standpoint the believer should refrain from mud-slinging and rather offer forgiveness. It is good to be reminded that Jesus challenged the religious leaders who were about to stone an adulteress: ‘Let him who is without sin take the first stone (John 8:7). Indirectly Jesus was surely also attacking their double standards. Nowhere is the man mentioned with whom she was trapped in the act. In this regard, it is a sobering thought that the Master still called Judas his ‘friend’ immediately after he had been betrayed by the disciple (Matthew 26:50).
            The attitude of Peter should be an object lesson to all of us. Evidently tempered by his own frailty and failure when it counted, the impulsive disciple took the lead after their extended prayer session in the upper room in his recollection of Judas (Acts 1:16ff): ‘He was one of us!
            Bosch (1990:67) points out how Luke, a non-Jewish writer, went out of his way to keep communication lines open. In contrast to especially the Gospel of Matthew, Luke wrote fairly posi­tively about the Pharisees. But it does not mean that he left out everything which could have been offensive to the Jews. The mission to Samaria (Acts 1:8) represented a fundamental break with tradi­tional Jewish concepts, while he simultaneous­ly attached great importance to Jerusalem. More than any of the other ‘New Testament’ authors, Luke illumi­nated for example how the Lord uplifted the despised Samaritans. Thus he has actually given an example of using the pen for purposes of recon­ciliation - with­out however watering down the prejudice-bashing ministry of Jesus in any way.

A Border crossing Movement
The forward move of Jesus was apparently not even properly understood by some of his disciples and the believers in Jerusalem. Bosch summarized the differences aptly: ‘The delegation from Jerusalem which visited Antioch, was interested in consolida­tion, not in mission; in law rather than grace; in the fixing of borders rather than in the crossing of them; in doctrine rather than life; in the church as an institu­tion rather than the church as movement’ (Bosch, 1990:11). In many cases this is still the situation; many a church is so busy with their own little thing that they do not even have an eye for the needs of their local community, let alone for the lost.
            By his example Jesus also showed that loving your enemy does not mean condoning even the slightest notion of evil. In His altercations with the religious leaders He (and John the baptist) did not mince any words, calling the false leaders serpents on more than once occasion (Matthew 3:7; 12:34; 23:33). Standing firm for truth implies a clash with the forces of the lie. In a certain sense the guardians of the traditions around the temple and the Sabbath can be regarded as our Lord’s enemies. The Master had no hesitation to liken the outward show of religiosity to white-washed tombs with bones of the dead inside them (Matthew 23:27). But the respectful approach to Zacchaeus shows how loving confronta­tion can often achieve better results than harsh reproach. If we would generalize, it seems that Jesus reserved the harsh words for the religious leaders, even though the person in question may have had a good standing in the eyes of their society. On the other hand, he showed love and compas­sion for the sinner who was willing to repent. Zacchaeus is the example of true repentance. He bore fruit which fitted the repentance (Matthew 3:8), viz. restitution. Repentance without deep remorse and willingness for restitution has to be questioned. The proof is in the fruit: a changed life and putting right as meticu­lously as possible everything of which the Holy Spirit convicts one.

In the Footsteps of the Prophets
Along with John the Baptist, Jesus was of course only follow­ing in the footsteps of the Hebrew prophets. Nathan used a subtle way to illustrate to David that ‘you are the man’ the exposing the king’s adultery and subsequent indirect murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 12). Ezekiel and Amos called a spade a spade, dubbing the kings and the religious establishment with their wives respec­t­ively ‘fattened sheep’ (Ezekiel 34) and fattened cows (Amos 4:1). Amos was especial­ly severe in his denunciation of Is­rael’s sin. Quite viciously he attacked the social sins of the day. Injustice, official corruption, greed and false worship were mentioned by name.
            Paul brought in yet another perspective: he deemed him­self committed to a ministry of reconciliation. Driven by the love of Christ, we are challenged to be self-less. But the prime task remains to preach the message that God has recon­ciled the world with himself through the atoning death of Christ. Like Paul we should be beseeching people all over, as if Christ were pleading with them: ‘receive the love he offers you - be reconciled to God’ (see 2 Corinthians 5:14-20).
            The rich and the poor should meet each other (see Prov­erbs 22:2) so that they can exchange their gifts and mutually enrich each other. Although the visitor to the house of the Pharisee Simon (Luke 7:36-40) is described as a whore, thus socially completely unacceptable, she was allowed entrance because Jesus was there. The Master was the facilitator of this meeting. Chris­tians, followers of Jesus, should be the mediators to enable this sort of conversation, which could lead to healthy confrontation between rich and poor, between social and a-social. If possible, he believer should be at hand to guide and lead, so that the confrontation does not get out of con­trol.

Making Friends out of Enemies
Jesus was really the Master at getting beyond disputes, making friends out of enemies. This is wonder­fully illustrated in John 4. First of all he does not allow himself to be drawn into a discussion on minor issues and rumours like who exactly was the one who baptized people (4:1+2). In stead, he does address the major rift, viz. the animosity between Jews and Samari­tans. In his trip from Judea to Galilee he did not evade Samaria in any way. In fact, he went right into the ‘lion’s den’, sitting next to the sacred well of Jacob in Sychar (v.6). In the discussion with the woman, the common ancestry was subtly used by his counterpart (v.12) but Jesus neither allowed this, nor the issue of the locality of worship (v.19) to divide them. In fact, he used worship as such to point her to the true way of doing it. He did address her sinful life however, causing her to recognize Him as the Messiah. In the process she became the first evangelist of this message according to the Gospel of John.[17]
            Similarly, we notice that Jesus did not allow the arch enemy to drive a wedge between Him and like-minded people. The mere rumour among the Pharisees, comparing him to John the Baptist, was reason enough for Jesus to leave Galilee (John 4:1-3). When his disciple John tried to oppose someone who drove out demons in Jesus’ name, because ‘he is not one of our group’, Jesus corrected him: ‘Do not forbid him...Anyone who is not against us, is for us’ (Mark 9:38f). Thus the Master would probably also oppose anybody to-day who would claim the ultimate truth in the details of following Him. We would do well to emulate the Lord in combating sec­tarianism, prejudicial nationalism and group thinking of all sorts.

Deviations from stated Intentions
Zinzendorf had a great aversion to religious controversy. He has been quoted as saying early in his adult life: ‘I hate controversy with God-fearing people and zealous professors as always. I will not seek to justify myself against them, neither by letter, nor by mouth, nor in print’ (Weinlick, 1956:103).
Unfortunately Zinzendorf deviated from his early intentions. Because of the Count’s strong convictions the Moravian Breth­ren quarrelled with the Calvinist George Whitefield. Zinzendorf deemed it necessary to defend Luther to the hilt in a public debate with John  Wesley, which caused a complete rift between Moravians and Methodists. He also had a sharp exchange of words with Mühlen­berg, a Lutheran from Halle (Weinlick, 1956:169). Against the Separatists - who shielded themselves from the rest of the body of Chris­tians - he actually not only replied in the Pennsylvania Gazette, but he also wrote separate pamph­lets (Weinlick, 1956:168). Another difference between Wesley and the Moravians was that Wesley and his friends would preach with great energy to the masses whereas Zinzendorf and his followers preferred to work behind the scenes through their life-style (The Count included in one of the church litanies the sentence ‘Protect us from unholy growth’.) Potential new members had to apply. The lot had to determine whether they were accepted and after confirmation and their first participation in the Lord’s Supper, they were put through a long time of probation (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:65). Yet, Zinzendorf emphasized to his fellowship that different methods are needed for the spread of the Gospel and that it is the task of all God’s children to love each other and respect the gifts of the other people (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:38).

Confession on Paper and in Public    
In the controversy with John Wesley, the spiritual quality of Count Zinzendorf shone brightly. Humbled by the bad vibe spread in this way, he said: ‘I myself am not inno­cent in the matter. I have sometimes - in obedience to the other leaders and friends - been swayed by my indolent nature’(Spangenberg, 1773-1775[1971]:1970). Zinzendorf knew that whatever one does prematurely in this regard, could cause great harm. He did nevertheless affect much through his extensive letter-writing and publica­tions, later even receiving replies from his former opponents after their conversion. He knew also in these things how dependent he had to remain to the Lord. He was not inter­ested in petty point scoring. Thus he knew that it was much better to let the Holy Spirit convince the opponents of their faults. He said: ‘It is better when attackers fall to the feet of the Lord than that the brethren defend their cause before every­body’ (Spangenberg, 1773-1775[1971]:1970).
            His humility was highlighted perhaps the clearest when the Count confessed on paper that he erred in allowing his ideas about John and Charles Wesley to be printed. Simulta­neously he apologized publicly to the Wesley brothers and promised not to do it again. In a declaration in 1755, five years before his death, he expressed that he was so ashamed of ideas expressed in some of his writings that he wanted to scrap them.
            Two excellent examples of the powerful dynamic of making friends out of enemies have been recorded of Dr Billy Graham and Wilson Goeda, the national leader of YWAM. In the former case Dr Graham agreed to play gholf with a pastor who would initially not allow his church members to even attend one of the evangelist’s campaigns.  Wilson Goeda, the national YWAM president, became a close friend to a right-wing White AWB member of whom he feared that the man would kill him the first time they met.

Zinzendorf as a Reconciler
At a young age Zinzendorf found himself in ‘the lion’s den’ when he took the ministry of reconciliation seriously. As an 18-year old final year theological student he tried to act as mediator in the theological dispute between the feuding fac­ulties of Halle and Wittenberg. He came to Wittenberg with first-hand knowledge of the viewpoint of Halle where he had attended boarding school, residing with August Hermann Fran­cke. At a time when the universities of Halle and Witten­berg were at loggerheads because of their respective doctrinal positions, Zinzendorf had friends in both camps, namely those who loved the Lord. The young count had come to appreciate the merits of both universities (Weinlick, 1956:39).
            Zinzendorf’s role of recon­ciler was never more spectacular than in the run-up to the revival of 1727. There had developed a major rift between the village of Berthelsdorf and the new settlers of Herrnhut, the estate where the Count had allowed the Moravian and Bohemian refugees to settle. The new settlers were led by Christian David while the Lutheran Pastor Johann Rothe of Berthelsdorf was the spokesman for the traditional church.
            Hutton narrates the position as follows: ‘There was war in the camp. On the one hand Christian David called Pastor Rothe a narrow-minded churchman. On the other hand, Pastor Rothe thundered from his pulpit against the ‘mad fanatics’ on the hill. As Jew and Samaritan in days of old, so now were Berthelsdorf and Herrnhut. At this critical point Count Zinzendorf stepped in, and straightened the crooked sapling’ (Hutton, 1895:129).
            How Zinzendorf achieved this was very striking. Hutton gives a hint, quoting the Count: ‘Although our dear Christian David was calling me the Beast and Mr. Rothe the False Prophet, we could nevertheless see his honest heart and knew we could lead him right. It is not a bad maxim when honest men are going wrong to put them into office and they will never learn from specula­tion(Hutton, 1895:129). Zinzendorf ‘spoke privately to the settlers, and showed them how Satan was leading them astray.’ Apart from the extended times of prayer which accom­panied them, these pastoral visits in the summer of 1727 prepared the ground for the revival of 13 August. Without the prior reconciliation the Communion service of the memorable Wednesday would almost surely have taken place in a completely different atmosphere.

Good missionary Dialogue    
Paul, the apostle gave us the example of good missionary dialogue, e.g. when he reasoned on three Sabbaths with the Jews of Thessaloniki the bare essentials of the faith from the Scriptures – the death and resurrection of Jesus - without getting involved in peripheral issues. He was ‘explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again and saying:This Jesus whom I preach to you is Christ’ (Acts 17:3).
Count Zinzendorf showed himself to be a reconciler of the first order. Beyreuther wrote that the Count ‘positioned himself always there where the war front of the opposing spirits ran. That was his elementary motivation’ (Beyreuther, 1957:192). Already from his student days the only cri­terion for special friendship was someone who loved the Lord: thus he easily bridged the gap of age and confession. During his cavalier’s trip through Europe he and the elderly Roman Catholic Cardinal Noailles discovered each other, that they ‘only wanted to love Christ and belong to him’ (Beyreuther, 1957:194). The Count’s discussion with Cardinal de Noailles developed into sound missionary dialogue.  The Cardinal tried to win Zinzendorf over to Roman Catholicism. Instead of scoring petty points, the two discovered that the sufferings of Jesus present a wonderful common rallying point.
            At a time when church polemics provided scandals, Zinzendorf and Cardinal Noailles set an example for all time of how missionary dialogue could be fruitful: There raged an intense intellectual dialogue between the two of them, where both tried to convince the other. This happened however in a very tactful way, without belittling the religion and convic­tion of the partner in any way (Beyreuther, 1957:199).
Calamity became God’s springboard to move John Wesley towards conversion. He was on the same ship with a group of Moravians who were en route to Georgia where they wanted to minister among the indigenous ‘Indians’. Wesley and Ingham were sent as Anglican missionaries to the New World. On 20 October 1735 Wesley started to learn German while David Nitschmann, the newly ordained bishop and one of 26 Moravians on board, and two others started to learn English. When the ship was in a terrible storm Wesley was deeply impressed by the calmness and lack of fear the Brethren radiated. That became the start of his search for inner peace. He was even more impressed when he kept close contact with the Brethren in America. The ordination of Anton Seifert by Bishop Nitschmann made an indelible impression. He diarized: ‘The simplicity as well as the reverence of it all let me forget that there were 1700 years inbetween. I felt as if I were in the same room without outer fancy with Peter the fisherman and Paul the tent maker’ (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:63f).  

An unheralded great Moravian        
Heinrich Coffart was one of the early Moravian missionaries who was someone you would hardly find highlighted in the annals of the denomination. Impacted under a sermon of Pastor Johann Rothe in 1734, he moved to Herrnhut the same year. Yet, Coffart evidently understood two elements of the teachings of our Lord profoundly, namely to give support for the persecuted believers and to love the Body of Christ. He thus visited England, Switzerland, and he joined the Swede Arved Gradin. Coffart twice dared ‘unter großen Gefahren’ (at great perils) to go to the persecuted Waldense and also visited the Moravian missionaries in Egypt in 1758. On his return from there he had the opportunity to get an audience with Pope Clemens XIII.   
          Typical of the flexibility and the use of the linguistic gifts of some Brethren, Heinrich Coffart wrote to Zinzendorf that he had pointed out to the Pope that the Moravians honour all churches and pastors, but live especially in love and harmony with those of whom they could detect that they were disciples of the Lord. In the whole world it was the Moravian sole purpose to preach the life, suffering and death of our incarnated God until the Holy Spirit would open the heathen hearts.
          He wrote a long letter to Count Zinzendorf about this occasion (the bulk of it is printed in Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:168ff). ‘He (the Pope) was astounded that I have travelled so far and enquired much about Egypt...I answered to the best of my knowledge, bemoaning especially that the spirit of disunity was also (discernible) in the Levante. “Yes, yes”, his Holiness said: “We know the spirit, which persecutes the Copts so much. How did you handle those people?” “Very well”, I answered “because I belong to a part of the heritage of Christ, our Lord, who has a catholic[18] spirit and from the Spirit that gives salvation ... only to those who have been saved by grace. We honour all Christian churches and their shepherds, especially those children in the flock where we have found those of whom the Lord says that one can discern that they are his disciples, living in love and unity.”
          Coffart also wrote in his letter how he told the Pope about the extensive missionary work of the Moravians, with their Grundsatz (bottom line) ‘to emphasize the incarnation, the worthy life and death of our only God and Lord so long until the Holy Spirit opens the hearts of the heathen, without referring to the differences between the various Christian religions.’ (He possibly meant with the latter the different denominations.) 
          How much Coffart had a vision for the Body of Christ across denominational boundaries one can derive from the sort of people he met in Florence. Thus he wrote of his conversation with a Greek Orthodox believer and a father from Aleppo ‘whom we shall still use in future’. He also visited the Ethiopian Church. With the Greek Orthodox believers he entered into correspondence and he bonded with a Syrian priest in a heart friendship’ already in Egypt.

Breaking down Prejudice      
Also on the global level the Moravians understood that breaking down (mutual) prejudice was part and parcel of the ministry of reconciliation; that a Christian should endeavour to bring ‘enemies’ together. At a time when everything outside the parameters of their known Western world was regarded as barbaric and primitive, Matthäus Stach not only brought five ‘ordinary’ Eskimo Christians to Herrnhut and Zeist, but also to London where they were received by King George and the royal family (Lewis, 1962:84). Likewise, Leonhard Dober apparently did not think twice to take along the seven-year-old orphan boy Carmel Oly when he returned to Herrnhut from St Thomas. On the cemeteries of Herrnhut and Herrnhaag one can find the graves of many of these ‘first fruits’ from the mission fields.
            This treatise would be very incomplete if the remarkable conciliatory effort of the American Moravians towards the Sabbatharians in their area is not mentioned. They added Saturday as a holy day, noting among other reasons: ‘if the Indians ... were to be redeemed, it might be a step leading them back to the true God to restore the Sabbath of their ancestral religion’ (Weinlick, 1956:171).  Saturdays thus also were upheld as a day devoted to the service of the Lord, where they has love feast ‘not seldom’. [19]
Modern Efforts towards biblical Reconciliation
In our day and age there exists worldwide still a lot of mutual distrust and prejudice between Jews and Muslims; between Christians and Muslims. In a country like Ireland there has been ongoing strife between Catholics and Protestants, in India between Hindu’s and Muslims. Fundamen­talism in the respective camps continue to do great harm to the cause of reconcili­ation. Followers of Christ would do well to concentrate on those societies where healing and reconcili­ation are desperately needed. So many Chris­tians of the Western Cape nurse their bitterness due to marriages where they have all but lost their dear ones to Islam, in stead of forgiving and loving them. Too often it is forgot­ten that Christ taught us to ‘turn the other cheek’; that Paul told us to heap fiery coals of love in ‘retaliation’ (Romans 12:20) when we have been hurt. Service to the Cape Muslim community for instance with the major drug problem, which affects so many fam­ilies, will be a much better response than to allow bitterness and resentment to spread in a cancerous way. Even though mosques are springing up like mush-rooms all over the world, followers of Jesus must resist any call for retaliation. Jesus taught us to love our enemy.
            During the previous century some remarkable achievements towards recon­cili­ation came to pass. It is not surprising that the prin­ciples of Jesus which were put into practice by believers, played a major role in these achievements (Even someone like the great Hindu Mahatma Ghandhi, who led India to independence, was decisively influenced by the teachings of Jesus. After World War II, Frank Buchmann and others who were linked to the Moral Re-armament movement - took the abso­lutes derived from our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount as their guideline. Humanly speaking, Buchmann and his movement ushered in the reconciliation between the traditi­onal enemies Germany and France). Here in this country, Professor Washington Okumu of Kenya, a committed Chris­tian, was used by God to bring about reconciliation when the country was dangerously near to the brink of relentless blood­shed just before the elections of 1994. I would also like to highlight again the Christian reconciliation which was started by two Africans, one white and the other black. This took place a quarter of a century ago when Catholicism, Pentecostalism and Protestantism were still regarded as three blocks which were miles apart from each other. That the big rift between these church entities have been drasti­cally reduced, can be attributed to a great extent to the work of reconciliation of our late compatriot, Mr. Pentecost’, Rev. David Du Plessis and Bishop Festo Kivengere of Uganda. The work of Du Plessis was all the more remarkable if we consider that he - as a white South African, operated at a time when his home country was isolated and rejected because of its racial policies. Dr Billy Graham incurred much flack from Christians for daring to visit Moscow during the Cold War. That surely paved the way for people like Brother Andrew to become God’s special envoy and emissary in the destruction of the ‘iron curtain’. 
          Inside South Africa the theme of the Christian Institute (CI), the brainchild of Beyers Naudé, who was its founder and national leader from the outset, was (racial) reconciliation. All initiatives were preceded by discussions based on Bible Study and prayer. Beyers Naudé, set the prophetic tone in the pursuit of truth and reconciliation.
          Naudé dreamed of establishing a ‘Confessing Church’ in South Africa along the model of what happened in Germany when Nazis threatened to absorb the Church in its ideology. With the help of friends and colleagues, Kotze regularly prepared and disseminated memo’s explaining the implications of Parliamentary Bills and giving ideas for practical involvement. The demonic apartheid ideology tilted the Bible-based beginnings of the CI. The CI was quite prophetic when it encouraged Black, Indian and ‘Coloured’ Dutch Reformed Church leaders to consider how apartheid was destroying Church unity in South Africa. However, the CI was at the same time acting diabolically, politicizing a part of the body of Christ in an unhealthy manner. Unwittingly the CI became a catalyst for unchristian activism. This was especially evident in the University Christian Movement (UCM) that was more or less a spiritual child of the CI. After my return from Europe in 1970, my personal interest was very much inspired by a dubious activism.

A Middle East Reconciler behind the Scenes
The founder of Open Doors, Brother Andrew, became persona non grata in many Communist countries by the mid-1970s. During a visit that was scheduled to have been a vacation in Jerusalem in 1968, the Lord started to prepare his heart for a special relationship to the minute nation of Israel.  His close relationship with the well-known Corrie ten Boom and Sidney Wilson, a missionary that would impact Holland so tremendously in the second half of the 20th century, Israel had already been close to his heart. The 1968 Jerusalem visit impacted Brother Andrew deeply as he reflected on the Holocaust: Why didn’t the Church rise up in protest? Didn’t it know what was happening? (Brother Andrew, 2004:19). There his thoughts also went back to the bold Paul Schneider whose voice in the wilderness of Nazi Germany was not heard when millions of Jews were killed. There in Jerusalem he also recalled how he was moved in 1955 to see thousand young communists marching in Warsaw. At that occasion he was impacted via Revelations 3:2 to start supporting persecuted Christians: ‘Wake up! Strengthen  what remains and is about to die.’ This was God’s way of throwing him into the ideological and spiritual warfare against Communism and Islam. In chapter 2 we highlighted his contribution to the collapse of the Iron Curtain. His role in the eventual demise of Islam will probably become clearer in years to come.
            Palestinians streamed into Lebanon, after King Hussain had expelled them from Jordan in 1970. The Maronite Church, which had held sway there since 1945, was swamped by a Muslim majority. Tension between Muslims and Christians increased dramatically. When the war between Muslims and Christians started to take off in the mid-1970s, Beirut, the capital, gradually became one big ruin. After various visits to Lebanon, Brother Andrew saw the Church dwindling.  Because he was committed to his calling to strengthen the persecuted and suffering Church, he was moved intensely.
            He also visited West Bank Christian believers and others in Gaza. In 1988 he met Sallim Munayer, a dynamic Arab Christian in Bethlehem. Brother Andrew had witnessed how Palestinians felt themselves being degraded to second class citizens in Israel, with no rights in the West Bank and in Gaza. He was very surprised when Munayer requested Open Doors to facilitate meetings with Messianic Jewish believers. One thing led to the other until a movement was birthed called Musalaha, an Arabic word meaning forgiveness and reconciliation. In 1992 a three day meeting was organised and partly funded by Open Doors in the Negev desert with 30 Arab and Jewish followers of Jesus in equal number (Brother Andrew, 2004:21f).
            Already in 1990 Brother Andrew made headlines when he volunteered to take the place of a devout Christian who had been held hostage by the radical Hizbollah. Pursuing the question of how to reach the terrorists, Brother Andrew spoke to all sorts of military, religious and political leaders hereafter.  In March 1994 he also started to meet the leaders of Hamas, another radical Islamic group which had a big following in Lebanon. 
            Meeting these leaders at the turn of the 21st century constantly was not only highly unpopular, but also considered as dangerous. By 10 June 2001 the question for him was: Could he strengthen the struggling Church of the Middle East without getting in the crossfire? (Brother Andrew, 2004:21). He decided that he could not turn back... The expression of regret that Muhammad was misled by our Christian forebears, is still not appreciated if not maligned. 

Repentance and Restitution: a Catalyst of Recon­cili­ation
Not much has changed in the Church since ‘New Testament’ times with regard to dishonesty. Corruption is still very much to be found in the confines of the Church. In South Africa, much of it has come to the fore. No compromise is possible when evil things are perpe­trated, doubly so when the honour of our faith is at stake. Reconcili­ation on any level can only come to pass if there is no pussy-footing with sin. Genuine repentance uses restitution as a proof of its sincerity. (The quality of the repentance could be questioned if anyone claims that he or she has repented without being prepared to set things right.) In combination, repentance and restitution operate as a major catalyst of reconciliation. In many cases they would be a condition for it.
            Followers should really be open for all possibil­ities to make the unity in Christ visible, also outside the confines of church services. The miracle election of 1994 was the result of an unprecedented flood of prayer in South Africa and by concerned Christians abroad. The apartheid past could however still cause resentment and hatred as a belated natural reac­tion. If real racial harmony in our country is to come about, forgive­ness which is enabled and wrought by God’s Spirit, is a necess­ity. We are all very thankful that a major racial conflict could be averted in our country. But we should be aware that the situation is still very volatile, that the simmering violence of the townships could spill over into more estab­lished residential areas, that squatter food riots is merely a matter of time, unless the problem is tackled at its roots. Economic injustice is becoming the new time bomb. Rising prices have been causing substantial increases of basics. Much of the profits disappear into the pockets of the rich. This is sinful!
            Apartheid is still seen in some circles as a policy which did not work, rather than gross sin against the images of God. We are thankful for all attitudinal changes in the country. A general confession for the sin of apartheid, coupled with a definite programme of restitu­tion has surely helped to foster real reconcili­ation. But we must stay on our guard.
            Rashied Staggie’s tribute at the funeral of co-gangleader Glen Khan, charging all gangsters present to refrain from revenge, possessed a dimension of another order. This is especially remarkable when we consider that he was a new believer at the time, weeks after his conversion. A number of Muslims turned to Jesus, notably in the Mitchell’s Plain area. Supernaturally, PAGAD was marginalised. A negative was that churches were and still are very much doing their own thing, not cooperating with other churches and mission agencies.

The Need for Remorseful Confession           
It would be inappropriate if those who have been wronged in the past wait for others – Whites – to confess more or again. It would be better if they offer forgiveness magnanimously and unconditionally. Our country has been blessed with an example from the top. President Nelson Mandela set about what he had to do, without waiting on his apartheid ‘enemies’ to apologize for incarcerating him for 27 years. This also applies to the fighting factions in the townships: they should forgive each other and not wait on the other party to start forgiving or confessing. The arch enemy is of course very happy if new fuel for the simmering fires is constantly brought along.
            The seemingly never-ending township violence and crime is partly the result of the wind which had been sown in the seventies and eighties when the impression was given by certain church leaders that violence could be condoned under certain circumstances, such as an expression of discontent of the apartheid repression. As churches our role could be to start confessing our indif­ference and lack of courage to give clear guidance in the past with regard to violence. Christians from the various groups which are at loggerheads with each other, for example those from the IFP and ANC in Natal, should likewise be in the forefront of an effort towards visible reconciliation.    
            The example of Zaccheus (Luke 19:1ff), the former collaborator with the Roman oppressors, who gave away voluntarily so much of his possessions, show that real reconcili­ation radiates a dynamic, which could result in significant mission funding.

Food for Thought:
With whom must I be reconciled? Who could have problems with my way of doing things, with my attitude? What can I do to improve on it? What can I do as a first step towards restitu­tion? If the other party refuses to accept my apology, what could I still do?
What can I do to facilitate restitution and reconciliation between feuding parties in my neighbourhood?
How can enemy images be broken down?

And some Ideas:
How about giving substance to ‘enemy love’ through gestures, when the spade-work has been done through contact and fellow­ship, for instance with flowers, a neutral booklet, a card or letter?
How about inviting ‘enemies’ to a meal at your house? (This must however be prepared prayerfully otherwise the rift could become wider than before the event.) Be careful nevertheless to react angrily when you perceive provocation.
Churches would do well to arrange contacts between perpetra­tors and victims of atrocities as a follow-up. This must be handled prayerfully and discreet­ly. Counselling and pastoral care should be included in this ‘package’ as a matter of course.
            15. Jesus, an Example of proper Stewardship and a pioneer of good Ecology

            Stewardship entails the responsible handling of every­thing which God entrusts to us - not only our health, time, gifts and money. The latter should be used according to what one can do, however without comparing yourself with others.[20] We should remember that God enabled us to acquire whatever we possess. Note how King David expressed his gratefulness to God: ‘Everything we have has come from you, and we only give you what is yours already! ...O Lord our God, all of this material that we have gathered... comes from you! It all belongs to you.’ (1 Chronicles 29:14,16; see also Deuteronomy 8:17,18)
            We have already noted the spontaneous giving of Zacchaeus. On giving for God’s work there rests a blessing.[21] But a material­istic expectation may never be con­nected to the giving; ideally, it should be spontaneous and voluntarily. The poor Macedonians had a deep joy as they gave freely and ‘they begged us to take the money so they could share in the joy of helping the Chris­tians in Jerusalem’ (2 Corinthians 8:4). What a challenge this is to us!
            Jesus gave us the perfect example, how to use our resources properly. He chided Judas after Mary had expressed in a tangible way her love and adoration for the one whose disciple she had become: with the costly essence of nard (John 12:7). At a similar occasion Jesus rebuked the disciples who took exception when an unknown woman ‘anointed’ Him. The proverbial widow’s mite similarly encourages sacrificial giving.
            On the other hand, Jesus requested the disciples to collect the crumbs after the feeding of the multitudes (John 6:12); a definite encouragement to counter waste of all sorts. It is so easy to be either wasted or be miserly.
            The Master follows in the footsteps of the greatest of Jewish Kings. In 1 Chronicles 29 it is reported how David challenged the Israelites by his own example in giving to the Lord. The temple which would be built was meant ‘for the Lord himself’ (v.1). In challenging his subjects to follow his example, David also prescribed the attitude of the heart: ‘who will give himself and all that he has to the Lord?’ This is echoed by Paul when he challenged the Corinthians through the sacrificial voluntary example of the poor Macedonians: ‘for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord’ (2 Corinthians 8:5).

A biblical View on Possessions
What Paul said with regard to possession of a wife in 1 Corinthians 7­:29, (Those who have wives should live as if they had none) applies in a similar way to all our material possessions: Let those with a wife (a husband, a house, a car etc.) be as if they have not. The first church in Jerusalem had the proper attitude. ‘No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had’ (Acts 4:32).
            The Hebrew Scriptures also give negative examples of stewardship. In Judges 8:23+24 Gideon thus starts off so well: ‘I will not be your king, nor shall my son; the Lord is your King!’ But towards the end of his life Gideon made a compromise, gathering jewel­ry from the foes to make an idol from it (Judges 8:23f). Saul is another one who started off well, but who ended with building a monument unto himself (1 Samuel 15:12). It is quite possible that many a church which started off with Jesus as King, ended with idolatry. The building became a monument to the pastor who laid the foundation stone or who stimulated the initial fund-raising. Some pastors are proud to mention that they have been successful at fund-raising. This might be regarded as a modern ‘ministry’, but the bibli­cal foundation for it is very scanty.
            We should look critically at some of the methods of fund-raising. Many churches and related institutions have turned bazaars and dinners into traditions. These efforts are usually accompanied by stress on a few and a low premium on fellow­ship. The ensuing encouragement of gluttony - in a country where hunger is part of the everyday life of many - should really make us question these practices. If Jesus had still been around in person, he would surely have turned over many a table of church halls and the like!

An important facet of stewardship is hospitality. In biblical times this was very normal. No church was chided specifically by Paul because of a lack of hospitality. Yet, the selfish trait in us does need the occasional reprimand on this score. Thus we are reminded to practise hospitality to the needy (Romans 12:13), do it without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9) and not to exclude strangers (Hebrews 13:2). In fact, the latter Bible verse encourages believers to practise philoxenia, to literally love strangers:  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have hosted angels without knowing it. If we have a posi­tive attitude towards guests, they are no burden but a bless­ing.
            Today hospitality is still the vogue in the orient and in so-called primitive regions. In the more affluent societies of our day, the selfish materialism of the West has made hospitality a scarce commodity.

Responsibility for Nature
The Bible commands a responsibility for nature and for the future of the earth - in so far as it is within our power - which may not be left compleely in the hands of atheist environmentalists, because Christians believe that everything belongs to the Lord.[22] The creation reports of Genesis reflect a unity between God, man and nature. Man was created from the dust of the earth and God intended man to rule over and sub­due nature (Genesis 1:28) like a loving sover­eign. With regard to the soil man was given the task ‘to work it and take care of it’ (Genesis 2:15).
            The Scriptures speak in various ways positively about the glory of the creation, especially in the Psalms (for example Psalm 104 and Psalm 108). The creation of the Sabbath was clearly described as a God-given present for man. This was extended to nature by way of the Sabbath and Jubilee year when the soil had to be laid fallow (Leviticus 25). We note in the repen­t­ance of Nineveh, how also the animals were included (Jonah 3:7). However, God used the withering of a tree to reprimand Jonah that His compassion for fellow humans - though they belonged to another nation - was His prime concern. Nationalism is thus depicted as a neutral value. It can be used in God’s service, for instance to rouse Christians to mission service, but it should never exclude other nations. The scribe Ezra seems to have missed this point in his view of Samaritans who wanted to help building the temple. The distinguishing line is sometimes very fine, not always easy in sharing a common ‘yoke’, for example in business. With regard to an unbelieving marriage partner, biblical teaching is clear enough.
            An interesting feature of the wisdom literature from Scripture is how animals are used to teach important prin­ciples. The lazy are admonished to have a look at the ants (Proverbs 6:6). The ants teach us networking as they work together towards a common goal to store food for the winter (Proverbs 30:25). Proverbs 30:24-33 shows how the small and insignifi­cant can actually outclass the big and mighty. Four very ‘wise’ small species from the animate world (ants, cliff badgers, locusts and lizards) are contrasted to three impressive animals (a lion, a peacock, a male goat) plus a king with his mighty army. Jesus also stresses this principle when he used the despised ass - not a horse or a camel - to enter Jerusalem (Matthew 21).
            The Master furthermore pointed to the birds and the lilies of the field as he taught dependence on God, contrasting this to undue worrying about eating, drinking and clothing (Matthew 6:25-32).

God’s Rule in Nature opposed by Satan

The ‘New Testament’ depicts the basic differ­ence between the rule of God and that of satan in nature. It is taken for granted that satan possesses power and riches. He drew on that, for example when he tempted Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). On the other hand, the deity of Jesus is for instance displayed through the miracles of healing and when he calmed the storm. The disciples immediately recognized His divine authority when they saw how the winds and the sea obeyed him (Matthew 8:27). In His parables, Jesus displayed a loving attitude towards nature, for instance using wheat fields and seed, the care of the shepherd for his flock (John 10) etc. Jesus rectified the legalistic use of the Sabbath whose intention was contracted at creation: Sabbath was made for man and not vice versa (Mark 2:27).
            Paul speaks of the basic problem of sin when man worship­ped the created things rather than the Crea­tor (Romans 1:24), causing the groaning of nature (Romans 8:22).
            Yet, it seems that throughout history until the so-called enlightenment, the basic unity of creation and nature was still taken for granted. Thereafter the main problem raised its head when man started to act like God, fiddling around with nature in an unscriptural way, exploit­ing it in stead of ruling over it. This happened to such an extent that the impression became prevalent in many circles that one does not need God any more. The ruining of soil by the ever-increa­sing use of chemicals is only one way in which man has created a serious problem for himself instead of heeding biblical injunctions. Bishop Kenneth Cragg has put succinctly what we need, viz. ‘a strong ecological theology and the new discovery of the mutual interaction of nature and grace in Christ.’[23] We should be conscious that ‘God created everything there is - nothing exists that he did not make’ (John 1:2f). Cragg pro­ceeds, after reiterating the axiom of all theists that nothing exists outside the authority of God: ‘Every service offered by the Christian should testify to the eternal value of this truth.’

A holistic View of Nature      
From here the Eucharist elements of bread and wine become more than mere symbols.[24] They are symbols of man working together with nature. Neither bread nor wine is a prod­uct of man’s work alone. Conversely, it is not good enough only to bemoan where technology has brought us, viz. to the precipice of our own destruction. If we believe that the sovereign Creator of all things is indeed almighty and omniscient, why can’t we trust that He still has everything under control? But then it also follows that is fitting for believers - and on this level there need not be any scruples to work alongside adher­ents from other religions - to testify and be counted for the conservation of nature, oppose economic growth which does not keep in mind the appreci­ation of God’s creation. We must protest against avirice and greed which destroy nature and make beggars out of fellow human beings; yes, degrading them to less than what God intended them to be.
            Because Zinzendorf really took Scripture seriously, he clearly opposed both the rationalism of the enlightenment and the false mysticism which deified man. An example of this is how he started off as an admirer of the mystic Johann Arndt in 1723, but he later rejected this influence on account of biblical truth (August, 1985:60).
            Because Jesus is the author of the new creation: ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation...’ (2 Corin­thians 5:17), Zinzendorf had little difficulty to see in Jesus the Creator, calling our Lord as such. ‘Mein Heiland, mein Schöpfer’ (My Lord, my creator) was one of his favourite dictums. This was furthermore influ­enced by his belief in Christ as part and parcel of the creation Trinity.
            The positive holistic view of nature enabled the Mora­vians to take a position, which clearly distinguished them from the Pietists of their time.

First submit yourself fully to Christ
By using less paper - how much paper is being produced for synods, for the bulletins of churches every Sunday and the like - the churches could for example erect a sign of the coming Kingdom of the Prince of Peace, who protested by His example against unnecessary waste. We mention this because it is well known that every day nature is ruined as hundreds of trees are cut worldwide to produce paper. I dare to challenge the validity of the argument that other branches of the economy would be negatively affected if less paper is produced. The care for nature should be the prime concern in this case.
            Having said this, we do not want to imply the negation of modern technology. The use of computers, fax, E-mail and modern equipment - if this can be used more effectively for the spread of the Gospel – is part and parcel of life! However, Christians must make a conscious effort to off-set the depersonalizing effect of computers and the like. With regard to stewardship, I wish to repeat how Paul cited the example of the poor Macedonians in 2 Corinthians 8:5. It is stressed once again in this context as God’s will to first submit yourself fully to Him and then to the fellow Christians. Giving which omits these components is un­scriptural. Since much fund-raising of churches omits this element, we should not be surprised when the blessing seems to stay away.
            On the issue of stewardship, the Herrnhut Moravians were exemp­lary. The adage of Zinzendorf ‘I do not accept Christianity without fellowship’ was practiced there to the hilt. The ‘Umgang mit dem Heiland’ (daily communion with the Lord) was the basis to really give themselves to each other. Furthermore they gave everything they had, for the cause of missions! Whatever could be spared was contributed and whosoever could contribute anything to the cause of the spread of the Gospel, did so gladly. A simple life-style fitted into this pattern like a glove.
            One of the positive traits which followed from the Moravian understanding as unique creatures of God was that they detested copying each other in a negative way. ‘Freedom and bonding were in ideal balance. The closer one lived with the Lord, the more dependable and heartily one could be with the siblings in the faith’ (Beyreuther, 1962:196). This produced ‘lauter originale Leute’,[25] no copy-cats.
            Churches have so often fallen into the trap of trying to show off with impressive, expensive buildings, which basically comes from comparison. This actually negates the life-style of the man after whom Chris­tians are named. On the other hand, certain mission agencies have often fallen from the other side of the horse through a pov­erty mentality, whereby some missionaries even deem it necess­ary to make excuses when they have a nice piece of clothing or a comfortable car.

What is our Goal in Life?
Modern technology tends to make a cog out of humans, where people are expendable if they do not serve the one and only goal: maximal profits. Many churches have also fallen into this trap. The church is these cases became a machinery that had to be kept going. The prime purpose of the church, to reach the lost and to support the weary often have to play second fiddle to fund raising and meetings. Even if it is impossible to turn the clock back, Christians must really look at ways and means to give people a sense of purpose. I suggest that the challenge of a return to the Great Commission may be a way to give fulfillment to many, even to the unemployed and redundant.
            In the same vein churches should scrutinize all doctrines and traditions. If they are actually tempting congregants to become disobedient to the great commission, they really need be given a new content or be scrapped. If the church choir for example only entertains the faithful few in the church, it will surely give them much more satisfaction to go to hospitals and other institutions where they can bring joy to the lonely and destitute.
            Taking the doctrines of the second coming of Jesus and the judgment thereafter more seriously, are issues which are apt to bring back some purpose into church life. It seems as if these doctrines are generally disregarded. Much harm has been done through doctrinal bickering since 1860 when contra reformation theology introduced a split in the doctrine of the second coming of the Lord. Jehovah’s Witnesses and other groups have since then been used by the enemy to confuse believers completely. Furthermore, it seems not fashion­able any more to speak about judgment and eternal damnation. Is this the only reason why many preachers shy away from the teaching which has been giving such a drive to the preaching of the Gospel in areas of revival through the ages? Or are they afraid to be unpopular, to say clearly that God’s judgment is on sin and that it angers Him? In biblical days the Thessalo­nian Christians became known in their pagan surround­ings not only through their turning away from idols to God, but also because they were ‘looking forward to the return of God’s Son from heaven... He is our only Saviour from God’s terrible anger against sin’ (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Insensitive Use of Resources
The lack of sensitivity in the use of resources is hindering the spread of the Gospel, not the least in South Africa. Too often churches in affluent suburbs have two or more full-time ministers while their denomina­tional counterparts - sometimes only a kilometer away - struggle under financial strains. This is a smear on the Body of the Lord. The sooner this situation stops, the better.
            The sheer ease, with which churches have been splitting, is likewise a blot on the Body. Too often the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit is abused in this connection. If people assert that the Holy Spirit has led them to separate themselves, this must be questioned because it goes against the spirit of the Bible. A clash of personalities or a striving after recognition have often been basic causes of many a so-called church plant­ing. It is questionable that many new churches spring up in close proximity to lively existing ones. Funds are wasted, which could much better have been used for genuine evangelism and mission work. Churches - especially those in the townships - should seriously consider merging and start using the superfluous buildings for recre­ational purposes. This would be a positive contribution to counter (gangster) violence.

Resistance to Form a separate Church
One of the greatest but underrated personalities in Church History is Martin Bucer in Strassbourg. His vision for the unity of the Body of Christ is in my view almost unparalled. Untiringly he tried not only to mediate between Rome and the Reformed leaders of Switzerland, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli, but he also corresponded with Archbishop Cranmer about hierarchical church structures. Although his flexibility angered Calvin profusely,[26] he remained a close friend of the Swiss reformer. His wide vision for the Body of Christ across national boundaries, as he fought for the retention of the unity of the reformed churches in its relationship with the churches in England and Poland, had equals only in Zinzendorf and Comenius. Martin Bucer advocated a radical reformation, which would begin in small groups or Christian communities. His main weakness was probably that he did not implement his views strongly enough. Like Martin Luther, he still hoped to reform the big Catholic Church from within.
            For years Count Zinzendorf refused to break away to form a separate church. He encouraged his congregants to be the enlivening influence in the Lutheran Church. The Moravian Church only became a separ­ate denomination when the legal position in England more or less forced their hand. Too easily it is forgotten that the revival in Herrnhut which followed after the 13th of August 1727, was preceded by a time of severe testing for that com­munity. At that time Zinzen­dorf resisted the much more convenient parting of the ways.
12 May 1727 has in my view been rightly described as the actual birth of the Herrnhut revival. On that day the Statutes (rules and regulations for the inhabit­ants of Herrnhut), were finalized and put before the congregation. It was the result of many tears and prayers. In the love and patience of Jesus Christ the Count pleaded with those who had erred. Among those who had come to Herrnhut were many reli­g­ious refugees, strong personalities who individ­ually pushed more or less forcefully their own interpretation of Scripture. Many of them had felt deeply the sin and pain of division. On 12th May 1748, 21 years after the Statutes were drawn up, Zinzendorf wrote: ‘Today 21 years ago, the fate of Herrnhut hung in the balance, whether it would become a sect, or to take its place in the Church of our Saviour. The power of the Holy Spirit ... decided for the latter.’
            In the use of resources and of their time Zinzendorf and the Moravians were exemplary. Each member saw his own particu­lar work as service to the Lamb. There was no room for idle­ness in Herrnhut; there was not even time to think about worldly amusements and there was no money to spare for anything reeking of ‘vanity’. Everything was tuned to the missionary effort. The dustman in the street, the night watchman on his rounds, the carpenter at his bench felt himself ‘called to the service of the Lord as much as the preacher or the foreign missionary’ (Lewis, 1962:75).
            Too often the basic reason of church splits has been domination by the minister or a clique. Giving as many church members as possible the chance to get involved in a meaningful way according to their gifts and abilities, would solve many a problem. The truth still is that ‘ledigheid is die duiwel se oorkussing’ (literally, idleness is the devil’s pillow). A fellowship where members do not reach out to the community with concern for the needs of people, often leads to a situation where the members bash each other in less loving ways.

Small Groups
At the same time, the empowerment of the (spiritually) weak should be our goal. Through proper Bible study, sharing and prayer in small groups this can probably be achieved best.
            Already in the 16th century Martin Bucer taught that the partaking in small communities modelled the ‘New Testament’ way for optimal fellowship where the leaders of the various groups would meet each week, and every two months there should be a meeting of all groups for teaching.
            The community of Herrnhut was divided into little cells, into bands and choirs for the very reason of mutual encouragement and upliftment. The communication with each other and with the Lord - as they shared joy and sorrow - made out of them such a radiant and loving community. Centuries before cell groups were ‘discovered’, the congregation was divided in 56 small bands of social groupings like single brethren and sisters, where an informal atmosphere encouraged innovation.
            The revival in England in the eighteenth century under the inspiration of John Wesley and George Whitfield can possibly be contributed to the implementation of these principles when the Herrnhut model was emulated.  Wesley started ‘class meetings’ at which the class leaders were disciplers.
            The use of the gifts of every church member has resulted in churches revolutionized in recent years. Ralph Neighbour perfected the theory of cell groups which had been started by Yonghi Cho in Korea some years ago. Many churches have been planted in this way, for instance in Cote I’voire. Bill Hybels and his Willow Creek is another example where the gifts of the man in the street have been put to good use.  
            But also here in South Africa the strategy has been profitably used for mission orientation for example by ASSA (Action for Sending South Africans): ‘... the group preparing to leave for Central Asia was oriented first of all by a course in exegesis for the layman... Anyone could query any other member’s ideas on a subject, provided that our love for one another would not be negotiable. The other member would have to explain, on the basis of the Bible, why he or she believed this or that way.[27]

Waste not, want not  
That Jesus gave the instruction to His disciples to gather the crumbs, can surely be interpreted as an encourage­ment for good ecology. It is not a compliment to present-day evangelicals that the leading ecologists have not usually been found among their ranks. In fact, too often those who did plead for nature preservation and similar issues, were often regarded as Communist leftists. We should consider seriously that Comenius encouraged his com­patriots to erect signs of the coming reign of peace when the Messiah will take control in the millennium.[28] We should be very much aware that we can­not bring about the reign of peace ourselves. But we should not leave any stone unturned to be instruments to create optimal living conditions on this earth for others, for our­selves and for the next generation if the Lord tarries to return. Conversely, the fact of the second coming should be stressed as a catalyst. Peter even challenged believers to hasten the coming of the Lord (1 Peter 3:12). Whosoever reckons not only with the second coming of the Lord, but also with cata­strophes of the last days, will not fall into the trap of Utopian thinking. Neither should the believer be lamed by a feeling of helplessness. A biblical Eschatology (doctrine of the last things) must help us to erect signs of the reign of our coming King as agents and heirs on account of our faith in Jesus (Ephesians 3:6).

            Believers would do well to examine the use of their time regularly. TV watching is a major culprit where masses of Christians are not even aware how addicted they have become to (consumer) sport. The mass media of the country should rather give the country a lead towards healthy habits like hiking and outdoor sport. We are blessed with so many assets in nature. The Church has a ministry to be a healing community on a much broader level. Appreciation of our beautiful country should definitely get more attention.
Food for Thought:
How could we rectify the disparate denominational church structures - the sad heritage of the recent past - on the very short term?
What can I (my church) do to show concern for nature conserva­tion? How could I become thriftier, without becoming stingy?
What can we do to make example rather than begging the basis of the giving of the church?

And some Ideas:
Could our fund raising efforts be changed in such a way that the needy may more from it?
What about organizing drives to clean up the area, to plant trees, perhaps in conjunction with other churches in the townships?
Is it Utopian to suggest a common local pool of funds, with a common treasurer or Trust among local churches to help ensure a more equitable using of resources?
                        16. Jesus, a Man for the Individual: Fellowship as a Priority

            Jesus showed us the way in taking time for the individ­ual. On more than one occasion he had compassion for the sick, an eye for the individual in need, although there were scores of others around Him; He noticed Zacchaeus up in the tree (Luke 19:5), he felt the touch of the woman who desperately needed the healing for her haemorrhage (Mark 5:24ff). In spite of the masses Jesus heard the desperate cry of the blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:49). Fellowship with the twelve is to Him more important than thousands who are clamouring to see Him.[29] How powerful attention for an individual can be is displayed in Jesus’ interaction with an ‘enemy’, the longest recorded conversation in Scripture. His loving and compassionate concern for a woman with low morals from the despised and mutually resented Samaritans, ushered in the discovery of her townsmen that Jesus is the Saviour of the world (John 4:42).

Fellow­ship also for the Despised
Jesus offered fellow­ship to people who were despised by their society. Seeing her deepest need, he spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) who was probably so ashamed to be seen by others that she went to fetch water at a time when there was the least chance to meet others or be seen by them. In meeting her deepest need, Jesus turned the social outcast into one of the first evangel­ists of the Messiah of all time, causing a people movement among the Samaritans of the little town of Sychar. Breaking with all custom of the time, he spoke with a woman in public. The Western rational mind would regard the speaking about ‘koeitjies en kalfies’ (trivialities), as wasting of time. Jesus demonstrated how the opening up of a conversa­tion with a stranger about a mundane thing like water can break down walls of prejudice (John 4:10) .
            Alternately, Jesus was so open and accessible that even strangers have no qualms to come to Him for help. Thus the Roman military chief from Capernaum had the liberty to approach him (Matthew 8:5). Jesus was immediately prepared to go to his house.  The apostles took the cue from their Master.
The Lord also addressed masses of people like at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:7), the teaching at the lake (Matthew 13) and the feeding of the thousands. But this seems to be the exception rather than the rule. His method contrasts completely with that of modern-day mass evangelists. Nowhere do we get the impression that our Lord’s presence was formally ‘advertised’, nowhere does one sense an appeal to the masses. In stead, we read how he sent people away (for example Matthew 13:36), how he left the masses to be alone for prayer (Luke 5:16). From a ‘New Testament’ point of view, the tendency to use mass media for evangelistic purposes seems to have only limited value. Jesus taught and lived with a relatively small group of people, which he finally sent out. That is the biblical pattern.

No fixed Approach
We note how different our Lord’s approach was to the many people he met. There is no fixed scheme. He treated every person individually in the situation in which he was, espe­cially in terms of need.
            However, Jesus did spend much time with his disciples. Fellowship was evidently very important to him, not only as a strategic tactic in his ministry. His teaching was practical and individ­ualistic, using mundane examples for His parables. Jesus had an eye for the doubting Thomas. By the way, it seems as if Western theologi­cal tradition has overlooked that it was Thomas, who was prepared to go and die with Jesus (John 11:16). Many only see him only as the ‘doubting Thomas’ or even ‘die ongelowige Thomas’ (the unbeliev­ing Thomas). The Master took doubts seriously, reassuring the hovering disciple in this way. Jesus saw behind the impulsive Peter also his qualities as a potential leader.
            In obedi­ence to the nudging of the Holy Spirit, Philip had no qualms to speak to a seeking foreigner, an Ethiopian official, about his soul (Acts 8:26ff). Peter had some difficulties to step down from his pedestal of pride and condescension towards Gentiles. Paul kept in touch with the churches he had planted with letters of encouragement, but also with reproach.

Count Zinzendorf cared for the Individual
In a similar way, Count Zinzendorf had an eye for the individual. At the Danish court he defied the custom of the time to have fellowship with a slave, a person of low social status. By doing this, he discovered the quality of the West Indian slave Anton. Through this act and the ensuing visit of Anton to Herrnhut, the whole world mission­ary movement was started. Zinzendorf showed by his example that his philosophy: ‘Ich statuiere kein Christentum ohne Gemeinschaft[30]was no empty theory. It has been suggested that Zinzendorf added fel­lowship as a third sacrament in the Protestant Church (Lewis, 1962:66). Yet, it must be stressed that the Count did not expect fellow­ship to be man-made; it was a gift of the Lamb. ‘It is not so much a fellowship of kindred minds but fundamental­ly of kindred hearts’ (Lewis, 1962:66). It was therefore natural that he expected believers who were linked to Herrnhut to get involved with fellowship locally, wherever they lived. Although Zinzendorf broke with Pietism in many other ways around 1734, the small ecclesiolae within the bigger churches remained a part of the Moravian practice in the diaspora. This was definitely in line with the teaching and example of the Master. Thus, I dare to suggest categorically that God would surely not be happy with the practice of some Christians to travels long distances to get to some fellowship, without however having contact with other believers in their neighbourhood.
            An important part of this personalized approach is working towards the development of latent gifts in others. Zinzendorf ‘was swift to recognize the diversity of racial and individual gifts, and from the beginning he insisted on the enlistment of native ‘Helpers’ wherever possible (Lewis, 1962:96). The graves of native Christians from all over the world at Herrnhaag, where the Count and his retinue found refuge after their banishment from Saxony, bear witness to the fact that this idea was also put into practice.
            Special in this regard was the Count’s eschatology where he saw it as the duty of missions to bring in the ‘first fruit’, the first converts from all tribes and nations. He believed that the Moravians could hasten the Lord’s return in this way. His personal sojourn among the Indians of North America taught him to be happy and content to see individuals come to the Lord, who however are fully sold out for his service. From the ranks of the nations these individuals will take the message to their peoples. The day of using the net to catch fish (Matthew 13:47) will come.
            Spangenberg reports how Zinzendorf not only noticed the absence of a particu­lar organist in a British congregation, but immedi­ately went to go and pray with him at his home afterwards when he heard that the brother was terminally ill (Spangenberg, 1971:1963). Spangenberg wrote about his relationship to the single brothers: His first aim was to know every one of them... very well (Spangenberg, 1971:1912). An incident shows the quality of the Count, when he looked through the list of men in the fellowship. He also requested information not only on those who had left the church, but also about those who had been sent away for various rea­sons (Spangenberg, 1971:1913). The church members took the individual approach to the mission field. Thus we read how Dober and Nitschmann patiently visited the Negroes one by one after sun-set (Lewis, 1962:81). This was definitely not merely done because public meetings were not allowed to be held amongst the slaves.

Using the Gifts and Talents of others
Following the example of our Master, we should be on the look-out for latent talent, eager to help others develop them. In the previous chapter we have already referred to the bands, the cell groups of the Moravians. To maximize the personal attention, the leaders of the choirs met with Zinzendorf individ­ually on a weekly basis ‘to lay before him whatsoever hindered or blessed the work of the Lamb in the souls committed to his charge’ (Lewis, 1962:69). Here latent gifts could easily be spotted and devel­oped.
            Zinzendorf excelled at using the gifts and initiatives of others. When a few believers approached him with the idea of coming together for prayer, he encouraged it. From there the 24-hour prayer chain developed, which kept the missionary train run­ning from Herrnhut. When he was attacked on his simplistic teaching, he would point to the congregation who preferred to listen to the exposition of the potter, Leonhard Dober, when he was leading Scripture readings, usually using the Hebrew text.
            Although Zinzendorf was really an intellectual, who used Latin, French, English, Dutch, Italian and other languages in his discourses (Spangenberg, 1971:1992), he opposed the rational religion of the Lutheran orthodoxy and anything which was philosophi­cal, which would leave the individual stranded.         
            Zinzendorf’s interest in children is another case in point, following the example of His Master. He loved children, regarding his own children as the possession of the Lord. It has been reported how a diffi­cult situation was salvaged in North America when a little Indian child ran up to Zinzendorf to kiss him (Lewis, 1962:149). He had evi­dent­ly given attention to this girl on a previous visit to that family. Because of his love for children, it was only natural that he prayed for the teachers.

Proof of the Depth of Revival
The care for individuals should be the proof of the depth of any spiritual renewal which deserves the title revival. Any so-called ‘revival’ meeting, which only lists how many have come forward or even how many have been ‘saved’ (how does one measure that?) has to be questioned. In this regard the Moravians were once again exemplary. Lasting changing of lives should be the result and not merely an emotional eruption of the moment. Innovation usually accompanied real spiritual renewal, impacting many sectors of society.  Of the revival among the boys in Niesky two of those impacted, William Verbeek and Theobald Wunderling shared years later: ‘The big meetings that we had in the beginning gradually petered out; however, ‘vereinigungen zweier oder dreiter’ , associations of twos and threes continued (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:384). They would not enumerate how many were converted, but would rather refer to those whom the Lord had found.  The lives of the boys who had been full of mischief and pranks changed drastically. In stead, they hereafter gladly attended prayer and other religious meetings as well as going for spiritual counselling. All around the place there was now good behaviour and diligent study in their ranks. ‘Mocking holy things was outlawed. Yet, they enjoyed youthful fun. ‘Jokes, games and walks were now filled with sunshine even more.
            Theobald Wunderling went on to become an anointed preacher and bishop in the denomination. He clearly learned the lesson of the caring for the individual properly. To him the training of preachers was entrusted. That he took responsibility for the individual became known already in his first sermon in 1878 on Ezekiel 3:17-20 after his return to Niesky as a 52-year old. That he followed the example of our Lord seriously is demonstrated about what was said about him, for example that he was a friend of the poorest and most destitute. When he was the teacher at the court of  Count von Richthofen in Gimmel, he took a completely neglected boy who had come to the village to his room where he cared for him and educated him. He was not deterred by quite a few disappointments.  His positive attitude saved many a life on whom others would have given up. Wunderling had the gift of innovation like Count Zinzendorf. In stead of going through the motion of tradition, He taught is congregation to be ready for something new ‘in meisterhaftem Wechsel von Schriftverlesung, Gemeinde und Chorgesang.[31] (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:268). Bishop Wunderling impacted many sectors of society, right up to the aristocracy.

Fellowship as an African Asset
Close fellowship has traditionally been the normal thing to the African mind-set. We have to concede that this has been tarnished by the age of the televi­sion. In the townships one can now also find whole Black families glued to the ‘box’. Nevertheless, we shall possibly discover a reservoir below the surface, a potential for quality fellowship which is not found to the same extent in the West. Whole movements of people groups turning to Christ are possibly more likely in Muslim countries like Algeria, than in secular Germany. The recent influx of refugees to Europe might bring a change to this viewpoint.
Perhaps the West, which is underdeveloped in this regard, needs missionaries from Africa to offer and teach them what quality fellowship is all about. We need missionaries who have an eye for the deeper non-material needs of people. South Africa with its relative technological sophistication in comparison with the rest of Africa, could provide this sort of missionary for Europe and North America.
Zinzend­orf had the insight that ‘it would be much better if there were men of their own among the Hotten­tots and other heathen, who could take care of their own people; for as soon as we send people there, the heathen remain subject to the Europeans’ (Lewis, 1962:96). They put the theory in practice around 1740 with Christian Protten, who hailed from West Africa. He was somehow in a different category. After studying Theology in Copenhagen, he was sent as a Moravian missionary to Guinea, later as a pioneering independent to the Gold Coast - today called Ghana (Beck, 1981:49).
At the Cape the theory proved to be very prophetic. Magdalena, one of Georg Schmidt’s Khoi (‘Hottentot’) converts, had to lead the congregation for many years after the missionary was more or less forced to leave the country. That Zinzendorf’s teaching was obeyed, is borne out by the fact that natives were taking leadership much earlier in Moravian mission stations compared to that of other missions, for example in Surinam and South Africa. In South Africa Rev. August Habelgaarn, a Moravian, became the first president of colour of both the SACC, the national council of churches and FELCSA, the Federation of Lutheran Churches in South Africa. Rev. John Gqweta from the same denomination was one of the first Africans on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches.
            There are most probably gems to be found among the ‘rubble’ of African society, people who could turn the present social order upside down when they get on fire for the Lord. But they must be unearthed by Christians who are prepared to besmirch their hands, who are prepared to offer fellowship to those people, on whom the establishment generally looks down.  Zulpha Morris, a Cape ex-Muslim from Mitchell’s Plain, turned out to become one of these jewels after her conversion in July 1998, starting a wonderful ministry to abused women and rejected children and persevering in spite of much opposition – albeit that much of it was because of mistakes made. (She had been an abused, rejected and despised street child.) Father Samaan, a Coptic Priest of Egypt, embraced this concept when he ministered to the down and outs of the massive garbage dump of Cairo, planting a big church there that became an integral part of the first Global Day of Prayer in 2005.
As we go along, we may also discover some more slumbering gifts, which the Mother City of Cape Town possesses. Pastor James of Victory Outreach has already uncovered some of them among the drug addicts, since he started ministering here in July 2006.
            However, also in South Africa Western secular­ism has brought negative individ­ualism and egocentrism over as the norm. The result is extreme loneliness especially among the affluent, with dire conse­quences. There exists a definite need for Chris­tians who are prepared to break out of their own comfort zones to offer fellowship to ‘poor’ rich people.

Food for Thought
What individual in my family, neighbourhood, at my place of work needs special attention?
Who has been sick, bereaved, hurt or despised within my circle of acqaintances?
What hidden or latent gifts are there in our church?
How could these gifts be put to service as an encouragement to the people concerned? (Be careful however of abuse!)

And some Ideas
Apart from giving attention to those people side-lined by circumstances or ignored by others, look for ways to encour­age them.
How could the dormant gifts of people with training and experience in counselling, for example Bible School graduates who are at present holding secular jobs, be used more effectively, also utilizing what they have learnt?
                        17.  Jesus, the Risk-taker par excellence: a Call for special Solidarity

In the narrative recorded in John 4 to whom we have referred repeatedly, Jesus flouts just about every conven­tion of his time. By speaking openly at the well to the woman with doubtful morals, He risked His reputation. That He got a bad name because of his habit of dining with shadowy figures like publicans and prostitutes, is in fact recorded in Scripture (Matthew 11:19). It is interesting that Jesus highlighted this sort of reputation as the wisdom of God. In Matthew 23 it is reported how he really threw the gauntlet at the Pharisees and Scribes, openly telling the crowd that they must follow the teachings of the religious leaders but not imitate their lives. Through his scathing public attack on them he was surely courting with trouble. Biblical risk-taking is serious business.
            Jesus gave the example of up-grading the outcasts of His society by having such close communion with them, for example by sharing a meal with notorious tax-collectors and (ex)-prosti­tutes. It is especially the tax-collectors, this group which was probably despised more than any other group by the Jewish establishment (because of their perceived collaboration with the Roman oppressors), which Jesus uplifted and rehabilitated. He risked contamination, in get­ting very close to, yes possibly touching lepers. This was very revol­utionary for His day! Jesus socialized to such an extent with the pariah’s of his age that he was called ‘a friend of tax-collectors and sinners (Luke 7:34). This was definitely not meant as a compliment!
But exactly by taking these risks, Jesus challenged the society of his time. In the process he brought together some remarkable combina­tions. In a previous chapter we have noted how Luke (chapter 7:36ff) recorded how a prostitute, who had heard that Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, also dared to go there. Thus the Pharisee Simon - perhaps for the first time - got the chance to see the human being behind the prostitute. In fact, Jesus used her as an object lesson for complete submission and sacrificial giving because of grati­tude.

Gideon’s Fleece
The Bible however does not teach that one must take reckless risks all the time. When the Angel of the Lord challenged Gideon to be available to save the Israelites, he asked for all sorts of assurances (Judges 6). It almost sounds like an inconsistency, but the God of the Bible also gives room for the person who finds it difficult to take big risks. If we feel incapable and ill-equipped for some special task, we have every right to ask the Lord to confirm the call through a ‘fleece’ (Judges 6:36-40). Thus the risk could be scaled down to propor­tions which we can handle, even if we have limited faith. Gideon did not have the courage to bring down the altar of Baal in daytime, so he did it by night (Judges 6:27). Neverthe­less, this almost cost him his life. But God vindi­cated His faith, proceeding to use him mightily with a small band of fighters, who learned to put their trust in God alone (Judges 7). Sometimes we have to advise against ill-conceived risks which have their roots in bravado, with little or no faith value.
Smashing bad Custom
The Jewish custom prescribed hatred and condescension towards Samaritans. The main reason for their rejection - because the Samaritans mixed the worship of Yahweh with idolatry - was later not even generally known. The Jews of that age were actually no better. In fact, 2 Kings 17 describes how God allowed the Assyrian king to take the Jews into exile for that very reason. Thereafter the people who were later called ‘Samaritans’ were settled in that region. After their offer of help was turned down to help rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, they became the inveterate foes of the Jews, thereafter trying to prevent the temple to be rebuilt and later also the wall around the city. In that sense they became a collective proto-type of Muhammad, who turned against the Jews after initial admiration because they had rejected him. We contrast this with Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians who kept Jews in high regard until the end of his life. The knowledgeable Samuel Lieberkuhn declined an offer to become professor in Königsberg to work among Jews in Amsterdam.
To all intents and purposes, the Samaritans had to be regarded as the visible enemy of the proud Jews. It amounted to a great risk that Jesus asked the woman for a drink. Jesus’ request was almost suicidal, soliciting a clash from both sides of the racial divide. To drink from a cup that had been used by a Samaritan, was tantamount to getting defiled, it was almost like touching a leper. His request implied his willingness to drink from the same cup or jug that she had with her. We are reminded of staunch Muslims and Jews who also do not eat from utensils used by Gentiles (unbelievers). Jesus surely knew that he risked getting a rude answer or even rejection from someone whom the Jews regarded as the pariah’s of their society. The Lord did not have a drawing bucket with him to pull up the water. He deviated radically from the prevalent custom. South Africans of the older generations should comprehend this very well. Some of us may still vividly remember the days when people of colour were not allowed in the dining room of Whites - let alone share a cup with the ruling class. In showing respect where everybody else from the superior race would have shown disdain, Jesus showed the way to start breaking down the wall of racial prejudice and hatred.
Being a Samaritan, the woman would certainly have been completely flabbergasted that he spoke to her, let alone being willing to drink from her cup. Almost every Samaritan of Jesus’ era may have been told how their forefathers were rejected when they wanted to help the Jews to rebuild the temple. A vicious snipe would have been a possible normal reaction. We know this from the South African setting in the old days! Many a race-conscious, embittered or hurting person of colour may remember how he/she would sometimes reply to an innocent enquiry by Whites with as much venom as possible whenever he/she had the chance. We may safely surmise that the question of the Samaritan woman was possibly not articulated in a completely loving tone: ‘How do you as a Jew ask me a Samaritan for water to drink?’ Apart from surprise, her reply possibly included the hate-filled response of someone who was happy to get the chance to hit back fiercely at a representative of the group that oppressed and despised them. Wat vir ‘n cheek! Wie’s jy om vir my te vra?’ (What a cheek! Who are you to ask something from me?) That could have been an apt South African equivalent. She might have enjoyed the opportunity to refuse the simple request.
            Jesus however did not allow himself to be governed by revenge. But he also did not allow her hate-filled reaction to put him off either. Instead, he started a natural conversation about water. This is conveying the message: ‘I don’t despise you.’ If one starts to reach out in love to people from another culture, one must not be surprised at all, when the initial reaction is one of rejection. In cross-cultural outreach where language learning is part of the preparation, the humiliation of becoming like a little child is a very healthy spiritual exercise. Asking questions about the religion and culture from people - rather than acquiring it from books - can help much to counter an initial defence mechanism: up with the shutters! However, a simple mundane question, like the request of Jesus for some water to drink, can also break down the traditional animosity.

Radical Enemy Love
Jesus not only taught ‘enemy love’. He showed by His life-style that the teaching of ‘enemy love’ was not only a theory. His speaking to a woman from the ranks of the ‘enemy’, and at that one with doubtful morals, was revolutionary. As we have seen, He definitely risked extreme repudiation at the very least.
            It is sad that some Christians regard Muslims as enemies. The essence of divine love, agape, is the sacrificing of yourself, putting your own interests on the back seat to the advantage of the other person. Because of our sinful, fallen nature - slaves of sin - we have become enemies of God. But exactly that is where God displayed agape in sending His Son who ‘...did not come to be served, but to serve’ and to set us free from the bondage of sin, ‘ give his life as a ransom for many.’
            The other ‘NT’ writers stressed love through their teachings. After listing the various gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:28, Paul continues by showing them ‘a more excellent way’, viz. love. Paul articulates this by way of the beautiful and well-known song on love in chapter 13. In Romans 13:8-10 and Galatians 5:14 the law of love - ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ - is described as a summary of all other commandments. Coming from the King of Kings, it is not surprising that James called it the royal law (2:8). James himself was possibly one of those bowled over by that love. To some Pentecostals it might be a big surprise to discover how Paul rates issues like charismata (gifts of the spirit) in the body of Christ as ‘mundane’. In Romans 12:4-8 - the corollary of the more prominent gifts of the spirit of 1 Corinthians 12 - the interlinking of different parts of the body of Christ are mentioned. Next to ‘special’ gifts like prophesy, ‘ordinary’ gifts like encouragement, leadership and compassion are listed.
            By risking His own life, Jesus started the upliftment of the despised Samaritans. Thus he actually gave an example of working towards reconciliation with the ‘enemy’. Jesus was really the Master at getting beyond disputes, making friends out of enemies.
            The quality of Jesus’ love is especially shown by some of the incidents at his crucifixion. His first words of love from the Cross - even before he addressed his friends - were forgiving words directed at his enemies. After his resurrection the Master rushed to those who had denied and rejected him in the hour of his deepest need. Jesus has every right to expect of his followers the high standard of sacrificial love because He has demonstrated this through his life and even more so through his death. He showed the way to be prepared to sacrifice your life for your friends... and for your enemies.
            Within this framework, the beatitude that encourages us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) follows naturally. Paul echoed this injunction in one form or another in almost every epistle, with the apt central summary in Ephesians 2:14 ‘because He is our peace...’ Jesus is the one through whom the wall of partition between Jew and Gentile has been broken down.
            The risk Jesus took at the well of Jacob was completely in line with the rest of His life, where suffering and persecution were always very real possibilities. In fact, Jesus declared us happy if we are persecuted and vilified for no other reason than that we are His followers (Matthew 5:8). He taught His disciples that they should not be surprised to be hated by the world (John 15:20).

Risk-taking of the Moravians           
Count Zinzendorf had little regard for the bourgeois mentality of his time. To the amusement of many of his contem­por­aries, he held an open religious meeting at his Dresden home every Sunday afternoon, when he worked there as a high government official (Lewis, 1962:31). Follow­ing His Master, he refrained from differentiating between rank and status on purpose, bringing together people from every rank of society. The example in well-known mission history with the greatest result is probably when Count Zinzendorf ‘stepped down’ to speak to the slave Anton at the occasion of the coronation of Chris­tian VI of Denmark in 1731, after the mediation of one of his team from Herrnhut. This risk spawned the whole missionary movement from Herrnhut like no other single act.
            At another time the Count was walking around anonymously like a pauper. He took such financial risks that Bishop Spangenberg, who took over the leadership of the Church after his death, had quite a job on his hands to try and sort things out to save the Moravians from financial ruin. This may not sound very complimentary, but it does give an indication of the guts and courage of the Count. He took seriously the fact that Christ gave his all, that Jesus risked everything. His followers took the cue from him. They were for example immediate­ly prepared to be put on an equal footing with slaves in order to reach the poor lost souls on the West Indian plantations. A typical example of this is the missionary Johann Michael Peterleitner, who had worked from 1804-1809 first among the Indians in Surinam (South America) and then on a plantation mission station among the Negro slaves before coming to South Africa. He started work among lepers before his death in 1829 at the baptism of one of his congregants (Beck, 1981:237).
            Sometimes the impression is given that risk-taking is the domain of young people. Zinzendorf put a lie to this sugges­tion. Only a few years before his death - as a 57-year old - he took a risk which could have landed the fellowship in great problems. His risk to enter the ministry in his younger days as an aristocrat was nothing compared to his decision to marry the peasant Anna Nitschmann after the death of the Countess Erdmuth. Many of his benefactors were from the nobility! But it was a well-calculated risk. The inner circle of the church family supported him in this step. In fact, they had encour­aged him to do it. In one of the amazingly well kept secrets, the broader church membership was only informed of their marriage in a letter almost one and a half years later. (It would have been extremely risky for the Count to have Anna Nitschmann in his group in respect of gossiping tongues as he travelled such a lot without his wife).
            There are instances of people who have taken risks, where it is not so clear whether God required the particular action from them. Occasionally Christians have sold their houses to get into some missionary adventure, not because God had clearly challenged them to do it, but because they emulated others who did have that call. Sometimes the action might be right, but the timing wrong. It is so important to consider prayerfully what should be done in terms of risk. However, even where people acted rashly with pure motives, they have discovered - with all things being equal - that God is no man’s debtor. Conversely, we have seen in our personal lives how ‘safety valves’ which we wanted to use due to our lack of faith, turned out to be of little use in the end. But God is sovereign: so often He has even turned our mistakes into opportunities for the good of the Kingdom.

South African Risks at the time of the ‘struggle’     
South Africa knows many people who risked a lot in the time of the ‘struggle’. Many ‘Whites’ risked their reputation by befriending people of colour and ‘Blacks’ who risked their lives when they dared to be seen in the presence of ‘Whites’. At least one ‘Black’ lady, Nomangezi ??,  had her house burnt down because of her con­tact with Whites. But we also got to know a ‘White’ pastor and his family who had the courage to care for ‘Black’ street children in their home in the bad old days. As soon as Ds. Lensink or some­one from the family got a tip-off that police would come and search their home, they would hide them.
            And what about those who were imprisoned - but never tried before a court of law - for example by caring for the families of political prisoners? There would be numer­ous stories to be told of risks taken during the apart­heid era.
            On the negative side, it is a fact that Western Christians are often insured to the hilt! This is surely not the place to discuss the pro’s and cons of insurance, but we should look at the issue in the light of the fact that this inflated the support levels for prospective missionaries. In the case of those agencies which require a certain percentage before a missionary candidate can come into full-time service, people of colour were almost put out of contention. Fortunately, OM and other missions have started to look at matters differently, to be more prepared to take risks.
            The call is now for men and women who are prepared to take risks for the Gospel, to risk their life so that souls may be saved. But it is also the time for churches to take steps of faith in supporting missionaries on a regular basis.

Food for Thought:
Am I prepared to take risks for the Gospel? What sort of risks am I prepared to take? Am I also prepared to put my reputa­tion at stake (or even my life), if that could enhance the spread of the Good News of salvation through Christ?

And some Ideas:
Try out prayerfully some calculated risks. This may help to gradually get into bigger steps of faith. It may also help to take risks corporately as a group, as a church.
In the venture of societal risks, our motives should be checked: mere non-conformism or bravery is not good enough - it should somehow still remain a risk for the spreading of the Gospel.
                                    18. Jesus, a Master in Conflict Management

            Sometimes Jesus is being depicted as a so-called softy. Because He taught his followers to turn the other cheek, to go the second mile, some people deduce that Christians should be willing to be trampled upon, to be a sort of door-mat. In chapter 7 we have highlighted the subtle difference between biblical sub­mission and bondage of servility.
            Related to the matter under discussion here, there is the issue of how we view God. Perhaps because Calvinists tend towards a one-sided legalistic view of the punishing Almighty, some Christians went to the other extreme, making God a ‘softy’, one who is only merciful and forgiving. This is then said to be ‘New Testamentical’ - in contrast to the stringent, revengeful God of the Hebrew Scriptures. This is a complete over-simplification of matters, actually a caricature of God. It may be true that the ‘New Testament’ stresses the love of God more than his ven­geance. We have shown in chapter 11 how this was indeed one of the issues which brought Jesus in disrepute with his fellow Jewish compatriots. But we should not overlook that the Lord also clearly taught, for example in Matthew 25, of a judgment to come, of a separ­ation between goats and sheep. He highlighted the possibility even of the separ­ation of husband and wife at his return; Jesus spoke of some who will be rejected. Even pious people will be turned away, weighed and found wanting.
            When the Lord is only seen as someone who circumvented conflict or even stayed clear from it, nothing is further than the truth. The Lord also taught us how to handle conflict in a positive way.
            We note furthermore that Jesus took conflict as a given, a reality of life. We prefer to speak of conflict management rather than conflict ‘resolution.’ The latter suggests that matters are resolved or even solved once and for all. The fact is that all too often compromises have to be used with no party in the conflict completely happy, although one would normally strive of course to achieve a win-win situation.

Getting the Priorities Straight
Let us deduce some lessons from our Lord’s handling of conflict. The major lesson is probably that he had his priorities in place. From the right relationship to his Father, his behaviour flowed and followed. A life of commitment to him, the light, automatically leads to conflict and confrontation with the forces of darkness. Because our Lord is the truth, the tempter - who is the father of lies (John 8:44) - tried to trap him through a distortion of the Word.  As the only person who did not die again after having been resurrected, he is the way to eternal life – indeed the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).
         Right from the start of his ministry, Jesus was involved with conflict. The narrative of the temptation in the desert in Matthew 4 is a high-powered confrontation between the forces of darkness that wanted to woo the Lord into a compromise, in a seductive exchange for power. His challenge to the fishermen to follow him was likewise conflict-laden as he, a stranger, was asking them to drop their livelihood and follow him. The report of the changing of wine into water (John 2:1-11) contains a conflict of priorities between his earthly mother and His heavenly Father. But a quick inner check permitted and demonstrated the authority, sovereignty, flexibility and creative ability of Father and Son.
         A good example of our Lord’s complete mastery of priorities is given in John 4 where it is reported how a rumour was brought to Him that his cousin John was baptizing more converts. The motives of those people who came with the rumour are not clear, but the gun-powder contained in the question is quite evident. In verse 1+2 there are at least three issues included in the rumour which could have drawn a response from Jesus. There was the suggested number of people baptized, who performed it and the comparison with John the Baptist. Instead of allowing himself to be drawn into a petty, unproductive discussion, our Lord ‘left Judea’ lest he be sucked into the arbitrary conflict between those baptised by him and those by John. A possible inference that he walked away cowardly, is completely refuted when we look closely at the verses that follow these words.
         The remarkable verse 4 squashes any idea that the Master was simply dodging difficult issues: ‘He had to go through Samaria’. If our Lord had been of the sort to circumvent problematic matters, then here was a good opportunity. We have already shown how he faced the issue of the despised Samaritans head-on. In fact, he uplifted them as he went along. Not only did he go to the town of Sychar, but he went to sit next to the cultic explosive well of Jacob. No Jew of those days would have done such a thing. It was tantamount to looking for trouble!

Handling Confrontation        
On the other hand, we see in the enfolding narration how Jesus handles confrontation in such a skillful way that the Samaritan woman is completely turned around in the process. When she used religion as a cover-up after he had cornered her on her lifestyle, he challenged her in a respectful way. To this day his reply challenges religious people everywhere: The Father seeks true worshippers... those who worship in Spirit and in truth. Even in evangelical churches we could find Christians who worship the act of worship in stead of the triune God.
            Another special lesson of our Lord is how he handled dis­putes. In almost classical style he could unmask wrong alter­natives; more correctly, we should say he often radicalized false alternatives. When our Lord was put on trial on the issue of the paying of taxes, he coolly replied that both God and the Caesar had to get the due of their respective allegiance (Matthew 22:21). When his disciples became involved in petty bickering about rank, he challenged them with service as the qualifica­tion for rank: the greatest is the servant of all (Luke 22:24­ff).
            How our Lord operated cross-culturally in a loving way, can now be our model, not shying away from confrontation. The word tolerance has sometimes been abused in this regard. Whilst this is a virtue which should generally be the aim of every believer, we note from our Lord’s example that it is far from absolute. He hates sin but He loves the sinner. In the same context (John 10) in which he speaks about thieves who rob, Jesus calls himself the door. Whereas there might be different avenues to get to God, Jesus made it clear to which highway these minor roads should lead to: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father but by me.’ This might sound intolerant to some ears, but this is nevertheless the biblical way, the only door. It thus becomes a matter of take it or leave it. It would be fruitless to debate about the matter.

Managing Conflict
The Master gave practical and clear teaching for handling conflict. The prime example is Matthew 18. Sometimes counselors forget to check out whether the very rudimentary step of sorting matters out between two quarreling parties had been pursued.
Of course, it is never easy to confront the party who has offended you unless one is of the type that likes to fight. How often has it been helpful to check out a wrong assumption! In stead of taking any loaded or hurting information that had been passed on as truth, a good practice and principle is to ascertain if the spirit in which it has been conveyed has not perhaps been distorted. How much anger and hurt can be prevented in interaction among people – also in Christian circles - if this teaching of Jesus is followed.
There is of course the very real situation where the opposing party reacts indifferently or even aggressively upon personal confrontation. Jesus’ advice to take one or two witnesses along for this eventuality makes such a lot of sense. Yet, how often is this practised nowadays, let alone the next step of church discipline, the exclusion from the fellowship if anyone persists with sinful behaviour and refusal to repent, to mend his/her ways?

Have Anger sanctified
An important facet of conflict management is the issue of anger. Fallaciously some Christians think that it is sinful to become angry. On the contrary, there is such a thing as holy anger. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures one can read how God reacted with wrath and anger because of the idolatry and sins of His people. Similarly, Jesus really got angry when He saw how the temple was desecrated by traders. (One wonders in how far it also angered him that the foreigners and other proselytes that habitually used that part of the temple precincts were thus pushed out). Yet, the nature of God is such that he is swift to forgive, but ‘slow to anger and rich in steadfast love and truth’ (Exodus 34:7). In the Psalms it is repeated more than once that God is slow to anger.  Some evangelicals give one the impression that it is sinful to become angry. At issue is how we handle our anger, or better still, to sanctify our anger. In fact, it would be an abuse of the Pauline verses (1 Corinthians 13:4-6) to say that love should cover sinful behaviour. The ‘New Testament’ gives clear teaching on how to handle anger. Paul takes it for granted that we can get angry, but we should be careful not to sin when we are angry. But even then we must set things right before the sun sets (Ephesians 4:26). We should guard our temper. Paul actually encouraged us to actively oppose anger in our midst by not only throwing off anger and other carnal traits (Colossians 3:8), but instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:23,24), i.e. through the sanctifying work of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
In his epistle also James (1:19, 20) passed on some practical teaching in this regard: be slow to get angry. This ties in with Romans 12:2 which defines the renewing of our thoughts as a transforming process that the Holy spirit must perform in us, rather than a quick fix - a metamorphasis.[32]

Occasional Need of Confrontation
Both Peter and Paul did not shun confrontation r. When principles were at stake they were no slow coaches in heated debate. Acts 6 and 15 reflect conflict-laden situations. In both cases the end result was a sharing of responsibilities and a doubling of the work. If conflict is handled well, it has the potential to spread the Gospel even more widely and the work load can be delegated among more people. After Peter had been taught by God that he should cease despising those nations which he had regarded as ritually impure, he was prepared not only to act upon it by going to Cornelius (Acts 10), but also to defend his action before his colleagues. The end result of the delicate situation in Acts 6 was the appointment of deacons and the heated debate in Acts 15 resulted in church planting where the best men were sent (Verse 22).
            Calling a spade a spade might sometimes also be neces­sary. In Galatians 2:11-15 it is reported how Paul criticized Peter to his face in the presence of others when he sensed hypocrisy. If the actions of fellow brothers and sisters confuse young believers it might be necessary to do the unusual thing to reprimand them publicly.
            A related issue with which we have already dealt is the wrong conception that servility is Christian. Much anger can be averted if we use our authority in Christ, not to allow others to trample on us unnecessarily.

And what about Judgment Day?
It is reassuring that our Lord promised that nobody will be able to pluck His sheep from the Father’s hand (John 10:28f). But it can be misleading when it is being inter­preted is such a way that we can do what we like without dire conse­quences, not only in the spiritual, but also in the natural. Getting saved and receiving a reward in life hereafter is not as simple as some believers try to make it. This can be shown easily when we look at the teaching of the Master and that of Paul, the apostle. The Lord pointed to the equal ‘payment’ of workers (Matthew 20 1-15) who started at differ­ent times of the day. But he also used a parable to illustrate varying rewards according to talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Paul differenti­ates various degrees of getting a reward in the hereafter for our work done; gold, silver, wood, grass or hay (1 Corinthians 3: 12ff). In the latter case, getting saved means to scrape home, pulled out of the fire of judgmental condemnation, getting saved but smelling like smoke!
            Some church people try to give the impression that reward is not something to be strived after. Biblically this is not tenable and completely incomprehensible. Why should we not give believers something to live for? If our Lord challenged us to give our lives for our friends (John 15:13), if Paul ran the race and fought the good fight to win the crown (1 Corin­thians 9:24-27), if John had the vision of a crown which can be ‘earned’ through being faithful (Revelations 2:10) - as a reward for the victory (Revelations 6:2) - why should anyone settle for a dull Christian walk?

The first Christians and Disputes
The first Christians evidently had to handle disputes quite soon after Pentecost. Nationalism crept in so that there were discriminatory practices against the Greek-speaking (widows).  The way these Christians handled the dispute became an example: the apostles did not allow the problem to detract them from the main priority, the spreading of the Gospel, but they appointed men from the rank of the Gentile Christians - including some with Greek names - to take care of the Greek widows (Acts 6: 1ff)).
            When the issue of the arrogant superiority of the Jewish believers threatened to split the fellowship, the problem was faced head-on and a worthy compromise reached (Acts 15). Although the inference is justified that problematic issues should not be ducked, this does however not mean that difficult matters should be handled in an unloving way. John, the apostle, taught a combina­tion of truth and deeds in love (1 John 3:18) and Paul also taught us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)
            Just like the Master, Paul had some harsh words for the Galatians (for example Chapter 3:1-5) when he noticed that they started compromis­ing the Gospel truths. The hypocrisy of the Roman Christians was addressed in no unclear terms (Romans 2:1, 2) and in 1 Corinthians 5 the immorality in the local church was condemned outright. In the letter of Jude (verse 4) a non-complimentary reference is made to godless people who wormed their way into the body of believers. This also happened in the churches in Galatia, where Paul did not hesitate to call a spade a spade (Galatians 2:4-6).

Church Discipline
An issue which should also be addressed again in the Lord’s teach­ing is that of discipline. This seems to have disappeared from the vocabulary of churches. In the report of the revival of Herrnhut in 1727 this aspect is so often completely overlooked and often even omitted. Informed sources rightly note that a decisive factor of the revival summer was ‘Zinzendorf’s becoming acquainted with the system of church discipline of the Bohemian Brethren as written in their official Ratio Disciplinae’ (Weinlick and Frank, The Moravian Church through the Ages, 1989:57). In this case it was the edition prepared by Comenius in Amsterdam in 1660, republished in 1702 in Tübingen. Zinzendorf discovered the booklet in the library of Zittau.
            Many churches do not seem to dare challenging the sinful life-style of people, for fear of losing their members. And if it is done at all, it is very rarely done in a biblically sound way. Of course, many pastors (ab)­use the pulpit for this purpose, lacking the courage to address the issues on a more personal level. A recent variation seems to be to trust the Holy Spirit to minister to people and bring healing after they had been slain in the Spirit. This has sometimes been abused as a sort of substitute for biblical discipline!
            I do not want to ridicule these matters, but I find so little Scriptural backing for it. I believe much hurt can be avoided, even more healing effected if we take the Lord’s teaching in Matthew 18 seriously. In stead of chatting with a third person - not even with the pastor - about a matter, much could be resolved and unnecessary harm avoided - if Christians go to those who have caused them hurt and sort things out by offering their apology. This goes against the grain of worldly thinking, where standing on your rights in retaliation is the accepted norm.
            It was not easy for Paul to chide the church at Corinth when they allowed an incestuous relation­ship in their midst (1 Corinthians 5:1ff). We note how serious he regards the matter, to suggest even that the man should be excommunicated and handed over to satan.
            On another level, when discipline is still exercised in churches, it is usually restricted to sexually related matters. So easily gluttony and excessive drinking are all but con­doned or exonerated. (In fact, it is a question whether the multi-course dinners and bazaars for fund-raising purposes are not encouraging over-indulgence in eating habits.) And what about gossip? We can derive from the teaching of James (1:21), that doubtful habits in this area can have the effect of ear wax, equal to moral filth, which have to be plucked out before we can properly hear God’s voice.
            Alternately, we can save ourselves much trouble by send­ing people who come with complaints about other believers back to speak first to those who have hurt them. And if this does not help, gossip would be nipped in the bud if a second person is brought into the mix.
            The teaching of Paul in matters of discipline is a natu­ral extension. Nowadays Christians take each other to court so easily that one wonders whether they know what the Bible teaches on the matter (for example 1 Corinthians 6:1-7). Furthermore, the advice of Paul - not to allow the sun to set over our anger (Ephesians 4:26), is as sound advice as what one can wish for. How much depression and stress develop because people have fretted, wallowing in their hurt, allowing the arch enemy to exaggerate matters.

The healing Effect of straight Talk
Sometimes it is forgotten that loving straight talk can have a healing effect. Although Paul taught that the truth should be spoken in love ((Ephesians 4:15), he also spoke out clearly against the hypocrisy of his fellow apostles when he noticed that their attitude caused confusion among new believers. There might even occur the rare occasion when the best solution could be to reprimand believers in public (compare Galatians 2:11-14). Paul did not hesitate to admonish by letter, sometimes causing distress, for example in Corinth. But the results show that they sensed that he was writing with a loving, bleeding heart: ‘I am no longer sorry that I sent that letter to you, though I was very sorry for a time, realizing how painful it would be to you. But it hurt you only for a while. Now I am glad I sent it... because the pain turned you to God... For God sometimes uses sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek eternal life’ (2 Corinthians 7:8ff). In his teaching to Timothy, the apostle passed on a wonderful balance: ‘Correct and rebuke your people when they need it, encourage them to do right, and all the time be feeding them patiently with God’s Word’ (1 Timothy 4:13). Along with that an important principle is given: God’s Word - and not our own wisdom - should have pre-eminence in all forms of disci­pline. Having said that, it should immediately be added that this may never be interpreted as encouragement to bash someone else with Bible verses in a legalistic and loveless way.

The Link between Sin and Fruit-Bearing      
Furthermore, we should also note the link between sin and bearing fruit. Solomon’s Song of Songs (2:15) taught that it is the little foxes that destroy the vine blossoms, thus pre­venting fruit to develop. So-called petty sin can add up like wax in the ear, hindering one to hear God’s voice properly. This increases until one becomes insensitive to every warning, sliding further away from God. The experience of Lot, who moved ever nearer to Sodom until he eventually hardly noticed the sinful habits of the inhabit­ants, can be cited as an example. A special responsibility rests with the clergy. If religious leaders persist with a sinful example, this could be the time when God refuses to recognize them (Hosea 4:6,7). In view of the danger of backsliding, Jesus warned prospective disciples of the cost involved through two parables (Luke 14:28-33), viz. counting the cost in building a tower and a king going to war with less soldiers than the enemy.

Affirmation and Encouragement
Also the positive side needs mentioning. The contrast to the above scenario is the Lord’s exhortation to us, His followers, to be in union with him, the vine, so that we can bear much fruit (John 15:4). Affirmation and encouragement often work better than repri­mand. However, this can never be a substitute for loving reproach. Paul warned against overstep­ping; in discipline you can unnecessar­ily anger and embitter your children (Ephesians 6:4).
A major side-effect of our consumer society has been the lack of disciplined and persevering commitment to a task. Jesus himself set out ‘to finish the work’ of the one who sent him, of God (John 4:34). Spiritual work wears one down. Disappoint­ments and discouragements belong to the ball game as a matter of course. That is why Paul found it necessary to encourage the Galatians not to become weary ... not to give up (Galatians 6:9). The Corinthians were encouraged towards a full commitment ‘because your labour in the Lord is not in vain’ (1 Corinthians 15:58).
            With regard to perseverance George Verwer wrote very aptly: ‘God does not want sprinters, who go incredibly fast, but are exhausted after a hundred meters, but marathon runners who can go on and on’ (Verwer, 1993:116). The bottom line is to learn to run at God’s pace for your life. We should never try to run at someone else’s pace.

Lack of Discipline can work like Cancer
One of the examples of the lack of correction and discipline which is sometimes given is the treatment of the priest Eli, who did not even know what his sons were doing. They were actually seducing young women who assisted at the entrance of the temple. This eventually led to Samuel becoming a judge in Israel.
            A lesser known but a detailed descrip­tion how the lack of disciplin­e can work pervasively like cancer over many years, is given in 2 Samuel. David started the rot when he allowed his lust to take over, by having intercourse with Bath­sheba (chapter 11). Subsequently he indirectly murdered her hus­band, when she turned out to have become pregnant from their adultery. Considering his authority as king, his actions were tantamount to rape. It is doubtful if he would have owned up to his deeds, if the prophet Nathan did not confront him (chapter 12). Even though he repented and con­fessed, David did not succeed in translating his lapse into a lesson for his children. His son Ammon raped his half sister Tamar. After hearing this, Absalom - her blood brother - started plotting revenge, eventual­ly killing Ammon (chapter 13).
            In stead of communication and disciplining the guilty one, the matter is covered up, first by Absalom and then by David (2 Samuel 13:20, 21). A deep hatred was allowed to grow until murder and eventually suicide (17:23) became by-products. All this could perhaps have been averted if David had used his own sins as a lesson to educate his children. In any case, if he had spoken about things in stead of only getting angry, much harm could have been prevented.
            The ultimate obedience is to God. By contrast, many centuries later, the apostles boldly declared their stance when their ultimate allegiance was challenged. When they were required to stop teaching in the name of our Lord, they knew that they had to obey God more than men (Acts 4:18ff).

Discipline in Herrnhut
Zinzendorf and his Moravians evidently had few problems on this score. Discipline was generally accepted. Obedience to God - and to the leadership - was taken for granted. Even so, it is interesting to take note how the Count, even as a teen­ager, had learned to obey authority. His grandmother ‘knew only too good that he could keep quiet and obey’ (Beyreuther, 1965:29). As we have pointed out, the observance to the Statutes - which were accepted on May 12, 1727 – was the sound basis for the revival. Before that, the discord in Herrnhut was caused by the refugees who would not brook the discipline of the Spirit and the brotherly admonition of the helpers (Lewis, 1962:49). The role of the leader­ship in the administra­tion of discipline must be emphasized. In Herrnhut the strife could initially flourish because the local pastor, Rothe, was weak in applying discipline (Lewis, 1962:49).
Having apparently solved the problems of schism and disunity, the believers went on to cover more serious matters than any petty doctrinal dispute. The Moravians prayed fervently for a great outpouring of God's Holy Spirit throughout the entire world. The various groups carried on these prayers constantly for one hundred years. And the revival that followed in their wake bore fruit that lasted nearly two centuries.  
            Things changed dramatically after the acceptance of the Statutes, when all members committed themselves to abide by these rules. It must be stressed that the rules were not regarded as binding legalistic laws, but rather as guidelines for living in a community of believers.

The Bible as Guideline
The Bible was taken as guideline to resolve the differences. When someone suggested that compromise in a major dispute could forestall persecu­tion in Herrnhut, Zinzendorf dismissed it as unworthy (Weinlick, 1956:80). The Count tackled the issue head-on, using a Bible verse on the spur of the moment.
            We should however not think for a moment that the Brethren were easy on discipline. In fact, they were quite strict. But if there was any correction to be done, they took their cue from Scrip­ture. When the Brethren were attacked corporately, Zin­zendorf encour­aged the group to examine whether there was anything to be rectified from their side. And if people needed discipline, Zinzendorf would tackle the culprits individually. But also in this regard the Count was usually self-critical. In a random sample, taken from his diary entry of July 12, 1729 we read: ‘We took stock of ourselves and told each other what yet remained to mar the image of Christ. I let them tell me first what I lacked and then I told them what they lacked (Weinlick, 1956:91).
            Zinzendorf really had patience with the erring ones, giving us an example how people can be lovingly corrected. When the culprits brought up something which he could still allow, ‘he did not throw it away but quietly cor­rected them’ (Spangenberg, 1971:280). He appeared to love them unconditionally, choosing not to remember the past.

Two major Blemishes
Nevertheless, one should not get the impression that the Moravians were almost impeccable. Two major blemishes in the application of discipline can be mentioned, with the second a direct result of the first. Because of the Count’s many trips away from home, his son Chris­tian Renatus had been groomed to take over the leadership. He was given the charge of the congregation in the ‘Wetterau’, the area near to Büdingen, north of present-day Frankfurt/Main (where the community had settled after they had been banned from Saxony). Excesses in the spiritual realm developed, which grew cancerously until Zinzendorf saw a letter which really alarmed him. He immediately took steps, writing a letter to all congrega­tions - without however naming anyone - in which all and sundry were harshly reprimanded to set things right. He also ordered the responsible elders to come to London and he deposed his son with immediate effect. Eventual­ly the aristocrat came down much too harshly on the sensitive young man. After handing the charge of the fellowship prematurely over to his teenage son Christian Renatus, there followed a lack of scriptural correction. This led to emotional experiential utterings about the blood and the wounds of Christ, some of which had Count Zinzendorf as the originator.
            His drastic steps brought the Moravians back on a biblical course, but then the Count overstepped. Obviously Zinzendorf wanted to set an example with his only son, Christian Renatus, who had already proved that he was a man of God. However, the harsh treatment of his father brought the young man into a deep depression, from which he never recovered. He died prema­turely at the young age of 24. Zinzendorf was really remorseful after the death of his son, because he knew full well that through his own theologizing about the blood and wounds of Christ, the pattern was set for the excesses, which followed from it.
            A problem which flowed from this ‘sifting period’ was that some people wormed their way into the congregations as spies. Many half truths and downright lies about the Moravians were spread, which caused almost irreparable harm to the mission cause. Thus there was a pastoral letter of warning against the ‘extreme views’ of the Moravians issued by Ds G.Kulenkamp, an Amsterdam minister, in 1738.  The letter branded the Moravians a mystical society, suggesting that the Moravians were spreading dangerous opinions under the cover of pure simplicity which were detrimental to the pure doctrine.
            It is important to note that the Brethren had clear guidelines for those who wanted to join their ranks. Zinzendorf made a clear distinction between leading someone to Christ and allowing someone to join the Church (Spangenberg, 1971:1967). All people who wanted to join the fellowship were tested and they had to be prepared to submit themselves to the rules. The Moravians had no intention to become a big denomination. In fact, the denomination grew in spite of their stated intention to remain small.

Back to Church Discipline?
Could it be that the lack of discipline and its mirror image, the lack of commitment, serve as major hindrances to a work of the Holy Spirit? I suspect that the consumer spirit of our modern society - accompanied by the craving after anonymity in big churches where independence is guaranteed and accountability is not required - is hampering a deep work of God in many fellowships.
            A caricature of a merciful God has developed. Thus some people think that He seems to permit almost every­thing because one can always confess the sins afterwards. This ushered in an atmosphere in which discipline became foreign. Especially in the area of sexuality a mislead­ing unbiblical ‘love your neighbour’ has set in. Hollywood Christian­ity has made premarital inter­course, extra-marital relations and divorce acceptable in a new morality. This has led the slide towards a false tolerance what the Bible calls sin, so that in some circles homosex­uality and abortion are merely treated as ethical questions about which the Bible does not give clear guidance. No wonder that marriage ceremonies for homosex­uals and the consecration of the ‘babies’ of lesbians in churches are not strange any more in some countries. At the ‘Kirchen­tag’ in Germany, the massive biennial church gatherings, one can find on ‘the market of possibili­ties’ all sorts of strange things. Even the propaga­tion of pedophilia has been noticed.[33] Could this poss­ibly be the result of a bad conscience that sex tourism - including child prosti­tution - is thriving because undisci­plined immoral Westerners are the main culprits?
            Would it not be much better to confess that materialism was made fashionable by capitalism, and that the root cause of pornogra­phy, drug addiction, prostitution and all sorts of vice is the love of money? Paul had not only said this (1 Timothy 6:10) already many centuries ago, but also that materialism boils down to idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Or has idolatry also become fashionable? In Western society we have become modern pagans with the blessing of not only our governments, but also by and large unchecked by the Church. The sooner we repent, the better! Collectively the application of the lukewarm church of Laodicia in Revelations 3 is so valid. The context (v.20) indicates that the Lord is actually standing outside the church, knocking for entry, rather than knocking at the ‘heart door’ of the individual, as has been conveniently expounded for evangelistic purposes.
            But this gives us as Christians also a special responsi­bil­ity for our government. The Pauline injunction to pray for those in authority is the minimum. We should be challenged to pray for our leaders especially when we sense that they are leading people astray. If need be - in stead of criticizing cheaply - we should be prepared like the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 15:11) to spend a whole night in prayer for the erring leaders. On the positive side, we should pray for godly politi­cians, irrespective of their party-political convictions. Let’s intercede for God-fearing legislation which can stand the test of both time and stringent moral scrutiny. And if this is not the case, Christians should be the first to leave no stone unturned, to rectify any such issue.
             If South Africa is to become a country that could export missionaries on a grand scale, a return to the biblical standards of morality and discipline is a pre-requisite. The present condition where Christians run from one church to the other, from one conference or ministry to the next - without any persevering committed service whatsoever - is completely unaccept­able. This caliber of Christians cannot be used as missionaries, not in this country nor in any other.

Food for Thought:
What could be concrete steps to curb or eliminate the slide towards lawless­ness and anarchy in our country?
What rules do we have in the family, in the church? Are they being respected and upheld?

And some Ideas:
One of the best ways to curb the undisciplined hopping around from one church to the next is possibly the regular communication of leaders from different churches.
Another would be to send ‘new members’ back to their old churches to sort out possible differences there first, before allowing them to join. When they still come back, check out whether they have resolved disputes, whether they have become reconciled.
                        19. Jesus, the Non-conformist: Questioning doubtful Norms

            If ever there was a non-conformist, Jesus was a prime example. In a society where women were regarded as second-class citizens, he gave them dignity. In fact, he socialized even with the outcasts of his day like prostitutes and tax collectors.
            It is generally known that women were seen as inferior in primitive societies (and still regarded as such in some groups). The view of some believers that women should be ‘kept in their place’- because Eve ‘caused’ Adam to fall into sin - is still prevalent in certain circles. On the other hand, the femin­ist viewpoint according to which all masculine notions - for example seeing God as a Father - should be eradicated from the Bible, also displays a very myopic conception of what the Word actually teaches. (Unfortunately, the authority of Scrip­ture is not always taken for granted in feminist circles.)
The views of Jesus about the law, notably those he vocalized about the Sabbath, were radical. His ‘but I say to you’ approach was conveniently overlooked by his opponents, stamping him as a revolutionary. He was anomos, against the law and thus regarded as a criminal. On the other hand, many of those well-versed in the law were of the opinion that in his teachings Jesus had placed himself above the Torah - the Mosaic law. He was innovative and typified as a rebel against convention. To preserve things as they were, was far from his mind. Adolf Holl (Jesus in bad Company, 1972:34) aptly summarized the impact of our Lord that few emulated as effectively as Count Zinzendorf: ‘...Jesus was a social outsider and that this followed logically from his doctrine of renewal. The radical nature of his thought brought him into conflict with the society in which he lived and by whose standards his own behaviour was considered beyond the law': We have a law and by that law he ought to die (John 19:7). Even in his death he hung between two robbers, in the terminology understood by everyone as gorilla fighters, terrorists.  He was thus stamped as a rebel fighter.

The Almighty as Father and Mother
Even though the Bible reflects the male dominance of the ancient society, Isaiah does describe how God wants to console us like a mother (66:13). In a similar way our Lord spoke motherly about Jerusalem: ‘...How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings, but you would not let me’ (Matthew 23:37). Even Paul, who is definitely not revered by feminists, wrote how ‘we should behave like God’s very own children, adopted into the bosom of his fam­ily,’ and a little further he said the creation is in labour, in pain before giving birth to the revelation of the children of God (Romans 8:15,19). The imagery of ‘bosom’ and ‘giving birth’ are female qualities which definitely allude to the picture of God as a mother.
            We have already highlighted how Jesus gave dignity to the despised of his society, a category to which women in general and prostitutes in particular, belonged. All the Gospels depict that it is exactly with this sort of women that our Lord socialized. In an earlier chapter we saw how a widow - another one of those nothings of their society - was spotlighted as an example of sacrifi­cial giving. That Jesus actually asked into the multitude who had touched him, probably knowing full well that a woman with a blood haemorrhage would own up to it (Mark 5:24ff), was revol­utionary for his day. He not only allowed this ritually unclean person to touch him, but he also proceeded to praise her for her faith. The example of our Lord’s deal­ings with the Samaritan woman in John 4 - to whom we have repeatedly referred - surely is a perfect example for questioning prevailing customs actively.

Courage of Women
Again and again the ‘weaker sex’ have been displaying exceptional courage when the chips were down. Women are rarely mentioned in the Bible. No wonder there is something special about those who do feature. Three females who defied the mighty of the wicked Egyptian King at the time of the birth of Moses are only mentioned by name once. They represented fearlessness and courage of the highest order. About the two Hebrew midwives, Shiprah and Puah, who defied the king’s orders after he had ordered them to kill all baby boys, we read: ‘But the midwives  feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live’ (Exodus 1:17). The next virtually unknown but courageous woman in the tragic saga was Jochebed, the mother of Moses who hided him for three long months before devising the plan with the basket on the river Nile.
            Three women are mentioned in the Lord’s ancestry in Matthew 1. What really distinguished Rahab and Ruth was that they were prepared to risk all for their faith in the God of Israel. When Naomi returned to the Land with Ruth, they came to Bethlehem (the “House of Bread”) and it was the beginning of the barley harvest. In Hebrew, the spiritual significance of the barley harvest can be expressed as the “beginning of miracles.” Rahab is celebrated in Hebrews 11: 31 as one of the heroes of faith. The life of Ruth and Rahab are images and foreshadows of one of the greatest ‘mysteries of the Messiah,’ the breaking down of the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile in Yeshua, who was a descendant of King David (Ephesians 2:11-3:1-7). Tamar, the only other female mentioned among the impressive list of Jesus’ ancestors, had the courage to challenge Juda because of his promise to let his youngest son marry her. She proceeded with a rather strange action, masquerading like a prostitute (Genesis 38:11-30). The young Esther displayed extraordinary wisdom, first of all in sensing that the venture to go to the king without His invitation was a case of all or nothing. On the other hand, her courageous faith made her willing to put her life on the line.
            It was very risky for the anonymous Samaritan woman to concede that she had socialized with a Jew at the cultic explosive well of Jacob. Women belonged to the Lord’s most dedicated followers who stood with him to the end, right up to His cruci­fixion. (When the chips were down, the disciples fled in all directions.[34])
At the crucifixion itself, only John is mentioned along with four women, three Miriams (Marys) and Salome. This is quite remarkable when one takes into account that a woman was not regarded as a reliable witness in those days.
And when the disciples had already returned to the order of the day after the traumatic occurrences leading to the cruci­fixion, the faithful women went to the grave. Mary Magdalene - who had formerly been demon-possessed (Luke 8:2) - was the first evangelist of the resurrec­tion according to the Gospel of John (20:18).[35] Luke’s Gospel is in this sense equally remarkable. To entrust the resurrection Gospel message to women, whose word in those days had no authority in a court of law, was completely extra-ordinary. Lydia, a Gentile businesswoman, regarded as the first documented Europian convert to Christianity, became God’s instrument to start the first house church in Europe (Acts 16:14ff).

The Equality of Men and Women
The equality of men and women is shown by the leadership of the threesome Moses, Aaron and Miriam when Israel moved through the desert. God clearly appointed Moses as the first among equals. But before they left Egypt, God used Aaron as his mouth-piece (Exodus 4:14; 5:1). The principle of a leader amongst equals is clearly put forward when Miriam and Aaron had diffi­culty to accept Moses’ marriage to a North African (Numbers 12:1ff). They were severely repri­manded, even to the extent that Miriam became leprous. We could ask why Aaron was not punished as well, but it is significant that Moses had allowed Miriam to be part of the leadership team in the first place. For those days this was surely quite revolutionary.
            Deborah is another case in point. She was the leader of Israel at a time when the people of Israel were in complete disarray. Men were not fulfilling the leadership role. In fact, when she approached Barak to lead the army, he only wanted to do it if she went along. This is in spite of the fact that she gave him the assurance on behalf of the Lord that he would achieve the victory (Judges 4:6-8). Deborah also demonstrates that marital status does not disqualify for leadership in God’s view. She was a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth and the acknowledged leader (Judges 4:4,5). Miriam on the other hand was part of the leading threesome as a single woman.
            That neither sex nor age is the issue, but rather obedience to God, is shown by the wonderful way in which Esther and her uncle Mordechai are used in tandem to save the Jews from extinction. Esther herself displays extraordinary wisdom, first of all in sensing that the venture to go to the king without His invitation was a case of all or nothing. She was no indi­vidualist, but knew that this had to be in conjunction with her people, she had to have the prayerful support of her people. She prayed and fasted with them.
            A servant girl, who had been taken along as a captive, became God’s instrument to point Naaman, the Aramaic army officer, to Elisha as a prophet of God (2 Kings 5). In the enfolding story, Naaman got healed only after he obeyed the instructions of the prophet.

Serious Errors of the Early Church
In recent decades there has been increased interest in the feats of the Assyrian-Nestorian Church such as the possibility of a special ministry by widows during the first centuries of the outreach from places like Baghdad and Babylonia. The prohibition of widows to baptise men in that region points to the fact that they could have baptised women before that.
            Unfortunately, the early medieval church went overboard when the mother of our Lord received more reverence than what the Bible ascribes to her. The main influence at this time was the idolatry associated with the pattern of other worship habits of the Orient. Isis and As­tarte were mother gods which were worshipped by surrounding nations.
            The Coptic Church of Egypt possibly came into existence through the evangelistic outreach of Mark in Alexandria. The denomination, which dates their establishment as 63 AD, retained the high regard for the mother without elevating her status into something semi-divine. When the Church Council at Ephesus in 431 CE started to call the mother of our Lord theotokos, the God-bearer, the intention was still basically good. The rank and file Christian was soon however speaking of Mary as ‘the mother of God’ with an effect that was catastrophic. Not only did it result in a veneration of Mary, which led to worship of her at the cost of her Son, but it also caused a major split in the church.
            Two other doctrines about Mary which are not taught in Scripture, viz. the immaculate conception of Mary and her ascension, are not discussed here. What I regard as much more serious is that the basic tenet which the Bible teaches - that women are equals in the sight of God - has been undermined by the special position attributed to Mary. This has given reason for feminists to make an issue out of something that never should have attained such importance.
            Even though the Hebrew Scriptures were written and passed on at a time when women had little to say or to contribute, there are some examples of remarkable initiatives by women who listened primarily to God.
            The creation story was possibly abused more than anything else, quoting the Bible in a fundamentalist way to ‘prove’ the inferiority of women. A closer look at the narrative will show that it is too simplistic to say that because Eve was deceived, she has to get the prime blame.[36] The Bible defi­nitely does not teach slavish obedience. In fact, it teaches that we should not follow others in sinful behaviour. If anything, Adam should have refused to be taken along this path of disobedience. That Abraham conceded to the ‘nagging’ of Sarah - leading to the conception of Ishmael - can likewise also be seen as failure on the part of Abraham. A closer examination of Genesis 12-16 shows that Sarah’s behaviour could also be interpreted as a test of Abraham’s faith. Chapter 15 depicts how God had confirmed His promise through a covenant!

Marriage as God's Model of Unity
The creation of male and female in parity has a special ingredient. It is a model of divine unity. God created man and woman in His image (Genesis 1:28). Paul describes marriage in turn as an image of the relationship between Christ and the Church.
           In the same vein, the functions and mutual relationship of the persons of the Holy Trinity can be viewed. The different entities in this relationship are equal but different. The Father is the primus inter pares, the first among equals. They perform functions that are different to each other. In loving submission the Son gets his instructions from the Father but he is also guided by the Holy Spirit.
           It is no wonder that the arch enemy perverted and distorted the biblical model throughout history. Similarly, husband and wife are enjoined to supplement each other with their unique divine gifting. By nature the husband should use his usual superior strength for protection and support and the wife must assist him by her emotional and intuitional divine gifting. To understand submission as the result of lording and oppression is a demonic distortion. Similarly, the abuse of physical or emotional strength for the hurting of spouses or using any superiority for manipulation and seduction are both diabolic pervertion of God's intention for marriage.

No Points Scoring please!      
But this sort of argumentation could lead us into a less fruitful frame of mind, namely that of points scoring. If one tends to be fundamental­ist about these things, it might be more helpful to note that the second creation narrative depicts Eve as being taken from the rib, not the sole. The man was not intended to stand dictatorially on top of his wife, but rather to rule sovereignly together with her over nature. They were created, ‘gelijkwaardig, maar niet gelijkaar­dig’ (different, but equal in worth).
            This view is nowhere revolutionary. St Paul had already said something similar. Unfortunately he had put it in the context of his starkly culture-coloured view of headgear for women, where loose hair of women conjured up the prostitutes of Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 11 he described it as a sign that she is under man’s authority (v.7, 9). However, if we look more closely at the context, we discover that Paul stated that the first woman was made out of man, with the conclusion: Eve was made for Adam. But some feminists tend to overlook what he said in the same context. Not only ‘man’s glory is the woman’ (v.7) but also ‘remember that in God’s plan men and women need each other. For although the first woman came out of man, all men have been born from women ever since, and both men and women come from God their Creator’ (v.12).
            But even Paul was not completely new on the subject. He was simply following the line of Jewish scriptural tradition where the relationship of the husband to his wife seems to be depicted as a case of primus inter pares: in a marriage rela­tion­ship the man should be the first among equals. When the husband does not fulfill this role properly - due to whatever circum­stances - the woman has the responsibility to take over the leading role. A logical inference is that this should also be the case in the church. The examples of Miriam and Deborah in the Hebrew Scriptures indicate that Paul would have done well to state his vision of female leadership and prayer in the church less categorical­ly. The Bible does seem to indicate that the psycho­logical set-up of women make them more open to influ­ences on the emotional level.
            The example of Abraham and Sarah does however give some positive hints to a good marriage relationship. The Bible notes specifically that Abraham agreed to the compromise with Hagar after they had already been in Canaan for ten years. It has often been overlooked that Abraham listened to his wife’s frustrations, they were communicating! This is much more than many modern couples do. The only problem was that our vener­able arch father listened more to her than to God. He should have given the lead, reminding her of the confirmation of the promise of off-spring.

The Emotional Strength of Women
The emotional overlap of women can be used positively or negative­ly. Men tend to be more rational. That these statements are not hard and fast rules, is underlined by Scrip­ture. God looks at people individually, sometimes cutting across the general trend of things. If Eve was the one to be led astray first in the one account; Lot, a man, was the one in another when he was deluded to choose for the greener pastures. On the other hand, Sarah found the suggestion of a baby in their old age laughable on rational grounds at a time when Abraham was still hanging on in irrational belief in a prom­ise. Also, his faith that God could bring the dead back to life (Romans 4:17; Hebrews11:18) was com­pletely irrational.
            That Rebecca was misled by disbelief, doubting that God could see to it himself to fulfill his promise (which coincided with her own preference for Jacob) cuts across the prejudice that men are more rationally inclined, but her emo­tional bond to Jacob supports the same theory from the other side. She deemed it necessary to give God a helping hand.
            However, the actions of Abigail (1 Samuel 25), display evidence of a sharp mind. She showed respect to her husband, even though this meant that she had to do something behind his back. We note that her behaviour is praised by David. The Bible does not support the slavish obedience of wives to their husbands. In fact, we see another principle at work. When the husband does not lead properly, the woman has the responsi­bility to correct him in a discreet way. Thus Abigail upheld the dignity of her husband although he had acted foolish­ly.
            The Bible makes it very clear that faith is not the prerogative of men. In fact, the non-Jewish women mentioned in the ancestry of our Lord in Matthew 1, distin­guished themselves through their faith in Yahweh, the God of Israel. Even though Rahab was a whore who belonged to Israel’s enemies before they took over Jericho, she got a vision of His power (Joshua 2:8ff). Ruth, a Moabite, qualifies to become an ancestor of the Messiah primarily through her faith(fullness).

The issue of marriage and family life should also be addressed in this chapter. It is possibly not realized sufficiently that the family unit and the fidelity between husband and wife are biblical priorities. In ancient history - and very especially so in the history of the Middle East - Israel has been the excep­tion with regard to the emphasis on family life. The meaning of the family, the sacredness of marriage and the care for children are central biblical concepts.
            Israel was taught to refrain from marrying the peoples of Canaan. The reason given was the temptation to fall into idolatry. It became especially clear with the immediate result of the women which Solomon ‘married’.
            However, even at the time of the inception of the prohib­ition, the racial issue was never at stake. Although Miriam and Aaron were not happy that Moses had taken an African wife, from God’s side there was evidently no sanction on this fact as such (Numbers 12:1ff). In stead, the rebellious siblings were repri­manded by God because they would not accept Moses’ leadership. It seems that nationalism does play a role with them, but biblically it is clearly a non-issue. (In fact, Jonah was rebuked for his nationalism.) This is further proved when Rahab and Ruth are included in the salvation history without any ado.
            Christians should really come up in opposition when inroads are made into marriages. In the narrative of the Samaritan woman we see how our Lord used infidelity in a posi­tive way. In stead of condemning her out of hand, he clearly put his finger healingly on that part of her life, which caused all her problems.
             Similarly, the best way to handle the sexual vices of our day is probably not to demonstrate against pornography and the rest. It is much better to take the own family as a high priority. An investment in time for the own children, where the contentious issues are discussed, will save much distress for parents and guardians. The older generation should give an example in transpar­ency and honesty in their dealings. Empty promises may turn out to boomerang harshly! A stable hospit­able family is possibly one of the best mission­ary tools, when the family can operate as a loving entity. Converse­ly, if the life at home is lacking, the impact of evangelistic outreach is effectively blunted in the spiritual realm.
            A special tribute should be made to the movement of the Promise Keepers which challenged men, initially quite dramatically in the USA. Since its spread around the world, fathers were encouraged to play their biblical role in the family. Two of their seven commitments refer to family life and biblical morality. A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical and sexual purity and to ‘building strong marriage and families through love, protection and biblical values’. Also in South Africa Promise Keepers grew initially. Peter Pollock, a cricketing Springbok of yesteryear, became its able spokesman in South Africa. It seems howeer to have petered out at the Cape. The Alpha courses, which originated in Brit­ain and the Willow Creek church model, were initially intended as modern evangelistic tools.[37] The spin-off is more stable families and a return to biblical values. The combination of these movements augurs well for the future. The question is only how general this trend will become.

            In respect of family life the Herrnhut model can never be idealised. Many children suffered terribly under the separation after being sent back to Germany for their education. The Streiter-Ehe (warrior marriage), which Count Zinzendorf practised, was a catastrophe. His long absence from his family as he traveled through Europe and abroad, caused almost unbearable strain and pain. It was no secret that he and Erdmuth had grown cool towards each other and that the last fifteen years of their marriage was one in name only. 

Celibacy should also be addressed at this stage. In Protestant circles this is usually not taken seriously. In fact, it has often occurred that single ministers were looked upon as some rare breed. It is too easily forgotten that Jesus viewed it differently, as some­thing which is positive (Matthew 19:11). Paul likewise raised celibacy to something which one should strive after (1 Corin­thians 7:9ff). Thus both Jesus and Paul proposed marriage as a concession rather than as a must. The purpose of celibacy is the extension of the Kingdom (Matthew19­:11), towards the com­plete committal to the things of God (1 Corinthians 7:32). But neither our Lord nor Paul expected all evangel­ists and preachers of the Gospel to practise celibacy. Biblically, the situation is thus quite clear; whosoever comes to faith in Jesus when he is already married should stay that way. But if one can manage to stay unmarried, he/she should not rush into a marriage. The tendency to elevate celibacy to a special status, yes even as a qualification for service in the Church - has created more problems than it solved. Even though it is nowadays primarily practised in the Roman Catholic denomination, the Church universal should remember that the practice was started at a time when the Body of Christ was not split as Catholics and Protestants. We should guard ourselves against arrogance and a spirit of criti­cism! Free from marital commitments, single people could theoretically do so much more.
            Even though Paul mentioned that celibacy is something to be strived for, he picked up an important tenet of our Lord’s teaching, namely that the Church is the ‘wife’ of the Lord in an analogical marriage relationship. In Ephesians 5 a deep mystery is revealed: Christ as the head of the Church. In various parables (for example explicitly the ten virgins in Matthew 25, but also allusions like Matthew 9:15 and the parable of the right cloth­ing at the wedding), our Lord compared his second coming to a marriage.

The Church as the Bride
Comenius, the great Czech theologian, believed that followers of Jesus should not passively await the return of the Lord and his sovereign rule of peace, but that Christians are called to erect signs to usher in that reign. Van der Linde (1979:60) summarized his eschatology with ‘Babel goes, Zion comes’. Every inch a chiliast, Comenius believed that Jesus will reign on earth after his second coming for a thousand years. He believed that Babel typifies the building of all sorts of towers - man working without reckoning with God. Comenius held that all this will be terminated at the return of Jesus and the beginning of His reign. That is equal to Zion, the run-up to the new Jerusalem, where there will be neither injustice nor tears.
It is interesting that John the Baptist described himself as the friend of the Bridegroom (John 3:29). This fits in with what Paul and the Book of Revelation said about Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride (Ephesians 5:22, 2 Corinthians 11: 2, Revelations 19:7, 21:2+9, 22:17). It also cements the deity of Christ. In the Hebrew Scriptures, Israel has been repeatedly described as God’s bride (for example Exodus 34:15; Ezekiel 16; Hosea 2:19ff). When the disciples of John united with the Pharisees at another occasion to get an explanation of Jesus why His disciples do not fast, He referred to the presence of the bridegroom (Mark 2:19; Matthew 9:15).
            The eschatological dynamics of the forthcoming consummation of the marriage of the Church with its bridegroom, our coming King, has not been generally recognized – I believe at our own peril. The whole existence of the Church is at stake. Still, the outlook of Christians generally likens that of a widow. Of course, in a certain sense the Church is a widow through the death of our Lord on the Cross of Calvary. But the fact that the widow is to marry again must change matters of necessity.  Zinzendorf utilized this doctrinal tenet - the Church as the bride waiting for her bridegroom - as an important cata­lyst for missions. In fact, he built a whole theology around it, calling it the ‘Ehe-religion’ (marriage religion). The first fruit from all the nations have to be gathered in as the bride of the Lamb. We have already referred to the concept of warrior marriage, which formed an important ingre­dient of Zinzendorf’s ‘marriage religion’. Even though the notion was too philosophical and not fully comprehended by the simple lay people in the church, the pending second coming of the Lord did drive the Moravians into an urgency to bring in the first fruit. Towards the end of his life Zinzendorf emphasized missionary work as an effort to usher in the return of Christ. In the earlier years he just wanted to have a representative of every tribe, believing that to be a requirement for Christ’s return, one of the conditions (Matthew 24:14).
            It is not surprising that satan, the arch copy-cat, has to come up with a surrogate. God gave to Hosea and other prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures and John, the apostle, a vision how he will attempt to deceive millions before the return of our Lord. The prophet Hosea had to demonstrate the picture to His people, the Israelites, who were elected to be the divine bride. Instead, Israel, became the unfaithful wife, resembling a harlot, but God as the husband still loved and forgave her. In Revelations 12 this image is intimated when the woman brings forth the son, who was snatched up to God and his throne. The dragon, defined as satan, that ancient serpent who leads the world astray, is the antagonist, which inspires the beast that came out of the sea. The Church as the bride has it antipode in the woman of Revelations 17, Babylon, the mother of prostitutes and the Queen of Heaven. Oral tradition that is supported by recorded ancient history, mentions Semeramis, the wife of Nimrot, with their son, Tammus.  Semeramis was called the Queen of Heaven.  Speculation through the centuries equated the Queen of Heaven and Babylon of Revelations 17 with the Roman Catholic Church. Certain Christians speculated that this denomination could be leading an inter-faith type of world church that would link up with the Beast, which is biblically identified with the anti-Christ. This has been fuelled by historical facts of recent decades.  The increase of the killing and persecution of followers of Jesus by people who have been intoxicated, poisoned and ‘drunk’ from indoctrination by religious fanatics, has been bringing Revelations 17 into partial fulfilment. The formation of a world church has became more and more of a possibility as Church people in Western Europe and North America become less and less willing to criticize religious extremism.
On the other hand, we are impoverishing ourselves when we neglect the teach­ing of the second coming. It is not surpris­ing that there is such confusion about the details of the coming of the bride­groom of the Church. The arch enemy knows what a power could ema­nate from this tenet if the Church starts to take the fact of the return of our Lord seriously. In every major religious awaken­ing this played an important role.

The Practice of the Lot
The practice of the lot has very much a place in the frame-work of Zinzendorf’s warrior marriage, where romantic feelings were not part of the ball game. Young people were recommended to each other by the elders of the fellowship and then the lot was consulted to confirm the match.
            Zinzendorf has probably not been fairly treated by later generations with regard to the practice. (We have to concede that the private lot, which the Count exer­cised in many a case, was quite problematic.) That the practice of the lot was later discarded, however overlooks the fact that the Count had the courage to take the Bible seriously on this matter. He may have overstated the case because the lot is definitely not central in the ‘New Testament’. However, Zinzendorf did make a point of it that the lot only had to be used in matters where serious consideration has preceded it and where they were really seeking the Lord’s mind. Furthermore, in the matters regarding marriage, the wives were not allocated randomly by lot. There was prior consulta­tion with the ladies in question. Beyreu­ther points furthermore to the fact that 18th century Herrnhut hardly knew a bad marriage and not a single case of divorce. The missionary advantage as prepara­tion for cultures where marriages are arranged by the parents and/or family, has also generally been overlooked. This should also give Westerners food for thought in the light of the general haughty attitude towards arranged marriages.

Homosexual­ity and Lesbianism
The Church must look seriously at the issue of homosexual­ity. Confession is really called for because of the legalistic uncharitable condemnation and condescend­ing attitude of the Church in general towards people affected by it. So many have been handicapped through circumstances in their sexual preferences. But this is no license to go to the other extreme, namely condoning what the Bible sees as sin. Many people, who developed a homosexual preference, have received healing to cope with it through a living faith in Jesus as their Lord.
            On the other hand, Western society has romanticised marriage disproportionately. Also in cases where couples have been led to each other in a special way, they have to continue working at their marriages. That matrimony is a workshop where results are proportionate to effort put into it, is not always sufficiently taught.
            Worldliness in the Church has become rife. The influence of soap opera’s has made infidelity and divorce a normal thing. Sex has been taken out of its proper biblical context, viz. that of a loving relationship in marriage. Even though the Bible candid­ly mentions sinful behaviour in this regard like adultery, fornication and homosex­uality, there is a clear scriptural sanction on these things.

Polygamy and Women in the Pulpit
Polygamy is a special case. In the Hebrew Scriptures there are many examples, but it is usually not mentioned positively. The ‘New Testament’ clearly outlaws it. In traditional societies such as in Africa, a legal­istic application of Scripture has estranged many a tribe from the Gospel. This has become one of the major causes for the estab­lishment of independent churches. Africans in leadership found it uncharitable to get rid of one or more of their wives on their acceptance of faith in Jesus Christ. The Pauline infer­ence about the church leader in a monogamous situation - to have one wife (1 Timothy 3:2+12; Titus 1:6) - may not be the per­fect way of address­ing certain cultures, but the injunc­tion of fidelity has eternal quality.
            In a similar way Paul’s expectation that the women should ‘keep their peace’ in the fellowship of believers, may radiate the culture of his day, but it is not completely fair to call him a woman hater as some feminists have done. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7+11 he for example addressed the believers with the rearing characteristics of both a mother and a father in the same context. For a purported woman-hater Paul wrote exceptionally positive about Phoebe (Romans 16:1f). He chose her to take the letter to the Romans to the half of Asia Minor, speaking about her as an elder, as someone who leads. In fact, in the whole of chapter 16 of this epistle Paul mentions quite a few women. Nowhere does one get the impression that he regarded them as second class Chris­tians. In fact, about Junia he noted reve­rently that she had been a Christian before him and she may even have been an apostle.[38] The positive references to the mother and grandmother of Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5) underline the general tendency in the ‘New Testament’ that some women do possess the gift to control big areas of responsibility, oversee their house­holds, educate people in the faith and spread the Gospel - all at the same time. There is also the implication in the Pauline writings that Priscilla and Aquila operated as a couple, the first evangelists mentioned who complimented each other. In commendable language Paul noted how they risked their lives for him and who were treasured by all Gentile Christians. Various commentaries take for granted that Priscilla may have played a leading role in the local assembly. Lydia, the saleslady was even divinely used to see the first house church planted, one at Philippi (Acts 16:14ff).
            It is significant that the church of Corinth had such confidence in Paul that they asked for his advice on matters of marriage although they knew that he was not married himself. He was not glibly lashing out at them, but answering their letter. Against this background 1 Corinthians 7 can be seen as a masterpiece of exceptional wisdom.

Female Leadership in Churches        
This should not hide the fact that the leadership in churches was kept away from women for centuries. As we have seen, the Hebrew Scriptures especially describe the role of female individuals in leadership roles and the ‘New Testament’ does also mention positively the contribution of people like Lydia and Priscilla. The dispropor­tionate number of men attending the fellow­ship in any particular church should however not be abused as an argument. The modern idea of ‘democracy’ is alien to the Bible. The issue should first and foremost be whether those in leadership are ‘wise and full of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 6:2) and ‘above reproach’ (1 Timothy 3:2,8,10).
            The Pauline norm and criterion that the church leader ‘must have a well-behaved family, with children who obey...’ (1 Timothy 3:4), might sound rather antiquated in our day and age. But where they have been adhered to, for example when office bearers stepped down when their children turned their back on God and His Word, this often turned out to become a blessing even for the children con­cerned. The fact of the matter is that those churches and leaders who endeavoured to adapt their life-style to the ‘New Testament’ norm, were blessed. Where it has been the other way round - for example with compromise on homosex­uality and morality - there has been a hollowing out of the scriptural authority in general, with catastrophic results. It has not become uncommon any more to hear of divorce and incest in the most unexpected quarters. Infectious diseases like AIDS have decimated many churches in Africa, partly because of infidelity. The lack of a strong biblical base in churches became fertile soil where the econ­omic deprivation enticed many into prostitution. If the adaptation to a life-style which contra­dicts the ‘New Testament’ mind-set continues unchecked, it will have predict­able disastrous conse­quences to family life. Or do we expect children to get hardened and immune to hurt? We should not be surprised when teenage suicide starts to rocket sky high! In some European countries like Sweden it has been happening already and the loose morals created by slogans like ‘be wise, condomise’ have contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of teenagers who have to cope with situations they are unable to handle.
            Repentance - a turn around - could start a positive upswing. A beginning has been made among students in the USA and also elsewhere. The AIDS scourge has spawned many teen­agers to refrain from pre-marital sexual intercourse. The movement True love waits made significant strides in evangelical circles.

Family Life
It is clear from every biblical reference to children that the creation intention was that they belong in the context of a family with a heterogeneous parental couple. We are not sur­prised at all that cases, where death caused a drastic change in this status, God ordained special care. The widow and the orphan were to be subjects of special protection (for example Deuteronomy 10:18; 24:19; Psalm 68:6).
            Our Lord Jesus has rightly been described as a friend of children. Without delving too deeply into the matter, we can generally state that the Bible takes children and stable family life for granted.
            However, we should be on our guard for deductions which are not biblical, but which developed from tradition. Thus the Bible nowhere gives an injunction that males should not be involved with the rearing of children. Sometimes even Bible translations helped to cement traditions which had no sound biblical basis. Thus Mark 10:13 nowhere states that mothers brought the children to our Lord, but the Living Bible happily translates "some mothers were bringing their children to Jesus..."
            Similarly, the practice that women usually do household chores or the tradi­tion in African culture that they should do the manual work in the fields, actually both go against the equality of the sexes - a position that Jesus radically demonstrated. Having said that, we should remember that there are also other traditions, which are very much in line with the general biblical message. Even if modern science were to develop methods whereby men would be able to bear children, this would be very unnatural. The natural inclination for a woman to resist ‘self-realization’ in career matters and rather stay at home to rear the off-spring until her children are big, is completely in accordance to the biblical ‘yes’ to stable family life. Dying to self is a biblical concept which has its origins in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is just as clear that ‘self-realization’ and materialism go hand in hand. Elsewhere we have noted that the latter concept, materialism, is synonymous to idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
            When it was customary in Pietist circles and society at large that women were confined to the kitchen and typical feminine roles, the mid-18th century practice of the Moravians superseded a negative view on submission: the wife was not only regarded to be an equal and a helpmate simultaneously, but in the synods women participated naturally without any discrimination. Only the pulpit remained in the hands of the males.

A Role for Widows and Singles
The Hebrew Scriptures clearly depict God’s care for the widow and the orphan. In line with his special concern for the down-trodden, Jesus highlighted their plight in a positive way, for example the widow that gave sacrificially and the praying widow of Luke 18.
            It seems as if the Early Church took this concern seriously, so much so that the Greeks had liberty to complain when their widows were overlooked (Acts 6). In Acts 9 we read of widows who benefited from Tabitha’s compassionate care for them and for the poor before her death.
            As we have pointed out, the early Assyrian Church appears to have had a ministry by widows, albeit that already in those early years the contribution of women seems to have been suppressed already. Church fathers, who otherwise made noteworthy contributions, unfortunately also aided the discrimination of females. Nevertheless, the good tradition which Jesus inaugurated and that Paul, the apostle, extended, appears to have been exported with the early missionary work of the Assyrian-Nestorian Church. Writing about the conversion of the Kerait to Christianity in 1007 CE, E.C.D. Hunter refers to the leading role of women in the political and dynastic history of the Il Khans (Zentralasiatische Studien, 1989/90).
            That Zinzendorf had a special role for widows and single men does not surprise us any more. We already noted how he appointed the gifted 15-year old Anna Nitschmann as leader over the unmarried womenfolk. There was a special Sunday not only for them, but also for the widow ‘choir’.
            A speciality of 18th century Herrnhut was the utilization of the gifts of people. Thus Martin Linner, who had proved himself as an elder of the single men at the age of seventeen, became one of the four chief elders although he was still in his twenties. On the other hand, the ability of Arved Gradin, a Swedish academic who had declined the call to a professorship at Uppsala university, was used to write down (in Greek) the contribution of Greek Orthodox monks in the establishment of the Church in Bohemia and Moravia. (This was part of an unsuccessful attempt of the Brethren to get into the Orient after their missionaries had been imprisoned in Russia (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914: 89).  
            Single parentage (after divorce or otherwise) is not ideal. But this may not to be construed as condoning a situation where the children are reared in an atmosphere of tension and strife.

... and Grandmothers
We read in the Bible what a blessing Timothy’s grandmother had been to him. In mission history the example of Count’s Zinzendorf’s grandmother, Henriette von Gersdorf, is unequalled. How a grandmother can have a positive influence on her off-spring, is amply illustrated in the life of Count Zinzendorf. The godly grand­mother, Henriette von Gersdorf, inculcated in the sensitive lad not only a love for the Sav­iour at a very young age, she also imparted a true ecumenical spirit (Beyreuther, 1965:17). The young Nikolaus Ludwig, whom she endearingly called Lutz, came into her care when he was only three years old. (After the death of his father – six weeks after his birth - his mother remarried. She travelled substantially thereafter with her new husband. Zinzendorf gave due recognition to her contribution: ‘I got the general guideline of my life from her: without her our whole thing (meaning Herrnhut, the Moravian Church and missions) would not have materialized.’) 
            When he was only four, the genial Lutz started preaching to chairs. He had hardly learned to write when he wrote letters to the Lord. (This is of special significance for South Africa where township grand­mothers often have to rear their off-spring.) That Henriette von Gersdorf had become a pioneer for secondary education for girls, surely rubbed off on the young count. He was clearly also influenced by her passion to see the Bible printed in the Serbian language as well as his grandmother’s support for refugees (Beyreuther, 1965:16).

            In South Africa a system has developed whereby child-neglect became part and parcel of the way of life as the care of children was left over to the grandmother. Teenage motherhood was condoned (perhaps even indirectly encour­aged!) when the state support became to many the sole income for the care of children. I definitely would not like to be quoted as putting a slur on the brave work of godly grand­mothers. But to simply perpetuate a tradition which is bad and morally despicable, is extremely irrespon­sible. This must be said very clearly.
            A more biblical approach would be to give incentives to families, for instance support for mothers (or fathers by way of exception) who stay at home to care for their children. For many this would mean a sacrifice in material advantage in a situation where both parents would work, but there is apt to be bless­ing. We should not ignore the heritage of the past where families were torn apart through legislation. The dis­ruption of family life and the ensuing encouragement of homo­sexuality in the male hostels is something we as a country should deplore and which we should confess. The ongoing violence is in part the indirect result of the racial policies of the past. Thousands of Blacks have never experienced normal family life. Having said this, the challenge remains for prayerful grandmothers to raise heroes and heroines under their care.

The Moravians and Family Life
It would be apt to close this chapter with the efforts of Zinzendorf and his Moravians to address some of the issues under discussion. As a teenager he became the natural spiritual leader of the order of the mustard seed, which consisted of five youngsters from the nobility. Inspired by what he had heard of what English noblemen had been doing among the poor, the stated intention of the mustard seed ‘knights’ was to spread the Gospel far and wide.
            We note that this took place at a time when mission work was far from common in Protestant circles. Zinzendorf was privileged and blessed to have attended the boarding school in Halle linked to August Herman Francke, the Pietist Church Father. There he was impacted by the first missionaries who were sponsored by the Danish monarch. The reports of the missionaries Heinrich Plütschau and B. Ziegenbalg in Halle about their ministry in India notably impacted the sensitive but devout teenager.
            Beyreuther also wrote how the family life of the Ebers­dorf believers and their silent walk with the Lord influenced the Count profoundly, as he was returning from his cavalier trip (Beyreuther, 1965:225/6). It is hardly surprising that he invited the devout Erdmuth from that environs to become his spouse.
            The count’s support for the underdog and the perse­cuted was likewise passed on some years down the road, when his own children paved the way for the children of beggars to receive elementary education in the castle of Ronneburg at a time when they themselves were refugees.
            The Count married Erdmuth after a romantic disappointment. He had to discover that he had a rival in his close friend Heinrich von Reuß for the hand of the beautiful Theodore.[39] The way he handled the first disap­pointment was typical of the unique way in which he could tackle a problem. After his friend Heinrich showed up as a competing suitor, he left Theodore over to him. At their wedding ceremony Zinzendorf offered a moving prayer and after the death of Heinrich many years later, the widow came to Herrnhut as a stalwart in the widows’ choir, where she could count on the support of the spiritual leader of the settlement.
            Zinzendorf entered his own marriage more out of rational considerations than romantic feelings, calling it a ‘Streiter-ehe’, a warrior marriage. The Count was very serious about the issue, often leaving his wife behind for many months as he left on his extended trips to further the Kingdom.
            A slur hung over Zinzendorf’s second marriage, a mere week after the mourning year elapsed after the death of Erdmuth in June 1756. Already in 1742 a sickly Erdmuth had suggested that he should marry Anna Nitschmann should she die. But it was not to Zinzendorf’s honour that the second marriage was kept a secret because he knew that his mother and her sister who would have objected to such a marriage.[40] Yet, Moravians in general never gave the impression that they regarded Zinzendorf as a saint without errors.

Morality and Sexual Equality in Herrnhut and Herrnhaag
On morality a fine balance was taught. The Count had a definite sense for freedom, but he would not hesitate to lash the guilty ones severely when lack of discipline occurred, especially in the area of sex. On the other hand, the statutes of Herrnhut clearly contrasted the practice of the environment: ‘The men were not to treat their wives harshly or even beat them.’ But this was finely balanced by the biblical injunction: ‘...wives should submite to their hus­bands in everything’ (Ephesians 5:24) The Herrnhut practice however superseded a negative view on submission: the wife was to be an equal and an aid. The relationship between a married couple would be like that between a king and a queen (Beyreuther, 1965:72).
         The Count and the Moravians would speak frankly about sexual matters because it was seen as natural. Prudery was out-lawed. Zinzendorf saw this as necessary preparation for mission­aries who would see ‘half-naked’ black women on the field. And the sisters should be equipped to ‘go among naked wild men’ (Beyreuther, 1965:73). Thus a unique freedom, a new relation­ship between the sexes could develop.
         At the same time, a new status was given to the women and girls in a society which was dominated by men. In the female ‘choirs’ they could really develop all their potential, also that of leadership. In the synods the women were given the right to participate and to vote, really revolutionary for those days  (Beyreuther, 1965:75).
         The Moravians were following in the footsteps of their Master with regard to the role of women in a society which was very much discriminatory towards the ‘weaker sex’. In an earlier chapter we have already noted how they were the first to give regular encouragement and recognition to women as hymn writers. The women were exhorted to use their gifts at every appropri­ate occasion. At a time when it was not usual to give educational opportu­nities to girls, the Moravians had dormitories for both sexes. How­ever, they stuck to Paul’s prohibition with regard to preach­ing.
         Through the use of the lot the single women were sent to the various mission fields around the globe. The practice of missionary kids might not have been the ideal solution. The Herrnhut children and those in the hostels of Niesky and Kleinwelka were challenged from a very young age to get involved with the mission work on a practical level. Many a permanent scar occurred however, especially when mission work became traditional, when the Moravian evangelical flame waned.

The Legacy of the Spirit of the Moravians   
Nevertheless, the earlier mission spirit filtered through until well into the 20th century. The Moravians pioneered missionary work in Tibet, where a traditional marriage by the lot played no mean role.[41] On the issue of African children’s education and polygamy Traugott Bachmann, a German Moravian to Africa, made some daring suggestions, writing quite positively about the African customs.[42] On the other hand, Bachmann also wrote honestly about the debt the colonialists were incurring, a debt that later indeed back-fired. Bachmann also listened critically to the sermons of the missionaries. It was definitely the old spirit of Zinzen­dorf coming through as he observed: ‘so much is preached of sin as a force, as a chain, as lust and so little about the complete victory of the Saviour over sin for the heart to open up on hearing it.’[43]
            The spirit of the Moravians was taken over by people like William Carey, Hudson Taylor and C.T. Studd. The marriage of Charles Studd and his wife Priscilla - the founders of WEC - took the issue of sacrifice in marriage to the extreme. The pioneer worked in the heart of Africa for years while she conducted missionary matters from the home front in Britain. Her health would not allow service in the tropics, but she did come to Africa, also to Cape Town - to rally support for the missionary effort.
            We may have little understanding to-day that the mission­ary pioneers could live in separation for many years as part of their sacrifice for the Lord. But basically it was the same warrior mentality. In fact, C.T. Studd had only disdain for Christians who shied away from the harsh missionary front. He called them ‘chocolate soldiers’ who would melt in the heat of the battle.

            In the previous century especially, women have been the advance guard of almost all evangelical mission agencies. Even to-day the so-called weaker sex can be found in dangerous geographical areas doing Bible translation. All too often females are also doing hard manual labour under great deprivation. Women are now generally accepted in all capacities, also in leadership roles. South African women, especially those from the traditionally deprived groups, have developed a capacity to fight against odds. This has been amply illustrated by the reports on the sessions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commis­sion a few years ago. If we can get our act together, women from their ranks should be ideally suited - together with their male counterparts - to lead a new gener­ation of missionaries from the Black continent.

Food for Thought:
Can women participate fully with all their gifts in our church?
Or is leadership still being regarded as the domain of the men?
Can men who like to do catering, or things which are traditional­ly regarded as women’s tasks, perform these things in freedom or would they be hampered, overtly or silently in our congregation?
What can we do to liberate our church from traditions which have enslaved church members in sexist roles?

And some Ideas:
In male-dominated churches the members may have to be re-educated on what the Bible really teaches. Much of the filtered teaching which developed in male-dominated cultures may have to be discarded. Steps which could help to move away from old traditions may be: Shorter sermons by more than one person by a male and a female, by young and old; even teenagers and children could make good contributions.

Where do we go from here?
If South Africa is to become radically new - from the roots - prayer will have to play a vital role. The country can then proceed to be pivotal in the erection of a clear sign of the reign of our coming King, the Lord of Lords and the Prince of Peace. A first step could be that Christians from different cultural and church backgrounds should come together to pray at regular intervals. May we see the beginning of such a beseeching of God’s face to turn our land into a country which may become a blessing to the nations! It is a shame that more than a century after Andrew Murray gave us The Key to the missionary problem, we still have to make proper use of it, to unlock the door to the white harvest.
            It is surely a good thing that all over the country half nights of prayer are being held from time to time. Here and there these meetings also straddle man-made boundaries of church affiliation and race, but the visible unity in Christ is not yet evident. A prayerful conscious effort is needed.
            The Cape Peninsula has a tragic church infrastructure. The present links of the Consultation of Christian Churches in the Western Cape should not be allowed to peter out. Sunday evening/afternoon services and mid-week prayer meetings offer valuable opportunities to give a face to the theory of the ‘one body’ if churches could start to organize combined services and prayer meetings locally. White, ‘Coloured’ and Indian Christians should go out of their way to offer fellowship to the brothers and sisters in the Black communities of the Cape. Occasionally - for example once a month on a Sunday afternoon - one or more common services could be held in Black townships with transport arranged for those who want to go there. In similar vein the monthly concerts of prayer – now held at the Bethel Bible School in Crawford - should be publicized better, but a change of venue and/or transport to the event could be considered to enable the less affluent parts of our society to attend more easily.
            The theological education should also be brought into line. It was not so long ago that there were too many struggling Bible Schools in the Cape Peninsula, with minimal mutual contact and in some cases absolutely none. There was (and still is) a complete wastage of manpower (person power?) with various lecturers teaching the same sub­jects at similar levels to small classes. Could not there be at least co-operation where the doctrinal differences are mini­mal? And where the differences are expected to be greater, should there not be at least a frank but amiable sharing of ideas? Or are we still guided by fear of contamination in some way? Could we not regard the doctrinal differences as a challenge to get to real unity? A common goal could possibly go a long way to this end.
            This is definitely a possibility of exciting inter-action with Muslim academics. The back-drop of mutual traditional tolerance with the followers of Muhammad is a fact of life in the Western Cape. But times are changing. In stead of shunning the con­frontation, should we not rather use the tradition of mutual tolerance to get into meaningful dialogue with the metropolitans of the other faiths? Willingness to be vulnerable seems to be a prerequisite. That should include a readiness to express regret for wrong attitudes and the misleading of Muhammad by our Christian forbears. Of course, this poses a challenge to us as well. We are apt to learn much from them and we may also have to rethink our own faith quite well. This may not always be easy but it will definitely be worthwhile. Why don’t we see it as a privilege to have such a heritage of tolerant co-existence? On the long run we may even become a blessing to many other countries where adherents from different religions are at loggerheads. But we shall not get there by evading frank inter-action. Yet, it is so easy to create antagonisms which may spawn an atmosphere of tension. In stead, we could try to show more solidarity with Christians who have come from Muslim backgrounds, for example by organizing house services on Fridays. It is sometimes too easily taken for granted that these converts should attend church services on a Sunday, for some of them quite a hurdle to take.
            A much better way - something for which Muslims might even be thankful - to do ‘Muslim Outreach’ is through loving practical service. Two facets where there are great problems among their ranks are family life and drug addiction. Seminars at neutral venues on relations within the family, where it could be made very practical how faith in our Lord Jesus is the solution, have been readily attended even by Muslims. Telephone lines, which one can dial for prayer, are used quite extensively by people from all religious backgrounds including Muslims, because of its anonymity. The establishment of more drug rehabilita­tion centres based on Christian principles is something which is desperately needed.
            Last not least, the Church should get to grips with the situation of the homeless. Recognition is given for what is already being done to finance sleeping and eating opportun­ities for this growing group of unfortunate people. But there is first and foremost the need of Christians who are willing to share there lives existentially with these folk for whom the Lord also died. If one realizes that a young man, son of an alcoholic, who grew up as little more than a problem child in a shanty of Steenberg, has now been working for many years as a missionary in England, the potential of ‘investment’ of energy and time on this level, gets a new dimension. Possibly an even greater model in this regard is Wilson Goeda, a destitute and terribly exploited farm worker, who in his teenage years became a gangster and drug addict. He now is the President of YWAM South Africa.
            The new South Africa offers many opportunities if the spirit of co-operation, that has started to develop, grows in the direction of a servant attitude. Those from the non-White races (I dare to use such a term again) who had been critical of ‘hand outs’, have become more willing to accept material aid from ‘Whites’. Unfortunately, so many have been falling too willingly into an unhealthy attitude of dependency. Issues like sustainability and the dependency syndrome are all too often overlooked in rendering assistance. We must strike while the iron is hot. In the metropolitan areas of South Africa, there are more pastors and churches than are needed in terms of good stewardship. Should we not also think in terms of ‘exporting’ our ablest men to areas of the world where there is dire need in terms of the spreading of the Gospel and closing down churches consciously towards this purpose? Taking into account the strategic role of our country at this time in history, South African Christians of all shades should drop petty differ­ences. Instead, we should take world mission seriously by utilizing the attributes of all the peoples at our disposal.

            But there is a serious threat for the realization of this vision. The moral decline which has set in since 1994 could nullify what has been achieved by the combined prayer of God’s people. A serious word of warning is definitely in place. It is a fallacy to think that we can help the poor through funds which come from gambling. We would be building on sand if we think that we can build our nation on such a foundation. What is needed is a strategy of structuring the nation on sound biblical principles, on premises which can stand the test of moral scrutiny. As one of the pillars there should be an emphasis to kindle healthy family life where God’s Word receives its rightful place.
            Where do we start? I suggest that the urgent need for the moment is to turn to God in prayer. How our country came back from the brink of civil war should never be forgotten. We were saved from a bloodbath of enormous dimensions through the combined prayer of Christians. Now however we have a Trojan horse in our midst. The moral degradation that was made fashionable under the guise of ‘democra­cy’, is quickly gnawing away at what has been gained through the peaceful elections and the fairly success­ful transition period. The only way to arrest this tendency is to turn anew to God, to mobilize prayer to this effect. Let us take Andrew Murray’s advice to heart: ‘The first step in returning to God for true service and real blessing, is always confession... (On) the leaders ... rests the solemn duty of lifting up their voices and making God’s people know their sin’ (Murray, 1979:39). From there the desire to pray for the evangelization of the unreached could flow naturally. Let’s listen to Andrew Murray once again in conclusion: ‘Until Christians are led to listen, and think, and pray for opened eyes to look upon these fields, “white unto the harvest,” ... they never will recognize the greatness of the work, their own unprepared­ness, or the urgent need of waiting for divine power to equip them for the task. As we take this in, we shall confess how little the Church has done. The guilt and shame resting on the body of Christ, will become the Lord’s burden on us’ (Cited by Choy, 1979:39f).
            Little has changed since these uncomplimentary words were written. The truth of it is just as valid. What are we going to do with it? Eileen Vincent, a British visitor to our country suggested in 1986 in her book I will heal their land,  that  ‘South Africa is not only rich in gold dug from the mines but in faith that has been tested and tried... and proven to be more valuable than fine gold.’ Are we going to leave the ‘gold’ in the earth, or are the Christians going to dig the ‘gold’ out, so that missionaries from our subcontinent can get to the ripe white fields in signifi­cant numbers?

Selected Bibliography

August, Karel Thomas – Die Kruisteologie van Zinzendorf, UWC, Bellville, 1985
Beck, Hartmut - Brüder unter den Völkern, Verlag der Evang.-Lutheran Mission, Erlangen (Germany),1981
Bettenson, Documents of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, 1967(1943)
Beyreuther, Erich - Der Junge Zinzendorf, Francke Buchhandlung, Marburg/Lahn, 1957,     
- Beyreuther, Studien zur Theologie Zinzendorfs, (Neukirchener Verlag, 1962)
 - Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten,
                                    (Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Reinbeck (Germany) 1965
Bosch, David J - Goeie Nuus vir armes ... en rykes, UNISA, Pretoria, 1990
                        - Transforming Mission, Orbis books, November 1993          
Brother Andrew - A Time for Heroes, Kingsway Publications, Eastbourne, (1989 [1988])
                        God’s Smuggler, ??,1998 (??)
                        Building in a broken World, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, 1981
                        Light Force, the only hope for the Middle East, Open Doors International, London, 2004
Du Plessis, J. - The life of Andrew Murray of South Africa, Marshall Brothers, London, 1919
Gerdener, G.B.A. - Bouers van Weleer, N.G. Uitgewers Cape Town, 1951
                         - Studies in the Evangelization of South Africa, London, 1911
                        - Die Afrikaner en die Sending,(?? 1959)
Goeda, Wilson – Why me? , Kairos Group, Durban, 2006
Goll, Jim W. - Die Verlorene Kunst der Fürbitte, Verlag Gottfried Bernard, Solingen, 2001
Greeson, Kevin - The Camel, Wigtake Resources, LLC (Arkadelphia, USA), 2007
Hutton, J.E. - A Short history of the Moravian Church, Moravian Publication Office, London, 1895
Jannasch, Wilhelm – Erdmuthe Dorothea, Grafin von Zinzendorf, Herrnhut, 1915
Joyner, Rick -Three Witnesses, Morning Star Publications, Charlotte (NC, USA),1999
Kreider, Larry and McClung, Floyd – Starting a House Church, Regal books, Ventura (Ca), 2007
Latourette, Kenneth Scott – The Christian World Mission in our Day, Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1954
Langton, ??
Lewis, Anthony J. The ecumenical Pioneer, (SCM Press, London, 1962                    
Lynse, Elana - Flames of Revival, Crossway books, Westchester (USA 1989),
Lüt­jeharms, Het philadelphisch streven der Herrnhutter in de Nederlanden in de 18de eeuw, Zeist, 1935
Matthews, Arthur, Voor de strijd geboren, Evangelische Lektuur Kruistocht, Apeldoorn, n.d
                                                                                                (Original title: Born for Battle, 1978)
Murray, Andrew - Key to the missionary Problem, published by James Nisbet, London, 1901; contemporised by Leona F. Choy and published by Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, 1979.
Neill, Stephen - A History of Christian Missions, (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1965)
Nielsen, Sigurd – Der Toleranzgedanke bei Zinzendorf,Vol.1, Ludwig Appel Verlag, Hamburg, 1951
Praamsma, L De Kerk van alle Tijden, Volumes 1-IV I, T.Wever, Franeker (NL), 1979-1981
Retief Frank - Tragedy to triumph, (Nelson Word Ltd, Milton Keynes and Struik Christian Books, Cape Town, 1994
Richardson, Eternity in their hearts, ??, California,1984,
Ryan, Colleen - Beyers Naudé, Pilgrimage of Faith (David Philip Publishers, Claremont, 1990
Sider, Ronald J. Rich Christians in an age of hun­ger, Intervarsity Press, ??, 1977,
Spangenberg, August -Das Leben des Herrn Nicolaus Ludwig Grafen und Herrn Zinzendorf und Pottendorf,
facsimile repro­duction of the edition 1773-1775, Georg Olms Verlag, 1971,
Steinberg H.G., Schütz, H.I.C., Lütjeharms, W., Van der Linde, J.M., Zinzendorf, Callenbach, Nijkerk (NL), 1960
Tucker, Ruth – From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, Zondervan, Grand Rapids (USA), 2004
Uttendörfer, Otto and Schmidt, Walter (ed) Die Brüder, aus Vergangenheit und Gegenwart der Brüdergemeine,
Verlag des Vereins für Brüdergeschichte, Herrnhut, 1914
Van der Linde, J.M., - God’s Wereldhuis, Uitgeverij Ton Bolland, Amsterdam, 1980
Van der Linde, J.M. - De Wereld heeft toekomst, J.H. Kok, Kampen, 1979
Verkuyl, J. - Breek de Muren af, Bosch en Keuning, Baarn, 1969
Verwer, G., - The Revolution of Love, (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. Carlisle (UK), 1993,(1988)
Visser ‘t Hooft, W.A. - The pressure of our common calling, SCM, London, 1959    
Wagner, C. Peters and Wilson, (ed) - Praying through the 100 gateway cities of the 10/40 window,                                                                                  YWAM publishing, Seattle, 1995,

[1] Isaiah 56:7, the verse to which Jesus refers, speaks of a house of prayer for the nations.
[2]     How pervasive these racist ideas were (are?) has been shown by Prof. Verkuyl, a Dutch academic in his booklet Break down the Walls.
[3]When Zinzendorf preached to slaves on the island of St Thomas in 1738, he was cited as saying ‘God punished the first Negroes by making them slaves’ (Hutton, approx 1909: 102). Hutton deemed it necessary to explain that Zinzendorf ‘held to the popular view that the Negroes were Ham’s descendants.’
[4]     It was alleged that he recanted while imprisoned in Bohemia in order to secure his release.
[5] Literally: levenskracht van het goede zaad ook na vijftig jaren
[6]     The church building was spared from demolition when it was declared an historical monument with the Group Areas Legislation. Subsequently it was incorporated into the Cape Technikon, used as a gymnasium and a venue for Art. In 2002 President Mbeki gave the complex back to the Moravian Church.
[7]     In Europe especially there are many examples like this, with some of the buildings presently used as mosques.
[8]     In Sea Point, (Cape Town), the respective congregations of a Baptist and an Assemblies of God fellowship merged under a new name.
[9]     An earlier impact ensued from the Cape via Ds van Lier, whose testimony under the pseudonym Christodoulos made a deep influence on Rev John Newton. This was written in the form of six letters to Rev John Newton. They were originally written in Latin and translated by the well-known poet William Cowper. The title of the booklet is: Power of Grace, illustrated in six letters from a Minister of the Reformed church to the Rev John Newton. (It was published in Edinburgh in 1792). Van Lier’s story of the influence of divine grace in his life seems to have made a lasting impression on Newton who belonged to the inner circle of slave abolitionists’- especially when one considers that the famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ came from Newton’s pen.
[10]    The concept was coined by President Nelson Mandela for state employees who abused perks while in government service.
[11]    For a fuller account of this ministry, see Stewart and Marie Dinnen, Rescue Shop within a Yard of Hell, Christian Focus Publications of Scot­land, 1995. 
[12]    It is described in her book, Chasing the Dragon, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1980
[13]The word protest comes from the Latin pro-testare, which means to witness in favour of something.
[14]    During the last two decades worship has been rediscovered.
[15]    cf. Rom 6:13 "Offer yourselves to God... as instruments of righteousness."       
[16]    Later it was called the Belydende Kring.
[17]    In John 1:45 Philip called Nathaniel to see the Mess­iah and in 2:11 the other disciples evidently also believed the Lord to be the Messiah, but unlike the Samaritan woman, they initially did not spread the good news.                
[18]    He refers here to the deepest sense of the word, meaning universal.
[19]In fact, they relished celebrations in small and bigger circles for all sorts of reasons (Uttendörfer and Schmidt, 1914:123).

[20]    Compare Matthew 25:14-33, the parable of the unequal distribution of talents with Matthew 20:1-16, the parable of the unequal working hours.
[21]    See Malachi 3:10 and Acts 20:35: It is more blessed to give than to receive.
[22]    Psalm 24:1 says: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
[23]    Cragg, article Mit dem Evangelium betraut, 1995:111.
[24]    I do not refer to the theological differences in the concepts of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, which created perhaps more problems than they solved. For one, they did not serve the unity of the body of Christ. The reconciling efforts of Martin Bucer are interesting in this regard.
[25] Literally, ‘only original people’
[26]    Praamsma, II, 'wiens ongelooflijke plooibaarheid hem meer dan eens tegen de borst stuitte'
[27]    Murray Louw, Missions Sending: An attempt at a new model, paper given at a consultation for missionary sending in Cape Town, December 1995, p.6
[28]    I do not regard it as fruitful to enter into any dis­cussion over eschatological details like the millennium, the rapture, the great tribulation and the timing of it. The enemy has already utilized this issue sufficiently to cause rifts in the Body. It suffices for me that the Bible speaks about these matters in connection with the second coming of Christ.
[29]    See Mark 9: 30, 31: ‘...he tried to avoid all public­ity in order to spend more time with his disciples, teaching.
[30]    Translation: There is no Christianity without fel­low­ship.
[31]    Translation:  ... in masterly interchange  of Scripture reading, congregational and choir song.
[32]    The orginal Grfeek contains the word meta-morpheste.
[33]    The instance that the author witnessed in Nürnberg in 1979 was however not a part of the official programme.
[34]    A North African, Simon Niger of Cyrene, was forced to carry his cross when Jesus was completely exhausted.
[35]    According to Matthew’s report, she was at the grave with the other Mary.
[36]    I am quite aware that this argument might have originated through a too literal interpretation of Paul’s teaching on the role of the woman in 1 Timothy 2:13. It is a pity that Paul did not add in this context - as he did in 1 Corinthians 7:12 - that he speaks on his own authority. He definitely spoke within a certain cultural context.
[37]    It is interesting that the Moravians used these forms in pristine ways, having their meals on the Ronneburg with the Gypsies. The members were expected to help the needy in an incarnational way, for example to be prepared to live like a slave.
[38]    Paul cannot be blamed for it that Junias was made out of the name, to give the impression that this apostle was a man. Cf. verse 15 where the accusative female form is correctly transcribed as Julia.
[39]    Subsequent research showed however that Theodore initially agreed to a marriage to her cousin Nicolaus very much under the influence of her own mother who took a liking to the young count. His own family was less excited with the connection, while they knew that a wife was sought for Heinrich von Reuss (Jannasch, 1915: 342ff and 415ff).
[40]    The devout Anna Nitschmann had come to Herrnhut as a refugee, definitely not stemming from the nobility.
[41]    The full story is told in Ruth Schiel, Hochzeit in Tibet, Stuttgart, 1988
[42]    See Traugott Bachmann, Ich gab manchen Anstoß, (Ludwig Appel Verlag, Hamburg) edited by Hans Windekilde Jannasch, p.133ff
[43]    Traugott Bachmann, no year of publication, (the autobiographical notes refer to 1919) p.198.


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