From the Office of the Presiding Bishop
To all members of REACH-South Africa
REACH-SA notes with great concern the unfolding of events in the corridors of our government. There is much uncertainty in our country as we see senior members of the ruling party divided and at odds with each other. Many are sceptical of motives with regards to moves among cabinet ministers, particularly our minister of finance. There is much dissatisfaction in our communities as well as anxiety with regards to our fragile economy.
Our call to all our members is to respond to this state of affairs with appropriate Christian conduct:
1. Urgent Prayer: Lift up our leaders in prayer. Pray for God to expose injustice, remove corrupt and self-serving leaders (whoever they may be) and install public servants who do what is just and right for all the people of our country (1 Timothy 2:1,2). To this end we call on all our churches to gather for a prayer hour on April 7th and pray for our country.
2. Democratic Participation: It is right for God’s people to play their part in the civil structures of our country as law abiding citizens, recognizing that rulers are ultimately appointed by God and are accountable to Him (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). With that in mind it is certainly permissible for God’s people to participate in legitimate forms of protest and community action according to their conscience.
Note: There is Biblical precedent for corporate civil disobedience when it involves a regime that pits itself against God’s law and represses our freedom to live and teach the Gospel (Acts 4:18-20; 5:27-29). We are certainly not at that juncture, but we are at a time when God’s people should be voicing their concerns through prayer and public expression.
3. Kingdom Conduct: Our denomination does not endorse any particular political party or movement. REACH-SA stands for the Kingdom of God, responsible Christian citizenship and the promotion of just and fair government. Our members are free to choose their political affiliations using their God given wisdom. In this, our priority must be to practice and display Kingdom citizenship in such a way that our words and our actions are a witness to Christ. Be kind to each other, debate fairly, care for the poor, lift up the fallen and reject any form of prejudice. Also, be unashamed to name Jesus as Lord. Our ultimate goal is not just to win peace in our country, but to win people to the Prince of Peace (1 Peter 3:8-18).