THE PLACE, THE TIME, AND THE TASK
This first issue of the Christian Worldview Network M2M is the realization of a dream many of us have nurtured in our hearts for many years. The urgent, inescapable call to the service of the King in all areas of life has shaped and molded our hearts, our very being, for several years. I remember fervent discussions with Gerrit du Preez and others as early as 1988 in which we struggled with this question: how do we bring to concrete expression this splendid reformational vision PRO REGE in this continent, in our generation? And now, midwifed by Craig Bartholomew and Elaine Botha, we have this Network - a sign, however insignificant as yet, but a sign, of the resurgence of a truly Biblical, integrally Christian movement for the reformation of our nation, and eventually of our continent.
M2M Issue 1, June 1992 p.38
We need to keep the example of the cloud of witnesses before us, draw on the strength of our inheritance of antithetical servanthood to the King. We need to hold up to scrutiny the successes and failures of John Calvin, Groen van Prinsterer, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Dooyeweerd, and all those who have followed, in their efforts to give honest expression to this antithesis. And we have to remind ourselves continually:
Jesus Christ is Lord of All of Life!
South Africa has felt no significant integral Christian impact on its politics, economics, art, media... The compromise of revealed principles to modern ideologies and particular interests has prevented thus far a South African Reformation. Can we rekindle the fire of Reformation? Yes - as the Holy Spirit sets our hearts on fire!
My original Christian understanding was shaped by a political anabaptism in the mold of SOJOURNERS and Ron Sider. This meant in my case a fervent pacifism and an anarchist socialism of the most utopian kind. Increasing disillusionment with my fellow anti-war activists in the late 80's (I could not quite reconcile pacifism with support for Umkhonto we Sizwe, or a sincere devotion to the gospel with gay rights), and research for my master's thesis (especially reading COMMENTARY and THE PUBLIC INTEREST journals) lead to a conversion from utopian socialism to democratic capitalism in 1989. This was coupled with an intense rediscovery of the Calvinist heritage through the reading of the classics (THE CITY OF GOD, THE INSTITUTES, Kuyper's Stone Lectures, THE NEW CRITIQUE, etc.).
Reading this week Bernard Zylstra's introduction to H. Evan Runner's RELATION OF THE BIBLE TO LEARNING, a sentence leapt up from the page: "...we face the possibility of a new accommodation between the humanist-inspired neoconservatism with the religious revivals..." Again I was struck by the ease with which we slip into accommodation! While the possibility of an integral Christian societal transformation in the West during this past century had been decisively undermined by oldline Protestant accommodation to left-liberal humanism, I suddenly realized that the greatest part of the recent literature of evangelical resistance to this accommodation suffers from as deadly a disease:
accommodation to a classical liberal/neoconservative version of that same humanism. This is indeed the dangerous delusion which had compromised my own reformational scholarship over the past four years - and it requires a subtle, virtually invisible acceptance of a nature/grace scheme, in which we simply baptize the views of humanism on the economy/politics/art, etc. - the "natural realm".
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
It is essential that we gain a coherent understanding of our time and place in the light of the Scriptures, and that we earnestly detect our appointed task here and now. This is a process from which we will never be able to disengage ourselves: the continued discerning of spirits, hearkening to the Holy Spirit call...
At this time of birth I want to bring to remembrance a first principle of our heritage: the antithesis. We have been reminded again and again that, while we are in sincere and open communication with all our fellow men, we cannot accommodate the truth of the Kingdom to the schemes of men - ever. I was reminded of this again forcefully in the past week.