Transcendental Meditation in our Schools

Transcendental Meditation in our Schools
Over the last few decades, New Age philosopy and practices have become increasingly common place in Western society. According to common definition, “its central precepts revolve around drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational psychology, holistic health etc. A primary trait is holding to ‘a holistic worldview,’ thereby emphasising that the mind, body and spirit are interrelated, and that there is a form of oneness and unity throughout the universe.”

New Age philosophy and practice
One of the popular practices of New Age practitioners, is Transcendental Meditation (TM) which stems from Hindu roots, but has become a widespread Westernised meditation process, popularised by people like Oprah and Julia Roberts (who recently converted to Hinduisim after completing her film, ‘Eat Pray Love’ in which she meditates regularly).

Now, in a disturbing turn of events, it is no longer just Hollywood movie stars and Far East day spas that are endorsing TM. Rather, the education fraternity is embracing this practice as a way to ‘modify’ and ‘control’ the behaviours of unruly school children and ill-disciplined students. TM is being introduced in various schools in South Africa and abroad in universities under the name of CBE (consciousness-based education). Its claim is that it improves the ability to concentrate and therefore produces improved academic results. Not only is its religious nature withheld, it is actually denied.

Taking young minds captive
The TM movement plans to infiltrate education systems by training educators to meditate and has already been implemented in several Durban schools (wherein educators and learners meditate for 15 minutes at the beginning and at the end of each school day).
About the TM Movement
The TM movement promotes their agenda by:

Approaching educational institutions under the name CBE (consciousness-based education) – thus disguising their agenda
Highlighting the so-called benefits which are validated by research and testimonials funded by themselves and their followers
Once interested, educators are asked to sign-up for training, which is not adequately explained. In this training one is exposed to Hindu rituals
Those who have signed into the programme are asked to bring an ‘offering of thanks’ to the fathers of the programme (the gurus of the past). The offering comprises of cloth (a handkerchief), flowers, fruit, camphor, and money. A ceremony of initiation is conducted – the Puja ceremony. This is not a ceremony or ritual of thanksgiving as claimed. There is the burning of camphor, sprinkling of water and offering of flowers, cloth, incense, sandal paste, rice, flour, fruit, betel leaf and coconut to the gods/goddesses while the invocation is read
The prayers are conducted in Sanskrit preventing one from understanding what is being said and that one is submitting to deities. All these have significance to the Hindu faith (more info is available online or from me directly). Persons of Indian origin are usually aware of the meaning of such offerings, of the puja ceremony and Sanskrit prayers – and many step away from the programme. Other ethnic/racial groups do not have this reference and go along with the programme on the basis of what is said to them (i.e. that it is not a religious practice – only an offering of thanks).

The values of TM
Withholding and even denying the religious nature of TM is the worldwide propagation strategy. According to the Maharishi (the founder of TM) Transcendental Meditation (a specific form of mantra meditation introduced in India in the late 1950s) is:

A path to God
The only way to salvation and success in life; there is no other way
A very good form of prayer which leads us to the field of the creator, to the source of creation, to the field of God
A means whereby “a sinner very easily comes out of the field of sin and becomes a virtuous man”

The underlying agenda
The Maharishi’s motivation in promoting TM as non-religious is ‘shrewd opportunism’: “Whenever and wherever religion dominates the mass consciousness, transcendental deep meditation should be taught in terms of religion…Today when politics is guiding the destiny of man…It seems, for the present, that this transcendental deep meditation should be made available to the peoples through the agencies of government.”

The TM mantras (which partakers are given to repeat and adopt as their own) are not ‘meaningless sounds’. A mantra is a religious syllable from the Sanskrit language; they are inseparable from the names of religious deities. Mantras are interpreted to be effective as vibration, which may include verbal repetition in the form of chanting or internal mental incantation.

Mantras originated in the Vedic religion of India, later becoming an essential part of the Hindu tradition. Mantras are used in Eastern spiritual traditions to divert the mind by focusing it on a spiritual idea.  The Maharishi himself  explains mantras to be a spiritual tool to be used to call on spiritual beings “on other levels of creation.” He says ”mantras fetch to us the grace of personal gods and make us happier in…life.”

Documented side-effects of TM
There are various implications arising from the practice of TM. Reported negative effects include muscle twitches, convulsions, fatigue, sleep disorders, inability to focus, anxiety, depression, dissociation, depersonalisation, nervous breakdown, and suicidal inclination. Obviously you will not find this on TM websites that promote a myriad of health and psychological benefits.

While their many claims may sound impressive, an analysis of their studies presents an entirely different picture of the ‘Maharishi Effect’. It is interesting to note that Transcendental Meditation was ruled a religion by the United States District Court, District of New Jersey (October 19, 1977) and the TM group and their literature was removed from all schools. Years on though, this ruling has been forgotten…

What is the Christian response?
Obviously Christians should be concerned about the propagation of New Age neo-Hindu practices infiltrating local schools. It would be wise for Christian parents to actively engage the governing authorities to see if TM is in the schools, to voice their concern and to request that your child sit out. The best way to stop TM in schools is to present facts to the school boards and solicit like-minded parents to take a (gentle but firm) stand with you.

It is also important to educate yourself and your children of the realities of meditation and what it encompasses. The Bible tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5) and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds by the Word (Rom 12:2). Emptying our minds is not and never will be the solution to life’s challenges. Rather, emptying your mind opens a gateway for all other kinds of rubbish to infiltrate!

Freedom Vote For Southern Sudan

Freedom Vote For Southern Sudan
A new country is about to be born as Southern Sudanese overwhelmingly voted for secession from the Arab North.

Final Walk to Freedom
From 9 to 15 January, South Sudanese voted in polling stations throughout the vast country and even across the world. Polling stations were set up as far afield as in the United States of America and Australia for the dispersed refugees and “lost boys of Sudan” to have their say in what is being called “the final walk to freedom.”

Violence in Abyei
The mostly peaceful elections were marred by a number of violent clashes, including a deadly ambush at 5pm Monday, 10 January. Misserlya Arab tribesmen killed 18 Southern Sudanese civilians and wounded 18 as they returned from the North to vote in the Referendum in the South.

Referendum in Abyei Postponed
In the disputed oil rich Abyei region, which is meant to have a separate Referendum on whether to join the South or the North, dozens of people were killed in violent clashes. The Referendum in this region was indefinitely postponed.

Counting the Votes
It is estimated that it will take the rest of the month to finalise collating and counting the votes from all the remote regions of Southern Sudan. However those votes which have already been counted are overwhelmingly for secession. At Juba University polling station it was 2,663 votes for secession to 69 for unity. At the tomb for veteran rebel leader, Dr. John Garang, who died in a helicopter “accident” under suspicious circumstances just weeks after being received by a crowd of over 3 million in Khartoum, 3,066 votes were counted for secession and just 25 for union with the North.

Observers Approve Referendum
The two largest foreign observer missions, the European Union and the Carter Centre Foundation have described the Referendum as “open and transparent” with over 95% voter turnout and therefore “valid.”

Logistical Challenges
Despite the tensions in the border regions, particularly in Abyei, huge crowds queued to cast their ballots. Southern Sudan is a vast and undeveloped region which has only about 40km of paved roads in an area the size of France and Belgium combined. The logistical challenges of conducting a Referendum throughout the war devastated regions of Southern Sudan were overwhelming. Many polling stations could only be reached by helicopter, or by motorbike. The first 30,000 ballots counted were 96% voting for secession and only 3% for unity. While that is only a small section of the 3.2 million votes cast, observers are convinced that almost everyone in Southern Sudan is for independence from the North.

War Wary
Since the British granted independence to Sudan, 1 January 1956, Sudan has been at war for most of the last 55 years. Just in the second phase of the war (1983 to 2005), an estimated 2 million people died and over 4 million lost their homes and were forced to flee.

A Fragile Peace
Oxfam estimated that just in the last year (2010) of peace, more than a thousand died in fighting between Arab Northerners and Black Southerners and more than 200,000 people had to flee their homes.

The Failure of the UN
Many non-governmental organisations have criticised the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) as having “so far failed to prioritize the protection of local people.”

Abyei Flash point
During the Referendum at least 50 Misserlya Arabs and 26 Southerners were killed in fighting in Abyei. Dissension between the Arab North and the Christian South on the Referendum in Abyei has led to the suspension of the separate Referendum there. The Northern government wants the Misserlya Arabs to have voting rights, while the South says that only permanent residents of Abyei, the Dinka Ngok, should vote. The Misserlya Arabs are nomads who only come to the South for grazing seasonally.

Separation or Unity
Because most Sudanese are illiterate the ballot papers are simply illustrated with a single hand marked Separation and another outline of clasped hands marked Unity.

Goodbye to Khartoum
One Southerner, Tom Drani said: “we are saying goodbye to Khartoum, the capital of old Sudan. We are coming to have our own capital here in Juba.” Atem Yak said: “I never saw the flag of Sudan as something I owed allegiance to. The national anthem never represented my will. So I will not shed tears when Sudan breaks into two. I will be happy.”

Ecstatic Rejoicing
Former UN Secretary, General Kofi Annan, said that he had never seen more smiles than at the polling stations at Southern Sudan. All have reported on the overwhelming enthusiasm and ecstatic joy witnessed in the long queues at polling stations in the South.

Many Died for Freedom
Col. William Ngang Ayuen said: “We lost a lot of people. Today is good for them.” Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir voted at the tomb of rebel hero John Garang. President Salva Kiir declared: “I am sure they did not die in vain.”

A New Nation
Signs in the crowd declared: “A new nation to be born on the African continent!!!” Sudan, geographically the largest country in Africa, will lose a third of its land, nearly a quarter of its population and most of its oil, if the South secceeds.

Delivered from Oppression
Julia Kiden said: “We feel that after the Referendum we will be delivered from oppression from the North.”

U.S. Incentives
The United States has offered the government of Sudan many incentives to allow a peaceful Southern vote, including removal from its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism and the lifting of economic sanctions.

Lost Boys of Sudan in America
Polling stations were set up in 8 American cities to accommodate the many refugees from Southern Sudan living in the USA. Baseball star, Luol Deng, arrived at a polling station in the North Side of Chicago, saying: “A lot of people have fought for this day, a lot of lives have been lost over this and now we have a say. All we could do in the past is run. Now we are here today to show we’re not running. We’re here to make a difference.”

Freedom from Fear
Dolly Odwong who recalled the Russian-made Antanov bombers raining death and destruction on their communities: “The coming generation will not feel the way we felt. We don’t want them running the way we were running and hiding, because when the war started everyone had to run and hide. Life was very difficult and people were saying to God: Why us? That was the question. So now we are thinking that God has heard our prayers and He is saying: Your people are going to be free!”

The China Connection
The looming partition of Sudan after last week’s independence vote in the South presents peculiar challenges for Red China. Nearly 5% of China’s total oil imports come from Sudan. 80% of the oil fields in Sudan lie in the South and the state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has pumped billions of dollars into Sudan, with arms deals bolstering the unpopular Khartoum regime. China has defended the Arab regime in international forums against the Southern rebels who are about to lead this new state. China has now opened a Consulate in Southern Sudan’s capital Juba.

China Charm Offensive
In October China sent a delegation of senior Communist Party leaders to the South and sought to upgrade its representation to Ambassador level. The Chinese government and the CNPC oil company have mounted a charm offensive in the South and sponsored dozens of political leaders to visit China in an attempt to repair the damaged relationships and keep the oil flowing from the South to Port Sudan and onto China.

Comprehensive Peace Agreement
This Referendum is a core requirement of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended decades of conflict between the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) and the National Islamic Front (NIF), now renamed the National Congress Party (NCP).

From War to Freedom and Peace
The longest war, in the largest country in Africa, is about to be concluded after this historic Referendum, which is expected to result in an independent and free Southern Sudan by 9 July.

Faith and Action
By God’s grace, the culminative effect of many years of intensive prayer, worldwide publicity, international pressure and missionary partnership with courageous persecuted Christians in Southern Sudan will bear fruit this year. By God’s grace, we have stood with our beleagued brethren through some of the worst days of vicious persecution, and we have helped them – not only to survive Jihad – but to thrive.

Dr. Peter Hammond is the author of Faith Under Fire in Sudan. For 29 years Peter has been a missionary to restricted access areas. During the war in Sudan, he flew far behind enemy lines to the beleagued Nuba Mountains with tonnes of Bibles, school books, agricultural tools and seed and other relief aid. Peter delivered some of the largest shipment of Bibles ever flown into an officially Islamic state and came under aerial and artillery bombardment while preaching in churches in Sothern Sudan.

The Faith Under Fire in Sudan book and Three Films on Sudan on one DVD are available from Frontline Fellowship P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725 Cape Town South Africa Tel: 021-689-4480 Email: Website:

See also related article:
Southern Sudan Referendum on Secession

Raising the Dead: A Doctor’s Encounter

Raising the Dead: A Doctor’s Encounter
Dr Chauncey W. Crandall IV is a celebrated cardiologist on a personal spiritual quest. First, he brought a dead man back to life – with prayer. Now he has chronicled it all in a dramatic book called ‘Raising the Dead: A Doctor Encounters the Supernatural’. Many of us are skeptical of people’s claims to have been raised from the dead. Below is an extract from the book documenting this amazing story.
A fatal heart attack

“Jeff Markin was a dead man. In fact, he was officially declared dead at 8:05 am in a Florida hospital emergency room. The date was 20 October 2006.

Only 53 years old, Markin was a big, burly, ordinary guy, a mechanic by trade. And not a religious man by any means. Heart specialist Dr Chauncey Crandall was attending to his patients when he was summoned to the ER, but he knew his presence on the scene was not only a last resort – but most likely a lost cause.

Jeff Markin’s heart rhythm had flat-lined with cardiac arrest from a massive heart attack. A full 40 minutes had come and gone since his last heartbeat. His pupils were fixed and dilated – he’d been ‘down’ too long. By the time Dr Crandall arrived at the emergency room, Markin’s heart had already been shocked six times with the defibrillator. Just to make sure, his non-beating heart received a seventh shock, also to no avail. Rounds of medications and other efforts had all failed to revive the patient.

Declared dead
Markin’s lips, fingers, and toes had literally turned black with death from a lack of oxygen. There was no doubt – he was dead. After Markin died, nearly everyone left the room. (Nobody wants to remain around the smells and spectre of death). While a nurse prepared Jeff Markin’s lifeless body for the morgue, Crandall remained in the room to write up his final report. Then, once he completed his paperwork, Dr Crandall headed toward the door to return to his own patients. Standing in the door’s threshold, however, he was overcome with a strong feeling. It was a deep-seated sense that God wanted him to turn around and pray for Markin.

God’s intercom
At first, Dr  Crandall – a man of science – was somewhat reluctant, even embarrassed. He felt foolish. But the request from God came to Crandall again, even more compelling this time. So he felt called to heed the message. As Dr  Crandall put it, he felt like ‘God’s intercom’. And even though the words Crandall said came through him, he had no sense of devising them – they poured from him of their own accord.

“Father God,” Crandall prayed, “I cry out for this man’s soul. If he does not know You as his Lord and Saviour, raise him from the dead now, in Jesus’ Name.” Then another strange thing happened. Involuntarily, Crandall’s right arm shot up in a gesture of prayer and praise. At that moment, the ER doctor came back into the room and Crandall ordered him to give Markin what seemed like one more useless shock from the defibrillator.

Returned from the dead!
At first reluctant, the doctor finally did as Crandall asked, and applied the defibrillator. Immediately, the machine registered a perfect heartbeat. Jeff Markin started breathing on his own; his black, cyanotic toes and fingers twitched. Soon, he began to mumble.”

Chauncey Crandall would never be the same again and he believes that this story will also transform the lives of others who hear it. For Dr Crandall, the story doesn’t end with Markin’s second chance at life. It’s actually what happened earlier that proves even more compelling…

A parent’s worst nightmare…
Historically, Crandall kept his conventional Christian faith and his medical practice separate. Until June 2000, when he was confronted with the worst nightmare a parent can face – his son Chad’s life-threatening illness. 11 year old Chad and his twin brother, Christian, were happy and athletic boys born to Chauncey and his  high-school sweetheart wife, Deborah.

Chad’s diagnosis of a deadly form of leukaemia hit like a bombshell and Dr Crandall found himself crying out, “Lord, if You are real, You have to heal my son.” After the diagnosis, Dr Crandall cut down his medical duties so he could learn more about the treatment of leukaemia – and also research what the Bible says about healing.

Looking for others with faith
He sought like-minded Christians in his area but was disappointed to find that most of them did not truly believe in the power of prayer to heal. So Crandall had to travel the world and take some unusual paths in his quest for supernatural healing through Christ.

Surely, he thought, there were those who still believed in God’s power to heal through prayer? Eventually he found a group that does and he now regularly speaks at conferences organised by the World Christian Doctor’s Network. In fact this year he was again a keynote speaker at the recent 7th Annual World Christian Doctors Network ‘Spirituality and Medicine’ conference.

Crandall was one of some 240 Christian doctors from 40 countries around the world joined together to prescribe ‘spiritual healing’ as an answer to sickness in the 21st Century. They believe that medicine alone cannot deal with some of today’s worst illnesses. And once again, he presented the amazing case of Jeff Markin before his peers, bringing documented evidence of the raising from the dead of this car mechanic at the gathering. Crandall also prayed for many of the doctors who, themselves, were sick – and saw many of them healed.

One man’s quest for Christ
Of course, Dr Crandall did not neglect modern medicine for his son Chad. He sought out the best doctors, the best medicine, and the best facilities in the country. Yet it wasn’t enough. So he became bold in his spiritual enthusiasm. “I believe completely in supernatural healing, and I’m clear about God being the healer, not me,” he says. In ‘Raising the Dead’, you’ll walk  in Dr Chauncey Crandall’s shoes and discover:

How the grace of God can help you overcome disease
Spiritual interference that can come from innocuous-looking objects or books, even leading to seemingly unrelated health problems
The problems with and causes of ‘why-me’ thinking when something bad happens to you or a loved one
How prayer, praise and thanksgiving can do wonders for stress, and even eliminate the need for medications
Using the ancient principle of exchange to benefit your life.

Supernatural healings
You’ll also hear about multiple instances of modern supernatural healing and divine influence including:
A crippled woman brought in by wheelbarrow who walked away from a Mexican mission post after a healing service
God’s protection from a modern-day stoning attack

Dr Crandall found that Chad’s illness taught him how to fight the spiritual battle every Christian faces – and that there is a certain privilege in desperation.  And as Crandall will tell you: “The physical and the spiritual go together.” First, the healing of the soul and then the healing of the body.

Honour your body
During his son’s illness, Crandall realised how important it is to stay in shape and take care of yourself. God has work for you to do – and illness will only present a roadblock to your spiritual growth. As Dr Crandall puts it: “It’s important as God’s servants to honour the body as God’s Temple. Otherwise, we give the devil an easy opportunity to shorten our service to God. “

Additionally, Chauncey Crandall came to realise just how much the physical and spiritual are intertwined. He says that the Lord told him, “I’ve given you a platform as a physician to win the lost for Christ.” Chauncey knows he still has much work to do as a Christian physician.

Dr Crandall says, “My medical practice is now based on providing my patients with the best of medicine and the best of Jesus.”

Skeptics Answered Series: Jesus on Trial

Skeptics Answered Series: Jesus on Trial

The trial of Jesus was a travesty of justice. It is a terrifying thing to be judged by a mob. Can you imagine being judged by your worst enemies? How would we have judged Him? Let us examine the evidence and question character witnesses. Of course, we could call forth millions of Christians throughout the ages who would eagerly testify to the incomparable goodness and greatness of our Lord and Saviour. However, we will call forward only skeptics and many of them enemies of Christ: Thomas Paine, who was an outspoken opponent of Christianity, admitted in writing: “Jesus Christ was a virtuous and amiable man. For the morality that He preached and practiced was of the most benevolent kind; and while those similar systems of morality had been preached by Confucius, and by some of the Greek philosophers, many years before; by the Quakers since, and by many good men of all ages, it has not been exceeded by any.”

Asking the skeptics…
The first century Jewish historian, Josephus Ben Mattathias, the author of ‘The Antiquities of the Jews’, wrote: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him a man, for He was a doer of wonderful works. He drew over to Him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles.

He was the Christ and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men among us, had condemned Him to the Cross, those who loved Him at the first, did not forsake Him; for He appeared to them alive again the third day, as the prophets had foretold these and ten thousand wonderful things concerning Him. And the tribe of Christians named from Him are not extinct to this day.” (Antiquities XVIII, 33)

The greatest example
William H. Lecky was one of the leading historians of the 19th Century and the author of ‘The History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe’. Lecky spent his life advancing the cause of rationalism, attacking Christianity and the supernatural. Yet, he admitted: “It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world an ideal character, which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has inspired the hearts of men with an impassioned love, has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments and conditions. And has been not only the highest pattern of virtue, but also the strongest incentive to its practice, and has exercised so deep an influence that it may truly be said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all of the dispositions of philosophers and exhortations of moralists.”

Jesus: the translation of virtue
John Stewart Mill was perhaps the most influential and respected economist of the 18th Century. He often spoke out against Christianity, yet he had to acknowledge: “Christ is still left – a unique figure. It is of no use to say that Christ, as exhibited in the Gospel, is not historical in that we know not how much of what is admirable has been added by the tradition of His followers…who among His disciples, or among their proselytes, was capable of inventing the sayings attributed to Jesus, or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels?
Certainly not the fisherman of Galilee …when this pre-eminent genius is combined with the qualities of probably the greatest moral Reformer and Martyr to that mission who has ever existed on earth, religion cannot be said to have made a bad choice in pitching on this Man as the ideal representative and guide of humanity; nor even now would it be easy, even for an unbeliever, to find a better translation of the rule of virtue from the abstract into the concrete then to endeavour to so live that Christ would approve our life.”

Recognising reality
Even as determined an enemy of Christianity as Charles Darwin, who popularised the theory of evolution, had to concede in an article written for a British newspaper: “Those who minimise the work of missionaries in pagan countries, forget, or will not remember, that human sacrifices and the power of an idolatrous priesthood; profligacy; infanticide; bloody wars where conquerors spared neither women nor children – that all of these have been abolished in these savage islands. And that dishonesty, intemperance and licentiousness have been greatly reduced by Christianity. In a voyager, to forget these things is base ingratitude. For should he chance to be at the point of shipwreck on some unknown coast, he will most devoutly pray that the lesson of the missionary may have reached thus far!” On another occasion, Darwin wrote: “The lesson of the missionary is…The house has been built, the windows framed, the fields ploughed and even the trees grafted. The…improvement, consequent on the introduction of Christianity throughout the seas…stands by itself in the records of history.”

An irreplaceable Man
Another hostile witness that could be brought to testify of the uniqueness of Christ was Darwin’s bulldog, Thomas Huxley. It was Huxley who first coined the word agnostic, which is what he claimed to be. Huxley did more than any other to popularise the theories of Darwinism – he was steadfastly opposed to almost every aspect of Christianity. Yet, in 1870, he wrote for The Contemporary Review: “I have always been strongly in favour of secular education, in the sense of education without theology. But, I must confess that I have been no less seriously perplexed to know by what practical measures the religious feeling, which is the essential basis of conduct, was to be kept up in the presently utterly chaotic state of opinion on these matters – without the use of the Bible. The pagan moralists lack life and colour. Take the Bible as a whole, make the severest deductions which their criticisms can dictate and there still remains a vast residuum of moral beauty and grandeur. By the study of what other book could children be so much humanised and made to feel that each figure in that vast historical procession fills, like themselves, but a momentary space and interval between two eternities and earns the blessings, or curses, of all time, according to its efforts to do good and evil?” When a fellow agnostic philosopher debunked the Bible, Huxley rebuked the man for putting on display his “conceited ignorance.” Huxley even had to go further in admitting: “The Bible has been the Magna Carta of the poor and the oppressed down to modern times. No state has had a constitution in which the interests of the people are so largely taken into account, in which the duties so much more than the privileges of rulers are insisted upon, as that drawn up for Israel. Nowhere is the fundamental truth that the welfare of this state, in the long run, depends upon the uprightness of the citizen so strongly laid down. I do not believe that the human race is yet, and possibly never will be, in a position to dispense with the Bible.”

The global impact of Christ
Another vocal skeptic who can be called upon to testify of Christ was George Romanes. He wrote many articles against Christianity during his lifetime. Yet, in his book ‘Thoughts on Religion’, Romanes observed: “Not only is Christianity thus so immeasurably in advance of all other religions, it is no less so of every other system of thought that has ever been promulgated in regard to all that is moral and spiritual. Whether it be true or false, it is certain that neither philosophy, science, nor poetry has ever produced results in thought, conduct or beauty in any degree to be compared with it. It is the greatest exhibition of the beautiful, the sublime…What has all the science, or all the philosophy of the world, done for the thought of mankind to be compared to this one doctrine – God is Love?”

The dominant figure in history
H.G. Wells is best known for his science fiction and film making. However, by profession he was an historian. Despite being a very outspoken critic of Christianity, H.G. Wells wrote: “Jesus of Nazareth is easily the dominant figure in history…To assume that He never lived and that the accounts of His life are inventions is more difficult and raises more problems in the path of the historian than to accept the essential elements of the Gospel stories as fact…

The historian must adhere to the evidence which would pass unchallenged if His book were to be read in every nation under the sun. Now, it is interesting and significant, isn’t it, that an historian setting forth in that spirit, without any theological bias whatsoever, should find that he simply cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly without giving the foremost place to a teacher from Nazareth.”

Unparalleled influence
The final hostile witness is the brilliant and volatile journalist and writer H.L. Mencken. Mencken dipped his pen in acid whenever it came to writing on Christianity. Mencken was the journalist who transformed the evolutionist’s legal defeat in the courtroom at the Scopes trial to a victory in the court of public opinion. Mencken declared: “This historicity of Jesus is no longer questioned seriously by…Christian or unbeliever.

The facts about Him seem to be beyond dispute…it is not easy to account for His singular and stupendous success…It seems to be certain that many persons saw Him after His supposed death on the Cross, including not a few who were violently disinclined to believe in His Resurrection…The most civilised sections of the human race have erected a structure and practices so vast in scope and powerful in effect that the whole…of history shows nothing parallel.”

So, here we have testimonies of some famous skeptics, some of them Christ’s enemies, over almost two thousand years, including: philosophers, a historian, evolutionists, a secular humanist journalist, an economist, a religious skeptic and a science fiction writer and Hollywood director. None of them were Christians. They all rejected Christianity. Yet, they all acknowledged that Jesus Christ was the greatest person to ever walk on earth. His impact on history and the Bible’s contribution to life and civilisation are incomparable.

A unanimous verdict
The verdict of these skeptics is unanimous. This One who was born in obscurity, who lived in poverty and who died in agony, became the most important and positive influence in the history of the world. No one has influenced the world for the good more than Jesus Christ. The chief priests in the Sanhedrin conspired against and condemned Christ. The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, acquitted Christ three times, yet he ordered Him to be whipped and crucified to appease the mob in the streets.

The Day of Judgement will come
Today many presume to sit in judgement upon Christ. But the day will come when each one of them, and us, will stand before the judgement throne of Jesus Christ to give an account of our lives to Him. “It is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgement,” Heb 9:27. The question is not so much what you think of Christ – but what does He think of you?

Errol Naidoo: Defending Faith, Family and Freedom

Errol Naidoo: Defending Faith, Family and Freedom
Errol Naidoo: Defending Faith, Family and Freedom
Martin Luther once said that “a preacher must be both soldier and shepherd. He must nourish, defend, and teach; he must have teeth in his mouth, and be able to bite and fight.”

Errol Naidoo, an ordained minister, is a preacher of this kind. A man of principle, perseverance and passion, dedicated to protecting people. Growing up in a community plagued with troubles, Errol witnessed the challenges that so many experience in this country. But through adversity, character is refined, and it was in this trying context that Errol dedicated his life to Christ, and stepped into the calling of God. From pastoring to dealing with media, Errol has expert grounding for the work he does today as President of Family Policy Institute. Many Christians would know of Errol through the articles he writes in JOY! and specifically the work he does in the public sphere – lobbying between government and the Church for the sake of upholding Biblical morality. The work Errol does is vital to the Body of Christ, and is for all of our benefit – yet there are still many people who are unaware of his role, or, critical of his work – as they do not understand the purpose of Biblical advocacy.

Why did you enter the ministry?
I was called into the ministry by Paul Daniel in 2000 to pioneer His People Christian Church’s Public Affairs department. My responsibilities included addressing governmental and media issues from a Biblical perspective and representing His People on various Church bodies. I was ordained as a pastor in March 2003 and was a pastor at His People Church in Tokai until 2009.

Do you still preach?
Yes, I am often invited to preach at churches and speak at conferences – specifically in relation to the work I do with Family Policy Institute. I am privileged to work closely with ministers and leaders across all denominations and from various organisations.

What is Biblical advocacy?
Biblical advocacy entails pro-actively advocating, promoting and advancing a Biblical Christian Worldview of life in all aspects of society. Christians are called by God to be “salt and light” to society. That means an active and uncompromising engagement of our culture to further the cause of Christ.  

Why did you move into this area?
During 2006 after same-sex ‘marriage’ legislation was railroaded through Parliament, God spoke to me about transitioning my role in the local church to serve the greater Body of Christ to help inform, educate and equip it to fulfil its mandate to be salt and light. The vision for FPI was crystallised during my internship with Family Research Council in Washington DC. Following my six month training in the US, I returned home in October 2007 and established Family Policy Institute for the glory of God.   

What is the role of FPI?
FPI’s vision is to mobilise and equip the Church of Jesus Christ in South Africa to pro-actively impact and influence the political and social sphere of our nation with Biblical Christian values and principles. My goal is to establish the sacred institutions of marriage and the family as the central focus of government’s social policy development. By networking churches, Christian organisations and ordinary citizens, FPI seeks to strengthen the Christian voice in our nation.

What are the highlights of the work you have done thus far?
Highlights include mobilising Christians to oppose and stop the blasphemous misuse of the Name of Jesus in UCT’s Sax Appeal magazine, successfully compiling FPI’s research on prostitution, hosting a conference on the harm of pornography on society in partnership with the Films and Publication Board and mobilising thousands to make submissions to the SA Law Reform Commission on prostitution.

Because of committed prayer and deliberate Christian action, prostitution and sex-trafficking was the lowest it has ever been in a World Cup tournament, at our event last year. Often citizens feel powerless to affect change in our nation, but a gentle stream consistently moving will eventually wear away the insurmountable boulder.

What are the lowlights?
A major challenge is the lack of a Biblical Christian worldview amongst Christians. Without a Biblical worldview, Christians are unable to discern the times we are living in and more importantly, their critical role in impacting the culture. Many Christians are more influenced by the liberal media than the Word of God. Thus they become apathetic or worse – are critical of Christians who are standing up for righteousness and justice. Instead of recognising this as Biblical advocacy, they see it as judgementalism.

What is the most concerning problem for you in South Africa?
The biggest challenge facing South Africa is family breakdown. Dysfunctional families are a catalyst for a host of social ills. If we fail to restore and strengthen the family, we have little hope of building a strong, healthy and viable society. South African society is only as strong as the family.

What is the role of the Church?
The role of the Church is to preserve, teach and promote the Truth of God’s Word in society without compromise. The Church is currently inwardly focused, which leads to the neglect of its core responsibilities. The Church was established by Jesus to be the primary method of transformation. Without the Church’s involvement in society darkness will prevail.   

How can churches work with you?
I seek to partner with Pastors across the country with the specific intention of uniting the Church in our common purpose. Transformation cannot happen without God’s anointed leaders actively involved in society.  I am called to serve the Church to help it fulfil its Biblical mandate to oppose evil and advance righteousness.

How can the average man in the street support the work you do?
The first thing Christians need to do is subscribe to FPI to receive my weekly updates. The more Christians that are informed, educated and equipped – the greater our influence and impact in the nation! FPI works on behalf of and together with Christians for common purposes. It is not about one person taking the lead or the glory, but rather about collective effort culminating in focused and effective Christian action, through a channelled voice. Christians, churches and companies can also partner with FPI in prayer, financially and by participating in social action.

Healed! from Paralysis

She never missed church, but it was nerve wracking to get her there. First her wheelchair had to be moved near the car. Then she had to be helped out of the chair and carefully positioned to get inside. Her husband would beg her to stay at home. Tears of pain would roll from her eyes, but her jaw remained firm.
She would not be denied another opportunity to be in the House of the Lord. “Take Quasimodo to church,” Jean Neil would say, gritting her teeth, with a fierce little twinkle in her eye. During each meeting Jean would only be able to sit on a thick cushion for a few minutes. Then the pain would become unbearable. For that reason many prayers were made for her healing.

Years of unanswered prayer
The pastor prayed, the youth group prayed, the women’s group prayed. Always her friends searched for answers, “Was something wrong with their prayers? Why wouldn’t God heal such a faithful servant as this?” Jean never lost hope, but her faith went through many ups and downs. She had developed a strong and defiant will to thrive in the face of great odds. In spite of her condition, Jean took an active role as a youth leader. Then something happened that would change her life forever. A three year old toddler at church, a little boy, walked up to Jean and asked to pray for her. She took his little hands in hers and let him pray his simple, childlike prayer. He asked that God would heal her.

Two powerful dreams
Something began stirring, deep in Jean’s soul. That night she had two distinct and vivid dreams. First she dreamt she underwent spinal surgery and died on the operating table. She watched the doctor tell her husband that her heart simply had become too weak to endure the procedure. She awoke with a start. There could be no mistake about the meaning of this dream – if she chose to go with the surgery, death was coming for her. She went back to sleep.
This time Jean had another very different dream. She was in a large room with 12 other people in wheelchairs. She heard the voice of a man speaking. It was a distinctive voice with a foreign accent. She saw the man emerge in front of the wheelchairs. He went to the first and prayed for a woman and commanded her to get up. She got up, but then sat back down in utter defeat. Then the man came to Jean’s chair, he prayed for her and she took off running from her wheelchair, totally healed.

Believing for a miracle
The next day Jean visited her pastor. She was frightened. He said that a whole new life could be near for her – a life of health and wholeness. She had to choose which dream to believe, the dream of death or the dream of life? Two weeks later a youth convention was to be held in a nearby hall. She heard that I would be the speaker. She had her husband John prepare a special ambulance for her to ride in. The morning of the meeting I felt a strong urge to pray. As I prayed, I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit with me in an unusual way. I began to ask, “Lord, what do You want to do today? What miracle will You perform in this meeting?”

A divine connection
The cavernous room was filled with nearly 12 000 delegates. I sat on my chair and waited to be announced. I looked across the crowd and continued in deep conversation with the Lord. “Lord what are You doing here tonight?” As my gaze fell across the wheelchairs, the Lord directed my attention to one lady at the far left. I sensed the Spirit saying to me, “That woman in that wheelchair will be healed today.”
From her wheelchair Jean watched me on the stage. She thought that I certainly bore a strong resemblance to the man in her dream. When I got up to preach, Jean knew my voice from her dream. The tone and the accent seemed identical. She began to feel a powerful sense of anticipation. I was on fire with the Spirit. I preached a salvation message. Nearly 1 500 responded. It was a glorious day. Then suddenly, the host of the meeting came to me on the platform and said, “Reinhard, I have hired this room until only six o’clock. We have to clear the room.” I looked at my watch and saw that we had 15 minutes before the room had to be cleared. I was stricken as I had not prayed for the sick.

The power of prayer
Without delay I hurried down from the platform and went to the first wheelchair I saw in front of me and said, “I want to pray for you.” I placed my hands on her. I could feel the power of the Spirit like electricity in my hands. I prayed, then said, “Stand up in Jesus’ Name.” She stood, but she was very shaky. She sat back down. I knew she was not healed. “Oh, no”, I thought, “this is not the woman God showed me.”
At this point, someone in the room had a video camera running. What followed was recorded and has been viewed again and again by many audiences over the years since this meeting. I remembered that the woman God had shown me was to the left. I hopped up, and looked to the left until I saw her. Then I raced all the way across the room, the camera following me. Jean Neil was sitting in that wheelchair, her husband John stood behind her, gripping the handles of the chair. I glanced at John, and he looked at me with a stare as cold as stone.

A miracle!
I knelt down in front of Jean, and said, “I’ve come to pray for you. You’re going to be healed today.” I will never forget her reply, “I know, I know, I know!”  I laid my hands on her and I prayed. Then I commanded her to stand up. Slowly, with great determination, she stood up, and then she sort of slumped forward onto the floor. I thought, “Oh, no, Lord what have I done?”
But then I realised she had not collapsed back into her wheelchair, she had fallen forward. This was in the right direction at least. I quickly bent down over her. I said, “Jesus is healing you.” At this point, as Jean tells it, she felt powerful, incredible things happening inside her body and was being pulled straight. She felt her hips go into their sockets. I said to her, “Get up, in Jesus‘ Name.” I looked at John and thought he would punch me. He said, “What if she falls?” I said, “I’ll be here. I’ll be here. Now, get up.” Slowly Jean began to gather herself from the floor. She stood to her feet. “Now, walk in Jesus’ Name.”

A life changed forever
The video camera was rolling. People were standing on chairs all around us. We were totally surrounded by onlookers. Before I could tell what happened that woman was gone. Jean Neil raced around that building, hands in the air, praising God, crying with joy. The place was bedlam. So much crying and praising God. So many tears of joy. Only after arriving back home did I learn the full extent of this miracle…only years later did I hear of her dream. Praise God! 