Thank you for your letter of the 30th July. Whether or not you agree with me is irrelevant; whether or not you agree with what the Scriptures say is all important. We live in an age where everyone is an instant “expert”. You feel so strongly about what I wrote about Nelson Mandela that you felt you had to write to me; and yet you write from a position of very little knowledge or understanding of the subject, or of the Scriptures. “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures” (Matt. 22:29). I have researched this topic for many, many years, and have all the documentation to back up what I have said. Unless you can claim to have thoroughly researched the subject as well, you should beware of jumping in and commenting on what you do not properly understand.
Your scriptural understanding is very deficient on this matter. You speak much about “judging”, but what you say shows plainly you do not understand what the Bible says about judging at all. If you properly understood the passage you refer to (Matt. 7:1-5), you would not give it the false interpretation you do. Nowhere in the Bible are we told not to judge righteously. In fact, we are very clearly commanded to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24). You are judging according to the appearance of things, not the reality. The kind of judging the Lord condemns in Matt. 7 is hypocritical judging: judging someone guilty of the very thing you yourself may be doing. Every single day, we make judgments regarding people, practices, etc. We have to; we could not live in this world if we did not. You say, “How can you judge a person, doesn’t matter if he is a Christian or not, how can you judge a person?” Where do you find such a teaching in the Bible? You cannot. It is solely based on a totally false understanding of Matt. 7.
Let me give you an example: would you say that Hitler or Stalin were Christians? Please be very careful how you answer, for by your own words you will be justified or condemned: if you say they were not Christians, you have judged them not to be Christians; on the other hand, if you say they were, you have (contrary to all the evidence of their lives) judged them to be Christians. Ma’am, you need to think before you speak, and you need to properly understand the Scriptures before you make foolish statements like the one I have quoted from your letter.
You say, “Yes, President Mandela WAS a murderer, but how will you know if he is not a Christian? Doesn’t it state in the Bible that we must not judge people?” There you go again. Actually, I have not called Mandela a murderer, because as far as I know he never personally murdered anyone. But as to how I would know if someone was a Christian or not, I would know this by their fruit, as the Lord Jesus said (Matt. 7:16-20). If Mandela was now a true Christian, he would have repented of his sins and believed in Christ, entrusting the salvation of his soul to Him. He has never done this. Never. If he was now a Christian, we would have heard a clear confession of his sins from him, that the way he lived previously was wicked, and that he was forsaking that, acknowledging his sin before the Lord, and no longer living that way. We have heard no such words from him. Instead, he maintains what he has always held.
To say that “some people started to know the Lord” through doing charitable deeds for 67 minutes in honour of Mandela is absolute nonsense. No one is converted by doing charitable works. This statement of yours is without foundation, either biblically or factually. Salvation is by God’s grace, through faith in Christ, and not by works we do (Eph. 2:8-10).
And then there is the shocking paragraph where you speak of asking Springbok rugby players how they felt when they met Mandela, and then getting all excited over their answer! If indeed any of those sportsmen said that Christ’s love was shining out of Mandela, and that peace surrounded him, then they are as ignorant and blind to the truth of the Gospel as it is possible to get. This sounds more like Hinduism than Christianity! This sounds like the false concept of some kind of “aura” surrounding the man. The love of Christ does not shine out of a man who is not a true Christian. The love of Christ does not shine out of a man who has never repented of his sins, when he was involved in a terrorist campaign against the State. And with regards to yourself, why should it be important to you what some rugby players think of Mandela? Are they all true Christians? Must we now base our understanding of the man on how they “felt” in his presence? If this is your way of deciding on what to think of the man, you are very much mistaken and very ignorant of what the Bible says.
Yes, everyone who is now a Christian did many things, before the Lord saved them, for which they are now very sorry. But that is just the point, you see: Mandela, a public figure, has never once come out and said, “I have repented of my past deeds. I am sorry for the sins I committed, including the sin of waging a guerilla campaign against the authorities. I am now a Christian; I have entrusted my soul to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He has saved me, and made me a new creature in Him.” No such testimony has ever been heard from Mandela’s lips, and certainly his life gives no evidence of ever having become “new” in Christ.
Your last paragraph is false as well. “I am not judging you,” you write. Yes, Ma’am, you certainly are. And so you have contradicted yourself. You have judged me to be in error regarding Mandela. You have judged me to be in error on the matter of judging. So please do not say, “How can you judge a person?” You have done so, and you will continue to do so, virtually every day of your life, in your interactions with other human beings, as we all do and as we all must do, in fact. You will judge some to be wicked, and some not. Every time you may say of someone you know, “He is a thief”, or “She told a lie”, you have judged those people.
May the Lord open your eyes to the truth of God’s Word, for at this time you are ignorant of it, and of what it means to be a true Christian.– Shaun Willcock