Kairos, Crisis, and Global Apartheid: The Challenge to by Allan Aubrey Boesak

By Allan Aubrey Boesak

In 1985, the Kairos rfile emerged out of the anti-apartheid fight as a devastating critique of apartheid and a problem to the church in that society. This booklet is a decision to determine new moments of drawback, discernment and kairos, and reply with prophetic resistance to international injustice.

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3 It was the decade of the Sharpeville massacre, of the Rivonia trial in the wake of the Treason trial and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela; of my study of theology and entry into the ministry, of Cottesloe 4 and the response of the white Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) to the momentous events of the time. It was the decade of my introduction to Beyers Naudé and the Christian Institute, to Koot Vorster, ultra conservative Dutch Reformed Church leader, stalwart of apartheid and unapologetic proponent of the theology that undergirded that evil system.

Instead he is “restless and longing and sick,” and he knows it is the sickness of fear and doubt. He longs for life as he knew it, filled with the songs of birds, the colors and the smells of flowers. Outside are the sounds of the futility of war, the all-consuming hatreds, the Sieg, Heil cries of Nazi obsessiveness, the empty braggadocio in the face of self-created horrors. Inside is the clang of prison cell doors, the shouts of prison guards and the muted despair of fellow prisoners who share space with your body but have no understanding of the longings of your soul.

A prophet is never a prophet by choice, but always by calling. And it does take courage to stand before powers and principalities and speak God’s word of truth, correction, and judgment, and to articulate a vision so fundamentally different from what those in power find comfort and legitimization in. But the Bible is careful to remind us that we are to take nothing for granted here. In Matthew’s gospel (11:7–11) Jesus turns to the crowds following him and asks three questions to which he apparently does not expect any response from his listeners.

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