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Editor's note: Michael Oh, executive director/CEO of the Lausanne Movement, was a member of the official delegation of Christian leaders at today's memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

Spontaneous shouts of "Tata Madiba!" ...

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Rowland Van Es

December 15, 2013  8:55am

Celebrating someone is not the same as worshiping them. Plus we can also celebrate what God did through them. God uses Christians and non-Christians to accomplish God's purposes in the world. Also his story is one of conversion: He went into prison like Malcom X with a raised, clenched fist but comes out of prison 27 years later like Martin Luther King, Jr with an open hand. He also inspired a nation (See movie Invictus) and was able to reconcile blacks and whites in South Africa like no one else. He was not perfect, he was human and I believe God used him as the right man at the right time in the right place. That's a lot to celebrate!

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D. McDonald

December 14, 2013  10:05am

@Chris Carter, thank you for the suggestions. Over the last week or so of what I have seen in the media and on various social media, I've notice the "savior-of-the-world" like status so many people want to give to Mandela, even some people sadly comparing him to Jesus. The thought that keeps coming to my mind when I hear these heaps of praise is that Nelson Mandela is still lying there in his grave. May people come to know the true Savior.

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Chris Carter

December 14, 2013  9:34am

When I think of Nelson Mandela, I couldn't help but think of the Truth and Reconciliation commission he set up to deal with the prior abuses of the Apartheid regime. While imperfect, it was a good step towards healing, at least that's what we have been told. Since Mandela's death though, I came across another article and an interview with a South African Christian missionary who gave some keen insight into the real Mandela. I would encourage all thoughtful Christians to google Peter Hammond and Frontiers and also search YouTube for his video about his encounter with Mandela. It is eye opening and shocking and it also makes me wonder how much of did Mandela deserve his prison sentence in 1964. The apartheid regime was a brutal, racist, and evil regime that built its government on the great sin of racism. But the ANC was equally bad, terrorizing women and children who dared challenge them. Watch the interview and then decide for yourself.

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D. McDonald

December 13, 2013  2:32pm

@Vic Christian, you said to me "if you are a believer and understand the Bible, please relate as to how this article promotes the truth." Are you kidding me? I've already done that (see my comment below right before your last one). It is you who is failing to show what the author says in this article is not biblical. I'm beginning to think that you either cannot read, or you cannot see passed your presuppositions and biases to read what is actually being said. Please quote from the author (not someone else in the world, just this author) something that shows he worships Mandela, that he said he was a Christian, that he said he didn't do any wrong things, that our hope is in him. Anything, I don't care. Just show me what is unbiblical FROM THE ARTICLE ITSELF. You are not being honest, but instead are making things up, slandering Michael Oh, and judging his heart based on no evidence from the article itself. Are you aware of something about Oh that the rest of do not know?

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D. McDonald

December 13, 2013  2:18pm

@Vic Christian, who is denying Mandela did things contrary to the Bible? Why are you asking me to look at the fruit in his life? I understand what the Bible says about sin. It's quite clear. But what I don't understand is that everything you've argued that is wrong about this article isn't even mentioned in the article itself. I'm not talking about whether or not Christians anywhere in the world wrongly "worship" Mandela. I'm concerned about this article, because it is this article that you used to make your point that the author is worshipping Mandela. In case you were not aware, the day Mandela died was a significant day for the world. Not because Mandela was a Christian, but because of the huge influence he had on the world, regardless of whether or not we think it's justified. Michael Oh simply wrote an article on an event that the entire world was talking about, and still is. Mandela was only the starting point. Oh's heart for people's salvation in SA was its message.

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Vic Christian

December 13, 2013  12:24pm

D. McDonald - CT and many others are obviously celebrating Mandela's life as if he is a person to be worshiped, with many of the articles stating that he is/was a Christian. Mandela was a communist, a terrorist, and a leader in his definition of racial harmony. Please - look at his history, look at things he has stated since his release from prison, look at his fruit. Then - read the Bible, all of it. Then, if you are a believer and understand the Bible, please relate as to how this article promotes the truth. No - I cannot convince you, and will not try. If you ever get to central Indiana please give me a shout - would like to discuss what is really important.

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D. McDonald

December 13, 2013  12:09am

Oh, and Vic Christian, you claim "to be able to recognize truth from error, and can differentiate Biblical truth from falsehood," yet you can't read an article without maligning the author's words and making things up for which he did not say. I suppose I am to believe that God enjoys it more when his people lie than when a non-Christian like Mandela supports abortion and homosexuality. BTW, could you help me (and Michael Oh) understand how Oh's desire is for the church to be the one to provide SA with the voice and life, that God cares about justice and injustice, and that even though people are inspired by Mandela, true reconciliation is only found in the gospel when people become new creations (2 Cor 5:17-21) "reflects something other than God's truth," as you put it? (Those are the things the article talked about after all.) Anyway, that would be very helpful in my quest not to be sucked in by biblical falsehoods.

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D. McDonald

December 12, 2013  11:42pm

@John Lofton, I'll point out that neither the article or title says Mandela was god-fearing. It says he pursued justice in a "god-fearing way." Did you actually read the article or just stop at the title? It was likely not a title the author chose anyway. Regardless, you may say "god-fearing" and "god-fearing way" are the same things, but they aren't necessarily since words matter in language. If my neighbor takes cares of widows and orphans, and yet isn't a believer, he or she is still doing something in a god-fearing manner because it resembles something God would do, that is, taking care of orphans and widows. As I responded to Vic Christian, no where in the article does the author glorify Mandela, let alone claim he was Christian. He may elsewhere, but I can only go by what is written here. (I'd suggest that if anyone has a problem with "real Christians" caring about "justice", whether racial equality, poverty issues, etc., you should read Tim Keller's book, "Generous Justice."

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D. McDonald

December 12, 2013  11:27pm

@Vic Christian, it's comical your problem with the article was that it said Mandela was a Christian. You said, "My comment strictly referred to the claim of his being a Christian--no evidence of his confession or salvation." Where in the article exactly does it make that claim? I read it over and over, and to use your words, there is "no evidence" of that mentioned anywhere. It talks about Mandela being a leader. Are we to deny that he was a leader? It said that we have something to learn from Mandela. How is that not true? I recognize that Mandela has done some terrible things in his life, but of course there are things, both positive and negative, to learn from Mandela's life, just like there is from most people, whether Christian or not (I'm not putting these two types of people on par). The author reflected on an important day in which his greatest desire was for Christians to fill the "vacuum" in South Africa with the gospel of true reconciliation.

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JOHN LOFTON

December 12, 2013  7:09pm

Mandela was "God-fearing?" I think not. He was a communist, a terrorist, for abortion-on-demand, and thought it was OK for men to "marry" men, just to name a few things that are NOT fruits of the Christian Spirit. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/05/13/world/party-led-by-mandela-now -owns-up-to-atrocities.html John Lofton Director,The God And Government Project https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-God-And-Government-Project/4943 14250654693?fref=ts JLof@aol.com

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Mart Griesel

December 12, 2013  1:38pm

Following is a video of Mandela, AFTER HIS RELEASE, singing with his comrades "we the memebrs of MK (Umkhonto we Siswe) have pledged ourselves to kill them, the ama - bhulu (the whites). My question is, "Why didn't Mandela say to his fellow members of Unkhonto we Siswe, 'Hey guys I've forgiven them (the whites), let's now work towards a peaceful democracy?'" I find it hard to believe any media reports who elevate him as the "giant" of democracy and forgiveness when I see videos like this who clearly shows the opposite. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY1qmtbiBcI

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Vic Christian

December 12, 2013  7:56am

D. McDonald - I would never be able to write an article due to my lack of any writing ability. However, I am able to recognize truth from error, and can differentiate Biblical truth from falsehood. Also, I am definitely not an "American is best" person. However, very few if any of our "founding fathers" were either terrorists or communists as was Mandela. None of them were pro-abortion or homosexuality as he was, even late in life. My comment strictly referred to the claim of his being a Christian - no evidence of his confession or salvation. This article as well as the many articles which push culture or what the Word of God says do not belong in a so-called Christian publication. Even your comment reflects something other than God's truth.

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Pop Seal

December 11, 2013  4:30pm

Redemption, justification, and reconciliation are the products of faith in Christ's sacrifice, not the feelings related to social justice. Regeneration, sanctification, and glorification are the results of Christ's resurrection. Leftist 'theologians' try to change lives without the humility the Gospel requires. The gaggle of self serving politicians making political hay at Mandela's funeral proves the point.

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Mart Griesel

December 11, 2013  2:37pm

I listened to what Dr. Peter Hammond had to say about Mandela and I was shocked to say the least. Listen for yourself and tell us what you think. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKO7MmJ60zY

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Arkady Repard

December 11, 2013  2:10pm

Nelson Mandela was an imperfect man-agreed. However, Nelson Mandela was not imprisoned for his faith in God…He was imprisoned for blowing up school buses full of children and other such horrible crimes against humanity. I will give him his due for serving time in prison for his crimes but will not agree with the uninformed masses that he was unjustly imprisoned. The indigenous ethnic group in what is now the political state of South Africa is the Zulu tribe…Nelson Mandela was of the ethnic Xhosa tribe, not indigenous to South Africa… If you want to really understand Apartheid, study that dynamic rather than the all too obvious Black-White struggle… Did Mandela inspire a handshake between POTUS Obama and the leader of Cuba, Raul Castro? I seriously doubt Mandela had anything to do with that other than that his death brought the 2 men into proximity where they could shake hands…It would appear that Michael Oh (and CT) still have a lot to learn about South Africa...and reconciliation.

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JOHN LOFTON

December 11, 2013  11:55am

Mandela NEVER pursued "justice" as God defines "justice." He was a communist, a violent terrorist, for abortion-on-demand, and thought it OK for men to "marry" men. He was an evil man. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/05/13/world/party-led-by-mandela-now-ow ns-up-to-atrocities.html John Lofton Director,The God And Government Project https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-God-And-Government-Project/4943 14250654693?fref=ts JLof@aol.com

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D. McDonald

December 10, 2013  9:35pm

@Vic Christian, what part of the article did you not like? Was it the part when the author said that in the Gospel there is a far greater promise of hope and reconciliation that exceeds the superlative after superlative heaped on Mandela today? Or perhaps your problem is that this story is about Mandela, who scandalously is not American? I mean, why should any other part of the world matter? In reality, he just isn't one of the holy founding fathers of the US who so many Americans (Christians included) prop up as idols. You know, the ones that brought freedom from British oppression. We know they had no flaws. Or is your problem with the fact that the author talks about rights and justice? Are you still living in the false dichotomy of the liberal "social justice" and evangelical "salvation message" emphases of the 20th century? I'm just curious. Regardless, perhaps you should start writing articles for CT and grace us with your wisdom. That way you could finally fix CT. Thank you.

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Mike Schwabe

December 10, 2013  8:54pm

Hopefully Mandella was saved. But he went to prison because his communist group had many military-grade weapons ready to be utilized in terrorist ways.

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Vic Christian

December 10, 2013  7:06pm

This article is just another reason not to read "Christianity Today."

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