In a recent series of events, Angus Buchan was pressured to repent of his remarks and cancel a prayer meeting. This would be a prayer meeting for the Afrikaner nation which was planned for 1 February 2020. The whole debacle centered around his statement that the Jews and Afrikaans people are the only two nations that are in a covenant with God. After pressure he now retracted that statement and asked those wronged by it for forgiveness.
What I find interesting is that no one questions the quick retraction from his original statement. Nor do they question the theological grounds for his original and now changed views on this matter. One does get the impression that political correctness is more important than theological sound reasoning. Because Floyd Shivambu from the EFF shared Angus’ call to prayer that contains his original statement, Buchan has now changed his statement and extended the covenant to all who believe in Jesus Christ..
Opinions does not change overnight
Theological viewpoints are not something that are formed over night. This history teaches us. Many of the most important viewpoints were formed through a long process of reading, studying, thinking, debating, sometimes even direct opposition and often times persecution. Church councils were held to thrash out difficult issues and formulate clear, reasonable and sound doctrine.
The question of God’s covenant with the nation of Israel is probably one of the most difficult to answer. It is complicated by the fact that the Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah who inaugurated God’s new covenant. Furthermore, the political position of Israel makes this a very emotional issue.
To therefore make a statement that the Jews and Afrikaner people are the only two nations in covenant with God, must have some theological backing to even make such a statement. I would suggest the correct thing for the Christian community is to at least demand of Buchan to explain his theological reasoning behind his statements. The correct thing would be for Angus to explain why he would even dare to make such a statement.
To swing from one side of the pendulum to the other is no small issue. To one day be of the opinion that only Jews and Afrikaners are in covenant relation and then, move in such a short space of time to the totally opposite side is no small change. It requires a total theological realignment. It requires a complete redefinition of what is meant by the concept of “covenant” and “covenant relationship with God”. It requires a complete shift from thinking in terms of nationality to spirituality. One moment, because of race you are in a covenant relationship with God, the next moment that does not count any more. Now it is being a believer in Jesus Christ that brings you into the new covenant. This change is drastic and should have major theological underwriting.
An explanation is required
In my opinion, this switch demands an answer. Repenting does not explain why someone make a shift under political pressure. And this is my concern. Changes in theological orientation is supposed to be brought about by our thoughtful and prayerful consideration of the Scriptures. As Protestants one of our treasures is “Sola Scriptura”, i.e. “through the Scriptures alone”! Scripture is our only rule for sound doctrine and a sanctified lifestyle. Not political pressure.
Politicians will jump on something if they feel their cause is being undermined. Floyd was the poster politician in this regard. For him this was the classical case of white racism and his opportunity to use it to his advantage. But for the Christian community, the problem runs much deeper. The problem is one of a spiritual leader that is easily swayed by political pressure. How easily will Angus then change some of his other opinions? I have previously written about him retracting his “prophecy” about the rains in the Western Cape during the drought. It does seem that Angus has the tendency to change his statements in response to his environment.
I personally think Angus should explain himself. The Christian community should put more pressure on people like Buchan who make statements like this without explaining themselves. Repentance is one thing, but Buchan is seen as a spiritual leader for many in South Africa. Statements like his and then retraction of those statements in this way harm the Church. But what brings even more harm is the fact that the Church does not call him and others who do the same to explain themselves. Just because he is a prominent leader does not mean he does not have to explain why he teaches something or holds to a specific opinion. On the contrary, he should stand up and explain his views on this. This is the responsible thing to do.