The Battle for South West Africa PDF Print E-mail

Volume 2 1989

Frontline Fellowship, as a Christian missionary movement serving God in the war zones of Southern Africa, began assisting persecuted churches in Mozambique and Angola in April 1982. During the following years, our field workers distributed tons of Bibles, New Testaments, tracts and Gospel records in forty-five languages in these Communist countries. We showed Christian films in seven different languages to thousands of people in inaccessible areas. I personally confronted Russians, Cubans and East Germans, Zimbabwean (ZNA), Mozambiquan (FPLM), and Angolan (FAPLA) Communist troops, and SWAPO, ANC, PAC and PLO terrorists with the life-changing Gospel of Christ. Even amongst the anti-Communist guerillas of RENAMO and UNITA, fighting in Mozambique and Angola, we distributed tens of thousands of Gospel tracts, records, booklets, New Testaments and Bibles.

By July 1985, we felt led to add South West Africa/Namibia to our mission’s field of operations. As an endangered country, South West Africa needed to turn to God. For the last four years I have spent an average of three months a year holding evangelistic meetings throughout South West Africa. Another of our missionaries spent over a year specialising in ministering to the soldiers in S.W.A. and UNITA in Angola. Our Deputy Director initiated a S.W.A. Branch of Frontline Fellowship, called “Vegters Vir Christus”, and started three Bible study groups to teach Christians to obey God’s Word in all areas of life. In all, 20 different members of Frontline Fellowship took part in the various preaching tours, film evangelism programmes, literature distribution actions and personal work, which repeatedly reached all areas of that vast country. Not only did we reach over 120 000 people personally in over 1 000 meetings, but we distributed about a quarter of a million pieces of literature in the territory.

We recognised that the war and strife over South West Africa was ultimately a spiritual conflict — requiring a spiritual solution. God is in control of human history and He determines the destiny of nations in response to the faith and obedience of His people.

During January and February of 1989, I led three Frontline Fellowship teams in an extensive series of evangelistic meetings throughout South West Africa/Namibia. The nine members of our teams travelled many thousands of kilometres to reach over 15 000 South Westers with an urgent message of the need for turning away from all evil in repentance, and turning to God in faith and obedience. The action was called J435 (John 4:35 ‘You have a saying, Four more months and then the harvest.’ But I tell you, take a good look at the fields; the crops are now ripe and ready to be harvested!”).

Recognising the urgency fo the situation, we wanted to respond to the challenge for Christian action. It is said that it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. In the same way, we saw the need to go beyond feeling dismay and despair at the possibility of disaster for S.W.A. We resolved to do something constructive to encourage and help the people of South West. Several all-night prayer meetings and a countrywide evangelistic crusade which concentrated on Ovamboland, Kavangoland and Caprivi (but also inluded Keetmanshoop, Gobabis, Mariental, Okahandja, Windhoek, Otjiwarongo and Grootfontein) was the result.

Our message was that God controls the destiny of nations and individuals. That our problems are not primarily political but spiritual. We have created and aggravated our own problems through our disobedience to God’s holy law. It is human greed, lust and selfishness that underlies the corruption, immorality and crime in our society. It is man’s desire to be independent of God, free of moral restraint and liberated from ethical considerations that has led to the breakdown of moral standards, break-up of modern families and sell-out of countries to terrorism.

Our problem is sin. We spend more time reading the newspapers than reading the Bible. We spend more time listening to the communists than in listening to God. We spend more time watching TV than in worshipping Christ. We are playing more often than praying. We worry more about what people think of us than what God thinks of us. We labour harder to appease “world opinion” than to please God.

Those who trust in man-made solutions (politics and military might, for example) to solve their problems will suffer the consequences of human failure. Worldly wisdom and national strength mixed with human pride are no match for obedience to the principles of God’s Word, faith in the power of Almighty God and humble trust in our Sovereign Creator.

The Scripture teaches us in Jeremiah 18:7-10 that if any nation turns away from evil God will bless and strengthen that nation. But if any nation turns away from God and turns to evil God will uproot, break down and destroy that nation.

Deuteronomy 28 teaches us that if a nation is faithful in obeying the clear commands of the Lord, God will bless their fields and their crops, their children and their homes. He will send rain at the right times and grant victory in battle. Similarly it warns, “If you do evil and reject the Lord, He will bring on you disaster, confusion and trouble in everything you do. . . the Lord will strike you with infectious diseases, with swelling and fever. . . drought and scorching winds. . . disasters . . . duststorms and sandstorms .. . The Lord will give your enemies victory over you.” Deut. 28:20-25.

The Scripture declares that:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Prov. 1:7. Yet how often do we fear man and reject God’s law? We cannot blame God for our failures caused by our own unethical opportunism. We must not be surprised when our wisdom is shown up to be sheer stupidity, when our strength is exposed as weakness and when God judges our arrogance with disgrace.

We do not so much break God’s laws as break ourselves upon God’s laws. Just as every manufactured item needs to be operated in accordance with the guidelines laid down in the manufacturer’s instructions, so too we should not be surprised if things go wrong when we ignore the Creator’s instructions as spelled out in the Bible.

This is true for nations, families and individuals. The best guidelines for life, morals, ethics and standards is found in the Law and precepts of God as recorded in the Scriptures.

Recent history is littered with Western defeats. It was not so much that Communism triumphed in Cuba and Cambodia and Nicaragua and Laos — it is the Western democracies who failed. Since the Second World War, forty countries have fallen to Communism — none of them by military means — but by demoralisation, deceit and propaganda. These nations fell, not to external military invasion, but by internal subversion. They were not defeated, they were talked and tricked and threatened into compromise and surrender.

As Colonel Jan Breytenbach, founder of the South African special forces (the Recces), 32 Battalion and 44 Parachute Brigade, has declared: “We in the West have been winning our battles, but losing the wars. The French in Algeria, the Americans in Vietnam, the Rhodesians in what became Zimbabwe — they won all their battles but they lost the war. . . I am convinced that it is our failure to fight on the spiritual front that cause us to lose the war. The military aspect is only part of the total strategy of warfare today. When we allow corruption, atrocities, immorality and blasphemy in our ranks we sabotage our war effort and invite judgment from Almighty God. When we make our plans and then arrogantly try to use God to bless our plans — instead of humbly studying God’s Word, obediently submitting to God’s will and faithfully carrying out God’s plans — when we fail to submit to God, then we're doomed to defeat. Unless we turn to God and carry out His Will we are doomed to winning the battles but losing the war. If South West Africa becomes a Communist state then it will be God’s judgment on us for playing the fool with Him and trying to use God. But if God saves South West from the consequences of our stupidity and disobedience — then it will be in answer to the humble prayers and repentance of His people — and He will be giving us yet another chance to obey Him.”

The West won in South Korea but lost in South Vietnam. What made the difference?

The American (and other allied) armed forces in KOREA had a high percentage of Christians and a God-fearing, Bible-reading Commander, General Douglas McArthur. South Korea has millions of Christians who gather daily for prayer. Christian meetings have been held with over 2 700 000 people present at one time and place. The Gospel influence in South Korea has given the people the spiritual guts, stamina and backbone to withstand 40 years of Communist subversion and terrorism.

By way of contrast, there was a minimal Christian influence in the American armed forces in VIETNAM. The chaplains’ services were badly attended. And drug abuse, corruption, blackmarketeering, prostitution, crime, and alcohol abuse turned Saigon into an immoral sewer. South Vietnam lacked the moral, ethical and spiritual foundation to withstand the...onslaught of Communism. It was a case of “corrupt and conquer.”

Morals do matter. The spiritual life of a country is crucial. Our relationship to God makes all the difference. Not just lip service or religious ritual but a personal relationship with God as our Father. A Christian is someone who has experienced the forgiveness that comes from Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. A true believer is one who has been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. That kind of Christianity is unbeata ble.

As the Scripture says:

“Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death. If you obey the commands of the Lord your God if you love Him, obey Him, and keep all His laws, then you will prosper and become a nation . . . but if you disobey and refuse to listen . . . you will be destroyed — I warn you here and now ... Choose life. Love the Lord your God, obey Him and be faithful to Him, and then you and your descendants will live long in the land.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20

God’s Word to the people of South West Africa, South Africa or the United States of America remains the same:

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear them from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

May God find each of us faithful to His Word and faithful to His Work. May we be brave and bold for God.

Peter Hammond

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