July 2021

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TruthTalks: The Perfect Storm

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After what has been a harrowing month for South African’s we take a look back, and forward on to what WE can do.

When the rioting first began, Dr Christpher Peppler wrote THIS article. Ten days later, he wrote an article aptly titled “Ten Days After the Perfect Storm” where he tackled it from the perspective of “What can WE do now?”

It’s a confusing and frightening time for many, as well as a cold and hungry time and I urge you to listen to this podcast and to pass it on to anyone you may think needs to hear it. We gain no monetary profit from www.TruthIsTheWord.com or the TruthTalks podcasts, so please support us by getting the word out. Below is the audio.

Until next time, admin

 

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Ten Days After the Perfect Storm

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It is several days since I wrote on the perfect storm of July 2021, so here is what I am now seeing as continuing to unfold:

By the way, if you haven’t yet read the article I posted on Friday, I urge you to read it HERE before reading this follow-up.
  1. There is clear evidence, despite the government’s mixed messages, that the looting and arson were instigated in an attempt to gain political power in both the ruling party and the government. It is an insurrection aimed at a coupe.
  2. What has come into sharp focus is the appalling level of poverty in our nation. It is also painfully evident that there is an aching moral vacuum within many middle-class people who loot as ravenously as the hungry and hopeless.
  3. Communities have pulled together to both protect and to try to address the devastation. Community Police Forums, Neighbourhood Watches, Commercial security companies working with police, and Residents Associations have emerged as the heroes. Supermarket chains and other companies have gone to lengths to get provisions down to KwaZulu-Natal. Private security companies have gone the extra mile and hoards of citizens of goodwill have stepped in to clean up the mess and restore order.
Here are the things that we as Christians can do or continue to do:

Any structural changes needed to redirect the nation will take time. However, right now there are millions of hungry people. The looting will feed some for a week or so, but after that their poverty will deepen and their needs will be more urgent than ever.

Therefore, we need to follow the example of the Lord Jesus and feed the people while pointing them to Him.

We can do this in several ways, but here are just two:

  • Get involved in our local church effort in this regard and/or
  • financially support a Christain based and registered organisation involved in feeding the poor.
  • I think that Clem Sunter is correct when he says that what South Africa urgently needs is what he calls a ‘peoples economy’. By this, he means that government and big business need to redirect their goals and strategies towards creating a plethora of new small businesses. He contends that, as a nation, we need to focus not on job creation but on business creation.

The Christians among us who are in leadership positions within their companies can take this further, investigate its feasibility, and influence their corporations to shift in this direction.

  • The model of government in this nation needs to change. The current Marxist Socialism of the ruling party needs to be, at least, reformulated around the concept of a ‘peoples economy’. The electoral system needs to be modified to include members of parliament elected by the voters and not by their political parties. In addition to this, it is quite likely that we will need a Coalition Government, perhaps even preceded by a Government of National Unity. Christians, called and equipped by the Holy Spirit, should seriously consider getting involved in politics to be catalysts for truth as the needed structural changes take place.
  • We can spread some finance to those with whom we come into contact – car guards (give them R10 rather than 50c), our domestic workers, and so on.
  • We can also support and get involved with our local Community Police Forums, Block Watch, Residents Associations, and the like.

These are just some things we ordinary citizens can do, all the while keeping our eyes on Jesus and his Gospel of Salvation.

It May Not be Over yet

We cannot assume that it is all over until law enforcement agencies arrest the ring leaders of this present sedition and identify and dismantle their networks. The supporters of the previous president have now made outrageous demands on the government designed to exacerbate the situation and to force further chaos. It is clear that they are aiming for the overthrow of the present government and this, by any definition, is treasonous insurrection. Therefore, we need to keep vigilant.

What we, as ordinary citizens, can do about this terrible reality is to pray for our leaders:

‘I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.’ (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

What we can also do is feed the hungry. Any further plans the anarchists have will rely in part on the manipulation of the easy to instigate hungry masses. The less hungry and hopeless people are the less likely they will be to loot and burn.

Two Major Ways to Feed the Hungry

FIRSTLY

I have previously mentioned this, but a good first step is to contact your local church leaders to enquire about the channels open to you. For instance, I know that the local church to which I belong has allocated a substantial amount of money to provide three ministries, that the church already supports in the outlying areas, with additional aid for their feeding projects.

SECONDLY

Another way is to give directly to an organisation you know you can trust. One such ministry that my wife and I have supported of late is The Cradle of Hope in the Krugersdorp area.

Here is what I received from them a couple of days ago:

PLEASE assist us to supply FOOD PARCELS to families in desperate need.

Our FOOD PARCEL account is completely empty, and our funds are depleted, and we have to send people away, empty handed.

At the moment we are supplying between 300 – 400 food parcels per week. But we can only hand out what we receive.

Literally anything and everything makes a difference.

At THE CRADLE OF HOPE we do not judge.  We do not discriminate at all.  We are not RACIST.  We do not see colour and we help everyone.

HUNGER and HOMELESSNESS and POVERTY has NO COLOUR.

Please assist us if you can.

Donate via our bank account:

THE CRADLE OF HOPE

FIRST NATIONAL BANK Account no:  621-8035-2628

Branch code: 250241  Ref:  FOODPARCEL

We can provide Section 18A tax certificates and BBBEE Level 1 certificates for all contributions received.  Kindly WhatsApp or email Sharon your proof of payment on: 0790495802 or info@thecradleofhope.org

For more information on our Organisation please visit our website: www.thecradleofhope.org

And Remember

‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

‘ “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:35-39)

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The Perfect Storm

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On 24 March 2020, I wrote an article about the perfect storm. I defined the natural phenomenon by this name as something that occurs when a warm wind collides with a cold wind over a warm and wet area. The result is often a very intense and destructive storm. I went on to write that ‘Here in South Africa, we seem to be experiencing our own ‘perfect storm’. For some time now our nation has been ‘warm and wet’ with corruption, crime, recession, and the like. Then came the warm wind of even more electricity load shedding than last year, followed closely by the cold wind of Covid-19. The results of the ensuing storm are stock exchange and rand collapse, rapidly deepening economic crisis… and panic! Like three apocalyptic horsemen with the 4th grim reaper not far behind!”

Now, sixteen months later, we are experiencing an even more intense Perfect Storm. Two of the vectors of this remain the same and the only difference is that we still have electricity, although there is no guarantee that this supply will remain stable.

The Storm of July 2021

I am neither a political nor an economics ‘expert’, but here is how I see the current situation that will most probably be seen by future generations as a turning point for South Africa:

  • Our previous Head of State is the figurehead for a faction within the ruling party of our nation who are openly opposed to the more moderate and honest current government.  On Wednesday night he was arrested and incarcerated and at the same time on Friday 9th July 2021, a mob burned about 25 trucks on the national road between Durban and Johannesburg. And so it started.
  • The tactics employed by the insurrectionists are plain to see and are right out of the Marxist playbook. Mobilise the hungry and hopeless to loot and burn, attack key infrastructures such as distribution networks, the apparatus of law and order, and so on, all to make the nation ungovernable so that they can ascend to power amid the chaos.
What is Obvious to me

Some overseas readers might have been informed by what I have written by way of introduction, although all of us here in South Africa are painfully aware of the crisis we face.

I write this on the fifth day of the insurrection with no idea of how things are going to go from here. However, the following problems have already become obvious to me:

  1. There are millions of people in our nation who are hungry and millions more who have no job or prospect of employment.  75% of the nation’s youth do not earn a living because there just are no jobs for them. They are the future fathers, leaders, and influencers, but they are also a huge body of people who have little hope and nothing to lose. To date, the government has been unable to productively deploy these people and the current decimation of our economy will make this task even harder.
  2. We have a huge moral deficit in our nation, not only among some businessmen, government managers, and political leaders, but also among the middle class of society. I watched with horror as hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children looted mall after mall. At first, the plunder was mainly food, but as the chaos continued the looters started taking fridges, TV sets, furniture and the like. (There is a saying doing the rounds on social media that reads, “I am so hungry I could steal a TV”). Then my horror reached an even higher level when the news channels were flooded with shots of hoards of people arriving in smart cars and trucks to haul away their loot. These were not the poor and hungry, but morally corrupt middle-class people.
  3. Our leaders and their law enforcement agencies appear to lack the ability to take fast, dynamic and decisive action. The political pronouncements are careful, calculated and uninspiring. The TV reporters arrive at the scene of looting and arson long before the police do and when the ‘law’ eventually arrives they seem to just potter around trying to prevent loss of life but not loss of livelihood.
Now, as I write this, the looting and arson in the two affected provinces continues, food and fuel supplies dry up, and the late and lacklustre COVID-19 vaccination campaign almost grinds to a halt.
What can we do?

I don’t ask the question ’what can be done?’ but what can we do, you and me.

From my perspective, the government is doing what it can and so it is not just a matter of what ‘they’ can do. The church is the extended family of God and, in the main, local church leaders are also doing what they can. However, we Christians are the church and we are also citizens of our nation, and we can do something. We need to be praying and we need to be encouraging one another and sharing the Gospel wherever we can. We can and should be doing this in any event, but these are extraordinary times. Our nation is in crisis and this calls for extraordinary effort.

Amidst the chaos around us, I am observing the difference that relatively small groups of people are making.

Determined citizens are banding together to protect their businesses, shops, and suburbs. In the area where I live, the Community Police Forum is doing a great job in keeping us safe and our local Residents Association is keeping us up-to-date and in touch with emergency services.

So, then, against this background, what can you and I do?
Feed the Hungry

In the longer term, we can get involved in teaching moral values to the people of our land. We could even, as individuals, get involved in local and national politics. However, the question is ‘what can I do now’?

Well, the ‘cannon fodder for the insurrectionists is the huge number of hungry and hopeless people. They are suffering now and they will be in an even worse position when the smoke clears and they see that they have helped to destroy their sources of supply and hope. Now, I am a pretty average South African. I don’t have a job because I am a retired 73-year-old. My means are modest but my needs are even more modest. I can do more with my financial resources than I have done in the past. I can give to organisations that have the infrastructure, methods, and leadership to feed the poor. I can find out if I can assist local groups like the Community Police Forum.

I can make a small difference but enough of our small differences could make a huge difference.

So, here is what I suggest: Get hold of your church leaders and ask them if there is any feeding scheme your church supports that you can also support in your personal capacity. Ask them for contact details of other organisations they know of and can recommend as honest and effective. Ask them to liaise with the various community groups I have already mentioned, and to let you know what their needs are and how you can get involved. Don’t suggest that the church office, staff, or the pastor do more, but find out what YOU can do.

What Else?

What else can I do? I can comfort those in my circle of influence, pray for and with them, and point them to Jesus and the peace he brings. I can try to guard my own heart and not let anger or despair grip me. I can determine to make clear and reasoned decisions and to act responsibly in these irresponsible and insane times.

What Jesus did and said

Everything I have written so far does not just come from social conscience or self-preservation. These do factor into my thinking, but the general ideas are in line with what Jesus said and did.

For instance, when Jesus saw the poor people of his day he had compassion for them and fed them while also teaching them.
  • ‘Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd’ (Matthew 9:35-36).
  • ‘When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” ‘ (Matthew 14:14-16)
  • ‘Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.””(Matthew 15:32)

We have the words of Jesus. We have the Gospel of Salvation. We have the guiding and empowering influence of the Holy Spirit. We have resources and we are resourceful. So, we can preach, witness, pray, and feed the hungry… all in the name of Jesus. We can make a difference!

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TruthTalks: Jesus’ Letter to us Bergamites

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Last week, Dr Christopher Peppler wrote THIS POST about how Revelation 2 and 3 record seven letters that Jesus dictated to seven existing churches in Turkey. One of those letters was to Pergamum (AKA Bergame) and applies equally to us. Jesus outlines the conditions he found in the church of Pergamum and it is a reality that we need to look at in our churches, and ourselves, to this day.

Listen to Dr Peppler as he expands on some of the infiltration tactics being used today to weaken the church, and how to defeat them. This was a sermon shot from his home and if you prefer to watch it you can do so HERE.

Click below to listen, and please like, subscribe, comment and pass this along to anyone you think may be interested. YOU are our marketing. 

Until next time, admin

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Jesus’ Letter to us Bergamites

I must confess right off that I created the title ‘Jesus’ Letter to us Bergamites’ to pique your interest.

Revelation Chapters Two and Three record seven letters that Jesus dictated to seven existing churches in Turkey. The third letter was to the church of Pergamum, but the modern name for that city is Bergama. In addition, all seven letters address issues and conditions found in today’s church. So his letter to Pergamum AKA Bergama is equally to us.

You will find the letter in Revelation 2:12-17 and it reads as follows:

12) “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13) I know where you live — where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city — where Satan lives. 14) Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. 15) Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16) Repent, therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it”.

What the name means

Each of the names of the seven churches has significance. For instance, the first letter was to Ephesus which means ‘desirable one’ and it is to a church that in many ways was a model church, but which had lost its first love. Pergamum means ‘Married’ and is a combination of two Greek words, ‘Per’ meaning ‘wholly’, and ‘Gamos’ meaning ‘wedded’. This gives us an immediate clue to the condition Jesus addresses… I will leave this hanging for the moment but it will become obvious shortly.

Jesus’ self-description

In this letter, the Lord Jesus draws on the symbolic portrayal of himself in Chapter One where he is described as having a sharp double-edged sword coming out of his mouth. We don’t need to leave scripture at all to determine the meaning of this. In Revelation 2 verse 16 Jesus refers to a particular section of the congregation with the words: “Repent, therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth”. Then Revelation 19:15 describes Jesus Christ as a warrior king striking down the ‘nations’ with the sword from his mouth. In Ephesians 6:15 the Apostle Paul writes about ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God’. Finally, Hebrews 4:12 has, ‘For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword’.

So, the sharp double-edged sword coming out of Jesus’ mouth is symbolic of the Word of God, which is in essence the bible, and more specifically, the Lord’s words as conveyed by the scriptures. It is this Word of God, which defines, judges, and corrects error in doctrine and lifestyle.

Jesus Knows

Revelation 2 v13 records Jesus saying, “I know where you live, where Satan has his throne.” Later he speaks of “your city where Satan lives’. Here is where secular and religious history helps us to understand what Jesus meant by this. Pergamum was a centre of Emperor Worship, for in those times the Roman Emperor liked to be thought of as a god. In addition, the city contained temples to Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry, Athena, Demeter, and Zeus.  The city was built at the foot of a great conical hill and halfway up that hill was the altar to Zeus. It looked like a giant throne and it belched the smoke of its sacrifices day and night.

However, the chief god of Pergamum was AEsuclapius, the serpentine god of healing and enlightenment, and his emblem featured on their city flag: It was a snake wrapped around a pole. This serpent god was said to have died and been resurrected and he was renowned, or I should say notorious, for his occult gifts of healing and enlightenment. Apparently, Pergamum was the world seat of Satan-worship after the cult moved there from Babylon.

Now, where have we encountered this slippery customer before? In the Garden of Eden of course, where Satan appeared to Eve as a serpent at the foot of the ‘tree of the knowledge of all things’. He promised her enlightenment and god-like status if she would only obey him.

This malign being is still active in the world of our day and he is still offering “enlightenment.” Demonic healing is his greatest enticement to believe his dark doctrines – as it was in the days of Pergamum, so it is today.

Persecution

The second half of verse 13 describes how most of the members of the church of Pergamum did not lose their faith or deny the name of Jesus despite the insidious satanic infection within their body. A man named Antipas had paid with his life for resisting the cult of AEsculapius.

What’s in a Name?

Verses 14 and 15 go on to address the heretics in the congregation. Jesus equates them to Balaam and then labels them as Nicolaitans. It seems that these are just two names describing the same group. The word Balaam can be broken down into two Hebrew words meaning ‘the people’ and ‘conquer’. The word Nicolatia can similarly be broken down into two Greek words meaning exactly the same thing. Both constructs describe a group within the church who were seeking to overcome the members.

Now a little Old Testament context. Balaam was the priest whom King Balak employed to curse the Israelites who were encroaching on his territory as they journeyed towards the Promised Land. God had prohibited Balaam from doing this, but when the king put pressure on him, he disclosed another way to conquer the Israelites. Balak should conscript the most desirable young women from among his people, and instruct them to seduce the Israelite men. They were to marry them and bring their idols and pagan worship rites into the very camp of Israel. These pagan religious practices featured banquets where participants ate food dedicated to idols and engaged in illicit sexual acts. In his letter to the church, Jesus described Balaam as ‘enticing to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality’.

Fast Forward to Today

In ancient Israelite times and in the days of Pergamum, the infiltration of the satanically enabled world into the church took the form of idol worship and orgies, but in our day it is a lot more subtle. Here are some of the infiltration tactics used today to weaken the church:

  • An ‘easy to believe’ Gospel, sometimes known as Hyper-Grace. God loves you too much to change you and Jesus has dealt with all your past, present, and future sin. So, just believe this and live in his blessing.
  • Business strategies that appeal to a consumerist society and position the church to attract people to their offerings.
  • Compromised values regarding marriage, gender, sexual behaviour, and being WOKE.
  • Acceptance of relative rather than absolute truth where anyone’s opinion can carry as much authority as the Word of God.
  • New Age healing practices and philosophies including occult signs and wonders.
  • The deadly mantra of ‘Jesus is good but not God’.

Repent

The call to the cultic sect in the church of Pergamum is the same as it is to such members in our churches – Repent!  The simplest way of understanding this command is… Stop what you are doing, turn around, and return to pure devotion to Jesus.

Reward

The Lord Jesus never brings judgement without at the same time promising reward to those who heed his voice and obey. This is what he promises:

Vs 17) “I will give some of the hidden manna”. This is a reference to the bread-like manna that appeared on the desert floor to sustain the Israelites on their journey. Jesus is the living bread from heaven. He is our sustenance and life. He also said, “I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”  White stones constituted entrance tickets to those invited to the orgies of AEsalapius. The stones likely bore his symbol of a serpent wrapped around a pole. However, God invites all who are true to the name of Jesus to the great wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven. Revelation 10:9 reads, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to attend the wedding supper of the Lamb’. This supper is prefigured by what we call The Lords Table, or Holy Communion.

You, of course, know the name inscribed on the white stone given to true believers? Yes, the name is… Jesus!

About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.