2024

2024

I saw a cartoon the other day depicting a group of people peering fearfully around a corner towards a door marked ‘2024’. One of them was timidly poking the door open with a broomstick. I can’t reproduce it for you without infringing copyright and I was loath to even mention it because of the negative message it conveys. However, I think it puts the situation well because we have to face facts; our global and national situation is predominantly ‘negative’. I want so much to be optimistic as I peer through the slowly opening door of 2024, but I cannot.

It is better to face reality head-on and with open eyes, as we trust God to walk with us into the future.

There is every indication that 2024 could be a pivotal year for the world in general and South Africa in particular. What happens outside of my country will continue to affect us here at the tip of Africa, but it will also affect many of us personally through our family and friends in other parts of the world. However, I will only comment on the global situation in as much as it is likely to affect South Africa.

2024 Globally

It is obvious to anyone even vaguely politically, economically, and environmentally aware that the world is on an accelerating downward escalator.

Global warming, whatever its causes, has passed the critical point where the rate of change moved from rapid to exponential. Last year was, so say the experts, the hottest year in recorded human history, and there is no reason to think that this year will not be even worse. With this change come droughts, extreme weather conditions, and disruption. Food becomes scarcer and more expensive and people die or try to take over someone else’s patch of more productive land. The world population is on the move with emigrants and refugees swamping more stable and prosperous nations than the ones from which they are fleeing. This brings with it huge social and political instability and stress. War borders are expanding outwards threatening to engulf many nations. Ukraine and Russia continue to fight it out in the bloodiest of ways while nearby nations tremble at the negative prospects that threaten them. Israel fights a survival death-battle, while the Arab world tries to convince us that it is the Palestinians who are facing genocide. And, all the while North Korea eyes South Korea waiting for a time to devour it and China eyes the South China Sea territory with equally hungry eyes.

All this casts a huge stress on the rest of the world. Moreover, to top it all off the USA, the world’s last traditional superpower, is facing a contentious presidential election that could even further divide and destabilise. And my poor country, the tarnished rainbow nation, faces its own day of reckoning.

2024 South Africa

South Africa’s only contributions to the world crises seem to be to side publically and noisily with Hamas and the Palestinians, vote for the United Nations condemnation of Israel, and take Israel to the World Court of Justice for committing genocide. This does not help us as a nation in any way that I can see. On the contrary, it antagonises our major trading partners and investors without any noticeable recompense from China, Russia and the Arab nations. So, it looks like we will be facing our own meltdown without international support.

Sociologically, we have over 45% of the population surviving on state aid (social grants), a shrinking tax base unable to maintain this, and an exhausted national debt limit. About 40% of the population earns an income from formal employment, the murder, death, and rape rates are probably the highest in the world, corruption is endemic, and the roads, railways, and harbours are broken! Food prices are through the roof, housing prices slumped in most suburbs, and electricity supply has been cripplingly problematic … and so on.

On the political front, we have a national election that will take place sometime this year where the possible outcomes are all potentially momentous in one way or another. If the ANC retain 40% plus of the vote it is more than likely that they will be able to cobble together a coalition government with a few small parties or the EFF (Horror!) Whatever the constituency of this coalition, they will still be the majority and controlling party … and the slide into a failed state will no doubt continue. If the opposition Multi-Party Charter coalition wins 51% plus then things will at least have a chance of changing for the good, although the first few years will most likely be characterised by power plays between member politicians … but perhaps not. In the first scenario, we will plunge further and more rapidly into social and economic ruin, and in the second scenario, we will stop the plunge to destruction and even slowly turn the graph upwards in a growth trajectory. Both of these possibilities will mean that we the citizens will be facing years of uncertainty, threat, and hardship. Not pleasant to contemplate or accept but probably inevitable.

But, hold on Chris, aren’t you looking at the glass as half-empty rather than half-full? No, I am seeing it as a quarter full at best! We face that reality. OK, but what of the possibility of spiritual revival?

2024 Revival

I am one of those people who believe that we are yet to have the greatest revival in history.

God sends revival not as a reward, but as a response to the desperate spiritual need of the church and society.

The darker the day, the more we should expect the light of Heaven to break through. However, something that history has taught us is that although revivals come suddenly they tend to start locally and then slowly spread to other parts of a nation and then the wider world. Many folks think that if we in South Africa were to experience revival today, then everything would change overnight. This just does not seem to be realistic. John Wesley’s Methodist movement was a revival that some historians hold that it saved England from experiencing a French-revolution-type social uprising. This is probably true, but it did not all happen in a moment. John Wesley was a prolific preacher, addressing crowds twice a day almost every day of every week. In 1739 he preached his first open-air sermon, in 1741 he preached regularly in South Wales, in 1747 he preached (42 times) in Ireland and in 1751 he ministered 27 times in Scotland. That covers a period of about 12 years. It did not happen in a day!

The heart of true revival is that it does not only stir the emotions of crowds, but changes the lives of individuals. Those men and women go on to plant churches, influence business, and participate in government. The combined and accumulated effect of all this is a revival fire that transforms nations.

So, would revival change South Africa and other countries? Yes, but it will most likely take quite a bit of time. That then begs the question, ‘What should we do in 2024?’

2024 Individual Response

I don’t suppose there is much in this article that most of you do not already know, and the same applies to this final section. However, these three practical and personal suggestions bear repeating. We need to know and live out these things if we are to thrive in 2024.

  1. Strengthen relationships with Jesus, family, friends, and church: Strengthening the relationship with the Lord Jesus should always be a priority, but never so much as now. It is he who said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) In addition Paul wrote: ‘God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6) Then the next most important relationship to strengthen is with spouses, children, parents, and extended family. Friends, true friends, are rare and valuable, and we need to be a friend and receive friendship in these times. Then there is the church, your local church, which could be an extended family for you.
  2. Pray, expect revival, and submit everything to God: Pray alone, in groups, or as part of a congregation. Pray in tongues in the spirit. Expect revival at any time: if we do not expect it then we may not perceive it. I recently heard a church historian saying that we often only recognise revivals in hindsight. That is a little sad because it says a lot about the lack of response to revival when it comes.
  3. Vote: I have written about this recently HERE, but let me repeat this: ‘If we do not democratically remove the current  government from power in the soon-coming general elections, then almost everyone, except them, fears that we will plunge over the edge of the abyss into the horror of a Failed State. All citizens of South Africa, whether Christians or not, need to vote’.
Christopher Peppler

Christopher Peppler

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2 thoughts on “2024”

  1. I would like to comment on the world, South Africa and revival but to put my comment in context my family and I have recently decided to leave South Africa and arrived in England in December 2023. Immigration is a difficult and costly decision and so I have obviously decided that I see South Africa struggling for the conceivable future. I still feel myself compelled to try and influence South Africans to start the transformation of South Africa by voting out the current government during the 2024 elections.

    South Africa in 2024:
    I still see an unbelievable lack of passion and focus on electing a new government in the 2024 elections. In the +- 9 months before we immigrated when I spoke to middle class and wealthy mostly white South Africans about the future of South Africa they would quickly change the subject. The general attitude I found from this group of people is that they felt they were alright for the next few years, they had a job, could go on holidays and generally enjoy a fairly high standard of living. Very few it seems actively think about future scenarios or want to think about the future. It seems similar to people who don’t follow Jesus in that they will just ignore it than give it much consideration. I believe the results of a South Africa allowing the same government to stay in power – in any form – will be catastrophic for all South Africans including this group. Exponential decline – or to use the Jim Collin’s term – the “Doom Loop” will happen faster than anyone expects. Again it is similar to people who don’t follow Jesus who die and suddenly realise that it is to late.

    South Africans need to catch a very serious wake-up!!!! The time for decisive action to now! Demand that influential South Africans speak loudly about a change of government, demand that business leaders get off the fence and put large amounts of money into replacing the current government and lastly churches need to start actively talking to their congregants about voting for an alternative. Church leaders seem to think that it is not their place to be “political” but this is an issue of the such importance.

    Revival in South Africa:
    I lived in the norther suburbs of Johannesburg and unfortunately I didn’t see any indication that churches were pursuing revival. There still seems to be a lot of church as a social club going on. Obviously I don’t know what all the churches are doing but as to Chris’s article revival is what could save South Africa.
    Again I hope the church in South Africa catches a wake-up – please!

    Churches in England:
    I have moved to Woking in Surrey and I have been really encouraged by the churches here. I have attended three churches in the last 6 weeks since arriving and they have been amazing. They have all been incredibly friendly – and I mean amazingly friendly. They have all had vibrant worship. They have all been about changing the society where they are based. I have been so impressed.
    Now again this is a very small sample of the thousands of churches in England but it is enough for me to think that revival could be something that could happen in England. That would be amazing!

    So lastly. I believe that the South Africa is a winning nation. Come on South Africa you can do it and not only bring about a change of government but also become Jesus focused, worship passionately and hopefully revival can fall on South africa.

    1. Christopher Peppler

      Ah, Lance, I so miss our twice-a-month breakfasts when we used to talk about things like this… and more. Please don’t stop praying for us back ‘home’.

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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.