Nelson Mandela: Can a Man’s Life Be More than the Sum of Its (Unrepentant) Parts?

apartheid imageBetter interaction with culture is almost impossible without better information. The problem is that even with the internet, accurate information is so hard to ferret out of the voluminous glut to be sifted through. In short, we have too much information and the much is crowding out the important.

TV news and cable news is even worse. Not because it gives more but because it gives trivia. Not because there is some conspiracy to keep people from the truth but because cultural biases and assumptions coupled with sound-bite-journalism simply do not challenge the status quo. The end result is that whatever the pleasant sounding and smiling voice says on the nightly news, augmented with images and experts that they have selected, becomes the pablum that the population swallows not because it is true but because it confirms their conservative, libertarian, or liberal bent.

Nelson Mandela 2Nelson Mandela 1A fantastic recent example of this is the saint-hood that has been conferred on Nelson Mandela by the world media. Now before I go any further, let me say without any equivocation that Apartheid  in South Africa was a brutal and inherently evil system that destroyed the human dignity of South African blacks and preserved white privilege. It is an indefensible historical time period in South African history. Apartheid was abhorrent and the world is better for it being gone. I praise God for any part that Nelson Mandela played in ending it. That is not the same as a blanket endorsement of the methods used. 

Can a man or women overcome the past? Is redemption possible for a man or women who murdered and terrorized hundreds of people and supported those who did the same—can that person be forgiven? Absolutely. That is the glorious good news of the gospel.

The gospel tells me that any man, any woman, no matter what their wicked past can transfer from the kingdom of darkness  to the kingdom of light by simple repentance and turning to Christ as sin-bearer and redeemer. His mercy is great. His forgiveness is broad.

Repentance is key.

But here’s the question: Can a man’s life be more than the sum of its unrepentant parts?  Take a look at these backstory video’s on the life of Nelson Mandela before you answer. Dr. Peter Hammand (See also here) is a long-time servant of Christ active in serving the body of Christ throughout Africa and the world.

The fact that this information is totally missing in news coverage of Nelson Mandela is not a conspiracy. But it is scary that it is overlooked and ignored.


4 thoughts on “Nelson Mandela: Can a Man’s Life Be More than the Sum of Its (Unrepentant) Parts?

  1. Thank you for having the courage to enlighten us with this important information. I didn’t feel comfortable with the veneration of Mandela, mostly because I knew true forgiveness only comes through Christ and I didn’t like the fact that a man was getting so much coverage for his story, yet God received none of the glory. I couldn’t find anything to lead me to believe that he trusted Christ as his Savior, so I questioned the reports that I read about the goodness of his life, knowing that there is nothing good in man (Romans 7:18). My spirit was bothered, and now I see why. As believers, we have to be careful not to jump on the bandwagon of praising man, especially without knowing the whole story. We must never venerate someone just because they seemed good. Jesus said that apart from Him, we can do nothing! (John 15) Instead, we must be discerning so that only God gets the glory for the great things He has done. I praise God for you, Marty.


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