LISTEN: Whites took nothing from no one - Pastor Andre Olivier

Johannesburg - The senior pastor of the Rivers Church in Sandton Andre Olivier has said in his weekend sermon, who some have criticised as being racist, that white people never took anything from anyone else. 

Following the backlash over the sermon, the church issued a statement saying that for "clarity and to avoid possible legal recourse" the media should listen to the pastor's sermon to "avoid misinterpretation or disregard of what was actually said". 

"Where applicable, defamation cases will be opened," the church said.

News24 has heard a copy of the sermon in question, which was delivered at the church's 11:15 service. 

The audio is available in the sound clip below:

In it, Olivier talks to the congregants about how some people are sent by God to help others that are feeling abandoned. 

"If you are black God will send you white people," he said. 

"Don't say the problem in South Africa is the white people. No we are not. We have contributed to this nation, and we still do. 

"If you want to know why white people still have money, it is because they work.  So don't drive them away. They can speak into your life," he said in the sermon. 

"Now don't get too stressed. If you are white, God will send you black people.... God will use people unlike you to do something in you. 

"Don't push them away. Let them be the voice of God to you."

There is a smattering of applause after his comments and Olivier says: "And the black people barely clapped at that point". 

"You are all okay this morning? I must say I get very annoyed when I watch television and I see people saying that the whites are the problem in the country.  No we are not. No we are not. We helped build this nation," he then says. 

"We took nothing from no one. Maybe the law favoured us, but we worked, and I am still working. And when you tell me I need to share my wealth, what are you suggesting?... Are you suggesting I give away some of it? Are you giving any of yours away? Excuse me?" 

Church 'deeply saddened'

The church said in its statement that it was "deeply saddened by the damage that has prevailed from this weekend’s message". 

"The content in question and expression thereof was clearly not meant for harm. Upon review, we believe there isn’t a view that reflects an anti-biblical or racist sentiment from the message preached. The message was about overcoming abandonment and Pastor André addressed and challenged all communities and encouraged relationships across all races," it said. 

"Rivers Church neither ignores nor condones the atrocity of apartheid or the scars it has left on our nation. With that in mind, the preaching and teaching is aimed at repairing and preventing further racial division. The Rivers Foundation also addresses the damage of our history daily, and is our constant expression that the past will not easily be corrected." 

It said the church and the pastor's track record was endorsed by the community that attended Rivers Church "of which racially we are proudly a representation of South Africa". 

"We will continue to build into our nation for the betterment of all communities despite vicious and unfounded accusations levied against our senior pastor." 

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