5 Reasons Why I Think Nelson Mandela Was Not A Christian

2014-12-04 13:27

Nelson Mandela (Pic: Nardus Engelbrecht / Beeld)

One of the greatest leaders in human history Nelson Mandela passed away a year ago at the age of 95. He reconfigured racial unity and Jesus-like forgiveness, not just in South Africa but across the world. He became the most famous black man in history.

After his death and one year later, a lot of people, especially Christians started asking and still asking questions like, “Was he a Christian”?, ‘’Would he go to heaven or hell”? It’s indeed okay to ask such questions because in the end eternity awaits everyone as a reward for the life we lived.

Well, here are my 5 reasons why Nelson Mandela was not a Christian:

1. He knew forgiveness more than 90% of us Christians. The bible is clearly a book of forgiveness from Adam to Jesus, but it seems Christians have reduced or interpret forgiveness to suit their situations. But not for the man who spent 27 years in prison and forgave his jailers afterwards. Trust me, Christians are some of the most unforgiving community of people. We “talk the talk” but don’t “walk the walk”. Can you turn the other cheek as Christ advised? If Mandela was a Christian he never would’ve turned the other cheek to his adversaries.

2. He inspired love and respect. Mandela was the symbol of fatherly love, leadership, political and inter-racial unity and respect. Most of the church and its Christian citizens have lost the zeal to truly love and respect each other. We only love when we feel like it or when we want to, our love and respect have carnal conditions attached to it. If Mandela was a Christian he would be a poor one.

3. He showed the world that Africa can produce great leaders. Seen as the dark continent, Africa, for a lot of Western countries is hopeless due to its ‘inability’ to produce great leaders. Mandela’s leadership, tenacity, grace and stature earned him the medal of spearheading the birth of many like him, erasing the stereotype. Meanwhile the church, seen as the hope for the continent of Africa, has done little or nothing to raise great leaders despite the hundreds of millions of Christians across this beautiful continent. If the church could raise a few leaders with a fraction of Mandela’s abilities, we might gain remission into prosperity and rid corruption from the sentence of poverty, wars and mismanagement. If Mandela was a Christian he would be a corrupt one.

4. He understood “Long Walk To Freedom”. Right from his early days as a young lawyer he had his mind set on one thing and one thing only, the freedom of black South Africans – fighting oppression. He laid down his life (an attribute of Jesus) for that. Most Christians don’t understand the “Long Walk To Freedom” formula because we prefer “short walk to freedom”. We do that often with our struggles; addiction, sin, unforgiveness, need for fame, need for status, quest for money and even raising our children. If Mandela was a Christian he would be selfish.

5. He was a human being, an ordinary person. Mandela mingled with everyone; the sick, the poor, the rich, children etc. With him there was no segregation, marginalization and complex hierarchy which we see a lot with Christians and the church today. Importantly, he showed us he was human enough to make personal mistakes like all of us. He took responsibility for his mistakes but Christians always want to justify their mistakes. If Mandela was a Christian he would be ‘perfect’.

Was Nelson Mandela who was regarded as a secular saint by hundreds of millions a Christian then? I will leave that question to you. But his impact and legacy expressed and exposed the attributes of Jesus Christ.

Christians can actually learn a lot from the life of this great son of Africa. God can use anyone to bring His plans to pass.

Mandela probably wouldn’t achieve all that he did if he had a “typical Christian mindset” because I doubt if we as Christians are living like Christ today. As we reflect on his life, may we use this opportunity to draw closer to God, embrace true biblical lifestyle and leadership as we all steer South Africa and Africa towards God and His destiny for us.

Trust me I love the church and Christians so much but I want to see us doing better than we’re currently doing, because we have what it takes! We can produce 20 Mandelas across Africa!

Wherever Mandela is today, he will be most happy if you serve South Africa with your life!

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