This is the third conversation between Lynn and Shephen Mbewe about racism and Black Lives Matter. It is a deeply moving story of prejudice, rejection and violence at the hands of white people in white Rhodesia—all forgiven and the pain wiped away in one moment of humility and servant-hearted leadership.
Shephen addresses the issues with painful stories, but no bitterness; as such, he is able to help me (Lynn) with my thinking, feeling and responding to the Black Lives Matter movement.
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I have expressed my disagreement with Shephen’s viewpoint elsewhere, but my main concern as an exYWAMer, is that I do not see it as YWAM’s calling to get mixed up in political issues, – and this is a divisive political issue.
The Body of Christ is called to live the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. “To know Him, and to make Him known.”
As it was in my then so my desire remains the same today. YWAM used to be involved in ralleys, and big social or sporting events. Always armed with the Gospel, always talking to individuals and sharing our faith. This is not that.
John Winlow ’72- ’78
It’s hard to keep up with all that YWAM is doing, John. We are still doing outreaches at every Olympic games. We just had a huge missions rally in Brazil with over 150,000 young people in attendance in three stadia for a full 12 hour day. Our Impact World Tours reach thousands of teenagers each month. The Circuit Riders teams were on University campuses and High Schools early this year in the UK and mainland Europe and have hundreds of students in weekly Bible Studies as a result. I would love to see more, and I think more outreach ministries and events are on the way. But we are called to be salt and light in society too; that’s why God gave Loren the revelation about discipling nations in the 7 social spheres and then the Lord called us to build a global university. That means engagement with many social issues–like resisting the moves to teach our children in the earliest years of school all about homosexuality, transsexualism, that gender is a choice etc. We resist the growth of human trafficking, we build homes for the poor, we provide dental and healthcare for those without. On and on it goes…. If Wesley and Wilberforce had not believed in the power of the gospel to change society, where would we be? Having said all that, I agree with the what I think your foundational sentiment is: it is all dependent upon individuals being changed by the power of the gospel to save. We need more evangelism!!
Yes indeed, there are issues that are clearly anti Christian, anti family, anti innocence (children) which we should As Christians oppose. But changing laws in society are of limited value, because they cannot change the heart of an individual Only the Holy Spirit can do that through the preaching of the Word, through the hearingof the Word and the testimony of our lives. The great evangelists of past years preached the Gospel and out of that came social reform Espousing a non Christian social or political movement produces conformity to laws only I manifestly failed to get this across in my previous conversations with Shephen.
Shephen and I talked about this extensively and he would also fully agree that there is no reform without evangelistic movements where substantial numbers of people have transformed lives. Transformed people then form the core of social change for the better.
Ezekiel 18:19-20 ESV
“Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
According to this passage I fail to see how where we get the Biblical authorisation to apologise or repent on behalf of our ancestors. What happened to Shephen at the hands of those boys was terrible and obviously affected him deeply.
However many children and young people have suffered terrible cruelty and abuse even at the hands of parents or family members. My wife and I worked with such children. I came from a violent dysfunctional family which sometimes involved the Police.
Human beings experience terrible suffering for their faith. Sometimes it breaks them. I am reminded of the experiences of Richard Wurmbrand and more recently Pastot Yun ‘The Heavenly Man’.
But we should never underestimate the power of God the Holy Spirit to take our experiences and use them to bring about good. We should never underestimate the power of God to change individuals and overwhelm them with His love.
When we concentrate on what God has done for us, and see that same process beginning in the lives of new believers, we realise what a precious Gospel of salvation we have to share with the world..
The Biblical examples of confessing the sins of our forebears are found in Daniel 9 and Nehemiah 1. Also, I assume you did watch that interview in its entirety–right? I think it is also clear that Shephen was thoroughly healed and set free from the effects of discrimination and prejudice in his months at the DTS in Bulawayo. That was primarily through the Holy Spirit working deeply in his spirit by the example of loving, servant-hearted leadership from a white Rhodesian.
Could you tell me / send a link of where I can find YWAM’s stance and statement on the Black lives matter movement ( not the organisation , but the movement that is just about the fact that black lives matter ) . Thanks So much
We have not produced an organisational statement, and there are a few reasons for that. First, we are not a top-down organisation where one person or one group presume that they can speak for everyone. We are a movement and our structure is more of a network of very different leadership teams all over the world. We have well-established presence in 191 nations and have tens of thousands of full-time volunteers. I certainly couldn’t speak for all of them. Neither could anyone else. In addition, the BLM movement has many, mixed messages so it is very hard to make any statement without appearing to be either for or against all their messages–or the messages that are exploiting their platform by adopting their identity. To untangle the mixed messages would require a book, not a position statement. YWAM could well be the most mixed-race, cohesive, global Christian movement in history, so our statement is really found in who we are.