Sunday service, Erlo Stegen, 01 May 2016
Col 3:16, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly”
Martin Luther once said that he’s afraid that schools become the very gates of hell, unless they labour to make sure that the word of God is engraved in the hearts of the children.
There was a time the white government of South Africa said to the mission schools, “you have such a difficult time paying your teachers, let us take over your schools and pay your teachers”. And many mission schools were happy with that arrangement.
But remember that education was brought to South Africa by missionaries. Without the Gospel you will still be in ignorance. All the light we have is through the Gospel.
Rev Stegen relates, “In the beginning some of the co-workers came to me. The first was Fano Sibisi. He said he’s taking his children out of school, for there’s no more proper education. Everything was political. They were taught at school that the missionaries stole their land while they told them to close their eyes to pray.
I told him that I was already under fire being accused that I was taking the best blacks, the cream of society, to become missionaries, and so remain forever suppressed and enslaved by the whites, like Fano Sibisi who had been studying to become a medical doctor.
I said to Fano that he should do as he thought best, but remember that it would even increase the accusations that I was stealing the black cream of society and robbing them of their education, to keep them subjected to the whites.
However I did what I did because I loved the blacks and wanted them to come out of their darkness and be delivered from their superstitious ways, which kept them down.
But one day I looked at the situation and realised that my children were going to good schools and were getting a good education, but theirs not. And I thought it unjust. I asked him if there weren’t other better schools where he could send his children but he answered that he had made his decision.
I then called the co-workers together and asked them what we were to do for my children were receiving a good education and theirs were taken out of school. This continued to trouble me, and also the accusations that I was trying to keep the blacks suppressed.
I then went to my wife who was a teacher, but not teaching at the time. I told her how troubled I was. I never had the calling to start schools, my calling was to preach the Gospel. I asked what she thought. Could we just keep quiet and look on? She said to me, ‘my husband do what you think best. If we are to teach them I’m willing to assist’. I said to her if she knew that we would have to start from scratch. We don’t have any buildings but we did have trees. I decided to also take my children out of their white schools to be taught with the co-workers black children. And that’s how it started, under the trees in my garden. The very trees are still there today, only much bigger. Some co-workers were in disagreement and didn’t share the vision, and didn’t want to take their children out and I said to them that that was fine. They should do as they think best. But with time they also brought their children.
God blessed us and our children excelled so much that the authorities enquired what our secret was. They wanted to look at our facilities. At that time we only had one hall with a different grade being taught in each corner. They couldn’t believe what they saw and asked how it was possible since poor facilities are usually blamed for not achieving. We didn’t have proper facilities but we had God and that was all that was important to us.
Once my wife told me that a certain class weren’t progressing properly. We decided to stop that class for a week for they were spiritually not right. But after they sorted out their lives with the Lord they started to achieve again.”
A great example of this is Jonathan Edwards, the Puritan Preacher from the 1700s. Jonathan and his wife Sarah left a great godly legacy for his 11 children.
At the turn of the 20th century, American educator and pastor A.E. Winship decided to trace out the descendants of Jonathan Edwards almost 150 years after his death. His findings are astounding, especially when compared to a man known as Max Jukes. Jukes’ legacy came to the forefront when the family trees of 42 different men in the New York prison system traced back to him.
Jonathan Edwards’ godly legacy includes: 1 U.S. Vice-President, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers and 100 missionaries.
Max Jukes’ descendants included: 7 murderers, 60 thieves, 50 women of debauchery, 130 other convicts. 310 paupers (with over 2,300 years lived in poorhouses) 400 who were physically wrecked by indulgent living.
It was estimated that Max Juke’s descendants cost the state more than $1,250,000.
Without the Gospel we won’t progress but go backwards.
DSS Past Pupil Trio:
Sibong’ iNkos’ uJesu
DER HERR GAB DAS WORT
DSS Combined Choir:
Sermon in other languages: