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Headed to Memphis: South Africa’s Dr. Boesak

    Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak, a veteran of the struggle for a free South Africa, will be the guest speaker during the 10:30 a.m. worship service at First Baptist Church – Broad on Sunday.

    Dr. Boesak rose to leadership in the African National Congress, where he worked along side the Nobel Peace Prize winning Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who once called Boesak the most powerful orator ever produced by South Africa.

    Here is a story Boesak once told:

    "When we go before Him, God will ask, 'Where are your wounds?' And we will say, 'I have no wounds.' And God will ask, 'Was there nothing worth fighting for?'"

    Dr. Boesak first received international attention in August of 1982 when the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) met in Canada. The WARC represented about 150 churches of Calvinist tradition in 76 countries with a combined membership of over 50 million. Dr. Boesak introduced a motion requesting that WARC declare apartheid a heresy contrary to both the Gospel and the Reformed tradition.

    The alliance adopted the Declaration on Racism, suspended South Africa's white Dutch Reformed Church, and unanimously elected Boesak president of the Alliance. His new position made him spiritual leader to over 50 million Christians.

    In 1985, Dr. Boesak organized a march on Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town to demand the release of Nelson Mandela, who had been transferred there from Robben Island. Dr. Boesak was detained and interrogated and his passport was confiscated. Subversion charges were dropped, but the security police kept him under constant surveillance in the hope of finding a reason to discredit him.

    In an address to the staff of the U.S. Consulate in Cape Town on Feb. 25, 2011, Dr. Boesak linked the United States Civil Rights Movement and the struggle against apartheid.

    According to Boesak in 1966, he heard a clandestine recording of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in which Dr. King recounted the parable of Rip Van Winkle, who slept through the American Revolution. The speech crystallized in Boesak a determination not to sleep through the social change that he was convinced would come to South Africa. Instead, he devoted the next two decades of his life to a courageous fight against the apartheid system.

    Dr. Boesak's publications include: "A Farewell to Innocence" (1976); "Coming in Out of the Wilderness" (1976); "Black and Reformed" (1984); "The Finger of God" (1982).

    For more information, contact the Rev. Keith Norman, host pastor of First Baptist Church-Broad, or Mary Taylor at 901-323-2429 for more information. The church is located at 2835 Broad.

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