My friend, Donna Pinazzo, recently asked me a very deep, penetrating question, “How much good did Nelson Mandela do?” My response to her was, “The only way to "rightly" assess and answer that question is through the lens of Scripture. We are to filter all our perceptions through the Bible and judge all things accordingly.” So if the Bible, God’s Word, is the standard by which all things are judged good or evil, we can be confident that God will give us the answer.
I think the answer can be found in the word emancipation, or more appropriately, the concept. The word emancipation is often used solely as a political term, and far less often in a biblical context. However, the idea is pretty broad and comprehensive, in content and application; and it is certainly biblical at its very core. Here is one of several definitions: The state of being thus set free; liberation; used of slaves, minors, of a person from prejudices, of the mind from superstition, of a nation from tyranny or subjection.
In Biblical parlance, emancipation means to be set free from the slavery of sin; to be set free from the inevitable torture of hell; to be set free from the trappings of this world, and set free to honor and bring glory to God. That is a whole lot more freedom offered to mankind than a mere “temporal/ephemeral" freedom from tyranny. That is precisely why Nelson Mandel’s brand of freedom is an EPIC fail, and only a temporary reprieve from the hauntings and horrific consequences of Tyrants. This is all the more reason to reach people with the Gospel message. It is of utter importance to a true, lasting, and eternal emancipation. Had Nelson Mandela concentrated on the needs of the eternal soul, instead of the needs of the flesh, I would not hesitate to call him a hero, that aside: he never, to my knowledge, anyway, took the true torch of freedom (the Gospel message) to the world-at-large, and more specifically, to the neediest of all men: his own kinsmen.
Nelson Mandela’s sickness is in a much broader realm, though. He didn’t merely have a light dalliance with abortion, pornography, or homosexuality, but set in motion, by passing laws that would fix a nations ETERNAL destiny. Those very symbols and actions of evil would grip a nation and cause lawlessness to garner a very strong foothold. Any leader has a profound effect upon the morality of a nation; and NM was no exception. Mandela’s approach was identical to the approach Erasmus took in confronting Martin Luther. Erasmus wanted a peace at any cost, while Luther wanted a peace according to the strict mandates and sound guidance of Scripture.
Nelson Mandela’s life’s work was of NO eternal consequence, whatsoever. All the things he may have accomplished during his lifetime, were an EPIC fail. He only managed to alleviate a very small fraction of human suffering, and possibly, according to various sources and reports, did equal in damage to blacks and whites along the way.
What says emancipation more succinctly than the Gospel message? Any other attempt to alleviate the sufferings of mankind, devoid of God's Word is simply self-aggrandizement.
Lastly, I believe this poem by C.T Studd has the final word.
“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,