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Hammond Organs

WorldNetDaily moves into Christian publishing:

What would you do if armed terrorists broke into your church and starting attacking your friends with automatic weapons in the middle of a worship service?

Would you be prepared to defend yourself and other innocents?

…There is one man in the world who can address these questions with first-hand experience.

His name is Charl van Wyck – a South African who was faced with just such a shocking scenario.

…In “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense,” van Wyk makes a biblical, Christian case for individuals arming themselves with guns, and does so more persuasively than perhaps any other author because he found himself in a church attacked by terrorists.

This was the 1993 St. James Church Massacre, in which eleven people were killed and 58 wounded in a church in Kenilworth. The terrorists were three members Azanian People’s Liberation Army, a militant anti-white South African group run by the Pan-African Congress, and under orders from Letlapa Mphahlele. A 2003 article has further details:

The horror of these attacks burnt itself into the imagination of South Africa, and the Apla soldiers who carried them out were hunted down and prosecuted. The man who commanded them could have stayed beyond prosecution since he flitted in and out of South Africa and was not present during the attacks. But this did not fit the mould of Letlapa Mphahlele.

‘I’ve never shied away from taking responsibility for Apla activities at the time I was Director of Operations,’ he says in his quiet but decisive voice. ‘At the time the Heidelberg Tavern was attacked I had issued an order suspending attacks on civilian targets. I waived this order after the murder of five schoolchildren by the South African Defence Force in Umtata (in the Eastern Cape).

…In 1998 Mphahlele met Charl van Wyk, one of the survivors of the St James’s Church massacre. ‘Charl was the man who returned fire and wounded one of the Apla cadres in the church,’ says Mphahlele. ‘My meeting with Charl was facilitated by journalists who had interviewed us separately and so before TV cameras we shook hands and shared our experiences from different viewpoints. This was the beginning of an exciting journey I was to travel.’

Van Wyck is a long-time sidekick of evangelist Peter Hammond – he’s the Deputy Director of Hammond’s Frontline Fellowship, the Director of his African Christian Action, and a missionary with his In Touch Mission International organisation. Van Wyck’s book was originally published in 2001 by Christian Liberty Books, which is mostly a platform for Hammond.

Hammond and his ministries have a controversial history, and his perspective is one of belligerent fundamentalism, anti-Communism and anti-Islamicism. Here’s a taster from the African Christian Action Newsletter:

When the President of South Africa calls for “an African Renaissance”, what exactly does he mean? Is he calling us to the humanism of the European Renaissance that culminated in the French Revolution and the Soviet Gulags? Or is he merely desiring a return to the pre-Christian Paganism and Animism that afflicted Africa prior to the spread of the Gospel?

…We want God to bless South Africa. However, we cannot expect God to bless a nation which is in rebellion to His Laws.

…The consequences that flow from Atheism, Evolutionism, situation ethics and other cardinal tenants of humanism are very tangible and very tragic: euthanasia, abortion, gun control, humanistic education in state schools, concentration camps, massacres and marxist tyranny.

…The other choice before us is for a Biblical Reformation. The Bible contains the Law of God, the absolute and unchanging principles by which all areas of life must be governed. History records that where nations are built upon the principles of God’s Word, true freedom and justice flourishes.

Naturally, Hammond has links with the hard-core Christian dominionists of the Chalcedon Foundation.

Hammond is British, but he served in the South African National “Defence Force” in the 1980s. An essay by Jeffrey Marishane (1) has some background:

…Foremost among such [right-wing Christian] groups is Frontline Fellowship, formerly known as the Motorbike Mission. Formed in 1981 as a prayer fellowship within SADF ranks, Frontline Fellowship is led by its founder, Peter Christopher Hammond…and is one of the groups affiliated with [United Christian Action].

The UCA is an umbrella body for several Christian groups, and at that time was headed by Ed Cain, who was also associated with Fred Shaw’s Christian League of Southern Africa. CLSA was named as a secret beneficiary of state funding by Eschel Rhoodie before his death in 1993, although Hammond rejects similar accusations against the UCA (“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, Volume two, Chapter six is entitled ‘Special Investigation into Secret State Funding’. It deals exhaustively with the former government’s secret projects, naming the projects of the defence force, foreign affairs, the police, national intelligence and the education department. Nowhere does United Christian Action appear.”).

Frontline Fellowship at this time was particularly concerned with “persecuted churches in Mozambique, Angola and the Cape Verde Islands”; critics charged that it was a front for the deployment of South African military men in Southern Africa under the guise of being “missionaries”, and in October 1988 Hammond and some associates were detained for a week in Mozambique.

This was exactly a year after an arrest in Zambia; this undated essay by Brian M. Abshire has some details, which I’ll quote at length:

Peter Hammond, South African missionary to the persecuted church and director of Frontline Fellowship, recently briefed me on one of the most exciting developments in central Africa, the Christian Reconstruction of Zambia.

…In October 1987, Peter Hammond and three other Frontline Fellowship missionaries, experienced first hand the hospitality of this Marxist miracle when they were arrested for bringing Bibles into the country…They were finally confined in Lusaka Central Prison, the maximum security facility…

…What Peter and his colleagues did not realize was that they were sharing their cells with the next government of Zambia!  During the following weeks of Bible study, prayer and vigorous discussions in the prison, they were able to teach Biblical principles of government to the very men God would raise up after He deposed the Marxists; the future vice-president of Zambia – General Godfrey Miyanda – and a few cells away, Frederick Chiluba, the future Christian President of Zambia.

…The first freely elected President, Frederick Chiluba, promptly testified to the saving power of Christ and called for a day of prayer. At a simple ceremony in December 1991, the new President publicly confessed the national sins of witchcraft and corruption and committed Zambia to becoming a Christian nation!  When he was asked if he intended writing a new Constitution, Chiluba replied that he didn’t have to. It was already written – the Bible. He held up the Bible to the full view of the world press.

…They distributed tens of thousands of Christian Reconstructionist booklets, tracts, Bibles and Christian books in prisons, government departments, schools and churches throughout Zambia. They then launched a “Salt Shakers” ministry, small groups committed to prayer, strategy and action throughout Zambia. They presented Christian Reconstructionist, pro-life, pro-family, messages on national radio and TV, in schools and churches. Zambia Christian Action was launched under the leadership of Pastor John Jere. Frontline also held Biblical Worldview Seminars in Ndola and Lusaka, took part in delegations to the various government departments and presented copies of Reformed and Reconstructionist books to the vice-president…

Pastor John Jere, incidentally, now runs a church which is part of the Every Nation neo-Pentecostal organization; I’ve been keeping an eye on this particular grouping for some time. There’s no space here to discuss Chiluba and Zambia as a “Christian nation”; I would advise all those interested to read Paul Gifford’s book African Christianity: Its Public Role. The “Biblical Worldview Seminars” (BWS) have become a particular strategy used in by Hammond and his team in various African countries, along with the wide distribution of his book Biblical Principles for Africa.

Hammond has maintained a public profile in the post-Cold War world; his many books have been praised by the likes of Joseph Farah and D. James Kennedy. One publication, however, became the focus of a free-speech debate in 2002:

At the end of January, the newly released book The Pink Agenda became the first non-pornographic book since 1994 to be lobbied for banning. Written with the underlying Biblical belief that the homosexual lifestyle is wrong in God’s eyes, author Christine McCafferty, along with Peter Hammond, wrote The Pink Agenda in an attempt to engage South African society in an open debate concerning what they outline in the book to be a homosexual agenda in South Africa….After the book’s publication there was an immediate and outraged response from the Gay and Lesbian Equality Project, saying the book “instills hatred” and is “the worst homophobic hate speech ever published in South Africa.” Claiming that the book “instills hatred” is of course a direct plea to consider The Pink Agenda as one of the few types of speech that is specifically not protected in our constitution…The book was brought up for review by the Film and Publications Board at the end of January, with their final ruling being that the book should be sold with an adults-only age restriction. Those under 18 would not be allowed to read it since it promotes a viewpoint, and draws conclusions from research, that are considered, as one reviewer put it, “close to constituting hate speech.”

Hammond and Van Wyk’s newsletter claimed that this was “homo-fascism”, and that the legalisation of sodomy was just one of many “privileges for perverts”.

A few months later, Hammond was arrested in the Sudan while giving a “Biblical Worldview Seminar”; WND reported:

Rebel forces in southern Sudan detained an Anglican bishop and a missionary on charges of “treason and insurrection,” according to a U.S.-based evangelical Protestant group.

…Rev. Peter Hammond, director of Frontline Fellowship, and Bishop Bullen Dolli of the Episcopal Church of Sudan were arrested Saturday in Yei Province by the Public Security Office of the SPLM, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement… Kristi Messick, ITMI administrator of African affairs, told WorldNetDaily she believes the arrests were made by junior officers of the SPLA, against the wishes of senior officials.

That’s probably the case; the SPLA has no problem in principle with foreign missionaries, and I blogged a while back on the case of Sam Childers, a pastor from Florida who is also an SPLA commander. Hammond was released a few days later, and he claims the incident was a conspiracy hatched in Khartoum.

Last year, Hammond was arrested yet again – this time in South Africa, and in circumstances not lacking in bathos:

Controversial Christian evangelist Peter Hammond confirmed on Wednesday that he has been charged with assault following what he said was a Halloween “accident” with a paintball gun.

…He said his family — he has a wife and four children — do not approve of Halloween, which they see as an “occult holiday celebrating human sacrifice, witches and goblins”.

His children had wanted to do a “counter-Halloween”, and he had agreed to drive two of them around to “do paintballing” on trick-or-treating youngsters on October 31.

…He said his 10-year-old son initially paintballed some youngsters who appeared to have just strewn rubbish across the road as a Halloween prank, shooting low and from a distance, and then called out to another child, asking whether he was a trick-or-treater.

The boy came over to the car, saw the paintball gun, swore at Hammond’s son and tried to pull it out of his hands.

The gun went off, and Hammond drove away.

The victim, apparently, hurt his jaw…

***

(1) Jeffrey Marishane, “The Religious Right and Low-Intensity Conflict in Southern Africa”, in Jan P. Nederveen Pieterse (ed.), Christianity and Hegemony, New York and Oxford: Berg, 1992, pp.59-119

3 Responses

  1. […] grouping which I blogged several times a couple of years ago; Jere has also featured on this blog in the past, as the Zambian link-man for Peter Hammond’s Frontline Fellowship. Jere’s “Zambia United […]

  2. […] and Peter Hammond of Frontline Fellowship (I blogged on Hammond, who is based in South Africa, here). According to information on this blog, it was “attended by a little over a dozen […]

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