Correcting My Mistake: Advent Credo By The Rev. Allan Boesak

It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss — This is true: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction — This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.

It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction rule forever — This is true: Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of peace.

It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world — This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo I am with you, even until the end of the world.

It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church before we can be peacemakers — This is true: I will pour out my spirit on all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall have dreams.

It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity of peace are not meant for this earth and for this history — This is true: The hour comes, and it is now, that the true worshipers shall worship God in spirit and in truth.

So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope. Let us see visions of love and peace and justice. Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage: Jesus Christ — the life of the world.

The Rev. Allan Boesak

I recently published this Advent Credo and, as I have in previous years, attributed it to Fr. Daniel Berrgian. I was wrong about that. Though it is often attributed to Fr. Berrigan and published in his book, Testimony: The Word Made Flesh (Orbis Books, 2004), 211, it was actually written by The Rev. Allan Boesak and originally published in “Gathered for Life:  Official Report, VI Assembly, World Council of Churches”, ed. David Gill (Geneva:   WCC Publications, 1983), 228-229. It was, I believe, also included in Rev. Boesak’s book, Walking on Thorns: Call to Christian Obedience, published in 1985.

Allan Boesak (1946 – ) is a South African theologian (ordained in the Dutch Reformed Church), politician, and anti-apartheid activist.

“According to Boesak in 1966, he heard a clandestine recording of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in which 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.” (Source)

In 1976 he received his Doctorate in Theology at the Protestant Theological University in Kampen, the Netherlands. He then joined the African National Congress (ANC) and began his anti-apartheid activities.

In 1982 the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) adopted Boesak’s motion declaring apartheid a heresy contrary to both the gospel and the Reformed tradition. He later announced his support for LGBTQ+ rights and denounced the alleged re-racialization of South African society by the ANC. In 1985, Boesak received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award along with Winnie Mandela.

“Boesak has since served as theologian-in-residence at the International Institute for the Study of Race, Reconciliation, and Social Justice, Extraordinary Professor of Public Theology at Stellenbosch University and Honorary Professor of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. In June 2013, Butler University and the Christian Theological Seminary, both in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, jointly appointed Boesak as The Desmond Tutu Chair of Global Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation Studies.” (Source)

Boesak has been involved in controversies concerning an extra-marital affair and financial misappropriation. That, however, is not a reason to dismiss or minimize his contributions to the work of justice or to refuse to learn from him. I am grateful to Fr. John Dear for pointing out my mistake and telling me about Allan Boesak.

I again apologize that my original post was inaccurate. I would like to apologize to Rev. Boesak but have been unable to find any contact information. If you are aware of such information I would appreciate you leaving that in a comment.

Image Credit:Love Thy Neighbor | Pathways to Nonviolence” by The Center for Interfaith Relations is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Sources of Information: Blackpast and South African History Online.


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