Christian Leaders respond to Nelson Mandela’s death

T.D. Jakes, Myles Munroe and Kirk Franklin were among the Christian authors and artists responding in the wake of the Dec. 5 death of South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu—also a Zondervan author—and The Nelson Mandela Foundation, together with Lead SA and Brand South Africa, will hold a special tribute in Mandela’s honor in Johannesburg today to celebrate his legacy. Tutu and local artists will lead the evening’s tributes to be delivered through song and the spoken word. Jakes offered this tribute:
"I am deeply saddened to have lost such an enduring symbol of freedom and liberty; Nelson Mandela was an elder statesman who embodied the very essence of a servant-leader. History cannot contain the lasting impact of such an extraordinary life. Rather, his exceptionalism will live in the hearts and minds of those of us who were fortunate enough to have witnessed his greatness. There are few words capable of encapsulating the measure of such a masterful life, except to impart this departing dispatch: 'Well done Madiba, well done!'

Myles Munroe, author, chairman of the International Third World Leaders Association and founder of Bahamas Faith Ministries, issued the following statement: “The world mourns the loss of President Nelson Mandela, a great and true leader. I had the privilege of meeting this icon and was deeply humbled by his spirit of humility, service and empathy for the weak and disadvantaged. His dedication and sacrifice for the betterment of others has been an inspiration to me personally and serves as a standard for aspiring leaders to emulate. ‘Tata Mandiba’ served his generation with excellence and purity of motive and will be honored by history. He fulfilled the definition of servant leadership established by the greatest leader in history,Jesus Christ, who said: ‘Whoever wants to be great must be the servant of all.’ ”

Creflo Dollar, founder and senior pastor of World Changers Church International and Creflo Dollar Ministries, issued a statement to ministry partners in South Africa on the day of Mandela’s passing: “Today we lost a great man. But we really didn’t lose him, because we know that to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord. Iit was the passing of a great man, Nelson Mandela, who I refer to as the father of democracy. Our prayers go out with a nation, our prayers go out for a nation, our prayers go out for a people who had the opportunity to reap the benefits of a great man of God. We are grateful and thankful for the results of this man’s life. In the love, in the unity, in just the faith that the people of South Africa could walk in as a result of what he demonstrated. We celebrate his life, and we celebrate his legacy.”

Dollar was recently invited to participate in a special video tribute to Nelson Mandela by the producers of the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Kirk Franklin tweeted: “And just like trip to Johannesburg has now changed. MANDELA our Hero has passed....”

Erica Campbell of Mary Mary offered this tweet: “My heart breaks to hear of the passing of such a giant in our world! a wonderful example of Love peace strength & resilience. His life will forever be celebrated. We will love you forever Nelson Mandela.”

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