Touring in Cape Town, South Africa (January 11)

On the Road to Simon's Town

On the Road to Simon’s Town

Cape Town is one of the world’s most scenic cities. Pastor Jason Labuschagne (who formerly served as an intern under Dr. Martin Holdt and has now served another Reformed Baptist church for the last 13 years where I also hope to preach tomorrow) picked up Dr. Andy and Juliet McIntosh and me on Saturday morning for a day of touring. We drove up the historic Table Mountain as far as we could and took a cable car up the rest of the way. The mountain is very flat on top—hence its name—and expansive. Views of the ocean and its rocky shoreline and whitewater waves are spectacular from a wide variety of angles. I couldn’t resist taking more than a hundred pictures for two hours as we walked around the top of the mountain. The divine grandeur and beauty is more than breathtaking. It provokes inward heart worship and sheer amazement that the sinless Creator of this stunning beauty would have anything at all to do with sinful man. It makes you want to cry out to all the tourists—yes, to everyone on this globe, and above all, to God Himself: “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens…. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Ps. 8:1).

From there we took a spectacular one hour drive along ocean’s shore to Simon’s Town, stopping at several scenic points along the way. At one scenic point, I opened a conversation with a man by saying, “It sure is hard not to believe in God when you see scenery like this, don’t you think?” “Oh yes, I definitely believe in God,” he said, then added, “I believe in the God of the Old Testament.” He paused: “I am a Jew from Argentina, and have been traveling through this beautiful country by myself for nearly a month.” After I told him that I was a Christian pastor, he tried to get me to agree that Judaism was almost like Christianity, but I had to lovingly tell him that there was a huge chasm between the two since one denied the messianic character of Jesus Christ and the other based all of salvation on Christ. He agreed he was a sinner and needed salvation, but he (sadly) thought that he had a spark of divinity within himself so that he could save himself.

Moreover, he thought that Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, and others were all true prophets who could lead us to God.

I asked him if he had ever read Isaiah 53. He said, “No, but why do you ask?” I explained to him that Isaiah 53 pointed clearly to the coming Messiah and that Messiah is revealed to us in the New Testament. After he promised that he would read Isaiah 53, I explained to him why Christ alone could save us. I then asked him if he was a reader. He said that he read “a lot.” I asked him, “If I were to send you some books I’ve written about Christianity, would you read them?” “Definitely,” he said. He then wrote out his address for me, and I promised to send him several books. After we shook hands, he suddenly surprised me by asking: “Would you ask a blessing for me for the rest of my travels?” I gladly did that—and also prayed that God would lead him to the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ. To my surprise again, he said with tears in his eyes, “Thank you so much for those beautiful words you prayed for me.” Who can tell what God will do with this man?

Navy Frigate

Navy Frigate

After arriving in Simon’s Town, we were given a private tour by a Christian named Peter through a massive Naval Dockyard that employs some two or three thousand people. We saw numerous large ships, two submarines (of which only one is still active), and ships dry docked as well. Peter and his father both served the navy for most of their lives, and one of Peter’s sons is now following in his steps. With his 31 years of experience working for the navy, Peter was able to get us on the SAS ISANDLWANA, a Navy frigate that is the first ship ready to move out of the bay and into sea action on South Africa’s behalf. (I learned that the various ships from the smallest to largest have these names: offshore patrol vessel, corvette, destroyer, frigate, cruiser, destroyer, air craft carrier.) A female lieutenant on the frigate, who has been in the navy for 13 years, gave us a private tour of the frigate. The tour was supposed to be only 20 minutes but when the lieutenant saw how interested we were, she ended giving us a tour of more than an hour. We saw everything from the engine, the air conditioning room, office and sleeping quarters, to the bridge, which includes where the helmsman sits and steers the ship, and where the quartermaster and others involved in guiding the ship sit and work. Many parts of the frigate were off-limits for photographing, but she did say that she would take a picture of me in the helmsman’s position.

All the various instruments in the bridge reminded me a bit of an airplane cockpit. I was struck with how much is involved in bringing a frigate like this out to sea. It takes a whole team of people, each one doing his or her part. It reminded me of 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul similarly argues in terms of Christ’s body, the church, that everyone is needed to do his or her task so as to reach the safe harbor of heaven in the end.


  1. Wow, that is so cool! My grandfather served in the U.S. Navy for 30 years on submarines. He was a radio man, and he served during WW 2. We’ve been able to go inside a submarine just like ones he served on, and it was pretty neat.

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