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John Blanchard in SA

June 2002

John Blanchard has recently returned to the UK from a remarkably fruitful tour of speaking engagements in South Africa.

Organized by the Alpha and Omega Trust in conjunction with Christian Book Discounters, the tour took him to several towns in the Johannesburg and Pretoria area, to the south coast town of George and to the Western Cape, where he carried out many engagements from a central base in Cape Town.

All of his engagements focused on Christian apologetics. As well as speaking in churches of at least seven different denominations, from Dutch Reformed to Baptist, he addressed audiences at the country’s four largest universities — Rand Afrikaans, Witswatersrand, Stellenbosch and the University of Cape Town, at which he had excellent times of interaction with both faculty members and students.

Both secular and Christian media took an interest in the tour, and as well as many radio interviews, John Blanchard spent an hour televising material to be aired nationwide at the end of May.

One radio talk show interview lasted for 70 minutes, and was carried by the country’s most widely-heard community radio station.

The entire tour was triggered by the publication of his latest book Is God past his sell-by date?

Attendances at virtually all the meetings and services were far above expectations. At one church, a Tuesday morning meeting, at which 40-50 people were expected, attracted a crowd of nearly 300.

On his final Sunday in South Africa, at a Baptist church where an evening attendance of 500 is usually divided between services at 5.30pm and 7.30pm, numbers rose to an estimated 750 at the first and 450 at the second!

Asked for the highlights of the tour, John Blanchard told Evangelical Times that the greatest encouragement was not the large attendances at many of the engagements, but meeting so many people converted through reading one or another of his evangelistic books.

One woman told him that she was converted through reading one such book many years ago, and as she could not get hold of another copy to share with others, she wrote out the entire book by hand and then passed it on.

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South Africa