Every feature in the scriptural definition and description of the Church implies its essential and permanent distinctness from the kingdoms of this world. Even if the whole community were members of the Church, and of one and the same Church, this could be regarded only as an accidental condition of things that could not be expected to last for any length of time, and if it should last, would afford no warrant for disregarding or setting aside Christ’s arrangements.
Although the Church and the commonwealth consist of the same persons, it would still, if Christ’s arrangements as set forth in Scripture were to be at all regarded, be by a different constitution and laws. That men held their places in the one or in the other, whether as office-bearers or as members, and they would still have in these two different capacities different duties to discharge, and a different standard to follow.
Nothing indicates that it was Christ’s intention that the constitution and arrangements of His Church should be altered when His vision should gain an ascendency in a nation. Everything indicates the reverse. He is to be with His church, and His church is to be with Him; that is, subject to His control, obedient to His direction, submissive to His will, faithful in discharging the duties He has imposed upon it, until the end of the world.
A mere change in the external condition of the Church, arising from the proceedings of civil rulers professing to discharge a scriptural duty, is a fundamentally different thing from an alteration in any of those matters which manifestly constitute essential features of the Church as a distinct society, of the arrangements He made for the administration of its government, and the regulation of its affairs.
The classes and qualifications of office-bearers, the nature and limits of their authority and functions, the qualifications and privileges of ordinary members, and the superintendence to be exercised over them by the office-bearers, are manifestly among the essentialia of a distinct organized society, and cannot be materially changed without changing its constitution and character. There is no room for the State to maneuver or attempt under any cloak to interfere.
Christ has settled these points for His church in His word; while in regard to civil society nations are left free to settle most of these matters according to their own judgment and discretion; and from the nature of the case, there are many of them which cannot be settled in civil society in the way in which Christ has settled them in His church.
This is an irrefutable fact. On such grounds as these, it can be easily shown that the distinctness and diversity between the Church, as settled by Christ, and the kingdoms of this world, as settled by man, must be permanently maintained; and that their complete organization, as distinct societies, cannot be infringed upon without sin or chaos on the part of those concerned in it, without interfering with arrangements which Christ appointed and intended to continue till His second coming.
Dare I say, it is not the business of the State what happens in the Church, but it's the business of the Church what happens in the State. The Church willingly subjects itself to the ordinances of the State; but this volitional submission is not to be interpreted to mean that the Church is subservient to the State. The Church is not answerable to the State but to the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is why you have situations of civil disobedience, where the State has passed laws that are contrary to Christ's constitution for His Church. In such instances, the Church has a right, and indeed an obligation, to disregard the State. The State should not and cannot successfully oppress or suppress the Church through the imposition of laws or statutes it knows very well violate the stance of the Church.
It has also been maintained that the distinctness of the State and the Church, viewed as including the origin and nature of the differences between them which it implies, affords a good ground for the inference that the two societies, and the authorities who represent and regulate them, are, and ought to be, wholly independent of each other, with respect to any jurisdiction or authoritative control of the one over the other; that it precludes the assumption or exercise of any right on the part of one to interfere authoritatively in the regulation of the affairs of the other.
I believe that this conclusion is well founded; that it follows fairly from the premises; and that it can be conclusively established by a survey of all the materials bearing upon the settlement of the question. This is the branch of the general subject that bears most immediately upon the position the "free" Church has been led to occupy, and the testimony she has been called upon to bear.
It is on this topic that the controversies which have been long carried on inter imperium et sacerdotium [between the crown and the priesthood], or as to the relation that ought to subsist between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, have almost wholly turned, until in our own day prominence has been given to the principle of Voluntarism, or of the entire separation of Church and State, a principle which only cuts the knot, and certainly does not untie it.
It is not difficult to perceive how it is that the differences between the Church and the State, which constitute them two distinct societies, should lay a foundation for their entire independence of each other in respect to jurisdiction or authoritative control, while they give no countenance to the doctrine of the necessity of their entire separation, or of the unlawfulness or impracticability of a friendly combination between them for mutual aid and assistance.
That two societies which must consistently come into contact with each other, and whose leading ends and objects, though different, have yet no discordance or opposition, should combine more or less for mutual co-operation and assistance, and of course should make arrangements with each other with this view, is a position which has every antecedent probability and presumption in its favor. The burden of proof lies wholly upon those who deny it.
The fact of the matter is the two cannot ignore each other, even if they wanted to. I've already stated that they share the same fundamental constituents – people, who are in both at the same time. The hot potato is not whether co-existence or a symbiotic relationship is possible. The hot potato is about who should influence whom, and to what extent. Bluntly put, it's a power struggle. Both have an obligation to one another.
And then it can, I think, be proved that an obligation attaches to the State and to civil rulers in their official capacity, to aim at the promotion of the interests of the Church and its welfare. The appropriate result of this obligation, where both parties rightly understand their respective duties, and where special circumstances in the condition of the community do not preclude it, is the formation of a friendly relationship between them.
On the other hand, the notion that of two naturally and originally distinct societies, the one should be entitled to exercise jurisdiction or authoritative control over the other, has every probability or presumption against it. It does not work and indeed cannot work.
The burden of proof lies wholly upon those who assert it. That proof will have to demonstrate that subordination of the one to the other, which is implied in the exercise of jurisdiction, can be legitimately based only either upon the natural intrinsic relation of the two societies to each other, or upon the interposed authority of a common superior.
The natural and original distinctness of the two societies would, upon general principles, exclude the first of these possible grounds of superiority and subordination; and there is a great deal in the special features of the two societies in question, the State and the Church, to confirm the exclusion, and nothing whatever to invalidate it.
If it is alleged, as it has been, that God, the common superior, has invested the one with a right to exercise authoritative control over the other, this of course is a position which must be fairly met and discussed by an investigation of all the materials which legitimately bear upon it.
So far as we can collect the will of God upon this subject from the more general properties and qualities of the two societies as ascertained either from reason or revelation, there is certainly nothing whatever to countenance the idea of the dependence of the one upon the other, or of the subordination of the one to the other, but, on the contrary, much to establish the doctrine of their entire mutual independence in respect to jurisdiction, and to prove the unwarranted and unlawfulness of the one usurping any authority over the other.
The very same result is brought out by an examination of the more specific positions alleged to be sanctioned by Scripture, and to bear more directly upon this particular subject. From the nature of the case there are just three theories that can be maintained upon this subject: First, that of those who assert the superiority in point of jurisdiction of the Church over the State; the right of the ecclesiastical rulers to exercise authoritative control in civil matters.
This is the doctrine of the Church of Rome, and has been maintained more or less fully and openly by most of her leading authorities. Indeed the Vatican is a full State run by the Church with the Pontiff playing the role of head of State. Secondly, that of those who assert the superiority of the State over the Church, or the right of the civil rulers to exercise jurisdiction in ecclesiastical affairs.
This has usually been known as Erastianism, though it is often spoken of by some writers under the designation Byzantinism, a term derived from the degrading subjection to the civil power to which the Patriarchs of Constantinople were reduced during the middle ages, while their rivals the Bishops of Rome attained not only to independence, but to supremacy.
Thirdly, that of those who deny the Popish and the Erastian theories, and maintain that the Church and the State are two co-equal independent powers, each supreme in its own distinct province, and neither having any authoritative control over the other. This is the doctrine taught in the word of God and in the Westminster Standards, though it can scarcely be said to have any distinct compendious historical designation in theological literature.
As the alleged absurdity and danger of an imperium in imperio [a state within a state], and the alleged necessity of some one power or authority that shall superintend and control everything in a community, is the common basis of the two leading erroneous theories upon the subject of the relation between the civil and the ecclesiastical authorities, it may be proper to make some observations upon it.
The direct disproof of it as an argument for the superiority of the one, and the subordination of the other, is of course to be found in the proof that the Church and the State are two distinct independent societies, each having a distinct government of its own, self-sufficient and authoritative in its own domain, and with reference to its own functions and objects.
If this can be proved, then no valid argument against the application of the doctrine can be derived from mere inconveniences or embarrassments that may occasionally arise, especially if it can be further proved, as it can, that collision and embarrassment may be easily avoided by settling the limits of the respective jurisdictions or spheres of the two powers. And there is no such great difficulty in doing this as is commonly believed. Our Savior has enjoined His followers to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God’s.
This implies that there are some things which belong to the domain and jurisdiction of Caesar, or the civil authority, which are subject to his jurisdiction, with respect to which he has rightful authority, and is ordinarily to be obeyed; reserving, of course, the great principle which is of universal application, namely, that we must obey God rather than man.
It implies also, that there are some things which are God’s, in such a sense not to belong to Caesar at all; not to belong to his domain, or to be subject to the authority of the civil authority. There is no great difficulty in settling what these things are, respectively. Caesar’s things are the persons and the property of men, and God’s things are the conscience of men and the Church of Christ.
The civil authority has rightful jurisdiction over the persons and the property of men, because the word of God sanctions his right to the use of the sword (Romans 13:4), and because jurisdiction in these matters is evidently indispensable to the execution of the functions of his office.
The attainment of the great end of civil government, namely, the promotion of the good social order and conscience, for God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men. The civil authority has no jurisdiction over the Church of Christ, because Christ alone is its King and Head, and because by His own authority in His word, He has made full provision for its government – for the administration of its affairs, through other parties, without vesting any control over it in the civil authorities.
The civil authority, I believe, is bound, in the exercise of his proper authority, in his own domain, to aim at the promotion of free worship and the welfare of the Church; but though this obligation brings religion and the Church within the scope of his care, it does not bring them within the sphere of his jurisdiction. Furthermore, it does not entitle him to deal with them in a manner inconsistent with, or unauthorized by their proper nature or their prescribed constitution.
The civil authority is also entitled to exercise a certain superintendence and control in religious and ecclesiastical matters, limited to the object of promoting the attainment, and preventing the frustration of the great end of his office, the peace and good order of the community.
But this consideration, though authorizing him to restrain and punish whatever or whosoever, under pretence of conscience or of ecclesiastical authority, interferes with the interests he is bound to guard. It does not invest him with legitimate authority in matters of religion, or the affairs of the Church, or enable him to impose upon any a valid obligation to render to him obedience in these things.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has recently faced significant criticism for its handling of the voter registration exercise. In this prose I aim to shed light on the various instances where the IEC has demonstrated a lack of respect towards the citizens of Botswana, leading to a loss of credibility. By examining the postponements of the registration exercise and the IEC’s failure to communicate effectively, it becomes evident that the institution has disregarded its core mandate and the importance of its role in ensuring fair and transparent elections.
Incompetence or Disrespect?
One possible explanation for the IEC’s behavior is sheer incompetence. It is alarming to consider that the leadership of such a critical institution may lack the understanding of the importance of their mandate. The failure to communicate the reasons for the postponements in a timely manner raises questions about their ability to handle their responsibilities effectively. Furthermore, if the issue lies with government processes, it calls into question whether the IEC has the courage to stand up to the country’s leadership.
Another possibility is that the IEC lacks respect for its core clients, the voters of Botswana. Respect for stakeholders is crucial in building trust, and clear communication is a key component of this. The IEC’s failure to communicate accurate and complete information, despite having access to it, has fueled speculation and mistrust. Additionally, the IEC’s disregard for engaging with political parties, such as the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), further highlights this disrespect. By ignoring the UDC’s request to observe the registration process, the IEC demonstrates a lack of regard for its partners in the electoral exercise.
Rebuilding Trust and Credibility:
While allegations of political interference and security services involvement cannot be ignored, the IEC has a greater responsibility to ensure its own credibility. The institution did manage to refute claims by the DISS Director that the IEC database had been compromised, which is a positive step towards rebuilding trust. However, this remains a small glimmer of hope in the midst of the IEC’s overall disregard for the citizens of Botswana.
To regain the trust of Batswana, the IEC must prioritize respect for its stakeholders. Clear and timely communication is essential in this process. By engaging with political parties and addressing their concerns, the IEC can demonstrate a commitment to transparency and fairness. It is crucial for the IEC to recognize that its credibility is directly linked to the trust it garners from the voters.
The IEC’s recent actions have raised serious concerns about its credibility and respect for the citizens of Botswana. Whether due to incompetence or a lack of respect for stakeholders, the IEC’s failure to communicate effectively and handle its responsibilities has damaged its reputation. To regain trust and maintain relevance, the IEC must prioritize clear and timely communication, engage with political parties, and demonstrate a commitment to transparency and fairness. Only by respecting the voters of Botswana can the IEC fulfill its crucial role in ensuring free and fair elections.
The Oil and Gas industry has undergone several significant developments and changes over the last few years. Understanding these developments and trends is crucial towards better appreciating how to navigate the engagement in this space, whether directly in the energy space or in associated value chain roles such as financing.
Here, we explore some of the most notable global events and trends and the potential impact or bearing they have on the local and global market.
Governments and companies around the world have been increasingly focused on transitioning towards renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. This shift is motivated by concerns about climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Africa, including Botswana, is part of these discussions, as we work to collectively ensure a greener and more sustainable future. Indeed, this is now a greater priority the world over. It aligns closely with the increase in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing being observed. ESG investing has become increasingly popular, and many investors are now looking for companies that are focused on sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. This trend could have significant implications for the oil and fuel industry, which is often viewed as environmentally unsustainable. Relatedly and equally key are the evolving government policies. Government policies and regulations related to the Oil and Gas industry are likely to continue evolving with discussions including incentives for renewable energy and potentially imposing stricter regulations on emissions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a strong role. Over the last two years, the pandemic had a profound impact on the Oil and Gas industry (and fuel generally), leading to a significant drop in demand as travel and economic activity slowed down. As a result, oil prices plummeted, with crude oil prices briefly turning negative in April 2020. Most economies have now vaccinated their populations and are in recovery mode, and with the recovery of the economies, there has been recovery of oil prices; however, the pace and sustainability of recovery continues to be dependent on factors such as emergence of new variants of the virus.
This period, which saw increased digital transformation on the whole, also saw accelerated and increased investment in technology. The Oil and Gas industry is expected to continue investing in new digital technologies to increase efficiency and reduce costs. This also means a necessary understanding and subsequent action to address the impacts from the rise of electric vehicles. The growing popularity of electric vehicles is expected to reduce demand for traditional gasoline-powered cars. This has, in turn, had an impact on the demand for oil.
Last but not least, geopolitical tensions have played a tremendous role. Geopolitical tensions between major oil-producing countries can and has impacted the supply of oil and fuel. Ongoing tensions in the Middle East and between the US and Russia could have an impact on global oil prices further, and we must be mindful of this.
On the home front in Botswana, all these discussions are relevant and the subject of discussion in many corporate and even public sector boardrooms. Stanbic Bank Botswana continues to take a lead in supporting the Oil and Gas industry in its current state and as it evolves and navigates these dynamics. This is through providing financing to support Oil and Gas companies’ operations, including investments in new technologies. The Bank offers risk management services to help oil and gas companies to manage risks associated with price fluctuations, supply chain disruptions and regulatory changes. This includes offering hedging products and providing advice on risk management strategies.
Advisory and support for sustainability initiatives that the industry undertakes is also key to ensuring that, as companies navigate complex market conditions, they are more empowered to make informed business decisions. It is important to work with Oil and Gas companies to develop and implement sustainability strategies, such as reducing emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. This is key to how partners such as Stanbic Bank work to support the sector.
Last but not least, Stanbic Bank stands firmly in support of Botswana’s drive in the development of the sector with the view to attain better fuel security and reduce dependence risk on imported fuel. This is crucial towards ensuring a stronger, stabler market, and a core aspect to how we can play a role in helping drive Botswana’s growth. Continued understanding, learning, and sustainable action are what will help ensure the Oil and Gas sector is supported towards positive, sustainable and impactful growth in a manner that brings social, environmental and economic benefit.
Loago Tshomane is Manager, Client Coverage, Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), Stanbic Bank Botswana
So, the conclusion is brands are important. I start by concluding because one hopes this is a foregone conclusion given the furore that erupts over a botched brand. If a fast food chef bungles a food order, there’d be possibly some isolated complaint thrown. However, if the same company’s marketing expert or agency cooks up a tasteless brand there is a country-wide outcry. Why? Perhaps this is because brands affect us more deeply than we care to understand or admit. The fact that the uproar might be equal parts of schadenfreude, black twitter-esque criticism and, disappointment does not take away from the decibel of concern raised.
A good place to start our understanding of a brand is naturally by defining what a brand is. Marty Neumier, the genius who authored The Brand Gap, offers this instructive definition – “A brand is a person’s gut feel about a product or service”. In other words, a brand is not what the company says it is. It is what the people feel it is. It is the sum total of what it means to them. Brands are perceptions. So, brands are defined by individuals not companies. But brands are owned by companies not individuals. Brands are crafted in privacy but consumed publicly. Brands are communal. Granted, you say. But that doesn’t still explain why everybody and their pet dog feel entitled to jump in feet first into a brand slug-fest armed with a hot opinion. True. But consider the following truism.
Brands are living. They act as milestones in our past. They are signposts of our identity. Beacons of our triumphs. Indexes of our consumption. Most importantly, they have invaded our very words and world view. Try going for just 24 hours without mentioning a single brand name. Quite difficult, right? Because they live among us they have become one of us. And we have therefore built ‘brand bonds’ with them. For example, iPhone owners gather here. You love your iPhone. It goes everywhere. You turn to it in moments of joy and when we need a quick mood boost. Notice how that ‘relationship’ started with desire as you longingly gazed upon it in a glossy brochure. That quickly progressed to asking other people what they thought about it. Followed by the zero moment of truth were you committed and voted your approval through a purchase. Does that sound like a romantic relationship timeline. You bet it does. Because it is. When we conduct brand workshops we run the Brand Loyalty ™ exercise wherein we test people’s loyalty to their favourite brand(s). The results are always quite intriguing. Most people are willing to pay a 40% premium over the standard price for ‘their’ brand. They simply won’t easily ‘breakup’ with it. Doing so can cause brand ‘heart ache’. There is strong brand elasticity for loved brands.
Now that we know brands are communal and endeared, then companies armed with this knowledge, must exercise caution and practise reverence when approaching the subject of rebranding. It’s fragile. The question marketers ought to ask themselves before gleefully jumping into the hot rebranding cauldron is – Do we go for an Evolution (partial rebrand) or a Revolution(full rebrand)? An evolution is incremental. It introduces small but significant changes or additions to the existing visual brand. Here, think of the subtle changes you’ve seen in financial or FMCG brands over the decades. Evolution allows you to redirect the brand without alienating its horde of faithful followers. As humans we love the familiar and certain. Change scares us. Especially if we’ve not been privy to the important but probably blinkered ‘strategy sessions’ ongoing behind the scenes. Revolutions are often messy. They are often hard reset about-turns aiming for a total new look and ‘feel’.
Hard rebranding is risky business. History is littered with the agony of brands large and small who felt the heat of public disfavour. In January 2009, PepsiCo rebranded the Tropicana. When the newly designed package hit the shelves, consumers were not having it. The New York Times reports that ‘some of the commenting described the new packaging as ‘ugly’ ‘stupid’. They wanted their old one back that showed a ripe orange with a straw in it. Sales dipped 20%. PepsiCo reverted to the old logo and packaging within a month. In 2006 Mastercard had to backtrack away from it’s new logo after public criticism, as did Leeds United, and the clothing brand Gap. AdAge magazine reports that critics most common sentiment about the Gap logo was that it looked like something a child had created using a clip-art gallery. Botswana is no different. University of Botswana had to retreat into the comfort of the known and accepted heritage strong brand. Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital was badgered with complaints till it ‘adjusted’ its logo.
So if the landscape of rebranding is so treacherous then whey take the risk? Companies need to soberly assess they need for a rebrand. According to the fellows at Ignyte Branding a rebrand is ignited by the following admissions :
Our brand name no longer reflects our company’s vision.
We’re embarrassed to hand out our business cards.
Our competitive advantage is vague or poorly articulated.
Our brand has lost focus and become too complex to understand. Our business model or strategy has changed.
Our business has outgrown its current brand.
We’re undergoing or recently underwent a merger or acquisition. Our business has moved or expanded its geographic reach.
We need to disassociate our brand from a negative image.
We’re struggling to raise our prices and increase our profit margins. We want to expand our influence and connect to new audiences. We’re not attracting top talent for the positions we need to fill. All the above are good reasons to rebrand.
The downside to this debacle is that companies genuinely needing to rebrand might be hesitant or delay it altogether. The silver lining I guess is that marketing often mocked for its charlatans, is briefly transformed from being the Archilles heel into Thanos’ glove in an instant.
So what does a company need to do to safely navigate the rebranding terrain? Companies need to interrogate their brand purpose thoroughly. Not what they think they stand for but what they authentically represent when seen through the lens of their team members. In our Brand Workshop we use a number of tools to tease out the compelling brand truth. This section always draws amusing insights. Unfailingly, the top management (CEO & CFO)always has a vastly different picture of their brand to the rest of their ExCo and middle management, as do they to the customer-facing officer. We have only come across one company that had good internal alignment. Needless to say that brand is doing superbly well.
There is need a for brand strategies to guide the brand. One observes that most brands ‘make a plan’ as they go along. Little or no deliberate position on Brand audit, Customer research, Brand positioning and purpose, Architecture, Messaging, Naming, Tagline, Brand Training and may more. A brand strategy distils why your business exists beyond making money – its ‘why’. It defines what makes your brand what it is, what differentiates it from the competition and how you want your customers to perceive it. Lacking a brand strategy disadvantages the company in that it appears soul-less and lacking in personality. Naturally, people do not like to hang around humans with nothing to say. A brand strategy understands the value proposition. People don’t buy nails for the nails sake. They buy nails to hammer into the wall to hang pictures of their loved ones. People don’t buy make up because of its several hues and shades. Make up is self-expression. Understanding this arms a brand with an iron clad clad strategy on the brand battlefield.
But perhaps you’ve done the important research and strategy work. It’s still possible to bungle the final look and feel. A few years ago one large brand had an extensive strategy done. Hopes were high for a top tier brand reveal. The eventual proposed brand was lack-lustre. I distinctly remember, being tasked as local agency to ‘land’ the brand and we outright refused. We could see this was a disaster of epic proportions begging to happen. The brand consultants were summoned to revise the logo. After a several tweaks and compromises the brand landed. It currently exists as one of the country’s largest brands. Getting the logo and visual look right is important. But how does one know if they are on the right path? Using the simile of a brand being a person – The answer is how do you know your outfit is right? It must serve a function, be the right fit and cut, it must be coordinated and lastly it must say something about you. So it is possible to bath in a luxurious bath gel, apply exotic lotion, be facebeat and still somehow wear a faux pas outfit. Avoid that.
Another suggestion is to do the obvious. Pre-test the logo and its look and feel on a cross section of your existing and prospective audience. There are tools to do this. Their feedback can save you money, time and pain. Additionally one must do another obvious check – use Google Image to verify the visual outcome and plain Google search to verify the name. These are so obvious they are hopefully for gone conclusions. But for the brands that have gone ahead without them, I hope you have not concluded your brand journeys as there is a world of opportunity waiting to be unlocked with the right brand strategy key.
Cliff Mada is Head of ArmourGetOn Brand Consultancy, based in Gaborone and Cape Town.