Radio Interview of H.I.M. EMPEROR HAILE SELASSIE IDr. Hoffman:
by Dr. Oswald Hoffman, broadcast December 25, 1968
Your Imperial Majesty, it is a great honor to be permitted to speak with you today and also to have you as a guest on this special Christmas program which will be broadcast to people all over the world. Your Imperial Majesty, what is it that makes you want to follow Jesus Christ?H.I.M.: When Jesus Christ was born from Virgin Mary, from that time on He lived an exemplary life, a life which men everywhere must emulate. This life and the faith which He has taught us assures us of salvation, assures us also of harmony and good life upon earth. Because of the exemplary character of the life of Jesus Christ it is necessary that all men do their maximum in their human efforts to see to it that they approximate as much as they can the good example that has been set by Him.
It's quite true that there is no perfection in humanity. From time to time we make mistakes. We do commit sins, but even as we do that, deep in our hearts as Christians we know we have a chance of forgiveness from the Almighty. He taught us that all men are equal regardless of sex, their national origin and tribe. And He also taught us that all who seek Him shall find Him. To live in this healthy life, a Christian life, is what makes me follow Jesus Christ.Dr. Hoffman:
Your Imperial Majesty, what advice would you give a person who is considering the claims of Christ, perhaps for the first time?H.I.M.: I would tell a person who was considering the claim of Christ for the first time that it is necessary to have faith in the Almighty, that it is necessary to have love, and that it is necessary to conduct oneself in a manner that we have been taught in the Bible.
I would also advise him to seek knowledge, for the more one knows the more he realizes the need for a prime mover, the need for a Creator, a Creator who is good, and the need for salvation and also for peaceful life upon earth.
I would also tell him to learn and to think for himself the ways he would serve the Lord. In this thought and in this undertaking he will inevitably find the way of serving his fellow men. For his faith would then be manifested by His conduct. If Christians behave in this way, if we dedicate ourselves to this fundamental task, then we will have a peaceful world and will be assured of not transgressing against the will and the Commandments of God.Dr. Hoffman:
Your Imperial Majesty, are there any incidents in your life which stand in your memory as times when faith in Christ sustained you?H.I.M.: There are many instances in my life where the belief in The Almighty and the Christian Faith have sustained me, times of troubles and difficulties. No matter what may befall a human being he can always succeed in overcoming it in time if he has the strength of faith and offers praise to God, for inevitably He comes to the assistance of those that believe in Him and those that through their work live an exemplary life.
This goes not only for Christians in my view, but for all men. I think God communicates with those that find themselves in misfortune. In particular, when my country Ethiopia was invaded by foreigners several years ago, I was sustained in that period by my faith in God and in the abiding belief that justice, however it may take time, will ultimately prevail. If I did not have faith in the Almighty and in His righteousness and in the belief that justice inevitable prevails, then I would have lost hope and thus the interests of my country would have been ignored. Because I attempted to maintain my faith in Him and because all Ethiopians maintained their faith in the ultimate goodness of the world and in the grand design that the Almighty has for all men in the world, we were able to victoriously re-enter our country and rid ourselves of evil forces.
If I did not have in my heart the love of God I don't think I would have acted in a manner that I did. The love of God brings a sense of religiousness in a human being, it gives him comfort for the future and assurance that the right cause will ultimately prevail.Dr. Hoffman:
Your Imperial Majesty, how do you understand the Apostle Paul's meant statement, "Faith works by love?"H.I.M.: What St. Paul said here is not a mistaken statement. You all know what St. Paul was and what kind of work he was engaged in before his conversion. Later on, after his conversion he had faith and love, and if he had not had that he would not have taught people this in his epistles. Neither love nor faith are separable from each other.
An elaboration of this is Paul's exposition in one of his epistles which speaks of love and faith. Without love all of our human efforts in the sight of God can be useless. He loved us, and on our behalf He was given as a ransom; and it was because of love and His love for us that He accomplished the act of love.Dr. Hoffman:
Your Imperial Majesty, as a member of the Body of Christ, what do you expect of the Church?H.I.M.: The Church is not merely a building. The Church is the faithful fulfillment of the Christian life and its requirements. Thus, as the name applies to the buildings so is our heart The Church in which God dwells. After our blameless Creator was sent to this world by His Father, then the hearts of all believers become The Temple of God. The love of God cannot be fathomed by a series of questions and answers, and man's soul cannot experience deeper enrichment as a result. We believe that men at all times be bound by His love and grace.Dr. Hoffman:
Your Imperial Majesty, as a member of the body of Christ, what do you feel you can contribute to The Church?H.I.M.: All men are endowed with natural responsibility. This responsibility is in turn distributed and delegated to all according to their gift, and it is expected of each one to fulfill his responsibility. This responsibility is first to God, and we must begin our work by asking God to bless the beginning and then being thankful to God for a good ending too.We believe that all people in all of their responsibilities delegated to them will begin and finish their work in God's name. I gave you brief answer. If we go into detail we would have to spend a long time discussing.Dr. Hoffman:
It is a magnificent answer and I am deeply grateful for it. To turn to another subject, Your Imperial Majesty, are there any passages of the Bible that have become especially meaningful to you?H.I.M.: I have the highest respect for the Bible as a whole. We also recognize the rightful name the Bible bears. We find that in all the periods of the Old Testament, in the time of Patriarchs, Kings, and Prophets, great miracles were done. On the other hand, the time in which Our Lord Himself gave the command to go to all the world and to preach the Gospel is also of high value. Then, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the four gospels in which the sayings of our Lord are recorded, are pillars for all men on the earth. Therefore, the Bible should not be cut into portions.Dr. Hoffman:
As a mature Christian, have you a special word for young people of these days?H.I.M.: On this occasion I address all those within Our Empire. Our Christianity is not restricted to a given church and I stress above all that we do not wish to make distinctions. My advice to all is to fulfill the Ten Commandments. You are aware of the contents of the Ten Commandments and can elaborate on it. If the nation for which I am the Emperor follows and accepts this, since it's also what I accept and follow, I would believe our country is not only historically Christian but also actively Christian.Dr. Hoffman:
Your Imperial Majesty, the birthday of Our Lord is observed by peoples throughout the world in different ways, I know, and I should like to ask you how you observe the feast of the nativity of our Lord within Your own family and household?H.I.M.: The birth of Our Lord is a joyous family event. However, I do not only rejoice with my kindred and family since the whole Ethiopian nation is my family. I say this in the context of Christmas being observed by all churches in Ethiopia. I rejoice on this occasion also because of Jesus Christ being given for us. For He was born in the lowly place and got warmth by animals. This fact encourages us to celebrate it with joy. When I have visited the five large continents, I have not been anywhere where there was not a church. All over the world I have come to know that the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated.Dr. Hoffman:
Your Imperial Majesty, as a figure of world importance and probably one of the best known man in the world today, I should like to ask you this question: What meaning can the birth of Christ have for the nations of the world today?H.I.M.: As I said before, the birth of Christ is celebrated all over the world. When I say the whole world it does not mean that all people would observe it in the same manner. In all the places that I have visited, including the Muslims and the Buddhists, We have seen the observance. But for Christians it is an act conducted with love.Dr. Hoffman:
Your Imperial Majesty, You have done us great honor and also all the people who will listen to this broadcast by giving us the opportunity to speak with You this day. And all those who are listening should know that this conversation was held in the Imperial Palace at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I, and we thank You and wish you God's blessing in all the days to come.H.I.M.: Thank you.