The Old Testament prophet Malachi has strong words for ordinary worshippers and dire warnings against Men of God: 'Take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth' Malachi 2:15b.
This morning, a clearly unrepentant Nicholas Duncan Williams, 48, would be heading for the Cocoa Affairs court personally if he made it from the USA last night.
Otherwise his new lawyers would pursue his instructions to tell an Accra High Court judge why he is adamant in pressing on with his application to severe links with the woman who baked bread for a living till her fair palms were blistered when they were both in their early twenties, bore him his two big boys and two bigger girls, and posted sentry as they jointly raised the best known Charismatic Church in Ghana; the Christian Action Faith Ministries.
Lawyers Bram Larbi and Co. had opposed affidavits filed to restore the marriage by lawyers acting on instructions of the spouse.
The action is on all fours with the frightening injunction from the God of our Fathers.
Three weeks ago, Mr. Duncan Williams facilitated his wife's visit to London, saw her off with a nice envelope and not the faintest hint that he had been holding court with lawyers to cut her off permanently.
A smiling contented and innocent Francesca smugly boarded the plane and headed for the UK, only to learn several hours later that the Bishop, who is formally addressed as Archbishop, made a beeline to the court personally with heavyweight lawyers to obtain a divorce.
Before the judge, Duncan Williams had created the impression that his wife of 25 years consented to the divorce only for the judge, a female herself, to learn shortly after she had granted it that it was a pastoral untruth.
The wife of the 'big man', who has managed to present himself as an Archbishop in a questionable manner earlier raised by The Chronicle, did not have the slightest inclination that her husband, whom she reveres and loves, was springing such a plot behind her back as if he is an ordinary Joe Blokes.
When her lawyer who had been in another court appeared, he immediately served notice that Francesca did not consent to the divorce. The startled judge granted the lawyers representing Francesca, Messrs Brookman Amissah, an opportunity to establish that the sorrowful wife had indeed not consented to the divorce.
Francesca, who broke down when she learnt of the secret moves of her husband, cried to her lawyers for help and they raced to court just in time before the judge packed off her desk, having granted the divorce on the understanding that there was consensual.
The lawyer successfully argued and will have his day in court this morning.
When the first hint of divorce loomed, several ladies flooded the Archbishop with applications to have the pride of the place beside him as his wife.
“She reveres her husband greatly, and cannot contemplate a divorce. Indeed she has absorbed wild rumours that she initiated the divorce and refrained from uttering a word,” said a source close to Francesca.
Messrs Bram Larbi picked up the brief after lawyers from the Accra firm of Bentsi Enchill, Letsa and Co. dropped the 'divorce' brief, claiming “strategic reasons”.
Last week, The Chronicle was greeted with violent and charged denials by a lawyer and a pastor mentioned in the first story, distancing themselves from reports that they tried to discourage the divorce by acts of omission.
“The bishop has even been kind enough to write the foreword to a book that I have recently launched. I certainly do not see myself as one qualified to be judge over a man with an astounding national and international ministry such as the Archbishop,” wrote Reverend Emmanuel Ansah of Accra in a fiery denial.
Not all reverend ministers have that line of thinking though. An overwhelming number of Christians have condemned the determined effort to seek divorce.
Over a year ago when the first open news of the impending divorce broke, a senior minister of the gospel, the Very Reverend Colonel John Otoo, took a direct shot at Duncan Williams straight from the pulpit at a wedding sermon at the exclusive Ridge Church in Accra.
Rev. Otoo's angry shot included a warning that the planned divorce “will be a stigma to his ministry”. He rebuked Duncan Williams and referred to an announcement the self-appointed Archbishop put out at his church last year, which read in part:
“After much prayer and counseling, I accepted Francesca Duncan Williams back with the understanding that we would give ourselves an additional two years to make the marriage work. Instead of two years, we have remained together for four years.”
Raging at what he saw as un-Christian and unbiblical, the Reverend noted that it was a major problem to set date, deadlines, time frame and conditions in marriage.
This morning's hearing, which will come on at room 13 of the Cocoa Affairs Court, would feature the two lawyers dueling without their clients; with Francesca's lawyer, Mr. Brookman Amissah, fighting to save the marriage, and Messrs Bram Larbi obeying instructions from TAPAC-inspired Archbishop to get him a clear divorce certification.
Francesca, a qualified reverend herself, is the number two person after her husband even in the revised constitution of the Church, which now has a board.
There are speculations that there may be some lady lurking in the background who may have swept him off his feet and made him disobey God's divine injunction – Do not deal treacherously with the wife of your youth.