Recently while visiting Berlin my brother gave me a print out from the internet of an interview one Dr. S. Y. Akorli, a so-called Ghanaian theologian gave to Spotlight (a local media network). His views of the Bible and Christianity are so outrageous, provocative as they are misleading. First of all I must say that Dr. S. Y. Akorli is not a Christian nor a Presbyterian. Precisely, he is a pseudo-Christian. To cast doubt on the validity of the Bible is to follow the old tactics of Satan when he approached Eve in the garden of Eden and did a similar work – “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1) Secondly, for Dr. Akorli to compare himself and his erroneous views of those of Martin Luther and the Reformation is a fallacy. On the contrary, Martin Luther's Reformation was based solidly on the revelation of God in the scriptures namely “the just shall live by faith”.
Surely, many Bible loving Christians may be ignorant of the ideas of Dr. Akoli; however, so long as those ideas are in opposition to what God has revealed in His eternal Word, the Bible, Dr. Akorli must stop deceiving himself and others that he is a latter day saint religious revolutionary. Thirdly, it must be pointed out in no uncertain terms that Dr. Akorli has got his teaching on the inspiration of the Bible wrong. Listen to the testimony of the Bible itself on its divine inspiration: “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (II Pet. 1:21). Neither did God dictate to the writers what they should write as Dr. Akorli alleges. God chose and prepared the authors of the scriptures using their personalities and vocabulary and by the enablement which the Holy Spirit alone gave them moved these holy men to say what God told them.
To compare such divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit to what Dr. Akorli's grandmother was inspired to educate her children and grandchildren in Akan wise sayings is as absurd and as far removed as the heavens are from the earth. Forthly, Dr. Akorli cites Matt 27:38 and Mark 15:27 and claims that the gospel account that Jesus was crucified between two robbers is historically inaccurate because the Romans did not crucify robbers. To cite these two passages as the basis for arriving at such a conclusion is to be dishonest.
God in His infinite wisdom has given us four unique accounts of the life, death and resurrection of His Son. These accounts are supplementary and serve to make the narration whole. Whereas Matthew and Mark named those two men as robbers, Luke describes them as malefactors or criminals. A criminal could be a murderer as Barabas was or a thief or both. Any honest interpreter of the Bible will cite all the four gospel accounts and base his interpretation on their teaching. To base an interpretation solely on the passages in Matthew and Mark and overlook what is recorded in Luke and John is misleading and also smacks of shoddy and defective scholarship.
Lastly, I am surprised at the unbelief expressed by Dr. Akoli with reference to the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. List to what this man says – “ I believe in the spiritual resurrection but not in the physical resurrection of Jesus. The idea of a physical resurrection held by many Christians is not Biblical.” Let me say emphatically that the Bible does not know nor teach anything as “spiritual resurrection” of Jesus Christ. That is precisely the teaching of unbelievers, agnostics and sceptics. On the otherhand the Bible teaches that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: And that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once.” (I. Cor. 15:3-6).
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept (I. Cor. 15:20). The Bible itself refutes this falxe view of “spiritual resurrection” which Dr. Akorli is propagating. Read this in the Bible: “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a Spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he hath thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of a honey comb. And he took it, and did eat before them” (Luke 24:36-43).
To doubting Thomas Jesus said: “Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing (John20:27). Christianity stands solidly on the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. That teaching is the cornerstone, the foundation of the Christian. To deny that is to profess oneself an unbeliever as Dr. Akorli is doing.
It is grievous for a man like Dr. S. Y. Akorli, a so-called theologian with a doctorate degree in theology from a university in Germany to be confused about the teachings of the Bible about sanctification, the ascension of Christ, the verbal and plenary inspiration of the scriptures, and other basic Bible doctrines. It is eaqually sad when through his blatant unbelief in the Bible he undermines and overthrows the faith of young believers and those who seek for salvation and life and light and hope from the Bible.
Rev. Harold Holdbrook, BA,M. Div. Haatso, Accra, Ghana