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04.07.2004 Feature Article

The Church And Violence (I)

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“Christianity has (by certain people) been used throughout history as an excuse for some of the most brutal, heartless and senseless atrocities known to man. The historical examples are not difficult to recall: the Crusades; the Inquisitions; the witch-burnings; the Holocaust….I did not see much in Christianity that I considered to be worth the having.” -Ken Schei, atheist “Christianity has been a boon to mankind…(and) has had a beneficent effect upon the human race…Most people today who live in an ostensibly Christian environment with Christian ethics do not realize how much we owe Jesus of Nazareth….What goodness and mercy there is in this world has come in large measure from him.” -D. James Kennedy, Christian Credit: THE CASE FOR CHRIST by Lee Strobel

As one who professes to be an unabashed, unrepentant and committed adherent of the Christian faith, I worry (a lot) when I read -on a daily basis -news stories that really portray the Body of Christ-the Church in a bad light. A lot of very negative stories about goings-on in the church have made the front pages of news organizations the world over and sad to relate it doesn't appear there would be a letting up soon. Instead of doing some introspection and soul-searching in order to correct this unfortunate situation it appears the church rather loves to wear controversy as a badge of honor. It is worrying to read stories about so-called men of the cloth defiling little children, defrauding people, dealing in visas, and working in cahoots with known criminals and characters of the underworld working deals that make the devil look like an angel.

Two recent phenomena in the many ills that confronts the church are the high octane issue of church break-ups (the mate me ho syndrome) which has been diagnosed in the Bible as a product of dissensions and contentions and the use of violence in the way the church resolves issues concerning it. The issue of contention and dissensions most times is a result of misplaced ambition on the part of young pastors and the insensitivity of the senior pastors especially in their dealings with these young pastors. Some refuse to give their young pastors who have been blessed with gifts they (senior pastors) don't have the opportunity and the platform to develop and grow because they feel threatened by the gifts.

As a result a young Pastor, endowed in a certain area of the spiritual gifts (I Corinthians chapter 12) mostly prophecy or healing breaks away from the main church to found his own church. He doesn't go alone. He takes some members of the church along with him to start a (Reformed) branch of the main church. He leaves because he feels he is being frustrated. Now who says feeling frustrated and embittered as a result of the way your senior pastor is treating you or has treated you is a legitimate, bible-inspired reason to found a church? I am yet to read in the bible where it is written that one has to leave their home church over disagreements with their church leaders to found another church.

Whatever one sows, one would reap so says the Bible.

The church's association with violence is a new low in the history of the church in Ghana. This sad spectacle played out almost three years ago during the annual monthly ban on drumming and dancing imposed by the traditional authorities in Accra. For years the ban on drumming and dancing has been a thorn in the flesh of the mainly charismatic and Pentecostal churches whose services lend themselves to the use of musical instruments. This time the incident turned into a full scale battle between members of the Christ Apostolic church (CAC) and some people in the area. This is disgraceful and unacceptable. Christ never drew blood in his years of public ministry and so should people who claim to profess the faith he lived and died for.

Paa Kwesi Plange
Paa Kwesi Plange, © 2004

The author has 52 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: PaaKwesiPlange

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