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21.10.2008 Religion

TO CHURCH OR NOT TO ON DEC 7 ...

By newtimesonline.com

Ever since the Catholic Church declared “No church” on Sunday, December 7 to allow its faithful to exercise their franchise on that day, only one other church - the Church of Christ Movement - has followed suit.

If the voice of the people is the voice of God, the Catholic Church in Ghana can be sure that God has endorsed its decision, what with the massive applause from the general public.

Catholics in the country sighed with relief at the announcement, especially because by the church's arrangement, the previous day, Saturday, would rather be devoted to church service.

Since then, many Ghanaians have been expecting similar announcements from the rest of the Christian bodies, namely the Ghana Pentecostal Council, the National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches and the others.

A representative of the Christian Council of Ghana is reported to have told newsmen that the decision is left to the discretion of the constituent churches. The Pentecostal Council and the Association of Charismatic Churches have not been heard on the matter.

That should be expected. In a loose federation of fully autonomous religious institutions bound together only by their faith, it is very difficult for the top to commit the constituents to certain actions or decisions, especially those that have the potential to affect the conduct of individual days of expressing worship to their maker.

Be that as it may, the Times thinks that the Christian Council, the Pentecostal Council and the Charismatic Church Association owe it to themselves to help their constituent churches to take a collective decision in the name of the body of Christ.

Seeing as all the churches belonging to these bodies share similar beliefs, we expect that doctrinal differences will not be the issue; if anything, it would be matters of convenience. 

Even these differences, we make bold to suggest, should not be so major that unanimity cannot be reached.

The reason why a collective decision by the umbrella  bodies is imperative is that if individual churches start making the announcements, we cannot begin to imagine the confusion where two or three churches make the announcement today, followed by another batch of two or three churches the next day, and the next and the next.

The various umbrella bodies should step in now. We know that in deciding to declare or not to declare September 7 a “No Church” day, the churches would not necessarily be bowing to public pressure or engaging in an act to “please the crowd”. Far from it.

We know also that any public applause or endorsement of  such a decision would not be necessarily a substitute for God's voice.

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