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21.07.2004 General News

Churches urged to restore credibility of Christianity

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Accra, July 21, GNA- The out-going Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the Right Reverend Dr Sam Prempeh, on Wednesday lashed out at churches for deviating from their original call and said they should do more to restore the credibility of Christianity.

" Churches must work seriously if we want to maintain the credibility of the Christian witness in this country. "There seems to be a distasteful quest for materialism which finds expression in the rat-race for wealth and juggling for positions, which together have compromised the basic tenets of the Christian faith," he said.

Rev Dr Prempeh was presenting a communiqu=E9 issued at the Fourth General Assembly of the Church held recently at Cape Coast at a press conference in Accra. It is the out-going moderator's last major press conference after six years in office. His successor is the Rev. Dr. Yaw Frempong Manso.

The out-going Moderator said: "Whereas in the Ministry of Jesus Christ miracles were a pointer to God and which generated and sustained the belief of the faithful, today the desire for miracles has become a substitute for hard work and critical reflection."

He said the paradigm had shifted from faith in God to faith in "miracle workers" giving rise to men of God who thrived on miracle working, no matter how false, to acquire cheap money.

Rt. Rev. Prempeh said related to this was the "prosperity gospel, which claims that Christians have a divine pre-destined prosperity allotted to them because they are Christians."

This, he said, sharply contrasted with the biblical teachings of hard work and diligence to which God always added his blessings.

"We therefore call upon all expressions of the church to return to the biblical basis of our faith in order that we might restore the credibility of the church in Ghana today."

Rev Dr Prempeh urged the government to intensify efforts at tackling corruption saying, "We need to ensure that those entrusted with official responsibilities do not usurp resources allocated for poverty reduction and that such resources must effectively used to achieve the stated objectives."

On the HIV/AIDS, the out-going moderator urged churches to set up special assistance programmes to support orphans whose parents have died through the disease.

He said the launch of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) came as a big relief to most people who were "financially disabled to access basic health care under the cash and carry system."

He, therefore, urged government to speed up the legal and administrative processes to ensure quick implementation of the scheme to enable many people to enjoy the full benefits of the programme.

Rt. Rev. Prempeh urged churches to explore the possibility of establishing health insurance schemes of their own as was being done by the Presbyterian Church in some parts of the country.

On the economy, he said despite modest gains achieved by way of stabilising the cedi and the reported declining rates of the inflation, many Ghanaians were still finding life very difficult and urged the government to do more to improve the lives of the masses.

He also called on the government to tackle the unemployment, saying more should be done to support vocational and technical training to help train the youth.

The communiqu=E9 also touched on law and order, armed robbery and the poor road network in the country.

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