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11.08.2004 General News

Rumpus in churches embarrassing - Rev Deegbe

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Accra, Aug.11, GNA - The recent rumpus in a number of churches is embarrassing but this would help to "purify the Church and make it stronger," the General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, the Reverend Dr Fred Deegbe said on Wednesady.

He explained that the rumpus would help to alert other leaders of the various denominational Christian bodies to straighten up or put in place proper structures of administration to run the Church of God. Speaking in an interview with the GNA, Rev Dr Deegbe described the rumpus as nothing new or strange but a situation, which had been occurring from generation to generation in various institutions. The rumpus, he said, should not deter Christians from holding fast unto their faith.

He agreed to the proposition that the Church, being a reflection of a perfect God, must have a perfect administration that reflected the standards of a Holy God to serve as a model for other institutions in the society.

Rev Deegbe said the proliferation of churches, especially the Charismatic and Pentecostal ones, was a positive happening. This is because the "orthodox or traditional churches need the warmth and vibrancy of the new ones while the Charismatic and Pentecostal ones need some of the bureaucracies of the orthodox ones".

On the influx of foreign-based or Nigeria-based churches into the country, Rev Deegbe said such churches had come to fill the vacuum created by the Ghana churches, which ought not have been so. "That shows that the church in Ghana has not been doing enough."

He said just as Nigerian films had captured the television screens in Ghana, so also were Nigerian Churches penetrating the country.

In reference to the Nigeria-based Winners' Chapel saga, Rev Deegbe said that church came to Ghana with the intention to operate a Bible School to offer short courses for any Pastor, who wanted to have fair knowledge of the Bible and "not to go through that long-year theological seminary being run for pastors under the Ghanaian system".

"That Winners' system attracted a lot of Ghanaian Pastors, who went and benefited from it, but later that system turned into a church," Rev Deegbe noted.

Rev Deegbe said generally, the church was not doing badly but added there were a few Pastors living extravagant lifestyles. The majority living moderate lifestyles.

He called on State institutions to ensure that churches operated within the laws of the land by registering and also paying income taxes of Pastors and other church workers.

"There is no need for any new law to be established on the operation of the Church since we are free to form any association in Ghana."

The Reverend Emmanuel Ansah, General-Secretary of the National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches (NACCC), said no individual owned the Church as was being claimed by some Pastors since Christ Jesus was the founder of Christianity in general.

He told the GNA that it was not proper to brand a church by its geographical location, such as a Nigerian-based church. This is because the Church is "one body and must, therefore, be seen as such".

To Rev Ansah, the proliferation of churches in Ghana was a good thing to happen to the nation as it had offered hope to more people through the word of faith they received from the Church. He explained that the churches had also trained more people to be entrepreneurial with most of them living a more fulfilling life.

"On the whole, the proliferation has in many ways helped the nation to have more righteous people because righteousness, the Bible says, exalts a nation...," Rev Ansah said.

He, however, said there were some bad nuts in the Church, who might have noble intention to preach the message of Christ and save lives, but had unfortunately veered off from their calling into "something else".

"These few people have found themselves in such a situation because they have refused to affiliate with any Christian body which could advise and help them do the right thing."

Rev Ansah advised all churches in the country to seek legal advice to establish their own constitutions or guidelines to enable them to efficiently run and administer the church, stressing, that "would provide some sort of security and trust for members of the church.

"Indeed most of the Pastors are ignorant and needed to be to taught."