Should State regulate so-called prophetic churches?

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Trouble is brewing in Pentecostal and apostolic churches, with everyday bringing fresh headlines proclaiming sexual and physical abuse and financial mismanagement.

VIEWPOINT
by Wisdom Mdzungairi

After the sentencing of RMG Independent End Time Message Church leader Robert Martin Gumbura to an effective 40 years in jail last week, some called for more government oversight into these apostolic or Pentecostal movements, which in some countries like Uganda and Cameroon are classified as NGOs.

A fight broke out when Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) leader Johannes Ndanga claimed that he had been mandated by “the highest office in the land” to investigate over 50 local churches with a view to prosecuting those whose practices would be deemed illegal.

As Ndanga spoke, Justice deputy minister Fortune Chasi indicated that government had no business in regulating churches.

This after Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa had asked him in Parliament to explain if there were plans by the government to regulate churches in light of abuse of members especially by Gumbura and other so-called pastors or prophets.

Ndanga also found himself in the eye of a storm after claiming initial findings had shown that there were more churches with doctrines similar to Gumbura’s movement.

He was, however, not worried about “competition” between United Families International Church founder Emmanuel Makandiwa and Walter Magaya of the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries.

“But if the doctrines are similar and there are no criminal activities, we don’t worry about those churches, like if Makandiwa engages in competition with Magaya, with one saying I will raise the dead and the other saying I will walk on water, it will not concern us.

“We can’t challenge them on such useless doctrines,” Ndanga quipped.

Avid followers of these churches sprang into action to defend their leaders and queried whether Ndanga was called by God or the President’s Office.

They queried who Ndanga was representing — the Christians or the heathen?

They also asked who would inspect Ndanga’s church since it is also apostolic.

Assuming that Ndanga was really mandated to look into the matter, it is important to interrogate the issue.

This also raises several constitutional questions.

Can the player be the referee or both at the same time?

Given the freedom of worship, association and expression as espoused in the Constitution, would this not be viewed as interference?

Could it be that certain prophets are merely using their churches as a cover for illegal activities?

In the wake of scandals ranging from sodomy to rape; to the use of electric gadgets and fraud among some church leaders, should government regulate their activities?

It is ironic that a group that has separation of Church and State in its name would argue and agitate for government-controlled churches.

Ndanga wants pervasive and ongoing monitoring and surveillance of churches by his organisation and government.

That’s not separation of Church and State no matter how one looks at it.

What is in it for ACCZ?

Is Ndanga wrong in accepting the “responsibility” thrust on him by the powers-that-be?

I am sure Ndanga should be even more worried about the new development for, as some argued, worse things are happening in his own church.

But, if Catholic bishops can criticise government, why can’t government critique the Church?

Isn’t the Church should confront the reality and find a solution instead of burying its head in the sand, pretending that the abuses are too small to affect the country?

I am sure the State will not fail to say something about these issues in the same way the Catholic Church should re-examine celibacy for its priests.

Yes, many otherwise “good” priests have failed in their vows of celibacy, and that debate is as old as the date the Church decided on celibacy.

Hence, government should also not merely watch when some priests who have failed to be celibate cause harm to third parties, especially children.

We must understand the gravity of harm caused to children who are born to priests who will never acknowledge them as their children.

Children sired by priests are not acknowledged and therefore grow up with doubtful parentage.

If such a child is asked to name its clan and ancestry, what does the child say?

The sense of belonging steeped in our extended family escapes such a child.

So who is scandalising who? Is it the government?

Ndanga could be seeking relevance, but these churches should also not stifle debate from persons who genuinely want to see clarity here.

They should know that by their uncouth behaviour, their leaders have invited government into their untoward activities.

In fact, last August, Cameroon cracked down on Pentecostal movements to put an end to what it considered to be anarchy among some churches.

Communications minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said the churches engaged in “unhealthy” and “indecent” practices contrary to the goal of spiritual growth of the people.

Bakary also denounced obvious cases of extortion of people in desperate situations, repeat nocturnal uproars, and proselytising.

“In such a situation . . . the government could not remain indifferent and inactive,” he said.

“The administrative authorities which are responsible for the preservation of public order had to take responsibility.”

In total, 35 churches were closed across the country, according to Bakary.

Cameroon, like Zimbabwe, is a secular country.

millenniumzimbabwe@yahoo.com

25 COMMENTS

  1. If the churches are in the right track why do they fear to be checked?let the xrays be done nekuti false prophets awandisa.we all no kuti vatungamiri venyika vanogadzwa na Mwari so they have a mandate to summon any investigation as they feel led by God.minana yenhema ,kutorera vanhu mari in the name of christianity and abusing funds zvanyanya.

  2. All prophets, diviners, wizards and fortunetellers should be registered and all their prophecies recorded as we do with the Horoscope. Anyone with interest can then consult the journals as like we consult the Deeds Office.

  3. How can they regulate churches when they failed to regulate parastatal affairs such as corruption and obscene salaries,and these goons where the one following Rotina Mavhunga.

  4. First some of these churches belonging to Ndanga’s group neither read a bible nor do they have a constitution.Who ordained ndanga.Seems it is a mere act of jelous.

  5. Chaipa ndechokuti mamwe masangano acho havabate Baibiri. Saka mwari wavo anonetsa kunzwa. Chero bumbiro remutemo wavo wavanotevera hapana. Saka I don’t see how such groupings can be aligned to the constitution of the land let alone to any group. Generally I would term them illegal groupings

  6. That we waited this long to view the subject seriously is in itself morally depressing. Yes some form of control is necessary…within the confines of freedoms. The Security Sector should be interested in our overall welfare.

  7. ” children fathered by catholic priests will grow up without a clan, after being denied” is that a point our editor can bring to the table, how many women deliver everyday without a father’s name being added on the birth certificate…

  8. prophetic minstries is pure occult. Followers purely follow man thats why they say kwa nhingi…. Many know nothing about God and bible; only their leader who never miss opportunity to tell them pay tithes(christian like sabbath dont pay tithes) and dont touch annoited(Jesus never threaten anyone)

  9. true prophets predicted drought; economic meltdown not soccer or enlarging manhood. In last days there will arise False prophets not True ones. The bible is complete no more prophets the message for our day is in bible. True no were would u find harp hazard minstries attracting clients in bible….why cant they unite ? If they follow law of tithes why can they follow law of sabath and worship on suturday aswell ? Yes all law were crucified and ceased including of tithes. Thats why noone in new testament paid one

  10. the appointment of Ndanga could be unfair but the root cause of the problem is not government but some churches lack that much needed self regulation, RMG Independed End time message in particular. surely how can people be raped within a church setup for decades and fail to report it later on siding with their church leader. there is something wrong there. church need self regulatory mechanism and if they fail to have them then as government we will intervene somehow

  11. I think priests who break their vows must leave priesthood. Pentecostal churches need to come together to regulate themselves as a group failure to do this other people will do so. Look at old churches such as the Catholic church, their teachings are all recorded and no priest or bishop can claim to have received a dream , fancies and fantasies so as to call himself a prophet. The pentecostal movements with the same teachings need to come together to be one so that they can have groups of pastors who decide on teachings to avoid one man stand up comedies we have at the moment. Those who claim to walk on water need to do something useful with their skills such as helping those marooned by flood waters or they must keep quiet.

  12. mr reporter, bear in my that a mother’s baby is a father’s maybe. r u sure u belong to the clan u think you do?

  13. I will support the government if they ban these “churches”. Ndanga is right that there a churches with similar indoctrinations in the country. I think it’s in the interest of all peace-loving and law-abiding citizens to be freed from these rogue organisations.

  14. it is only God who can regulate prophets or spiritual things. we man are all sinners. that is why what God can forgive that which man cannot and what man forgives God may punish. Remember most of these government people are more sinners than we can think of. so this one is really difficult. judge not or you will be judged, that how tough it is.

  15. It is not every prophetic church that is misleading the people. There are prophets who have been sent by God to deliver our nation Zimbabwe.

    Discern true Prophets of God. Do not fight God.

  16. I think the main outcry and pressure is on top of government officials. They have noticed the exposure on top wigs in various companies and government parastatals and they fear the same, hence need to close down churches. Some of you people do not just hate miracles being performed by some men of God but you are afraid of your skeletons in the cupboard. Fore sure they will be exposed this year. Long live true and accurate prophecies of God.

  17. question is who said there is competition between these prophets let the man of God do there work plzzzzzof winning souls

  18. Ndanga the useless doctrines that you are talking about i have seen them on tv being useful to others, i do not go to these churches but ummmmm the UFIC leader is a man sent by God,he has the word of God and great revelation.

  19. Point of correction prophetic ministries are not occults. I belong to a true prophetic ministry which reads the bible and have knowledge of God. Yes the bible says touch not my prophets in 1 Chronicles 16 verse 22 if you are a believer why not?

  20. Whatever it is you are up to I want to thank God in advance that who you are going to entrap are not the true Prophets of God like Prophet Makandiwa but the pretenders and the false ones. Glory shall only be given to God. Kunyangwe zvangu ndiri muWhisiri. VaNdanga vamuchabata ndovamusiri kufungira vamakateya handivo.

  21. @Xrr Sabbath is for Jews because the law was given to Jews not gentiles.For your own information,Abraham paid tithes way before Moses came with the ten commandments.So tithe paying has nothing to do with the law.(Genesis14v20)
    Tithe paying is the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ.Abraham paid tithe when he met Melchizedek and the bible reveals that Melchizedek was the son of God in the book of Hebrews7v1,2,3.
    Paying tithes is for everyone who has received Jesuschrist,it is not part of the law of Moses but it is a spiritual principle taught in the word of GOD.

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