Feature Article of Monday, 30 April 2012Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Saturday, April 28, 2012
What is the Christian leader’s justification for playing God, especially in this case when the name by which President Mills is called has nothing to do with the Great Commission that should be the substance of this Methodist Bishop’s concern in his propagation of the Christian faith?
Or has President Mills’ being called by that name prevented the Methodist Church from achieving its objective in Ghana?
Let’s not go into the history behind the Methodist Church because it is nothing to placard as sacrosanct. This Obuasi Methodist Bishop should know better not to rake the past. Even the present isn’t glorious for the Methodist Church.
If name-calling alone were to be the ticket to heaven, no one will go around spreading anything about Christ to convert anybody to Christianity. Just bandying about names should open the gates of heaven, right? But it isn’t so easy.
Even in his own days, Christ acknowledged the existence of other forms of religious activity. The worshippers of Baal were as active in his days as he was, seeking to institutionalize a faith that conflicted with the bedrock of Jewish existence, Judaism. Otherwise, why did Scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees take him to task and orchestrated his betrayal and consequent crucifixion?
If some are lucky today to call themselves “Christians,” they do so because of the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made. Otherwise, how can they, repudiated and denigrated as GENTILES, count themselves as the children of the Christian God who set apart the Jews as his Chosen People?
It was in fulfillment of Christ’s Great Commission that Christianity got to our part of the world, even after those who led the spread of the Gospel had themselves been tainted by the bad faith that their political and economic systems had roused through the enslavement of Africans.
These so-called missionaries were the other side of the slavery equation who were needed by the Establishment to promote legitimate trade with the very people that they had nearly decimated through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
Until they discovered the treasure trove that Africa was, they had always flinched at the thought of the continent which, to them, was nothing but the “Dark Continent.” But the discovery of human and natural resources for rabid exploitation changed the situation to their advantage and our misery.
There’s a long history behind all that we see happening today. Let no Christian leader think that we don’t know the difference between seeming and being. There is no difference between the Christian God and any other believer’s God. The difference lies in only the name that each gives that Supreme Deity and the means by which the believer enters into communion with that God.
The foundation of Christianity was laid by Jesus when he identified Peter as the “rock” upon which he would build his church. Then, before that church could even begin claiming to be the bastion of Christianity, Jesus in vested his disciples with the Great Commission (Mathew 28 verse…) to go “ye into the world and speak to all nations, converting those who will believe…….”
Until then, the injunction had been established proclaiming Jesus as “the way, the path, no one goes to the Father except through me.” That enlightenment is only for Christians, not all human beings on earth!!
To reinforce this Christian view of the transcendental, we must be reminded that the death and resurrection of Jesus binds it all together for only those who believe in Christ as the Saviour. No other religious figure (historical or mythical) has ever died and resurrected. That’s the firm belief of Christians which even raises the idea of rapture (as explained in the Book of Revelation).
But all these sweet-sounding matters of faith are relevant to only Christianity. All other religions and faiths have their own explanations for what they are built on, the life beyond, and how to prepare oneself for it. They care less about what Christians regard as the foundation of their faith or how they go about worshipping their God through Christ.
Every religion has its own articles of faith and how it should be upheld and propagated to mobilize followers. If an adherent falls foul of such articles of faith, sanctions are imposed. It’s all human-centred so that discipline can be enforced for the religious group to remain intact. Do we know whether God cares about that practice, though? We don’t have any means to know and shouldn’t deceive ourselves.
It is clear that the heinous crimes that the church leaders commit all over the place result from this kind of posturing—the tendency on the part of these so-called Men of God to dig deep into the Bible for ideas to serve their parochial interests, which they then bandy about as a fait accompli from God.
Which of them has seen God before to come out in the open to play God? My study of the Bible hasn’t yet revealed to me that anybody has ever seen God before. Even Moses, who can be acclaimed as the one to have walked the closest to God (by virtue of his being chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt) couldn’t see God’s face.
When he requested to see God, what was he not told? The Bible says that God told him that he (Moses) couldn’t do so because even if he saw God’s back, he couldn’t cope with the effect (what would happen to him).
Moses didn’t press the issue and was satisfied to take away the tablet containing the 10 Commandments that nobody since that day has ever been able to obey to the letter and spirit. Let these Christian leaders tell me how many of them has been able to obey the 10 Commandments from the beginning to the end.
Do we not have evidence of their snatching people’s wives, committing fornication and adultery, calling God’s name in vain (especially if they want to extort things from members of the congregation), defaming others and giving false witness/testimony?
Are they able to live by Jesus’ precepts, especially in making the choice between mundane material things and the life of modesty, self-denial, and moderation? How many of them haven’t twisted arms to live in luxury, putting aside the very reminder from Jesus that it would be as difficult for the rich man to enter heaven as it would be for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle?
In all that he did—and despite all the enormous powers he had at his disposal—Christ taught humility and lived it. He has made me come to know that Christianity is a faith, a lifestyle to be lived (through deeds) and not professed (by word of mouth, which is what our Christian leaders are known for).
In my many years on this earth, I am yet to come across a Ghanaian Christian leader who lives Christianity as a lifestyle. All of them are glib of tongue, quoting profusely from the Bible to support their own ideological or doctrinal persuasions—and sometimes to fight specific narrow selfish cause of selfishness, greed, and insidiousness.
Let somebody point me to a selfless, devout Christian leader who is working for the improvement of standards in the country and I will go right-away to worship at his feet till death do us part.
My study of the “Religious Experience of Humankind,” a course in Religious Studies that Professor Garbah of the University of Cape Coast excellently taught, leads me to believe that religion is nothing but a tool with which human beings find meaning to their lives on this troubled, sickened earth.
That is why to the Ghanaian, anything that can’t be understood or solved is given to God (the origin of the expression “Fa ma Nyame”). It is only a momentary or transient way of placating oneself or others affected by the problem being pushed to God to solve. It doesn’t solve problems but can prevent the spilling over of emotions to cause trouble. Ghanaians appreciate that spirit of tolerance couched in “Fa ma Nyame.” No more, no less.
Again, because religion is a tool to find meaning to one’s life, everybody who recognizes the religious aspect of human existence, turns to it for whatever spiritual succour there may be. And that is why we have numerous religions all over the world.
If Christianity were to be the be-it-all-and-end-it-all, will there be the need for any other religion in this world?
For as long as adherents of the various religions use their faith to solve their religious problems, they will do all they can to propagate their faith to enlarge membership.
More often than not, I hear Christians condemning other faiths (probably because of what they perceive as no one going to the Father except through Christ, who is presented as the light and the path). That is what dogmatism and bigotry leads to.
Hardly do I hear non-Christians (be they Muslims, Buddhists, African Traditional religionists, Hari Krishna followers, or Rosicrucians, etc.) badmouth or scare Christians about the life beyond.
By arrogating to themselves the power to determine who qualifies to enjoy the life of bliss in the hereafter, Christians overstep bounds and create unnecessary tension. They impose their one-sided religious preferences on others, seeing themselves as the paragon of virtue, yet swimming in vice all over the place only to shift the blame to the devil for tempting them too far.
Some of these so-called Men of God are a nuisance, especially in these “end times” when false prophecy and posturing for material gains have become the order of the day.
President Mills is called “Asomdwehene” for all that the name implies, even if under his watch incidents bordering on political violence occur. These incidents are nothing new. We don’t know whether he is behind all these incidents to blame him or try to divest him of that appellation.
What we know is that he is an “Asomdwehene” and we will continue to uplift him as such. If God is jealous of that name-calling and will tear him away from us to put chained in the hottest part of hell for that matter, let him do so. We are fed up with this empty posturing by all these so-called Men of God.
If this Methodist Man of God has nothing to do, he shouldn’t do it here!! We will be better off without such irritating utterances, if he cares to know!
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