The Home and the School, who’s responsible for the good upbringing of the Child? Here’s to You Agyinasare and Company
We are in an era where the voices of religious leaders are used to judge their political leanings, resulting, sometimes, in attacks on the religious bodies for either being too silent or speaking out too late against acts of politicians on either side of the divide.
The role of religion in our lives is to guide us on that hard and rocky path to salvation, and religious leaders are supposed to say things as they are by objectively condemning to correct wrongs, and praising to encourage rightful deeds.
In this day and age, however, there are some leaders and ministers of the so-called Pentecostal and charismatic churches, I will call New Religious Groups (NRGs), who are perceived to be speaking out for or against what is happening in society, but are actually speaking for their own personal selfish interests.
Lately, some top ministers of such NRGs have turned against politicians and condemning them to hell fire, even though that idea has not crossed God’s mind.
The other day, a certain less known Bishop Samuel N. Mensah, President of the Full Gospel Church International, was on social media’s YouTube on a topic called “Don’t Follow Politicians.” In criticising the abuse of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) safety protocols by some members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), he decreed that politicians must not be followed because they do not care about society. Well, does that mean he is going to drive out politicians from his church?
Lately, one minister of one of these NRGs, Bishop Charles Agyinasare, Presiding Bishop of Perez Chapel International, has taken politicians, particularly the ruling NPP, to the cleaners on his perceived injustices and corruptions about them.
He began his crusade condemning the government for making it seem like COVID-19 was “shared” in the churches, hence, stiffer protocols there, while the same protocols are abused in markets, on commercial vehicles, and at political rallies among others. He made it sound like politicians do not belong to any church at all. Meanwhile, it was shown on social media, how two believers, obviously members of the NRGs, openly defying the putting on of face masks in public, because they claimed they were in the Spirit, and so with Jesus, there is no COVID-19. One wonders whether these churches have been teaching the doctrine of Holy Sufferings, especially when Jesus, Himself, suffered for our sake and we need to suffer as one of the important means of attaining salvation as the apostles taught in their letters (Philippians 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:18; 1 Peter 4:19).
Bishop Agyin Asare then moved on to attack the ruling government on what he will qualify as sheer envy in its dealing with the collapsed financial institutions. He, of course, spoke about the past where businesses were shut down by governments of the day and nationalised, J.K. Siaw’s Tata Brewery being one striking example.
He could have included in the list by mentioning Appiah Minka, Kwabena Darko and Dr Safo Adu, whose products and services were blacklisted by Jerry John Rawlings, when he openly declared that these three businessmen would use the profits earned to support an opposition political party.
Yes, the Bishop has every right to condemn policies which seek to bring down Ghanaian-owned businesses, while at the same time promoting foreign ones. However, is he very honest about what he knows happened in the financial institutions before they were collapsed?
Firstly, some of these financial institutions were run aground by their owners and directors, putting the depositors’ funds at risk. Should these institutions be allowed to go the way they were going, they would be bankrupt and cannot refund to the depositors what they have in their accounts, and here the government would be blamed and that must not happen. Remember how Menz Gold, which had no links with the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), run aground, and yet, depositors are blaming the government to this day for not getting them their money. Interestingly, when the government warned them about Menz Gold, they snubbed it.
Secondly, Bishop Agyinasare cannot say he was not aware that the directors and owners of some of these financial institutions actually spent depositors’ monies on themselves, and the BoG had to come in to recapitalise the institutions to save depositors’ funds, only for these owners and directors to go spending the monies on themselves again. It is a case of using the easiest way to rob a bank; just establish one and then steal the depositors’ money.
And is this what Bishop Agyinasare is accusing politicians of, for destroying Ghanaian businesses out of jealously? Is he not in effect preaching and promoting the cleanest act of stealing to the good followers of Christ in his church?
Thirdly, it is alleged on social media that Bishop Agyinasare was the Board Chairman of one of the financial institutions, the First Trust Savings and Loans, which was also run aground and had to be shut down. What role did the Bishop play in the mismanagement of this institution? What benefits did he wrongly get from his tenure as Board Chairman, reaping from where he did not sow by spending other people’s money? Is he aware that the owner of this financial institution is said to be standing trial for allegedly misappropriating GH¢700 million, almost $122 million?
Is he also aware that Dr Amoabeng’s bank made false claims of ownership of Alfred Agbesi Woyome’s properties so that the Government of Ghana may be denied the right to sell them to retrieve state monies Woyome stole?
There is the need to ask Bishop Agyinasare whether he truly means it when he cries for Ghanaian-owned businesses? There was once in Ghana, a thriving Meat Marketing Board (MMB), which was an outlet for animal husbandry farmers to sell their produce. When this board run into difficulties, Bishop Agyinasare bought the entire headquarters property, and instead of revamping the company for the farmers to get permanent and a reliable sales outlet, he transformed the place into his current mega church. Why couldn’t he have maintained the MMB so that the poor farmers would be in business and continue to earn their livelihoods?
His attack on politicians does not hold any merit, because, one may ask, where are the politicians from? Who runs to the churches for prayers and anointing during the election year? Who make up the major contributors to the Church, and thus to help pastors like him maintain a high standard of living?
These so-called men and women of God have no moral grounds to attack politicians. To begin with, let us find out who has the right and responsibility to train a child the way he should go, is it the home from his parents, or the school from the teachers? The primary stage of bringing up the child is the home where the parents are its first educators, and then comes the school which complements and advances on what the child already knows.
So it is with the politician who begins as a church member, where he should be taught all the morals associated with a true follower of Christ. But just as the case of a child with poor upbringing who goes to school and does all the wrong things, same happens to some politicians from churches, especially those which preach the prosperity Gospel as their central doctrine. The doctrine that emphasises on the need to get wealthy by any means possible if one is to be a true Christian, will make the politician become corrupt, self-centered, grab-it-all, envious of other people’s success, and will want to lord it over others. The doctrine that blesses the rich and powerful and scorns the poor and lowly, forgetting there is a Psalm 73.
To Bishop Samuel Mensah of the Full Gospel Church International, the clarion call should not be “Don’t Follow Politicians,” but it should be “For the sake of your soul and salvation, don’t follow churches which do not preach Christ, as was preached by the apostles.” It is these churches that teach people to do what they like without thinking of others.
The conduct of most of the leaders of these NRGs is completely far from the life Christ led, which is to be an example for us to follow. Bishops Agyinasare and Samuel Mensah will not speak against any of these, like pastors having sex with other people’s wives; pastors praying for fruits of the womb by touching the genitals of women; pastors feeding on the poor church members to amass so much wealth at their expense and lead lives of affluence, competing with the very people they classify as un-Christ-like and people of the world; pastors using church members’ offerings to put up mega businesses, which do not reach out to advance the lives of the poor in church; pastors who use monies from the poor church members to set up schools and universities, which charge fees these poor members cannot afford for their children among many things which are anti-Christ.
Dr. Mensa Otabil was Chairman of two financial institutions, which was cited for robbing from the poor depositors. These institutions have been shut down because of the way they were going, and now the dedicated work staff went out of jobs and experiencing the harsh life of poverty, while the owners and directors of these financial institutions are still living lives of affluence.
Bishop Agyinasare was a Chairman of a financial institution which fell into the same problems Mensa Otabil’s institutions fell into. The workers were thrown out on the street, and instead of Agyinasare addressing that issue and admitting by confessing his sins in all these, he is shifting attention from himself and placing the spot light on politicians, whose only crime was to save the depositor from losing his/her deposits.
Politicians maybe sinful, and some even unrepentant, yes we know that, but in these issues raised by Bishop Agyinasare and Bishop Mensah, they both should be aware that they and others like them are to the Pharisee praying in the temple as the politicians are to the public also praying in the temple in the parable Jesus told.
Truth be told, Agyinasare, Samuel Mensah and others like them, if they believe they are on the side of the truth, must have the courage to invite all politicians in their churches to stand in front of the congregation and rebuke them for their alleged evil ways.
Hon Daniel Dugan