Pentecostal churches not attacked

I WOULD like to thank the anonymous individual who responded to my last article titled State of the nation is state of the Church.

I, however, want to correct a number of factual inaccuracies which are contained in the response which was published on May 12 in Southern Eye.

I am not in the habit of rabidly verbally attacking people who respond to my articles, but I believe it is in the interests of actual integrity and truth that I disabuse the anonymous writer of a few false notions.

My article in no way attacked Pentecostal churches. In fact, the article was about the church in the broad ecumenical sense — it was inclusive of Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Africa independent churches. In fact, I am a devout, born again, Holy Spirit filled-Christian who attends a charismatic Christian church and I have no business attacking bona fide Pentecostal churches.

The point of the article was to make a realistic analysis of the church and to take stock of our collective failures which have somehow reflected themselves in the state of the nation. For example, is it not a fact that churches are splitting in the same manner that political parties are splitting like amoebas?

The article which I penned in no way in manner, content or intent suggested that Pentecostal leaders are rapists like (Robert Martin) Gumbura. The article merely pointed out the misdemeanours of some men of the cloth who bring the whole church into disrepute.

Strangely the writer seemed to think the article defended traditional churches and sought to demonise Pentecostal churches. What the article merely sought to do was to highlight the shortcomings of the broader church, but also highlight some of its successes in the field of social and economic justice.

This is the reason why mention is made of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (which has over a 100 Pentescostal churches as members) and Habakkuk Trust which are organisations which were started by local Christians and to a large extent spearheaded by Pentecostal pastors.

It is also shocking that the writer claims Pentecostals were being attacked in the article when the article makes reference to at least eight Pentecostal leaders who have made a difference in the country including the likes of Godwill Shana, Kenneth Haskins (who is a Zimbabwean), Kennneth Chirimuuta, Bothwell Phiri and so on.

It is shocking that the writer claims to be a Pentecostal, but does not the know the origins of the Pentecostal movement in Zimbabwe. My article made reference to the good work by Reverend Geofrey Mkhwananzi, one of the founders of the modern Pentecostal movement in Zimbabwe together with Reverand Nicholas Bengu from South Africa.

It was from Reverend Mkhwananzi’s local Assemblies of God (Back To God) that Zaoga emerged with the likes of the legendary Ezekiel Guti.

It would thus be scandalous to talk about the Pentecostal movement without talking about Reverend Mkhwananzi. I do accept that Reverend Guti has indeed contributed a lot to the church and communities in Zimbabwe and one cannot fail to realise and appreciate that.

My article also made mention of other Pentecostal leaders such as Love Neta and Patson Neta.

Pastor Love Neta is a relatively unknown evangelist who started preaching and moving in signs and wonders in the ’70s right up to present day.

The man has not sought any publicity, fame or money from miracles that God has used him to perform, but still remains humble and committed to preaching Christ and him crucified as opposed to some who appear to be promoting the gospel according to themselves.

Patson Neta was one of the key movers of the inter church Pentecostal Revival in the late ’70s through the then interdenominational New Life Ministries at the same time that the Andrew Wutawunashe, Henry Muzhari, Ngwiza Mnkandla were at the forefront of an unprecedented revival .

What I will remain opposed to is “men of the cloth” who feed on the lambs instead of feeding them. Surely men of God are worthy of double honour and they should be paid well, but not to subsidise obscene lifestyles at the expense of the people they are shepherding.

Good corporate governance or should also be there in the church. In most churches it is there, but the problem is a few bad apples who are not accountable to anyone and thus who tend to exhibit cultic tendencies.

I did not make any reference to people having to be in one church, but my point is that Christians who are not accountable to anybody and who hop from one church to the other every Sunday or Saturday are surely not within the ambit of church governance and the imperative of the local church which is emphasised over and over in the Bible.

People cannot be bound in one church, but accountability to a church governance system is biblical. Apostle Collin Nyathi is the one I quoted when I referred to spiritual tourists who just move from one conference to other without being committed to any church.

What do you think?

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 Dumisani Nkomo is a political commentator and chief executive officer of the Habakkuk Trust. He writes in his personal capacity. www.dumisanionkomo.blogspot.com

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