Is this Stupidity or Christianity? – By Manasseh Azure Awuni
Before you proceed to read, let me tell you two things. Read with your head and not with your heart. Don’t also think that the person behind the article you’re reading is the anti-Christ your prophet or bishop has warned you about.I’m a Christian. A staunch Presbyterian. And a Junior Youth teacher of my church, if you care to know. I believe in Christ as my Lord and personal Saviour. I also believe in the Holy Spirit and all His gifts, including speaking in tongues. I believe in the existence of heaven and hell and I’m striving daily to gain admission to former.
What I don’t believe in is the stupidity most of us have mistaken for Christianity. I’m aware I’m not being civil and polite, but when Apostle Paul wanted to addressed the church in Galati appropriately, what did he say?: “Foolish Galatians!” If you doubt me, open your Bible to Galatians 3:1. Besides, as I sit to write this, I feel angry. I’m even angrier because this evil is spreading to the so-called orthodox churches, including my own Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
Sometimes I feel sad when some of my church leaders and some pastors emphasize modernity in order to please the youth. “If we keep singing hymns, the youth who go to the universities will not want to come back to Presby after seeing what others are doing,” they often argue. What are others doing? And is it right?
These are visionless leaders, I often think. Will God change his standards to suit the youth? Or why should we throw away our time-tested principles of Christian discipline just to follow the latest fad of noise making even when noise is sometimes alien to common sense? Well, this is not reason for which my fingers are performing a war dance on this innocent keyboard. I’ve been angered by some three “strategically” located around my house. You actually need to be in my shoes to understand me.
A section of the Christian community in Ghana did not take it lightly when Dr. Tony Aidoo, the head of Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the Presidency, said on a private radio station in Accra that only mad people speak in tongues. Tony Aidoo went too far, I think. Like Paul, let’s pray he’s met one of these days on his way to the studio to spew such garbage. Then he himself will tell who is madder.
The issue of tongue speaking still remains one of the heatedly debated gifts of the Holy Spirit in churches despite Apostle Paul’s explanation and instruction on the subject in 1st Corinthians Chapter 14 of the Holy Bible. While some churches see it as the only sign that one has the Holy Spirit, some see speaking in tongues as any of the gifts which one can either have or not. And there are even those churches which do not believe in tongue speaking at all.
It is therefore not everybody who will agree with Dr. Tony Aidoo’s “blasphemy”. But anybody who lives near any of the countless churches, with which our cities are infested, will agree with me that churches are increasingly becoming a nuisance in our society. The Accra Metropolitan Assembly’s decision to ban what it calls illegal churches in the capital city must therefore be seen as an appropriate action is aimed at injecting sanity and discipline into the seemingly lawless society of ours. It should not be seen as an attempt to stifle Christianity.
Christian worship is supposed to be a solemn activity. It is an occasion when Christians congregate to have an encounter with their heavenly father through prayers and song ministration. I don’t know how many of us will go before our parents and misbehave as we do in churches. Praying in the church is not supposed to be as noisy as it is today to the extent that churches now rob neighbours of sleep, especially with the never-ending all-night prayer sessions.
Jesus Christ instructs Christians on how to pray in Mathew Chapter 6. He admonishes all who want to pray to God to do so quietly and with few words because God already knows what we want even before we ask. If a Christian wants to spend 48 hours a day praying, that’s not my mutton. My beef is how they do it.
One of the first equipment one acquires after establishing a church is a loud public address system which travels many kilometers away from their place of worship. And when it is time for prayers, the whole environment is set on fire. Not the fire of the Holy Spirit but the fire of noise, discomfort and irritation. If any member of the community challenges them, that person becomes the next subject of their prayers. He or she is likely to be tagged as a witch, wizard or antichrist whose demonic activities are stifled by the prayers.
This noise is not only ungodly but also illogical. No subordinate goes to their superior to shout at them if they want to make a request.
Besides, the argument that on such occasions, the congregants are intoxicated by the Holy Spirit is untenable. 1st Corinthians Chapter 14:32 teaches us that “the spirit of the prophet subject to the prophet” and verse 33 says our Lord “is not a God of confusion.”
What is more, Isaiah 59:1 clearly states that “surely, the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ears too dull to hear.” Why then must one scream at God with ear-splitting public address systems when praying? Christians have no justification whatsoever to deny people their sleep, especially on Fridays due to all night services.
The AMA may encounter a tough challenge in trying to purge these so-called firebrand churches but it must remain resolute because of the harm these churches cause to city duelers.
Churches have become lucrative businesses among some of the so-called Men of God. All classrooms of basic schools seem to have been booked and now they are in residential areas. Some have even converted their homes and rooms into churches. And where that ear-shuttering noise is made is next to someone’s bedroom.
Is this Christianity?
The vagaries of city life can be stressful, and after a hectic day’s work and hours in stagnant and suffocating traffic, the body needs some amount of rest to start another day. But all what the churches seem to know is that the Constitution guarantees freedom of worship.
As for the so-called Men of God whose modus operandi is nothing more than deceit, they will continue to flourish because the ignorant folk and miracle seeking “Christians” are not short in supply.
The AMA, the Environmental Protection Agency and other relevant state authorities must protect us because we’re suffering. They should, as a matter of urgency, make laws to bar people and churches from using public address systems after certain hours of the night, especially within residential areas.
The constitution of Ghana guarantees freedom of worship but where that freedom proves detrimental to the existence of others, punitive measures must be put in place to curtail those freedoms. Besides, the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Pentecostal Council and other bodies to which these mushrooming churches belong should call their folk to order if the church is to retain its nobility as an agent of social change, a unifier and conscience of society.
The rejection or acceptance of Christ depends greatly on how the message of salvation is packaged. I don’t think anyone will have the appetite for Christianity if, like me, they have to lie all night with their eyes open just because a church next door is have a prayer session.
This is not Christianity.