Editor's Comment

A divided Church can’t reconcile society

THE Church plays an important role of uniting society beyond political and social divides.
It is the conscience of society which offers guidance on how to co-exist amid diversities.

The Church in Zambia has been very instrumental in maintaining peace by playing a neutral reconciliatory role among politicians as well as preaching messages of love.
Apart from offering petitions to God on behalf of the country and the leadership, the Church has also played a critical advisory role to Government.
Through all these functionaries, the Church spoke with one voice of neutrality and love.
And this is why to date, Zambia is envied by other countries as a beacon of peace.
This is because the Church has been the salt that has kept our society in good moral taste.
We are, however, concerned about the disunity that is rearing its ugly head in our Church.
The past weeks have been confusing for most Zambians because the Church has been channelling out messages that are widely contradictory and reflective of a deep divide.
The Church has come out in the most unco-ordinated, fragmented and unhealthy way on political matters in the country.
It is plain to see that the Church is divided and is not giving its flock comfort that it can handle this situation.
This is not good for the country considering the Church is supposed to be a common denominator and a unifying factor.
The Bible in Mark 3:25 says, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand,”
In the same vein, if the Church is divided against itself, then it cannot stand and if the Church cannot stand, then it loses its influence on society.
If the Church, which is the pillar of unity, disintegrates, how can society stand?
And if the Church keeps on channelling out biased and unco-ordinated messages, how are politicians going to be counselled and guided?
This is what is also worrying President Lungu.
President Lungu has expressed concern at the level of disunity in the Church, which he says is sending conflicting messages to politicians and the nation.
Mr Lungu rightly pointed out that it will be difficult for politicians to provide leadership if the Church is not speaking with one voice.
As President Lungu pointed out, politicians are mortal beings bound to make mistakes. It is therefore the role of the Church to counsel and correct them in national interest.
However, in doing so, the Church should not be confrontational but rather sober, bearing in mind that the ultimate goal is to build relations and not destroy them.
The Church should therefore not be seen to be partial in the way it handles reconciliatory matters, otherwise it risks losing its influence and authority.
We therefore appeal to the Church to reconvene and iron out its differences in privacy to save its venerated name.
We know that there are some among the leaders of the various churches who the nation can and should still count on. We pray that these will not be cowed into silence. They should stand up and, as we expect, help resolve matters behind the scenes.
Those who have political interests, however, should either repent or step down on moral grounds instead of dragging the Church into personal political agendas.
The Church must focus its eyes on the bigger picture and important role of unifying and building the nation for this is what has kept it relevant.
If the Church continues on this path of disunity, it risks not only plunging the country into chaos but also being relegated to an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority, as Martin Luther King Jr put it.

 

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