Editor's Comment

Churches can’t be business houses

THE church, hailed as the salt and light of the world, has suddenly become a platform for fundraising or an instrument for becoming rich.
That is why there is an outbreak of churches in Zambia – all claiming to be leading people to Christ.
Yet, they are after their hard-earned money.
This country has seen a new breed of preachers who have specialised in demanding payment for people to receive deliverance prayers.
And for these prayers to be answered, they must sow a seed yet the Bible says freely I give freely you receive. Matthew 10: 5 – 8
The sick, the poor, the barren, the unemployed and those in business look to preachers for a breakthrough.
They need to be prayed for so that their fortunes can change.
But the people they go to see will demand payment in form of a seed for their prayers to be heard.
These are pure businessmen masquerading as purveyors of the gospel yet they are equally in need of help.
What is happening now is alien to the people associated with the gospel like the Catholic Church, Seventh Day Adventist, Reformed Church in Zambia, United Church of Zambia and other pioneers of the gospel.
In fact, the pioneers gave freely and never demanded anything in return. They built churches, schools, hospitals and other institutions from which the poor people still benefit.
The missionaries left a legacy which the new movement of charismatic pastors is destroying by extorting from people they are supposed to be helping.
This is because they are not sincere preachers. Jesus said go and make disciples of men and not go and make money out of men.
These are sheep in wolves’ skin, out to deceive the flock.
Unfortunately, most of our people are gullible and cannot distinguish true preachers from pretenders.
That is why Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo has counselled the clergy to take up their leadership role and protect people from unscrupulous preachers who take advantage of unsuspecting members of the public to steal from them.
Mr Kampyongo said some church leaders are only interested in making money at the expense of winning more souls to Christ and preparing them for salvation.
He said this on Sunday when he attended a service at United Church of Zambia Chelston congregation.
“The challenge you have as the clergy is to protect your members. Spiritual mafias [crooks] have turned churches into businesses,” he said.
Mr Kampyongo said the ministry has deported and not allowed some preachers to conduct their activities in Zambia because Government has a duty to protect citizens.
True to the minister’s counsel, there are some preachers who engage in criminal activities and use the Church to hide their transgressions.
The rate at which churches are mushrooming in Zambia leaves much to be desired. It is in these churches that some preachers call themselves prophets and perform bogus miracles and get money from unsuspicious citizens.
When Government blocks and sends them back to their countries, some foreign preachers, it merely fulfills its mandate of protecting citizens from being exploited.
That is why Government should not relent in playing its role of protecting citizens, the more reason why mushrooming of churches and their preachers should be closely monitored.

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