It’s wrong to kneel before men of God
By Learnmore Zuze
With just twenty minutes before midnight, an electric atmosphere engulfed most neighborhoods in Harare. Hordes of jubilant youths swarmed the streets lighting fire-crackers. A choky pungent smell of the fire smoke lingered in the air.
Vendors stood at every corner making brisk business of the popular ear-splitting crackers. In the true spirit of the 31st of December nearly everyone stood outside their gates. It was all pomp and fanfare as the clock inched towards the much awaited 00:00 hours.
The streets were littered with all kinds of activity-from loud music to hooting motorists. In the midst of all this euphoria no one saw it coming. It was unexpected and it cut short the joy of many across Harare and its surroundings. With about eleven minutes before the year 2014, the spoiler came.
A heavy and unexpected downpour pounded the streets of Harare for a strong forty-five minutes as if indeed sent to silence the neighborhoods at a material time. Scores of disgruntled people sought shelter in malls and children retreated indoors.
The booming music and the delight of fire crackers had disappeared in a jiff. The streets were once again empty.
With all the noise gone except for the incessant rains, I stood in a shade pondering my next move. I had turned down a number of speaking appointments to spend this moment at home. However, persistent pastor friend called.
He wasted no time but literally dragged me out to attend a church session of his little-known but fast growing church in the outskirts of Harare. He is a junior pastor. I reluctantly accepted. Upon arrival I was priviledged to sit with my friend where I could follow all proceedings from.
From time to time my friend would whisper to me what was going on. Choral and instrumental music flowed on until about 1 a.m. Eventually, a convoy of top-of-the-range vehicles arrived and the heavily guarded church founder disembarked from one of the vehicles.
He was clad in all white and flanked by towering bouncers. My shock came as the church founder made his way to the platform. A long queue of worshippers knelt at his sight while he smiled and greeted them past.
This scenario was yet again to be repeated in the wee hours of the morning after the service. In my previous articles, I had merely scrapped through this highly emotive issue but after this incident I was left with a serious resolve to pursue it.
Is there anything wrong with kneeling before a man of God? Is it Christian to kneel down before a man?
Coincidentally, there was a fierce debate on social networks the next morning sparked by a picture elsewhere in the news of this very kneeling practice. The practice, as I was to learn, has been normalized in most congregations.
Already in Nigeria, this very issue has provoked huge criticism against Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan after he knelt before wealthy Nigerian Pastor E.A Adeboye. President Jonathan was widely rebuked in his country.
One Pastor Tunde Bakare said, “He has publicly disgraced himself and his office for kneeling down in front of Adeboye”. Another emotionally charged critic even said, “Let this be the last time that the president kneels down before anything that stands on two feet.”
Early last year, we debated this matter in passing on a radio programme with a respected cleric and like many others he argued that people kneel down in respect of the ‘anointing’ that is in the man of God. He also cited culture to explain the practice.
Now, I will draw you to a very critical incident in the Bible which throws more light on this matter. In Acts, there was Cornelius, a centurion who had sent men to meet with Apostle Peter.
The next day when Peter left for Cornelius’ house this is what happened: “When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “STAND UP; I MYSELF ALSO AM A MAN”(Acts 10:25,26).
Now ,I have no doubt at all that if there be any man who had God’s anointing in unequaled proportions then definitely that was Peter yet he immediately stopped Cornelius from going down before him. Predominantly, the words ‘bow down’ or ‘knelt’ are immediately followed by the word ‘worship’ in the Bible.
No incident in the whole Bible speaks louder against the practice of kneeling before anyone who is not God than the one in Revelations, “And the angel said to me…Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb…”
Now check this, “I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “YOU MUST NOT DO THAT! I AM A FELLOW SERVANT WITH YOU …Worship God” (Rev19:9-10).
Even this Heavenly angel was quick to instruct the author of Revelations (John) not to kneel down before it instead saying only God deserves to be knelt for. Dear brethren, there is no other name given unto man whether in Heaven or on earth beneath to which we must go down for save for the name of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2: 9-10).
This name is above all names. Indeed, many would want to hide behind the façade of culture or respect but the Bible is resolute. Cultural kneeling and Christian kneeling are two different things.
The Old Testament has many incidents in which prophets bowed to kings as per Jewish culture just as we have our African culture where kneeling may occur as between husband and wife and this must not be misconstrued.
The very moment we step into Christendom-the very moment we align ourselves with Christianity- the act of kneeling down assumes a single and clear meaning: it is the ultimate show of worship and humility before our Maker. It is obviously different from cultural kneeling.
No man of God whatsoever allowed anyone to kneel down before them. Ironically, even the Arch-rebel himself knows very well what kneeling means hence in tempting Christ he said , “ All this I will give to you if you will bow down and worship me”( Matt4:9).
Notice again, the words ‘bow down’ are followed by the word ‘worship’. My dear friends, in Christianity, only Christ is Lord and only He should Christians kneel down for as his name was exalted above every other name.
Remember, this is the last hour.
You can e-mail Learnmore Zuze at [email protected]