‘How does someone calling himself a Christian sing for and glorify looters’
The biblical book of Kings should be a must-read for the people of Zimbabwe! This may help them understand how some in the Christian community have opted not only to dine with the devil but also sell their souls to him – whilst at the same time pretending to be serving God.
The book of Kings gives an interesting account of how some supposed ‘prophets’ in Canaan – which the Israelites had conquered and taken over – had rejected the same God who led them into that land, in preference to the Canaanite deity Baal.
In so doing, these ‘prophets of Baal’ worked in cahoots with the Israelite king of that time, Ahab, who was being influenced by his wife Jezebel, in leading the nation astray.
All this while giving the misleading impression that they were worshipping the true God (Jehovah).
This was after a devastating drought, whereby Ahab and Jezebel believed Baal would bring the desperately-needed rain.
Nonetheless, all was not lost, as there was at least still one voice of truth and reason in the nation: the prophet Elijah – who went out of his way, risking his own life, in exposing these false prophets and the king who followed them.
As it turned out, Elijah had been forced into exile due to the famine in Canaan – where God watched over him – until such a time when he had to return to challenge, expose, and finally discredit these imposters.
After being shamed in front of the entire kingdom – through a miracle challenge which Baal failed to perform, but resoundingly accomplished by Jehovah – all the 450 ‘prophets of Baal’ were subsequently destroyed.
As the people of Israel turned back to the true God, after the humiliation and destruction of these false prophets, Jehovah ended the drought by bringing sufficient rains.
This biblical account came to my mind as I was reading a news report in a local daily publication, in which a so-called ‘Bishop’ forced his congregants to chant ZANU PF slogans whilst singing party songs.
The incident occurred at a gathering of a self-styled Christian sect named ‘Johannes Fifth of Africa Church’ in Chinhoyi – which is led by their ‘Bishop’, Andby Makururu.
In his efforts to please the Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister Marian Chombo, who was in attendance, Makururu claimed that they were doing these things since Christians were compelled by the Bible to ‘support the government in power’.
As I was reading this preposterous statement, I wondered whether what this ‘Bishop’ was telling Chombo was: in the event of the opposition, say CCC party, coming to power, they would similarly sing and pledge their undying support for the new government under Nelson Chamisa!
Is that not what these church leaders are telling the ZANU PF regime – since, as Makururu alleged, ‘the government which is there was put in place by the people’.
As a matter of fact, he is not the only one to make such wild claims – as several other self-imposed church leaders have wantonly perverted scripture in order to justify their support of a ruling elite notorious for all manner of sin known under the sun.
The most commonly abused biblical verse is Romans 13:1, which states: everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.
What these supposed church leaders fail to teach their followers is that ‘submitting oneself’ to an authority is worlds apart from actually ‘supporting’ it.
For instance, Jesus Christ whilst still on this planet, submitted Himself to authority – even willingly surrendering to those who arrested, tried, and crucified Him.
This, in spite of Him being the only begotten son of the Most High Jehovah God.
If we are to take the teachings of some of our Christian leaders in Zimbabwe as truth, are we then saying Jesus actually ‘supported’ these people who killed Him?
Would that have made any sense at all?
As a matter of fact, that verse (Romans 13:1) was written by the Apostle Paul – who himself was known for repeatedly defying orders by those in authority not to teach in the name of Jesus Christ.
He was even viciously beaten up and stoned for his efforts – thereafter left for dead – and subsequently arrested and jailed.
Are we to say Paul was a hypocrite who disobeyed the same commandments he expected others to religiously follow?
Or, does this not show that what he meant by ‘submit’ did not have the same meaning as that attached by today’s supposed ‘Christian leaders’?
The word ‘submit’ in the Bible simply means to ‘serve’ (in Hebrew) or to ‘honor’.
In fact, in the Hebrew context, the word ‘submit’ can be used interchangeably with the act of ‘serving a meal’.
In the same vein, when a wife is instructed to ‘submit to her husband’, she is expected to ‘honor’ him – which means: to render esteem, value, or great respect.
At this point, let me make it abundantly clear that this term does not have, and has never had, a connotation of ‘subservience’.
That is to say, submitting to someone or authority is not the same as blind obedience, which borders on slavish servitude.
That is why the author of Romans 13:1 himself (Paul) was frequently found on the wrong side of the laws of that time.
Clearly, Paul had no qualms disobeying those in authority when their instructions went against his convictions.
However, in whatever he did, he still provided great respect to those who had arrested and jailed him – as evidenced by his address to King Agrippa in Acts 26.
In other words, for Paul, ‘submitting to authority’ was not synonymous with being subservient to the whims of those with power.
Actually, the main reason that Jesus even freely gave Himself over to those who arrested, tried, and crucified Him was because this had to be done – as part of His mission here on earth.
In the case of us here in Zimbabwe, there is no way the Bible obligates us to be subservient to the government – let alone obeying orders that are against our convictions.
That is why the Apostle Peter (in Acts 5:29) said: we ought to obey God rather than men.
Based on our self-proclaimed church leaders’ assertions on ‘submission’ would this not sound contradictory?
Yet, there is absolutely no contradiction to talk about here – since, as already stated, the definition of ‘submitting’ is totally different from what people are being taught today.
As such, in ‘submitting’ to the authorities in Zimbabwe – in this instance, the government – we as Christians are not compelled to obey anything that is contrary to our religious beliefs.
In fact, we are obligated to ‘speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute…and defend the rights of the poor and needy’ (Proverbs 31:8,9).
That commandment takes precedence over any supposed ‘submission to authority’.
If those in government are oppressing and impoverishing the nation, then we (as genuine Christians) are expected to stand against these gross injustices.
Having already ascertained the meaning of ‘submitting’, in particular what it is not – it then renders the entire ‘supporting the government in power’ narrative as extremely nonsensical.
These so-called ‘church leaders’ have gone beyond merely their distorted views of ‘submitting’ to actually supporting and standing with authorities that are clearing defying God.
How does someone calling himself a Christian sing for and glorify a ruling elite that is at the forefront of stealing our country’s vast national resources?
How can a Christian justify standing with those who are amassing obscene wealth for themselves from our shared resources – whilst millions of Zimbabweans languish in extreme poverty?
Can a believer of Jesus truthfully defend those who have wantonly destroyed a once proud prosperous ‘bread basket of Africa’, reducing it into a shameful basket case?
Can anyone, with a clean conscience, claim to be a follower of Christ – yet cheering on those who murder (in cold blood), abduct, incarcerate, and beat up those perceived to be against the government?
In actual fact, does the Bible itself not characterize ‘killing, stealing, and destroying’ as the hallmarks of the devil?
So, on what grounds are we expected to ‘support the government in power’?
Is that not the same as Jesus ‘supporting’ Pontius Pilate or King Herod – as they were the ‘government in power’ or ‘authority’ – yet who also sentenced Him to death?
So, why do we have all these ‘religious leaders’ not only misleading their congregants but also on the frontlines of defending an oppressive, kleptomaniac, and corrupt regime?
Well, for that, we need to go back to the beginning of this article.
What we are witnessing in Zimbabwe today is a repeat of the ‘prophets of Baal’ during the time of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel.
We now have self-appointed ‘church leaders’ who are undoubtedly not following the true God (Jehovah) – but are hell-bent on deceiving an entire nation for the sake of an evil government.
I really do not know what the biblical prophets of Baal received in return for their support by Ahab!
However, it will not be a big surprise if our ‘church leaders’ today are reaping huge personal rewards from the crooked Zimbabwe regime.
In the process, their gullible misled followers are abandoned to continue suffering – as every other Zimbabwean – at the hands of the same corrupt ruling elite their church leaders are supporting.
At the end of it all, I can only imagine the fate awaiting these modern-day ‘prophets of Baal’ – seeing what became of their biblical equivalents!
● Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: [email protected], or visit website: http://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/