I do not usually want to engage myself in political discourse of the country but I am forced this time to speak my heart in response to an action by a church that I found quite shocking.
Sunday by Church Elder
My views are particularly directed at the president of the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFM) church Reverend Ashper Madziyire and also his national executive.
Before I zero down to the objective of my writing this article, I would like to highlight a few issues. Let me first delineate the concept that is carried in the word “church”. The church is a community of believers under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The church as a community of believers is also a social institution which can be termed the “conscience” of the society because of its gift of moral vision. This, therefore means that a church (The AFM included) stands for social justice and should always remain apolitical.
Now on to my response: When I was reading through The Herald of Tuesday December 16 2014, it was awash with advertisements from various organisations, ministries, parastatals and many other companies, but what really caught my eye was that among those advertisements was an advertisement which carried a congratulatory message from the AFM.
In the advertisement the president of the church was congratulating the ruling party for holding a successful congress. My question is; has it become the business of the church to do so?
Should a church be aligned to a single political party if the church is apolitical? These questions lead me to say that the guilty party is in fact the man presiding over the church in the country, Rev Madziyire.
My intention is not to ridicule the man of the cloth as I have respect for his office, but I think the reverend abused his office and it is up to somebody to correct him. First and foremost, the advertisement carried the church logo and possibly church funds were used to get space in the media.
This, therefore means that the good reverend abused church funds, church logo, church name and above all, his office as the man at the helm of the much respected Christian denomination in Zimbabwe.
To me as a Christian, that cannot go unchallenged, unchecked and uncontested for it is written “zeal for thy house will consume me”. I write not only to challenge the good reverend and his co-conspirators (national executive) to change their ways, but also to warn fellow church leaders that the church is not a place for cheap politicking, but a place of refuge from the evils of this world. By this I refer to evil as natural as well as it is man-made
It is disgraceful to find the AFM church congratulating the ruling party for holding a “successful congress”. Was the congress successful? The run up to the congress was marred by violence and mysterious votes of no confidence.
There was the character assassination of the ousted vice-president and her alleged co-conspirators. Is all of that good for the country reverend? I will ask again, was the congress so successful as to warrant you and your top clerics to abuse church funds and the name of the church?
As a church leader, Rev Madziyire should be cognisant of the fact that the church is not his personal property but he was entrusted by the congregation to be the steward and a father in the “family of faith”. By flighting that advertisement in the media he openly showed the whole country that the church is pro-Zanu PF, but I beg to differ. I argue that the good reverend dragged the whole church into his personal political thinking which is wrong and therefore he stands to be corrected.
I believe that as a father figure the reverend knows very well that he leads a religious institution that has people from different political persuasions.
As learned as he is, I believe he also knows how to draw the line between his standing as an individual who supports a political ideology of his choice and as a man of the cloth whom the parishioners, look up to as a spiritual father and a father figure. Let me also remind the good reverend and his national executive with whom he conspired to abuse the trust that was bestowed upon them by parishioners that it is frustrating to know that the shepherd is leading the sheep astray.
It is not my intention to hang Rev Maziyire out to dry, but to express dismay at the level of corruption that has gripped our churches in Zimbabwe. A lot of events have happened.
The intention of my writing is to help the men of the cloth like the good reverend and remind them that they are entrusted by parishioners like me to shepherd our souls and not drag us into their petty politics in the name of the church.
I therefore would like to advise the good reverend and his co-conspirators and all church leaders at large to stop preaching politics lest you turn church gatherings into political rallies.