Recently, the government deregistered closed several churches for various reasons. In the recent past too, Kenya hit international headlines after hundreds of cult members died in Shakahola, Kilifi County.
Pastor Paul Makenzi had reportedly convinced his followers to fast in order to get to heaven, leading to the deaths of the people, including children.
In a nation that prides itself as being over 85 per cent Christian, this leaves a lot to be desired. Where did the rain start beating us? First, it is important to appreciate the freedom of worship that we enjoy.
With over 4,000 registered churches, it means that anyone can open a church and register it as a society. The debate about the government regulating the Church has gained momentum in the recent past, especially after the Shakahola massacre. I will not delve into that for now.
Christianity is based on the Bible, which is the word of God. The tenets of living as a Christian are spelt out in the holy book. You can call it the constitution of the Christian. The bigger question that begs answers is why so many Christians seem to be following teachings that seem contrary to biblical teachings.
If we are followers of Christ, should we not be keen to follow what He teaches us? I am persuaded that even the other religions are strict in following their teachings.
A few pointers stand out for me regarding why we are in this sorry state as a church in this nation. There are some tell-tale signs that the person you are following as a pastor may not be leading you in the right direction. Here are a few.
If the pastor you are following talks more about himself or herself than they do about God, it could be an indication that they are not on the right path.
If the pastor is more interested in what he or she can get from you more than they are interested in your soul, it is a red flag that something could be wrong.
We have seen churches where the pastor asks for money publicly to fund his or her lifestyle more than they seek funds to win souls for the Kingdom, this should make you uncomfortable.
Any teaching from the pulpit that may not be backed by the scripture should be another cause for concern. The challenge with many of these rogue churches is that they are so controlling of their flock that few are likely to even read this.
If you are in one of those churches where you have material from the pastor that keeps you busy 24/7 leaving you with no time to even search the scriptures, chances are you are in a cult. When the pastor becomes your point of reference more than you reference God, think twice. When your pastor dictates who should marry or what you should wear, run for your life!
When apostle Paul was preaching the good news, a particular church in Berea did not take his words at face value. They went back and counter-checked that what he told them was actually what was written in the Law of Moses.
This is what a true follower of Christ is supposed to do; counter-check what they hear from the pulpit against the written word. I believe this is true of other faiths as well. When we fail to do this, we leave ourselves at the mercy of those leading us. Could it be that we have become lazy and we just want to listen to someone else tell us what we ought to do instead of searching the scriptures for ourselves?
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Whereas we may blame the founders of these churches, we as the flock must bear the bigger chunk of blame. We ought to be testing those who come in the name of the Lord; are they following the master?
We ought to be testing the prophecies that we hear, are they aligned with the word of God? We will know them by their fruit. What fruits are we seeing in those we follow?
If we examine ourselves a little more as Christians, we will not come under judgment. We will not need the government to come and tell us that we are in the wrong church.
-Ms Ngigi is a personal growth and leadership coach. [email protected]