BY BISHOP SIMON CHIHANA
The screening of churches and Christian organisations is a good idea in its own sense, but the criteria for screening is what can be a big challenge if not handled properly.
The issues of doctrine, fundamental beliefs and practices can be very divisive and light an uncalled for fire among church people and their denomination lines.
The question comes who is the authority to stop the other because already we have a challenge whereby CCZ and ZEC opposed the establishment of the ministry of Religious Affairs and even if it went through, most of the parliamentarians are members of the two church mother bodies and this makes one to wonder where their allegiance is to.
There are churches and religious groupings in Zambia whose practice is extremely questionable, and some of these congregate in the night only.
The minister of Religious Affairs is an evangelical believer and it is the subscribers to the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia that spearhead the establishment of the ministry, does this mean that the ministry shall only look into the affairs of the EFZ related matters or they shall be incharge of all the other churches and religious groupings.
We believe that if the government has to do an effective job, they must invite the stakeholders and in this case, all church bodies must be invited to the table without exceptional.
And this goes without forgetting to say that currently a number of Pastors coming from outside have suffered some small persecutions. We had an Evangelist that held a crusade at the Heroes stadium who was stopped from laying hands on the sick and yet it is biblical to lay hands on the sick so that they recover, then we had an Evangelist by the name of Christopher Alam who has always come to Zambia for crusades around the country, he was also stopped on false accusations and last week another preacher known as Prophet Angel was denied entry to hold his meetings on very clear unjustified grounds by the ministry of Religious Affairs.
When a preacher flies into the country with a team of workers, they use money, to set the meetings it involves money, to be accommodated its money, to have food its money, to move to and fro its money, to hire a place such as government complex its money, use the Showgrounds or other grounds its money.
Government must be very careful with this screening thing before it dents the name of the current government that they are persecuting the outside preachers, when it is not the government but few individuals outside the government are the ones influencing such undesirable decisions.
We also all know that, if one wants certain results for their lives, they will pay what it takes. People pay a lot of money to lawyers, medical practitioners and even the type of education they want because they know ultimate benefits they shall get.
I encourage the Ministry of Religious Affairs to be broad minded and also avoid being used by few outside individuals whose interest is not the Kingdom of God but their personal kingdoms.
The Author is the President of the International Fellowship of Christian Churches (a church mother body for independent churches and an ordaining body church leaders)