The Ghana Charismatic Bishops Conference has said an attempt by Members of Parliament to legislate against fake pastors and churches amounts to an attempt to control religious beliefs.
“…we do not support any idea of legislating or controlling beliefs, faiths or religious beliefs of our citizens,” the Bishops said in an official communiqué on the matter.
The Bishops said Ghanaians go to churches and prophets for solutions to the myriad of problems they face as citizens.
“The problems Ghanaians live with are in many cases not being solved in any practical manner by the authorities. When people are left with no hope they turn to their prophets and to their God for salvation for what should and could have been solved by national authorities,” the Bishops aver.
The Charismatic Bishops have instead asked Parliament to pay attention to the numerous issues that Ghanaians have been compelled to solve by prayer.
The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference is made up of Bishops from different Christian denominations with cathedrals in every region of the country.
Some legislators last week Wednesday asked the House to consider enacting a law to clamp down on exploitative self-styled Men of God and their churches.
MP for Mfantseman, Ekow Hayford, appealed that an independent body should be set up “backed by law and devoid of politics” which would investigate and check the activities of churches.
Mr Hayford also appealed to the media to sieve the content they put out. He said media houses should be circumspect about the ‘Men of God’ they offer their platform to.
The public, he said, should “also be vigilant and cautious in identifying which religious group and churches they associate with.”
However, the communiqué by the Ghana Charismatic Bishops Conference explained that the government cannot legislate to regulate a Christian’s belief.
“It would be a glaring bias against the Christian faith and Christian churches for pastors, prophets or churches to be picked out for any such legislation. All who propose such things must know that it would only be logical, that such proposals should immediately include legislating how all other faiths in the country must be practised.
“This legislation would logically extend to include how Moslems, traditional healers, fetish priests and any other faiths are being practised in the country,” the Charismatic Bishops stated.
Already, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), the Rt. Rev Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, has also kicked against the move to prescribe regulations on activities of Churches.
According to Rt Rev Mante, when pastors or church leaders misbehave or go against the laws of the state, they should be dealt with according to the law and be treated as offenders of the law.
Read the full communiqué by the Ghana Charismatic Bishops Conference on the proposal to legislate against fake pastors and churches.
GHANA CHARISMATIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE
LEGISLATION TO REGULATE CHURCHES
Over the last few days, we, the Ghana Charismatic Bishops conference, have noted with concern the discussions suggesting the introduction of legislation to “control self-styled pastors, pastors and churches”. Members of Parliament have proposed coming up with a law that allows the State to clamp down on ‘abuse of congregants’ by the so-called men of God.
We, the Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference, will like to state that we do not support any idea of legislating or controlling beliefs, faiths or religious beliefs of our citizens. Our position on this discussion is informed by the following:
The Government cannot legislate to regulate a person’s Christian belief. It would be a glaring bias against the Christian faith and Christian churches for pastors, prophets or churches to be picked out for any such legislation. All who propose such things must know that it would only be logical, that such proposals should immediately include legislating how all other faiths in the country must be practiced. This legislation would logically extend to include how Moslems, traditional healers, fetish priests and any other faiths are being practiced in the country.
Ghanaians, we suggest, should be allowed and encouraged to use their good judgment when they patronize churches and prophets.
It must be acknowledged that Ghanaians are patronizing churches and prophets for solutions to the myriad of problems in our nation today. The problems Ghanaians live with are in many cases not being solved in any practical manner by the authorities. When people are left with no hope they turn to their prophets and to their God for salvation for what should and could have been solved by national authorities.
Churches and prophets who rise up in Ghana may be despised today but may grow up to become national institutions tomorrow. In recent years we have seen some “despised churches” rise up and become the centre of Christianity in the country and on the continent.
The PNDC Law 221 was promulgated to such ends with a mind to regulate the proliferation of churches. Under the PNDC law 221 every church was to produce a list of 500 members otherwise it would not be allowed to operate because it was considered too small to be genuine. Such a law (which did not succeed) against the church would have wiped out all the known charismatic churches which were just beginning at that time. Indeed, Churches which are prominent in Christianity in Ghana today were threatened by such ill placed legislation.
We will encourage Parliament to kindly, rather pay attention to the issues that Ghanaians are forced to have to solve by prayer. We suggest the parliament attend to the pressing issues in Ghana such as:
The absence of good roads across the nation and the terrible accidents which occur because of our very poor narrow roads and highways. Legislation about the poor drainage and serious flooding are of great concern to our nation today.
The decline of the quality of education in the country. Let us rather legislate about the widespread and perennial leakage of exam papers in the nation that characterize Ghanaian education today.
Let us concern ourselves with curbing the epidemic of armed robberies and murder in the country.
The government should see to the new hospitals like the Legon Hospital, that stand unused and deteriorating, the poor health care situation in the public hospitals where patients have to bring in their own private nurses to look after patients
Let us concern ourselves with legislation about the uncompleted and abandoned building and housing projects scattered all over the nation
There are also serious concerns about the spread of slums in Accra and huge rubbish dumps in the city. Laws to regulate the spread of these slums in the city would be most appreciated.
Indeed, any attempt to regulate or determine who and what is acceptable in Christianity or in the church would be considered as a declaration of hostilities between the Church of God in Ghana and the Government of Ghana. This we don’t think would be helpful for our beloved nation.
viii. May God bless our nation and make us great and strong. Thank you.
The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference
In Genesis 41, Joseph, son of Jacob, became Prime Minister of Egypt, through his supernatural gift of interpreting dreams. By interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh, he saved the nation and the world, by revealing the will and plans of God for the King of Egypt and his people. The dreams he interpreted showed Pharaoh’s government the agricultural policies to implement to save the nation, and the world from a great famine. His directions made Egypt the leading nation at the time, with many seeking to buy from it what it had gained through prophetic revelation.
Today, God still desires to save by His prophetic words. The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference is convinced that by the prophetic words of God, Ghana will also be directed and led into development. It has committed itself to seeking these prophetic words and visions and making them known to the government and people of Ghana. We believe that in these prophetic words the country will be saved from difficulties, and will be brought into prosperity
The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference is made up of seasoned senior clergy, matured men and women of integrity in the ministry of Jesus Christ, and who have been consecrated as Bishops. These men and women have over the years accomplished much in leadership, people handling skills, practical achievements and hard work.
The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference has Bishops with their seats, comprising of a cathedral, and an office block in every region of Ghana – Wa in the Upper West Region, Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, Tamale in the Northern Region, Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Sekondi and Takoradi in the Western Region, Cape Coast in the Central Region, Koforidua in the Eastern Region, Hohoe in the Volta Region, Accra and Tema in the Greater Accra Region. There Conference is made up of 10 denominations operating in these regions.
The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference was founded by Bishop Dag Heward Mills, whose ministry now comprises over 3,000 churches on every continent. It is chaired by Bishop Kwame Yirenkyi Ampofo. Its General Secretary is Rev. Kwasi Deh.
Rev. Kwasi Deh
The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference
Tel: +233 24 432 3782