Please, no Character Assassination! Reserve Church’s Integrity by Detaching Chakwera’s Personal Political Interest

I must admit that this article should have come to you some weeks ago when an article I am commenting on was written. Well, because it was a Church issue, I had to take time reflecting on it and see if it is necessary to comment. With strong conviction and as a member of the clergy who also writes articles on online media to promote patriotism and dignity of Malawi as a whole, I feel it fit to annotate on that doleful story. As usual, I must make it crystal clear that I am writing on personal capacity.

 Those who follow news on online media would recall that on 9th June, 2013, a group of people calling itself “concerned members of Assemblies of God in Malawi” made an online  publication entitled, “The Way Chakwera has Failed to Run Malawi Assemblies of God”. I would like to appreciate the group’s bravery by coming forward to express their grievances. I hope this relieved their heavy hearts. However, while expressing their concerns; the process of lifting such grievances was fraud and lacked objectivity. I wouldn’t comment on it if it was confidential addressed to AG Church but because they made it public, I assume it is now for publish consumption.

Firstly, if my eyes are not failing me, you would notice that the rubric of that open letter was misrepresentative because its content did not make personal reference to Rev. Chakwera’s failure. I mean the name of Chekwera is not where in the open letter’s content to give evidence on how Rev. Chakwera has failed the Church. Instead, one would redact the title to refer to Church leadership failure other than an individual. I do not want to go into the details of the letter because I am not an Assemblies of God member but I have great respect for this denomination. It may interest you to know that, despite not being a member of this denomination, I became a born again Christian through the message preached by Salima Assemblies of God pastor, on 14th July, 2001 during SCOM joint meeting in Salima.

As I said, while this group’s grievances may be valid, I believe that the Church has structures to channelize such grievances respectfully and with dignity. Taking the Church issue into an overt would not bring any solution to spiritual, economic and social problems facing it. The letter would bring fruits if the was directly addressed to the Church’s National Committee or whatever it is called.

The cogency of the letter is also wary considering the following factors;

  1. The hidden identity of the addressers: the letter only states about concerned Assemblies of God Christians in Malawi: Which members and from which congregation? What were the reasons for hiding identity if the reasons addressed are authentic?
  2. The letter has been written at a time when Chakwera is no longer the Assemblies of God president. Why did the group wait for Chakwera’s exit before addressing the issues raised? I believe that Chakwera has never lost the post of Church presidency through election since he became one until he wilfully resigned, meaning that the Church entrusted him all these years. If he was really a failure, I believe he would have lost the position many years ago. Assemblies of God Church still remains the major Pentecostal Church in Malawi which should make these members commending his leadership despite his weaknesses. It is not good to emphasise on one’s impuissance forgetting the good things. No one is perfect but only God, that’s why we all keep on asking God’s grace that comes through Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 2:8).  Just to mention a few; was Chakwera not on Church presidency when Assemblies of God spread countrywide with better Church buildings than other Pentecostal Churches? Was it not during Chakwera’s reign when CAN Radio shot the air countrywide? Was it not Chakwera’s leadership when Assemblies of God School of Theology started offering degrees? What about many souls which have come to the Lord through his ministry, isn’t that recognisable success of his leadership and ministry? Is it not Chakwera’s dream that Assemblies of God in Malawi is about to open the university? These are things that even a non Assemblies of God member including the blind would easily acknowledge that they came up as a result of Chakwera’s leadership. Why can’t we appreciate the little one has done before pointing out weaknesses? Are these people new in AG that they don’t know these things?
  3. The letter has come at a time when Chakwera is aspiring for political presidency. Would one be wrong to suspect that this is a hand of his political opponents either from within MCP or outside desperately trying to assassinate his character and political ambition? One would agree with me that, as it stands today, Chakwera is the only untouchable in political outreach because of his integrity and leadership competency. We have heard and being tired of different political party presidents attacking each other’s character and leadership failures in public but no any political party leader has disgraced Chakwera in any way because they respect him, what more his own members. Isn’t this enough for Chakwera’s flock to be proud of that their clergies are men and women of integrity? If Chakwera is chosen by God to lead Malawi, no weapon designed against him shall prosper!

The bible in Matthew 18:15-20 gives Christians the process of solving grievances. Why did these Christians not do that before disgracing their own leaders? I am not supporting pastors’ wrong doing, but I feel Church differences can not be solved by the public or attacking Church leaders publicly. It is very unfortunate for Christians to accuse their leaders publicly when they can do that respectfully.

In addition, these members should note seriously that, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to every Christian. It does not need a pastor for miracles to be manifested. However, it is doubtful if members who are set to disgrace men and women of God are ready to be used by the Holy Spirit. The spirit of God does not work in this manner. These people should seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit if they are to promote the kingdom of God. The Bible, in 1Corinthians 13 teaches us about love of which one of its elements is “not to keep records of wrongs”. If these members loved Chakwera, why keep grievances instead of addressing them right away before Chakwera left the Church’s leadership? This is neither the spirit of love nor the work of the Holy Spirit! What do you want Chakwera do, now that he is no longer the Assemblies of God president?

This is suspicious and sounds to be the voice of Chakwera’s political opponents which the name of the Church should be completely detached! If these are true members of Assemblies of God Church, then I would like to finish by urging them or whosoever authored it that, “treat others the same way you would like them treat you” (Matthew 7:12). Like I said, I am neither a member of Assemblies of God nor do I know Chakwera personally, but as a member of the clergy, this touched me and I decided to comment on it since it was made public. I am grateful to any constructive criticism on my comments.

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