Reinterrogating the idea of the Church

by | Mar 12, 2021 | Opinions | 0 comments

By Hosia Mviringi
There are certain religious leaders in Zimbabwe who personify the zeal and devotion of the pioneer missionaries when they first made land fall into the African continent, more than a century ago purportedly for purposes of evangelising the African ‘pagans’ and turn them to Christ.

They exuded the confidence and conviction of Thomas who literally had just withdrawn his finger from the fresh would in the palm of Jesus.

For purposes of this article we shall dwell on the role of the Church in the context of its contributions in shaping local religious, social, political and economic development of the African continent at large and Zimbabwe in particular.

We shall try to revisit history so that we are informed on why and how the Church came to Zimbabwe and how it almost successfully shaped and dominated the socio-politi-conomic fabric of the Zimbabwean African society.

Since time immemorial, the Church has been a key player on the Civic Society space on the African continent.
Either it has participated directly in ‘humanitarian’ activities or it has planted surrogates to execute various functions as would be required.
Christian Missionary activities have affected and shaped events in almost every African country.

To achieve its mission the Church has been in constant cold war mode against other competing religions to the extent of labelling such religions as African Traditional religion as paganism and evil.

In some extreme cases the Church has quietly invited and supervised war against such other pure religions as Islam.
Every other religion that does not agree with Christianity is declared ungodly and ominous results are proclaimed.
Missionaries were quite aware that the best way to destroy a people is to destroy their spirituality.
A nation without a God of their own becomes slave to that whose God they worship.
It is the same as what happened to the Biblical Israelites when the ark of the covenant was stolen.
It literally means that they became Godless and so directionless and powerless such that any nation could conquer and enslave them.
So the great African Spiritualism was stolen, destroyed and replaced by foreign spirituality.
Mbuya Nehanda, the Great African Spirit medium was humiliated and hanged in broad daylight while Sekuru Kaguvi was imprisoned, tortured and later brutally killed.
Our spiritual being was left desolate and a spiritual vacuum was created.
Fear, desperation and emptiness pervaded the African society, prompting them to accept anything and any gospel that could fill that vacuum. And Christianity found root.
Before Missionaries came to Zimbabwe, there was no spiritual vacuum.
The people worshiped Musikavanhu (Creator), uThixo. Their way of worship yielded results as evidenced by the stability that epitomised their Kingdoms.

The African God worked wonders. He delivered food at Mutiusinazita and he gave the rain at rain making ceremonies. He healed diseases and stopped pestilence.
Yet they were duped into throwing away their God, the God of Mutiusinazita, God of Mbuya Nehanda, a God who worked wonders amongst them, in favour of the ‘God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’.
A God they had never experienced, an alien God who only existed in historical accounts. Nobody knew how and why this God qualified to be the African God too.
This was a grand theft in history. Stealing a God, stealing a people’s spirituality, is tantamount to stealing a whole history and destroying a future. Our spiritualism was bastardised in broad daylight. What an insult to African conscience!

Africa didn’t need a foreign religion in order to reconcile with her God. She had her own customs, ways of worship and a governance system that yielded results and justice on time.
This is very important information that forms basis for my thesis.
We will discover how the Church has contributed to the current socio-politi-conomic state of affairs in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, and how it continues to work towards a broader imperial foreign policy objective. The objective being pacification of African natives for territorial conquest and expansionism.
Christian Missionaries became forerunners to the armed columns which later colonised Africa. The Church, then as now, guilty for studying the African terrain for ease of partitioning as was later achieved at Berlin exactly 135years ago.
Bible-induced African facility provided the colonial saddle to capture vast tracts of land, exploit, plunder and expatriate African resources while displacing natives to uninhabitable marginal lands.
The Church in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa is guilty and remain answerable to this cardinal and unforgivable sin.
The God of the Bible delivered Israelites out of captivity and slavery into a land of abundance.
Yet the same God has sentenced Africans to perennial oppression and poverty. With so many religious Churches, Africa would be symbolising heaven on earth.
Yet Africans have been tortured and suffered perennially under the multiple scourge of hunger, poverty, disease and war.
Where is this God of salvation?
How could this faithful God allow us to be conquered, abused, dispossessed of our wealth and be impoverished under his watch?
The Church had successfully presented itself as a Citadel of Hope, Peace, Unity and Freedom from bondage and slavery.
Contrary to those promises, the Church has turned out to be a Citadel of Evil.
Dispossession of resources and perpetual impoverishment is not holy by any standards. No loving God will ever be pleased with it.
Today, even after centuries of reckless plunder, Africa still remains the richest continent, yet its people remain or are regarded as the poorest on earth.
Paradoxically, the Church taught Africans to disregard earthly riches and only to worry about heavenly salvation. Africans can spend days on top of mountains seeking heavenly salvation while Europeans explore for rare earths in our mines and in space on the moon.
Europeans have built heaven on earth on African resources, yet Africa continues to wait for Kingdom of heaven in a sea of poverty.

A hundred year came and passed, still heaven has not descended on the Africans, only except that our people continue to die of disease, hunger and wars which are instigated by the same people that exported the Bible. Sounds insane.
For how long should Africa wait for Salvation? Or is there salvation at all?
Hypocritical gospel it is !

In Mathew 6:26-34 (NKJV)
Bible says;
[26] Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
[27] Which one of you by worrying can add a cubit to his stature?
[28] So why do you worry about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
[29] and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed (dressed) like one of these.
[30] Now if God so clothed the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, Oh you of little faith?
[31] “Therefore do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? What shall we drink? Or What shall we wear?
[32] For after all these things the gentiles seek. For your Heavenly father knows that you need all these things.
[33] But seek eye the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
[34] Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it’s own things. Sufficient for the day is its trouble”. End of quote.

This is a whole section of the Bible devoted to a flattery. To make the African go to sleep and not compete for resources with the conquering tribe of clever white men.
The African must live like a bird, never to worry about tomorrow, yet they invest in 100 year bonds.
Africans spend a better part of their time in Temples and Synagogues shouting “I receive man of God” while truck loads of minerals depart from our shores to foreign lands.
Is this a religion or it’s a CURSE?

But the Church does not seem to repent from this great betrayal. The brainwashing sessions continue unabated in Synagogues every weekend.
In Zimbabwe the Church has continued to represent the colonial mentality and attitude with a new crop of religious activists who present themselves as Pastors and Prophets.
Firmly united under the banner of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, they have reactivated their pre-colonial mandate of delivering Zimbabwe to the master on a platter.
Churches have become training grounds for activists and bandits while Church leaders have become coaches and conduits for dirty funds into Africa.
The Church has indeed become a Citadel of EVIL!
Political activism and civil disobedience now springs from the sacred altar of sacrifice disguised as truth gospel.

A new breed of political activists now openly inspire civil disobedience and banditry from behind the pulpit, under the leash of a dog collar, disguised as preachers of the gospel.

The discreet, passive and deceptive ways of the early Missionaries has been abandoned for a more confrontational approach on African leaders, much to the appeasement of the master.
One Elizabeth Ischel once described the role of the Church in the Congo in her book ” A history of Christianity in Africa, from Antiquity to the Present”.
She said; “The clergy did more harm than good to the Kongo. Most of them spent more time in trade and conceived or participated in slave trade”.
At least in the Congo they never tried to disguise their mission to Africa. They came for resources, period!

In Zimbabwe the Church under the banner of the ZCC has continued to participate in the continued imposition of Sanctions on Zimbabwe.
This is represented by an adverse elections report of 2018 by the Church which formed the basis of a European Union position when they tightened sanctions on Zimbabwe. The effects of Sanctions are known especially on the poor.

The Church has reclaimed its place as a foreign policy tool of powerful nations.
It will be such a beautiful day when the Church joins the nation for a March against Sanctions on Zimbabwe. 16 October is on the horizon once again.