‘Christians’ Get a Tongue-Lashing

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK General Secretary of the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN), Philip Strydom, has questioned the effectiveness of the church in Namibia with regard to poverty, HIV/AIDS and income inequalities, which beset the country. He said Christians were in a way responsible for the sufferings of some members of the society because they do not know what they are called to do. “We have allowed it to happen and have no influence to turn the situation around,” said Strydom, adding that as people who were called to be the salt and the light of the earth, Christians need to be more effective. He was speaking at a reception hosted in honour of about 20 missionaries from the Disciple Making International (DMI), an evangelistic organisation that visits different countries to preach the ‘Gospel of Jesus’. The CCN General Secretary said poverty was a scandal for the church considering that over 30 percent of Namibia’s population lives below the breadline. Considering that during the first church no one suffered want, Strydom said nowadays Christians need to share the blame for the prevalence of poverty in their communities”. He also touched on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which although treated as a health problem, he said, was a sign of moral decay in society and also of discrimination against women, which has aggravated gender-based violence attached. He said, “If we are called to be the salt of the earth, we have to be effective and bring about change among people.” The DMI team was in the country for the past two weeks to spread the gospel and ensure that people live a life that pleases God. According to DMI Kenya Coordinator Pastor Richard Ogol, who moves to every country where an evangelism mission is carried out, the Namibian government should open its doors to evangelists to preach the gospel to people. Unlike other countries, which are dominated by a strong Christian faith, Namibian people are divided in denominations, which he said made it difficult to unify the Church of God. As a result, Ogol said, even churches were divided along racial or tribal lines. “We need to change the situation where people say they belong to a black, coloured or white church,” he told New Era yesterday at the end of their mission. The mission to Namibia, which visited Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay was led by DMI Executive Director James Nikkel, who represented the founder, Peter Loewen, who managed to lead 5 060 people to the Lord, said Ogol. DMI comprises different denominations, namely Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal churches whose basis of their preaching is salvation. In Namibia, the evangelists worked with different churches whose members jointly went out on door-to-door evangelisms to people in the three towns. Ogol said the mission was successful as Namibians were receptive to the gospel.