Religion and spirituality play a crucial role in the lives of all human beings. As Africans and Namibians we are not excluded from this. The majority of the Namibian population belong to and practice the Christian faith.
The church as a divine and Godly institution is a body through which Christians in Namibia exercise, express and practice their faith and religion. Our Christian faith is based on Biblical principles, which clearly stipulate how we should behave and conduct ourselves.
If we take into cognizance the headlines that churches and church leaders make in our news and media reports, it warrants serious and urgent consideration. It is, therefore, understandable if the matter of Church governance and affairs is discussed at certain political levels and chambers of our country.
I think the concerns of our politicians and nation in general are genuine and, therefore, the call and need for order, discipline, ethical leadership and good governance in the church fraternity.
As a nation and as the church, we must know that God is sovereign, which means all things are under God’s rule and control and that nothing happens without His direction or permission. God has the liberty to work all things according to the counsel of His own Will. He has the power and the right to govern all things and we, as human beings, must obey and follow suit accordingly.
The governance of our nation and state are based on democratic principles, but the rule and governance of the church is mostly based on theocratic principles, which means the rule and governance of God, according to His divine and sovereign Will.
The government of the church of God flows in and through Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, is the church’s founder, head and maker of its laws and government. The church is the place where God rules. Therefore, the church must be subjected to Him in everything. The church is the government of God.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.’’ (Isaiah 9:6).
As a nation, we know that Namibia is a secular state. We also take note that the supreme law of our country guarantees certain basic fundamental human rights and freedoms, such as freedom of religion and worship, freedom of speech and association, as well as freedom to assemble and gather in a peaceful manner. These rights and freedoms are very important for the church and our nation in general.
We also know that the Church is not a state church, or owned by the state, but that there is a separation between the church and state to a certain extent, because there is a thin line between the two. It is important than both maintain a sound and good relationship for the sake of peace, nation building, good governance, national development and political stability.
If the church and state are one, then that will mean the government has the ability to make decisions on behalf of the church, to dictate, control, prescribe, force and regulate the church. This will prevent true freedom of religion, and would be unconstitutional.
There are challenges, such as the lack of visionary leadership, lack of mutual trust, refusal to submit to leadership, the wrong interpretation and application of the prosperity gospel, self-exaltation, the big-man syndrome, misunderstanding of one’s calling, office or ministry, seeking of positions, self-owning of titles, skills gap and much more.
The mushrooming of churches is also a concern for the ACPCN and we already forwarded our suggestions to the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) and to the relevant state organs to find amicable solutions for the challenges we experience in this regard.
In conclusion, allow me to state that God is the ultimate source of all power, authority and everything that exist. His sovereignty makes Him superior to all other gods, and makes Him above to be worshiped. Let’s obey, follow and honor Him. – LETTER SHORTENED – ED
Rev J.F. Gaweseb
President of the Association of Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches in Namibia (ACPCN).