The Council of World Bishops and International Council for Clergy have expressed qualms about invectives hurled at former President Jerry Rawlings by Founder of the International God’s Way Church, Bishop Daniel Obinim.
Mr Rawlings, in November this year, accused Obinim and Prophet Nicholas Osei, popularly known as ‘Kumchacha’, of misusing the name of God and exploiting the ignorance of their followers.
According to the former Military leader, some of the claims often made by Obinim and Kumchacha on TV are not real.
He, therefore, asked managers of TV stations and the media to stop giving airtime to Kumchacha, Founder and Leader of the Heaven’s Gate Ministries; and Obinim, Founder of the International Gods Way Church, to deceive the public.
Addressing a durbar on Saturday to crown the 2014 Amu (brown rice) Festival of the chiefs and people of the Avatime Traditional Area at Avatime Gbadzeme in the Volta Region, Rawlings advised TV stations to rather dedicate the time they give to the two men, to promoting Ghana’s rich culture, traditions and festivals.
“Many too often as we watch our TVs, I don’t think we are putting enough efforts into showcasing some of these cultural traditional festivals – the activities that are going on around the countryside – and yet so much time is spent giving airtime, precious airtime to people like these two prophets I’ve been talking about of late: the one in Tema, called Obinim and the other one called Kumchacha,” he bemoaned.
“…They are so brave in the kind of things they purport, the kind of things they do. Ladies and gentlemen, when people watch things like this, knowing very well that they are not achieving what they claim they are doing, we end up perpetuating the ignorance and the grip of these people on the ignorance of our people,” Rawlings said.
He added: “The misuse of God’s name is the worst form kind of corruption that we can talk about…and we are paying the serious price for it, and we will continue to do so till we wake to the reality of what is scientifically possible, plausible and doable.”
Obinim, subsequently replied the President saying: “You Rawlings, all the nonsense you spoke about me is captured on a video on my phone. Your own people called me to tell what you said about me and advised that I shouldn’t mind you. Because of the respect I have for you, I didn’t say anything. I respect you and all my pastors respect you so respect yourself as a former President.
“You are old and so you should be using all the knowledge and sense you have acquired over the years to help govern the nation, but don’t sit on air and talk about me. This should be the last time you talk about me.
Don’t mention my name in any conversation again, otherwise Jesus Christ, who called me to do his work will deal with you.”
The Council of World Bishops and International Council for Clergy, in a statement, issued by Archbishop Dr. George Slezer Ofori-Atta, Presiding Archbishop, said: “As a minister of God, one is obliged, enjoined and commanded by the Bible: ‘To let our words be seasoned with salt’. The Bible also strikes a fine balance between the aged and the minister of God saying: ‘Rebuke not an elder publicly’.
“Furthermore, our culture as Ghanaians frowns on rebuking and insulting an elder,” the statement said.
“We therefore call on Bishop Daniel Obinim to humbly and sincerely render an unqualified apology to former President Rawlings publicly, fulfilling scriptural mandate thus: ‘If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men’.”
The Council also questioned the propriety of Obinim’s recent pregnancy exorcism, in which a video captures him stomping on a pregnant woman’s belly to deliver her of evil spirits.
“Was he instructed by God to undertake this work in this manner publicly?” The statement asked.
“The Council of World Bishops and International Council for Clergy do hereby condemn this mode of deliverance ministration in no uncertain terms.”
The statement asked ministers of God to attach professionalism to their work since they are carriers of good things “and if vulgar words emanate from us and particularly when on the pulpit, we desecrate our holy, heavenly and high calling; and thereby bring unnecessary reproach on ourselves”.
“May we, therefore, attend to our work professionally, embodying the ethics of the ministry.
It said another mind-boggling fad is the act of the clergy taking consulting fees before attending to members in counselling sessions.
“All these attitudes being exemplified by some ministers of the gospel are casting a snare on the image of the clergy, particularly outside the country.
“How can anyone giving pastoral care to his or her flock take money as consulting fee and term it as ‘sacrifice’.
“This is extortion and let pastors who are involved in this act abandon it,” the statement said.