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Prof Larbi Stresses The Church’s Mandate in Africa

Prof. E. Kingsley Larbi, President/CEO of Regent University College of Science and Technology, has urged the Christian church to constantly remind itself of its mandate to be productive and responsible, and to take charge in whatever context it sees itself as its public role in contemporary Ghana and Africa.

He said the Christian theological discourse must address the difficult issue of nominalism within her fold, adding that unless the Church is made up of strong, responsible Christians, numerical growth alone will not enable it to fulfil its full mandate. 

Prof. Kingsley Larbi was speaking on the topic ‘The Christian Theological Discourse: A Tool for National Development,’ on Sunday, November 6, 2011 as guest speaker on the  occasion of the first anniversary of ‘Christianity Today,’ a current affairs programme on TV3, which came off at the Royal House Chapel, Abossey Okai, Accra.

The President, who has never hidden his dismay at the dismal conditions of fellow Africans, noted that the Christian discourse must insist on responsible, ethical, and visionary leadership; the equitable distribution of the wealth of the country; accountability from leaders and proof from all seeking leadership that they really have something to offer.

He stated that “now that a lot of things are done in the name of the Church, and the church at large is blamed for it, the church must work for a legislation that will bring some controls in the establishment and operation of churches.”

Prof. Kingsley Larbi stressed that because of lack of proper controls, an armed robber could decide to establish a church tomorrow, and all that he would need is a certificate of registration and another of commencement of business, and he will be in business within days.

Elaborating that anyone at all can establish a church today, and call himself a bishop or a Rev. Dr. tomorrow, because of lack of proper controls, he opined that it would be in the interest of the true church in Ghana to work with the government to bring in some controls, as it is found in other countries, to protect the image of the Christian Church and the true servants of Christ. 

He affirmed that “It is when the church carries a moral authority that its discourse could serve as a tool for development.”

Placing the church in Africa in the global context, the founder of two private universities in Ghana observed that almost two decades ago, Prof. Andrew Walls, one of the foremost church historians in the world, had observed that the centre of gravity of Christianity had shifted from the western world to the non-western world, particularly, Africa.

He touched on the degrading socio-political environment in which the church operates in sub-Saharan Africa, emphasising that the Christian discourse is not complete, unless the church is able to relate God’s word to God’s world.

He went on: “The Christian discourse needs to contend with the problem of corruption, ineptitude in high places and poor exploitation and management of our resources. It must speak to the non-delivery or poor delivery of social services. The discourse must speak to structures and institutions. In Ghana, most of the structures required for effective governance do not work effectively and efficiently. Our police men and women are ill-equipped, so the enforcement of law and order becomes very difficult. No wonder, in an effort to arrest a recalcitrant drivers, some policemen are forced to jump and lie on top of the bonnet of a moving vehicle!

“In our context, utility services like water, electricity, and sanitation are sometimes non-existent, poorly managed, or disproportionately distributed. It is very common to see traffic lights not functioning for weeks at very important intersections.

“In our context, a lot of things are done inefficiently. Broken down vehicles could be abandoned in the middle of major roads, sometimes for days and weeks. In our context, we have very little concern for maintenance. For example the street lights on the beautiful Ayi-Mensah-Peduase-Aburi Road, if I am not mistaken, have not been functioning for over a year now. The amazing thing is that nobody is telling us why this is the case. The Christian discourse must address the issue of poor planning habits. We wait until there is a problem before we begin to look for solutions.”  (Read text)