Saturday, August 17, 2013

Is The Cameroon President Right to have Ordered Pentecostal churches closed?




On August 14, 2013, CNN published an article stating that Cameroon lifetime president, Paul Biya had ordered 100 Christian churches in key cities to be closed down, citing criminal practices organized by Pentecostal pastors. It has surprised me to see that the big Pentecostal churches did not come out to denounce the decision of the president. Initially, I thought that he was right, but when I was writing an answer for another question, the Lord told me that he was wrong. Actually, this act will precipitate his fall. The question falls into three angles: Cameroon constitution, international human rights and isagogics. It is a violation of basic human rights and an ungodly act.
How do the practices of the pastors create criminal behavior? Do pastors now have their own criminal code? Shouldn’t they be tried just like every other criminal if they committed a crime? Cameroonians should fear Biya and not the Pentecostal churches. Under him the currency has been devalued at least twice. The parastatals collapsed like a row of dominoes to about 5 despite inheriting 219 upon his ascension. Cameroon is the 5th oil producer of Sub-Sahara Africa producing about 100,000 barrels a day in 1999  and the producer of the best cocoa and Arabic coffee. The economic collapse caused brain drain. The Gross Domestic Product Tax revenue-(GDP) has instead dropped drastically from 25.5 % to 12.5 % due to corruption. As of December 31, 2010, Cameroon owes $3, 344,000000 . The standard of living has fallen lower than even the 60s, and the death rate has skyrocketed due to diseases. 4 out of 10 people live below the poverty line (Transparency international 2007). Under Biya, retirees have not been able to claim their benefits. Consumer debt has skyrocketed.
The government of Biya that ran on the platform of “Rigor and Moralization” has survived on rogue immorlisation under another Machiavellic platform called Operation Sparrow Hawk through which Biya eliminated dissention within and without his own party and amended the constitution to suit his whims and caprices of an eternal monarch in Cameroon. During student protests of 2008, university students were shot with live bullets; some execution style. More than 200 people lost their lives. Unemployment is more than 14% in Cameroon. It was Biya who killed Bibi Ngota and imprisoned Lapiro De Mbanga, Mboa Massock and not the Pentecostal churches.This is Cameroon's report card under Biya.


The move is more about suppressing free speech than security motivated because he realized that the pastors are brazenly speaking out against government and in return is becoming very uncomfortable. Mr. Mbu Anthony Lang, a government official in Bamenda, told CNN that the pastors, “have outstretched their liberty.” This is at variance with the Cameroon Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion and worship.
Those who complain that their relatives have run away from the traditional churches into the Pentecostal churches have themselves to blame for living an empty and dead gospel. How is that the problem of the churches? It even shows that the said individuals do not understand the scripture. They should not be siding with the government; they should side with the Christians.
The fact that one’s marriage went kaput because of some ill advice from a pastor, or just because a pastor has convinced his myrmidons not to seek medical treatment does not necessitate a closure of any church nor should the Pentecostals be held liable. Why did they not close down the Catholic Church after the child abuse by numerous priests and bishops?I guess, every school where a teacher or principal has committed a crime should be closed down. Because some doctors have molested their patients, the government should shut  down the hospitals. What about closing down the law chambers since many lawyers have swindled from their clients? That is a noble idea!
Boniface Tum, a bishop of the Christian Church of God in Yaounde, said that Biya, who has been president since 1982, is becoming insecure about the freedom of speech within these churches. It is clear that it is not for the security of the people; it is a repression of free speech.
The Pentecostals are a religious minorities who are being denied the right to assemble with other community members of their group to profess and practice their own religion. It is the responsibility of the Biya government to protect the existence of the different religions in other to promote individual identities. Thus, these current legislatures and all the measures undertaken by the government to close down churches, violate the religious rights of the Pentecostal Christians. The nonmembers just have to respect the rights of those practicing the religion in order to grant full equality to every other worshiper of whatever religion.
Seeing that the government of Ahidjo and Biya has failed to ensure the religious and moral education of the children in conformity with their own convictions, the Pentecostal become the substitute reformers. The Pentecostal Christians have the right to organize their family life according to their belief. Those who disagree with them, should not attend, but the government has no right to close down their churches and hunt down their members.
Paul Biya in closing down the Pentecostal churches creates a copyright on Christianity; a practice that Jesus himself had denied his disciples. (Lk 9:50; Mk 9:37-40; Mk 9:38-41; Luke 11:23). Those who were preaching on the other side were not their enemies, rather the exorcists. Although those who were on the other side were operating differently from the disciples, but at least they believed in Christ, were casting out demons in the name of Jesus and liberating the people; a cause for which Christ came. Thus, they were fighting the same good fight of faith. Looking at those verses, the Pentecostals, Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians and Lutherans should not muzzle their mouths because sooner or later Rev. Martin Niemoeller’s words will come true:

They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. And then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.

If Biya himself was a Bible reading Christian, he would have taken the sage counsel of Gamaliel:
Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5: 38-39).
It is preposterous for Biya to pretend that he is practicing the word of God because although the Bible requires false prophets to be killed (Ex 22:20: I kings 18:40), these are not all false prophets. If they are con artists, they should be charged for con artistry but if they are merely the wrong prophet or heretic, there is no such prescription as banning the church. Listen to this:
States shall prohibit by law any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” (ICCPR, Art. 20).” Isn’t this the total opposite of the Biya’s regime?
It is a total violation of Articles 2 and 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Biya’s act defies the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). Thus, I call upon U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and the UN Commission for Human Rights to take into consideration the rights of the Pentecostal Christians. His act is borderline persecution, so I appeal to Pentecostal Christians everywhere to resist even with their lives. Whether you are a Pentecostal Christian or not; it is a violation of their religious rights, and in the 21st Century, such an abuse should not go unpunished.

Until then, Biya cannot kick against the pricks.

St Arrey of Ntenako.  



“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

Must We Know The Scripture To Follow Christ?




Someone wrote this on Facebook, "Christians don't even know Scripture, let alone follow Scripture. So it’s not possible that they could follow Christ.” I saw that they had many likes and I thought I should cross-examine his thought and those who agree with him. There are three things to consider in this statement: knowing scripture, following scripture and following Christ. The speaker argues that to follow Christ, one must know scripture. All of these actions are actions en media res because one must first be saved. Can someone follow Christ from a distance like Nicodemus and Simon did, or can they follow him closely like Peter and the other 11 disciples did? How would we know if they are following him? Do people follow Christ differently? Therefore, we will also look at how we should follow scripture and finally what it really means to follow Christ.
When Jesus healed the blind man who was panhandling at the pool of Siloam, the man did not even know him, talk less of believing in him (John 9:36). It is in direct variance with the doctrine that one must believe in Christ to obtain anything from God. When people asked him who healed him, he said, “A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.) (Jn 9: 11). “We know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” He is saying here that God does not listen to sinners to create a miracle. It does not mean that there are no false signs and wonders.  Was the man doing God’s will already? Why does God allow the sun to rise on both the just and unjust and the rain to fall on both the wicked and the righteous (Mt 5:45; 2 Tim 2:13)?  Job (Job 27:9; Job 35:13), David (Ps. 109:7; 66:18, 19), Solomon (Prov. 15:29) and Isaiah (Is. 1:15) all had the same worries, and I am pretty sure that many here do too. Knowing the word of God brings knowledge of the Lord and his delight will give the desires of one’s heart.
When Philip met the Ethiopian eunuch, he was reading, but he did not understand. He told Philip that he could only understand if someone explained it to him (Acts 8:31; Rom. 10:14-17). Many people have been hearing about Christ, but their spiritual eyes were still blind. They can only be opened by the word. The preaching of the gospel is for both those who are afar off and those who are near (Eph 2:17). People have to be taught about Christ because in Him alone resides the truth of salvation (Eph 4:21). The word of truth brings hope (Col 1:5). This is manifested through the preaching of the word (Titus 1:3). The cross is the only medium to follow Christ and the word is the only place revealing the secrets of the cross.  
When peter and Andrew saw Jesus, they left their nets and followed him (Mt 4:20-22). They did not have much to leave behind but that which was their most precious possession, they left behind so that nothing would hinder them from following him. When Matthew heard Christ ask him to follow Him, he immediately got up and followed him (Mt 9: 9). The answer to follow Christ should be immediate because no one knows tomorrow. It should be noted that the disciples forsook everything: family, possessions and pride of life to follow Christ in exchange for earthly and heavenly blessings (Mt 19:27). In the above passages, we are exposed to the sacrifice of those who want to follow Christ. Christ reiterated that the gain was more celestial than terrestrial (Mt 19:28-29).
 By refusing the disciple from staying to bury his living father and even the other from returning to bid farewell to his family (Mt 8:21-22; Lk 9:59-62), Jesus taught that heavenly calling supersedes any earthly business and the disciple’s love for him should be above that of the family. This was no different from the traditions that existed when people were called to follow God before the advent of Jesus Christ. When Elisha saw Elijah passing, and Elijah called him, he returned home and made his last sacrifice before coming to follow Elijah (1 Kings 19:20). On the contrary, Christ refused the young man from going to bury his father. It is not that his father was dead yet; the young man was making excuses and Christ saw through his heart. His father was an old man, and he did not know when he will die. To say that you want to postpone the gospel and wait until he dies before you follow Christ was putting away the opportunity to follow Christ and spreading the gospel.
It would seem that Christ was teaching people to hate their families especially when he said that, “If any man comes to me, and hates not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (Lk 14:26).” The word hate there simply means to love less. If the first great commandment that Jesus gave people was to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Lk 22:37),” then it was certain that no one will have more love for their family than for the Lord.
To follow Christ, one must leave the things that are behind and look towards those that are in front (Phili 3:13). The Lord Jesus establishes that in the absence of the cross, there will be no crown (Lk 9:23). The word is what imprints it in our hearts.
Christ established from the onset that to follow him, the disciple must forget the earthly comfort for the sufferings that are associated with following him. To live a holy life is very difficult; that is a cross on its own. To please God, is a cross we must carry daily. The opposite of the cross is the world, and the world is guided by lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1Jn.2:15-16). The presence of the world in any disciple is the absence of love for the Father in the person.
When anyone hears the gospel of Christ and believes in it, they are included in Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit as a property of God (Eph 1:13). The belief in Christ wins a crown of life (James 1:12; 2 Tim 1:1). That is why them who believe in Christ will live even if they die. The new nature born in any individual comes by them hearing the word of truth (James 1:18).  Because they are words of truth that germinate belief in Christ, one must guard their words. The word of God becomes the tree that germinates truth in the believer’s soul. It becomes the belt of truth girding out salvation onto our souls.
The Bible adjures Christians to meditate on the word day in and night. Instead, they are running behind the eastern religion of Yoga for meditation. In keeping the word of God in the heart, the believer has the ability to act upon it; wherein a prosperous way and good success are carved out (Deut. 6:6-9; Jos 1; Ps. 1:2). The importance of meditating upon the word is that we refresh our memories with it and thus empower ourselves to act upon its content. You have Christians who cannot recite a single verse properly, but they can sing an entire record. By not meditating on the word, we create our own rules or operate on false ones. Sin will drive away the word of God from our hearts or the word of God will drive away sin from our hearts (Deut. 11:18; Ps 119:11).  It is then at that time that we can reproduce it for doctrine, reproof, correction and for instruction in righteousness so that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim 3:16-17). It is clear that without knowing the word, we will become very unfit followers of Christ.

Until then, let us learn the scripture more so that we can follow Christ better.

St Arrey of Ntenako.





“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

“Is it Ever OK to Read Your Boyfriend’s Texts or Emails?”




“Is it Ever OK to Read Your Boyfriend’s Texts or Emails?”

I took this question from an article written by Marie Claire on yahoo on 08/14/2013.  There were 5 comments when I read the article, and all were unanimous that spouses should not read each other’s emails, texts or Facebook messages except authorized. Where do they meet? We have heard how couples now tract each other via wiretapping, eavesdropping, GPS, phone sleuthing, recording devices, and baby monitors. Some people check the mileage while others just log into the spouse’s email or check the phone log to see the calls and read the text messages or emails. With social media now, others dive into the Facebook. Some couples go as far as installing spyware and keyloggers on the spouse’s Pc. Through these methods and others, husbands have caught a cheating wife or a wife has caught a cheating husband. The question is not if these things exist; the question is if they are correct. Should they have done that all? Do spouses have boundaries? This lesson will look at the legal and also biblical boundaries, if they exist at all.  
What I read there spelled out the notion people have about marriage. There is a conflict between the concept of marriage and the local law. To determine if the spouse secretly checking his wife or husband’s messages is eavesdropping, we will have to reconcile the nature of marriage with the civil law.  
The Federal Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 USC 2516 prohibit wiretapping and eavesdropping. However, Federal Law enforcement officials can obtain a court order with a probable cause to wiretap or eavesdrop on our communications. These are the things that Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden have informed the public that their government is doing. What about at the private level or in a marital home? Can a husband eavesdrop on the wife? Is that biblically and legally permitted? The answer is yes and no. I will explain.
How can we draw a line between biblical principle and civil law (eavesdropping)? Eavesdrop is to listen to someone’s conversation or read someone’s emails or text messages without their knowledge and permission. The first case of eavesdropping in the Bible is found in Genesis 18:9-15. When the angels visited Abraham and Sarah, they inquired to know her whereabouts. Abraham told them that Sarah was outside. However, Sarah had sneaked closer to the house to eavesdrop on the conversation of the guests. When she heard them telling the husband that she will be pregnant, she laughed and the guest overheard her (Gen 18:9-15). She was listening to a conversation she was not invited to partake.
Let us look at what the Bible says about eavesdropping. The word eavesdrop does not exist in the Bible, but there is a synonym to eavesdropping in usage- busybodies (2 Thes. 3:11; I Tim 5:13; I Pet 4:15). It is used to describe people who want to know about other people’s business-privacy. 
Ab initio when God instituted marriage, he made a covenant, a blood bond sexually administered. God said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen 2:24). While single, they had independent rights, cares, concerns and privileges but when they decide to enter into marriage, they lose all of them. They will have to come together to produce posterity as one person. Jesus reiterated the principle of leaving one’s parents which simply means to wholly give up (Mt. 19:5-6). What were the bride and bridegroom wholly giving up? They were giving up the rights and privileges of hiding their emails, texts and phone records from each other.
God, Jesus, Peter and Paul created an equal pedestal in marriage through mutual trust and obedience (Gen. 1:27: I Pet 3: 6; Mt 19:4-6; Mk 10:6-8; Eph 5:21-33; Gal 3:28; 2:1-14; Heb. 13:4; Prov. 5:15-19; 18:22; 1 Cor. 7:2-3, 7-9; 12-16). The Bible goes as far as saying that their bodies do not belong to them; they must not deprive sex from each other except via consent (I Cor 7: 4-5). If we are to give our bodies and not hold back, what then should we hold back: text messages, emails, or phone calls? That is the main reason marriages go kaput. These passages eliminate the notion that the wife or husband has a privacy of her or his own while in marriage.
In other to show that they are one and to generate more trust and love, they must be transparent in a society where there are laws meant to destroy the bond within marriage. The couple must strive to be transparent. If the wife or husband has communications he or she does not want the spouse to see, it means there is something to hide. If you are shining light, you shine in darkness (Jn 12:46). 
Transparency started just immediately after the institution of marriage. The couple Adam and Eve were both naked before each other and were not ashamed (Gen 2:25). When a spouse starts hiding anything, it simply means that there is something they are ashamed off.  Jesus himself was very transparent (Mk 12:14). His disciples knew that he was true; that he was what he said he was. If your spouse cannot read or listen to your conversations, it simply means you are not what you say you are.
However, the Bible warns against too much transparency (Prov. 10:19; 12:18). Too much transparency may risk the joy of your marriage. Let us say that your friend tells you that her husband is cheating and you decide to tell your husband because he must know everything you do. He might spill the secret and your friend will lose trust in you. Things that have no direct bearings on the relationship, should not be brought into the marriage. If you constantly tell your wife how many women want to sleep with you, the message could ring differently. Even if women woo you, it is useless telling her because it does not increase the bond.
Therefore, eavesdropping is a sin whether we are married or not because it is transgression of the law, but it is a sin that does not lead unto death because morally before God neither the husband nor the wife is guilty of eavesdropping since they belong to each other. However, we can bypass that by being transparent with each other and by mutual consent allow each other to enter into our privacy. That will increase the bond of marriage and curb unforeseeable or foreseeable dangers.
Until then, let us garnish privacy with transparency for a trustworthy relationship.

St Arrey of Ntenako





“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

“Do Americans understand what adultery is? What is Adultery? I was wondering if adultery is the same everywhere.”

From the movie: Adulterers.  “Do Americans understand what adultery is? What is Adultery? I was wondering if adultery is the same ev...