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All churches should belong to umbrella Christian bodies, Coast Clergy

The Coast Christian Clergy has called on the government to make it mandatory for all church organisations and leaders to be affiliated to umbrella bodies for the effective regulation of their activities.

While condemning the cultic preaching, behavior and activities of embattled Pastor Paul Mackenzie, the Christian leaders called for thorough investigation against any preacher whose teachings are not in line with the Holy Scriptures, the Constitution of Kenya and existing laws.

The clergy comprising the House of Bishops and Pastors’ Fellowships from the region’s six counties under the auspices of Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK) said they were shocked and greatly saddened by the death of more than 100 innocent people in Shakahola, Malindi.

In a statement read by Bishop Abarijah Kinnogah of the Bibleway Restoration Ministries, the clerics said  Mackenzie’s church was not affiliated to any umbrella organisation hence it was difficult to control and regulate the church’s activities.

“Our proposed way forward is that Paul Makenzie and his likes must be fully and conclusively investigated and appropriate action taken against them. The government, through its relevant agencies, should guarantee the security of every Kenyan 24/7,’’ the statement signed by eleven bishops, two reverends and one pastor said.

They said the government should make it mandatory for every Christian preacher and church organisation to identify with an Umbrella Body, such as National Christian Churches of Kenya (NCCK), Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK), Organisation of Africa Instituted Churches (OAIC), who have guides or codes of conduct.

“Those operating outside a registered umbrella body should be deemed to operate outside the law. It must be understood that Makenzie has been operating alone, not under any umbrella body; he has defied and detested established authority all along,’’ they said.

They noted that the principal mandate of the Church is to work towards the salvation of souls, which demands protection and nourishment of life with utmost fidelity, adding that the sanctity of life is embedded in the Holy Bible and the laws of the land.

Fasting, they said, is a voluntary Biblical discipline whose results should be restoration or strengthening of intimacy with God and that fasting to end life or die, whether under coercion or persuasion, borders on cultism and must be avoided, rebuked, condemned and resisted by all, at all times.

“We therefore, in the strongest terms possible, condemn and rebuke, as we did several years ago, the cultic preaching, behaviour and activities of  Paul Makenzie of Good News International Church, who induced his followers to fast to death,” read the statement.

The clerics conveyed their condolences to those who had lost their loved ones and prayed that GOD would by His grace comfort them and prayed for the rapid recovery and rehabilitation of the rescued victims.

They said they were committed to ensuring and upholding sanity both in doctrine and practice as they partner with state agencies in addressing and curbing unbecoming or cultic tendencies within their jurisdiction as well as without.

The leaders at the same time committed themselves to subjecting themselves to the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity and that they were ready to declare their wealth like any other Kenyan as proposed by Catholic Bishop Anthony Muheria on Wednesday.

The leaders at the same time urged the government and Kenyans not to condemn all churches for the atrocities of Mackenzie, but give a chance to registered Christian Umbrella bodies to self-regulate the church.

They said this in the wake of reports that renowned televangelist Ezekiel Odero had been arrested and his church in Mavueni area of Kilifi County closed down by authorities.

By Emmanuel Masha

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