SDA leaders should own up and seek forgiveness

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 00:00 |
Church. Photo/Courtesy

Asenath Niva

The Bible says that many are called but few are chosen. It further says that only a few will make it through the narrow gate of Heaven. 

Problems facing the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church in Kenya are worrying. Media reports about church leaders taking their disputes to court while others issue threats against their brethren are evidence that the kingdom of God is only for the chosen few. 

As an SDA member, I know that we have clear structures of addressing grievances. Pastors teach that when one is aggrieved, the first step is to speak with the offending person.

If resolving the problem at this level fails, confidants are involved in the dispute. If this also fails, then the aggrieved party can use internal mechanisms to officially launch a case. Court arbitration should be the last resort. 

We can only draw some conclusions, that as things stand, the conflict in the church involves very high stakes that internal mechanisms cannot handle. 

If this is the case, how do we preach unity, peace and restraint to others when in fact we cannot practice the same? 

Media reports have exposed claims of misappropriation of funds and amassing wealth as the underlying reasons for the raging fights among church leaders. That is tragic. The question then is, what brings us to the church?

The clergy should be at the pulpit preaching the word of God and converting souls to Christ, not managing bank accounts and building business empires.

Is it possible for the leaders to own up for their errors? The church’s teaching calls upon us to own up to our mistakes, repent and walk in the path of truth. If the pastors are involved in embezzling funds, it is time they turned back to the Lord and own up their mistakes.

In the SDA church, August is dedicated to camp meetings where pastors and choirs are invited from across the globe to come and minister to churches across the country, even as we strive to bring more people to Christ.

This year’s theme is ‘Saved by the Grace’. I can only hope and pray that as the theme suggests, our efforts will not be in vain.

For now, the book religiously read by most members of the SDA church ‘The Great Controversy’ has hit right back at us.

Our God is forgiving. The temptation of those who have misused the church for personal gain is to antagonise everyone else so they can get away with the wealth they have looted. 

For instance, deregistering some members without due process being followed could be a way of hiding the truth on the cause of the conflict. 

God cannot be happy with the leaders who are corrupting the systems of good governance in our church.  As the fighting continues in the corridors of justice, our hope as SDA members is that the truth must not be sacrificed. We hope our leaders will account for their actions that have led to public acrimony. 

The interests that have generated the hatred between the people of God have to be carefully analysed for the good of the church. 

We do not expect to be healed if hidden motives are not brought out so that lasting peace can be found. — The writer is a communication specialist and Masters student at the University of Nairobi

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