When will the Christian Church act in Zimbabwe?

The abusive action against Pastor Evan Mawarire by Zimbabwe’s dictatorial regime throws into question yet again the complete failure of the Christian Church to fight the evil that is Mugabe and ZANU PF.

This is not just a Zimbabwean problem but a pan African one. Nowhere in Africa is the Christian Church carrying out a clear Biblical and God-imposed responsibility to fight oppression and poverty. Make no mistake, ZANU PF and other similarly repressive governments throughout Africa are agents of the Devil on earth, directly responsible for a catalogue of abuse, dispossession, torture, rape and murder that makes the Nazis during World War II look like beginners. That makes it the Christian Church’s responsibility to fight them.

It’s not as if the victims of all this oppression are not members of the Church’s own congregation. In the great majority of cases, at least in sub Sahara, they are. In Zimbabwe, 91% of citizens are Christian. Therefore, 91% of the victims of Mugabe and ZANU PF (which is pretty much the whole Zimbabwean citizenry) are Christian. That is a staggering total of 14.7 million people.

Yet the leaders of the Christian Church do nothing beyond empty posturing.

The other Christian leaders do not even rally round in solidarity when one of their own fellow bishops, priests, pastors or ministers stick their necks out and suffer false imprisonment and brutality – just as has happened repeatedly to Pastor Mawarire. That I find impossible to understand. What price the Fellowship when one cannot even support one’s own?

If 91% of Zimbabweans are Christians, then 91% of the tens of thousands of those who have been executed, assassinated or murdered will also be Christian martyrs who fought and died for The Way of Christ. But does the Church remember them? Does the Church actually care? Obviously, not enough to actually do anything about it.

One could even understand – but still not condone – their failure to act if the Christian Church was so small and weak that it didn’t believe it could achieve anything. But the complete opposite is the case. In toto, it is a great deal more powerful than Mugabe and ZANU PF, and in a concerted, united action could easily sweep aside the regime.

“They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” (Titus 1:16) “The man who says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21. cf Luke 13:25).

Everyone who has studied history knows there is only one certain way to remove a dictatorship, and that is not via the ballot box. Dictators take no notice of defeat in elections, as ZANU PF has already proved. The well-proven method to remove a despot is via a mass movement of a nation’s own citizens. Because that is the one thing they cannot stand against.

I know it isn’t a pleasant or popular thing to say because it is much easier for citizens to blame the government or the political opposition for all their ills. But the sad reality is that governments only behave in the way they do because their own citizens let them. Throughout Africa, not just in Zimbabwe, Africans suffer oppression because they let their governments oppress them. And they are still in poverty only because they do not force their governments to do what is necessary to get them out of poverty. Had they done so years ago, they would have escaped both oppression and poverty years ago.

“If we do not stand up for ourselves, other people will stand on us”. And that is exactly what has happened to African citizens ever since the end of colonialism.

But one cannot have a mass movement of citizens unless someone, somewhere takes responsibility for leading them. In Africa, it is the Christian Church which is in the best position to do that.

Everyone also knows the vital part the media play in creating a mass movement of citizens: TV, radio newspapers, periodicals and social media. But in Zimbabwe’s case, there is a far more effective medium which no one appears to have thought of: the pulpit. Where 91% of the population are Christian, the pulpit becomes the most effective and fastest way to mobilise the citizens. There is nothing difficult about this: all the Christian denominations need to do is get together, combine their resources, create a collective plan – none of which should take long – and then promote, mobilise, lead and motivate from the pulpit.

So simple. So easy. So quick. If they cannot do this, one must question their right to be Church leaders.

But, Zimbabweans, don’t wait for your Church leaders to take action. Go to your bishop, priest, pastor or minister, and demand that they go to the heads of their denominations in Zimbabwe, and make them combine to take action.

Do this, and you will motivate the Christian Church throughout Africa to also take action. And if that were to happen, all Africans would be taken out of poverty and into Western-quality lifestyles with extraordinary speed.

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