Saturday, April 5, 2008

Issue - Church role: defending dogma or confronting wickedness?

Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Saturday | January 27, 2007

The island's dubious label of being the murder capital of the world has led me to question the effectiveness and presence of the Church's prophetic voice to the nation. Certainly, biblical understanding of the role of the Government supports the notion that it has a necessary role in law enforcement or 'bearing the sword'. But this cannot absolve the Church of her prophetic responsibility to a nation held hostage by violence.

It is has been my experience as a devout Christian that the organised Church in Jamaica has devoted much time, scholarship and strategy to the defence of denominational dogma and legalism, while the weightier matters of justice and mercy have fallen by the wayside.

Corporate gatherings devote much time to preserving divisive denominational issues of Sabbatarianism, modes of baptism, styles of worship, women's adornment and glossolalia. This long list of pet doctrines undoubtedly have their place, but an earnest witness of true faith must also
include a radical commitment to confront the wickedness that has become commonplace in Jamaica.

It was the understanding that like John the Baptist and Jonah, the Church ultimately stands as God's prophet to the nation, that led Dr. King and the black Church to confront and overthrow institutionalised wickedness in the United States.

If the Church in Jamaica is to be truly relevant and effective, her leaders must be willing to do more than propagate an escapist, divisive, doctrinal nit-picking kind of Christianity that only serves the four walls of the church. Jesus did promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against her.

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