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Is church becoming irrelevant?

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Steven Barabas once said: “The Church should be an army on the march; instead, it is a hospital full of wounded soldiers.”

Today, the church in Malawi is slowly losing credibility and confidence to intervene in critical social and political matters that significantly affect the populace.

The church has sadly become a toothless entity in the unfolding drama of our daily world.

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Unlike in the past when the voice of the church was revered, the church today has become a toothless body of limping soldiers with very little impact and respect left in the eyes of the unbelieving world.

When some members of the clergy openly take sides on the political platform, who can believe the church?

When denominations tussle over petty doctrines and members of the clergy stab each other in the back, who can trust the church?

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When ministers of the gospel engage themselves in double standards, who can still entrust the church to be the beacon of our moral integrity?

The church is supposed to be a voice of the voiceless, a fountain of comfort to those who are hurt, a stream of wisdom to the confused world and a source of direction to our kingdoms and political leadership.

The church, according to Myron Augsburger, is not a static institution.

“It is men and women who flesh out in daily life the meaning of faith, the reality of the risen Christ.”

Take a look at our Parliament.

The majority of our members of Parliament (MPs) are registered members in our churches all over the country.

Some of them are deacons, elders, members of the women’s guild and several other leadership positions.

But would the tone and maturity of discussions in our Parliament validate the fact that most members in this august House are Christians?

The air in the Malawian Parliament is polluted with a tremendous stench of immaturity and mediocrity.

Insults, course jokes and sarcasm are the spice of vocabulary in our MPs’ mouth.

Sometimes I wonder if our MPs take part-time classes in foul language at some of these dubious colleges in our cities.

And come Saturday or Sunday, it is the same MPs on the church leadership benches!

It is unfortunate when our churches give high positions of church leadership to politicians whose tongues are a disgrace to the principles of our faith.

The church should start at an individual level, taking political leaders to task for their foul language. Politics should not be an excuse to use profanity.

It is high time the church redeemed its role as a peace-maker in our society. It is high time our clergy redeemed their moral standards and set high personal moral examples for our political leaders to follow.

When our church leaders become good examples in our society, it becomes easy to entrust them with mediation during conflict.

The clergy should also try not be partisan. Political biases can be a ground for losing credentials in mediating between political parties when conflicts arise.

I dream of a day when our political leaders will opt for church leaders to sort out their conflict other than resort to kindergarten fights on national radio and television.

The church in its current state cannot mediate in our political impasse.

Unlike in the past, most church leaders have openly taken political sides, compromising their objectivity.

But not all hope is lost.

A day is coming when God will raise his remnants. A number of people in the church remain undiluted, uncompromised and committed to biblical principles of life regardless of their political affiliation.

At God’s appointed time, these remnants will rise and take their rightful role. It is a matter of time.

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