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Regional News Tue, 6 Jul 2004

Gospel Being Turned Upside Down

The Central Regional Minister, Mr Isaac Edumadze, has expressed dissatisfaction with the way some churches operate in the country.

Speaking at the opening of the Fourth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) at the weekend, Mr Edumadze said that it seemed the gospel had been turned upside down, as people propounded new doctrines that were at variance with the teachings of Christ.

?Today it is common to see some ministers preaching prosperity and comfort gospel that benefit themselves more than their flock,? Mr Edumadze said.

He said that some churches were more money conscious than preaching salvation, although the Bible "tells us not to store up riches for ourselves here on earth".

Mr Edumadze admonished the churches to preach to the people that it was through the purity of thought and the comfort of Jesus Christ and obedience to God?s commandments that ?we can have life in fullness.?

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The regional minister reiterated that the government and the church were partners in development and must work together to provide life in fullness to the people.

He congratulated the current Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Sam Prempeh, for his foresight, zeal, drive and enterprise for the past six years that he had been in office and expressed the hope that the new moderator who would be elected would continue the good work of Dr. Prempeh.

On the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in December this year, he said, the international spotlight would turn to Ghana during the period.

Mr Edumadze stressed that tension was already building up as a result of inflammatory comments by people across the political divide, especially those made on problems and frustrations associated with the photo-taking aspect of the voter registration exercise, as well as some disturbing developments on the media scene.

He admitted that elections everywhere induced tension but said Ghanaians could prevent it from boiling over if they exhibited tolerance from opposing views and refrained from damaging the reputation of others.

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On the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Mr Edumadze said it was sad to observe that Christians and the clergy were both culpable in the spread of the disease.

He urged them as ministers of the gospel to discuss it and preach about it in their congregations, adding that ?if we did not, we may not have any people to form any congregation to be preached to".

He commended the Presbyterian Church for its role in education, health and agricultural sectors of the economy.

Rev. Dr. Prempeh said the wealth of the country had been dissipated on disputes, conflicts and litigation, stressing that these vices had not made the people to enjoy the fullness of life that Christ had given to them.

He expressed concern about indiscipline and chieftaincy disputes which threatened the peace and development of the country and prayed that God would ?keep us from the dominion of greed, conflict, selfishness and grant us the willingness to bear one another?s burden and free this country from evil?.

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The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Rev. Prof. E. A. Obeng, said the church needed to confront the issue of the increasing menace of poverty and thereby help reduce the suffering of the majority of the people.

Prof. Obeng also asked the church to show concern about some of the negative things that had sought to undermine and retard the progress of the society.

Osabarima Kwesi Atta, Omanhen of the Ogua Traditional Area, who chaired the function, urged priests to change with the time to be able to function effectively as shepherds of the people.

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