Tuesday, 6 October 2009

On the Kenyan church

Through talking with other missionaries and the mature Christians in my own churches in Kenya I've gained a picture of the Kenyan church at large. But more lately I've been able to gain a better understanding by asking the students I teach at theological college about their own churches. When we study some Bible passage I've been asking, "how is this done in your church? What is done rightly, what is done wrongly?" In fact this process has basically confirmed the picture that other third parties were giving me.

Typically, Kenyan churches are plagued by problems coming from the society at large, which is no surprise. Particular problems are:
  • The health, wealth and prosperity heresy
  • Authoritarian and hypocritical leadership, glorification of leaders at the expense of brotherhood
  • Rampant sexual immorality, greed, dishonesty, theft and corruption
  • Biblical illiteracy, with traditions and man-made rules taking the place of knowing and following Scripture
  • Services with very little Biblical content, instead filled with endless repetitive songs and personal testimonies
Biblical, serious and consistent Christianity is very rare indeed. There is a myth in the Western church that Christianity is spreading greatly in places like Kenya, and will be the salvation of world Christianity. This is an idle dream if we're talking about the church here today. Africa is desperate for money, and those bringing Christianity often bring money, and as a result "rice Christianity" is rampant. But as one fellow missionary said to me, he explains to people in the UK that an average well-taught teenager in a serious Christian family in the UK is likely to have more Biblical knowledge than most pastors here in Kenya. What we do have is a wide open door of opportunity and a great God. But there is an immensely long way to go.

1 comment:

Chad C. said...

This is information that I'll be bringing to light, and in which I intend to generate more awareness within my circle of missions supporters and partners. Thank you brother for this post. It reinforces my urgent and earnest pleas to them to take these things (especially the pervasive growth and radical nature of the prosperity gospel) much more seriously!

affectionately in Christ,