The church in Uganda is at odds than ever before; what used to be a beacon of hope for many has become a stumbling stone, albeit in very spiritually devastating ways.
This was epitomized in a declaration that King James version Bible version should be banned and burnt because it refers to the “Holy Spirit” as the “Holy Ghost”. This is a view held by Pastor Aloysius Bugingo of House of Prayer Church and finally put in action by shunning the Word of God setting ablaze the Holy Book.
Nothing can be so far from the truth than such a mindset and action. We note that neither “Holy Ghost” or “Holy Spirit” is Pastor Bugingo’s language origination, and thus assess this as a harsh indictment on the body of Christ in Uganda.
We in the Proclamation Task – an entity that is committed to the spiritual health of the church through training those who shepherd God’s flock – find this incident heinous, and an evangelical malpractice. Our God remains sovereign, and as such, this rises as both a curse and blessing to Christendom in our land.
A curse because nothing can be more revealing about the state of our inadequate, or total lack of theological training among the spiritual leaders of the Ugandan church. And a blessing because it presents an opportunity for believers to rethink their stance in light of authentic path to biblical knowledge and Christian faithfulness.
It is unfortunate, and a clear ploy of our adversary – the devil, that those who lead thousands can still fall prey to such faulty, even boldly-heretic declarations, while at the same time claiming to provide guidance to many Ugandans who sincerely seek life’s meaning, purpose and fulfillment in God.
We strongly condemn such a spiritual malpractice and denounce it as step far away from true and biblical evangelicalism. We pray and hope that Pastor Bugingo and other like-minded pastors who nurtured him will retract and re-examine their position on all issues that pertain to spiritual leadership and the protection of those that God has entrusted to them. After all, Christian living ultimately depends on proper interpretation of the Bible text, not burning.
We sadly note the rampant loss of spiritual accountability and the absence of the necessary ecclesiastical structures that could align such a man of God in answerable ways, to hold him responsible. It is the challenge we will continue to face among individualized, personalized and thoughtlessly internationalized ministries that singularly “belong to a person” rather than to the entire church.
Christian doctrine is shared, embraced and and lived in a community of faith; it is not just an individual’s preference that can be shifted at convenience. That is why there is “church tradition.”
It should worry all Christians that no one ever found fault with this 406-year old King James version until Pastor Bugingo came on the Christian leadership scene.
For God and our country.
Dr Julius Twongyeirwe.
Proclamation Task Uganda