A heated television show on Thursday night saw panellists nearly tearing journalist turned preacher, Joseph Kabuleta, apart for licking Prophet Mbonye’s shoes.
Rodgers Atwebembeire, the coordinator of Africa Centre for Apologetics Research (ACFAR), said these new pastors cite the scripture selectively.
“Go back to your Bible and care how you interpret what you read,” Atwebembeire told Kabuleta who was present on “NTV On The Spot” programme.
He said God is the one who heals people and can use anyone to do his work whether in or out of a traditional church.
“Whoever wrote the Bible should appear now and save the world,” he noted, adding, “The word of God isn’t a buffet where you pick out what you want.”
According to Atwebembeire, Jesus Christ also recognised that the poor will always be “among us”, unlike the Mbonye’s who live a flamboyant lifestyle of opulence and make-belief at the cost of poor flock.
“If mama Fina [Uganda’s chief witch] came here and healed someone, should we then follow her?” he asked Kabuleta, a pastor at The Watch Man Ministries.
Atwebembeire noted that miracles are not a test case for who a man of God is. “Christianity is not relative. The Jesus in the Bible is not the same that Ugandans worship.”
Kabuleta too says he has seen Jesus
In his defence, Kabuleta who has been in the news for licking Prophet Mbonye’s shoes, said there is no one God called and didn’t give the power to demonstrate something supernatural.
“The Christianity we had before where men of God were down trodden is the culture of a church that failed to effect change,” he said.
According to Kabuleta, people making decisions bow down to fake spiritual authorities like witchdoctors, why doesn’t anyone make noise about it?
“It’s easy for me to believe because I have been there in the spiritual realm.”
He said humility and poverty are two different things and that Jesus talked about those poor in faith not in terms of wealth.
“The bible doesn’t glorify wealth purity has nothing to do with poverty.”
It was not shocking either when Kabuleta said it is not only Prophet Mbonye who has walked to heaven and physically seen Jesus Christ, the son of God.
“It’s not just Prophet Mbonye that has seen Jesus. I have too. People in the Bible had encounters with God and angels,” Kabuleta was serious.
On licking Mbonye’s feet, Kabuleta said people kiss the Pope’s ring all the time and that such also happened in times of the bible.
“People laid their clothes down for Jesus to ride his donkey on when he entered Jerusalem. What we did was not worship, we were honouring a man of God.”
He went on: “The Bible does say the love for money is the root of all evil, not money itself. The true gospel of Jesus deals with poverty and makes you rich.”
Lawyers Ssenyonga, Karamagi weigh in
City lawyer Simon Ssenyonga stated that people haven’t been called to believe in a God they cannot demonstrate.
To him, religion is a dogmatic belief in a higher being. “Spirituality gives you a transcendental experience.”
He went on: “If Jesus lived in this day, would we still follow him?”
He, however, noted that Jesus came to deal with sin and turning His sacrifice into a means to acquire wealth is wrong.
“Religion locks up people into a dimension of hopelessness. Where will Uganda’s poor widow fit in Mr. Mbonye’s church?”
Lawyer Andrew Karamagi said increasingly, the churches have become the places where it’s easiest for people to lose their faith.
“It does also say that they will be known by their fruits. The Bible does caution us to beware of false prophets who will come to us in sheep’s clothing.”
He said people are seeking God with less rational thinking and that it is possible to be religious and have no faith but “when you can’t have faith and not be religious”.
Karamagi further noted that people are in the church by membership and not in actual practice.
“The problem is we talk a lot about religion in terms of institutions and management and not how people are growing.”
Dr. Julius Twongyeirwe from Uganda Evangelical Missionary Agency said Christianity appears to be under new management. “We need to go back to the scripture.”