Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Dr. Martin Ssempa
Allan Tacca’s article reminds me of my neighbor who carefully dumps his sewage into the public rainwater drainage whenever it rains. Unfortunately the smell of sewage is greatly odious and his trick has been figured out to his embarrassment. You just cant dump your you know what into the rain trenches. The local council has busted him and made sure he builds himself a personal sewer. No more free dumping in our rain gutters.
Allan Tacca in his article, “I say all Pentecostal pastors are frauds” in monitor of July 22 2007, uses the current rain storm against a few clearly identified fraudulent pastors, to “dump” his bias and hostility to God and religion squarely at my feet. He makes sweeping un-researched statements, which essentially tarnish my image ending with a charge of being “fraudulent” and a profiteer for leading a prayer meeting of university students.
Of course Allan is entitled to his opinion. He has right to be an Atheist as he has claimed in earlier writings, but he cannot use the platform of a newspaper which is owned by a major religious leader of Islam to insult all of us who look back to Abraham as our father, (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). He claims that we are ignorant, faddish and superstitious for believing that there is God (Allah) who has a divine agenda with a calendar dedicated to human affairs! I am surprised that this would actually be allowed to run in a paper owned by His highness the Agha Khan, who is a leader of millions of Muslims worldwide. Don’t Muslims break the Ramadan fast due to the movement of the calendar of the moon? Aren’t there special days of prayer such as Juma on Friday, Sabbath on Saturday and Resurrection worship on Sundays for Christians? Doesn’t God bless and hallow the seventh day of creation in Genesis 2? What is so fraudulent with holding prayers on the days of 7.7.07?
Allan Tacca creates the impression that the meeting was a time of material sowing and pastoral profiteering. We have never held a meeting for the purpose of pastoral profit making. In fact Allan should know that it is a contradiction to have a meeting of undergraduates with the aim of making money. A simple common sense will tell you that college students are not exactly the population to target when you are looking for money. In fact for the last 7 years we have held a meeting called primetime, which brings in thousands of college students but we have never held a financial collection. It is odious for Allan to allege that the reason we do meetings for college age students is to make money. Allan will be a better writer if he can actually do his homework on the stories he is writing about.
Allan alleges that I manipulate our followers with “weird” bizarre performances and 120-decibel psychedelic sounds, which affect the brain activities of the people who come to our meetings. It sounds like we are running some kind of communist brain washing camp. We don’t have weird performances and neither does our sound go to 120 decibels. These are grotesque distortions of the reality, which Allan makes to win Monitors readers away from faith in God. Allan is not only misinformed, he is prejudiced against the existence of God.
Allan in his atheistic fanaticism calls being born again “grotesque paganism!” This is not complaint about alleged criminal activity of the likes of Obiri Yebua and Kitaka. It is an all out attack of bias, hostility and religious intolerance by a columnist who happens to write for one of the world’s most influential religious leaders! This is an insult on people of faith everywhere. Allan’s atheism rejects the possibility of God and prayer. Consequently he wants me to renounce the fact that anyone can intercede in prayer on behalf of others to “God”. Well too bad, Allan’s Atheism does neither diminish not remove the reality of Gods existence. In fact the bible calls him a “fool” who says that there is no God.
Allan ends his articles by insulting all Ugandan parents and teachers who teach their children the fear of God. These, which are more than 96 per cent of the population, are called illiterate, dangerous mind controllers who “parrot religious hogwash”. Of course Allan is entitled to his opinion as an atheist, but he is entering into hostile waters when he begins to insult as all those who have a faith in God. Is Allan aware that he is writing for the Agha Khan’s paper?
I don’t deny that there re few pastors who have given us evidence to think that there may be frauds and criminal activity. These must therefore be fully investigated, prosecuted and face the arm of the law. Every profession has a few ghost soldiers, ghost teacher and even ghost members of PGB. Even in the Born again, there are few ghost pastors who are fraudulent. This does not mean that all Pastors are therefore fraud. In fact, faith and prayer to God is not a fraud rather the very primary universal conclusion of any humble man and woman who has looked at creation and realized there is creator called God. Having conversation with God is called prayer, and is not a strange idea.
Maybe next time Allan wants to pour out his rant against God, he should not be cowardly like my neighbor who waits for the rain to illegally release his sewage in the public rain trenches. If Allan has a problem with God or Allah, let him just write an article with boldness called “God or Allah is a fraud”.
Friday, August 3, 2007
I wonder why no one has failed to correlate the emergency of violent strikes in schools and the abolition of corporal punishments. The Ministry of Education and sports abolished corporal punishments in schools on June 16th 1997. This decision was not preceded by a scientific study rather it was due to biased and well-funded efforts of the anti-God, Atheistic, pro-homosexual organization called the International humanist and Ethical Union. A simple google search will show them bragging of how they succeeded in duping Uganda to ban any form of discipline which inflicted pain from our Schools.
From several conversations I have had with ministry of Education starting with Fagil Mandy, and Ministers of education, I have never received a well-founded reason for the disempowerment of the teachers by removing of discipline and punishment in cases of violations of school guidelines and rules. Many of us who were punished in school by caning were taught discipline instilled through reasonable fear of pain. In its absence, we have now reached a place where students don’t care about the words of teachers, and are very violent to an extent that the police now have to settle these cases.
This trend of violent education environment is common in countries where corporal punishment is removed. Case in point is the many public schools in United States where teachers are even afraid for their safety from out of control students! No amount of psychologists, counseling and Ritalin has been able to control this.
The big publicity of abuses of corporal punishment was used to dupe the educationalist. No study was done on the negative effects of removing this discipline, which was useful in ensuring compliance to the school guidelines. When the director of education Dr. John Mbabazi on August 7, 2006, directed schools to review their respective rules and introduce "more professional and acceptable sanctions to replace manual labor and caning" he did not really empower teachers with another effective method to deal with discipline in schools. So teachers are now simply dogs, which bark but cannot bite. Students now routinely callously break the rules; smoke in teachers faces knowing that teachers cannot really do anything about it.
These guidelines have also created a climate of fear to the teachers. Mbabazi warned teachers "Where these guidelines are ignored, the culprits (teachers) will be held criminally responsible for their actions. They will have to face the laws including the teacher's Code of Conduct. Since then several teachers have been arrested and are now in jail for daring to instill discipline in the students. No wonder now that we are having these violent strikes.
In Botswana they had banned corporal punishments for several years but had to legally re-introduce it back in schools after realizing that its removal resulted in very costly and dangerous violence in schools. In January 2004 Gojwane residents in the central district welcomed the reintroduction of corporal punishment in schools to curb outward behavior. Instead of altogether throwing out the baby with the birth water, Botswana ministry of education issued guidelines to ensure that caning does not result in abuse. "Caning should be 'moderate and reasonable and shall be administered only on the palm of the hand or across the buttocks with a light cane not more than a meter long and at the thickest end, not more than a centimeter in diameter."
In addition to remove sexually motivated caning, they said, "No male teacher except the school head shall inflict corporal punishment upon a female student. The punishment were to be recorded in a register and every entry in the register shall be signed by the person who administered it and the person who witnessed it." Botswana's policy makers gave guidelines ensuring that caning is not excessive or abused to the extent of impinging on the dignity of the child.
No wonder the schools that have caning in Uganda have always done better both academically and in terms of discipline than those without caning. Instead of wondering if we need more communication, or putting children in decision-making places, a good place to start is for policy makers in the ministry of education to institute a rigorous and scientific study in the relationship between the removal of caning in schools and the sudden rise in school violence in the same time. Perhaps we may have to swallow our pride and say that we were mistaken by the questionable intentions of the human ethicists and go back to what we know works in Africa. "It takes a village to raise a child".
Dr. Martin Ssempa.
The write is a doctor of public health and service. He is a pastor, broadcaster and mentor of young people
Thursday, August 2, 2007
777, that is the 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th month of this millennium is a very significant and unusual of our calendars. Though many went through it without noticing its great importance, the discerning noticed the beginning of a new season, a super season. Christians understand that 7 is God’s number of perfection, completion and rest. 777 was a prophetic day with prophetic significance symbolizing the season of 7 we live in.
Makerere Community Church under the leadership of P r. Dr. Martin Ssempa pursued the prophetic revelation of the day, because they sensed something powerful surrounding its destiny. Dr. Ssempa, though with a Baptist background, God has done a great work in him and the church to appreciate the prophetic. “We now have prophetic dancers, make room for prophetic dreams, visions and revelations which are tested by our elders before they are given prominence. There is more than I can explain.” Dr. Ssempa said.
Prior to the day, a 40-day prayer fast was declared as a period of preparation of the bride. This had never been done before but it had to be done. “We had never done a fast this long.” Dr. Ssempa said. “It really wore on my members who are mostly college students.” “These guys gave of themselves even during their exams with daily lunchtime prayer meetings, and weekly overnight meeting.” He added. Many had special overnight prayer meetings all the week and there was such momentum. The church members prayed and wept for the sin in the church. There was confession for the church and the nations preceding the day. “In the last 21 days we got more confirmation that the rainbow was Gods symbol of seven for the season.” Dr. Ssempa said.
According to Dr. Steven Ogan in his book "The prophetic significance of the year 2007" the rainbow serves as a sign for the end of one season and the beginning of another one. Therefore as the church prayed, Ten days to 777 they were led to ask God for a sign, as promised in Acts; "I will show wonders in the heavens" to confirm the prayers with a visible show of His power and wonders in the heavens.
In this same season there was a visiting team of 25 American youth who were not used to the African kind of prayer loud and passionate.
In the midst of these prayers, God started to show his wonders, but it was just the beginning, a rainbow showed up “a most beautiful rainbow! When we saw it, I did not know whether to shout, cry or stop the car and just kneel down and worship.” Dr. Ssempa exclaimed. “I got a phone call from all-who had been in the prayer meeting and confirmed that God was answering our prayers.”
The last 7 days of the fast, were more intense, and the members went for a 24hour liquid only fast. (First time trying it).
The day 777 came to be a mega fest at the Makerere University grounds. The celebration and prayer party started at 5pm on 6th and was to go up to midnight, to usher in the new day 777 with worship, prayer and the blowing of the shofars. It was then to be continued at sunrise on Saturday at 7-am with blowing of shofars hourly until sunset, the fast was not to be broken until after the event!
The event of 777 brought together 7 key city fathers who included Pr. Gerald Mwebe of streams of life, Pr. Clement Tibarokoka of Deliverance Church, Pr. Jack Barlow of Jesus Alive Center, Pr. Stephen Ssenfuma of United Christian Fellowship, Pr. Isaac Mukisa Pr. Ssempa’s associate and Pr. Michael Kyazze of Omega Healing Center and of course Pr. Dr. Ssempa himself. This was also significant as many pastors were invited but only seven ended up showing up. Dr. James Magara of Intercessors for also showed up.
However, there was much financial difficulty, and the day came as a miracle “the baby of 777 was born in a manger of great needs.” Dr. Ssempa says. “But we stood together and made incredible sacrifices for the invisible prophetic call to lay our lives down for His glory.”
The day was glorious with prophetic dancers, worshippers who had vowed themselves unto the Lord. Judith Babirye the Ugandan anointed worshipper came over, there was a mighty shout on a clear African sky! at midnight, and it was unusually warm unlike all the past nights which had been so cold. As they shouted and blew the shofar, those with demons began to fall down with a mighty thud at release of the Omega anointing on the day. They sang “behold he comes” and lifted up the name of the Groom.
On the morning of Saturday, It was powerful. God had sent a dream of rain followed by a heavenly downpour of precious jewels and this was to be witnessed in the day. They continued to pray for to God to confirm the prayers with a rainbow.
At Midday of 777 there was a Jericho march around the stadium for seven times. This was done together with the new apostolic chaplain over the university Canon Ebong Johnson who led the prayers.
Near the close Pr. Alan Kisakka and the Strangers ministered. It was like a private concert of refreshing Gods soldiers with music of the hungry crying out to be quenched by the spirit. These world-class musicians sang and prayed, it was like our God wanted people there to enjoy a private concert alone with those who had spent of themselves. We humbled and prayed more for the individuals.
Then there was one more thing, a great symbolic sign to climax the day, the rainbow! “The biggest and most beautiful rainbow I ever remember! What a God of wonder!” Dr. Ssempa said. The whole place went absolutely ballistic with the clearest answer and confirmation of our prayers. It was exactly 6.PM.exactly the sunset of the 7th day! The end of an era and the beginning of a new era! People were overwhelmed and did not really know what to do. Like the priests who could not minister because of the cloud everyone rejoiced loudly and prophetically sang the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The meeting closed at 7.PM with blowing of shofars and declaring victory.
The very next day, God had started to work, a public work of cleansing. The major newspapers carried three major headlines-a major exposure of homosexuality of a key pastor who has been widely alleged to defile boys in his church, he has since resigned; The arrest of a pastor whose late father was a witch masquerading as a pastor and has done much harm to the church-he was arrested for carrying an electric shocking device thought to be used in defrauding his congregation; and a major exposure of the prosperity gospel atrocities. According to Pastor Ssempa, God is cleansing his Church and has taken the bandage off his church. It smells real bad, but if the wound is to be cleansed, He had to open it.
The devil has however not rested since, he has continued to lodge attacks on the church that was behind organizing the 777 event. There is a great financial attack, after the meeting, Pr. Ssempa while driving home survived an accident by hairs breadth when they came face to face with a tractor trailer which ran away from its lane to run them over.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Is 'sowing' biblical?
THE Sunday Vision undercover story on the activities of pastors Ronnie and Betty Bada of Liberty Praising Centre, Luzira has raised ethical questions in the born-again churches. Anthony Bugembe spoke to Pastor Martin Ssempa of Makerere Community Church about sowing in the Church.
What do you have to say about this story?
Criticism is good for the development of any institution. The Sunday Vision has done a commendable job in exposing church leaders who rip off unsuspecting believers in the name of sowing. These people have been tarnishing the image of born-again churches.
What is sowing?
Pastors who preach the prosperity gospel tell their followers that God’s blessings and salvation depend on how much they give to the Lord through the pastors. Many believers have been intimidated into giving cars, phones and huge sums of money to their pastors in the hope of having their prayers answered.
What does Christianity teach about sowing?
Sowing defiles Christianity. There is nowhere in the Bible that we read about Jesus asking for money or material things to perform miracles or bless the people. When Jesus was sending out his disciples, he told them to heal and bless believers freely because he had also given them his blessings freely (Matthew 10:8).
Don’t you think sowing sustains God’s work?
It is not bad to contribute to the sustenance of God’s work, but it should be out of free will and not because they expect something in return as the prosperity gospel teaches. Besides, believers must not to be categorised on the basis of how much they contribute. There are several churches where prayers and blessings are offered depending on how much one has contributed. This is not true Christianity. We are just experiencing a cult of ‘sowers’ which aims at exploiting the ignorance and desperate situation of their followers. Sowing reduces the pastor to a stage comedian who receives tips from excited fans.
In Acts 4:32-37, the early believers used to sell their possessions and bring the money to the apostles to be given to the needy. This is not the kind of sowing we have now. Today people sow into their pastors and not into the Church, yet there are many needy believers.
A Christian from Rubaga Miracle Centre Cathedral once asked me to help pay her tuition fees. I told her to seek assistance from her pastor (Robert Kayanja). I wondered why such needy Christians are not helped. Pastor Kayanja one time sowed into Joyce Meyer Ministries, yet Meyer herself is already rich (Kayanja testified on October 24, 2004 that one time God told him to sow $10,000 into the Joyce Meyer Ministries).
A church obsessed with sowing faces a lot of difficulty preaching about holiness because the biggest givers are sometimes those who amass wealth dubiously. Therefore, Christians should be encouraged to tithe as a means of sustaining God’s work, and not to sow. You don’t lose anything by not sowing.
What is the way forward?
Some time back, we initiated a code of ethics for born-again churches to check pastoral discrepancy. Unfortunately, some pastors rejected it because they feared that it would expose them. Now, we are going to convene a national summit (of born-again pastors) to find a solution before the Church crumbles.
You cannot tell someone that they will get four times more than what they have given. Obtaining money or any item by false pretence is a crime. It is good the Police have come out to investigate this. We are ready to co-operate with the Government to restore religious sanity.
Doesn’t this cast doubt on the authenticity of born-again Christianity?
The problem of ghosts is not among the balokole alone. Even other institutions like the Police and the army are grappling with them. Therefore, we should not victimise the born-again Christians. For example, the leader of the Muslims is in court over poor handling of properties.
What should Christians do in the meantime?
I advise believers whose pastors emphasise sowing to begin finding their way out of those churches because they will grow poorer with each passing day, while their pastors become richer.