The leadership of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) has said it stands by Bishop Charles Agyinasare, the Presiding Bishop of Perez Chapel International, who has come under threats of harm and media attacks recently over his pronouncements on national issues.
In a statement signed by the President of the GPCC, Rev Prof Paul Frimpong-Manso, the Council, which makes up 25% of the Ghanaian population, said: “The purpose of this statement is to declare our strong support for the Presiding Bishop, who is a long-standing member of the Council and who rose to occupy the very high position of First Vice-President of the Council”.
GPCC said its leadership “has noted with concern, some of the reactions” to Bishop Agyinasare’s pronouncements in the past one month, observing that some of these reactions have been in the form of “insults, threats of harm, casting of innuendos, political branding etc.,” which the Council condemned as “very unfortunate”.
“We wish to recall that since the beginning of the month of July, the Presiding Bishop has been teaching on the theme: ‘Building A Future After COVID-19’.
“The purpose is to help build a foundation for youth development as the next generation to take over this nation. In doing this, the Presiding Bishop has been highlighting issues on the political landscape, the attitude of civil servants and the clergy front, which should not have been so and which could be done differently”.
“He has also sought to draw examples from his personal life, including his marriage, his financial dealings to encourage the youth that in the midst of present-day promiscuity, it is possible to live a life of chastity and integrity”, the statement noted.
It added: “We urge the press and the general public not to twist, distort, misrepresent, misreport or take out of context statements made by the Presiding Bishop and give them sensational headlines with the objective of giving the Presiding Bishop a ‘political bad name’ in order to hang him”.
The Council also called on the two main political parties in Ghana “to call their executives and members to order”.
“As the nation enters the political campaign season, we wish to admonish the entire citizenry to do all we can to keep the political temperature at its lowest minimum and conduct all political activities with civility and decorum”, the Council urged, adding: “Let’s make the campaign one of ideas, programmes for national development and peace and not one of insults, casting of aspersions, character assassination, violence and any actions that will threaten the peace and stability of our dear motherland”.
The Council also wished Ghanaians “peaceful campaigns and a free, fair and transparent elections, which will produce a God-given leader and government for this nation”.
A week ago, Bishop Charles Agyinasare said he has been receiving threats and insults over the past few weeks that he has been calling out societal evils but said those things will not stop him from speaking his mind.
In his virtual sermon on Sunday, 26 July 2020, titled: ‘There is a cause for integrity and honesty’, which was part of his ‘Building after COVID-19’ series, the Perez Chapel International founder said a lot of his friends and loved ones have called and “pleaded with me to stop preaching what I am preaching on national transformation”, adding: “Most of them say Ghana is set in her ways and would not change”.
The Nation’s Prophet and Pastor, as Bishop Agyinasare is popularly called, said: “Well, Jonah did not believe wicked Nineveh would change but when he declared God’s word, they repented and fasted in sackcloth and ashes”.
The word of God, he said, “has the power to change people: it is a hammer that can break hardened hearts, it is a fire that can consume, it is like water that can wash the most sin covered soul, it like a light that can shine on the power of the worst of sinners”.
Bishop Agyinasare said his recent remarks on national issues and the attacks those comments have brought to him, have got some of his family and friends concerned to the extent that they are begging him to stop.
“Some of my loved ones said: ‘These politicians and their supporters, hmmm; they are dangerous ohhh! they can do something against you’”.
In his view, if that’s “how we see politicians now, is there not a cause for me to preach to change it?”
“My amazement is whether it has come to the place in democratic Ghana, where I speak and people who are not happy (basically they disagree with me) and instead of they saying they disagree with me and stating their side, some of them issue threats, some insult me and people are saying: ‘Charles, you must be afraid, beef up your security and don’t sleep at home’”.
“Well, our senior politicians, H.E Nana Akufo-Addo and H.E John Dramani Mahama, that is how much your noble profession has been reduced to. It is being said and perceived that you and your fellows hire thugs to beat and even get people killed because they disagree with you. Meanwhile, the Akan name for democracy is ‘Ka bi na me ka bi aman buo’ – ‘speak your mind and let me speak my mind’ kind of government, Bishop Agyinasare noted.
He said if journalists like Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere, Kweku Baako Jr., Kwesi Pratt, Ben Ephson, among others, “went to jail, had to report regularly to the Bureau of National Investigations, had people follow them because they wrote and demanded free speech in the mid-1980s under a revolution”, then “is it not unfortunate that we could get it and in a democracy, we are being made to know that we are not free to talk anymore?”.
Bishop Agyinasare said leaders must be honoured, and, so, “is there not a cause to tell our populace to intercede for our rulers instead of insulting them”, as written in 1 Timothy 2:1 and 2: ‘Therefore, I exhort, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; 2, For kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence’
Also, he said Acts 23:5 quotes the Apostle Paul as saying: ‘… You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
“Is there not a cause to tell our politicians to stop teaching our populace that it is OK to insult our opponents, including elders instead of addressing issues?” Bishop Agyinasare asked, especially as 1 Peter 2:17 says: ‘Honour all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king”.
Clarifying why he used certain adjectives recently in reference to journalists and the clergy regarding their silence on societal ills, Bishop Agyinasare said: “Some said: ‘Bishop, you used insulting language when you used [the phrase] ‘dumb dogs’”.
“No sir, no madam. The scripture said: ‘His watchmen have become dumb dogs’”. “I used it in reference to our journalists and pastors who must warn us as dogs do”. Isaiah 56:10, he quoted, says: ‘His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber’. I was also accused of insulting by using attack dogs. Well, because our common language is English, I took a word from the Merriam Webster’s dictionary, which explains ‘attack dogs’ as persons noted for harsh, personal and usually public verbal attacks against others. E.g. a political attack dog”.
“I am the last person who would want to insult or disrespect anyone”, Bishop Agyinasare said.
According to him, he is not the spokesperson for any political party but rather serves as “God’s linguist”.
“If I were an NPP spokesman, then NDC people would say they may do something against me. If I were an NDC spokesperson, then NPP people would want to do something against me. However, I am an ambassador of heaven with the authority of heaven behind me. That is the only reason why I could go to Pakistan, a 94% Muslim country to hold gospel campaigns at a time they were burning churches. That is why I sponsored my first gospel campaign in a Hindu stronghold, Chengham in Tamil Nadu state in 1993”, he said.
In October 2000, Bishop Agyinasare recalled, “when I was invited to then-president Laurent Gbagbo’s inauguration, I did not give a congratulatory message but a message from the Lord to warn the incoming government to watch out against corruption, immorality and how their judges should be fair otherwise, they won’t last. When they did not heed, everything I warned them of came to pass and the rest is history”.
Also, he said, “God sent me to Togo when Faure Gnassingbe was voted in the first time and people were unhappy that after his father had ruled for 38 years, he had also come to power. Some were willing the country burnt down and people were fleeing the country. God told me to take a message to Togo. People advised me that: ‘Bishop, it is not safe’, but I went as God’s servant and that nation was stabilised”.
“I am glad to announce that I would not die until I have finished or completed my assignment on earth here or till the rapture takes me home”, he declared.
Bishop Agyinasare said his utterances are of “a prophet of God to this nation” and not as the Presiding Bishop of Perez Chapel International.
“The true prophets of old did not speak what the people wanted to hear but what God wanted the people to hear”, noting: “This nation is not just about NPP or NDC”.
“Are we satisfied with the direction of this nation? If we are not, is there not a cause to do something about it? How can we allow politicians who are not even 10% of our population to determine everything in this country? Is there not a cause to talk? Even in our sports, the politicians tell the sportspeople what to do and they interfere so much so that when NPP is in power and the Black Stars are playing, NDC would be praying that they would lose because when they win, the NPP would take the glory and vice-versa. Is there not a cause to talk? Even the CEOs of our major hospitals are determined by politicians and not doctors, so, we keep going round and round. Is there not a cause? We build things with the taxpayers’ money and it is not used because it is not my government who built it and we go to borrow extra money to come and build another one and we end up with the IMF/World Bank with our cup in our hands to beg and take more loans to finance our budgets, and is there not a cause for someone to say we should change?”, he asked.
He continued: “The oil money for the next 30 years has been used to take loans by both NDC and NPP. The politicians we elected to manage our resources are selling the birthright of this nation and we must all keep quiet? Is there not a cause to tell our politicians to stop the reckless spending? Every four years when we are getting to elections, it is like this country is going to burn. Just [a] registration of voters, people are being stabbed and guns are being shot in public. Yet, nobody is expected to say the fact that election must not be between life and death”.
In the last five years, he noted, England has held three general elections: 7th May 2015, 8th June 2017 and 12th December 2019. “No one felt England was going to burn and it was not a do-or-die [affair]. General elections must not be a life-and-death affair”, he noted.
Touching on the involvement of civil servants in politics, Bishop Agyinasare said the Civil Service Act, as enforced in the Civil and Local Government vs Attorney General and others 2016, says: ‘When someone is in the civil service and wants to contest a party’s primaries, they are supposed to resign and go and contest’. “However, our politicians don’t respect that anymore. Instead, they use their government staff as their campaign team and they and their staff are paid by the government of Ghana, which makes such a person very compromised. Is there not a cause to change it so our civil service is not politicised?”
Turning his attention to his fellow clergy, Bishop Agyinasare said: “Mr pastor, where is your integrity if the ladies who come to seek prayer from you, you take advantage of them by having sex with them like Eli’s children [did]. Your sin would find you out”.
“Is there not a cause to tell pastors who go to juju men, fetish or mallams for ‘mojoss’ to do church, to go and join them as a fetish priest or mallam and stop pretending they are Christian clergy. Like Kofi Kinaata sings: ‘Papa sofo gye wa hom’”.
On the issue of land disputes, Bishop Agyinasare asked: “Is there not a cause to tell those businessmen who follow land guards to take by force the lands of the poor [to stop it?]. Can you imagine your end and what you are bringing upon your children?”
“Is there not a cause to tell some of our chiefs who sell a land to you, and sell it to two other people so we keep having land problems, to stop that? Our governments are not making it any easier. They encourage corruption at the registry by not passing a simple law. To register a land in Accra, it can take you five year- plus. Heads of families in Accra sell land to you and when they finish spending the money frivolously, they make other relatives in the same family to get another judgement and come to you to buy the land again”, he condemned.
As far as his public pronouncements on national issues are concerned, Bishop Agyinasare said he is not about to stop at all.
“Some have said: ‘Bishop, don’t talk, let the ecumenical bodies like Christian Council or Ghana, Pentecostal & Charismatic Council or National Association of Christian and Charismatic Churches to talk so that it is not only you’. Well, they may not have been inspired by God to speak on these things. Is there not a cause for me to talk about the ills of our society?”
“Precious one, it is like fire shut in my bones”, he said, quoting Jeremiah 20:9: ‘Then I said, “I will not make mention of him, nor speak anymore in his name”. But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not’”.
Bishop Agyinasare said his intentions are non-political. “I am not a politician and not aspiring to be one. The world is my parish and I am called to reach the world for Christ”, adding: “England was changed by the preaching of John Wesley when it was in filth; he preached till people thought ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ was in the Bible”.
In another example, he said: “Scotland was saved from bloodshed under ‘Bloody Mary’, queen of the Scots, by the preaching and praying of John Knox from 1555 to 1579. The queen said: ‘I am not so much afraid of the soldiers of Scotland like I am of the prayers of John Knox’. One man standing beside his grave said: ‘Here lies a man who neither flattered nor feared any human being’.
Citing yet another example, Bishop Agyinasare noted that “Mary Slessor went to Calabar, Nigeria, a city where heads were being cut off at pleasure and twins were being slaughtered at birth because they were a curse. When people discouraged her that she was a woman and men were even afraid to go to Calabar, she said: ‘One with God is a majority’. She went and transformed Nigeria by helping put a stop to the slaughtering of twins”.
Rather than urging him to stop his pronouncements, Bishop Agyinasare asked his friends, family and the Christian community to “pray for me”. “What I need from you is your prayers that I would have boldness and utterance to speak the truth”, quoting Ephesians 6:18 and 19, which say: ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. 19: ‘And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.”
Bishop Agyinasare said his wife has been supportive in that regard. “I thank God for a supportive wife. In the midst of all the noise, Vivian says: ‘I know my husband; if God says he must speak, then I would pray for him than stop him’. Pray for me also that I would be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men”, since, according to him, “Precious one, it means if you thought I was going to stop, then I want you to know that I am just warming up to the glory of God”.
“I am on a divine assignment for national transformation and let me ask you: is there not a cause for national transformation? There is so much not right about this country and we must start somewhere to talk about it, so, we can change it. I am talking and I challenge you to join me in this cause. If anyone asks you why you are talking these days about societal ills, ask them: ‘Is there not a cause?’”