Monday, June 29, 2009

Spiritist challenges visiting preachers to power encounter in Uganda

You may find the following story a bit disconcerting. It was for me.  But it does reflect the reality of what Christians face in various parts of the world.  What bothered me was the response of the preachers, to be honest.  Why did they flee and now, why are they going to press charges?  Maybe the two responses are related? I certainly have some unanswered questions.

Read the story over and then give me your comments (keeping in mind our comments policy).  Who is in the right here?  Who is in the wrong? Is this persecution?  If so, did these preachers pass the test? If you are a Christians there anything in this incident that bothers you?  If you are not a Christian, what is your response to this incident? 

Uganda: Herbalist Challenges Evangelists

Ali Mambule
28 June 2009
The New Vision

Kampala — A herbalist in Masaka town challenged visiting preachers to a show of strength at his shrine on Wednesday evening in Mukudde zone in Nyendo Sennyange division.

The Christians from Bukakkata Evangelical Church and Health Building Church, Misaali, arrived at the shrine and began preaching. They were led by pastor Patrick Male Kakooza.

The herbalist, known as Prof. Kasagazi Kansaze, challenged the Christians to demonstrate their healing powers.

"I also have powers, which I believe are stronger than yours. I want you to show me what you can do. If my powers prove stronger than yours, you should join me, or else I'll join you if you happen to disprove me," Kansaze proposed to the evangelists, who seemed to think he was joking.

Kansaze then lit a wood fire and instructed his clients, who had been joined by some residents who live near the shrine, to start singing songs used to invoke spirits.

At this point, the evangelists started to flee, some of them abandoning their Bibles. Pastor Male escaped but the residents forced some, including Betty Nannyonjo, to stay and watch the herbalist's display.

"You neglect your culture and jump off with foreign cultures. You come here and preach to us the word which was sent to the Corinthians. Are we from that part of the world?" Kansaze, who seemed to be possessed, asked while stepping into the fire and putting burning wood into his mouth.

He grabbed Nannyonjo and asked her to step into the fire like he had done, but Nannyonjo broke free and escaped.

The residents chanted and praised the herbalist. Nannyonjo later told The New Vision that she would file a case against Kansaze.

"He welcomed us to his shrine. Why did he turn violent?" Nannyonjo asked.


MountainBeliever said...

I am a Christian and this bothers me. I will not pass judgment though. How do we really know what we would do in the same situation. I pray that I would be walking full of the Holy Spirit to speak with GOD'S authority and hear the Spirits leading to know what to do. From an outsider looking at this, it appears that this was a golden opportunity for GOD to really show the people and Kansaze who is the real only one GOD, like Elijah did on Mount Carmel (or by casting out the demon, if the Spirit led to). I only pray that GOD will send His anointed ones to that same village to show the truth to the people that JESUS is LORD.

Bill Yeo said...

Perhaps what I am about to write is naive, because I don't like in a culture that has such power demonstrations (I'm in Canada.) But if I was confronted with a similar position, this is what would likely go through my mind: Since Scritpure tells us that 'Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world' I would not be afraid of any spirit -that spirit would only be able to do to me what the Lord Jesus permits. However, if a possessed individual, or some other force was threatening me physically, then I would either flee (if I feared for my physical safety) or I would endure any physical suffering if I felt the peace of God as He directed me to remain. To flee or to remain, when physical violence is threatened, seems to be a situational decision, as Scripture has examples of faithful individuals,some of whom fled and some of whom remained. But as to the power of a spirit over me, in a power confrontation, I would have no fear. Again, as I said above, that spirit has no less and no more power over me, except as the Lord Jesus allows.

Anonymous said...

For me, to be completely honest, I find this entire situation quite strange. As an American, I have no frame of reference for this type of thing. And, to piggy-back on what Bill Yeo said, sometimes God makes you stay and kills you, sometimes He makes you stay and kills everyone else, sometimes He makes you leave and doesn't kill anyone... etc. He doesn't do the same thing every time and we don't know what His plans are here.

I think that we just don't have enough information. Mostly, we have no idea what the Spirit was speaking to those Christians. What may look like an act of cowardice may, in fact, have been total obedience. We simply don't know.

Anonymous said...

If I had been there,I would not have accepted the invitation.I wouldhave invited all my fellowbelievers for a day of fastig and praying.To seek the Lord's will in this event.
This seems to me an occasion in which we should not be anxious to gain the upper hand in our own strength but have faith in the absolute victory of God in Jesus death and resurrection over all the forces of Satan.And believing that God will do his will and will establish his kingdom in his time and that time is from everlasting to everlasting.Daniel 3:17,18."O,Nebukadnezzar,we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.If e are thrown in the blazing furnace,the God we serve is able to save us from it and he will rescue us from your hand O King.But even if he does not ,we want you to know,O King,that we will not serve your gods or worship the image you have set up."
Luke 23:35
The people stood watching,ad the rulers even sneered at him.They said "He saved others;let him save himself if he is the Christ of God,the Chosen One."
Suzanna Meyer

Anonymous said...

I am an African, from Nigeria, and I fully understand this kind of situation very well. It is something a believer in Christ Jesus faces virtually daily in different forms and shades. Let me explain: The majority of people in Nigeria are either moslems, Christians or traditional religion adherents (herbalists, idol worshippers, spiritists belong to this 3rd group)

A Christian who wholly believes in Jesus Christ - for there are many so-called 'christians' who secretly visit the herbalists, by their fruits one knows such persons - true Christians very often have to contend with these spiritualists in the work environment, in extended family relationships and in the neighbourhood. In fact, here in the south of Nigeria, persecution takes the form of a spiritualist vowing to 'deal' with you by, for example, using his demonic powers to get you sacked at work, delay promotions, prevent a woman from conceiving, afflict a person with terrible diseases that defiles western medicine, causes madness, etc.

But the good news is that for true believers who are walking in righteousness by the grace of God, such demonic powers have not been able to gain the upper hand on a believer in the long run. For example, where it seemed that demonic powers are employed to prevent conception for years, the Lord Jesus has been seen to come in at last to give a spectacular victory, and such a woman will testify to God's intervention in making her conceive after she has even given up trying to conceive for many years.

Of course, there are times when it will look as if the evil has triumphed, but Jesus will still come in to bring victory out of what seems like a defeat. It will be akin to the case of Stephen. First, Stephen, even while being stoned SAW Jesus Christ! Second, his death which caused a scattering of believers brought revival. Third, his prayers for forgiveness for his enemies must have been used of God in converting Saul.

The evangelist in the story did not seem too wise in taking up the challenge of the herbalist. If it was the Spirit of God which led him to accept the challenge, the result would have brought glory to Jesus. I have seen this over and over in my own environment. The Lord must save us from presumptious sin.

It might be a bit difficult for someone in the West to understand fully the kind of persecution a Christian in Africa faces in the hands of spiritists. But Jesus remains thesame in every type of persecution, and He either saves His children IN the situation or FROM the situation. But in all, His name will be glorified in every geniune case of persecution, in whatever form.