Church's 'cough medicine' won't cure social ills, says pastor
The Reverend Barrington Hall is calling for more practical action from the church community to address issues such as crime and violence, describing past efforts as "Band-Aids" for deeply festering social wounds.
Hall, who is the senior pastor at the Ekklesia Bible Fellowship Church in St Andrew, told The Gleaner yesterday that his observation for 2017 shows that the Church has lost focus of its mandate, which is reflected in incidents such as the out-of-control murder rate that is affecting Jamaica.
"We have prayer, and all of that, but if we centre more on disciplining people, I strongly believe we will see different results. We keep coming up with cough medicine and not building up people's resistance, and the
resistance that we need to build up is discipleship. Discipleship is an ongoing process of getting people to recognise the mandate of God on their lives and helping them to walk in that mandate instead of these Band-Aids that we keep coming up with. We march this week, and we march next month and then the other month, but what have we achieved?" he asked.
"Part of the problem is that we have lost focus as to what the biblical mandate is regarding kingdom living. The message of the Church has moved from the Kingdom of God, commitment to God, and commitment to others to one of self and what we can get. So the view of the Church is spiralling towards selfishness," Hall told The Gleaner.
However, the Reverend Dr Lenworth Anglin, pastor at the Rock Hall and the Cavaliers Church of God in Jamaica believes that despite the challenges, the Church still has a lot to be proud of.
"As a Church, we have had our challenges, but I will always rest on the promises of the head of the Church (Jesus) who says that 'the gates of hell shall not prevail'. As a Church, we have been steadfast in what we are doing and we have been persistent," he said.
"We know people have a lot of negatives to say, but we still maintain that the presence of the Church has been felt. Just continue to look at the presence of the Church in any war-torn community, - and we have so many of them. Many of us (pastors) continue to risk our lives, literally, to deal with the scourge of crime and violence in the country."