Amid global scandals, the church remains strong
Although some churches across the globe are experiencing fallout over various scandals, with some parishioners going so far as to separate their faith from organizations, churches in The Bahamas remain strong, according to two prominent clergymen.
Bishop Simeon Hall, pastor emeritus of New Covenant Baptist Church acknowledged however that there is a certain level of disillusionment.
He encouraged Christians to focus more on God and less on the people who spread God’s word.
“People should stop worshipping personalities and worship Jesus Christ because when you worship a man, you may be disappointed,” he said.
“Every preacher should be saying, ‘we preach Christ, and not ourselves’. If we move the focus away from personalities then we’ll be fine. One of the most dangerous things happening is the promotion of self.
“God said I will share my glory with no man. Some people call attention to themselves for worship and when people find a flaw, they are disappointed.”
When asked if he’s seen any falloff in membership at his church in recent months, Hall said no.
“I don’t see anything like that,” he added. “I don’t know anything like that happening in any church here.
“I can’t say that that is the collective conclusion though. However, churches in The Bahamas are still strong.
“There are some people who are now embracing secularism and they prefer secular things rather than Jesus Christ, but the church remains strong.”
Various scandals across the globe have led to cynicism among some Christians. Last month a United States grand jury investigation revealed a systemic coverup by church leaders of child sex abuse.
According to the Associated Press, a grand jury report revealed that Roman Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania molested more than 1,000 children over decades.
The report has rocked the Catholic Church.
Father Sebastian Campbell, rector of St. Gregory’s Anglican Church, said while such scandals are very unfortunate, it must not cause people to lose faith in God.
When asked about the strength of churches in The Bahamas, he said, “The church continues to grow in spite of that.
“What’s happening in the United States or other places in the world, I don’t feel the ripple effect with us.
“The church was having scandals from day one. When I say day one, I’m going back in history.
“All throughout history, the church has had to combat scandals and the reason is simple: the church consists of human beings. All men are fallible.
“There are scandals everywhere, on the police force, in government, on the defense force, in the public service. Everywhere. You can’t run from that.
“Wherever there are human beings, there will be scandals. It is something that the church has been dealing with as they arise. In some instances, the church has not dealt with issues as effectively as people think they should, but churches deal with human error and corruption all the time.”
He continued, “In The Bahamas I believe the church is growing stronger. It is very unfortunate that we don’t see all of the good and positive things that the church is doing and look for [the] rippling effect from the positive that the church is doing.”
Father Sebastian noted that a lot of people are less interested in positive news, which he said is unfortunate.
He said the church is teaching religion to thousands of children across the country. Additionally, he pointed to various social outreach programs.
“For every negative story that comes out about the church, there are 10 positive stories that are mostly ignored,” Father Sebastian said.
However, he made it clear that he is not defending the actions of those who do wrong. He said he is merely pointing to the lack of balance in reporting.
“The church is a part of society and the society will have problems.”
“If you take the church out of society, I wonder what the society would be like. We will always have problems, but the work of God must continue.”
Education: Benedict College, BA in Mass Communications