Is the Christian image in Ghana deteriorating?
One major role of the Christian is to be the conscience of society and a worthy ambassador of the Christian faith through conduct, speech and actions.
It is expected that the conduct of the Christian could have the potential to convince non-Christians to convert to Christianity.
In addition, the Christian’s conduct will make him/her respectable in the society or the nation since his speech, conduct and contribution to society will be worthy of emulation even without any explicit witnessing or evangelism.
The Bible gives us a directive in this wise, Colossians 4:6- “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”. The Christian is, therefore, expected to be mindful of his/her speech regardless of the forum or medium of communication, be it on social media, radio, at work or even in political discussions.
This is certainly one of the basic standards required of every worthy ambassador of Christ. However, in recent times Christians, including prominent and highly placed leaders of the various denominations have become very intolerant, abusive and uninspiring to the Christian faith in Ghana.
Many Christian leaders in other jurisdictions distinguished themselves not only as ministers of the Gospel but in public conduct and speech and thereby qualifying them to counsel secular and even non-religious presidents in various jurisdictions.
Billy Graham, for instance, was a spiritual adviser to U.S. presidents, and he provided spiritual counsel for every president from Harry S. Truman (33rd) to Barack Obama (44th). He was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson (one of Graham’s closest friends), and Richard Nixon. According to his close associates and ministry partners, Billy Graham made sure that he upheld the highest standard of Biblical morality and integrity throughout his ministry. Besides, he placed high premium on financial integrity, sexual morality, ethical publicity and partnership with the local churches. This therefore endeared him to presidents and highly placed personalities not only in U.S. but other parts of the world.
Society and the nation expect very high standards from Christians, especially the clergy. It is for this reason that in Ghana a pastor is considered one of the professionals besides, a lawyer, a civil servant, a medical doctor or an educationist qualified to be witnesses for one applying for a Ghanaian passport. However, in recent times, the respect/image of Christians in Ghana has been brought so low by the actions of Christians, especially the clergy to such an extent that it is becoming less attractive in the eyes of the public to disclose one’s identity as pastor in the public.
Pastors in the country on daily basis are engaged in fraud, public ridicule of each other, adultery and all sorts of vices. Matthew 5:13- “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. How then will society treat the clergy and Christians in general when it is obvious standards have fallen?
In addition to scripture, historically Christian tradition and experience in several jurisdictions have informed debate about acceptable behavior, especially behavior outside the church and public policy. What is the role of the modern-day Christian’s voice in public policy debates in Ghana and in addressing bioethical issues at the bedside?