Local Pentecostal churches have described the ‘persecution’ their counterparts are encountering in Cameroon as good for the growth of the church.
Last month, the Cameroonian government permanently shut down 50 Christian churches and plans to close 50 more in its key cities.
The action sparked protests from pastors who marched against the decision.
Cameroonian president Paul Biya ordered the closure of 100 churches, citing Pentecostal pastors’ organised criminal practices that threaten the security of that country, according to CNN.
“We will get rid of all the so-called Christian Pentecostal pastors who misuse the name of Jesus Christ to fake miracles and kill citizens in their churches. They have outstretched their liberty,” Mbu Anthony Lang, a government official, told CNN recently.
The decision was triggered by the death of a nine-year-old girl who died during a prayer session.
Local pastors believe this is an act of persecution on the church, which should not have been carried out in a continent that propagates the tenets of freedom of worship.
“But we are not worried because this doesn’t concern all countries in Africa,” said founder of Christ Union Revival International Ministry, Prophet Andrew Kambeja.
Kambeja said religious leaders are bound to face such resistance and difficulties.
“Even disciples [of Jesus] faced similar challenges, but they did not abandon their ministry. We, too, will never be cowed by what has happened in Cameroon,” he said.
United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) superintendent for Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, Reverend Charles Robinette, said persecution is good as it drives believers to evangelise to more people in their search for safer places.
“Persecution has never destroyed the church. In fact, it releases the church. So what is happening in Cameroon isn’t something to worry about.
“They can fight us; shout at us, lock the door on us, but that’ll never stop us from speaking about the glory of God,” said Robinette.