As Christmas festivities gathered momentum, a devout Seventh-Day Adventist Fanwell Banda [not his real name] went to Limbe Tavern in Blantyre for beer.
Banda thought the festivities would be incomplete if he did not take alcohol.
While making the decision, he was aware that consumption or production of beer or any alcoholic beverage is against the doctrines of his church.
If found drinking, he was likely to face disciplinary hearings or ex-communication from the church.
As the chat climaxed at the tavern, one of the imbibers ducked and sought cover under a table.
Apparently, he was avoiding a pastor who accidently found his way into the tavern as he went about shopping.
Banda expertly stuffed his huge body under the table to avoid the man of God.
Now, why was Banda afraid of the pastor when God saw everything he was doing?
Sekanawo Dyson, who lives in Mtenje Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Machinjiri in Blantyre, said he is not surprised that most believers fear pastors more than God.
Dyson said most believers are more worried about their membership in the church than salvation. She said since God is physically away from people, pastors have the authority to admonish their shortcomings.
“Again, most of our pastors do not forgive when they see you breaking church principles and regulations.
“Besides seeking salvation, many people just want presence or a hand of fellow congregants during trying moments such as death or sickness,” she said.
Petro Gadaga [not real name] bumped into his pastor while drunk on his way to board a minibus to his house at BCA Hill in Blantyre.
Gadaga said he concealed his identity and waited for another minibus. He said he stopped going to church until he was sure the pastor had forgotten the incident.
Pastor Lackson Nangoma of the Bible Faith Church in Chiwembe in Blantyre said he usually gives a grace period of four times before ex-communicating members of his church.
Nangoma said this is in accordance with the teachings of Ezekiel 3:16-19, which says, “And it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of God came unto me, saying, Son of man I have made thee watchman unto the house of Israel. “Therefore, hear the word at my mouth, and therefore give them warning from me.
“When I say unto the wicked, thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”
The pastor said the scripture is clear about what a minister can do in disciplining his flock.
But Nangoma could not justify his action which run counter to Proverbs 9:110, which states that: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the understanding of the holy is wisdom.”
The verse means it is wrong for people to fear fellow human beings and not God who gives life and death.