Tewahdo church is supposed to be the hope to the hopeless

Tewahdo church is supposed to be the hope to the hopeless: By Haben Zeray Dear Tewahdo  Church leaders, Martin Luther King Jr., said , “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that”.  If we are expecting

Tewahdo church is supposed to be the hope to the hopeless:

By Haben Zeray

Dear Tewahdo  Church leaders,

Martin Luther King Jr., said , “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that”.  If we are expecting light from PFDJ and its chairman in Eritrea, we are dreaming.  I have zero  hope to get light from darkness but there is hope in God and those who have given themselves to serve God.  I want to share the following with the Tewahdo Church leaders of Eritrea.

The Bible is clear when it says Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called sons of God (Gospel of Mathew 5:9) .  Those of us who wait to find some peace and solace in the church are faced with resentment and division and politicizing instead.  Many people go to church to quite their spirit, humble themselves, be silent and seek  peace within their souls.  Many of our church leaders instead of meeting your followers needs ,  you  seem to exacerbate people’s situation by ignoring the inflictions, by preaching  politics and even some of you are working for Eritrean government instead of serving God and your members.  The people want you to speak to their hearts and meet their spiritual needs.  The depressed need your uplifting and encouragement. The sick need your prayers and those who are in jail need your prayers and visitation.  The Bible does not discriminate who you should pray for, you have the responsibility to ease the pain of all those  who are longing for relief.

Church leaders have responsibility not only for their own church but also for their community, country and the world.  God commanded you to go to your flock (Jerusalem),  communities (Samaria) and the utmost of the world.  We are living in an era of hatred and resentment  within our church walls, communities and neighbors (countries).  What are you waiting for?  Shouldn’t you , church leaders, be the first ones to declare fast and prayer for peace and reconciliation?  Why are we not seeing town hall meetings for peace and reconciliation? Are you waiting for those bankrupt politicians to bring peace to your members? What are you doing to heal the wounds that are oozing with pain for the last 50 years between Eritreans and Eritreans, and even broader between Eritreans and Ethiopians?  The bible is clear that hatred and resentment is not of God.  In fact the Apostle Paul in one of his epistles said it best, you can move mountains and be the most knowledgeable guy around the world but if you do not have LOVE all your efforts amounts to nothing, zero.   Have you forgotten if you want a peaceful community you must create a peaceful congregation first.  Peace starts within all of us. I am perplexed by the fact that many of the leaders preach Christianity without love.  In fact to your beliefs you  preach and practice divisions.  Where do you keep your bible? Instead extending your hands to be worshiped by people why not extend your hearts so we can learn to embrace each other?

Before any church leader accepts leadership responsibility, first they should know they have a calling from God not the government. Second, they must use the word of God or the bible as their guiding principal for their life and the lives of their members.  These leaders should be the voice of God and light (not darkness) to the world.  If there is social injustice and abuse by the government they should be the first ones to speak out and cry foul. A spiritual leader, if need be,  is a sacrificial lamb just like Jesus was sacrificial lamb for humanity.  Church leaders should follow the example of the saints of the bible.   Paul, Peter, John and many more are martyrs for their faith.  They stood for what they believed until death.  They were not afraid to die for their faith.

Most of us  do not desire  another person to die for their faith.  In fact we should seek freedom of religion all over the world.  However, when contradictions arise between “good” and “evil” church leaders using the bible or God as their guiding principle should stand-up for “good” even unto death and should lead their flocks to stand up for the truth.  You might say, easier said than done.  Not so quick my friends we have hundreds if not thousands of Eritreans who are now behind bars because they refused to recant their faith and chose to stand up for what they believe.  To me these people are  heroic Eritreans and are shining examples for the ultimate sacrifice. We should constantly pray for them and tell the government not to touch them and show mercy on them..

Why do  many Eritreans  “go with the flow”  in their everyday life as if there are no principles to guide them?  If a person cannot differentiate “good” and “evil” and be able to speak out and differentiate between “good” and “bad” and  make a stand, then that person has reduced himself/herself to a bare minimum as a person.   I like my dog because when I say “jump” it jumps or “sit” it sits and stairs at  me waiting for the next command.  Is this how we want to live our lives? I am appalled when I see especially church leaders live in fear of what others might think and forget the God given freedom to declare the principles and guidelines that the bible teaches.  I simply cannot understand when our government leaders make gross mistakes and strip the very foundation of their own church, and  you still see these church leaders “go with the flow”.

I say to these kind of leaders if your motive for “leading” the church is contrary to what your Bible teaches then you need to get out of the way.  You need to feel responsible for the people you lead.  If you cannot be an example then you are going to have  confused members whose time will be spent to further divide your followers gossip about others etc..

Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called sons of God (Gospel of Mathew 5:9).  Believers are called to be “Peace makers”  or ambassadors for peace.   If they cannot be “peace makers” or their activities are contrary to peace then  as people we cannot have a blessing.  In other words,  without peace there is no blessing.  It is not a blessing if I cannot feel  safe and secure in my own country.  It is not a blessing if the majority of people are struggling  just to survive.  It is not a blessing if the country is constantly poised for war and rumors of war.  It is not a blessing when we see potential resources like the Assab  port becomes a desolate port for lack of mature diplomatic relations with Ethiopia etc…

Church leaders and for that matter religious leaders are the thermostat of the people.  They are a major force for human dignity, human values, courage and all the virtues that spells human decency.  If you are looking for these virtues from politicians and your government you will be disappointed and betrayed.  I don’t think there are other people in the face of our world now who got betrayed more than Eritreans. Betrayal made its home in Eritrea. Colonialists betrayed us and our own leaders that we placed a mountain of hope are trampling on us.  The only hope is from God and our religious leaders.  If we are to establish trust among Eritreans I believe it should start in religious forms that advocate trust in God, peace within yourself and peace with your neighbors.  May God help our spiritual leaders.

Finally, I have a  suggestion to the church leaders,  make a Godly stand and say no to evil.  By your actions you are hurting the Holy church and generations of people who are to carry the gospel after you pass.  But with your legacy the church is in danger of being extinct and will become a political organization.  Please say No to the ungodly orders of the Eritrean government.

Respectfully yours,

Someone whose only hope is an expectation from God and those who lead us to God.







Review overview
  • Ogbai GhebreMedhin August 23, 2013

    Very good, long overdue message, but wrong means of communication. It would have been more appropriate and effective had it been written in TIGRIGNA, if not in the church language:GEEZE. Knowing your audience is an integral part of good writing. Sadly, many good writings get lost due to the wrong language used for delivery. Tigrigna, Tigre and Arabic are the best means of reaching the Eritrean people. English can best serve us when we intend to address the world about their silence or when we deal with DIPLOMATIC ISSUES.

  • fithawi August 23, 2013

    Excellent message! But as Oqbai suggested it would be more effective if it is written in Tigrigna. Most of our Orthodox church leaders do not speak/read English.
    God bless you.