“Why Nairobi Christian Church ex-communicated over 100 faithfulls”

Why Nairobi Christian Church ex-communicated over 100 faithfulls

By Jeff Omwella

All things eventually come to light. The sun never ceases to shine, nor must we cease to tell the truth. In the last 3« years, the truth had become increasingly unsayable. Fidelity to the scriptures came to count for nothing. Being in church meant knowing how to make friends and then knowing how to stab them in the back. My attention has been drawn to denials of wrongdoing appearing in the press by Richard Oladapo Alawaye, Lead Evangelist of the Nairobi Christian Church (N.C.C). I respond in the hope that others will not tread the same path of abuse I and many former members have trod. Psychological. Spiritual. Emotional and verbal.

While in the N.C.C, I experienced an intense peer pressure to remodel my personality after that of the church leaders in the guise of “following them as they followed Christ.” In the end I came to realise that if God had wanted me to be Kip McKean, (head of the International Churches of Christ of which the N.C.C is a branch), Mike Taliaferro, Richard Alawaye or anyone else, he would have made me a clone. I have begun to see the real beauty in Jeff if he would just be himself. Pinnochio let Jimmy Cricket be his conscience, but over 100 members (including myself), would not let the N.C.C. be ours and as a result we were excommunicated.

Not once in his article does the Nigerian Evangelist explicitly mention the N.C.C’s belief that it’s followers are the only Christians in Kenya today, and thus the only ones going to heaven, or his belief that the International Churches of Christ (I.C.C) is the only body of Christ worldwide. He is conveniently silent about the other (less savoury) things publications such as Time Magazine have said about the I.C.C. The I.C.C. is now ranked second to Scientology in the United States in the category of most dangerous cults. The parallels between Kip McKean and Big Brother in George Orwell’s “1984” are striking.

Until recently, I was blissfully ignorant of what a cult was because I was in the eye of the storm. Mr Alawaye could not tell one from a mile off because he is caught right in the middle of it. It is practices more than merely beliefs that define a cult. The N.C.C. exhibits all the hallmarks, starting with mind control, authoritarianism, an unaccountable leadership, clannishness (us vs them), financial impropriety and arranged marriages to name but a few. Last year, a staff member and a mission team leader were fired for refusing to let Pastor Alawaye have a say in whom they married. Richard himself has on many occasions told the congregation how he was “advised” to marry his wife Sarah by his spiritual mentor Mike Taliaferro.

The January 3rd ad seemed more preoccupied with the reputation of the accounting firm hired to audit the church’s accounts than in explaining why ordinary church members have been denied access to these same records. This is in direct contravention to the Registrar of Societies Act. The Kshs. 80,000 supposedly used to buy land in Kwa-Rueben in what is believed to be squatter land (for which no title deed may be issued), is still unaccounted for. One of the issues members (now ex members) wished to raise at the A.G.M. was how a minister of God could justify living in a Kshs 88,000 rent per month house when most of his flock lived in the desperate poverty of Lunga Lunga, Kibera, Mathare Valley and Kawangware and needed one form of assistance or another.

It was this threat to his easy living that had Richard like Don Quixote tilting at windmills and concocting images of a “take-over” bid. He summoned discontent members to his house and in a classic example of doublespeak, he told each one cryptically “we give you three months to go think matters over and then repent.”

Only those who agreed to follow his way of thinking to the tee, were allowed back in.

There is a difference between fostered appearances and reality and while there may be a number of people who are happy in the N.C.C, the majority are not. There is a difference between fixing something that is broken and something that never worked. The desperateness many current and former cult members feel because their lives have been controlled for them is understandable. But they have been told lies and they have to face the truth. The sheep are hurting because the shepherds have twisted scripture in order to gain influence and make a quick profit. I don’t blame people because they believe what they’ve been taught. I just think there needs to be more awareness and counseling about cults in our country.

Jeff Omwela
former member, Nairobi Christian Church

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