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Ethiopian Cinderella Story?

Ethiopian Cinderella Story?

by Mitiku Adisu 

A brother Melaku Tesfaye has written an interesting article entitled, "Ethiopia - From Mengistu's Dungeons to Addis Stadium: An Ethiopian Cinderella story." In the article, Mr. Melaku a/ recounts the harsh treatment Ethiopian Protestant Christians received at the hands of the Derg (though he should also have included Emperor Haileselassie's regime to the list) b/ praises God and current authorities for the "miracle" of freedom of worship and c/ gently suggests that "there is so much more to do."
Here then is our assessment of the article:
1. As far as we can tell, the opinion contained in the article is solely that of brother Melaku and not those of the Kale Hiwot church or Protestant churches in general. Brother Melaku as a private citizen and as a Christian (if he so wishes to identify himself) is entitled to such an opinion. Readers should resist the temptation of prejudging Ethiopian Protestant churches and/or individual Christians every time some prominent pastor or laity opines on an issue.
2. The fact that the present article is written in English and posted in the Internet is intriguing in itself because few Ethiopians have access to the Internet and fewer understand English.
3. The author failed to be specific in some of his statements. For instance, he states that "Many local and international organizations, including the American State Department reports, have praised the achievements of the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi." Is this a factual statement? Which other local and international organizations could he be talking about?
4. The fact that "evangelical Christians in Ethiopia do not like to be involved in politics" does not mean they are apolitical. Far from it. Christians do vote. And above all, Christians do declare the Lordship of Christ in all areas of life. In other words, there is no stronger and clearer political statement to make than to say "Jesus is Lord of All!" Remember this song?
 ኢየሱስ ነው ከሁሉም በላይ
ጌታችን ነው ከሁሉም በላይ
አቻ የሌለው በምድር በሰማይ
"Iyesus naw kahulum belai,
Getachin naw kahulum belai,
Acha yellelaw bemdr besemai?!"
5. The true Church of Christ is in the world to speak in love about salvation and social justice. For that to happen the body of Christ has to keep herself from worldliness. She should be praying for those in authority; she should refrain from cozying up to earthly rulers. In fact, she should speak out against both the personal and the structural sin!
6. The author seemed to be confusing numerical growth (filling up a 20,000-seat stadium?) with quality and freedom of worship. This is not to deny that numerical growth is biblical. The 'freedom' he suggested however could be explained as indiscriminate adoption of Western "cultural" Christianity. Now as never before 'evangelical' Christianity in Ethiopia is fast turning personality-centered and technology-driven.

The above post is meant to generate a discussion. In the end, the Body of Christ is in the world but not of the world; the Church cannot serve two masters. That, we may add, is the life and testament of the evangelical martyr Qes Gudina Tumsa.