Reverend Professor Eric Nii Bortey Hatsu Anum, has urged Africans to take a clue from the happenings in Biblical history as they continued to implore its usage for leadership development in nation building Prof. Anum, a Professor in New Testament Studies, was speaking on the topic: “Dilemma of the Bible user: Challenges in the Appropriation of the Bible for Leadership Development in Nation Building in Africa” at an inaugural lecture organised by the University of Cape Coast (UCC), on Wednesday.
The lecture, which brought together eminent theologians from across the country, was to examine the extent to which Bible usage contributed to deepening insights into the relationship between religion and leadership development and nation building.
Prof. Anum cautioned that Bible usage, though very crucial for leadership development in nation building, if its study was trivialised but usage maximised, it could be a dangerous weapon.
The Bible, he said had been a partner in leadership development in nation building in the development of democratic structures in Western Europe and Africa by the adaptation of it theory in various shades and forms for centuries.
He mentioned the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Jerry John Rawlings, Atta Mills and John Mahama as major culprits in the “dis-use”, “re-use” and “misuse” of the Bible in the post colonial era.
“Kwame Nkrumah for instance, described himself as a non-denominational Christian and a scientific Marxist projecting himself as African Messiah and formulated “Nkrumaism” which was a kind of political religion and employed several metaphors borrowed from religion to express its tenets,” he added.
He further stated that the “John3:16” slogan by former President Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) fitted more in the area of “dis-use” of the text in a period of “re-use” and resulted in a “misuse” of it.
Similarly, John Jerry Rawlings was described as “junior Jesus” while his 1981 revolution was called a “Holy War”.Prof Anum also blamed the missionaries that operated colonial regimes of a deliberate attempt to use the Bible to regiment the people of Africa into a certain mode that suited them.
This, he said was done through secular education, Christian education and the translation of the Bible into African languages.
He said though mission schools were established throughout Africa, the missionaries imposed European Christianity on Africans through imperialistic theology in operating those mission schools.
This was contradictory in terms because, on one hand, education gave Africans the tools for understanding issues related to freedom and liberty, but at the same time, there were also oppressive elements in the way racism, separatism and oppression were perpetuated.
However, the missionaries could not tell the colonialist that the dispossession of the people of their land was contrary to the Bible which did not condone any form of injustice of that sort.
“My dilemma is sown in the reception of the Bible in Africa and watered by the usage of the Bible in Africa and its implications for leadership development in nation building,” he stated.
Prof Anum expressed worry as to whether there would be space for a critical involvement of the scripture or even religion in leadership development for nation building as Biblical studies continued to dwindle.