KUNDIAWA – I commend Michael Kabuni on his fine article, Do we pay too much reverence to pastors, about the problems we experience every day with some pastors and street preachers.
Most pastors from Pentecostal churches are not educated in either biblical studies or science, and being neither scientists nor medical doctors they are not educated in the causes, effects and treatment of disease or in how vaccines work.
They have fixed and false beliefs, they tell lies and they mislead people. Knowledgeable scientific and medical explanation of Covid-19 is lacking.
How can we stop such false and misleading information that has such sinister impacts on the general population - on people who are ignorant and lack scientific knowledge?
Such ignorance of the medical sciences and the failure to understand the causes, effects and treatment of sickness affects a lot of innocent lives.
In science and medicine, we understand that most diseases have a known etiology and known outcomes, including death.
When vaccines are manufactured in laboratories, they must go through clinical trials and testing - first with animals, then human beings. There is prudent and careful scientific analysis.
Vaccines have to be certified and approved by leading medical authorities like the World Health Organisation and other medical and scientific organisations or boards in various countries before being used.
The substantial clinical trials establish scientific data and what safety measures may be required. Standard measurements verify a vaccine's proven ability.
After administering the vaccines, there is monitoring of patients for safety and effectiveness.
We know from worldwide experience that the Covid vaccines work to keep people safe and reduce the harm to people who do catch the disease. They can help eliminate the pandemic.
We also face another problem with pastors.
When a pastor prays over a sick person, the sickness is said to be magically taken away so the sick person is free from Covid or HIV/AIDS or some other similar serious illness.
These so-called ‘miracle pastors’ create more problems as sick people are then allowed to mix freely in the population, spreading disease and causing further serious health dilemmas.
I have heard from preachers, who are conspiracy theorists, that the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is produced in laboratories in Wuhan, China, and is a biological weapon to wipe out the human race.
There is serious doubt about how scientific those pastors are but those who hear them accept what they say as true because of ignorance.
Preachers and conspiracy theorists also blame Bill Gates, the Pope, the Vatican, president Biden of the United States and others as responsible for the virus.
Others preach that 5G telecommunications is the cause of Covid without knowing that God gave scientists the intellectual ability to create communication technology.
Other diseases like cancer, diabetes, TB, asthma and memory loss are also attributed to 5G.
The problem in Papua New Guinea at the moment is that there is no theological board to approve and certify pastors or to ordain people as preachers.
These people lack proper theological training and confuse themselves and others with false theology and scientific explanation of events. They make fools of themselves in the scientific world.
In Pentecostal churches, as long as you are a believer and a faithful Christian you can be approved and ordained as a pastor.
The four mainstream churches - Catholic, United, Anglican and Lutheran - are members of the Melanesian Association of Theological Studies (MATS) and their degrees and diplomas are approved by MATS after many years of study.
In the Catholic seminary, after Grade 12 a person requires another six years studying theology and philosophy before being certified for ordination.
This means priests and pastors in the mainstream churches do not spread conspiracy theories or false information concerning Covid-19 or other things.
They have embraced scientific knowledge and their preaching is based on God’s salvation and of Christ’s teaching of faith, hope and love.