Velez: Faith, cash, and salvation


HOW the Christian church started was recorded in the Book of Acts. After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, the first thing the apostles and followers did was to sell their possessions and to share their money and food.

Two thousand years later, the church split into Catholics and Protestants, produced many versions and interpretations of the Bible, morphed into thousands of churches. But one of this church seems to be practicing that spirit of sharing among its members.

That is Kapa Ministry (Kabus Padauton or Make the Poor Rich) whose practice of asking a one time “cash donation” from members that guaranteed a 30 percent increase or payout.

Whether this is legally questionable or economically sustainable are valid questions. Where will Kapa finance P15 billion a month for its five million members?

But I would leave these questions to those who are well versed in economics and law.

But let us look instead at the construct of faith and money. Is it ironic that a faith, regardless of what denomination, that has promised a better after-life, is involved in the very worldly matter of amassing wealth and security?

There is a book called Popes and Bankers written by Jack Cashill tat delves into how religious scholars and institutions influenced the view of debt and credit and the interlocking relations of the church with the ambitions of rulers and bankers.

Perhaps this Kapa Ministry’s donation schemes, along with its critic pastor Quiboloy could be a colorful chapter to be added to this book.

It is phenomenal how these two Protestant evangelists come from scratch and now has properties from helicopters to prayer mountains to schools to multimedia stations. How these two groups now clash, with one side seeing themselves as empowering the poor with money in this time of crisis and inflation (despite that high GDP figures), and one side depicted as a power broker close to the government officials.

Back to Cashill’s book, it references an American financial evangelist Dave Ramsey, who believes that spending and giving money wisely would lessen social problems (such as poverty and debt) and eliminate government from social welfare.

That is not liberation theology as Father Boff envisioned. But Kapa members said it has helped them get off problems such as debt, unemployment, high costs of sending children to school or caring for the sickly.

One wonders too, given we have a demagogue leadership that woos people with messianic solutions, why hasn’t this government solve this problem of poverty? And while it has worries about this Kapa scheme, what alternatives do they present?

And as all problems end in this country, people will resign this to prayers for a solution.



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