President Edgar Lungu has called on Zambians not to fall prey to false prophets, whom he said perpetrate wrong teachings, but to remain vigilant in prayer by reading the Bible for them to know the truth.

But netizens, who followed President Lungu’s live-stream on his official Facebook page, castigated the Head of State as being insensitive by not addressing the spate of gassing incidences.

Speaking at the patron’s membership renewal exercise of the Bible Society of Zambia held at State House, Thursday, President Lungu observed that a number of Zambians had fallen prey to fake prophets and pastors because of lack of knowledge and desperation for miracles.

“I am delighted that we meet again in 2020 in order for us to renew our commitment to the work of the Bible Society and, indeed, to the work of God. Today, we are faced with difficult times in our spirituality as a nation. Truly, God’s word is an anchor for every season, and that is our comfort as a nation. I wish to reaffirm that Zambia is a Christian nation and will continue to be for many years to come, for as long as it is the wish of the Zambian people. I urge the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs to continue working towards shaping the moral and spiritual lives of our people,” President Lungu said in his speech after the ceremony.

“I appeal to Zambians not to fall prey to false prophets, who perpetrate wrong teachings, but be vigilant by reading the word of God to know the truth. A number of Zambians have fallen prey to fake prophets and pastors because of their lack of knowledge of the word of God and their desperation for miracles. The word of God in 1st John chapter 4, verse 1, clearly warns us that: ‘beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world’. I call on citizens to read the Bible and confirm whatever is preached to them with the Bible. Let us not accept everything that is passed on to us. The Bible gives us a very good example of Christians in Berea, who were wise because they checked every manner of teaching against what the Bible said. This is according to Acts 17 verse 11.”

He, however, said it was gratifying to note that the Bible Society of Zambia had declared 2020 “the year of the Bible.”

“This is a call to our citizens, who are Christians, to make the Bible the centre of their Christian life and belief. Further, the Bible implores us in Joshua chapter 1, verse 8, to meditate on the word of God all the time; ‘this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do, according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success’. There is no doubt, therefore, that the Bible is so important to the lives of Christians because it transmits God’s mind to them. We may be diverse, belonging to different denominations, but the Bible is a central text and guide to all of us who are called Christians,” he added.

“The Bible teaches us about the mercy and love of God and how we ought to love one another and to forgive one another despite our differences. It calls us to tolerate one another irrespective of our divergent opinions. The Bible also teaches us about justice, to do the right thing for everyone in society irrespective of their social standing. It tells us about taking care of those who are vulnerable and underprivileged. That no matter how little we may have, we are called to share. The Bible also tells us about settling matters amicably. That not every matter is for the courts but to sit down as brothers and sisters and resolve issues of difference. I note that the same Bible calls us to care for the environment by being good stewards of the earth. we are told to care for the land on which we live. As a patron of the Bible Society of Zambia, I am happy, therefore, the organisation continues to engage in the noble work of distributing the Bibles. In 2019, close to 65,000 Bibles were distributed in the country.”

Speaking earlier, Bible Society of Zambia General Secretary Dr Abraham Chiseka said the decision by President Lungu to renew his membership set the tone for countrywide renewal to the Society.

Netizens, however, did not receive the live-stream of the Head of State’s ceremony with enthusiasm, criticising his lack of sensitivity on the basis of his failure to address the country’s pressing social and economic challenges.

In their comments, some followers complained that it was unfortunate for President Lungu to be conducting the renewal exercise when majority of Zambians were living in constant fear of their lives amidst the gassing incidents that rocked the country in the past two months.

The following is part of the feedback gotten from a few followers by press time:

Boniface C Mwanza : “What Zambians need is not a Bible now, but access to good healthcare, clean water, electricity, employment and good education all these basic needs, you dull President!”

Charles Chindele Daka : “We are waiting for the national address, bakateka. We have big problems; people are dying! Please can you give assurance and guidance. Not ifi!!!”

Terrence Bwalya Lombe : “People look to Zambia, but the current situation is bad! Please control it; gassing has disturbed our peace!”

However, some fans applauded the Head of State on his spiritual commitment.

Mary Long G: “How admirable that the Word of GOD is embraced at the Highest House in my country. #ProudZambian”.

Chaulele Grace Banda: “May God give you more wisdom my president and may all the Angels watch over you”.

Sugar K Sukiri: “On behalf of Zimbabwean people we love you Mr President”.