Update on the Ecclesiastical Battle in Kenya, by Pr. Rossow

Bishop Asiago (left) and Other Faithful Men of the ELCK

Bishop Asiago (left) and Other Faithful Men of the ELCK

Yesterday I wrote about Bishop Obare of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK), a sister church of the LCMS, hiring police to bar legitimate delegates from the electoral convention there.

The five bus loads of legitimate delegates have now headed home. Before doing so they held an election. (My guess is there were more of them outside the gates than within since many of them came from Kisii land which has more ELCK members than any other diocese.) They have elected the following leaders: Bishop Thomas Asiago as ELCK’s presiding Bishop, Bishop Keah the Deputy to the Presiding Bishop and Rev. Meshack Ngare as General Secretary. Congratulations to these men and to the delegates who elected them.

Each of the delegates was carrying the official minutes from their parish meeting (like our circuit) where they were elected delegates. They also felt it was important to go to the site of the duly called convention. These two things will assist in getting a just decision from the courts now that they have held a parallel election, although they have stated flatly that if Obare can find the money he will try to bribe the officials and thwart justice.

It is a big mess in the ELCK right now. It is good to see these folks standing up to the years of injustice. There is still a strong tribal mentality in Kenya which causes incredibly great amounts of respect and trust for the chief. It goes a long way toward fulfilling the fourth commandment but where there is corruption, it can also be leveraged for years of abuse by the “chief.”

I encourage LCMS members to support these newly elected officials. I have spent a lot of time with Bishop Asiago and he is a quiet, humble, steadfast man of God. Those surrounding him are also men of God. Just as the LCMS had the battle for the Bible in the 70’s and we have the worship war today,these Lutherans too are battling. May God grant peace to the ELCK. I will post periodic updates as warranted.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Administrative Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church and School in Naperville, Illinois. He is the founder of the Brothers of John the Steadfast. He is also a partner in Wittenberg Church Consultants. He enjoys watercolor painting, gardening, and watching college football and basketball. He has an M Div from Concordia, St. Louis, an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a Doctorate of Ministry from Concordia, Ft. Wayne.

Comments

Update on the Ecclesiastical Battle in Kenya, by Pr. Rossow — 29 Comments

  1. Thanks for the update. I am delighted to see that now our Church ELCK has got legitimate officials. Obare was consecrated in 2002 at Kisumu stadium. His election was done in our traditional venue called Matongo our first Lutheran Church building. Since his consecration he has changed the venue to Kapenguria to make it hard for the delegates to reach there. At the same time Kapenguria has less Lutherans than any other part of ELCK but the reason of heading there is to make it impossible for delegates so that he can decide who can take which position. Now we stand to see the changes coming. It is my wish is that our Church ELCK is not split. Pastor Timothy my humble request is same as yours that is, let all Mission boards give support to the newly elected leaders. We will hear much in the coming hours and even days if not weeks and months.

  2. PLEASE, LCMS, LWML, ILH, Thrivent, Districts, local parishes, “mission-minded” Pastors, DO NOT SEND MONEY TO KENYA!! Can’t you see what outside resources produce? I am not kidding! I saw, and helped promote, similar problems caused by outside resources in Panama, Peru, Nicaragua, Kazakhstan. Anybody interested email me for details. Mission literature is full of examples of outside resource actually hindering the spread of the Gospel, outside resource is counter productive. The LCMS business manager should return all funds to the donors. Can the Kenya Church say: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” or do they depend on blessings from LCMS?

  3. Hear-hear! Thank you for the update, Pastor. With the battles at home, sometimes we forget that our brethren abroad are dealing with issues as well, sometimes more crucial at the moment than ours.

  4. My mum called this morning telling how scared she was when she heard that I was among those who traveled to Kapenguria to attend ELCK GA. Police roadblocks were given vehicle registration numbers we were traveling in with firm instructions to prevent us. At the roadblocks police were surprised to find out that we are pastors and not thugs as Obare had told them. It was big shock to Obare how we managed to evade the many roadblocks to reach the gates of election venue. This was the last and heavily guarded by the police each with gun and teargas canisters. After brief confrontation at the entrance, the police realized we are innocent and harmless. Although we slept in the buses just outside our institution, the the presence of the police

  5. Our prayers are these wrangles over now God is a miracle worker congratulations Bishop Asiago on your election the church will now see peace and evangelise bring many souls to God

  6. Thank you Kennedy for your peaceful, firm, and just attempt to change the leadership of the ELCK. Let’s hope that the people of the ELCK will continue to stand up and literally be counted so that Obare will rightly step aside an allow the new, duly elected officers of the ELCK serve God, the Gospel and the people.

  7. @Theodore Kuster #2
    Why even give your money to thrivent in the first place? They give crappy returns on investment and turn and spend thousands of dollars to advertise on the side of a nascar race car.

  8. Obare was elected in 2002 in a broad day light and consecrated in the presence of thousands of faithfuls but now he presides over elections at night, with the recent one being the third or fourth. Delegates according to him are those who support him, his allies. He may bribe his way through elections and in the corridors of power but will surely not do it when the time comes. He has divided the church into two but the truth is known to many and those who still side with him are those he promises monetary benefits, of course they will not support without being supported financially and most of them are pastors pretending to be doing the right thing. They deceive some but most of us including me, a confessional lutheran like cannot be deceived, at day or at night, asleep or awake. We may not be pastors per se but I know when a man of God does what is right and that which is right

  9. For many years we the blacks thought that the whites had superior mind just to realize that the greatest fools in this world are them. This man called Rossow whatever is posting things here because he is told but those he is colonizing. It is high time you idiot Rossow and your followers know that Kenya got its independence in 1963 and wont be colonized again by you if that is your dream. Your evil prayers will never come true. It is high time you realize that you are a non starter even in your own country, a toothless dog who will never bites. Kenyans following these _______________ by the name wazungus, I am ashamed of you. Just because you are given the peanuts which have never changed your lives, neither put ugali onto your tables, you get enticed and lured like that? You better realize that Rossow lives in the US, Ondicho lives in Finland and you are here. For how long will you blindly follow this crazy idiots? On the 27th March, ELCK had its Biannual General Assembly in which many event took place. Among the items in the agenda was the election of the church officials where Rev. Benjamin Lemosi of Central Diocese was elected as the new General Secretary and Mr. Philip Ptiso of North West Diocese elected as the Church Treasurer respectively. This now paves the was for the ELCK to prepare for the election of the Archbishop since only the Archbishop was the only one in office legally since the other officers were just on an acting capacity. Many Boards and committees were also constituted viz, the Church Council, National Board of Development, Compliance Committee, The Trustees etc. A small piece of advice to you Rossow, keep off ELCK affairs, mend your ways in your own church and mind your language. To the Kenyans being fooled that your silly endeavors will succeed, read the Church’s Constitution of the year 2008 and be smart. It is high time you realize that your Kangaroo tactics have all failed you and you will never succeed with them unless the Devils conquers Christ will shall never be forever.

  10. We edited the obscenity out of the last comment.

    FYI – a “wazunga” is one who watches and is a semi-derogatory term applied to the tourists who visit Africa because they are always looking at sites.

  11. Just a note to those who wish to defend Obare. You might want to come to this forum with something more substantial than ad hominem (against the man, without substance to the issue) attacks against pastors who preach Christ, and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins. Such arguments lacking substance, accompanied by threats sound like meaningless noise alongside the witness of sober-minded men who preach Christ.

  12. If his supporters can get on this website and post, how hard is it to send Obare an email and ask him what’s going on?

  13. Is this whitianity or Christianity?
    My widely and highly learned pastor, a Doctorate degree holder in theology of mission, and a powerful articulator of the thought content, I congratulate thee on your great prowess in language power though any confessional Lutheran would take your theological orthodoxy with some grain of salt.
    Now I can see the one who is behind the leakage in ELCK church. It is Dr. Rossow. It is this issue of down treading upon the eighth commandment which has made our beloved church to have had the problems which are besetting it now, when the then deputy presiding bishop, Rev. Thomas Asiago, wrote all nasty allegations which his memory could serve him with, but against the arch bishop whom they were working with in the same office.
    I wish Dr. Rossow were a Lutheran, your knowledge would have been informed by the Luther’s explanation of the eighth commandment and by now, you should have known that “ God does not want our neighbors deprived of their reputation, honour and character” The book of concord Ed. by R. Kolb & J.Wengert. pg 420.] Standing against this commandment, Dr. Rossow finds it himself quite at home with mudslinging, character assassination, listening from only one side thus impartiality of the highest order. Is it not in our confessions that “none has the right to judge and reprove a neighbor publicly …unless authorized to judge and reprove?” any way, it might be that you were appointed LCMS spokesperson yesterday but you know it better. My fellow Kenyans, you know it together with me that “God forbids you to speak evil about another, even though, to your certain knowledge, that person is guilty. Even less may you do so if you are not really sure and have it only from hearsay” [op cit]. Having failed to substantiate why he falsely bore witness against his colleague in the vineyard. The Ex-Com by then so it wise to put Rev. Asiago under church discipline and it was Bishop Amayo who wrote him that letter. When he stepped down in the diocesan bishopric election and joined with the unrepentant ‘bishop’ Asiago, now he has become one of the heroes of faith. It is the persons who have misguided ideology which is but as good as rumor-mongers like you who have made Rev. Asiago to be stubborn hitherto for he realized that when he gave you the one side of the story, gullible you became to the extent that you were convinced without seeing the need to hear what the office says, though to Kenya you came, which was a good chance to have facts from both sides if ever you had a quest to be impartial. In the photograph which you named them the Faithful Lutherans, Rev. Asiago is one of your so called Faithful… well, God knows.
    How I have wanted somebody who could have heeded the voice of Jesus as he directs in the steps to reconciliation, “If your brother errs against you, Go to him…” but yoy have joined the company of the overt defiant of our Lord Jesus who hold that “If your brother offend you, Talk –about- him philosophy.
    ELCK is a church which is self governing, propagating and cherishing self supporting principle. Ask those whom you have put as Faithful in this your unorthodox writing, and you will realize that the Former bishop Asiago is not a delegate by any standard in ELCK, Rev. Ngode, Rev. Isaac and many others are not delegate from any parish or by virtue of ny portfolio. If they are your faithful Lutheran ministers who would have attended the AGA and were locked out, then see how your sight is beclouded and your inferences are myopic.
    You are using very rough and vulgar terms against the delegates who went for elections that they were bribed. Did you arrive at this Dr. Rossow out of prejudice or from your concrete hearsays. Being a doctor doesn’t matter brother. Be a chrsitian first, then a pastor, then a doctor if you so like. Praying for you that one time, you will arrive at the truth and repent of your sin.
    “For Christ did not establish and institute the ministry of proclamation to provide us with money, property, popularity, honour, or friendship, nor to let us seek our own advantage through it….. but to announce what pertains to the advantage, health, and salvation of souls.” [Luther’s Works vol 21 pg 9.]

  14. Eagle Eye,

    I have tape recorded admissions by delegates that they have been bribed.

    I also have the minutes of the parish meetings showing that the delegates who were locked out were duly elected.

  15. Yes Dr.With all due respect, does “to have” in your assertion mean that you are the ear witness, or eye witness of the episode, or somebody taped some Tom, Dick and Harry and told you that they were the bribed delegates?

    Right you may be in your own eyes, but being a doctor, I thought that you would know the extent to which a secondary source is prone to doctoring and subjective on transmission.

    If the ones whom you posted their photographs as the true faithfuls are not delegates by diocesan representation or warranted portfolio constitutionally but they claim that they would have been let in to participate. (ref. the aforementioned reasons), Is it wise that the information gotten from them could not be ill-intentioned as apparent in their claim? If they were locked out, this means that they were not in the scene and whatever they taped was without the scene.

    Just respect the LCMS director in E. Africa and the mission representative in Kenya,Rev. Trump. Methink that it were good of you that if you felt that there was a problem which ELCK officials are doing contra the mission’s mission, then you would have let Rev. Trump, who is the official rep. of LCMS to deliberate on the issues or else you may be too clever to be clever, even to understand the Fourth commandment on respect to the authority. older than him you may be, but here, he is the one officially charged with the duty of overseeing the mission work in Kenya on behalf of LCMS: Or if it is Rev. Trump talking through you, then let ELCK know, I beseech thee.

  16. I might not be a significant figure in the ELCK. I was baptised in this church some 10 years before Obare defected from the Anglican church having squandered youth funds under his care a fact which led to his excommunication from Anglicanism. I do not want to judge the man from history but you can ask him what he was before 1978. We have pleaded with him as our leader to meet and share on apparent church ills as ELCK Pastors time and again but he refused. We resorted to our commitment to our calling in nourishing our congregations and parishes. In realizing that he had been rendered irrelevant, he began to plant his self-appointed bishops on us. These bishops have no vocation with us except for rubberstamping damage to our work. They have been using LCMS money (for projects as they say) to fund infidelity in our congregations. They buy christmas gifts, supply relief food to persons who are not needy, give funds to children of single girls denying the orphans the same just to gather a following. The worst has been the funding his personal projects from projects money, funding of court cases against our elected leadership and now funding the police to seal out legitimate delegates from conventions. It is ridiculous that his sons and a few clonies acting from camouflage and use of pet names are the ones representing him on this blog.

  17. The most current update is that they want to secure a court injunction against registering names of the new electees to the head office. They will use all means to bar official take-over.

  18. Gentlemen, I believe most if not all of us posting here are Lutherans either by birth or otherwise. My question is, by spewing all the venom over here are we really eager to help this Church? True there could be indeed there are problems/incessant fights name them within the church but how best can we as Lutherans assist in bringing sanity back? The Administrator isnt helping much (in my considered opinion)by reporting from a “biased” position as intimated here. My take as a Lutheran, born and brought up in this church is this, I offer myself as a “Third Voice”in all this and call upon all young professionals in the church (in Kenya) to join me in “trying to reclaim our church” through reconciliation. It is possible as members of the Church to bring these groups together.

    I urge all like minded persons to reach me through cell phone number 0720 963,344 so that we can schedule a meeting soonest to come up with a workable road map to reconciliation.

    I can authoritatively confirm to you all that this is headed to the Courts and NO solution will come therefrom can will get back this church to its former self. Only you and me can do it.

    For those who feel they still yearn to engage in these exchanges, you are free to do so, the question you should ask yourself however is whether you are helping bring peace or you are part of the problem?

  19. Eagle’s Eye
    I commend you for saying the truth.these people are devil possessed and they are truly working for the ‘author of lies’. Let’s pray that they stop these
    lies.

  20. It is apparent that this learned Rossow is misinformed. Rossow are you aware that the team you are championing for are on the verge of becoming a schismatic lot? My prayer for you is that you wake up and stop believing the lies they are telling you. As an insider in ELCK, I am always aware and informed when LCMS representative(s) visit ELCK. Why did you fail to come to ELCK Head office? It seems you are out to accomplish a dangerous mission in ELCK. As a pastor, you need not to cause confusion in ELCK. We have been watching you tarnish the name of our leader with false information you received from Gwachi and his legion. Do you know that one Rev. Gwachi is one of the beneficiaries of a few scholarships in ELCK? Do you know who endorsed him? Ask him who endorsed him.

  21. Gentlemen, I believe most if not all of us posting here are Lutherans either by birth or otherwise. My question is, by spewing all the venom over here, are we really eager to help this Church? True there could be, indeed there are problems/incessant fights, name them, within the church but how best can we as Lutherans assist in bringing sanity back? The Administrator isnt helping much (in my considered opinion)by reporting from a “biased” position as intimated here. My take as a Lutheran, born and brought up in this church is this, I offer myself as a “Third Voice”in all this and call upon all young professionals in the church (in Kenya) to join me in “trying to reclaim our church” through reconciliation. It is possible as members of the Church to bring these groups together.
    I urge all like minded persons to reach me through cell phone number 0720 963,344 so that we can schedule a meeting soonest to come up with a workable road map to reconciliation.
    I can authoritatively confirm to you all that this is headed to the Courts and NO solution will come therefrom THAT can /will get back this church to its former self. Only you and me can do it.
    For those who feel they still yearn to engage in these exchanges, you are free to do so, the question you should ask yourself however is whether you are helping bring peace or you are part of the problem?

  22. Sam,

    We are not spewing venom. We are reporting the facts. You would not be calling for a meeting if these posts had not been put up.

    People came to a church convention and they were locked out. These were duly elected delegates. They came to address the problem and they were not allowed to even attend the convention.

    In light of this, your plea makes no sense. There is no desire on the part of Obare to address the problem.

  23. ELCK Insider,

    Who supported Gwenachi with a scholarship? Was it Obare? And now he is speaking against him? What does that tell you?

    Presiding Bishop Asiago is not schismatic. He and those who elected him tried to go to the church convention and discuss these issues and vote and they were locked out. They are not schismatic. Obare is the one who is schismatic. He divides the church according to those who support him and those who don’t.

  24. Tim,

    Don’t you think a solution could still be found? I believe both camps want a sitting wherein they can be heard. We can’t condemn either side without giving them a hearing. What are your thoughts sir?

  25. If he is really for unity, how many times have they met at the registrars office, formed an election board which he thwarted. If he is for unity, why can’t he call for a meeting where everybody can air his/her grievances and solutions found. He knows the ills he is doing this church and will only give a listening ear to those who support him. He single handedly “elected” a bishop who has never been consecrated three years down the line. For how long will he serve as a bishop-elect? He can do anything in his capacity, bribe whoever he can to achieve his mission, protect his territory. He puts all dissenting voice (esp those he considers threats when it comes to elections) under church discipline. He was given the mantle to lead the flock and unite them but he resorted to diving and frustrating them. If you give scholarships so that people can support your wrong doings then LET IT BE

  26. Sam,

    I do not speak for anyone so I do not know.

    Here is what I do know. A vast majority of the ELCK is opposed to all the abuse and manipulation from the hands of Obare for years. They came to vote at a duly called election with their duly elected delegates in order to arrive at a godly solution and they were barred by Obared from the convention. A goldy solution was sought and it was blocked by Obare.

    What is there to talk about?

  27. A solution can still be found. Implement the constitution fully from the first page to the last, call for unity meetings and let people air their views freely. Hold free and fair elections according to the constitution that you vowed to respect and I can assure you all will be well

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