Rwandan Catholic priest Father Victor Amerika has launched his first book that challenges Christian churches to stop using the bible gospel for their own business instead of teaching the truth biblical teachings.
The seven chapters, 190 paged book written in Kinyarwanda entitled Nzi Uwo Nemeye (I know the one I follow) was launched this on Friday at the new St. Family Hotel in Kigali.
The event was attended by retired Monsignor Andre Havugimana, of the Kigali Archdiocese, family (mother), fellow priests, friends and parishioners from Nyabinyenga parish where he serves as parish priest since 2013.
The book chapters revolves around key debated aspects in the bible, like role of Jesus Christ and Mary mother of God, ‘Worshipped’ Images and Message of the church, debates, the end of the world, Sabbath, Sacraments, Family life and devil sign 666- among others.
Asked why and what he intended to communicate in this book title, Fr. Amerika said that the book intends to respond to some of the issues that Christians ask themselves about the Gospel but have not been able to get a chance to get full explanation.
“I wrote using, first, my own interpretation of the gospel and experience of faith then mirror it to other believers. In most cases I see that other religious leaders misinterpret the biblical teaching, twisting the message to suit their needs, which leaves Christians with a wrong message,” Amerika said at the launch.
Using his experience of seeing other revival churches focusing on religion instead of faith, Amerika explained that Christians have to be helped to grow in faith and its fruits be evident, as in the book of Paul where Timothy seeks understanding of faith.
The gospel shouldn’t be about religious practices but the faith. Most of us have faith but the fruits of faith cannot be seen; even when we have been creative we don’t see any difference. The point is that we should be able to show faith in acts,” Amerika said.
He revealed that he was inspired to write the book, as a response to issues raised by some his Christians in 2016, who wondered how they can explain the gospel to others since the priest didn’t get time to explain beyond the pulpit.
“I wanted to show that it is not about debate among churches but to bring out the truth of the gospel and enabling Christians to understand the intended message of the gospel,” he said.
Besides the debate on the gospel truth, Monsignor Andre Havugimana, the guest of honor said the fact that Amerika managed to write a book for Christians in a language they can read and understand is a big step in itself.
“Writing books or authoring is not a common thing for everyone in the church, but as we appreciate Fr. Amerika’s efforts to raise this debate, I would like to emphasis that this book is not for a single community but for the church in Rwanda to read and understand the gospel message,” Msgr Havugimana said.
However, for some Christians, Nzi Uwo Nemeye left them with many questions- for instance one parishioner asked why Fr. Amerika gives a lot of importance to Mary Mother of God but doesn’t show the role of Joseph as his father.
“Tell us about the death of joseph. Did he die before or after Jesus and Mary? This book doesn’t seem to give him importance yet we know he was a key figure in the bible? One parishioner asked.
Others asked if the book responds to key church and family issues like marriage and divorce, family planning.
In response Fr. Amerika said that the book touches some of the family aspects and focusing on Mary mother of God was intentional though such issues will be addressed in detail in two other books.
“I have already written two more book on these issues titled- ‘Muzabamenyera Ku Mbuto Bera’ (Know them by their Fruits, and ‘Urarwubake Cyane’ (Build the Family) which will be released next year.
In the meantime, Fr. Amerika said 1,500 copies of Nzi Uwo Nemeye book title published by Imprimerrie de Muhima (Imprimu) at a reduced cost of Rwf2500, from Rwf3300 are available in all Catholic bookshops and more 500 copies will be printed to meet the increased demand with Rwanda and abroad.