Evangelical Christians in Zimbabwe have declared that they are not willing to engage in interfaith dialogue with Muslims, Hindus and followers of traditional African religions.Their refusal presents a major obstacle to the Zimbabwe National Forum for Inter-Faith Dialogue (ZNFIFD) even before it begins its work. ZNFIFD will be officially launched in June to promote the peaceful coexistence of all religions in the country."We don't believe in inter-faith dialogue," Useni Sibanda, communications coordinator of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), told Ecumenical News International (ENI). "We believe the only way to God is through Jesus. Any other religion which does not subscribe to our thinking, we view it as a cult."Zimbabwe's evangelical churches have between 3 million and 3.6 million members. Leaders of these churches strongly oppose the blending of Christianity and traditional African religion.(According to the SBS World Guide, published in Australia, approximately 50 percent of Zimbabwe's population of 10 million people follow mixed Christian and traditional beliefs, 25 percent profess Christianity alone, and 24 percent follow indigenous beliefs. Zimbabwe also has a relatively small Muslim community.)Sibanda also said that the EFZ would also have a "serious" problem sharing a platform with African traditionalists who believed that ancestral spirits were a way to God.A leading supporter of African traditional religion, Professor Gordon Chavhunduka, who is former vice-chancellor at the University of Zimbabwe and leader of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association, told ENI: "I personally don't think that traditionalists have anything to gain from the forum. We are almost living harmoniously with other ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more