The president of Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Senior Pastor of Faith Ministries, Shingi Munyeza, has raised eyebrows after the shrewd businessman and man of cloth invested in beer outlets and betting shops where people can hook up. Munyeza has been running News Café - an upmarket and elegant bar - in Harare’s posh suburb of Borrowdale and another one in the capital’s avenue areas. He is also a shareholder in gambling firm Mega Bet.
Although the former African Sun Limited chief executive’s empire is operating legally and creating employment in a country where unemployment rate is estimated over 80 percent, critics say it is immoral for a cleric to preach righteousness during the day and promote debauchery, heresy, fornication and drunkenness at night. Munyeza has said he was being unfairly judged but said he should be commended for helping reduce unemployment.
“When I was running a lot of hotels under African Sun, you guys did not write that I was operating brothels, but now that I have my own things you want to write bad about me. Is what I am doing illegal?” Munyeza queried when contacted for comment.
The academic and high ranking businessman said there was nothing wrong with Christians owning or working in pubs as long as the businesses are operating within the confines of the country’s legal parameters.
Psychologist and theology expert, Laura Lambert said there is everything wrong with Christians either owning or working in environments that do not promote the gospel of Christ.
“If the person doing this is a true born-again Bible-believing Christian, this lifestyle would not sit well with him or her,” Lambert said. “I was a bartender off and on over the years and when I got saved I got convicted of it and did not feel comfortable with serving alcohol anymore or even being in a bar in that kind of environment. “Also there is a lot of scripture in the Bible that warns us of being drunk or even getting a person drunk.”
Claudius Damba, a cleric with a local Pentecostal church, said there was nothing wrong in what Munyeza was doing, as long as he was loving and serving his neighbours.
“According to Matthew 22:36-40, loving God and loving our neighbours sums up our purpose,” he said. “Having been reconciled to God through Christ, we are then sent by God into the world to love and serve Him by loving and serving our neighbours. This happens in vocation. So we can ask of every kind of work we are doing, ‘Am I loving and serving my neighbour, or am I exploiting and tempting him?’” he said.
“Obviously, those who make their living by robbery do not love their neighbours. Heroin dealers, hit men, con artists, and other criminals are hurting their neighbours and have no calling from God to do so,” Damba added.