By all accounts, he appears to be a very hardworking man of the cloth. He is also described as quite charismatic and influential. But when otherwise likable and quite respectable people like Archbishop Nicholas D uncan-Williams begin to dabble in liturgical necromancy or seance, I begin to be a little puzzled. Then again, isn’t Ghana, after all, where religion has the sort of center-stage clout it used to have in the first century, if we are to believe many a Biblical and historical account of Judeo-Christian-Islamism?
Of course, in Ghana, the focus of liturgy and homilectics is decidedly Christian, being that our country is also predominantly inhabited by citizens of the Christian faith. Indeed, it is not my place to second-guess the renowned General Overseer of the Christian Action Faith Ministries (CAFM), particularly being that I was, myself, raised by a respectable clergyman and erudite educator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) and a pioneer in many respects, as reliably attested by the officially received history of the PCG.
I also have absolutely no problem at all, when Archbishop Duncan-Williams is quoted as saying that the recently deceased Mr. Komla Dumor, of BBC-World Service fame, was “a very spiritual person with a good heart.” One does not need any certification in the Christian ministry to arrive at such conclusion; and what is more, several of Mr. Dumor’s close friends and associates have already alluded to this fact of the deceased celebrity’s life, amply citing samples of Mr. Dumor’s personal musings making pointed theological and providential allusions in all the right places, in terms of the auspicious workings of Divine Providence in his life.
It is when Archbishop Duncan-Williams ventures into the empyrean and/or ethereal realms of presuming to so facilely explain off the mysterious workings of the Divine Godhead in defensive terms, that I, naturally, begin to develop goose-bumps. I begin to develop goose-bumps because according to my reasonably well-educated man’s understanding of Christian theology, God does not have to justify, in absolutely any way, whatsoever, whatever manner in which S/He so decides to deal with any of his creatures. And so to say in answer to the abrupt and painful transitioning of Mr. Dumor that, “Did God do this? No. This is not God’s dealing” (See “Komla’s Death Not Of God – Duncan-Williams” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/24/14), is inexcusably presumptuous.
It does not get any better when the General Overseer of the Christian Action Faith Ministries further adds, “This is not how God deals with His children, especially with [our late brother’s deep] commitment and his spirituality and seriousness to the things of God.” As someone said to me recently, in regard to a similar instance of tragedy, when all has been said and done, Mr. Dumor’s widely perceived “untimely death” is what it is; that is, short of any forensically provable evidence indicating to the contrary that, somehow, the famed BBC program presenter and global news anchor did not die of natural causes.
Then also, the determination of how long any human lives is decidedly the especial prerogative of the Divine Godhead, lest any man, however self-assuredly godly, is tempted to boast or stake out any grotesque claims to esoteric epiphany or knowledge. Likewise, inasmuch as Mr. Dumor might have been seen in the “prophetic” eyes of Archbishop Duncan-Williams as being unique, nevertheless, the stark fact of whether, indeed, the likeness in versatility of the legendary broadcast journalist is deemed to be induplicable or might not be capable of being duplicated for at least a hundred years from now, can only be aptly said to be a decision that lies well beyond the highly finite imagination and capacity of us humans.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York