By: Rancy S. Teewia
Following months of spiritual squabble over attempts by some of its leaders to change the name of Bethel World Outreach Ministries International to Harvest Ministry International, the campaign to change the name of the church has taken a different turn when pastors of the denomination and their respective congregations resisting the move by the overseer of the Church, Bishop Darlington Johnson.
Bishop Johnson who has been the head of the Bethel World Outreach Ministries International since its formation in 1986, for a reason unspecified wants the name of the church changed to Harvest Intercontinental Ministries, a move which is met with strong resistance from various pastors and their respective congregations.
Those who are opposed to the change of name were backed over the weekend when the Founding Father of the Church, Apostle Natt Friday, who commended them for their courage and bravery in standing their grounds against altering the identity of the church which withstood difficult times in the country over the years.
Speaking from Minnesota USA, some members of the church are quoted in saying the Apostle Friday authorized the Bethel churches and their congregations to resist the change of the name the church has been operating under since its 1986 with Article of Incorporation under which Bethel rolled out its Ministries and operated during its these 35 years of its existence in Liberia and beyond.
“We want to thank God for those of you who have fought a good fight of faith and are endeavoring to finish the course; I salute you and I boast of your courage and bravery in the Lord’s vineyard,” Bishop Friday was quoted as saying.
He reportedly charged and encouraged the Bethel congregation to continuously be steadfast and unmovable, but to always binding to the service of the Lord. “Fight the good fight of faith and finish the course. There are rewards and honors that are waiting for you,” he said.
He was quoted to have said, “Let it be known that Bethel is alive and winning more souls for the Lord. I am the Founding Father of Bethel Churches and I am currently pastoring a Bethel Church in Minnesota”
Apostle Friday stressed that all Bethel Churches that have expressed the desire to keep the Bethel name should continuously be steadfast and abiding in the work of the Lord.
In the face of the infight, Rev. Dr. John Marley has been named the new head of all Bethel Church operations by the founder, with a mandate to execute all activities in Liberia on behalf of Apostle Natt Friday.
Prior to his appointment, Rev. Marley has been a senior member of Bethel World Outreach Ministries and a member of the Council, the highest decision making body of the church.
Bethel Full Gospel Church was founded on March 17, 1986 with Apostle Natt Friday as its Founding Father. Over the years it has grown into huge followership in Monrovia and other places around the country.
Meanwhile attempts to get the word from the replaced overseer of Bethel World Outreach Ministries International Church Darlington Johnson has been fruitless.