Church of divorce: Pastor promotes divorce at church. . . Lecturer speaks on ‘abuse’

IT is no secret that most pastors promote marriages in their churches, but wait till you hear of one Pastor Maxwell Chikosi who encourages his congregants to divorce partners who do not subscribe to his doctrine.

Pastor Chikosi, the leader of one of End Time Message churches in Bulawayo called Eagle Eye Tabernacle (EET) has become unpopular as it is alleged he persuades church members whose husbands or wives are not members to divorce them. He labels people who do not come to his church “serpent seeds”.

The National University of Science and Technology (Nust) lecturer Samson Mtisi whose 19-year-old marriage is on the brink of collapse is blaming Pastor Chikosi for being behind his marital problems. The past few weeks have been hectic for Mtisi as his wife Faith Mtisi dragged him to court applying for a protection order and maintenance, but all the cases were thrown out as there was overwhelming evidence that the allegations were not true.

Mtisi had the last laugh as he knew that the war between him and his wife was not real, but it was Pastor Chikosi’s plan to destroy their marriage since he left the church last year.

“By way of background, I was a member of EET for 27 years till the beginning of July last year (2017) when I left due to some doctrinal differences that I had with the two church elders on some spiritual matters.

“In their teachings, anyone who leaves the church is considered a serpent seed (devil’s incarnate). One thing I knew though was that by leaving the church and leaving my family behind, there was the risk of having a gulf being created between my family and I basing on previous experiences of other families who had walked the same route, with some resulting in divorces,” said Mtisi.

It is reported that trouble at his home started a few weeks after leaving the church as the wife embarrassed him in front of children telling him that he was the devil’s incarnate.

“My wife started telling me that I was not the head of the family, hence, she was no longer listening to anything I said to her and neither was I the ‘priest’ of the home, thus I could not lead family prayers,” said the visibly disturbed Mtisi.

In one of the sermon tape recordings which is in possession of B-Metro, the Pastor emphasised to women married to those men they consider to be devil’s incarnates (serpent seeds) to openly declare such to them and get advice.

“One of the teachings is that if a woman is married to a man they consider a serpent seed, such a woman has no vow with such a man, he is not her husband and she was being raped by this man in all their married life each time they got intimate because effectively there is no marriage.

“So they actually teach annulment of vows, which is divorce, in such situations and even encourage their church members to call the poor woman by her first name and not her husband’s name because there is no marriage, she has no husband,” he said. The woman was pushed to the edge on 2 December when she was excommunicated and told not to come to church until the time when she had solved her marital problems. Faith Mtisi got affected by being excommunicated at the church and she is trying to divorce so she could be accepted back.

“The pastor told me to solve my marital problems and therefore I have to apply for divorce because my husband abuses me,” said Faith.

On the other hand, the self-styled Man of God confirmed that Faith Mtisi was ordered to stop coming to church.

“She was not really excommunicated, but I told her to stop coming to church because she is having some problems. If she keeps coming and some people get to know of what she is going through, it will discourage them from joining us,” said Pastor Chikosi.  When he was asked on the issue of promoting divorce at his church, he declined comment saying one journalist once wrote lies about him. It is not the first time for Pastor Chikosi to be accused of pushing for a couple’s divorce as in 2007, one of his former church members dragged him to court with similar accusations.