Politics

CBC/RBC Imbroglio: CBC Executive President Shuts Down Church, Accuses Pastor Of Open Rebellion

  • Rev. Dr. Nditemeh Revisits History, Says CBC Ready To Re-Admit Rev. Pastor Sam Jato As Prodigal Son
  • NETS Certifies RBC Is Under Ecclesiastical Authority Of CBC, But Suspended Pastor Says Church Was Built Without CBC Support
  • Pastor Reveals CBC Was Pressing RBC To Pay 27% Taxes

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

The Executive President of the Cameroon Baptist Convention, CBC, Rev. Dr. Charlemagne M. Nditemeh; has temporarily suspended one of its affiliated churches, the Redeemer Baptist Church, RBC, Mile 3 Nkwen – Bamenda, Northwest Region of Cameroon.

The suspension of the church followed an earlier suspension, last April 13, 2022, of its pastor, Rev. Sam Jato, from the pastorate of RBC over a long-standing dispute as to who owns and controls the church. The dispute recently metamorphosed to a full-blown crisis, as all attempts to amicably resolve the issues met a stone wall with Rev. Sam Jato maintaining a stiff stance and refusing to yield.

In an effort to enable the public know the truth about the ongoing crisis, The Post set out to get both sides of the story from the protagonists. Thus, the article that follows contains results of Rev. Dr. Nditemeh-led research findings on the ‘manipulative’ activities of Rev. Sam Jato, the position of US-Based NETS that planted RBC in partnership with the CBC; and Rev. Pastor Sam Jato’s stance on the raging conflict that has been taken to the administration and the court for resolution.

Rev. Dr. Nditemeh’s Reaction:

In a reaction making rounds on social media a copy of which has been sent to The Post, Nditemeh addresses CBC Ministers in the ‘truthful and incorruptible name of Christ Jesus’ in the face of outburst on social media platforms following temporal closure of RBC.

Rev. Dr. Nditemeh wrote: “Truth be told, some of the reactions and questions are coming from indisputably politically-oriented minds and/or from people who are and/or have been shopping for opportunities to run down CBC authorities, rules and regulations, as well as the modus operandi of the CBC. Permit me give you some undeniable and verifiable facts, then respectfully place some few questions to those asking insinuating, cryptically provocative/inciting, and rhetorical questions. HERE ARE THE FACTS:

“RBC was planted in partnership with the CBC by American Wes Pastor, NETS, under the jurisdiction of the CBC. Its lead pastor, since then, has been Rev. Sam Jato. Sam Jato cooperated with the CBC to the extent of being the Bamenda Field Ministers fellowship chair. Because of 27%, Rev. Sam Jato decamped with RBC into open rebellion.

“My last two predecessors tried in vain to bring RBC under the leadership of Rev. Sam Jato to no avail. My immediate predecessor went to RBC with other CBC leaders but Rev. Sam Jato would not give them any listening ear or even give them any chance to talk to the Christians. The CBC ministerial council went to RBC but was bashed. CBC Finance and Development Department went to RBC to audit the church after sufficiently informing the church well ahead of time about their coming and they met nobody in church.

“For almost one decade RBC does not participate in CBC activities at all levels. In fact the rebellion of RBC under Rev. Sam Jato was so patent and fervent that Rev. Sam Jato became a pilgrimage destination for other CBC and former CBC pastors who desired lessons on how to do so or developed appetite for the same.

“I took service as CBC Executive President in January 2021. I was briefed, gathered information, and studied the whole file during 2021. In January 2022, I tried all I could to engage dialogue with Rev. Sam Jato to resolve the standoff once and for all. It failed for various reasons ranging from his health and other family commitments. On April 10, 2022, I personally served Rev. Sam Jato with a letter to come to my office on April 12 so we put an end to this unfortunate situation. He kept me waiting in his parlour for 40 minutes while he was in his room. Of course, on April 12, he never showed up as he used to do in the past…

“On April 13, I served him with a letter of suspension from the pastorate of RBC pending resolution of this unacceptable situation. He ignored the suspension and continued. On Sunday May 8, accompanied by the Bamenda Field Administrative Council, we went to RBC. During the service, I asked to address the church and Rev. Sam Jato refused. He seized the microphone from me and three times, he asked, “Do you want a physical fight?” Bamenda Field Pastor intervened to bring him to order whereupon his youths in church started shouting and booing at me/us. The video of the drama is available. Someone captured a good part of it with the phone camera and it is available on request. That behaviour summoned suspicion.”

Results Of Nditemeh-led Findings On Rev. Sam Jato’s Activities:

“We went into research and it returned that Rev. Sam Jato got a land title since 2016 for the land of the parsonage in his personal name, the wife, and four children as joint owners of that piece of CBC land. We equally discovered that the deed of conveyance of a Prayer Group under RBC was in the personal name of Rev. Sam Jato. He added a rider by nocturnally registering RBC with Congregation Baptiste Camerounaise without the knowledge of anybody, let alone the CBC. He simply dismissed Cameroon Baptist Convention from the sign board of RBC.

“Upon these discoveries, the CBC decided to engage Rev. Sam Jato from all administrative and judicial fronts. We did this as the last resort, after I offered till the last second before the temporal closure of the church that we bury the past and move on with effect from JUNE 2022 without more. Rev. Sam Jato remained adamant that RBC is his personal property from the very beginning in 2004, when the church was planted. Before the DO and everywhere, he has stood his grounds that RBC is his personal property. At that stand and with rejection of CBC’s offer to bury the past and return to the family fold, we had no option but to move on administratively and legally. That led to the temporal closure,” Rev. Dr. Nditemeh narrated.

Nditemeh’s Rhetorical Questions To Those Questioning RBC’s Temporal Closure

In a series of rhetorical questions to those raising hell about the temporary closure of RBC, Nditemeh quipped: “1) By questioning the fate of the spiritual life of the Christians, did you read only part A of the communiqué or you read the whole including part B? Or you read part A and suddenly became blind and could not read part B? 2) Is it only now that you know that Rev. Sam Jato and RBC rebelled against the CBC or you knew about this before now? What did you do or say then?

“3) Was it a normal situation for a local church pastor of the CBC to successively rebuff three CBC Chief Executive Officers? What did you do or say? 4) Rev Sam Jato ran the church as a personal property for almost a decade. What did you do or say? 5) When he illegally registered RBC out of the CBC with Congregation Baptiste Camerounaise, what did you do or say? 6) RBC is not the only NETS-planted church in the CBC. All other NETS-planted churches are CBC churches in every sense of the word and Word. Why did you never question the negative exceptionality of RBC for almost a decade now?

“When the detractors of the CBC and her leadership and her rules and regulations shall have given honest answers to all the six questions above, we can continue the conversation. And to ALL loyal CBC Christians and ministers of the CBC, pray for humility and repentance from Rev. Sam Jato so that he can come back home and be received like a prodigal son. Not on his own terms but on the terms of the rules and regulations governing the CBC,” the CBC Executive President maintained.

Position Of US-Based NETS On Crisis:

Meanwhile, in the letters of May 26 and 29, 2020, made available to The Post and addressed to the then CBC Executive President, Rev. Godwill Ncham, and CBC leaders, the US-based New England Centre for Church Planting and Revitalisation, NETS, were clear on the relationship between RBC and the CBC.

In a follow-up letter of May 26, 2022, addressed to Nditemeh, NETS President, Wes Pastor reiterated their position on the ‘alleged property agreement between NETS and Rev. Sam Jato and RBC independence.’

“This letter is to certify that there was never an agreement between NETS, the purchaser of the RBC parsonage and sole financier of the original RBC building, and Rev. Jato to the effect that any of the RBC property would be individually owned by Rev. Jato or that RBC would be an independent church. Quite the contrary – RBC was conceived as a CBC church plant and NETS was committed to partnering fully with the CBC, a partnership finally formalised in June 2019 under Godwill’s tenure as CBC Executive President,” NETS stated. He went ahead to outline six items that help confirm the assertions.

Rev. Pastor Sam Jato’s Stance:

In a terse reaction dispatched to The Post, Rev. Sam Jato wrote: “First of all, it is regrettable that someone would want to prove a point by punishing Christians who just want to worship. The church could still have stayed open while any procedure brought by the EP works its way through the Administration and Courts. But he decided to punish the Christians. This is not acceptable.

“Here’s my story. After graduating from Bethel University in the US, in 2003, NETS pledged to support me plant a church in Cameroon. They neither knew Cameroon nor the CBC. After ordaining me, I returned home in 2004, bought land at Mile 3 Nkwen, and built the church, which I named Redeemer Baptist Church. When the church was launched, I sought affiliation with CBC just like credit unions affiliate with CAMCUL. It was after 6 years (in 2011) that CBC approved and registered the church after thoroughly reviewing our church constitution.

“We have been building the church following our vision for 18 years now and the CBC has never supported us with a dime. During the year that churches closed because of Covid-19 the CBC never helped us to pay the bills but kept pressing us to pay 27% taxes before worshiping under an authorisation that government gives free of charge. How can the CBC claim to be a non-profit organisation with such malpractices?” Rev. Sam Jato questioned.

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