When defending his Christian faith, Nick Chakwera does not hold back. For years, he has defended the gospel through public debates, radio programmes, and recently, music.
With the growing voices of non-belief in the country, Chakwera has risen to the occasion.
Using his stage name, Asabu and the Gentiles, Chakwera has advanced his apologetic messages in his recently released album, Nyimbo Za Chitsotsombetso. Primarily done in reggae, Chakwera has used the beat to sing and protest complex topics.
The lead single in the album was Mwatiyenjeza in 2015, in which he launched a scathing attack on modern-day self-touted church prophets of the Pentecostal movement who claim to prophesy, a thing Chakwera reveals is based on research, not vision.
“Inu aneneri wonyenga, musakhale ngati muli ndi ma key a imfa ndi hade, kumawopyseza anthu kuti akafa akaulula za dyera…” (You false prophets, do not be like you have keys of death and hades, threatening people with death if they reveal your greed…” he sings.
As a minister of the gospel himself and a lead pastor at a Malawi Assemblies of God church in Lilongwe, one can appreciate the honesty in his words towards his fellow men of God.
Sounding uncompromised, Chakwera urges the Christians to reveal the wrongs in their churches.
For those who have followed Chakwera for years, he is a minister cut from a different cloth. He takes the gospel to hard-to-reach places. Among the many ministers in the country, he rises up to re-imagine Christianity in the modern world in his trademark discussions and arguments on faith and reason.
However, his take on contentious topics such as evolution in his songs has been a complete miss, according to one Lilongwe-based non-believer, Jimmy Chaziya, who has listened to the songs. In the song, Nthano Za Makono, Chakwera attempts to discuss evolution by calling it mere ‘modern stories’.
“Chakwera has shown that he does not understand evolution. Evolution says that humans and ape-like creatures share the same ancestor, not that we evolved from monkeys. This is supported by indisputable evidence,” said Chaziya.
He continued: “Creationists claim that God created everything, but where did that Creator come from?”
The collision of ideas between Chakwera and Chaziya exposes one thing: As humans, we have different explanations of the observable universe. However, while evolution is built on indisputable evidence, biblical creationism is based on one of the thousands of creation stories around the world.
Chakwera continues the onslaught in Ine Ntafunsa, in which he asks: “Ndani amatsutsa kuti Mulungu aliko? Tiuzeni komwe zonse zinachokera ngati ndi choncho. Kodi chilengedwe chingabwere popanda mlengi? Akatswirinso amanena chilengedwe chinali ndi chiyambi.” (Who says there is no God? If so, tell us where creation came from. Can creation happen without a creator? Even experts also say that creation has a beginning).
Difficult questions. However, in Chichewa, ‘chilengedwe’ can mean both creation and nature. In philosophy, these are two different things. If Chakwera meant creation in the song, he was only propagating creationism. But if he meant nature, he only exposed the claim by religion and other cultures who claim that nature began with a God.
That is the mood of the album. He also expresses his anti-abortion stance in the song Musaphe and anti-weed sentiments in No Ganja. The album exposes a highly-opinionated Chakwera with uncompromised views on difficult topics.
His critics may differ from his opinions, but they cannot overlook his passion for the Christian faith. He defends it with everything that he has, a true apologist.