Liberian Churches Come Under Spotlight

Ms. Karnga wants to take the Gospel to the younger generation

The head of the God’s Love Center Incorporated based in the United States, Ms. Isabel Karnga, says churches in Liberia have failed in their mandate to unify the people and to bring light to Africa. Ms. Karnga, who has been visiting Liberia with other team members of her ministry, told the Daily Observer in an interview yesterday that churches themselves are divided against one another to the extent that their activities cannot convince even the unbelievers.

She said Liberia was established to bring spiritual light to Africa, and this is why the State of Maryland in Liberia was bought for the settlers, so that they would build and establish churches, in order to evangelize the people, to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the love of God and to build missions and schools in order to educate the people. Instead of the church unifying the people and demonstrating love, Ms Karnga said, the church is divided against itself, to the extent that people are going about establishing congregations on the basis of tribe.

“Even in the United States you will not find Liberian churches, but Bassa, Grebo and Krahn churches and other groups associated with Liberian tribes,” she noted. Delving into history about the coming of the settlers, Ms. Karnga said both the settlers and the aborigines could not agree because each group considered the other a stranger thereby raising the sentiment of division.

According to her, the act of division undermines the mandate of the church and the virtue of love that every Christian should possess. In addition to division, the God’s Love Center and Oasis Teaching Ministry head noted that though Christians are praying and claiming to be followers of Jesus, they are still involved in unwholesome practices, such as witchcraft, that contravene the true essence of the Gospel.

She added that most Christians after church will go to the witch doctors to seek power, wealth and to perform other rituals; something she said is contradictory to the word of God. She further noted that Christians should not eschew suffering because it is something that any true Christian must face as a means of sacrificing for his/her country and brothers and sisters.

In Liberians’ desperation for change, Ms. Karnga said “When the war came, people felt there would be a dramatic change. But nothing has changed and things still the same.” She, however, expressed the hope that as God told Ezekiel that He will bring back His people from all over into their own native land, so will it be with Liberia. Nevertheless, she said as Liberians wish to see God fulfill His share of the contract, so they should likewise play their role by demonstrating love and uniting themselves to see one another as Liberians.

“While our tribal identity cannot be denied, we are first Liberians by nationality before tribe, and to have the transformation we need, the church should bring it by unifying the people and avoid division,” she said. She also conceded that justice and punishment for perpetrators of crimes are best ways that God approves; however, she said this can be done when people learn to forgive others.

She further urged Liberian Christians to pray and live above reproach in their quest for transformation of the nation.
A team mate of Ms. Karnga, Diane Van Antwerp, said she was glad to be in Liberia to take the Gospel to the teenagers and young people in the country. She said without implementing this task the Gospel will not grow since the younger generation is the one to replace the older folks.

Since their visit coincided with celebration of Mothers’ Day, she urged mothers to carry out their God-given responsibility by taking care of the young people to bring them up under compassionate care. Isabel Karnga, like her younger sister Makeda Karnga, is a daughter of the late former Associate Justice Abayomi Karnga, one of Liberia’s leading historians of yesteryears. He once served as Chairman of the True Whig Party and Post Master General of Liberia.

Ms. Karnga, who is now approaching 90 years old, was born in Monrovia, lived and schooled there. She worked at the University of Liberia, served as an Executive Secretary to President William R. Tolbert and served as the first Director of the first Anti-Corruption Commission of Liberia.

She later worked for the African Development Bank (AfDB) and later resigned to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma in the United States to do Biblical Studies.


  1. This new generation has missed a lot of Liberia’s good-o-days!!!!

    Liberians have become so politically fragmented. The political instability and war have stigmatized and polarized Liberians over the last 38 years. Ms Karnga, no wonder why you will find so many Liberian churches ethnically compartmentalized. Different forms of Liberian tribal churches are now mushrooming in many parts of the U.S where large Liberian population lives. This is also now the case in Liberia.

    Ethnic division springing up in Liberian churches; ethnic division springing up in Liberian organizations is making it difficult to foster genuine Liberian unity both at home and abroad. Such divisiveness hampers economic growth. It creates barrier to national reconciliation and political harmony. It reminds me of desegregation in Schools in the U.S. but not desegregation in churches. You can still find clusters of Blacks and White People Churches across America on Sundays.

    I remember as a poor kid growing up in Monrovia in the sixties and attending a Catholic School on scholarship (St. Patrick’s Elementary now Cathedral High School). No matter one’s religion, gender, tribe, or ethnic background, there was always an air of civility among our peers. There was always respect for your fellow Liberians, and a great deed of respect for those in authority.

    Nevertheless, some troublemakers at school were put in their place by teachers like Chay Pay Chay and Teacher Pepper (The Mad Nigerian). Teacher Gyuanue (now Dr. Gyuanue) was always classic and sophisticated until the Benedictine Nuns took over the school.

    However, during those days, people of different faith and ethnic background attended the same school and made lasting friendships. Although Liberia was dominated politically by one party, Liberian hospitality was always exhibited throughout the length and breadth of the country.

    I remember during the sixties, when my parents (one of Muslim background Vai/Mandingo and Mother of Christian Background) travelled from Monrovia to other Parts of the country. We slept in strangers houses: in Bong County, Nimba County, Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Grand Bassa, Mary Land, Lofa just to name a few. Those were the days one did not segregate or care which tribe, gender, religion, or ethnic group one belongs to in order to be a Good Samaritan to travelling strangers. That is the Liberian hospitality I really miss.

    These are some of the Christian Virtues (love your fellow men/women and obey God laws) Ms Karnga is talking about that need to be re-instilled in Schools and the youths of Liberia today. Divisiveness and Political Party Fraternities are segregating this once peaceful loving people of Liberia. These are some of the Moral values that we lost to war and conflicts over the last 38 years in Liberia. I really miss those days of Liberian Hospitality and civility.

    When will Liberians restore those good old days of decency, peace and tranquility in Liberia? Those days, when it did not matter which religion, tribe, gender, or ethnic group you belong to? We were all Liberians; some were adopted by fellow Liberians; we were all considered God’s Children and fellow citizens of Liberia that needed to treat each other with respect.

    Well said, Ms. Karnga. It takes the old generation to teach the new generation some virtues, some morality, some love, and above all some old Christian values I learned in the Catholic School.

    This new generation has missed a lot of Liberia’s good-o-days!!!!

  2. “The State of Greboland/Maryland in Liberia was bought for the SETTLERS”??? So says The Rev. Ms. Karnga? I can’t imagine a person of God/ The Church making-up such unbelievable STORY. Absolutely! This is a gross EXTRAPOLATION. Let’s get it STRAIGHT: The Greboes never sold their land. As a matter of fact, they fought DILIGENTLY for their Land. At one point, “The Greboes actually defeated The Settlers. It was only after The U.S dispatched “Three Warships to the coast of Greboland/Maryland; that made the Grebo Warriors fall-back, only to begin Gorilla Warfare against The Settlers. Peace came between “Greboes and The Settlers through Intermarriage. Today, many Marylanders, who call themselves Congoes or Americo Liberians, have Grebo blood in their veins. The Greboes will never “MAKE WAR” against the household of their sisters, aunts brothers, uncles… They have a saying: “You’ve tied my hands”.


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