Controversial Kenyan pastor Paul Mackenzie was arrested for promoting dangerous religious beliefs, leading to the death of many believers. He, formerly a taxi driver, transitioned to the ministry and became the pastor of Good News International Church. However, his false and extreme religious doctrines led to his arrest by the state.
Mackenzie has been under scrutiny for similar misconduct in the past. Over 73 of his alleged followers were found dead in Kenya. A recent investigation by AI Jazeera led to the exhumation of 26 bodies in a forest where Mackenzie preached. Charles Kamau, head of criminal investigations in Malindi, confirmed the discovery on Sunday, April 23, 2023.
Likewise, on the 24th of April, the Inspector General of the National Police, Japhet Koome, promised action against the perpetrators as the exhumation of human bodies is still ongoing.
However, this is not the first time Mackenzie has been in the crosshairs with law enforcement on such despicable allegations.
The discovery of the mass graves raises questions as to why Mackenzie could freely preach such heinous teachings. The church website indicates that Mackenzie founded the religious movement in 2003 and established branches in Nairobi and Kenya that attracted thousands of followers.
The movement aimed to “nurture the faithful holistically in all matters of Christian spirituality as we prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ through teaching and evangelism,” according to the website.
In 2017, Mackenzie launched a YouTube channel warning followers about satanic practices such as wearing wigs. That same year, he was accused of convincing children not to attend school because education is not biblical.
Paul Mackenzie sold his Church
He resigned from his pastoral position and relocated to Shakaloha town in 2022. In an interview with The Nation newspaper, he said, “I got a revelation that the time to quit has come. I just pray with myself and those who chose to believe.”
According to local media, he was arrested in March 2023 following the death of two children who starved to death in the custody of their parents. Upon release on bail of 100,000 Kenyan shillings (approximately $700), he expressed shock at the accusations.
The Repercussion of False Doctrine
Less than three weeks later, a police raid led to the discovery of the “Shakahola Forest Massacre” in a forest near the coastal town of Malindi. Mackenzie surrendered to law enforcement authorities and is currently in police custody, awaiting arraignment on May 2.
Mackenzie’s history of extremism and how he circumvented the authorities despite his prominent profile caught the attention of President William Ruto.
“Terrorists use religion to advance their heinous acts. People like Mr. Mackenzie are using religion to do the same thing,” Ruto said.
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The Kenyan government is now paying more attention to sensitive subjects surrounding Kenyan religious movements and their failed efforts to regulate unethical churches and cults that have embraced criminality. Besides, the self-proclaimed spiritual leader is facing the consequences of promoting dangerous religious beliefs masked as the gospel of Christ.
Salvation is a gift to all who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but Mackenzie’s skewed teachings have led to tragic consequences for his followers.