WALKING in Harare’s busy streets, one cannot help but notice colourful banners on high rise buildings of smartly dressed men and women with the caption, “Come and witness miracles, deliverance and receive financial breakthroughs at X or Y ministries”. The banners always underscore that the church is founded by bishop X or prophet Y. This trend has grown into a real normal practice in recent times.
The trend has also seen many young people fresh from Bible colleges immediately forming their own churches with a ‘ministries’ end note. Even established pastors who had served in recognised churches are branching to form their own denominations and this has become a really widespread practice. One would naturally question why the proliferation of churches at every street corner purporting to preach the same Gospel.
Even more, it is now a cliché that everyone forming their church immediately assumes the title ‘apostle’ or ‘prophet’. However in sharp contrast to the biblical narrative, prophets never formed churches but they were actually found within the established church system fulfilling their own distinctive work. They were not the all-and-all of the church but were cogs within the church’s system.
Now, the practice of churches being founded by human beings has had fatal consequences over the years and the evidence is before our eyes every day. We have all seen where it leads to when human beings are entrusted with ultimate authority. Even in politics, it has always proved fatal when an individual is heaped with ultimate power. The philosopher was spot-on who said, “No man is good enough to be trusted with absolute power.”
The major trouble with churches founded by human beings is that, more often than not, a person becomes the symbol of worship. He becomes a demi-god whose lifestyle, beliefs and even dressing is followed to the letter. Their brand of Gospel, since it’s centred on individuals tends to gravitate towards human worship. Strangely, and in occult fashion, we have seen some individuals forsaking their family names instead opting for the prophets’ names.
For example, social network Facebook is awash with many people who have adopted Uebert Angel’s name. They call themselves ‘sons of Prophet Angel.’ The same is true for Emmanuel Makandiwa and Walter Magaya. The practice is even more rampant in some apostolic sects where the deified church founder is the point of reference and the emblem of the church. Worse, even his word is taken as law and this is increasingly clear where prophets and church leaders are actually quoted and their personal philosophies weighed against biblical teaching?
Discussing with many who attend the human founded churches, one is sure to see the depth of influence on the laity. We have people who trust and believe in their leader more than the bible. Some have even joked but in essence truly saying the truth that if one where to insult God they would get away with it but they would be beaten to pulp should they insult some deified church leaders. And this has proven true many times; some have been manhandled for daring say the truth about these church leaders. They become a god of some sort as it where. We have seen thousands kneeling before church leaders yet in the bible there is no such order.
The Bible states that “God exalted Jesus Christ and gave him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things under earth (Phil 2:9-10). At one time, Cornelius bowed to Peter and worshipped him but Peter took him up saying, “stand up: I myself also a man” Acts 10:25, 26. Some people when they saw apostle Paul and Barnabas, they likened them to gods and wanted to offer sacrifice to them but when Paul and Barnabas heard about it, they tore their clothes saying “…why do you do these things? We are also men of like passion with you…”Acts 14:11-15.
We have even witnessed rampant abuse of women occurring all due to the apportioning of ultimate power to human beings. Walter Masocha and Martin Gumbura have been accused of women sexual abuse all bringing shame to the name of God. Human beings are sure to abuse power if deified as we are currently witnessing.
There is no human being with authority to found a church at all and the practice is totally against the biblical order. The true church of God has only one founder namely Jesus Christ and unto him worship, honour and glory should be given. Further, Jesus Christ’s church comprises him as the head and the rest are brothers and sisters. No one deserves to be knelt for or deified.
Remember this is the Last Hour.