Bishop Noah Pashapa, a well-known cleric, was savagely attacked recently for his article, “How to identify fake prophets.” Pashapa wrote: “In our times, members have to pay something to see the prophet and are either spiritually threatened, emotionally blackmailed or psychologically bullied to purchase prayed–over church merchandise such as bangles, anointing oil, holy water or towels without which they (congregants) are doomed to failure, poverty and sickness.”
The clergyman further wrote: “Fake prophets who, in reality, are psychic-mediums, sorcerers, fortune tellers, magicians, hypnotists or charlatans, who now wear suits, read and preach from bibles which makes it difficult to distinguish true Bible-based prophets from false ones.”
The veteran cleric, like many others who dare expose new age prophets, was lampooned and the attack was even extended to other pastors who “are jealous of the flourishing men of God”. Currently, it would appear unjust for any religious blogger to skirt the issue of prophets and miracles; there is no denying that the issue has taken the country by storm. Pastor Charles Charamba, a few weeks ago, in a Sunday paper, chose to go diplomatically about the issue, although his article had a lot of substance.
It is common knowledge that the governing systems of this world rely heavily on numbers to determine that which is ‘right’; the best example of this is seen in the widely used voting system. The rationale of numbers is that the majority represents the will of the people and therefore a reflection of what is ‘correct.’ Against this background, one Murupi, from Botswana wrote to say: “I have devoured most of your writings … but the question that I battle with each time I watch thousands who fill the stadiums is; ‘Can these millions be wrong?”’
This is quite a brilliant question in light of religious developments across the world. The prophetic and prosperity movements have drawn millions across the world on account of the promises they make. Some people, mesmerised by this new dispensation, have left their traditional churches in droves. The promises which characterise the new charismatic movements are just but too enticing. Imagine being told that you would never experience pain or failure in your life. Imagine being told that whatever happens to you in an accident you would be protected by the prophet’s power, among other such make-believe promises. Naturally, thousands upon thousands have wondered after these promises. Essentially, there is a radical departure from the conventional gospel which rebukes sin and urges the laity towards salvation.
As I highlighted before, the dominant system of this world puts faith in numbers. Now, it is imperative to understand that the kingdom of God has never been about quantity but quality. The earthly system is worlds apart from God’s system. The two are as far apart as the North Pole is to the South Pole. In fact, God’s system runs contrary to the world systems. The bible repeatedly proves that as far as the kingdom of God is concerned, only a handful will be in the right. During Noah’s time, the entire population was wiped off the face of the earth, save for eight people (Genesis7:13). Jesus aptly put it this way, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. (Mat 7:13).
Dear friends, the truth is the truth, whether it is spoken by a mad or sane man. The world has witnessed political and religious purging of particular people who represented the truth in minority yet the truth never changed. Those who dare question this new frenzy have been branded enemies of progress or agents of the devil. Those who have tried to show the people true old-time religion have received back-lashes from the ever-defensive followers of this system.
It must be clear that one does not need to be wealthy or in the majority to speak the truth. That millions of people fill stadiums does not make their cause right, any more than a buffalo can become a cow by staying in a cattle herd. Many of these immensely popular clergy, for the record, have been fingered in very unchristian activities the world over and, as usual, they hide behind the guise of the devil targeting them.
Biblically, it would be the majority in the wrong, for, narrow is the way that leads to God’s kingdom and wider is the way that leads to destruction – and it’s the millions who go through it.