By Mwansa Besa
The last few decades have seen a massive mushrooming of churches and people claiming to be prophets sent by God. It is a common sight these days to see men of the collar doing miracles or lack thereof. Every other day there seems to be a new prophet on the block ready to perform mind-blowing miracles, like turning water into oil, or making women without wombs give birth. It seems like the more miracles one is able to perform the more one is revered by his followers. A friend of mine once told me a story of an acquaintance who was a seasoned illusionist from childhood, who is now swimming in riches, thanks to having reinvented himself as a “man of God” or “man of gold” depending on which side of the fence you are sitting on.
Just the other week the Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Godfridah Sumaili exercised her powers and deported Prophet Uebert Angel, a man known for stunning miracles like enabling unearned monies to be supernaturally credited to people`s bank accounts by angels. In defending her decision, she said, “Only men of God, be it pastors, missionaries and prophets preaching the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will be allowed in the country. My ministry wants to see sanity in the body of Christ. It is taking people for granted, especially those desperate for spiritual attention. Is the gospel for the rich people only? What about the poor Zambians? Some prophets just want to come and extort money and go back, which my ministry will not allow.” She was prompted into action after she heard that the Zimbabwean prophet was charging K2,000 for a “Millionaire Academy” meeting he was scheduled to conduct in Zambia.
Her decision attracted a backlash from his followers resulting in her being bombarded with a lot of unprintables. Prominent among the people who reacted angrily to the minister`s decision was Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri who even went as far as threatening to personally sort out the minister, it remains to be seen if he will carry out his threats. Bushiri has carved out a niche for himself as a leading miracles man, chief among his recent miracles was walking on thin air, which perhaps explains his reaction.
I have friends and relatives who have tithed and given their all to their already rich pastors and are still wallowing in poverty 10 years after the tithing and the so-called planting the seed, while their prophets and pastors continues living it large. When they ask their pastors why their seed didn’t germinate they are accused of lacking faith.
Prophets with larger than life lifestyles have become popular these days. It is a common sight to see modern charismatic preachers and prophets leaving their big mansions while putting on their million dollar suits as they drive their super expensive cars on their way to the bank, to deposit money contributed by their mostly poor church members.
Godfridah Sumaili surely has a good case in her quest to protect the miracles seeking gullible masses who keep on flocking into churches run by Pastorpreneurs (entrepreneurs who sets up churches as a business venture), apparently spurned on by unemployment, poverty and diseases. But this raises a question; how easy is it to tell who is and who is not a false prophet? Please somebody tell me where the standard she used to arrive at her decision, before I become another victim of a money hungry conman using the bible to get rich. It seems like the hunt to perform the best miracle is the new gold rush. Did I hear somebody say, “go deeper papa?” I can maybe go deeper if you equally dig deeper in your pocket. When you pay it will show!