Despite well documented biblical scripts from, Matthew 7:15 which reads “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves,” Christians and many alike seem not to take heed of the warning.Day in and day out, although the writing on the wall is as clear as the one of the proverbial story of King Nebuchadnezzar, many, especially women continue to fall victim to the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Not a week passes by without a prophet being arrested and tried for rape. The prophet-cum-rapists seem to be using the same rape handbook as they lure their victims in the same manner under the guise of spiritual cleansing.
In a classic case, one prophet was arrested after appearing on Tilder’s show on Star FM. Prophet Mapfumo reportedly on various occasions summoned three female congregants to his prayer room at house number 7937 New Canaan, Highfields, Harare.
Mapfumo allegedly called the congregants one by one into his room and ‘‘prayed’’ for them. It is alleged he promised to deliver them from evil spirits, through a sacrificial prayer which required him to have se_xual intercourse with them.
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So daring are these prophets to the extent that just across Limpopo, Pastor Talent, a South Africa-based Nigerian pastor left the whole South Africa in a state of shock after a short video of one of his church sessions was televised on a local TV station as he passionately kissed a female congregant in front of the whole church under the pretext of healing her.
The list of cases goes on and on. So serious are these cases to the extent that in a bid to assist rape victims within Apostolic sects, the United African Apostolic Faith Mission (UAAFM) Church has established the Second Home Trust, an organisation that houses and assists rape victims in all aspects.
With all these cases brought afore for all to see, it therefore baffles the mind why people fall for the same trick?
This therefore begs the question; are Zimbabweans so desperate to the extent that they fall victim to fake prophets, whose seeming quest to quench se_xual thirst exceeds their knowledge and application of biblical principles?
Different pastors have different views, some going as far as suggesting that in some cases it’s a case of sour grapes.
Leader of Apostolic Churches Council of Zimbabwe Johannes Ndanga believes that the problem is rooted in individuals who take being a pastor or a prophet as a profession rather than a calling from God.
“The biggest problem is when being a pastor or being a prophet is taken as a profession — it’s no longer a calling.
People are no longer called by God to do His work. It’s now more of a profession. Some have decided even to be magicians who practise exorcism in a way that shows signs and wonders and have taken that and converted it into a gospel.
“For example they can make a barren woman to become pregnant and deliver a baby within days. But in the end one has to ask who really is benefiting from all this or even refer to the word of God,” said Bishop Ndanga.
He added the major highlight was the manner in which these so-called pastors were changing the doctrine to suit their needs and in the end give them room to abuse vulnerable members of society.
“Mostly these prophets perform miracles and lure celebrities into their church. They even pay some socialites to attend their services and pay some people to fake being healed and exorcised of demons. In the end they win the hearts of the population, faith and then go on to introduce them to their doctrine,” he said.
One pastor from a Pentecostal church in Bulawayo, speaking on condition of anonymity said self acclaimed prophets and pastors were tarnishing the image of good prophets by abusing congregants.
“These are very serious cases. We have prophets and pastors that are tarnishing our image, because of their actions which are far from being holy. Like in any profession there are bad apples and it’s upon congregants to pick them out whenever there are such cases.
“On the other hand female congregants should also desist from visiting pastors or prophets at their houses. Notably, that’s when rape cases emerge and sometimes prove difficult to ascertain the validity of the accusation,” said the Pastor.
Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) Bulawayo province overseer Dr Nathan Nhira who graduated in Management from Christ University in India in his study titled, A catechism of Pentecostal schisms and the efficacy of management in the stabilisation of the church in Zimbabwe, said the gospel was being commercialised for the benefit of prophets and hence leading to rampant abuse of congregants.
“Commercialisation of the gospel is now rampant, resulting in personal enrichment, driven by greed rather than the call to serve. Ministries compete to outdo each other through prophecy, healing, miracles, signs and wonders,” said Dr Nhira.
Offering a solution to women, Bishop Nhanga believes that women or any Christian should anchor their beliefs on the word of God.
“All congregants need to read the word of God and go to churches that preach the word of God. Also they have to reference whatever situation they find themselves in with the word of God, whatever the case is, so as to avoid some of these cases that are being reported day in and out,” he said.
Source: B Metro