It seems there will be no end soon of the baffling surprises from new ministries. The word “calling” has taken a new meaning and anybody with or without formal pastoral training or a conviction to carry the cross and serve the Lord can just wake up and start a ministry, but not before paying west Africa a visit to take up new parentage in the form of a spiritual father.
These new ministries are largely driven by miracles and healing, hence we have had a huge dose of “prophecies” and “demon-manifestation” during church services. We have heard of miracle babies, miracle money, anointed apples, anointed condoms, gravity defying miracles, holy oil, holy water, among other hard-to-believe signs being performed by the new breed of prophets. Some prophets have opened shops that sell the holy/ anointed trinkets for use by the faithful. The so-called miracles are meant to attract and build up big congregations, not to make lives better, edify souls or exalt the name of the Lord.
The ministries and miracles are so many, one cannot keep up. After Paul Sanyangore [Victory World International Ministries] of the anointed condoms fame, I have come across stories about Prophet Tapiwa Freddy of Goodness and Mercy Ministries based in Harare’s Glen View suburb. He invited people to a cross-over night where he would enable them to have “spiritual spectacles” to see the past, present and future. I do not know what those are, but the specs caused mayhem in church when women “got them” in spirit and they could see in their minds’ eyes their husbands making out with other women! Whether the said women were hypnotised, were seeing mirages or surely had spiritual specs on is a story for another day, but the way Christian belief has evolved in southern Africa is sad, if not pathetic.
It is clear that this prophet is targeting women to build a congregation. Suspicion and jealous cannot be separated from relationships and marriage and Freddy is swooping on that to attract women to his church. That inkling to know somebody’s secrets, especially one’s better half, will drive people to this church, but what use is negative energy and dark secrets in a house of worship? Churches must build marriages, not destroy them by fomenting and somewhat glorifying suspicion. Allowing fist fights in church as women fought their supposedly cheating husbands makes a mockery of the sacred and peaceful environment that a church must provide. If one is allowed that peek into a partner’s past and secrets, does it guarantee that the spouse will not cheat again? Some of the happenings in church are a mockery of Christ on the Cross. These signs and miracles for self-gratification and self-exaltation must come to an end.
In the Biblical times, miracles and signs happened to increase the faith of the people and to have them proclaim who the real God was. There were so many gods and people were easily diverted, so God had to reveal Himself to reclaim the lost. Take for example Elijah on Mount Carmel [1 Kings 18 v 36-39]. Since it was time for him to meet Ahab so God would send rain to Samaria after three years of famine, he prayed asking God to demonstrate that He was real before the prophets of Baal and Asherah. Baal could not send fire to consume a sacrifice made for him, but God did. The scriptures say: “And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again’. Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!’”[NKJV]
The prophet asked God to show his power and the Lord answered his prayer. To cap it, all the people, including Baal and Ashera’s prophets, proclaimed that Elijah’s God was the real God and they worshipped Him. There was a sign with a purpose on Mount Carmel!
Some say blind faith kills, but spiritual specs will sure bring unpalatable visions that will haunt some families for life. Let us keep the faith and seek to know Christ and what He expects from us. His grace is sufficient.