Charlatans in the Lord’s sanctuary
There are too charlatans in The Lord’s sanctuary these days. Indeed, too many charlatans feeding fat from the table of God by deceiving gullible followers. Sow a seed; the bigger the seed the bigger the blessing. Pay for prayers. Pay your tithes. Give generous offerings. Your prosperity on earth is commensurate to the amount that you give. We have officially-celibate ministers who have sexual intercourse with under-aged boys and girls. The old narrow church of the widow’s mite is gone. This is not strange. It is in fulfillment of bible prophecy. ‘And many false prophets shall rise,’ the Master said, ‘and shall deceive many.’ He said further: ‘For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect.’
Earlier on in bible narrative the weeping Jeremiah of the Old Testament had lamented: ‘A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? These charlatans have adopted the tactics of magicians. By the way there are no magicians these days the way we used to have them. These days some so-called pastors visit native doctors or travel to India to acquire crowd-control powers. It was reported last year that a pastor buried human beings under his church building!
There are too many gullible followers too. Hungry followers. Ignorant followers. Greedy followers. Sheepish followers. They want a miracle – the miracle of prosperity, the miracle of sudden wealth and the miracle of flashy cars. They want to buy a handkerchief for five thousand dollars. Some ladies go to church without pants so that the Holy Spirit can enter their body through their private part! Some even sleep with the pastor as part of anointing! Yet others squat on the floor so that the pastor may step on them! A Nigerian pastors doing business in Kenya specialised in sucking the breasts of women so they may prosper! If it were possible they would ask for a miracle to guarantee them a place in paradise, sitting next to God, judging the world. They live in outer often subjective reality. Reality which makes them so special that heaven would suddenly turn them into a Dangote or a Bill Gates. In turn they promise to build huge cathedrals for God-worship or feed widows or cater for orphans!
Charlatanism is not new. It’s as old as religion, old as the supernatural held sway over mankind. These are persons, impostors who claim to be what they are not. It is true that there are supernatural powers from God. There are also powers which come from the Evil one. These powers can be understood only by the very discerning. It is also true that some don’t give a hoot about the source of power. Power is power, in their view. They claim to and sometimes perform miracles, breaking natural laws. They preach prosperity and keep silent on the moral principles of the religion. They sell prayers. They sell handkerchiefs or oil in the Lord’s name.
Man is always in search of and for the supernatural. That is how he is created. When he does not know The Creator he creates his own gods, his own channels to the divine. Man is designed to seek worship, to seek the divine. But when man gets too materialistic he loses this spirit of worship, of awe for divinity. Man by nature always wants the extraordinary to happen. It is his way of connecting with the other world. The other world, mysterious and mystic, is a fantasy. It is a powerful attraction. It carries with it the imagination of infinite power, witchcraft and wizardry, sorcery, teleporting, astral travelling, power to dominate and so on. The expression ‘sell one’s soul to the devil’ is not a 21st century creation.
Prosperity gospel has seized the imagination of millions. It started in America. It has been perfected and abused in Nigeria. The depressed economy and the uncertainty of the times make these charlatans highly attractive and needed. The people must hang on to something. Some of the prosperous pastors have become so obscene with wealth. They boast about the number of airplanes that they have; not about the souls won to Christ. They turn the church into a business venture. They position their children to take over the family business. The wealth of the family generated through preaching God’s word must remain in the family. This is so much against the spirit of the ministry which the Master set up. Else he would not have said we should lay up our treasures for the kingdom of heaven.
My brother, dear Man of God, my dear Woman (?) of God, if your followers on account of the fees’ regime cannot attend the school which you run you are a charlatan, without charity. If you have no time for the poor who are invariably more in number then you are a charlatan. If the source of your famed-power which makes crowds ‘fall in a daze’, then you are a charlatan. If your selling point as a pastor is miracles, with ‘faith or no faith,’ then you are a charlatan. If you have pledged allegiance to a deity in India or Egypt or in Ilesha or Ikorodu or Bar Beach and continue to call the name of God then you are a charlatan. Charlatanism has an end. The true pastors will reign forever. If your specialty is to pray for defiled politicians or businessmen so that they may perpetrate evil then you are a charlatan. If you sell prayers then you are a charlatan.
Finally, there are true pastors. They may never be in the limelight. Wealth or wealth accumulation is not their goal. They may not be poor; but they are not hungry and desperate. They are content with the spirit which guides them in all that they do. Are you, Mr. Pastor a charlatan?
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