Whatever happened to men of God?

Like many people, I make resolutions at the beginning of the year to help me get through the upcoming months. One of my main objectives for this year is to fortify and rebuild my faith.

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s book How to Pray Effectively has had a significant impact on how I interpret faith. Since the Bible says that God is present wherever two or more people congregate, I made a commitment to frequently attend church as I worked towards this objective. But church attendance has proved to be difficult.

It is now the third Sunday of the new year, and I have not yet entered the Lord’s house. The idea that Jesus is the go-between for God and me is one of the challenges I encounter in my spiritual path since it runs counter to my personal views. I had a hard time last year making my spiritual beliefs and Christian principles work together. Though I lean spiritually, I went in a different direction this year.

I tried hard last week to go to church. On Saturday, I got ready, made my offering, and mentally prepared myself. But after viewing the BBC documentary The Cult of TB Joshua, my determination was undermined.

I was horrified and demoralised to learn from his disciples about abuse, rape, and other horrible actions that occurred within the organisation.

That which befell the men of God.

“Beware of false prophets; they may appear to you as sheep, but they are really ferocious wolves on the inside.” – Matthew 7:15

Regrettably, TB Joshua is hardly the only contentious pastor. The number of bogus prophets participating in dubious and heinous practices – from Pastor Mboro to Alph Lukau, Bushiri, Omotoso, Makhubu and others – has grown alarmingly, and it is slowly but surely destroying our continent.

All in the name of salvation and faith. We have witnessed individuals consuming grass, rodents, and pastors touching their genitalia to produce purported miracles. In several cases, people were forced to imitate the movements of snakes.

It is alarming how much hypnosis, manipulation and greed there is in some churches. Attendees, who frequently have financial difficulties, make substantial contributions, while their pastors lavishly live off the money they have earned. Everything is just business.

People go to church in search of purpose, community and spiritual fulfilment, yet the authenticity and safety of these places are called into doubt by the negative influence of false prophets. It is depressing that locations intended to provide comfort have turned into arenas for abuse. We need to re-evaluate some churches’ existing status since it jeopardises our safety.

It could be time for us to investigate other forms of spiritual connection and worship; such as thanking God in private within our homes.

My heart bleeds for the sons and daughters of the soil. Nkosi sikelela iAfrica, yizwa imithandazo yethu.

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