THE Bible in Matthew 24:24-25 says: “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.”
Those were the words of our Saviour Jesus Christ which have come true today.
From the birth of Pentecostalism in the 80s and subsequent declaration of Zambia as Christian nation in 1991, the country has experienced an unprecedented increase in the number of churches.
Apart from Zambian citizens forming churches, we have also seen an increase in the number of foreigners coming to establish churches in our country.
While we acknowledge that Church is a noble institution that seeks to better human life through the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is saddening that it has been infiltrated by charlatans.
Now than ever before, we are seeing strange doctrines being orchestrated and used in churches.
We have also witnessed an increase in the number of pastors engaging in unholy acts contrary to what they proclaim.
We have seen young girls being defiled and church members being swindled out of their hard-earned income at the hands of some so-called men of God – and they are plenty.
Some “men of God” are taking advantage of people’s desperation for miracles, coupled with their ignorance, to manipulate them.
We have heard of pastors selling anointed brooms, pants, duvets, water and other products at exorbitant prices to congregants in the name of offering spiritual solutions to their challenges.
Some of these “men of God” are stinking rich from swindling unsuspecting congregants who are relegated to perpetual poverty while holding on to verbal promissory notes of a better future.
For a long time, Zambia’s borders have been left wide open to allow in anyone who comes in the name of God without any proper investigations.
However, we are comforted that with the formation of the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, things are changing.
The deportation of self-styled Nigerian prophet Andrew Ejimadu last month and now the denial of entry into the country for UK-based Zimbabwean Prophet, Uebert Angel, is evidence that the ministry is not sitting idly by but working to ensure that sanity is brought back to the body of Christ.
In the case of Prophet Angel, Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Godfridah Sumaili said it was wrong for the prophet to charge K2,000 for a “Millionaire Academy” meeting he was scheduled to hold.
“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 said.
We could not agree more with Ms Sumaili. We are made to believe that men of God are born with a natural call to help the needy. By virtue of their status and calling, we expect them to reach out to all, especially the poor.
We are, however, left to wonder why Prophet Angel and his organisers decided to exclude the underprivileged from the “Millionaire Academy” by way of exorbitant charges when the poor are actually the ones that really need it to help them come out of poverty.
The gospel should not only be accessible to the rich but to all regardless of status.
Apart from being known for controversial miracles like miracle money, airtime among others, the Zimbabwean prophet was implicated in some questionable behaviour in his own country before relocating to the United Kingdom.
We do not want to judge, but the denial of Prophet Angel entry and deportation of his Nigerian counterpart is a wake-up call to all men of the cloth to ensure they put their houses in order.
It is also a warning to those that are involved in questionable behaviour and painting the church black, that their days are numbered.
The clergy, of all people, should be men and women of high and unquestionable repute.
We also urge Government to interrogate operations of churches under local pastors to ensure that they are not only complying with the word of God but with the laws of the land as well.
This is because even among local pastors we have many misleading and preying on their flock.
We surely agree with Ms Sumaili that we need sanity in the body of Christ.