I usually refrain from engaging in these spiritual debates and arguments.
Tendai Ruben Mbofana
Yet, as a devout Christian, standing aside, opting to be a mere bystander and spectator as our God is being blasphemed is as good as endorsing this bastardization of our faith.
This need to speak up has been given a huge nudge after the recent BBC documentary on the late Nigeria self-styled prophet TB Joshua.
I need to make it clear that I have not watched the exposé, nor do I intend to watch it – since these issues are not really my cup of tea.
Whatever TB Joshua was really up to on Earth will be between him and our God Jehovah – who will judge the world through His Son Christ Jesus (Romans 14:10).
As a matter of fact, Jesus Himself commanded us not to judge anyone, as only our Father in heaven had that right (Matthew 7:1 and James 4:12).
What, however, compelled me to write this article are the various statements made by those supporting and defending such supposed ‘men of God’ as TB Joshua.
Let me hasten to mention that the very act of declaring someone ‘innocent’ of accusations leveled against him is, in itself, judging – which is forbidden by the Word of God.
Judging is not always in the form of condemnation but can also be in exonerating an individual from any wrongdoing.
This is the same as in a court of law – the judge declares one’s guilt or innocence.
Be that as it may, what I found rather curious is the assertion that an individual is a ‘true man of God’ simply based on the supposed miracles and prophesies he performs.
Nothing can be more misleading and misguided as such a most unfortunate statement.
Indeed, Jesus Himself wanted us to be discerning in establishing who was genuinely of God’s kingdom as opposed to the false prophets.
He warned us against false prophets who ‘come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves’ (Matthew 7:15).
Christ further said we would know them by their fruits – as ‘every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit’ (Matthew 7:16 and 17).
The million dollar question becomes: What are those fruits for which we need to watch out?
Is it one’s apparent ability to prophesy hidden things or foretell future events?
Could it be an individual’s supposed power to heal the sick, cast out demons, and even bless people into prosperity?
Are these what defines who is a ‘real sheep’ and ‘good tree’?
This is the impression I seemed to get from the debates that I encountered on social media, particularly after various damning accusations made against some so-called ‘men of God’.
Those who defend them base their ‘evidence’ on the phenomenal miracles and prophesies these prophets and pastors (or whatever other titles they bestowed upon themselves) performed.
Nevertheless, that is a most erroneous way of determining who is real or fake.
Surely, Jesus expected us to look far deeper than merely these superficial abilities for us to see these fruits.
Admittedly, Christ, in Mark 16:17 and 18, said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover”.
Is this not what we see with these ‘men of God’, including those facing some of the most horrifying accusations and crimes?
So, what is going on here?
Are they being falsely blamed and possibly persecuted after all?
Did Christ Himself not forewarn, “You will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22)?
Is this what is going on?
Well, let us not get ahead of ourselves!
As a matter of fact, Jesus did not stop there.
He also cautioned: For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect (Matthew 24:24).
In Matthew 7:22, Jesus said, “On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?'
“Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers’”.
What does this mean?
It is simple, really.
Just because someone calling himself a ‘man of God’ is seemingly able to perform some awe-inspiring miracles, or foretell the future, or heal the sick, or bless one’s life does not necessarily make them authentic followers of Christ.
Even Pharaoh’s magic men were able to replicate the miracles performed by Moses (Exodus 7:11).
Let us not lose sight of the fact that ‘even Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light’ (2 Corinthians 11:14).
In other words, the devil can still work phenomenal miracles, heal the sick, bless individuals, and foretell the future using these false prophets.
He was one of the most powerful archangels, after all, before rebelling against God and falling from grace.
Why would he ‘transform himself into an angel of light’?
To deceive the people into believing these imposters – who will subsequently mislead, abuse, and steal from them.
The devil’s objective is always to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10) – and what better way can he achieve this than by pretending to be God?
In fact, some followers have unknowingly ended up worshipping Satan, believing it was Jehovah God – on account of these false prophets.
Have we not come across those praising ‘Prophet/Pastor So and So’s god’!
Which ‘god’ would that be?
Again, remember, Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, and so he does not mind at all being referred to as Jehovah or Jesus.
In fact, that would be his plan.
There is more to being a Christian – more so, a prophet, pastor, amongst other titles – than performing ‘wonders’.
When Jesus talks about seeing them by their fruits, he means their behavior and character.
A genuine ‘man of God’ will follow the Word of God (as stipulated in the Bible) to the letter.
That is why it is important for Christians to fully read, study, and understand the scriptures on their own (of course, with the leading of only the Holy Spirit).
They should never be taught the Word of God by anyone else.
The Apostle John did not mince his words when he wrote, “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true.
“For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true – it is not a lie” (1 John 2:27).
He gave this warning in order for followers of Christ not to be deceived by false prophets.
The moment Christians begin understanding the Word of God on their own – being exclusively taught by the Holy Spirit – will they finally see through the pretense and deception of these supposed ‘man of God’.
Our people perish due to a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
A person who does not fully comprehend and grasp the Word of God is easy to mislead.
Surely what logic is there in a Christian who merely waits upon their church leader to take them through the Bible?
How can one be totally dependent on understanding the Word of God on the same person who might actually deceive him?
It is so easy to twist scripture for sinister motives when dealing with an ignorant Christian.
However, once an individual truly comprehends what the Word of God actually says in its entirety, can he ever hope to protect himself from deceit.
That is the only time followers of Christ can determine whether a so-called ‘man of God’ is genuinely a man of God.
A real prophet or pastor adheres, religiously, to every word of God.
This is something some of these church people are clearly failing to do.
The only sword to attack the devil is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
Without this, congregants will forever be abused, violated, and swindled by these false prophets.
These scandals rocking the Church will keep coming.
● Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 +263782283975, or email: email@example.com, or visit website: https://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/