The emotional dust and tensions from the August 12 Zambian elections are settling. The euphoria is steadily giving way to the backlash. The people who felt oppressed and victimized are calling for vengeance. The grieved over corruption are demanding for justice to prevail. And those who made false declarations and predictions are coming under fire. That brings me to the “prophets” and “pastors” who made declarations and predictions purporting their utterances were of divine origin. As providence would have it, the declarations made with pomp and pride were flat out wrong. And the “men of god” have eaten humble pie. It may be easy for us to find joyful satisfaction in the public and overdue humiliation of these people. However, a closer examination suggests that their actions are a problem for the Christian faith and the Church of Christ. One growing trend post-election is a general mockery and questioning of the relevancy of Christianity. The prophets and pastors are synonyms with Christianity, and that is a problem and here is why.
They are making a mockery of the Word of God
The God of the Bible is self-revealing. He has from the beginning revealed himself to his creation. In times past, he spoke through prophets and in various ways. It is, therefore, common to find the prophets of the scriptures declaring, “Thus says the Lord.” The scriptures tell us that now, the Lord has spoken through Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-3). Hence the many exhortations to know the Word of God and obey it (1 Jn 2:3, Jn 14:15, Jas 1:22). This is because the scriptures are sufficient and sure Word of God (2 Tim 3:16-17, 2 Pet 1:19-21). The current crop of prophets who conjure up dreams about the outcome of football matches and elections and attribute them to God is a mockery. The reason the Lord reveals himself to his people is to communicate his nature and redemptive purposes. When the prophets of God spoke, it was solemn and sober. The word calls people to know God, worship him, and it warns people of the dangers of disregarding the Word, ways and will of God. It is a mockery to merely reduce God’s word to predicting the deaths of public figures, the outcome of football matches and winners of elections.
They are making a mockery of Christianity
As people listen to utterances of the prophets that are ridiculous and outrageous, they equate it to the Christian message. Sadly, that is the image they have created of Christianity. They are left wondering, “what is wrong with this bunch”. One political and humanist activist recently wrote in part, on her social media platform, “religion makes it near impossible to have rational and especially difficult conversations in Zambia…” Loud, pompous and colourfully dressed papas are tarnishing the name of the Christian faith. Especially when they are the only voice people hear.
They are misleading the masses.
It is painful to see the people who flock to these prophets and drink in their utterances regularly. Hundreds and at times thousands follow them on social media and tune in to listen to their talks or rants. These live broadcasts range from name-calling, slandering,self-declaration of their powers to mind-boggling laughter. I once stumbled upon one man of God who was offering to fix phones and electrical appliances during a live-streamed gathering! And all the people affirmed his call with praise. Worse still, people send their kwachas to men like these. Sincere in their efforts but extremely lost and misled.
We cannot keep silent.
False prophets who are proud, sensual and greedy for money will always be there (2 Pet 2). But we cannot allow them to be the only voices people hear. We cannot keep silent while they misrepresent our God and his Word. We cannot afford to let them misrepresent the Christian faith. We must give a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet 3:15). We must earnestly, graciously and boldly make a case of a rational and reasonable Christian message, without which life cannot make sense. We must not cast a blind eye on or laugh off these utterances. No matter how enticing they might be, we must call them for what they really are, false!