African churches are known for their charismatic preachers, prophets, miracle healings, and are witnessing many signs and wonders. However, in recent months, governments across Africa are attempting to rein in these churches.
For the most part, Africa’s experience with Christianity has been positive with 63% identifying themselves as Christian. Many denominations have founded and run schools and hospitals. They have been instrumental in keeping communities together and generating a sense of togetherness.
While being sensitive to religious freedom, governments are becoming exasperated with allegations of clergy “fleecing” their congregation, and are looking to implement new measures to protect unsuspecting people from corrupt schemes.
There have been multiple schemes going on in Africa that have had questionable intentions. Recently a Nairobi pastor banned women from wearing undergarments to church arguing that women should “be free in body and spirit”. Another Kenyan preacher admitted to a scheme wherein followers paid him for cleansing them of their sins. As proof of the cleansing, the water in the “miracle basin” turned red after he prayed over it. Church leaders admitted to adding chemicals to the water.
In South Africa, a pastor made members strip naked and rode on their backs while he prayer over them, and yet another pastor declared a snake to be a chocolate bar and wanted the congregation to eat it.
Shocking, but true.
Now government has stepped in to protect the innocent. Kenya has unveiled rules designed to regulate religious groups and prevent radicalization by Muslim terrorist groups. Church leaders did protest, and the attorney general withdrew the rules, but President Uhuru Kenyatta still maintains that his intention is to prosecute rogue preachers.
“Those evil men and women who use the name of God to take advantage of the citizens and fleece them must be uprooted,” Kenyatta told a gathering in Kisumu city days after the withdrawal of the regulations.
The government in Ghana has asked the Christian Council to draft proposals to ensure churches are registered. The South African Council of Churches has called for guidelines to help self-regulate churches.
President Paul Biya (Cameroon) ordered the closure of one hundred churches over allegations of criminal activities by Pentecostal church pastors that were linked to miracles.
Tolbert Thomas Jallah, Jr. who heads the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa has commented that some African preachers have been preaching false doctrine. He commented on OneNewsNow that they are doing strange interpretations to exploit poor people by using prosperity messages, calling for miracle services and purchase healing from their members. Money is being requested before praying for the sick, to get appointments, and to register before seeing the apostle.
Not all churches are not happy with the decision claiming that not all churches are fraudulent.
Our Two Cents:
It is nice to see government taking initiative to ensure the safety of all people without imposing ceilings on religious freedom while combating illegal activities. Jesus never requested payment for miracles, and neither should clergy. It seems unethical to even think of such things!
God’s miracles should be left up to God and will manifest without anyone’s aid thereby letting everyone know that they are from God. People who are engaging in fraudulent activities are obviously far from God, and God will deal with these individuals severely.
I pity those involved as pride and greed has clouded their actions. Surely they will face a fall as God will not allow contamination of His children.
I would urge our readers to pray for churches in this area to remain pure and true to God, that no pastor would fall (be guarded against pride and greed), and those involved in corruption to have their deeds exposed.