Changing nature of Zimbabwe Charismatic Pentecostal churches doing harm to the society

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Can the miracles attributed to the prophets in Zimbabwe be from God? If they are performing any at all. Are they true prophets in the first instance? By the way, is it possible for false prophets to accomplish mighty deeds? Can the upsurge in the gospel of prosperity be consistent with the original message of Jesus? Must Christians take keen interest in how their tithes are used, or should they simply trust the “men of God?” What does God say about touching His anointed ones? Why are the young prophets almost exclusively male? Well Christians in Zimbabwe need to reflect on their lives and what actually the bible say about such things. I am talking about those who are regulars at Makandiwa, Mudzanire or anyone really who takes these charismatic opportunists serious. Pentecostals are members of denominations that believe and emphasize on the gifts of Holy Spirit, including the belief that speaking in tongues is evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Charismatic Pentecostals generally refers to historically younger Pentecostal Independent church movements, many of which function within non Pentecostal denominations. The expression itself was derived from St Paul’s reference to charismata pneumatika, “gift of the spirit”; in 1Corinthians 12-14. It is an expression that is synonymous with extraordinary divine graces that manifest on account of the Holy Spirit

Walter Magaya

Walter Magaya

 

All religions are founded on faith. Faith is a powerful, personal state of mind. Once we truly believe, we are ready to put our lives on the line to protect our faith .The power of faith lies in the strong belief in something that we are unable to comprehend yet that we know as part of us. This makes the activities of the charismatic Pentecostal churches difficult to assess. Their impeding activities have been disruptive and toxic in Zimbabwe. It is not surprising that Pentecostals have been widely presented as the only way to get saved through extolling of the Christian values.

 

Pentecostal demographic explosion in Zimbabwe has increased to shape public life increasing the influence even in politics. In the era of decolonization they indeed spearheaded democratization or supported the process but the face of Pentecostalism has now changed. Most of these movements own television. This coverage has allowed them to impact more lives than they used to do albeit badly. The evolution of Christianity in Africa is taking a different twist especially with the alarming rise of flamboyant evangelists. Is it church or enterprise? Some of these congregations have preposterous and stifling rules on women and children which strictly define what they should and shouldn’t do. These churches have worrisomely become money-centred and this has been widely reflected in their sermons. This concept is not new in the history of Zimbabwe or Christianity but has been accelerated by the growth of poverty and desperation in the society. It has been easy for the charismatic most of them tele-evangelists to manipulate the congregants.

 

Makandiwa, Magaya and Mudzanire etl have played a dysfunctional role in the society they have managed to lure people into believing in abrupt change in their financial status. The leaders of these movements rely on ecclesiastical leadership with the whole congregation solely relying on the oriental gift of the pastors. It continues to focus on the gospel of prosperity coinciding with mushrooming luxuriant life styles of their leaders.  The most disturbing effect is that pastors have saved as supernatural protectors to politicians who have been aligned with allegations of corruptions and committed other criminal offenses while in offices.  Many politicians have sought the support of these charismatic Pentecostals as way of gaining votes.

 

In 2013 Paul Biya ordered the closure of Pentecostal churches in Cameroon leaving the legalized Methodist, Anglican, Roman Catholic and other traditional churches. More than 500 charismatic churches were operating but only close to 50 were legal churches registered with the government. Biya’s government cited abuses in these churches which threatened the security and safety of the citizens. Makandiwa and his friends have outstretched their liberty and religious freedom. Zimbabwe is devoid of pragmatic preachers, It is full of gospreneurs like Makandiwa, Java, Angel aka who are just concerned about fattening their wallets at the expense of the poor.

Any sensible Zimbabwean must bemoan the growing malicious behavior of these so called prophets who have no shame milking the “have not’s”

 

In the growing debate whether the new nature of Pentecostalism in Zimbabwe is for money or true reverence, it seems that some people are not willing to question this new wave of evangelism. People have freedom of religion and action but a great question should be asked of the new millennium Pentecostalism in Zimbabwe is it led by man of ‘God or gold’, is gospel about prosperity only? It is in these circumstances that most people in the society feel the ordinary citizens who are blind to this self-enriching religious entrepreneurship must be protected. Ghana has such Victor Kwesi Boateng who is known as the god father of the (in) famous gospreneurs Uebert Angel and Emmanuel Makandiwa. The quest and insatiable desire for spiritual purity and radical improvement from poverty by most Zimbabwean Christians is somewhat worrisome.  These ordinary people faced with a more subtle but yet ruthless evil which evangelism business are not easily conned by charismatic pastors.  “Man of God” has increasingly subjected the unsuspecting but willing congregation to sermons that are hypnotic demagoguery packed to raise the capital of the church evangelists. There is nothing wrong in evangelism but much reliance on ‘give so that you can receive’ have led the robbing of starving people to give the little they have to the church. Most people are willing to offer their meager income for the promised supernatural financial prosperity. Modern evangelism has assumed a sinister position of immoral religious entrepreneurship.

 

It won’t surprise you to note that while these men of God rides in latest cars, live mansions, wear expensive clothes, uses the church credit card to pay for family trips and receives fat envelops as their monthly salaries, majority of the members struggle to pay bills. Faith healing draws people but in a society where people are faced with economic crisis, AIDS and other terminal illnesses it is dangerous for the Pentecostals to mislead people in believing that they can get spiritual protection and healing from this kind of illness.

They preach the gospel of prosperity which keeps people in circles of poverty and laziness. The pastors promise people instant results, overnight success through miracles and takes out the hardworking factor in life. This kind of preaching has taken centre stage in the society dangerously influencing millions of about overnight success coming from extraordinary miracles. It mostly affects millions of people hoping to escape the jaws of poverty and in the process they are asked to give so that they can receive. Physical possession is misleadingly considered as spiritual worthy which leaves many congregants without choice but take every opportunity which comes in their way to be rich.

 

Yes we get it God is not against riches or the rich, it good to live a prosperous life but it should be ethical and have sense of accountability. It is this worrisome changing nature of charismatic Pentecostalism in Zimbabwe which compels me to conclude that Charismatic Pentecostals are doing harm than good and their activities are toxic to the society.

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