‘Rev. Spiritually Read Me’. How People Entice Pastors To Tell Lies.

In the charismatic ministry of healing, miracles and prophecy, many strange — often funny—experiences occur which when discussed openly could be of great benefit to the whole society. Take the case of a miracle healer. When news goes the round that a certain ‘powerful’ pastor has arrived in town, people rush to him with mostly two aims: to have their lives ‘read’ or prophesied to them, and to have some form of deliverance (like, miraculous solutions to their problems, or healing, protection form satanic attacks etc). Even when a person has received a miracle healing of his disease, the African mind tells him that the healing is not complete, unless those who were the cause of his ‘sufferings’ are revealed to him. In most cases, the pastor is confronted with the commonplace remark: “osofo, ka me ho asem kyere me, na meye mmbobo wo wiase yi mu” (pastor, prophesy to me all about myself. For, I am a miserable person. During his counseling session, someone comes in, humbly greets the pastor and sits down with a haunted expression on the face, showing that he eagerly expects to hear some prophecy to allay his fears. When a few seconds pass away without hearing what he wants to hear, the believer-client might explode: “Osofo (Pastor), please I have come. I have come to look into my destiny”. The Pastor might wince awhile and say: “what? To look into your destiny?” The hesitant believer then replies: “yes,…that you look at me and read me and tell me all about myself. I want to know my enemies, enemies who are destroying me, enemies who are the causes of my woes.” “But brother, we don’t mention names of people’s enemies here. We don’t do it that way. It’s not necessary to know your enemies. What is necessary is to get your deliverance through my praying with you right now,” the pastor remarks. The believer sits up. “Oh Pastor, if you point to me all my enemies who are ‘doing’ me, I will do nothing to them. I promise that I will say nothing to them. I only shall be careful of them. I beg…just tell me, so I can know them only,” the believer would implore. But be careful Pastor! You are being enticed into a big trouble! Dare mention a name – if you are a true seer – and you ignite troubles, quarrels and fights in someone’s family. But did Jesus ever do that? No! Suppose a genuine seer-pastor refuses to say what he sees spiritually, there are two things to be expected. One, the ‘believer-client’ might withdraw his faith in the pastor and no more go to him; and two, he might go back home to tell people that the pastor is after all not ‘powerful’ because he could not spiritually see anything about him, nor tell him about his destiny and the suspected enemies in his family that are attacking him! And later two or three people confirm that the seer-pastor is tight-lipped or silent, and does not point at enemies, he is no longer regarded as ‘powerful,’ and the rush in droves to him might stop altogether. And that might present a big dilemma to a pastor who intends to plant a church in that area. However, if he prophesies about destinies and enemies, the flurry of rush will increase, and soon his prayer-meetings will become filled to capacity with ‘believers,’ This shows four things: how our African society is still interested in divination; how many unsuccessful Africans are always inclined to find enemy scapegoats for their failures; how our society encourages non-seer-pastors to become seer-pastors “by force” in order to tell lies to deceive people: and how our African community wrongly equates ‘powerfulness’ of a pastor with his ‘prophecies’! So to be a ‘powerful’ pastor is to be a ‘spiritual’ reader. You see! The ‘read me’ episode described above is a common occurrence in the charismatic ministry, and actually presents two controversial points: first, can all men of God see spiritually or prophesy? And second, is it necessary that pastors should prophesy and tell people about their destinies and enemies? As to the first question, the candid answer is not all pastors can see spiritually and prophesy. This is because not all pastors possess the Lord’s spiritual gifts of prophecy or spirit discernment, that is, the gift for knowing what has come and what is coming; and the gift for knowing the type of spirits – dwarfs, gods, devil’s angels, witches, spiritual snakes, spiritual lions, enemies etc. that attack a person spiritually Fact is, out of the nine gifts (powers) of the Holy Spirit, (wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, spirit discernment, tongues-speaking and interpretation of tongues: (1 Corinthians 12: 9-11), a pastor may get one or two or three or a few of them, but not all. A pastor who heals or performs miracles may not have the gift of prophecy at all, so any one demanding prophecy from him is calling for lies to be told to him. And that will respond exactly to God’s Word to Jeremiah, “I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied”… from “the delusions of their own minds” (Jeremiah 26: 21-26). And this is what many Africans like! By my fairly long experience in the charismatic ministry, I am sometimes impelled to give an observational estimate that only 15 out of every 100 pastors can be genuine prophets, and 75 pastors out of every 100 can be healers, whereas 33 miracle workers can come out of every 100 pastors. But since the gift of spirit discernment (spiritual sight) is very rarely given, my reckoning is that only seven out of every 100 pastors can see spiritually. From this, it can be argued that since only a few genuine prophets and spirit discerners are in the Pentecostal system, it is incumbent upon society to stop demanding prophecies from every pastor. In point of fact, the ‘prophesy-about-me’ (or, the ka-me-ho-asem-kyere-me) syndrome is only a variant of the old African cultural traditions which accepted divinations as a way of life, especially, divinations with cowries, kola-nuts, water in a pot etc. before a community went to war, or hunters went on hunting expeditions etc. Nevertheless, since the Christian epoch, with its introduction of prophecies through dreams, visions and paracletal oracles (the word of prophecy coming from a Holy Spirit filled prophet) has made the old divination system become primitive, the society must change from its divination mentality to absolute faith in God, plus occasional unexpected prophecies. One might here be inclined to ask: which type of prophecy is the best? The answer is simple – the oracular prophecy during prayer meetings in church, in which the Holy Spirit, in his wisdom, does not mention names of someone’s enemies, but might reveal destinies and future events. Indeed every genuine prophecy is expected to fulfill three Biblical objectives which St. Paul reveals thus: “he that prophesies speaks unto men for their own edification (instructions), and exhortation (advice) and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3). Therefore any prophecy that brings discomforts to a person or chaos in a person’s family is of the devil. As to the one-on-one prophecies that come off during a counseling session, it is wrong for a seer-pastor to point out who one’s enemies are, simply because Christ never mentioned names of enemies or causes of one’s woes, except the cause was one’s own sin previously committed. For example, Jesus refused to mention the one who caused the blindness of a man “born blind from his birth” (John 9:1-7). To avoid any discomforting remark, Jesus answered that the blindness (the disease) came so that the “work of God” could be displayed in the man’s life. Shouldn’t this be an example worth emulating by pastors? The implication is that the prophetic aspect of a disease or of one’s sufferings is often not as important as the healing or deliverance side of it. Telling prophecies without solving one’s nagging problems means nothing! On the other hand, the Holy Spirit sometimes compels the seer-pastor to immediately ‘prophesy’ about the ‘believer,’ just at first sight, before the visitor even sits down. Sometimes too the Holy Spirit even prefers not to talk but to allow the visiting believer to first put his case across, just as Christ asked the two blind men; “what should I do for you?” (Matthew 20:30-34). In this case, does that mean the pastor cannot see and that he is not ‘powerful’? It’s high time people stopped crying: ‘Pastor, prophesy about me”! That will bring them nothing but lies and deceits!