Of prophets, prophesy and doomsayers

First of all, I confess that I do not know what goes into being called a Prophet; especially with what I have come to see of so-called men of God who run one-man ownerships as churches wearing such a title as an armour in our parts of the world.

On occasions such as Christmas and Easter, these people, in order to attract followers, put up billboards with their photographs instead of any symbol representing Christianity. It is easy to identify many ‘serious’ churches by their emblems or symbols, but not these one-man ownerships: they simply advertise the owners. And it is at some of these events that these prophets spew out all manner of prophesies that have become nauseating, to say the least.

Sadly, the prophesies only forecast doom and gloom. The watch night of the last day of the year provides fertile grounds for these prophets. Prominent people in society are said to die in the course of the New Year. A former President will die. A popular actor will pass away this year. A prominent traditional ruler will die in the year. There will be a huge funeral in Ghana in the New Year.

Some specifics are that the Finance Minister will die this year. Meanwhile, Ken Ofori Attah is yet to bury his Dad who passed on only recently. Another said the Asantehene will pass away this year. Someone prophesied last year that President John Mahama would die in 2020. The former President is very much alive, yet another has forecast his death this year.

It has become a contest of which of these people churn out more prophesies than the others. And they claim to have gone to the spirit realm and had such revelations from God. This is where I get confused. God almighty, the compassionate Father, the giver of Life only gives messages of doom and gloom to people who claim to be His men to deliver to the world? If God loves His people as the Holy Bible claims, why can He not use His men to tell us what to do to get out of our economic and financial mess as a country? Can He not give His people messages of hope? What kind of God is He? Nothing is adding up.

I want to hear something like, “God says if your leaders eschew corrupt practices, He would grant us His grace so we can find more oil, more minerals so galamsey can leave the surface of Ghana’s earth.” Why can’t God tell His men to tell us Ghana will be a great nation so we should do A, B or C to get there? I hear one such fellow saying that there will be a curse on anyone who criticizes God’s anointed. My question is how I will know that God anointed these people; some of them, that is.

Does it mean God has abandoned or neglected the more established churches like the Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Zion and many others and would not speak through their leaders? It has become fashionable to get an online portal and claim to be receiving messages from God; to the extent that it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine the genuine from the fake.

One glaring phenomenon is that these characters are intolerant of other people’s views on the things they preach. Some could be seen openly insulting and cursing their perceived ‘detractors’ with such venom that they make a mockery of the Christian Faith. The Christ Jesus, acclaimed as the Ideal for Christians was not known to be quick to anger. Apart from being reported to have taken a whip to people using the Synagogue as a marketplace, Jesus is reported to have rebuked Simon Peter on only one occasion.

As if their behavior is not abhorrent enough, these prophets turn the vitriol on one another in reckless abandon. They accuse one another of going for voodoo to prop up their churches and increase their memberships. They even threaten to kill one another. Of course, miracles are not supposed to be within human understanding, but neither are they meant to be absurd. One cannot but be amazed at the calibre of people who congregate to listen to these people. And they abound.

Freedom of religion must not descend into absurdity. I am aware that the path to spiritual attainment is not a cold intellectual process, but humanity has evolved to a state where illiterates who cannot even read a letter in the Bible must not be allowed to take people for granted. Today in Rwanda, you can only be allowed to open a church if you have a Diploma in Religious Studies. A recent BBC survey shows that Ghana, with a population of just thirty million people, has over sixty thousand churches and still counting.

We are turning our warehouses into churches only to go there and pray for jobs and miracles to take us out of poverty. Something must definitely be wrong somewhere. The easiest way of making money is to establish a miracle-working group and fleece poor people of what is left for their economic survival. Are we serious? .

By Dr. Akofa K. Segbefia

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