How Do We Save Ourselves From False Preachers?
“When it was almost time for Passover, Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the temple, He found people selling cattle, sheep and doves. Others sat on tables exchanging money. Jesus made a whip, and drove all from the temple; he scattered the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables. ‘Get out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!’ declared Jesus”— John 2: 12-16 (NIV Bible)
Now, early this week, the country was treated to a most disturbing exposé. It wasn’t the usual stuff of politicians being caught in all manner of shenanigans. It wasn’t a case of sticky-fingered public officials being caught with their fingers in the cookie jar. It wasn’t either anything to do with the general elections date or IEBC biometric voter registration tender. It was a completely new and different ball game.
This was a case of a ‘man of God’ (or so he claimed) turning what should be a holy place of worship into not just a market place and moneychangers’ den but, even more creepy, a liar where he engaged prostitutes to give false testimonies about miracles that never were. We are talking about the case of one ‘Pastor’ Michael Njoroge of Fire Ministries who, as reported by a local TV station earlier in the week. See: (http://everywherenigeria.com/forum/topics/exposed-kenyan-pastor-busted-f...)
The so-called ‘Pastor’ not only hired commercial sex workers to fake deformities which he would ‘miraculously heal’ to bamboozle his congregation, but, behold, the ‘pastor’ was also a regular consumer of the services sold by these humble sex workers. Why would a self-proclaimed man of God fake ‘miracles’? Simple. The answer is commercial. The more ‘awesome’ the ‘miracles’ the ‘pastor’ performs, the more awed would be his congregation, which, in turn loosens purse strings. This means more money for the ‘pastor’.
As such, the so-called pastor is no different from the poor women he was hiring to fake ‘miracles’ in front of his innocent congregation. Indeed, the only difference is that the commercial sex workers at least had more honour, and ironically, moral enough to say openly exactly what they did for a living, while, on the other hand, the ‘pastor’ was a pitiable imposter masquerading as ‘miracle-working’ moral person.
However, an even more shocking incident was to come the following Sunday when the members of congregation who should have been huffing and puffing with disgust at their ‘pastor’s’ hanky-panky business chose instead to blame the devil for trying to divide their church! As Bishop David Oginde of Christ is the Answer Ministries commented during an interview, when it comes to matters of spirituality, things can indeed get really complicated as was clearly exhibited the other Sunday when ‘Pastor’ Michael Njoroge’s ‘flock’ stood and declared their unwavering support for their ‘pastor’ ostensibly because he (and their church) were under attack from the devil!
But even more importantly, the crucial question is: what is it that makes some believers so gullible that they will walk in a desert and ‘drink’ sand for water? Is it that they don’t know the difference? Or is it that they are too blinded by their quest for easy and simple solutions to life’s complex challenges that they will fall prey to any Tom, Dick, Njoroge, Otieno and Langat who offers a quick-fix solution to al their problems?
My humble submission is this: Kenyans (and the rest of the world) who fall prey to such cheap tricks and theatrics are simply too indolent to think for themselves and are instead always seeking to get something out of nothing. In the process, and sadly so, they often end up losing to these predatory ‘pastors’ even the little that they have. But the saddest thing is that in all these, the government appears lethargic, at its best, and caught in inertia, at its worst. When the Attorney General Professor Githu Muigai was confronted with the issue, he could only offer feeble and half-hearted response. “Pastor Michael Njoroge can be arrested if the public raised a complain and gave enough evidence incriminating the pastor. The church where the pastor operates from can also have their operation licence cancelled by the Government…”
As a progressive minded Attorney General, Kenyans expected a more proactive approach from Prof Githu to an issue of such magnitude than just mere platitudes. It is so sad that traders, moneychangers and merchants of death have taken over what should be holy places of worship and, even more saddening, the congregations are too blinded by their own ambitions and dreams for fast-buck material gains to see the trickery.
But you know what? Even much more saddening is the fear that the activities of these false preachers will negatively affect the genuine and bona fide preachers of the word of the Lord. On the other hand though, genuine Christians should take courage in what is in store for these kinds of operatives using the name of God in vain. Jesus puts it most concisely when he says (Mathew 18:6): “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Mwenda Njoka works with ZUKU TV and is the founder of Africa Centre for Investigative Journalism)