Why prophets have gained pop­u­lar­ity

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MANY peo­ple are left to marvel why prophets have grown ex­tremely pop­u­lar. The an­swer is cer­tainly not be­cause many peo­ple have de­cided to con­vert to Chris­tian­ity. The an­swer lies in our tra­di­tional be­liefs, the be­liefs that have al­ways been there, even be­fore the com­ing of Father Gon­zalo da Sil­veira.

It is an in­dis­putable fact that all Zim­bab­weans be­lieve in the ex­is­tence of a spir­i­tual world. The be­lief that there are evil spir­its that cause mis­for­tunes is much an African tra­di­tional be­lief as it is a Chris­tian be­lief.

Tra­di­tion­ally when a fam­ily was trou­bled by evil spir­its, they con­sulted spir­i­tual heal­ers known as n’an­gas and godo­boris. Be­cause of our mod­ern out­look, peo­ple now see tra­di­tional spir­i­tual heal­ers as old fash­ioned. They there­fore con­sult prophets when trou­bled by aveng­ing spir­its, an­gry an­ces­tors or witchcraft.

The prophets come in two dif­fer­ent forms. There is the flam­boy­ant Pen­te­costal type who wears the lat­est de­signer suits, whose heal­ing cru­sades are car­ried out in city halls and sta­di­ums, then the white gar­ment apos­tolic healer whose heal­ing ses­sions a nor­mally con­tacted at a ‘holy’ shrine. Pen­te­costal or apos­tolic, th­ese peo­ple have in­flu­enced peo­ple’s way of life in many dif­fer­ent ways. They have even rev­o­lu­tionised mu­sic and the arts.

Many peo­ple who hardly ever read the Bi­ble con­sult th­ese mod­ern prophets for de­liv­er­ance or to seek a spir­i­tual formula to en­hance their busi­ness for­tunes.

Some of the prophets do not even urge their clients to con­vert to Chris­tian­ity. This is an in­di­ca­tion that some of them just play the role of tra­di­tional heal­ers.

Peo­ple do not only seek the help of th­ese peo­ple when trou­bled by spir­its or when they are look­ing for eco­nomic break­throughs. They also con­sult them on is­sues of so­cial im­por­tance like find­ing a lover or se­cu­rity in

a mar­i­tal re­la­tion­ship. Prophets now hold a great stake in peo­ple’s lives to the ex­tent that some re­li­gious sect lead­ers are now be­ing idolised. Be­cause of the pow­er­ful in­flu­ence today’s prophets have on peo­ple’s psychs, many peo­ple never pause to ques­tion the bib­li­cal rel­e­vance in what some of the prophets do or say.

If a man is robbed by a so-called prophet, it takes ages for him to re­alise that he has been duped. If a woman is raped by a so-called prophet, the rev­e­la­tion that she has been sex­u­ally abused comes after nearly an eter­nity.

Th­ese prophets are said to pos­sess spir­i­tual pow­ers. This is where the prob­lem comes. No-one can per­son­alise the power of God. A per­son can only be said to have spir­i­tual gifts. The power be­longs to God.

It is the duty of every gen­uine Chris­tian preacher to guide God’s con­gre­ga­tion in the right di­rec­tion. Peo­ple need to be shocked out of their com­pla­cency so that they place their faith where it is due.

Nhamo Much­agu­misa,

Pen­ha­longa

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