Why prophets have gained popularity
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.