Pentecostal or is it evangelical winds that have swept across the faces of most African countries have not left out the beloved Malawi. Interestingly it has brought with it an upshot, pregnant with Devine salvation and deliverance that has entangled country folks in activities that has proffered us a share of our own experience.
Leslie Goffe writing for the BBC Focus on Africa Magazine thinks that Africa is being colonized and Christianised all over again. He said the colonizers are Americans and the brand of belief they are taking to Africa is Evangelical Christianity, a fundamentalist version of the protestant faith that many Pentecostalists, Baptists and others have allied themselves with.
While Nigeria is importing evangelists from America, Malawi is unfortunately importing from both Nigeria and America. The exportation principle borders on the belief that those exporting have surplus and the same would explain the assertion that they have evangelised the whole of Nigeria and America now it’s the turn of Malawi.
The miracles that have come with it is in three folds: one that professes miraculous healing where it is claimed that the blind -see, the deaf –hear, etc while the other one is a rumour that has whipped into a hurricane force across the continent that all this is satanic powers on display.
While the two could be doubted and dismissed as having no subtantialized foundation the third is believable because it is tangible. It is an open secret that pushers and peddlers -or are they movers and shakers? – Of the system have accumulated excessive wealth in the name of God through Pentecostal guff.
The pattern of praying in such gatherings is characterized by first, worshippers draping themselves in kind of clothing that do not fall short of splendour and magnificence description and this goes without any dressing code boundaries.
The pastors of such groupings who are usually dressed in the world’s most glad rags and sporting expensive watches are very pompous that in gatherings where all speak Chichewa like in our Malawi case, they use English as the lingua fracas in their sermons, which are spiced by music from bands that play under the banner of praise and worship.
The most disturbing thing is that this kind of praying has a magnetic pull that in Africa alone is of a very big magnitude hovering around 19% of the continent’s population. There were only 17 million followers in 1970 to date there has been a whooping increase of proselytes which is staggering at 125 million.
At the confluence of this Evangelism, Satanism and wealth there comes out two pictures: One of the poverty stricken believers who are gullibly following everything because they are a part of a population impoverished by unemployment, lack of basic social infrastructures and thinks the church is the last refuge and are consequently stripped off all their modest wealth which they give to the church in form of offerings, unlike the poor widow and her two coins.
The other picture is that of pastors and other leaders who are only maintaining Christianity façade which is hiding their true identity of not only being messengers of Satan but of wealth as well.
Sola Odunfa writing for BBC noted that The Pentecostal faith in Nigeria is a veritable goldmine, judging by the opulence of most of its pastors.
He says it is even more attractive because incomes of churches are tax-exempt. Nearly all the churches are the private property of their pastors/founders and their immediate families.
My research shows that the scenario is the same back home here.
Just to show how these leaders are busy ripping off the poor than enriching them with the word of God, one American Evangelist Benny Hinn flew into Nigeria in a private jet with a large crew that included bodyguards promising Devine miracles after the end of three days organized for the meeting.
Each night about 300, 000 instead of at least a million as is the case with the local evangelists was expected and on the final day he threw the façade away and while frothing at the mouth shouted: “Four million dollars down the drain.”
He whined to the audience that the local organizing committee had cheated him that 6 million people would attend the crusade. He complained about some claimed expenditures and the charges imposed on pastors who attended his daytime seminar and journalist who sought to cover the crusade.
He then announced publicly that he would not provide any more funds for the crusade; he said the local organizers should pay all outstanding bills from the collections they made on the first two days.
Malachi (3:8-11): “‘will a man rob God? You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Says the Lord Almighty
May be they are able to rob God because the work for the dark, how come their consciences are never prickled?
Just like here, there is debate in Nigeria over the source of powers of one of their respected Pentecostal doyen Supreme Pastor TB Joshua by a journalist who wanted to establish if he was employing demonic power to which he answered:
“It is written that by their fruit you shall know them. If I open my mouth and say, ‘This is the source of my power,’ it would seem I am arrogant or boasting. Rather I should boast about what God is doing in my life.
Should we wait for the judgement day and let people being waylaid in broad daylight? Or do the people need any kind of pity at all? I intend to discuss this in future. I will also write about why they preach in English to the Chichewa gathering.