- If the church is failing to clean up and sanctify its own house, then the Government could – under every constitutional provision - be compelled to step in to regulate the reckless activities of some of these “prophets” or “preachers”.
Written By Ben Dotsei Malor - There is a terrible, odious, and destructive crisis on open display in Ghana today. It is now an open sore on the image, conscience, and picture of this beloved nation. The source of this development can be found in manipulative religious practices, with the concomitant indictment of leadership across the spectrum, especially Christian leadership, media and journalistic leadership, plus political as well as traditional leadership.
Let’s just ponder over this question: How do we allow, accept, and entertain a self-styled prophet who stands up in a public gathering and pronounces death on another human being – with no regard to the feelings of the target, his or her family, children and community? How is this possible in any sane country? Traditionally speaking, COULD THIS SO-CALLED PROPHET HAVE DARED MAKE THE SAME PRONOUNCEMENT AGAINST THE OVERLORD OF THE ASHANTI KINGDOM, (where he is domiciled,) so publicly, and with no regard to protocol, privacy, and precedence?
For those non-Ghanaian friends of mine who are not fully aware, the story is that on the eve of this New Year, a so-called “Prophet Dr” in Ghana’s second-largest city, Kumasi, announced a number of what I would describe as fake prophecies, pronouncing death on a number of prominent people, including ex-presidents, the current vice-president, and the Chief Imam (of head of Muslims) in Ghana. In retaliation, some angry Muslim youth then attacked the premises of his church (in Accra, and not in Kumasi) and went on a rampage. This must be condemned and those who embarked on the violent protest must be identified and sanctioned, no matter how much they disagreed with the self-styled prophet’s pronouncements. Two wrongs do not make a right.
Indeed, the last time I checked, Ghana has laws on the books that prohibit threats of death to her citizens. The CRIMINAL OFFENCES ACT - 1960
(ACT 29) Section - 75 - Threat of Death, clearly states: “WHOEVER THREATENS ANY OTHER PERSON WITH DEATH, WITH INTENT TO PUT THAT PERSON IN FEAR OF DEATH, IS GUILTY OF A SECOND-DEGREE FELONY.” So, some key questions:
1. Why is the perpetrator of this second-degree felony now being given police protection, instead of being arrested and made to face the laws of justice in the land?
2. Where is the responsibility?
3. Where is the deterrence to others?
4. Why does impunity thrive so well across all spheres of Ghanaian society?
5. HOW CAN GHANA DEVELOP FULLY, QUICKLY, AND SUSTAINABLY, WHEN OUR LAWS ARE NOT APPLIED?
This was not the first time this false prophet has made a pronouncement of this nature. He is not the only self-styled prophet making such fear-inducing, careless and unscriptural declarations – almost exclusively about prominent politicians, celebrities, or famous people in Ghana. It would have been easy to dismiss these “prophecies” as coming from attention -seekers who prey on the not-so-well-educated and gullible in Ghanaian society but, no, it is not just the ordinary hardworking and well-meaning but gullible, probably less-educated brothers and sisters who are getting manipulated and fleeced by these charlatan, crooks, and criminals, parading themselves as “prophets.” According to the BBC story filed by correspondent Favour Nunoo, “Politicians, film stars and businessmen also go to the celebrity preachers for "spiritual protection" or to increase their fortunes.”
For the avoidance of any doubt and for full disclosure, let me state that I am a practising and striving follower of Jesus Christ. I believe in prophecies and the roles of prophets in my Christian faith and denomination. However, prophets only make up a fifth of what the Bible describes as the five-fold ministries: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors/shepherds and teachers – (Ephesians 4). Indeed, there are excellent, tested, and credible apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors/shepherds and teachers in Ghana and beyond. However, the reality we need to confront is that the false prophets are clearly louder, cavalier, and reckless, rendering the true prophets almost silent, unheard, and unknown.
The Bible also warns of false “men of God”: “BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS, WHO COME TO YOU IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING, BUT INWARDLY ARE RAVENING WOLVES.” – Matthew 7:15. The Scripture then adds: “BY THEIR FRUIT YE SHALL KNOW THEM.”
Let us be clear with some facts:
• None of the five richest nations on earth are where they are today because of prophecies.
• In fact, none of the top ten nations with a Christian heritage rose to where they are today based on a prophecy or prophecies.
• None of the ten richest persons on earth reached their current status through prophecy.
• None of the top-ten nations with the best quality of life for their children will show you prophecies as the reason behind their successes and achievements. (Norway, Finland, Japan, Singapore, Denmark, Malaysia, USA, etc …)
• None of the richest top 10 people in Africa got their wealth through prophecy, I believe.
What am I saying? PROPHECY DOES NOT MAKE A NATION. Prophecy does not make a people, and it will not make a person. In fact, a sane belief in the role of prophecy is always tempered with the caution that “man shall not live by prophecy alone.” For example, the Apostle Paul rates LOVE way above prophecy when he states in the seminal Scripture on Love in 1 Corinthians 13:2 that, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” The regular public declaration of death prophesies is not a true demonstration of Christian love, Godliness, or wisdom.
Ghana faces a potential danger, because if these things are left unchecked, we could be facing grave consequences from false prophecies and other unbiblical activities of certain self-styled preachers and prophets. There is also the potential danger of some of these heartless so-called prophets, possibly using “the ways of man” to see their deadly prophecies fulfilled.
By the way, this is not a partisan or political issue. It is more than that. Many of us carried serious reservations when one of our former leaders was seen seeking solace, comfort, and encouragement in the controversial company or guidance of a self-styled preacher, whose ways remain a matter of grave concern. No one can stop any of our political, traditional, social and other leaders from worshipping whomever they choose to worship. But it is worrisome when leaders and role models – believed to have a lot of “nyansa”, book-knowledge, travel-knowledge and world-knowledge – are seen endorsing the controversial and damaging posture of certain reckless religious leaders in Ghana. We have a problem in the way political leadership cavorts with religious or traditional leadership, whether for votes or out of courtesy. Ghana cannot afford to have prominent leaders in society patronizing, promoting, and praising controversial so-called church leaders who create fear and panic in our society.
So, what is the way out of this crisis? Certain steps can be taken, within the law and without infringing on the constitutional rights and freedoms of worship and association, to protect the ordinary Ghanaian from the wolves in sheep clothing.
FAILURE OF CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP:
“Charity begins at home,” they say. Surely, everyone in Christian leadership in Ghana must be concerned, whether they belong to the orthodox, charismatic, Pentecostal, Catholic, Evangelical or any other denomination of the Christian faith. The Ewes have a saying that translates in English as, “The goat that breaks pots in a family’s (living) room will surely end up breaking pots outside, in the community or in public.” Egbon si gba xormezea ye gbana gota ze.” If a fringe self-styled prophet calls himself a Christian leader and goes about pronouncing only death prophecies, and the main Christian leadership does nothing to call him out, then all Christian leaders will get tainted with the same brush when the excesses of these prophets are criticized by an appalled public that would rather keep away from the Good News of the Gospel.
What would it take for true and credible Christian leadership in Ghana –across all denominations - to do its own purge of those engaging in nefarious un-Christian activities and claiming to be Christian leaders? Increasingly, many people are finding it hard to distinguish between the decent Biblical leaders from the crooked and evil ones. The more brazen the act or pronouncement is, the more these charlatans engage in it purely for cheap publicity. Such people must be reined in by credible and established Christian leadership.
THE MEDIA OR JOURNALISM LEADERSHIP IN GHANA:
It is quite irresponsible, unhelpful, and damaging for the media in Ghana to continue granting the controversial, charlatan, and cowardly self-styled prophets the oxygen of publicity, through coverage of these death prophecies and other unbiblical acts. The editors of the major media houses must get to a united position and resolve to do their part in a coherent, consistent, conscientious and education-focused way to protect their listeners, audiences and followers from the damaging effect of this aspect of twisted religion. The media must stop granting these charlatans and crooks any oxygen of publicity.
The National Media Commission needs to step in and help clean up the airwaves and media platforms, where crooked, heartless, and manipulative self-appointed unaccountable “preachers’ appear to thrive with careless abandon. The media houses owe it to the people of Ghana to have programming and education that helps the public to identify, and keep away from the excesses and unbiblical activities of some self-styled “men of God.”
If the church is failing to clean up and sanctify its own house, then the Government could – under every constitutional provision - be compelled to step in to regulate the reckless activities of some of these “prophets” or “preachers”. The leader of one African nation is reported to have taken this step and banned thousands of un-regulated, un-checked, and un-licensed churches. No one is advocating a blanket draconian exercise that cannot be policed but the current situation in Ghana, if left unchecked, is going to lead to major disaster sooner rather than later. We don’t need a prophet to predict what will happen next or soon.
Until the right, urgent, and necessary actions are taken by all those in positions of power, authority, and influence, we’ll have to take solace and comfort in this: “My hand will be against prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. … then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord,” saith the LORD – and that’s from a true prophet of old, Prophet Ezekiel - Chapter 13. AMEN.
By: Ben Dotsei Malor