Are pastors taking aantage of hopelessness to reap from their flock?

Matthew Chapter 24:11 puts it very clear “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” Indeed, this has come to pass in our times. On November 2, KTN a television station in Kenya ran an exposé of a self-styled ‘doctor’ ‘prophet’ Victor Kanyari. For the last 15 years, Prophet Kanyari has been capitalising on the desperation and hopelessness of his followers to reap them off in the name of performing Godly miracles.
It all starts with a seed. He asks them to plant a seed of Kes310 (about Shs9,000) to receive a prayer for miracles and breakthrough. Once the seed is sowed – sent via the mobile money platform MPESA, the preacher then asks his followers to put water in a glass, add some salt and drink. He then prays for the water over the phone, and boom, your miracle should be on its way. His programmes have been running almost daily on television and radio stations with hundreds, if not thousands of followers, planting the seed to receive the long-awaited “miracles” from the “man of God”.
In the expose’, the journalist goes under-cover and films the pastor coaching some people to give testimonies of breakthrough and miracles in the church and at different crusades the pastor organises. What is so shocking is that one person is seen giving different testimonies at different intervals using different names. One day, the person testifies as Mary with a testimony of how God healed her of HIV, a few weeks later the same person calls herself Patricia, testifying how God opened her door to getting a husband, several weeks later at a different crusade the same person testifies as Maureen, a business woman, whom God has blessed with a booming business now shopping in Dubai.
The pastor has also been using a chemical – potassium permanganate – with which he smears his followers in church. This chemical produces blood-like substances when in contact with water. The gullible followers are then told to wash their hands. The pastor informs them how demons are coming out of there body through “blood”. The rest of the congregation remains amused and continue to pray to receive their own miracle and cast out demons.
This is perhaps one of the many stories that remain untold about fake preachers, their manipulation and exploitation of the poor in the name of God. These so-called pastors are smart, consistent and cunning. They have mastered the needs and demands of their target market and crafted very strong value propositions with well packaged messages delivered consistently to their credulous followers, backed by people purported to have received blessings from the “pastor’s” prayer interventions to validate the message.
Desperation, largely driven by the failure of State systems to create opportunities for people, continues to drive many to these churches, in hope that one day, God will deliver them from these situations. The cunning preachers are capitalising on these desperate situations to package their message of hope and quick turn-around on all sorts of miracles. These kinds of things will continue as long as governments do not take keen interest in examining the practices of some churches to really understand what happens there.
As Ugandans, we ought to be vigilant and carefully select our places of worship. While God can heal and perform miracles, our living God does not set conditions for this to happen.

Nathan Were Manages a larg-scale financial inclusion for Sub-Saharan Africa for the MasterCard Foundation.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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