On 11th June 2016, I had the privilege to watch a hilarious play titled “Mallams & Pastors” by Latif Abubakar at the Accra International Conference Centre.
The play was basically about how some people allow themselves to be exploited by unscrupulous Mallams and Pastors in their search for a quick solution to problems confronting them.
The play highlighted the various facets of this trend i.e. Politicians seeking for divine grace to win elections, Relationship partners going to mallams and pastors for success in their relationships, youths going to fake mallams to get rich overnight etc.
During my study of sociology, I learnt about some founders of this interesting subject and one of them is Karl Marx. Marx from his observation of religion came to the conclusion that, “Religion is the opium of the masses”. Religion offers an escape from reality, it helps to take the pain away from the struggles of life”.
Karl Marx’s assertion is currently prevailing within the Christian religion especially in Ghana. In recent times, there have been some developments within our churches which make me wonder whether it is God who has changed or it is we as Christians who have churned out a different revelation about God.
One trend I’ve noticed amongst modern day Christians is the insatiable quest for miracles. The ravenous quest for miracles has led some people to subjugate themselves to the whims and caprices of fake pastors. Their obsession for miracles has reached its nadir to the extent that they’ve idolized pastors in place of God. As if that is not enough they’ve neglected Biblical teachings and have made themselves gullible to false prophecies and some ridiculous behests from fake pastors. They prefer hearing the voice of fake pastors than the voice of God. This miracle craze has reached a stage where people now confer the title of “Angel” on some pastors because they claim the pastors appeared in their dreams and gave them respite from their sufferings.
What amazes me the most is the kind of sacrifices people are willing to make just to experience these so called miracles. Some desperate women sleep with pastors in their bid to conceive . Some people also relinquish their monthly salaries to pastors under the illusion of becoming multi-millionaires afterwards. The nauseating aspect is the ability of these pastors to back their atrocious demands with Biblical teachings.
From my observation, I realized that the people who fall prey to fake pastors are people who attempt to use God for their own aggrandizement instead of worshipping God for who He is.
I sometimes don’t blame them but I blame the pastors who portray God as some sort of machine that can be bought. When you enter the necessary commands, then boom!!! Your request would be granted with spontaneity. The more you key in the command, the more the machine is obliged to accede to your requests. These poor souls are made to believe that God is some sort of recycling machine where you dump all your burdens and everything pertaining to life on after which you sit back and wait for him to recycle them into a new product. They make God look like a lactating mother that is obligated to breastfeed her child anytime he or she cries. They are made to believe when you come to Christ, no problem or trouble shall befall you. Some pastors make it seem as if God is just a quick fix to our problems.
As a result, these innocent followers of Christ see challenges as the work of the devil. They tend to believe in the power of the devil even more than the power of God. Problems which are as a result of their own actions and inactions are even attributed to the devil thus making them lazy as a people. That is why you’d see a woman who committed multiple abortions in her teenage days, make the church her abode 24/7 binding witches and wizards for her inability to give birth. You’d find them at Operation Thousand Babies crusades haranguing the Holy Spirit for supernatural babies forgetting that, they are the cause of their own bareness.
It is not surprising in this part of our world on working days to see churches filled with people praying for miracles that are right under their nose waiting for a little application of common sense to be activated. I totally believe in the assertion that “Prayer is the Key” but prayer sometimes becomes a lock when it is applied where common sense is needed.
The latest and the most lucrative business in churches now is the business of anointing water and anointing oil. Some of these anointing water and oils come at a hefty price because they are portrayed as a panacea to all problems. That is why you’d see an employed graduate, who hasn’t utilized his/her God-given talents meant to propel him to greater heights douse his/her certificate with anointing water in order to merit employment. The brain which God has gifted us with to solve problems has now become white elephants in people’s head because they’ve substituted its function with anointing oil and water. No wonder we have colossal problems but few problem solvers. Sadly some parents are transcending this anointing water and oil craze to the younger generation. They buy these anointing water and oil for their kids to use during examinations believing it is their key to success without enlightening their kids on the importance of hard work. Some even go to the extent of attributing their children’s success to the power of these oils and water. (NB: I believe in the power of these spiritual symbolisms but they are only a means to an end and not an end in itself. I only find something wrong with it if these symbolisms take the place of God in our lives) I sometimes wonder how God feels when his own creatures have denigrated themselves to this shallow way of thinking.
One thing people need to understand is the fact that God cannot be manipulated. “He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under him. He holdeth back the face of his throne and spreadeth his cloud upon it. He hath compassed the waters with bounds until the day and night come to an end. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding, he smiteth through the proud. By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent” Job 26:8-13 says it all. God is who he says He is.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-6 says “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to dance………………….A time to get and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away.
This verse basically shows that everything under this earth has a time. When the time is not due, no amount of anointing water or anointing oil would make it come to pass.
That is why an elephant can’t give birth after nine months of pregnancy because its gestation period lasts for almost 2 years and no amount of anointing water or oil can change this.
This same verse tackles the issue of productivity. When you don’t sow at the time of planting, don’t expect to reap in the harvest season.
I could go on and on but what I’m basically trying to posit is, when we as Christians take time off to read the Bible and understand its principles, our lives would be much better rather than chasing miracles all around and end up in the hands of fake pastors.
If we try to understand the nature of God, we wouldn’t be vulnerable to the antics of fake pastors.