Last week, self-proclaimed ‘prophet’ Dr David Owour, founder and head of the Ministry of Repentance and Holiness, was reportedly being investigated by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over allegations of taking multimillion-shilling prime city properties of one of his bishops through fraudulent means.
Jayne Muthoni Njagi’s family claims that the once wealthy, high-flying lawyer was tricked into abandoning her career for church duty and has since lost her property and become poor.
Dr Owour, who is said to be immensely wealthy, reportedly ‘raised from the dead’ Rosa Chepochesau Samson aka Mama Rosa on June 30, 2017 in West Pokot County.
A video showing one of the wealthiest pastors of our time, Alph Lukau, of Alleluia Ministries International, in South Africa, reportedly resurrecting a man has gone viral on social media.
Another viral video showed Pastor James Ng’ang’a of Neno Evangelism Centre ‘exorcising demons’ from top Tanzanian gospel singer Rose Muhando.
On February 6, Pope Francis admitted, for the first time, that sexual abuse of nuns by priests was a problem in the Catholic Church.
He is also tackling a subculture of sexual molestation of, especially boys, by bishops. There are also reports of clergymen fathering children and abandoning them.
In other churches, we have wrangling for ‘eating’ positions.
Once upon a time, all the men of the cloth cared about was herding the ‘lost sheep’ back to the church and touching the lives of many. They stuck to a modest lifestyle and did not care about fame or money.
Today, we recognise our pastors by the top-of-the-range cars they drive, the posh neighbourhoods where they live and how stylish they are.
We hear about them through ‘miracles’ rather than charitable deeds for widows, orphans, the sick, the poor and the elderly.
Pastors preach prosperity and live every sense of the word. Thanks to God for Providence! They perform stage-managed ‘miracles’ and ‘exorcise demons’.
They are idolised and obeyed by the followers without question. But wait a minute: We need to question why the modern church is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The clerical culture gives priests authority, which, in this case, is abused. It is vital for every church to clearly set boundaries to protect the vulnerable members of the flock.
The church is supposed to be a safe place where Christians go to worship, pray and celebrate Jesus Christ — not a den of wickedness that is immersed in a culture of groupthink and a facade for all manner of evil, from money laundering to brainwashing and mind capture of members.
New ideas are suppressed and those who question “Daddy” or “Mummy” are frowned upon (questioning what is happening in most churches is an abomination and only an atheist can do so!)
The Bible says, in Matthew 7: 15-16: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are wolves. You shall know them by their fruits.”
And in James 1:16: “Be not deceived my beloved brethren.” A pastor’s role is to minister to the faithful, not manipulate them. Christians need to wake up and smell the coffee. They need to demand their church back.
Ms Gatwiri is a journalism student at Moi University. [email protected]