Unethical Prophets and “Men of God”

There’s so much ethical crisis in the Church (leadership) today, from mishandling and dishonesty with church finances to living extravagant lifestyles at expense of poor church members’ offerings, proud, arrogant and immoral lifestyles, showing no concern for views and trials of church members, increasing interest in cheap fame/popularity and misusing God’s anointing, among others.

When it comes to spiritual things or callings, some people believe they are a law unto themselves and don’t need being regulated. They decide what they want to do as long as they can hide behind the idea that it is a spiritual direction from God…or wherever they get their direction from. They give no regards to normal ethics even in its simplest forms. It appears lately there are no ethics to spiritual callings and the “office of Prophets” especially appears the most unethical. We see too many unethical Prophets and “men of God” these days that an increasing number of people no longer appreciate prophecy or believe in it. And many times one will wonder if they ever learn or are taught anything like ministerial ethics.

What I personally don’t fathom sometimes is how we often see in our churches many unethical Prophets and “men of God” who put people’s personal issues out to the congregation during “deliverance services” claiming they have received one revelation or the other from God about the person. I’ve got no problems with deliverance services or revelations, but I do feel sometimes that the fact that God reveals something to you during your ministration about somebody’s situation shouldn’t give you the right or permission to put it out there just like that without even weighing in on the impact that could yield later. If the revelation is about the person, I believe there is a good way to tell the person without screaming in the microphone about it to the entire congregation!

There are a lot of very sensitive issues that come out mostly in churches and in the aftermath of the “revelations”, peoples’ lives are left worse off…mostly because of the victimization and ill attitude they encounter later from church folks.

I’m tempted to believe in Bible days when God gives his Prophets a revelation about or a message for somebody, the message is for the person’s hearing alone, whether it is a good or bad message? The fact that it is a congregational service doesn’t mean when you call someone forward and a message comes to you about the person you blurt it out there in the microphone, whether it be a good or bad message?

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People are told “I see you getting married before the year ends” to resounding cheers and then the year ends and nothing happens and church folks begin to jeer, gossip and do all sort of things. And many times the Prophets are “always right” to many Christians so when the things they declare on people don’t see the light of day, then they blame is on the person who apparently must have gone to commit some sin or not prayed on the prophecy or not acted in ways to bring the prophecy into being so they suffer for it in the sight of other members.

People are told “I see God calling you to be this and that” and some people just forcefully align their destinies with what the Prophet has said and of course the expectations of Church folks to function as such and so end up struggling to function in callings that as it may God himself has not destined for them. Then there are others who after fasting and praying themselves on the Prophet’s “authentic declaration” and being convinced the calling is not for them and so make no effort to “become what the Prophet said” are looked at some way by Church folks; the courageous ones questioning them why they have “refused” to become what Prophet said they will become.

I remember a true story a friend of mine shared with me. She narrated how her church once hosted a Prophet who during his ministration called forward a lady chorister and told the whole congregation “what God has revealed to him” about the lady. And his revelation was that the said lady is a fornicator and has an unholy relationship with her boyfriend who promised marrying her but has been abusing her yet for the love she has for him she is still with him. According to her the whole church was thrown into a state of murmurings, including her fellow choristers; and the lady couldn’t bear the public shame that God apparently was putting her through and broke down crying. According to my friend she herself felt so embarrassed and couldn’t imagine being in the lady’s shoes and all that might be going through her mind. Apparently in her words, the lady is one of the choristers who sing as if heaven has engulfed the church so it was a good day for the church folks who were screaming “eeii” “eeii” to the revelation. She wondered whether the Prophet couldn’t have handled the revelation meant for the lady in a much better way or he was too much under the “anointing” that ethics didn’t matter. Weeks later she told me she hasn’t been seeing the lady singing with her fellow choristers again and she suspects she might have stopped coming to church.

Then there was another lady called forward of whom the prophet said her mother is a witch and the reason for all her many misfortunes and she wondered what use is that sensitive information that can wreck a family to her my friend as a congregant to know. She asked me rhetorically, couldn’t they the congregation have still prayed for the said lady without that information being blurted out? Then she said if it were the lady she would just have stopped the church because she can’t imagine all the eyes that will be looking at her every Sunday and perhaps screaming in their heads “here comes the daughter of a witch”. “Even if my own mother is a witch and I even know it myself, there’s no way I am going to announce it to a whole church so why should God be interested in doing that?”, she expressed in worry.

And the examples go on and on and all over in almost every “spiritual” church. Not everybody is comfortable with every detail about them, whether good or bad, thrown out to public domain all in the name of prophesy? What code of ethics do ministers of God work with anyways?

Many men of God are doing so many unethical and humiliating things to people in the Church all in the name of the practice of spiritual callings. I’m not a Prophet to understand why and maybe I’m not “spiritual” so cannot discern spiritual things with my carnal mind but I sure do not think God’s intention for the prophetic and pastoral calling is how we see it being practiced.

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As for some of the Prophets and “men of God” who apparently God reveals football match and election results to so that we know and do what about, and whose only motive is to pride themselves with public declarations or “prophecies” about the death of people and not to save them, the least said about them the better. For now all I can say is, if of all the things happening in the world the only ones God cares about to inform us to just know for knowing sake are football and election results, then “I can’t think far” as Ghanaians have coined. And who knows, maybe mere prediction and soothsaying (perhaps under the influence of having eaten too much) is the same thing as prophesying under the unction of the Holy Spirit; or maybe we as Christians are just too gullible.

Well, the thing with opinions…maybe I’m getting it all wrong but whatever it is, God help his people!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

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Fornication…

“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife”
~~Exodus 22:16

Many believe that in our present day and age, the enforcement of the Exodus 22:16 verse/law would be a great encouragement to fornication. Some also think applying Mosaic Law in the New Testament dispensation is like crucifying Christ again.

In others view too, if the focus of the new testament is only about fleeing fornication, then what happens in a situation when someone is unable to follow the rules all the way through and where do we find a remedy for that situation. Are they totally condemned because they couldn’t flee?

Again, others feel there should be a balance so we don’t try to live the Christian life only on the basis of the New Testament, after all the Bible in its entirety is our manual, not just the New Testament.

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So what do I think? I think both verses (Exodus 22:16 and 1 Corinthians 6:18) being in the Bible makes the Bible a holistic book.  Though there are some varied histories behind the Exodus verse and what was the norm in those days, I do not believe the verse is meant for pagans; neither do I believe it is there to encourage promiscuity or the lack of self control. And whether or not its application or relevance should be left to die with the practice of old and not brought into modern day Christianity, the reality is that I believe God in His infinite wisdom knows that even in today’s Christendom, some will get caught up in a situation where they are unable to exercise self-control and have “unmarried sex” and maybe have pregnancy on their hands before marriage. And what should then be the Bible’s requirement when that happens to a virgin or woman of marriageable age? Judge and condemn them because “fornicators” shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and on that basis prevent them from getting married because of the sin? Should they be made to look like the worse of sinners as some Churches do or be allowed to marry even when they are willing?

I do not see the application of Exodus 22:16 as condoning wrong or encouraging sin but just the recommendation of the Word of God. Repentance will not be required of Christians and mentioned in the Bible if God was oblivious of the fact that Christians do sin or will sin (not as a habit though). All sin is sin; fornication (whether a one-time act or serial act) is an equal sin as any other sin. Christians do mess up, don’t they?

Far from it, I’m not encouraging fornication; just sharing my thought on the Exodus 22:16 verse. Premarital sex is a sin and that’s undisputed! Premarital sex is sexual immorality and all sexually immoral (I believe those whose actions have become a conscious habit and not just someone who once fell into sexual sin and repented) will NOT inherit the kingdom of God!

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But what’s the atonement for every form of sin as the Christian knows and lives by? Isn’t it simply a genuine repentance and change from one’s old ways (though some consequences of one’s sins cannot be undone)? And aren’t all Christians, including Pastors, only being perfected in that regard? Is it not true that we all are not perfect; at least, not yet?

So yes, I’m not encouraging premarital sex. I’m only saying that the practice where a Christian brother and a Christian sister are made to feel like the worse of sinners when either by “mistake” or some unrestrained passions they fornicate and even refused marriage by the Church even when they are willing to is too extreme and not a balanced Christian principle in my view. Of course I do not expect the Church to encourage sex before marriage or preach it, but neither do I expect the Church to assume that Christians are without sin. Christians were sinners before accepting Christ and Christians are not without sin after accepting Christ.

What do we sometimes see in Churches? Some churches decline such folk marriage even when the people involved have acknowledged their sin, repented and are willing to. Some churches say they have to punish or discipline the people involved in order to maybe purge out the sin or serve as deterrent to others. To do this therefore they instill certain rules. In some churches the Church Pastor brings them before the whole congregation and shames them, telling of their act. Then, the “fornicators” (not the appropriate tag because I don’t believe someone who fornicates and then repents still qualifies to be called a fornicator) when in Church cannot sit among the congregation but at the far back of the church in specially reserved seats for such folks. He/she is also not allowed to partake in communion; neither is he/she allowed to come near the “altar”, among other restrictions.

The Biblical basis for such actions is sometimes “absurd” to me; but surprisingly many Christians submit to these kinds of treatments by the Church, maybe out of respect for Church elders or “Church discipline”. Those who are unable to handle the ill treatment just leave the Church altogether.  Church discipline especially regarding dating and relationships is a very sensitive and divisive issue to many Church folks anyways.

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When two people are unable to exercise self-control which leads them to fornicate, I’m convinced the Biblical solution is to pray for them and encourage them to repent and mentor them. And should pregnancy be the outcome, they should be made to consider marrying especially if they are of marriageable age and offered as much help that the Church can in that regard.

Isn’t that what Exodus 22:16 recommends? Even if marriage is not the option they want to pursue, a lot can still be done for them other than shaming? Why a Church will rather chose to not encourage the praying for, mentoring and marriage option, but be interested in shaming and “disciplining” instead is what is sometimes not [biblically] clear.

Nonetheless, here’s how one Dr Lawson Stone interprets Exodus 22:16:

“Clearly this text has no idea of justifying or legitimizing any kind of sexual intercourse prior to marriage, but is a sanction enforcing marriage as the only setting for sexual union. The Church’s emphasis on sexual sin appears selective, harsh and hypocritical”

Well, the thing with opinions; they are so varied!

God help us!

(PS: Fornication is sin; as much as you can, flee it!)

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author