In recent weeks social media has been awash with stories of a South African pastor who fed live snakes to his congregants. As a miracle worker, and since many are out there looking for quick and instant miracles, it was easy for the pastor to convince them the snake tastes like a bar of chocolate. So, by faith, the congregants one by one took a bite of the snakes. This is the same pastor who came to limelight after images of his congregants eating grass went viral online. He is also the same ‘man of God’ who undressed girls while praying for them—all in the name of exorcising demons.
This sort of behaviour is not unique to South Africa. Back home, we have had our own fair share of bizarre way of praying and a multitude of false prophets in sheep’s clothing.
No one in that church stopped for a minute to question the pastor’s logic. How can a snake taste like chocolate or what does undressing got to do with praying? Yes, we are not supposed to question the anointed men of God and whatever they say in the name of God because doing so is perceived as sinful, so they say. We are told to simply have faith and believe, after all, anything is possible with God. But, then we cannot afford to have faith without reason and vice-versa. God gave us a brain for a reason—to think, reason and discern.
It should be quite obvious for one to discern that there is no way a snake can taste like chocolate—only if people exercised the power of their mind and shake off the indoctrinated belief that questioning men of God is a sin. Maybe if he had said that the snake can taste like chicken but a confectionary and a snake having same taste? No way.
The problem is we have let these ‘men of God’ play on our minds because they tell us to simply obey their instructions in silence or else, hell is waiting for us.
I have found myself on a collision path with friends and relatives just because I question some so-called prophets who are busy making profits.
They brainwash people and disguise their thievery tactics as ‘planting the seed of prosperity and giving to God’ yet they are the one who reap the fruits. Sometimes believers are threatened that they stand to face the wrath of a very angry and unforgiving God if they dare not give their all and indeed, some unsuspecting believers give without question to the extent that they are left with nothing—‘after all, they do not need these earthly riches because their riches are in heaven’.
I have always wondered why we sometimes “plant a seed” that only a pastor can harvest while the planters are languishing in abject poverty? Do we ever question that?
I do take cognisance of the fact that not all are bad men of God, but the few bad ones have done a tremendous job of tainting the image of the prophetic “profession”.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves,” Matthew 7:15. But, until we start thinking critically and questioning some of the odd behaviour of these ‘men of God’, we will never distinguish the ferocious wolves from the sheep. n