When I heard of the Elijah challenge I thought wow there is hope. Indeed, a few good men remain out there, standing resolute to preach truth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has indeed been corrupted. What with all the prosperity ‘gospel-preneurs’ who have like mushrooms sprang up to sell what Christ freely gave.
Sunday Adelaja is one such man who has stood up to challenge these seemingly invincible charlatan who have amassed vast wealth by manipulating the impoverished who are hoodwinked into believing they will beat poverty by buying into a false doctrine of prosperity.
Charlatans corrupting the church
The sad reality is that Africa is now littered with so-called prophets and pastors, voodoo man masquerading as representatives of Christ, yet they engage in occultism abusing their followers and sexual manipulating women and children in their congregations.
The Church has been run over and thus, corrupted by charlatans who love money and have thus, turned the virtuous message of Jesus Christ into a money-making scam.
Nigeria has become a hub and the focus of such nefarious practices. This phenomenon is widespread and Southern Africa has also been overrun by this prosperity gospel craze.
The bible warns us
The Bible consistently warns us to be vigilant and on guard against false prophets, false teachers, and deceitful doctrine. This world is filled with lies that distort the scriptures, diminish the gospel, promote sins of indulgence on the one hand and of self-righteous legalism on the other.
This has been aptly demonstrated by these so-called-daddy GO’s and spiritual father (the spiritual papa’s) and their doctrine of prosperity which centres on congregates giving/seeding money to them under the false promise that they will reap many fold and beat poverty. The irony in all this is Africa, where most of this is now practiced, has in many ways become more impoverished. Corruption, is rampant in these shrines that masquerade as Christian churches.
It is difficult to be a people of truth in a world of falsehood, and it is right for good man to be concerned not only for themselves but also for the body of Christ, his church which has been corrupted by charlatans. The Bible does not leave us to wander.
There are more false teachers
We should not be surprised to find false teaching in the church today. Jesus and his apostles are very clear that false teachers will arise. They promise it. As Jesus says,
“False christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.” (Mark 13:22–23; see also Matthew 24:24)
Likewise, Paul warns the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:29–31) and his protégé Timothy (2 Timothy 4:3–4) that false teaching is sure to come (also 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 Timothy 3:1–6). If we had any doubts at this point, Peter joins the refrain to add another voice: “There will be false teachers among you” (2 Peter 2:1).
Don’t be caught off guard
So, we should not be caught off guard that false teachers have arisen throughout church history and certainly have multiplied in our day, hence the need for the Elijah challenge.
In the book of 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 we are warned of these charlatans and as such we must take note:
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
What we might find surprising — both from Jesus and his apostles — is how revealing the everyday lives of false teachers are about their falseness. They are not just false in their teaching, but also in their living.
Charlatans will be exposed
Beneath their doctrinal error, however subtle and deceptive, we will find ethical compromises in tow. And those don’t usually come out overnight; they take time. But for many in Africa the compromises are now as bare for all to see as a hump on a camel’s back.
Our leaders need to be held accountable, and not held in such high esteem that we give them a pass on the normal Christian life. Pastors should be with the people. This business of worshipping these Daddy GO’s and charlatan Prophet as if they are substitutes for Jesus Christ must stop.
We need true shepherds
True men and women of God will Shepard Christ’s church and care for His flock. They will not lord over his people from ivory towers, as we see the charlatans doing, flying in private jets while, milking the already down trodden for tithes and offerings; only to fund the exuberant lavish luxurious.
Shepherds should smell like sheep, because they live and walk among the sheep, and are not sequestered from the flock. We need pastors who know themselves first and foremost as sheep, and only secondarily as leaders and teachers — pastors who are manifestly more excited to have their names written in heaven than they are to be used as vessels in mighty ministry (Luke 10:20).
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17-18)
May God bless you as you stand up with the Elijah challenge the church of God needs you.
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Charlatans corrupting the church