Take heed, lest you be led astray Holy-Bible

Tafara Shumba Correspondent
Zimbabweans should draw some lessons from a bizarre incident that recently took place across Limpopo in which a self-proclaimed prophet set himself and 21 church members on fire while trying to perform a miracle. Simangaliso Mncwabe, a 24-year-old self-proclaimed prophet from South Africa, who ran a 150-member House of Miracles church, perished with 21 of his followers after trying to demonstrate a miracle that happened to the Biblical Meshach, Shadreck and Abednego. The three were thrown into a blazing furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar after they refused to bow down to an idol, but did not burn as God was with them.

After preaching about the three Hebrew boys, Mncwabe tried to conclude his sermon by demonstrating the miracle that happened to them. He poured petrol on himself while the crowd cheered and set himself on fire. On realising that he was actually burning, he screamed for help and those who responded to his call also perished.

Twenty one precious lives were lost because of some phony later day ‘prophet.’ Some gullible citizens are being misled into strange things by pastors of these modern day, mushrooming churches. One pastor ordered his flock to nibble on a snake and bite off part of a rat’s tail. The same pastor recently attempted to demonstrate God’s power by driving over congregants lying on the ground. Another pastor ordered his female congregants to come to church without underwear, ostensibly for Christ to enter. Yet another pastor made his flock eat grass so that they drew closer to God. The same pastor ordered his followers to drink petrol.

Zimbabwe has not been spared from these eerie happenings. There have been stories of miracle babies, miracle money, anointed pens, and many other strange prophecies. Women have been sexually abused in the name of the church. Of late, the snake oil pastors have resorted to politics and still they are not short of blind followers. Prime examples among others are Evan Mawawire, Ancelimo Magaya, Patrick Mugadza, Shingi Munyeza and Tudor Bizmark.

These pastors have diverted in a big way from their clerical mandate. This is borne out of the economy deteriorating over the years which has greatly affected their tithes and offerings which these pastors survive on. Nevertheless, they cannot be pardoned for revolting or causing same against what God has appointed. The Holy Bible contains every counsel that gives guidance to human relations and interactions. Unfortunately, the people who are supposed to be better versed in this matter choose to play ignorant. These ecclesiastics must find time to read Romans Chapter 13.

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted,” read verses 1 and 2 of Romans Chapter 13.

One worrying thing is that these weird pastors have dutiful followers. There are indeed such subservient people who are like flies which follow a corpse into a grave. Such issues always bring to mind a sad incident that took place while yours truly was a pedagogue at one of the remote schools in Manicaland. Among the competitors in a 200-metre race was Edmore Gwizo, a mentally deranged, but abundantly gifted athlete. May his soul rest in peace.

He would normally suffer from sudden mental lapses. It so happened that while he was leading in a 200-metre race in an inter-school competition, Edmore went into his usual mental slip. Instead of negotiating the corner at a 100m peg, Eddie, as he was affectionately known in sporting circles, proceeded into a nearby bush at a full speed. Surprisingly, those who were hot on his track just followed suit. It took the effort of the youthful teachers to chase and hold back the pupils.

Eddie symbolises the Mawarires of today who are now completely off their rocker. Regrettably, there are equally amuck people who blindly follow these ersatz ecclesiastics. Mawarire is abusing the pulpit for his selfish political and economic interests. He is a project of a third hand which is bent on revisiting the 1890 tactic of colonialism where the church was used as a precursor to colonialism. They want to exploit the reverence accorded to the pulpit to advance their regime change agenda. Fortunately, Zimbabweans have a discerning eye for such machinations.

As President rightly noted, Mawarire is not a man of cloth, but a perpetual failure who after he dismally failed in business and gospelneurship is now trying his luck in politics, an area where he has already proved to be a mere tenderfoot. Church is the fastest growing business in Africa, but Mawawire failed.

Mawawire wants to blame everybody for his failure.

He set up firms known as Dreampreneur Global Limited, His Generation Ministries and World Changers Limited in the UK where the economic macro-environment is second to none. However, the firms dissolved due to mismanagement and were finally forced to close by the UK Companies House in 2012 after he failed to file returns. President Mugabe was not in the UK and his perceived misrule did not affect the UK economic environment. He failed in an economy where even a school child can successfully run a small business like any of his collapsed firms.

Even those economic refugees in the Diaspora who are cheering him on like those who cheered the late Pastor Mncwabe into a blaze of fire, are failures who even failed to buy residential stands during a hyperinflation period which worked in their favour through the ‘burning’ of the US dollar.

Mawarire is currently in South Africa where he is now seeking asylum as he now fears for his life. He is the same Mawarire who is known for his “hatichatya hatichadi” slogan. Now he wants to stay in South Africa when the youths he incited to burn infrastructure in Beitbridge and Harare are languishing in jail. That was his objective anyway and he cunningly used those with intellectual deficiency to achieve it.

He cited President’s remarks on his subversive activities as the basis for his asylum application. There are more pressing issues on the President’s hands to find time to deal with nonentities. Although the President said he did not know Mawarire, the later was nevertheless too excited that his name was mentioned by the head of state.

There is a recent ‘prophecy’ by Pastor Emmanuel Makandiwa which said that someone from the Diaspora will take over the reins from President Mugabe. Basing on that prophecy or dream, Mawarire rushed to the Diaspora probably to fulfill the prophecy. The man is just power hungry. He broke away from the Celebration Center to form his own church that is failing to grow. Now he dreams of being the President of this nation. He wants to run the country when he failed to run small firms.

There are precedent cases in Zimbabwe where men of the cloth had a nasty ending after trying to meddle in politics. Mawarire and the likeminded might still remember, Bishop Abel Muzorerwa, Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Pius Ncube.

Zimbabwe is one country where religious liberty flourishes. In other countries especially those in North Africa, Middle East and Latin America, Christians are persecuted on a daily basis. Open Doors, an international organization that supports persecuted Christians and the Pew Research Centre, have frightening statistics of Christians persecuted in recent years.

In Zimbabwe, it is actually the church that persecutes the state. The case of Madzibaba Ishmael who together with his followers beat the police is a prime example. As much as religious freedom is a right intrinsically inherent in human nature, there are necessary limits to the exercise of this right.

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