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Zimbabweans stop it! Prophet are human too

Written by NewsDay
WARNING: This is not for the consumption of atheists or meant to convert anyone.

No one knows with certainty what really happened at a Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries crusade at Mbizo Stadium, Kwekwe, last week when 11 people died in a stampede soon after PHD founder and leader Walter Magaya had finished his sermon.

There was clearly a systems failure along the whole chain – from the local authority, PHD Ministries, sections of the crowd itself to the police.

In the wake of this, there have been renewed calls for government to investigate Pentecostal churches. But is this warranted?
Zimbabweans stop it! Prophet are human too
There is a tendency among some people to mix issues, exploiting tragedy to sustain their preconceived positions that Magaya is fake and he somehow paid for it through the tragedy.

The point is not about whether Magaya is genuine or fake; that is why I have studiously avoided referring to “Prophet Magaya”, but the tragedy should be put into proper context. Magaya is not an expert in crowd control.

He cannot be all things to all men. Can you, for instance, blame the Minister of Transport for each and every accident? Or the Minister of Health for every death?

Then there are those saying some Pentecostal pastors are in the habit of bribing authorities to cut corners, implying that underhand payments were made to Kwekwe Municipality by PHD Ministries to use the unsuitable stadium.
Zimbabweans stop it! Prophet are human too
Making such assumptions is dangerous and irresponsible. Will they repeat such accusations if summoned to appear at an inquest or in court?

Then, there is the myth that the thousands flocking to Pentecostal services every Sunday and midweek are mostly desperate, ignorant, gullible, poor people. The truth is that the congregants cut across all classes.

The vehicles parked outside and the dressing of the congregants tells of wealth and class. These are self-confident, go-ahead people moving with the times.

Many of them are young urban professionals, just out of university, and who have a high-paying job and an affluent lifestyle.

There is also need to dispel the notion that only Pentecostal churches have women and youths as the majority of their membership. Traditional churches like Catholic, Anglican, Methodist also have women in the majority.

The membership profile is replicated across all churches, new and old, the world over because: “Women with children have much to gain from an institution like the church that supports the family, exalts the domestic role, offers support and companionship in the task of rearing and educating children, and, once children have left home, can find other caring roles for women to perform.”

(Christianity: A Very Short Introduction by American author Linda Woodhead)
So, there is no need to call for a modern-day Inquisition especially from the media. We don’t need religious police. “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all,” says American logician and political commentator Noam Chomsky.

Okay, there is an element of cult-like behaviours, but fanaticism hasn’t reached the dangerous level of crazies who chop off people’s heads like Boko Haram and Islamic State terrorists whose credo is “Convert or Die”. We should not fall into the trap of regarding church leaders as infallible the same way we have created monsters out of political leaders who now trample on people’s rights with impunity.

There has also been talk that Zimbabwe has just too many prophets. 1 Kings 18:4 reads: “While Jezebel was killing off the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.” And those days, the world’s population was negligible compared to today. So what benchmark or threshold is being used to determine “too many” when Israel’s population then was a mere fraction of Zimbabwe’s population today, not to say that there are no false prophets?
Zimbabweans stop it! Prophet are human too
Yes, we need to factor in demographics to have a sense of proportion. Population increases exponentially; the increase becomes more and more rapid.

There are at least 73 prophets mentioned by name in the Bible, but 1 Kings shows there were many more. One explanation is that the messages those unnamed prophets conveyed were not recorded in the Scripture because they were intended for the generations of that time.

Not each and every one of the possibly thousands of prophecies made is recorded in the Bible – just like not every historical incident has been recorded.

In that vein, it’s not biblically sound to attack Magaya on the grounds that as a prophet he should have foreseen the tragedy and avoided it. Mark 11: 12-14 says: “The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.

Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree: ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say it.”

That was the limited and angry human side of Jesus, otherwise he would have foreseen that the particular fig tree had absolutely no food value. Obviously the gift of prophecy does not include the gift of omniscience, knowing everything including the past, the present and the future.

What God has revealed to prophets, they know. What God has not revealed, they do not know, at least any more than anyone else knows. This invalidates some people’s neatly arranged conceptions of how the prophetic gift operates.

A prophet is just that: A mere prophet, not God. Prophets are human with all the strengths and weaknesses that go with humanity.

Source: NewsDay

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