Opinions Thu, 18 Jul 2013
By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Folks, as is to be expected, the prophets of doom are doing overtime as part of their politico-religious Ministry to create needless panic and fear among peace-loving Ghanaians. They are not satisfied that Ghanaians are living their lives in some measured comfort after Election 2012 and are stoking the fire to suit their political agenda, hiding behind their calling as Men-of-God and their veil of Christianity.
Two instances have so far emerged; and I expect more in the next few days as the hearing of the NPP’s bogus petition by the Supreme Court moves into another gear, drawing close to its end for the party’s sad fate to be confirmed and sealed till Election 2016.
Yesterday, it was Mensa Anamua Otabil who babbled that his heart was full of something ominous for Ghana. According to him, “something evil may befall the nation in coming weeks.” This prime-moving message of doom from none other than this General Overseer of International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) has added to the pre-Election 2012 collection. Rev. Otabil said last Sunday that he could sense evil befalling Ghana within the next one month if Christians did not wake up and pray for the country.
Hear him: “I have a sense of heaviness in my spirit concerning the destiny of this country that there is something heavy ready to fall upon this country that if we don’t take charge of that we will be in a different state a month from now,” he stated in his sermon to the congregation at Christ Temple on Sunday July 14, 2013. (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=279554).
His call on Christians to offer prayers for an aversion of the disaster doesn’t really change my impression of him. It’s just a mere smokescreen behind which to hide. We know all that happened when his take on Akufo-Addo’s promise of fee-free SHS education became a hot political cake!!
Even before the dust could settle on his odious prophecy, another Man-of-God (founder and leader of Glorious Word Ministry International, Reverend Isaac Owusu Bempah) followed suit. He took his turn to say that from where he stands as a spiritual leader, he can smell war from far away heading towards the direction of Ghana. Only he has the sensitive nose—and a big one at that—to smell war from afar!!
To his discredit, this Owusu Bempah is well-known for his tantrums regarding the defeat of Akufo-Addo at Election 2012. We are not surprised that he would stand somewhere and see war approaching Ghana from afar. Only he has the frog-eyes to see far into the extra-terrestrial realms and pinpoint WAR approaching Ghana. If any war should destabilize Ghana, it won’t start from ‘afar” but from within the country, probably engendered by the senseless rabble-rousing that these men-of-God will do in collusion with their disappointed political diehards.
Let me be brazen to flay these prophets of doom because they have given a very bad account of themselves. Preaching peace and working for nation-building should be their resolve, not putting baseless fear in the people to exploit.
We have had the occasion to take on these so-called Men-of-God in Ghana who have found very cheap means to take their religious fervour beyond bounds. We have on several occasions pointed out to them that despite the proliferation of churches all over the country, little is felt from them to conclude that the country is benefiting in any way from their activities.
It hasn’t been lost on us that they have taken liberties to manipulate the gullible who think that Christianity is a jacket to be worn or a piece of arm-band to be displayed on purpose. They have turned Christianity into a baggage to carry and dump anywhere at will.
Clearly, those attention-seeking Men-of-God who have turned Christianity into layers of power to wear on their sleeves or who have elevated themselves to the status of potentates are all over the place, making hollow utterances that give them away for whatever they are.
I have not hesitated over the years in pointing out that Christianity is a lifestyle to be lived, not professed by word of mouth. That is the scriptural foundation, which is encapsulated in the admonition: You will be known by your fruit (deeds). And we already know these Ghanaian Men-of-God by their tasteless fruit.
In Ghana, we have been unfortunate to have churches constantly sprouting all over the place with all manner of people as the founders. Our problem is that these mushroom churches belie reality, which is that the more they proliferate, the more the crime and immorality rate grows.
Many instances of church leaders, notables, and ordinary members committing heinous crimes occur daily. We also know of the internal fights that go on in the churches over material things. It is also known that some church leaders indulge in all kinds of activities, including providing spiritual fortification for armed robbers in exchange for a good measure of the booty, snatching others’ wives, and plain thievery or murder.
Make no mistake, a huge chunk of the Ghanaian population is made up of Christians or church-goers—depending on the lifestyles that they lead. Is it not ironical that the more these churches grow, the higher the crime rate goes in the country? What really is the benefit of these churches?
It takes more than the physical presence of churches and the utterances of their leaders and members to change the situation. And to imagine that such characters will now turn themselves into war mongers!!
Now, let’s focus more on them. Over the years, they have come to notice as using subterfuge and their gift of garb to survive by raking in huge material benefits from their calling. They have succeeded through-and-through by adopting the stagecraft and the method of preaching on the basis of “prosperity messages.”
Their sermons aim at motivating their followers to “claim” prosperity in the name of Jesus. They have turned Christianity into a tea party, finding very adroit ways of raking in profits for themselves through their numerous extortionist approaches framed around all manner of donations during church services. And they hold such services throughout the week under various guises, exhorting the congregants to give bounteously because “there is more joy in giving than in receiving.” The gullible are easily ensnared to such an extent that they will be more willing to pay tithes than making their earnings available for the upkeep of their families. And they indulge in nefarious activities to be able to give to the church and be recognized as such. They are given the “high places” in the chapel, and they work hard to retain that status.
The crafty Men-of-God are always on the quivive to exploit anybody or any situation that crops up. In this 4th Republic, we have seen how some of these Men-of-God have aligned themselves with the politicians and turned their Ministry into a whole new game.
Take, for instance, what the Methodist Man-of-God (Re. Samuel Asante Antwi) did with Mensa Otabil, Rev. Adjin Asare, and many others who constituted themselves into the spiritual wing of the NPP when Kufuor was ushered into office on January 7, 2001. These were the very people who converged at the Osu Castle to perform a so-called spiritual healing exercise to exorcize the “evil spirits” that former President Rawlings had been accused of installing to desecrate the official residence at the Osu Castle—which Kufuor was scared stiff of and won’t reside there for that matter unless the area was cleansed and refurbished. It is an event that easily comes to mind to portray the level to which these Men-of-God had sought to muddy the waters for their own good.
Others sprang up and we saw how the late President Mills’ flight into Christendom under the guidance of the Nigerian TB Joshua turned the table against him.
Then, turn the searchlight on Akufo-Addo before and after Election 2012. He immersed himself in the religious vein and was left at the mercy of the Rev. Owusu Bempahs and all others who turned him into a specimen for all manner of religious experimentations. The ugly noises they made about a “one-touch” victory for him have rather motivated the petition now being heard by the Supreme Court. Even after the fact, they are still not sure that the Lord has already fought the battle. They can’t disburden themselves of that folly in the name of Christianity and have found a new avenue for confirming their notoriety.
That new niche is to turn themselves into prophets of doom at the level of dry politics, predicting WAR for Ghana just because “things are knocking things” for their political allies at this time in the hearing of the NPP’s petition regarding Election 2012. So, their new-found instrument is to predict doom for the country to sustain the negative political agenda of their political favourites. An indirect incitement to war!!
Let the Mensa Otabils and Owusu Bempahs cry themselves hoarse, spreading their self-serving prophecies of doom from one pulpit to the other. Nothing will happen. Ghanaians will continue to work for oneness, peace, and national development. The petty partisan political differences that some are bent on exploiting to add value to themselves as “men-of-God” can’t tear them apart.
More pointedly, let me tell these so-called Men-of-God that they have chosen to chart paths that will lead them to utter shame and damnation. I have no respect for such charlatans. In my many years on earth, I am yet to hear of any of them who has any spiritual power that he has used to serve society. I challenge all these church leaders to live above reproach and stop behaving as if they have any more spiritual power than the ordinary Ghanaian walking the streets, looking for solutions to his existential problems.
In fact, I am poised to prove to them that their only strength as “Christians” is their ability to study the Bible and quote it glibly to suit their self-serving agenda. It is one thing knowing the Word of God and another being imbued with spiritual powers deriving from that Word to be able to do what Jesus Christ will commend them for on the day of reckoning, the Great Commission notwithstanding.
Let the Man-of-God who has used his so-called spiritual powers to heal the sick, the physically challenged, the blind, the infirm, or to feed the poor rise to be counted. None has any such power to do so. All they do is to quote the Bible at will and to put the fear of the unknown in the gullible people following them and then turn round to exploit that fear of the unknown. Ghana will not benefit from the wily ways of such charlatans.
Let the Mensa Otabils and Owusu Bempahs chafe all they can. Let them prophesy doom all they can. God has already deserted them as far as the politics of Ghana is concerned and will not turn round to speak to them to reverse His own appointment. They should stop fouling our air with their jaundiced prophecies of doom. We have no need to look up to them for anything. Let the war they are promoting come; we shall fight it and survive its whirligig. Long live Ghana; short live the scare mongers!!
I shall return.
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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.