New style prophets from Nigeria and Ghana have bastardized the once prestigious prophetic ministry and turned it into a caricature of visions of phone numbers, bank details and ladies underwear. The prophetic ministry is one of the fivefold ministry which Jesus Christ gave for the edification of the church (1 Corinthians 12 vs 28) The New Testament order was apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The reigning craze among the new style prophets is calling people’s phone numbers and bank details on the pulpit. Some of them, in order to convince the congregation that the Holy Spirit is in operation and can reveal the deepest secrets, mention the colors of underwear, panties, brassier of pretty female worshippers to the cheering of equally spirit filled congregation. Prophets have been used by God occasionally to reveal deep secrets about people especially when a gross danger is about to envelop a person, city or nation and proffers solution on how to overcome the situation. (Ezekiel 11:1-4), therefore the bastardization of the process by fraudsters does not eliminate the existence of true prophets and pastors.
The prophetic ministry is the highest in ministerial rankings, Jesus Christ called himself a prophet who is without honour in his home (Matthew 13vs 56-58) and Apostle Peter while addressing the crowd after the healing of the lame at the beautiful gate said ‘’For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’[a‘’ (Acts 3 vs 22-23) The Bible said that God will send them a prophet in the order of Moses and Elijah. During the time of transfiguration of Jesus Christ, two prophets, Moses and Elijah appeared and flanked him. (Matthew 17 vs 1-3) Most of the fathers of the faith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Daniel operated the prophetic unction. Therefore, prophetic ministry is a ministry ordained by God as a medium of directly communicating his mind to people. Simply put, prophets are spokesmen of God who must deliver the counsel of God whether the recipient likes it or not.
A prophet must always manifest a word of wisdom (future predictions and solutions), word of knowledge (recalling past events and solutions). There are three types of people parading themselves as prophets in contemporary Nigeria, those called by God, those who called themselves and those called by the devil. There are prophets called by God, some of them are still in our midst. As an undergraduate, a classmate, who is now a pastor with the Assemblies of God Church , Enugu convinced me to follow him to the house of one prophetess Okereke or so from Christ Ascension Church, Enugu. This lady then living in abject poverty and under oppression by a difficult husband was able to tell me things still unfolding in my life almost twenty years after. I had to cut out a large chunk of my feeding money to assist this woman from poverty. I can never forget the prophetic counsel and foresight of this woman whose daughter, Chimuche, is now a successful Abuja based gospel singer . I have had course to meet others like Rev Stephen Tamfu, a Taraba born missionary whose advice and counsel then was as if God had spoken and fifteen years later, those things are still unravelling. The two I talked about lived a Spartan life until God deemed it fit to change their financial status.
During a prophetic session at the Abiding Word Gathering Campus Fellowship, a beautiful female student known for prophetic messages cried loud that fornication has entered the fellowship. At the end of the service, the responsive campus fellowship leaders conducted a discreet investigation and found out that some prominent actors in the fellowships are into immorality. Those affected were confronted and openly suspended from fellowship and after evidences of repentances, were readmitted back. Such is the edification process of the prophetic ministry.
These new style prophets are not interested in whether the worshipper is going to heaven or hell, their focus is intimidating the congregation with revelation of hidden secrets with the intent of fleecing the stunned worshipper of lands, houses, cars and life savings. These groups of people first calls the phone number of the victim to the cheering of the excited congregation, others go further to mention the person’s bankers ,bank details and the amount of funds with the bank. Some others will move a step further to mention the color of the underwear some beautiful ladies in the congregation are putting under their skirts, to the cheering of the congregation.
The prophets will then invite the beautiful and figurine ladies to their hotel rooms for special deliverance and anointing while the ugly looking and shapeless ones are asked to have faith in God, except if they have fat offerings as compensation for their unpleasant figure. This bedroom invitation always leads to bedroom exercise and the prophet repents, asks for forgiveness and awaits the next lady visitor. When the people discover that they miracle is yet to come, they transfer their aggression to anyone who is called a pastor. Therefore, genuine pastors should shut down the activities of these new style prophets before they distribute the stench of their activities to the honest ones.
These new style prophets from Nigeria have been known to travel to Kofiridua, Ghana while others visit Kumasi with the aid of some Ghanaian pastors where they consult the Antoa river goddess for powers to see people’s secrets. Others travel to bar beach Lagos, some to Calabar , Port Harcourt among other places to consult with powers. These powers must be serviced by constantly sleeping with church members or else the powers will dry up.
The second group of phone number callers are those who cannot muster the evil courage to consult spirits for strange powers, therefore, with the collusion of some church pastors, they send people in advance to gather information about certain persons in the congregation, including their vehicle plate numbers, villages, number of children etc. Four years ago a visiting prophet based in Enugu, who have influenced a lot of youth for God in the early nineties when his anointing was full, contracted some young men to get information about certain people in a church where he was invited to preach at Owerri and promised to share the booty in the ratio of 70:30. At the end of the shows he released a paltry N200, 000 naira to them. The embittered accomplices went to the chief donor and exposed the deal. The chief donor dragged both the visiting prophet and the host pastor to the police station to help recover both the state of the art vehicle and the millions he gave to the prophet.
This second group is less harmful than the first group because they can only access the finances of the worshipper while the earlier group can be spiritually harmful.
In 2003 I was invited to the church of one of the new style prophets in Lagos. The church service started by 9am and ended by 4pm. This handsome pastor, whose brothers are all prophets, walked up to a man and asked his name, the man replied John. He moved across to the other side of the large congregation of over two thousand and asked another man his name, the man replied John. The congregation erupted in cheers. He walked to a woman and asked for the name of the absentee husband and the woman replied John, everybody rejoiced the more. Then he moved to the first John and asked him what he does for a living, the man said that he is a staff of University of Lagos. He proceeded to a woman near the window and asked her what she does for a living, the woman said that she is a staff of University of Lagos; the crowd erupted in dancing and jubilation that God had revealed deep things. Then he moved back to the second man named John and asked for the name of the wife, the man answered Phebe. He moved to the first lady whose absentee husband bears the name John and asked her the name of the person that invited her to church, the lady replied that the person’s name is Phebe –this time around the congregation went wild with joy that God is in this place. This cycle continued with intermittent songs and dance until service closed and the congregation went home satisfied that next week will be their turn for God’s visitation.
The Bible said that Christians should test every spirits but these prophets with lots of intimidating credentials of the number of senators, governors, ministers, ambassadors they have prayed for easily sways unsuspecting worshippers to their sweet talks until it is too late. For those who have fallen victim to these people, it serves them right because people who reject the simplicity of the gospel and ignore those who appear too simplistic, preferring those with plethora of bodyguards, convoys and affluence as signs of genuineness they will fall victim to conmen who use the power of effects to manipulate others. Let every Christian grow in maturity with the help of the Holy Spirit, constant reading and meditation in the Bible so that when the new style prophets appear again with visions of bank details and ladies underwear, they will not fall victim.