Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Sunday denounced Pentecostal Christians as “false prophets,” according to the official government website.
“Traditional churches – among them Methodist, Catholic and Anglican – conducted their services as instructed by Jesus,” the president said but Pentecostal claims of a gift of prophecy are false.
Mugabe taunted Pentecostals, challenging them – if they are true prophets – to offer solutions to AIDS and cholera.
“There (are) too many people who claimed to be prophets in Zimbabwe yet in the Bible they were not that many.”
It is not clear which group of Pentecostals Mugabe was referring to. Denominations generally considered Pentecostal do not always agree with each other on what the term “prophet” means.
“Since the New Testament does not provide for establishing the prophet in a hierarchical governing structure of the church, the Assemblies of God disapproves of formally naming or declaring individuals as prophets in the church,” according to the Assemblies of God website.
He accused some Pentecostal churches of “extorting gifts from their followers by making it mandatory for them to ‘give’ to their leaders.”
Mugabe is a Roman Catholic.
“Zimbabweans enjoy freedom of worship,” according to the government website. “Christianity and African Tradition are the dominant religions though other religions such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism among others enjoy a significant following.”