By Langton Nyakwenda
Christians should be wary of being hoodwinked by “prophets” whose healings and prophecies have hogged the limelight in recent times, a major church leader has warned.
Vicar-General Bigboy Gawa of the Anglican Church Province of Zimbabwe believes there is nothing special being done by the emerging prophets whom he accused of modifying and commercialising traditional aspects of Christianity.
Zimbabwe has witnessed a rapid emergence of “prophets” whose “miracles” and “healings” have become the subject of debate with some critics and traditional church leaders questioning their authenticity.
Vicar-General Gawa said some of the prophets are taking advantage of desperate people and “lazy Christians” who only seek God when they are in trouble.
“There is nothing special or new that these so-called prophets are doing. There has always been prophecy and healing in the traditional church.
“These emerging prophets are just taking these principles from the traditional church and perfecting them for commercial purposes,” said Vicar-General Gawa.
“Holy water has always been there, castor oil has always been there in the traditional church but it is not commercialised.
“There is exaggeration of some sort in this entire new phenomenon and in the process there are some people who are hoodwinked.”
The Anglican Church leader said Christians had direct access to Jesus Christ through prayer, and also questioned why some prophets charged a fee for one-on-one meetings with congregants.
He also questioned the concept of seeding which was introduced by some church leaders and has been labelled as “extortionate” in some quarters.
United Family International Church leader Emmanuel Makandiwa has defended the seeding concept, telling critics to mind their own business.
“If people are made to pay hundreds of dollars just to see a prophet today what do you think Jesus would have charged if he chose to?
“Access to Jesus and his healing is free of charge. I have first-hand experience because God performed a miracle in my life.
“I grew up in a farming community in Karoi where I could only start school in Grade Three because I was too old for Grade One.
“At some point in my life I was a teacher who supplemented his meagre earnings by conducting extra lessons for as few as two students at my lodgings in Zengeza, Chitungwiza.
“But now I own two fully-fledged private schools. That is all God’s work. He answers our prayers and sometimes you do not need to go to the Lord via someone else,” said the 46-year-old Vicar-General, who is the director of B & P Schools in Chitungwiza.
“I believe as a church leader one should not rely on the congregants but give out a lot. My way of giving back is through educating the nation and that is why at B & P Primary School we boast of a 100 percent pass rate at Grade Seven. We have faced challenges but God has taken care of us.
“The problem we have in the education sector is that the population increase is not matching with the number of formal education institutions in Zimbabwe.
“And the private sector is filling that gap. Church leaders should be seen to champion projects that helps the masses and not vice versa,” said Vicar-General Gawa.
Meanwhile, the Union for the Development of the Apostolic and Zionist Churches in Zimbabwe Africa (Udaciza) voiced its concern over the issue of miracles last week through Reverend Edison Tsvakayi.
“People are desperate and these young prophets are taking advantage of that. They know it very well that most of these miracles are not genuine. Only time will, these guys will be exposed,” he said.
But Pastor Prime Kufa of UFIC maintains that the miracles are real.
“God heals but it is the responsibility of an individual to keep the healing, for example, if someone is healed of a disease but returns to his or her old lifestyle chances are high that he will go back to the same condition,” said Pr Kufa. The Sunday Mail