We are living in an age where anyone can call themselves a prophet, a teacher, a preacher or any other authority in the Christian body. All that is required is a silver tongue, charisma, and no conscience. Combine this with social media, and the media in general, and you’ve got yourself a circus.

Many desperate people are seeking a Messiah, but rather than turn to Jesus, they turn to a supposed man of GOD (or woman in some cases). They put their trust, their common sense, and their money into the hands of this man, hoping that he will bring them deliverance, health, prosperity, and love. This man will then capitalise on their need, exploit it, and use it to his advantage. This has happened in the past, and I am sure that many people are aware of the stories of charismatic leaders who declared themselves to be men of GOD, or even the Messiah himself. Their dangerous teachings brought people under bondage, going so far as to convince them to take their own lives. As outsiders, we may look at these unfortunate victims and shake our heads, wondering how they could have buried themselves so deeply in the cult that they believed the radical teachings and lies of the leader, but it’s simple really. If someone has a problem, and you claim that you and you alone have the answer to the problem, people will listen. Perhaps it may be out curiosity at first, but if you have the gift of the gab and you know how to appeal to the needy part of a person, you have them. Once you gain their trust, you can begin to take over their thoughts, beliefs, and will. Before long, you have a group of people who will do whatever you tell them to do. It is this type of person that has made Christianity a detested, hypocritical, and dangerous faith to many in the world.

In years past, these dangerous leaders would pop up here and there on the news, and then only if something horrific had taken place. These days, false prophets and preachers may not be asking you to kill yourself, but that does not mean that they are any less dangerous. In Africa alone, there have been countless stories of these leaders who abused their power by making their congregations do ridiculous and often dangerous things. A couple years ago, right here in South Africa, we had a pastor who sprayed insect repellent in the face of people to remove demons. Insect repellent? Really? I remember watching the video in disbelief, watching this supposed man of GOD spray Doom (insect repellent) into the faces of many people. This had my country in an uproar, with people making negative comments about Christians and painting us all in the same light as this pastor. It didn’t end there. We had another pastor who had his entire congregation eat grass like a cow. They were literally on their hands and knees eating this grass like animals. Funny thing was, I did not seehimdo it. Another pastor, who called himself a prophet (most of them do), had the congregation bring their underwear to church, hold it in front of their intimate parts, while he cast out devils. He actually had a bag full of underwear that he handed out to the church. This particular prophet was documented by an Englishman who had heard about the infamous church leader. The documentary actually aired some months ago on BBC.

Several religious channels in South Africa feature these false prophets and preachers. The latest one that caught my eye while channel surfing was a man who claimed to heal people by kissing them. Interestingly enough, he was picky about who he kissed. You had to be of a certain age (not too old), and you could not be an ugly duckling either. I watched this man put his lips on this woman, and hold her there for at least two minutes. Whether or not this method ‘worked’ I will never know as I changed the channel- I had had enough. These leaders have Youtube channels, reaching a wider audience than they normally would have. Some use Facebook to promote their false teachings, and even Twitter. They use these platforms to sell their ‘anointed’ products as well, whether it be a lotion, lip ointment, clothing, holy water, and other items that bring their followers under stronger bondage. You’re also always sowing into their ministry, but instead of them using that money for the poor and helpless, they use it to further themselves. As their church grows, so does their wealth and their heads. New cars, houses, girlfriends, clothing, and bodyguards are all the rage. They call it their ‘due’ as glorious and obedient servants of the Most High (what a load of blasphemous rubbish). While their church suffers, they thrive? I do not know of any teaching from Scripture that promotes this type of life.

Africa is not the only one with these type of people. America also has its fair share of false prophets and preachers who are glorified by their church members. They make a show out of their sermons, filling it with distracting effects so as to dull what little discernment the congregation has. Flying over the congregation’s head by means of a skillfully positioned rope, worship music that gets the listener into a frenzy that is far from godly, watered down Scripture that promotes tolerability of non-Christian values and lifestyle choices, drama-filled people who love to satisfy the flesh, busybodies intent on sowing disruption in the body of Christ, and people filled with the self who love to be praised and glorified for the supposed anointing on their lives. I don’t hear much about Europe or any other areas of the world, but I’m sure that there are plenty of these false leaders looking to fool an unsuspecting Christian.

Christians should not be able to be fooled, especially if they read their Bibles. However, many Christians are lazy. They are happier to let someone else teach them than actually meditate on GOD’S Word for themselves. With social media being such an essential aspect of a great percentage of peoples’ lives, it is easy to find a leader who you like, follow them, and then wait for them to post teachings, twisted Scriptures, videos, and the like. Not many Christians actually question teachings by Christian leaders anymore merely because their teachings ‘seem right’. Well, the Bible has something to say about ‘seemingly right leaders’.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Just in case some Christians are not aware of what these leaders are actually meant to do in the Body of Christ, I’ll let this Scripture speak for itself:

Ephesians 4:12-14: …for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of GOD, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,…

The Church, the Body of Christ, is more divided today than ever before because of these false leaders. Christians are arguing over problems that the Bible has already clarified, but due to their loyalty to their pastors, prophets, and the lot, they will take false teaching over truth because it suits them better. Sometimes you’ll come across a leader who knows the Scriptures so well that he can twist it to sing to his tune and then proclaim it as the truth. These leaders may not be physically leading people to their death, but they are taking them with on a one-way ticket to hell. 

Brethren, we are not here just to plod along until Jesus returns! This is a fight! In 1 Corinthians 9:26, Paul the Apostle says: Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. You need to put on the armour of GOD and be ready for any evil, whether it be in the form of false preachers or prophets, persecution, attacks by the devil, or anything that opposes the Kingdom of GOD and His servants. I am not saying physically go out there and fight people, no. The Bible says that we do not wrestle with flesh (Eph 6:12), nor do we war according to the flesh (1 Cor 10:3). Spend more time with GOD in prayer, read His Word, study and meditate upon it, memorise Scripture, get into the habit of regular fasting, be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Ghost, and do not lose your faith. Know Whose you are, and Who you serve. Only then will you be equipped to suss out those who are not of The Body.

Disclaimer: I do not profess to teach or have any sort of authority over men. I share the Word of GOD and any matters about the world that directly applies to our lives and walk as Christians.

Responses

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  1. Brother Dave

    You said to Vic, “Your pastor or prophet will not give an account of your life to GOD…”

    Really?

    Most certainly, those than have been given a position of leadership by God will give an an account of your life.

    ” Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” 

    1. Stephanie Jafta

      Hi Brother Dave,

      Those who have been given a position of leadership will account for misleading GOD’S people, for teaching a message other than the one that was given, but you will not be able to say: ‘Pastor Michael taught me this, therefore it’s his fault that I believed other than what Your Word teaches us. I am not to blame for listening to him and believing his word over Yours’.

      They will give an account for not being faithful with the position/duty/gift they have been given by GOD

      Pastor Michael will be held accountable for the false message he spread, but you made the choice to follow his teachings despite the Scriptures being clear on what a true man or woman of GOD is. GOD will question you, every idle word spoken (Matt 12:36-37), every choice made contrary to His Word that was not repented of. How is one to know what He wishes of His people if we do not read His Word? The Bible says that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of GOD. Those who neglect the reading of GOD’S Word are not obeying Him, and they will be held accountable for it (Rom 14:12, 2 Cor 5:10).

      The only way(s) to be tricked is by having a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) and doubtful commitment. Each of our works will be tested by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). A leader will be held accountable, sure, but you’re going to give an accounting of your own life and you cannot blame someone else for your choices made- this is what I meant. I know that if I sway someone’s beliefs concerning the Gospel and lead them into sin, I am going to be punished for it, there is no doubt about that. But that person also had a responsibility to know GOD’S Word and suss out what I was trying to do. They will give an account for choosing (free will) to listen to me and not GOD’S Word.

      Remain Blessed.

      1. Stephanie Jafta

        Sorry, when I say ‘Pastor Michael’, I am just using an example. And where I say ‘you’, I do not mean to say that it is you that I am talking about. I wish to clarify this in case there was some confusion as to what I meant. Remain Blessed.

    2. Brother Dave

      Yes, it should obvious to any believer that errant teachers will be held accountable for false doctrine, but there will be many things God will forgive due to ignorance.

      Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

  2. Brother Dave

    No person should proclaim themselves to be a pastor or apostle, but according to the Scriptures the true believer is to be an ambassador, to preach the Gospel and to teach others who have questions. Moreover, we all are saints and we all have a ministry.

    The fakes are easy to spot. Their words do not agree with the Word of God.

  3. Stephanie Jafta

    Hi Vir Antonio,

    Thanks for the read.
    Of course, there are genuine servants of Christ who shepherd the Church be it an evangelist. apostle, prophet, teacher, or pastor. This article does not take away from this, rather, it was a topic that I was led to write about. Countless people are falling into the traps of wolves because many Christians do not spend enough time reading GOD’S Word and spending time with Him. When you put Him first, you are more sensitive to the Holy Spirit, thus you are able to know who is a man or woman of GOD, and who is just a fake who knows how to talk the talk but not walk the walk.

    There may be someone who will read this and perhaps identify such a false leader in their life, or someone else may be convicted to read GOD’S Word more so as to not fall victim. The five-fold ministry is there for a reason, to equip GOD’S people, but Satan is just as active using those same titles/positions to fool Christians.

    We need the five-fold ministry to do its work in the Kingdom of GOD, but you must be discerning as to who is genuine and who is false. At the end of the day, it’s literally a matter of life and death. Your pastor or prophet will not give an account of your life to GOD, you will and you will answer for it. I would have all my sisters and brothers in Christ remain vigilant, but never deny that there are those who serve the LORD. I myself know of a few prophets, preachers etc who are true servants, but only because I have seen the fruits of the Spirit in their lives, I know what Scripture says about what they should be, and I witness the anointing of the Holy Ghost in their message or teachings. These are the Last Days, and I truly hope that Christians are more watchful than ever before.

    Remain blessed

  4. Vir Antonio

    Hi Stephanie, appreciate and browse through your article. :) Just one question though, what you’ve shared is the negative side of the five mantle ministry and I believe we are all sick and tired of seeing these kind of plays to get money on their pockets.

    But have we also checked those who are genuine five-fold ministers whom the Lord has chosen to bless the church? I am a believer of the 5 fold ministry and have also seen the faithful ones who does not ask for anything but to serve the church as whom the Lord allowed them to be – apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists.

    1. Brother Dave

      I’m sorry…but I can’t seem to find any verse that mentions a “five-fold” ministry.

      I will guess that it is yet another tradition of men extracted from Ephesians 4:11.

      It is a errant concept, because there are no apostles living today. Add to that, Ephesians 4:11 is the only time pastors are ever mention in the New Testament. Why? Because at that time the church did not have a completed text and it was necessary for someone to preach from the text that was available. We have a completed text now.

      In reality, we are all teachers! We are all evangelists! We all have a ministry!

      And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 

      If you have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ in your heart and mind as being the truth and profess Jesus Christ as your Savior….then you have a ministry.