Corona Cons

Covid-19 has exposed Prosperity preachers for what they really are: heretics not healers. They are Corona Cons.

They are proud and arrogant and tremble not before God (2Pt. 2:10). They are womanizers, thirsting insatiably for sin (2Pt. 2:14). In their greed and faulty view of suffering, they prey upon new converts (2Pt. 2:20). They hunt gullible women (2Tm. 3:6) — the King James calling these women “silly”. Is there a better word to describe TB Joshua’s message?

Void of blacks masks, they steal the truth. Free of firearms, they rape and pillage the Church. In broad daylight they expose God’s people with false words. Any rational person would think these so-called healing churches would not only stay open, but have 24-hour access. Forget trillion dollar government packages. Let’s use the money to ship the sick to Nigerian healing centers. Continue reading

Ten Ways Judas Iscariot and Prosperity Preachers are the Same

  1. They betray Christ for money (Mt. 26:15).
  2. They love maintaining the outward appearance of holiness (Mt. 26:25).
  3. They show remorse at public scandals but not true repentance (Mt. 27:3-5).
  4. They sometimes refuse money to feign godliness (Mt. 27:5).
  5. They interact with Jesus’ disciples while being secretly paid to deceive them (Lk. 22:5-6).
  6. They display public affection for Christ while working for the devil (Lk. 22:47).
  7. They expertly fool the masses but cannot deceive the righteous Judge (Jn. 5:26-27).
  8. They use the guise of caring for the poor to hide greed (Jn. 12:6).
  9. They are demonic (Jn. 13:27).
  10. They show that despite their terrible sin, the sovereign will of God cannot be broken (Hb. 2:14).

Why is South Africa so Vulnerable to the Prosperity Gospel? (4) Limited Good

Fun Lover Coaches for Fun Loving Theology

The concept of “limited good” denies that wealth can be created. It supposes that since there are not enough good things for everyone to enjoy, a person can only increase his or her wealth/blessings/good at the expense of others.

Notice this kind of limited good thinking in Pumla Gqola’s book Rape: A South African Nightmare:

“[The desire for wealth] seduces the poor into working harder, in search of the elusive ease, but no matter how hard they work, there are finite resources in the world. Therefore wealth requires the hoarding of resources, which means taking away resources that would allow the poor to live decently in an equitable world” (38).


“Limited Good” in Africa

Prof. Koos Van Rooy, an anthropologist and linguist for decades among the Vendas in rural South Africa, defines the African idea of limited good this way:

“There is only a limited amount of good (that is: life force, good luck, prestige, influence, children, possessions) in the cosmos. Each person is allotted a fixed quantity of this good. It can only be increased at the expense of someone else, by way of black magic, ritual murder or theft.”

Think of a pie. Limited good thinks that by cutting out a piece for oneself, the person is taking from others. Wealth, as the thinking goes, can only be transferred from one person to another. If I become rich, someone else must become poor. Continue reading

Why is South Africa so Vulnerable to the Prosperity Gospel? (3) Witchcraft

African culture has long been interwoven with belief in magic, witchcraft and sorcery. Samuel Kunhiyop in African Christian Ethics says that almost all African societies believe in witchcraft. A personal anecdote will help.

During my first two years in Africa I stayed in a little rural village with the chief’s family. One evening, while I was away preaching, thieves broke into my room and stole most of my electronic devices. Because the chief’s wife was responsible for watching my room, she felt terrible. The next day she could be seen scurrying about with a list in her hands containing “items” the witch doctor needed. These would make the potion that would soon locate my pilfered goods. And she was a ZCC member that “believed in Jesus.”

Witchcraft in Scripture

According to Deuteronomy 18:10-11, many forms of sorcery fall beneath the umbrella of “witchcraft.” “Diviners” (v. 10) seek insight from evil spirits. “Sorcerers” (“those who cause to appear”) specialize in conjuring up ghosts and visions (Jdg. 9:36-37). “Soothsayers” like to use objects for their craft (Gn. 44:5). “Spell casters” (v. 11) hurl hexes and curses upon people (Ps. 58:5).

Notice the promotion for “power.” Notice the venue. To date, none of the blind have ever been healed

“Witch doctors” were experts at warding off evil (Isa. 47:9-12) or performing signs–like Pharaoh’s wise men turning rods into snakes (Ex. 7:11). “Mediums”, “necromancers” and inquirers of the dead could communicate with the dead–such as the witch of Endor (1Sm. 28). The latter takes the form of ancestor worship today.

The Lord abominated all of these practices. Moreover, human sacrifice was often associated with witchcraft, as seen in this passage and in others (2Kngs. 17:17).

Witchcraft in African Culture

The example above of the chief’s wife probably fits into the “soothsayer” category. She tried to manipulate divine power through a witch doctor and a host of traditional methods such as amulets and muti to ward off evil or bring blessing. Continue reading

Why is South Africa So Vulnerable to the Prosperity Gospel? (1) Single-Parent Homes

We’ll be exploring several of the reasons why the Prosperity Gospel (PG) is so prevalent in South Africa. The first cause we’ll address is absentee fathers, or, single-parent homes.

Surveys show that South Africa has among the highest number of single parent homes in the world. In fact, according to a recent study, children from South Africa are least likely to live in a home with two parents. Only about 36% of South African households have both a father and a mother.

It is most likely even worse in the rural areas because so many men and women leave for Joburg and other big cities to find work.

Why do single-parent homes lower a culture’s defenses against false teaching like the PG? First, Scripture warns us that charlatans and false teachers will prey on women. “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions” (2Tm. 3:6). Continue reading

30 Reasons it is Good for Christians to Suffer

John G. Lake, Zion City evangelist and co-founder of the Apostolic Faith Mission in South Africa, laid out one of the strongest pentecostal cases for the superhuman ability to overcome sickness. Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, in her 1875 manifesto Science and Health, disavowed the reality of sickness and death–arguing suffering comes from mental errors. E.W. Kenyon believed physical healing is God’s intention for humanity. Kenneth Hagin claimed: “I have not had one sick day in 45 years.” Continue reading

14 Reasons Why Jesus Hates the Prosperity Gospel

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 3.19.37 PMThe Prosperity Gospel heresy is so dangerous because it contains elements of truth. If it were completely false, no one would believe it. God does sometimes bless people with material prosperity and well-being.

But Scripture also warns of the dangers of promising health and wealth, especially when it is used to draw people to God. We could define the Prosperity Gospel message thus: Jesus came into the world to make people prosperous, not to remove God’s wrath upon them. God’s will is never suffering, but always health and wealth.  Continue reading

The Folly of “Faith” Healing

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-2-30-01-pmTD Jakes and his false teaching of modalism is certainly a great threat to the church. Here in Africa, however, his followers are most influenced by another of his heresies: the Prosperity Gospel.

Stickers like that on the left is common in our villages. Notice the name of the church, the key words, and the swanky pose. Most of this is the cheap imitation of what they see Jakes do on TV and in his books. As the pastor of the Potter’s House, Jakes has crystalized in his doctrinal statement the false teaching that is rampant in so many African churches:

We believe that it is God’s will to heal and deliver His people today as He did in the days of the first Apostles. It is by the stripes of Jesus that we are healed, delivered and made whole. We have authority over sickness, disease, demons, curses, and every circumstance in life.

The Prosperity Gospel teaches that it is always God’s will to heal. If healing doesn’t come, it is because of the sick person’s lack of faith. But is this true? Was faith necessary for healing in the New Testament?   Continue reading

Duped By Delayed Healing

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-2-30-57-pm“You are healed!” This was what one charismatic woman declared over me recently upon hearing of my flu-like symptoms. When I told her my illness was just the same as it was a minute ago, she implied it would pass in a couple of days. “Sickness has no power over you, man of God.” If only this were true.

This lady didn’t know it, but she was exhibiting one of two common marks of the Prosperity Crusades: (1) pre-arranged settings and (2) delayed healings.

The Prosperity crowd typically does their healings in sterile, pre-planned environments so they can control who comes and goes. Paraplegics? Downs Syndrome? Amputees? Not a chance. These wily hucksters are looking to heal heart failure and headaches. Bodyguards protect the stage in order to vet each person who wants healing. Everything is orchestrated perfectly.

Contrast this with Jesus, who didn’t need to touch or even see the official’s sick son. He healed him from 25 kms away (Jn. 4:50). Elsewhere, Jesus happened to be at Peter’s house when he healed his mother-in-law (Mt. 8:14-15). Humanly speaking, the healing was unplanned and impromptu. The same thing happened with Peter, who healed the cripple en route to the temple (Ac. 3:6-7).

There are times, however, when those thirsting for a cure don’t play along with the charlatan on stage. Their arm was lame and it’s still lame. What now? This is when the idea of postponed healings comes into play. Like the woman said earlier, sometimes healings take a couple of days to kick in.

But, again, this is not the case in Scripture. The nobleman’s son was healed the very hour Jesus said the word (Jn. 4:52-53). He healed the lepers (Mk. 1:42), the blind man (Mk. 10:32), and the paralytic (Ac. 3:8) instantly. There are a couple of examples in the Gospels where a miracle was delayed for a few minutes (e.g. Lk. 17:11-19) but there was a purpose for this small delay, and never was it for an extended amount of time.

For those church con men who claim to follow in the footsteps of Jesus by healing the sick, a good place to start would be with immediate and spontaneous healings. Anything short is fraud.

The Blessings of Sickness

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-9-45-13-pmWhile waiting in the doctor’s office last week, I sat next to a full-blown Prosperity campaigner. If Joseph Prince or Kenneth Copeland were Don Quixote, this man would have been Sancho Panza. “It’s never God’s will for Christians to be sick, “ he said, only to follow with the saddest line of all. “That’s why I just can’t understand why my wife is here.” A few minutes later, they rolled her out in a wheel chair.

There are many answers to the question of why. Why do Christians suffer? On several occasions we’ve taught our people in the village 30 reasons-it-is-good-for-christians-to-suffer. Most of these come from St. Paul, himself no stranger to affliction but just as anxious to share in Jesus’ suffering (Phil. 3:10).

A good place to start is the story of Jesus healing the nobleman’s son (Jn. 4:46-54). This man and his whole household came to Christ because of the boy’s sickness. The implication is that had the boy not been sick, the father would never have had a reason to believe. This should rectify our qualms with affliction, as so much good comes from it.

Suffering is the oft-used tonic in God’s medical bag. Indeed, strength and vitality bring special blessings, but broken bodies are even better if they draw us to Christ. As David said, “It is good for me that I was afflicted” (Ps. 119:71).

Africa’s Flashy Titles

Ministers carrying their Bible in one hand and braggadocio in the other is nothing new. Modern titles of doctor, pastor of pastors, apostle, and prophet are really not modern at all. Jesus described the false teachers of his day as those who “loved…being called rabbi” (Mt. 23:7). If the Pharisees lived in today’s South African church, they would have their faces crested on the bright t-shirts of their congregation. At the least, a portrait of he and his wife on a bumper sticker.

Which leads us to our third question: does “touch not the Lord’s anointed” mean the pastor is above rebuke? Is the PG’s love affair with tawdry titles biblical?

In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul gives nearly 20 descriptions of a gospel minister. Here are a few: servant, last of all, fool, weak, homeless, reviled, persecuted, scum, refuse. If an “apostle” wants all the fanfare that comes with that label, he should begin by attaching these descriptions to himself.

Never in Scripture is the pastor referred to as God’s anointed. While Jesus is called God’s “Anointed” (Acts 4:26) pastors generally have less winsome titles. A common strategy false teachers use to defend themselves from criticism is the OT passage that says “touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” (1Chr. 16:22; Ps. 105:15). They interpret “mine anointed” as the pastor and the command as being given to those who point out his poor preaching or white silk suit.

Suppose Bishop Baloyi has a girlfriend on the side or offers empty promises or has rebellious children or loves money. In the Prosperity world, none of this is up for rebuke because First Chronicles is clear.

Scripture says otherwise. St. Paul specifically tells the church to rebuke sinning pastors. In fact, the admonition should be public (1Tm. 5:20). Open censure of unrepentant clergy brings fear to the people.

Moreover, the context of 1 Chron. 16 is a plea for Israel to be encouraged. “Remember the covenant!” Even though you were few and homeless, the LORD placed his protecting hand upon you, not allowing pagan nations to “touch” his “anointed ones” (v. 22). These words actually come from David’s song of thanksgiving. If “touch not mine anointed” means no rebuke for God’s people, we would expect to see this in David’s life. But who received more open criticism based on immoral behavior than David (2Sm. 12)?

In the African church these days, about the lowest title one can take is pastor. It seems everyone is a mufundzisi. James disagrees (Jms. 3:1). If God has called a man to this office, he should be quick to follow Paul’s example of renouncing flashy titles.

Keeping Joyce Meyer Under Your Feet

In answering our second question from the Prosperity quiz, let us start with a story.

One evening I sat down with a villager who had been a lifelong member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. He nodded throughout my presentation of the gospel and church doctrine. As I got up to leave, he told me I would be successful as a pastor because “words have power, and we must speak them.”

Harmless perhaps, but after ministering for years among African prosperity churches, I knew exactly what he meant. I questioned him about that statement and just as I expected, the popular teaching of Positive Confession had even seeped into the worldview of an old member of a historically conservative church. “Say the words,” he told me, moving his hand from his lips to the sky. “It will happen.”

Verily, the tongue does have the power to do evil and good. Proverbs 18:20-21 is talking about the incredible power of speech. Solomon uses three body members to describe communication: mouth, lips, and tongue. Each member is made small but with lots of muscle. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (v. 21). The tongue can do great evil, such as leading others into immorality. The evil woman is “loud” (Pr. 7:11). If the man cannot see her, then he certainly will hear her. Contrast this with the godly woman who learns “quietly” (1 Tm. 2:11) and has a spirit that is “quiet” (1 Pt. 3:4). The tongue grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). To avoid this, Paul lists five things to rid ourselves of, at least two of them dealing with the tongue (clamor and slander). The tongue can bring violence. “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating” (Pr. 18:6). On the positive side, the tongue has the power to heal a broken soul (Pr. 12:18), to educate (Pr. 15:7), and to bring joy (Pr. 16:24). The NT version of this is James 3:8-10. “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil…from the same mouth come blessing and cursing.”

The clerics of cornucopia love to take small phrases from the OT and twist them to line their pockets. For them, this verse teaches Positive Confession, meaning our words have the power to create reality. For example, listen to Joyce Meyer in Eight Ways to Keep the Devil Under Your Feet.

Words are containers for power. They carry creative or destructive power, positive or negative power. And so we need to be speaking right things over our lives and about our futures if we expect to have good things happen (30).

Nigerian pastor D. K. Olukoya is more graphic in Prayer Rain. 

I vomit every satanic deposit in my life, in the mighty name of Jesus. (You may prime the expulsion of these things by coughing slightly. Refuse to swallow any saliva coming out from the mouth.) . . . You can prime the expulsion of the following things by heaving deeply and applying little force [sic] upon the lower part of the abdomen. I deliver and pass out any satanic deposit in my intestine, in the name of Jesus. Speak to your womb to retain and maintain the pregnancy till birth. I command my money being caged by the enemy to be completely released, in the name of Jesus (18).

All across Africa, church people are being promised jobs, twins, sports cars, and spouses if they will but speak the words. Why? “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” If you want your sickness to end, say it, speak it, and it will happen.

Proverbs 18:21 actually teaches the opposite of the Prosperity message. Solomon is not telling us to talk more but to talk less. The second half says “and those who love it will eat its fruits.” That is, words have consequences, powerful words have powerful consequences, and voluminous words have voluminous consequences. “Those who love it”, that is, those who love to talk, will reap what they sowed.

This verse is pointing its gun at the forehead of TBN. It says, beware of telling that sick child her positive words have the power to heal. These words actually have the power to cause her death, and you will eat deadly fruit as the consequence. Beware of telling Mrs. Credulous her last coin to the pastor will buy her a new house, for the meal of God’s wrath is spread before you.

Only the Word has the power to create with words (Jn. 1:3). He is the creator. We are the creatures. But our words can do great good and evil. All of us must give account of them one day (Mt. 12:37).

All WHAT Things?

Question 1 from the Prosperity quiz: Does “I can do all things through Christ” mean there is no limit to what I can do, or, “I can do all things through Christ” means it is possible to be content in all circumstances.

Before we melt down the golden calf text of the Prosperity message, allow me to give a little background to Philippians 4:13. Prisons in St. Paul’s day were nothing like modern jailhouses. They were small, dirty, and often carved into the side of a mountain. Because Paul is writing the Philippians epistle while in such a prison, we would expect complaints, grumbling, and formal requests for an early release. Verse ten ought to shock us. “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly.” Rejoicing? Greatly?

The Prosperity Screechers say: “If you are suffering, you can’t be happy until God gives you health.” Paul says: “Though I suffer, I am happy.” Paul is in prison and thriving. He’s not jaded but joyful. It has probably been years between gifts from the church in Philippi, yet he is still faring well. Continue reading

A Survey: Do You Believe in the Prosperity Gospel?

The Prosperity Gospel is ubiquitous. No religion, denomination, or culture is exempt. Here are twenty questions to test how much the Health and Wealth message has affected you

The answers are at the end of the article. I will elaborate on each question in forthcoming posts.

1a. “I can do all things through Christ” means there is no limit to what I can do.

1b. “I can do all things through Christ” means it is possible to be content in all circumstances.


2a. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” means our tongue has the power to destroy or build up others.

2b. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” means our words have the power to speak into existence that which I desire.


3a. In Scripture, the pastor is described as God’s anointed.

3b. In Scripture, the pastor is described as a servant, a slave, and a prisoner.


4a. Suffering is a tool God uses to bring greater blessing.

4b. Faith, not suffering, is a tool God uses to bring greater blessing.


5a. Becoming a Christian means you keep all the desires you had as an unbeliever only you get them from a new source, Jesus.

5b. Becoming a Christian means the desires of your old life change.


6a. It is often God’s will not to heal.

6b. It is always God’s will to heal.


7a. All suffering and sickness is the work of Satan.

7b. All suffering and sickness comes indirectly from the hand of God and often times directly.

Continue reading

Nebuchadnezzar in the African Church

image001One of the characteristics of false teachers is that they “entice unsteady souls” (2 Pt. 2:14). As the angler baits the hook, so do false teachers adorn their promises to fool the unsuspecting crowd.

Pastor Lesego recently grabbed headlines in South Africa when he convinced his people that eating grass would help them get closer to God. We have at least one example in Scripture of a human grass-eater, but this was a sign of God’s judgment (Dan. 4:25). The only hope God gives for the King Nebuchadnezzars and Pastor Lesegos of this world is deeply felt repentance.

Not to be outdone, pictures have come out of Pastor Alex jumping on people. The Rabonni Centre Ministries Facebook page said: “Pastor Alex showed great faith when he paced towards the congregants, who were earlier called to sleep by the Man of God, and stepping and jumping upon them. He was handed a microphone and thereafter the sleeping congregants began to wake up and sleep as he commanded them.”

Some observations from the picture tell us much of what the Prosperity Gospel is all about.

  1. image002The audience is full of women and children. Paul warned us long ago that false teachers would worm their way into the households of women who lack spiritual insight and moral substance (2 Tim. 3:6). The men in this culture are certainly not a paragon of virtue, but even they don’t fall for this level of cretinism.
  2. There are no Bibles. Prosperity preachers may open with a verse, but only as an aid to launch into an appeal for money. Paul praised the Berean church when they checked and double-checked everything Paul said (Acts 17:17).
  3. There is lots of laughter. I can assure you that a common text among prosperity preachers is not the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:4. “Blessed are those who mourn [over their sin].” They do not teach about hell, judgment, repentance, and sin. Rather, they are like “irrational animals” (2 Pt. 2:12) that follow their fleshly desires by promising health and wealth.

“Sickness is Illegal” and Other Prosperity Sound Bites

IMG_0224Here are some gems from a recent prosperity crusade in a nearby village:

  1. “This DVD is anointed. Buy it for R150.”
  2. “Tonight is our night to receive our healing. In the name of Jesus, no one will die.”
  3. “For you to receive your healing, you must establish in your heart that God is not your enemy. For you to receive your healing, accept yourself. Love yourself. Forgive yourself.”
  4. “I have good news for you. You are healed.” [Spoken to the entire crowd of hundreds]
  5. “I am angry at sickness. You have the right to live in divine health.”
  6. “Sickness is illegal in your body.”
  7. “It is very possible to live life with no sickness in your body. I am an example. When pain comes, I command that pain to leave my body. God wants you to live without sickness.”
  8.  “I’m not trying to boast. The last time I had a headache was in the 80’s. I protect myself with my words. The Bible says: ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue.’ I command my body in the name of Jesus.”
  9. “I want you to bring your R100, I will touch it, and when you take it to the bank, it will become a million Rand.”
  10. “Say bye-bye poverty. Say bye-bye sickness.”