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Opinions of Thursday, 30 May 2019

Columnist: K Badu

Let’s extol the MPs: Regulation on One-Man Churches has been a long time coming

The circumscription of the revoltingly ugly activities of the so-called Men of God has been a long time coming, so to speak. Nevertheless, it is better late than never, they say.

We are, therefore, in support of the Members of Parliament who are prudently calling for the enactment of regulation to curb the unscrupulous activities of the men and women who are swindling and maltreating the unsuspecting followers in the name of God.

Apparently, there are numerous Bible verses on false prophets and their self-aggrandisement and the need for their followers to be on their guard.

Undeniably, false prophets are at work today, and command a multitude of truth seekers, many of whom lack knowledge, hence following the con-artists, who are probably resorting to necromancy, albeit masquerading as “Men of God”.

I must confess though, it pains my heart so much to state that the founders of the one-man churches have long been getting away with their ceaseless scheming guiles and irrevocable self-aggrandisement.

It is an undeniable fact that freedom of worship is an inalienable human right, which is encapsulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

More significantly, freedom of worship has been transposed and given meaning in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.

As such, there is no permitted abridgment as to which religious sect one could join. Indeed, individuals have their inherent dignity and inalienable rights to choose or join any congregation of their choice.

Let me however stress forcefully that this periodical is not seeking to censure those churches that have contributed in the past, and still contributing meaningfully to the advancement of humanity.

To be quite honest, the vast majority of Ghanaians owe a great debt of gratitude to orthodox churches for their unstinting missionary endeavours.

In my humble opinion, the orthodox churches deserve every commendation for their numerous charitable endeavours. However, the same cannot be said about the “one-man churches”.

Regrettably, though, the founders of the one-man churches have succeeded in proselytizing and swindling unsuspected truth seekers, who only want adulterated, more 'palatable' forms of Truth, watered down and compromised for convenience.

Disappointingly, however, the authorities are reluctant to regulate the activities of the one-man churches. It would thus appear that the authorities fear the repercussions of being labelled blasphemous by the uncritical church goers or do not want to risk votes, considering the massive church population.

The authorities have somehow turned a blind eye to the revoltingly ugly activities of the one-man churches such as noise making, illegal trading (anointing oil), torturing followers, fleecing of general public and unnecessary tax evasions.

Of course, the one-man churches have registered or often seen as charitable organisations-non-profit making organisations. But do they deserve such benevolent status? No.

As a matter of fact and observation, the founders of the one-man churches are making a lot of profits from unconventional trading, in addition to ripping off their poor followers to feed their opulent lifestyles.

The founders of those churches have been given charitable status in the view that they will help the needy in society, albeit they have refused and still refusing to oblige. To be blunt, they prefer to rip off their poor followers to boost their bank balances. In my view, the “one-man churches” are not charitable, thus they must be given tax codes and let us start deducting taxes which can be used to develop their communities.

Isn’t it true that some of the one-man churches owners go about bragging about their wealth? They do. So where then lies the fairness in leaving those “fat cats” from the tax net and then turn around and pursue their impoverished church members?

Unlike the orthodox churches, (Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican amongst others, the one-man Churches are not charitable in any sense, so why give them tax concessions?

It is extremely unconscionable to allow the founders of the one-man churches to go scot free and then turn around and pursue low income earners such as pepper and tomato sellers for taxes from their meagre earnings.

There is no denying or hiding the fact that the activities of the unscrupulous one-man churches are causing a lot of anguish in the lives of many discerning citizens, thus the policy makers cannot look on unconcerned.

It must, however, be emphasised that charitable organisations elsewhere are exempted from paying direct taxes and they, in turn, reciprocate by undertaking socially responsible programmes and projects.

It should also be mentioned that in most well-regulated precincts, there is a threshold in the registered charities or social enterprises tax concessions.

For example, if a charitable organisation chose to engage in a profitable activity outside its normal ambit, then profits that would be accrued from such activity become taxable.

In addition to any regulations, there should be a Charity Commission to oversee the activities of all the one-man churches and that of registered charitable organisations and other social enterprises.

We hear day in and day out on how some truth seekers are being swindled and maltreated by the same “Men of God” who claim to be leading the truth seekers to “Heaven”. Meanwhile the truth seekers are being “perished” for the lack of knowledge.

Apparently, the so-called Men of God are claiming to be performing miracles in the name of Jehovah God to the amusement of their followers. But the question one may ask is: are those miracles really from God?

Let us look at Mathew 7:17; Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Mat 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Mat 7:19-Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Mat 7:20 Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Mat 7:21-Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [lawlessness].

Nowadays, the people who called themselves Men of God are all over the place and are very powerful and successful, but does this mean they have been actually blessed by Jehovah God?

Let us again look at the following verses from the new testament; Mathew 24:11; And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. Mat 24:12 And because iniquity [lawlessness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

2 Pet 2:1 [NIV] But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Pet 2:2 [NIV] Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 2 Pet 2:3 [NIV] In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of truth seekers are needlessly following miracles instead of the truth, hence being fleeced by so-called men of God.

If we look at the following verses from the new testament, we will be able to differentiate the false prophets amongst us.

2 Tim 4:2 [NIV]; Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Tim 4:4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

We should also take note that true Prophets Are Always In agreement With Other Prophets Of God And Scripture: 1 Cor 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 1 Cor 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

There is no denying of the fact that false Prophets can sometimes perform Impressive Miracles That deceive their followers: Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. Rev 13:12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. Rev 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, Rev 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

Rev 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. Rev 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Rev 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

One would expect that the Biblical teachings of the False Prophets will send clear warnings to the seekers of the truth. Nonetheless the vast majority of truth seekers lack the requisite knowledge to appraise “non-facts”.

It is abundantly clear that if the authorities do not come out with expedient measures to circumscribe the diddling of the False Prophets, the uncritical citizens will remain victims to the wolves in the sheep’s clothing.

I would like to believe that even Jehovah God will bless the Members of Parliament for enacting laws to halt the criminals who are using the “Bible” to swindle their unsuspected followers for their own expansiveness and leaving their victims to labour emotionally.

In my humble opinion, it is inconsequential on the part of individuals who are seeking to enter the Kingdom of God to veer from what the Bible really teaches and instead following the “Blind men” who will only lead them further into the “wilderness”.

K. Badu, UK.

k.badu2011@gmail.com