This is the “ROTTEN FRUIT” of TBN, Daystar . . . .
I saw it a few years ago when I was in South Africa
We all know that the dark ages are upon us again here in Africa. It is almost like a dark blanket that is slowly surrounding the land. People who know absolutely nothing of the core values of evangelical Christianity—the new birth, repentance and saving faith, justification and holiness, etc.—have hijacked evangelical Christianity in Africa. Even the term “born again” is being peddled without an iota of the meaning that Jesus had in mind when he used the phrase in his talk with Nicodemus. These are dark days indeed.
Once upon a time in Zambia, in the 1970s and early 1980s, you could go to very much any English-speaking evangelical church on Sunday and expect to attend a Bible study and hear faithful preaching of God’s word. You may have been a little uncomfortable with some aspects of their worship. You may have also disagreed with some doctrinal assumptions during the preaching. However, you could not miss the fact that here was a sincere effort at arriving at the meaning of the text of Scripture and applying it to the hearers—both in the Bible studies and the sermons. You also heard an appeal for repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. They may not have dotted your “i”s and crossed your “t”s as you do, but you still went home edified.
That is now very rare. In most so-called evangelical churches in Zambia today, there are no Bible studies and you cannot last to the end of their worship service if what you went for was spiritual edification. How many of our people are being drawn to churches primarily because they have been falsely promised to be cured of AIDS, get promotion at work, get more money, etc.? How many of our people are giving stashes of cash to so-called servants of God who are in fact nothing more than religious fraudsters? How many of our people now think that worship is dancing to very loud music that competes favourably with the rhumba maestros of the Congo? How many of our preachers think that preaching is shouting nice sounding platitudes through a microphone at the top of their voice with an American or Nigerian accent? This is what church has become.
I liken this delusion to the days prior to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. People flooded the churches but it was all for the wrong reasons. They were deceived and spellbound by a priest craft that claimed abilities they did not have but which the people craved after. Superstition reigned supreme in the church. The people were poor but they were promised various blessings if they could only give their remaining money to the church. Out of these funds majestic church edifices were built and the church’s top leadership lived like kings and princes. Is this not what is happening in the name of evangelical Christianity today? Or am I the only one who is seeing these things?
The result of all this is that we have “Protestant” churches on literally every street but the evangelical faith is totally absent. In fact these churches have become dens of iniquity. Church pastors are impregnating young girls in their churches, getting them to abort, agreeing with their parents not to spill the beans for some undisclosed huge amounts of hush-money, and their spouses and church leaders know about all this. As the pulpit has gone, so has gone the pew. Hardly anyone is thirsting and hungering after righteousness. Immoral living is rife. Church discipline is rare. Those who know about this rottenness are looking at the church from outside and pinching their nostrils in disgust. We have the numbers alright but the salt has lost its saltiness—and we know it.
Come on; let us be honest. We all know that the so-called prosperity gospel, which is in vogue in evangelicalism today, is heresy. We all know that the only guys becoming stinking rich are the preachers to whom the blind followers are giving their money. The followers themselves are still in abject poverty. It is nothing but religious fraud. We also all know that 99% of the claims to physical healing by our faith healers are false. We all have relatives who would be alive today if they had not been told they were cured and so should not take medication for their sickness. These men are murderers. This is not Conrad Mbewe being malicious and making up stories. These are all well-known facts.
The tragedy is not that all this is happening. The disaster is the silence about all this from those who are supposed to provide spiritual guidance to the masses. In Zambia, and in Africa at large, evangelical leaders who have worked their way up the ecclesiastical ladder are holding hands with religious fraudsters and thus they cannot speak about this engulfing evil. They would rather throw stones at political leaders out there than address the Trojan horse within evangelicalism. They would rather tell the world to stop being worldly than tell those who are raping the church from within to stop it. And yet in the light of this spiritual tsunami, the silence is criminal.
The problem with this current silence is that the younger generation who are coming into evangelical circles now think that what they are seeing is a viable and alternative form of evangelical Christianity when it is not. They have no clue that only recently believers got together in church for serious Bible study, that worship had dignity and awe, and that sermons were Bible-based, Christ-centred, and aimed at spiritual conversion. Due to our silence, our upcoming preachers are seeing filling your church membership roll with goats rather than sheep and driving expensive cars at the expense of poor parishioners as the sign of pastoral success. They have no clue that it was only recently when pastors stood out in society for their true godly servanthood. Today’s evangelical leaders are misleading a whole generation of innocent souls by their silence.
In the days of the prophet Malachi, religion in Israel had reached its lowest ebb. The Temple was still full of activity—with all kinds of sacrifices being offered at the altar. Yet, the true worship of God was dying. Those who came to the place of worship were defrauding God and the priests were allowing this. Men were unfaithful to their wives and divorcing at will, and the priests kept quiet about it. God finally put the blame where it ought to have been—at the feet of the priests. He said, “The lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way” (Malachi 2:7-8). God finally wanted them to just shut the Temple doors and send everyone away! Their silence misrepresented him. They did not care that his greatness was obscured.
Once upon a time, a generation of God’s people saw spiritual decay and said, “Enough is enough!” and out of this protest was born the Protestant Reformation. In yet another generation, when liberalism had invaded the Protestant church and was killing its very life, a generation of God’s people again said, “Enough is enough!” and out of that protest was born the Evangelical movement of the 18th century. In the light of the darkness that is once again upon us, with churches becoming no more than witchdoctors’ dens, is it not time for today’s evangelicals to say, “Enough is enough”? How can we be silent in the light of this engulfing darkness? Surely, our evangelical silence must be criminal.