The stories on some people posing as men of God and deceiving unsuspecting and vulnerable people are countless. Some dupe, deceive and exploit church members while others also abuse and camp members against medical advice all under the cloak of Christianity.
It is in this regard that the secretary to the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC), Rev. Emmanuel Teimah Barrigah, has cautioned Christians against pastors who request payment of consultation fee, purchase of holy water and anointing oil.
He said “the standard of Christianity is Jesus Christ and there were no instances in the Bible where He (Jesus Christ) took consultation fees. So, if you are to pay consultation fee, buy oil or holy water before you see a man of God, then you should know the person is not of God”.
“These pastors manipulate and exploit members to satisfy their own desires. For instance, you go to some places and they remove the panties of ladies, some kissing and fondling women all in the name of exorcising them of evil. Such practices are immoral and have no basis in the Bible,” he explained.
He said Christians must know the basic doctrines of the Christian faith so that they could clearly identify pastors whose teachings were contrary to the Bible. This, he said, would help members identify pastors who were fake and exploitative.
Rev. Barrigah also called on law enforcers and the Ghana Revenue Authority to respectively, arrest pastors who “abuse the human rights of members and tax churches that are profit oriented.”
He noted that “churches are non-profit organisations so those who take consultation fees, sell oil and water for profit must be taxed”.
The Director for Children’s Ministry of the Methodist Church Ghana, Very Rev. Kenneth Arthur-Sarfo urged parents and churches in Ghana to protect children against fake pastors and their activities.
He said “the home and church must focus on who handles children and find out their background. They must be people who have no record for molesting and harming children and who will only protect them”.
He said if the children were not protected against such lame pastors, they would end up having misguided and shabby future which would affect them, the family, the church and the nation at large.
“My greatest worry with children in these practices is when children are forced to pronounce that they are witches. The stigmatisation, the dented image and the scarred future that the child has and growing with that mindset that they are witches is worrying. This tag will be on them even till death and should they even become something better in life, people will still point fingers at them as witches,” he lamented.
Work to earn a living
The Director for Youth Ministries Directorate of the Methodist Church, Very Rev Ishmael Francis Tettey Tetteh, told The Mirror that the youth must be very vigilant not to be led astray by fake pastors.
He said such pastors make Christianity look magical. “There has been instances where unemployed people are made to pay huge sums of money so that God will give them jobs. Young people are encouraged to spend all their time in church praying for miracles when they have to work for a living as instructed by the Holy Book”.
Rev. Tetteh stated that when God put man in the garden, he instructed him to work and keep it to be fruitful and multiply and so young people must stop following pastors for jobs.
“If young people follow such pastors, they will become redundant, lazy, unemployed and poor and that is not good for the country,” he added.