Rightly or wrongly, the Pulpit in Nigeria has been elevated to the point of infallibility. Over the years the words of the Clergy in the Church or Mosque have come to carry more weight than the words of a Governor or President. Some clergymen have known to have become reliable sources of knowing what the future will be like. As a matter of fact, at the beginning of every year, people throng to these clergymen to know what the year holds for them and the nation. Prophet Elijah in the Bible was known to guide Kings in his times on how to run their kingdoms.
This is why some Men of God command cult-like followership and attention that even a Governor of a State cannot command. In some Christian denominations, when the General Overseers (GO) call for general meetings of the workforce of the churches, you can be sure of a good attendance, same with the other religion. As a matter of fact, whenever some denominations hold their general meeting, traffic management agencies always have their hands full managing the traffic on the road leading to those denominations. Such is the hold of religion upon Nigerians. We are fast becoming the most religious people on earth. Whether our level of religiosity has any effect on our moral standard and living is another matter entirely!
It is therefore not surprising that Nigerians believe the words of their pastors or imams more than the budget or economic blueprint of the State or Federal Government. After all, government are known to always renege on their promise once they ascend to power, so their promises are often taken for a pinch of salt. Of course, quite a number of opportunists have entered into the fold to take advantage of the believing followers.
One of the times Nigerians look up to Clergymen to know the mind of God is during elections. Rev. Father Mbaka was known to have prophesied correctly the defeat of immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan and this earned him no little recognition and fame. Pastor Tunde Bakare was also reported to have prophesied that SDP will fail, NRC will lose before the June 12, 1993 election that was annulled by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. Truly SDP won but never tasted power due to the annulment. There have been quite a number of prophesies like these which have come to pass and some that didn’t hit the mark.
Do the Clergymen hear from God on matters like elections? Yes, I think they do. If God can speak concerning their members and church or mosque, why can’t He speak about the nation or its leader? Do they hear correctly all the time? No. Just as it is possible not to hear what someone tells you in a room clearly, there exists the chance that Clergymen may miss it sometimes. After all they are men with blood flowing in their veins too.
It is however dangerous when the following scenarios begin to happen. One, when we begin to equate clergymen with God and hold them infallible. At such stage, we are setting them up for big-time failure, because God is God and clergymen are just His servants. Their ability to hear well at any point in time is a function of their relationship with God at such time. Two, when clergymen begin to mix their minds with the voice of God. It only leads to confusion and disgrace. Three, when clergymen begin to believe they are infallible and tries to justifies the non-fulfilment of their prophecies. When a prophecy is proven wrong, the clergy is to go back to God and find out why, or check to see that it was not a self-produced prophecy ab initio.
On the background of the recent US Election and how President-Elect Donald Trump defied all odds and prophecies to defeat aspirant Hilary Clinton, it is appalling that a clergyman who predicted a Hilary victory in a video before the election has pulled down the video from the church website after the prophecy was proved wrong. Nigerians have been reacting to the failed prophecies and the pulling down of the video from the church’s website. This action is unfortunate and embarrassing to the body of Christ. Why pull down the video? Is this the first failed prophecy from the clergyman? Who is deceiving who here? Even CNN Poll of Polls failed in its prediction, CNN has not brought down its site for that matter! Political pundits all over the world, except for a few, missed it this time around, so why try to prove infallible! It is quite ‘unman-of-godly’, if you ask me.
The lesson here is that prophecies from the Pulpit concerning the Podium must be proven for their authenticity before being made public. And when a Clergy is speaking his mind he should not call it prophecy, because everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion. It is this rampant act of mixing the mind of men with the mind of God that is responsible for many of the unfulfilled prophecies, plus even God changes his mind when people pray. He changed his mind about Nineveh despite Jonah’s prophecies, so why can’t He change his mind concerning Trump?
13th November 2016