Culture, Gospel of Grace
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Why the gospel is the missing piece in the fake miracles debacle in Africa

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If you are a casual observer Africa’s spiritual landscape you won’t help but notice there is clamor for either religious governing bodies or local goverments to act and curb the spread of fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies. Such is the ongoing case here in South Africa with the CRL Commission, and in other parts of Africa.

There is heated debate on both sides of the argument (proponents and opponents of legislation), with each side making justified points. Yes, church leaders are concerned about the spread of fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies, and are concerned about infringement of religious freedom. It’s both/and, and not either/or.

I worry, however, the church’s response to fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies is anti-gospel.

Here’s my point.

An overreaction to fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies in Africa is to preach motivation, self-help, morality, good works, ethics and obedience. 

When we do this, we completely miss the point. The pendulum swings to the extreme end. 

In the same vein, an overreaction to only preaching motivation, self-help, morality, good works, ethics and obedience, in Africa, has been to preach fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies.

What? you may say. Most preachers who perform fake miracles, and preach the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies came from churches that emphasized too much on motivation, self-help, morality, good works, ethics and obedience. They leave those ministries and churches because they deem them too ‘dry’ and not addressing the concerns that Africans have.

Coupled with the truth that the African spiritual psyche is attuned to the supernatural, ethereal and other-world much more than their Western Christian counterpart. So yes, it makes much sense the African Christian is easily drawn to purveyors of fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies. 

Proper response

The proper response to fake miracles, the so-called prosperity gospel and heresies in Africa is to preach the gospel—make much of Jesus. Period! 

Fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies thrive where there is too little gospel—where Jesus is not much—where Jesus is just a means to the end, and not the means and the end. 

Again in the same vein, only preaching motivation, self-help, morality, good works, ethics and obedience is making too little of the gospel—Jesus is not much—Jesus is a means to the end, and not the means and the end. 

The proper response to fake miracles, the so-called prosperity gospel and heresies in Africa is to preach the gospel—make much of Jesus. Period! 

When we preach the gospel, then miracles, prosperity, morality, self-help, good works, ethics and obedience will be in their proper place. The gospel is the missing puzzle piece in both the fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’, heresies camp, and the motivation, self-help, morality, good works, ethics and obedience camp. When the gospel is in its rightful place, the puzzle is complete—it brings the picture to focus.

Sounds simplistic? I bet it does. This is harder to do than you think. 

That’s what grace looks like.

Photo by Fidel Fernando on Unsplash

This entry was posted in: Culture, Gospel of Grace

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Schulter Etyang leads The Life Place in Johannesburg, South Africa. Schulter is one whom Jesus loves. He loves his wife, Jenny, and enjoys reading, travelling, cooking, running and playing squash. He also enjoys conversations with friends about Jesus and about life.

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