The Director of the Lutheran Media Ministry, Ghana, Pastor John Donkoh, has deplored the attitude of self-styled prophets who have invaded the Christian church, taking their members for a ride.
"We have countless examples of reported cases where supposed men of God have duped members they are supposed to shepherd," he said.
Addressing a news conference at the ministry's head office in Accra to mark the 'Reformation' carried out by Martin Luther, Pastor Donkoh recounted a sad story in Uganda, when a self-styled prophet lured and burnt about 500 members of his congregation, after he had succeeded in convincing them to sell all their belongings and donated the proceeds to him as license to heaven.
Pastor John Donkoh condemned the attitude of some pastors who have turned into visa contractors, seeking God's protection for cocaine traffickers, healing patients of all manner of ailments, helping people to be pregnant, "except that they cannot heal a bald-headed person and the sick in the hospitals".
He described such prophets as people who have made their churches their personal properties, and enriching themselves at the expense of ordinary church members.
"They promise prosperity yet they spend endless hours in the church praying all the days of the week and crown it with unbelievable demands."
Pastor John Donkoh lamented that the sacred word of God has been left in the hands of men-of-God who have conspired to drag the name of Jesus Christ into disrepute.
He explained that Jesus Christ has gained salvation and eternal life for the human race through his suffering, death and resurrection from the dead, adding that man has earned peace and forgiveness as a result of God's free gift.
"Luther and other reformers attempted to return Christianity to its roots. In reality, their ideas changed the world into a modern era," he said.
Pastor Donkoh said: "Martin Luther's life teaches that great men of God do not seek fame - it finds them, Christians must learn to walk the talk, and a Christian's greatness is never void of personal devotion."
He said "Luther's life shows us that we may be called upon to go against all powers and people in the world to follow Jesus." �Martin Luther was particularly concerned about the selling of indulgences: as sanctioned by Pope Clement VI in 1334," he said.
He preached that the selling of indulgences was a serious departure from the salvation message of Jesus Christ to the poor. It was then clear that the more you gave to the church, the wider the doors of heaven were opened to the individual," he said.
Since its inception in 1917, the Lutheran Laymen's League has continued to reach thousands of people through radio programmes, international ministries, television programmes, drama, music and congregational outreach training programmes.
Source: The Spectator/Ghana
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