By Fr Pat. Amobi Chukwuma
A fraudster is someone who specializes in the act of duping. He seeks for his personal gain at the expense of his clients. His tongue is as sweet as honey, but his heart is as dubious as chameleon. Fraudsters are normally found in market places and along the streets.
Unfortunately today, they have invaded the sanctuary of God. They pronounce the name of Jesus verbally while their hearts are full of mischievousness. Often they put on cassock soaked in occult powers. Also they use signs and symbols of Christianity to attract customers.
That is the more reason I refer to them as holy fraudsters. Their patron is Simon the Magician (Acts 8:9 -11).
During his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ foretold that such holy fraudsters will arise using his name. Therefore he warned: “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Mtt. 7:15). A wolf in sheep’s clothing is symbolic of someone who looks harmless and kind outwardly, but is full of hate, evil and deceit inwardly.
Few days ago, I was taking my routine walk exercise within the geographical area of my pastoral domicile. It was a bushy path and the sun was setting gradually. Suddenly, a giant fearful ram ran out from the bush and was coming towards me. It was bleating like a sheep and also roaring like a lion at the same time. I did not take chances because life has no duplicate.
The male adrenalin in me rose to the highest point. Thank God I was putting on my sport wears and a pair of canvass shoes. I developed wings and ran towards the direction of my residence. The fearful lion-like ram pursued me with excessive velocity. By God’s grace I saw a sycamore tree in front of me and I climbed it like a winged animal. I reached its highest branch and perched on it.
Then I prayerfully waited for Jesus Christ to deliver me from the lion in ram’s clothing. The ram tried to climb the sycamore tree also. Immediately I shouted, “Jesus Christ my Saviour, deliver me!” The deliverance was very effective. The fearful ram-lion turned back and disappeared. I hurriedly climbed down and ran home with divine testimony on my lips.
Where am I heading to? It is not everything that glitters that is gold. There is a big difference between reality and appearance. We must therefore shine our eyes before we fall into the demon’s trap. Saint John the Evangelist says it clearly, “My beloved, do not trust every spirit.
Test the spirits to see whether they come from God, because many false prophets are now in the world” (1 John 4:1). About a week ago, the ministerial video of one popular self acclaimed prophet went viral. He took his unsuspecting victims (men and women) to a river.
There all were ordered by him to remove their clothes. Then they stood naturally naked before the prophet, his workers and camera man. When the prophet gave a sign, they started bathing in the river while the prophet walked behind their backs and buttocks throwing N50 notes on their naked bodies, asking them to bath in the water and the naira notes so that they would become millionaires and billionaires.
Indeed it was abuse of the Nigerian currency. The Anambra State government viewed the action of the prophet as abuse of the Naira and abuse of human decency and morality. Has public nudity become a source of receiving God’s blessings? Our great Master Jesus Christ did not command his hearers to go naked when he was teaching them the Word of God from a boat.
If such immoral and superstitious actions could take place in daylight and public view, who knows what such holy fraudsters do with their clients especially the women in privacy? Many childless women have been subjected to unspeakable carnal and financial deceits at the hands of holy fraudsters.
Without mincing words, Saint Paul says, “Indeed, the love of money is the root of all evil. Because of this greed, some have wandered away from the faith, bringing on themselves afflictions of every kind” (1 Tim. 6:10). The use of money to obtain the power of God is commonly referred to as Simony. Simon the magician offered the Apostles money in order to buy the power of the Holy Spirit.
At once Saint Peter shunned him: “Perish with your money for thinking that the Gift of God could be bought with money!”(Acts 8:20). The other day I met Simon my bosom friend and shouted, “Simony! Simony!” He frowned and warned me, “Please father, if that is a joke; stop it! My name is Simon and not Simony. Simon goes with a blessing while Simony goes with a curse.” Immediately I apologized for abusing his precious name. There and then he accepted my apology as we embraced each other in a friendly manner.
Many miracle or healing centers are shrouded in falsehood. The holy fraudsters as ministers perform stage-managed miracles and then organize false testimonies in order to attract more vulnerable customers. A certain man has been crying in a viral video of how the self acclaimed prophet described above duped him of thousands of naira at various occasions, which ended in empty promises.
Even such holy fraudsters are found in orthodox Christian churches nowadays. If money and women are removed, most healing and miracle centers will close down. Even some of the holy fraudsters organize pseudo divine adorations. Instead of adoring the Lord, they adore their pockets. They speak in meaningless exoteric languages and claim to be speaking in tongues.
One of the holy fraudsters operating in Anambra State boasted that he would raise seven dead bodies in one of the mortuaries on 28 January 2021. Unfortunately the Anambra State Police Command arrested him on 27 January. I am not happy with the police arrest.
He would have been allowed to raise the seven dead bodies as he said. That would have marred his prophecy because it was not possible, unless he made a secret deal with morticians to bring in seven men that are alive and keep them among the dead bodies. If I were in government authority, I would not allow him to raise the seven dead bodies from his preferred mortuary.
I would have taken him to a different mortuary located far away from the area of his operation. Who knows if his arrest was pre-arranged? Was he arrested for trying to raise the dead or for abusing the Nigerian currency or for fraud? The police can tell better. It is not yet late. He should be allowed to raise the dead in all the mortuaries so that the bereaved families will wipe away their tears.
Could you believe that the holy fraudsters operate under the influence of Satanism? They travel far away to consult native occult doctors, witches and wizards. Some of them bury charms under their altar of miracles.
It has also been discovered that some bury live human beings or live animals in the foundation of their church edifices. No wonder the where-about of some missing persons is shrouded in mystery. I pray that God would give those missing persons the opportunity to narrate their ordeals during the Last Judgment. By then everything hidden shall be revealed publicly.
My people say that a stick does not harm someone’s eyes twice. You can deceive someone some of the times but not all the time. Eneke the bird said that since men have learnt to shoot without aiming, it has also learnt to fly without perching. The quest for miracles has landed so many unsuspecting victims into trouble. Some have been rendered useless by holy fraudsters.
This world is not a bed of roses. Suffering should therefore be seen as part and parcel of our human existence. It is totally false to proclaim that God did not create anyone to suffer. Hence to say that suffering is not my portion is a false belief. As imperfect human beings and as Christians, suffering is my portion and your portion. Jesus Christ our Model and Saviour suffered and died on the Cross.
Thus He categorically states, “If you wish to be a follower of mine, denounce yourself and take up your cross each day and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The holy fraudsters should know that one day is for the thief and another day for the owner of the house. Those patronizing the holy fraudsters are doing so at their own risks.