About the Author(s)


Mookgo S. Kgatle Email symbol
Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Citation


Kgatle, M.S., 2019, ‘Reimagining the practice of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa: A critical engagement’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 75(4), a5183. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5183

Original Research

Reimagining the practice of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa: A critical engagement

Mookgo S. Kgatle

Received: 16 July 2018; Accepted: 09 Feb. 2019; Published: 26 Sept. 2019

Copyright: © 2019. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This article is a critical engagement on the practice of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa. Pentecostal prophecy is widely practiced in Southern Africa and other parts of the African continent, especially West Africa, in countries like Ghana and Nigeria. The phenomenon is related to divination in African Traditional Religions. The practices of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa include forensic prophecy, prophetic titles, prophetic objects, prophetic consultation and prophetic miracles. This article critically engages these practices and reimagines the practice of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa. The article suggests a prophecy of salvation, prophecy of love, prophecy of humility and approved prophecy as a remedy for bizarre practices of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa.

Keywords: Prophecy; Divination; African Traditional Religion; African instituted churches; Pentecostal.

Introduction

The practices of prophecy in this article include forensic prophecy, prophetic titles, prophetic objects, prophetic consultation and prophetic miracles. This article discusses these practices and demonstrates how they have spread in Southern Africa and beyond. The article will also analyse the relationship between these practices and divination in Traditional African Religion. The purpose of the article is to engage with these practices and to reimagine the practice of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa. As a theological discourse, the article suggests ways in which Pentecostal Prophecy in Southern Africa can become transformative and qualitative.

The spread of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa and beyond

Uebert Angel (native name Hubert Mudzanire) has introduced the practices of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa according to Mochechane (2016:4). Angel, a Zimbabwean ‘Prophet’ now based in the United Kingdom, received the gift from his spiritual father Prophet Boateng from Ghana. Angel is the spiritual father of Shepherd Bushiri, whom he refers to as a ‘Universal phenomenon’. Angel has since handed over his prophetic baton to Bushiri, calling himself ‘a retired professor of prophecy’. Another proponent of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa is Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa, also a Zimbabwean. According to Rupapa and Shumba (2014:1), ‘Makandiwa is known for his controversial miracles ranging from manhood enlargement to changing people’s HIV statuses as well as causing the birth of the baby of a three-day-old pregnancy’. Another Zimbabwean neo-Pentecostal Prophet is Magaya, who is also in the league of Prophet Uebert Angel, Emmanuel Makandiwa and Shepherd Bushiri.

Among these prophets, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is in a league of his own and is a master of practices of Pentecostal prophecy. The reason for this assertion is that Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG), where Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is a senior pastor, experienced a tremendous growth, especially in South Africa. One of the main reasons for the growth, according to Asamoah-Gyadu (2013), has been ‘its ability to adapt itself to different cultures and societies and give contextualised expressions of Christianity’. This church has experienced exponential growth in a short span of time. The church attracts tens of thousands per service on a weekly basis. The services are broadcast live on the Prophetic channel, can be accessed on Digital Satellite Television, is free for air decoders and has a viewership of 18 million households (Kangwa 2016:1). Prophet Shepherd Bushiri has more than a million likes on his Facebook page and about 3000 followers on his Twitter account.

The ECG church attracts thousands of followers, from sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, who are practically willing to camp for hours at the city gates of Pretoria, even paying exorbitant amounts of money, for an opportunity to meet or see the prophet. On New Year’s Eve, December 2015, in what is popularly known as the ‘Crossover Night’, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri filled the First National Bank (FNB) Stadium to more than its 94 000 seating capacity. In addition, ECG is putting up a multi-million-dollar church structure in upmarket Midrand, and followers around the world are pouring in millions into the church project, which is slated to have a seating capacity of 60 000 (Mochechane 2016:4). Therefore, most examples of the practices of Pentecostal prophecy are from the ECG and Prophet Shepherd Bushiri. This should not be a surprise because Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his church epitomise the phenomenon of prophecies in Southern Africa.

Nonetheless, the practices of Pentecostal prophecy are not only prominent in Southern Africa but in the whole of Africa as well. It is the most common form of prophecy found in Pentecostal-type churches in Africa. For example, Agazue (2016) says that:

it is common for members of the Nigerian Pentecostal churches to view their pastors as prophets. Unlike other Christian denominations who view their priests or pastors as playing the role of a church minister, divine or otherwise, increasingly members of the Nigerian Pentecostal churches believe that their pastors see God and/or hear from God. (p. 10)

Agazue continues to say that prophecies by popular Nigerian pastors are a major topic of discussion in public places, including criticism by Nigerians who are often appalled by these so-called prophecies. It is common practice for these pastors to deliver prophecies for the New Year, and their congregants eagerly await such prophecies in order to guide them with their New Year resolutions and plans. These prophecies often appear as headlines in major newspapers and magazines (2016:10). Prophecy in Africa also often becomes an extremely effective form of pastoral therapy and counsel, mostly practiced in private, a moral corrective and an indispensable facet of Christian ministry (Modiko 2011:44).

Prophecy and divination in African Traditional Religion

Pentecostal prophecy is related to divination in African Traditional Religions (ATRs). Divination or augury, foretelling the future by magical acts, is very popular in Africa, and geomancy, divining by figures on the earth, is found throughout the continent (Abioje 2010:787). Africans enjoy prophecy. Prophets and prophecy play a big role in the religious life of the people of Africa. Before the advent of Christianity, prophets had appeared in the past, particularly in circumstances of social stress in ATRs (Bergene 2016:52). The African prophets replaced the traditional priests and provided the pastoral care and guidance which the Western missionaries were unable to provide. Thus, these African prophets first bridged the gap between the traditional or primal spirituality and Christianity in Africa, as they assumed the important functions of the traditional priests in a Christian mode (Tetteh 2016:12).

There are similarities between the practice of Pentecostal prophecy and divination in ATRs. Chimuka (2016) says:

Although, Pentecostal prophecy leaders claim to be used by the Holy Spirit of God, they have the same pneumatological status as n’anga ministering under the influence of the ancestral spirit, which is the Holy Spirit according to ATRs. The following are parallels – ancestral spirits in ATR correspond to the Holy Spirit in Christianity; magic and divination in ATRs correspond to prophecy and healing in Christianity; and dreams in ATRs correspond to revelation in Christianity. (p. 50)

Modiko (2011:90) argues that the fact that there are so many parallels between the forms of the practices of ATRs and those of Pentecostalism does not mean that the content of prophecy is the same as that of traditional divination. Daneel (1993:150) clarifies that the prophet claims an entirely different source for his extra-perception, namely, the Holy Spirit of the Bible, as opposed to the nganga who relies on hakata [divinatory slabs], ancestral or shavi [alien] spirits for divination. This does not mean that all prophetic claims in the name of the Holy Spirit are valid or genuine. However, the prophetic insistence on the direct involvement of the Holy Spirit reflects an important departure from traditional divination. Prophetic diagnosis, unlike traditional divination, is not aimed at satisfying the demands of the afflicting spirits. Instead, through revelations inspired by the Christian God, the prophet seeks to take the thought world and experience of the patient seriously and to introduce, at an existentially important level, the healing and salvific power of the Christian God.

However, in African Christianity, with the growth of Pentecostalism, people are failing to differentiate between biblical prophecy and divination. Divination is a common practice in African traditions. Any voice that confirms their misery or good fortune is respected. This has resulted in Pentecostal Prophets modestly and gradually contextualising the gospel to meet the needs of the African hearers. African people have been socialised into African traditional beliefs, which tend to encourage the spirit of leaving everything to the supernatural.

Consultation through foretelling or forth telling through spirit mediums is generally accepted as prophecy. The church in Africa, however, is failing to differentiate between true prophets and false prophets. It places much emphasis on the spoken word without evaluating the source (Deke 2015:12). Consequently, Deke (2015:12) continues to say, ‘divination has been accepted and embraced in African theology under the banner of prophecy and faith healing’. In some Pentecostal churches, Anderson (2003:178) opines that ‘people go to a prophet for direction, in much the same way that they would visit a diviner’. The fact that people encourage divination and sorcery practiced by prophets shows that there is a struggle between Christian faith and traditional values. False prophets give true predictions, and this is the key to the growth of Pentecostalism in Africa (see Deke 2015:12). However, accuracy of the prophetic utterances of prophets does not always mean that they are true prophets. It is very possible for someone to give an accurate word by the spirit of divination. According to Muindi (2012:2), ‘diviners and prophets are alike in being mediators of the divine, but prophets speak forth the divine word directly without reading it off a symbolic medium’.

The practice of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa

Forensic prophecy

As discussed above, the practice of Pentecostal prophecy is connected to divination in ATRs to an extent that people cannot make a distinction. Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa is practiced as a forensic prophecy, which is more like divination. In this prophecy, the prophet prophesies people by their personal detail. These include, among others, names, residential addresses, banking details, car registration numbers, age, work position and other details. Forensic prophecy, according to Nehandaradio (2012:1), goes beyond just preaching and announcing the Good News of the salvation of souls. It reveals a phone number, the name of the dog or what one ate the previous night. Maybe, as mentioned in 2 Kings 6:12, even the very words that one speaks in the privacy of the bedroom.

In forensic prophecy, the prophet is able to reveal the personal details of the person receiving the prophecy. In one prophecy by Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, a woman brought a number of pictures before the prophet. The prophet by just looking at a picture revealed that the man in the picture was sick and hospitalised in the intensive care unit. While the woman was surprised, the prophet told her that she is working at a hospital. The woman confirmed both prophecies with amusement and even asked if the prophet was a human being or a spirit (Prophetic Channel.tv 2015a).

This kind of prophecy can go deeper into things like street address, house number or even the type of food that one ate. In another prophecy, the prophet called a woman, revealed the age of her younger brother and went on to reveal the death of her family members and the years in which they died. Then the prophet continued to reveal the location of her house and the road that leads to her house. He went further to mention the name of the school, the shops, tower and police station around her house. The woman was screaming throughout the prophecy in confirmation of what the prophet was saying at that time (Prophetic Channel 2016).

It must be noted that the seers through divination were condemned in the Old Testament. Micah declared that ‘the seers shall be put to shame’ (3:7). Isaiah complained that the prophet reeled with strong drink and swallowed up with wine (28:7). Jeremiah declared that they commit adultery and walk in lies (23:14). He further declared that these prophets were professionals who really had no commission: ‘I sent not these prophets, yet they ran: I spoke not unto them, yet they prophesied’ (23:21). He maintained that they authored their own messages:

I have heard what the prophets have said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies, even the deceit of their own heart? (23:25, 26)

In addition to all of this, Jeremiah charges the false prophets with stealing one another’s oracles. In 23:30, he says: ‘Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, says Yahweh that steal my words everyone from his neighbour?’ Ezekiel devotes his entire 13th chapter to denouncing them, and Micah remarks that the oracles that they delivered were conditioned by the fee they received:

Thus says Jehovah concerning the prophets that make my people to err; that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and whoso puts not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. (3:5)

Prophetic titles

Self-styled pastors or so-called prophets establish churches on their own and assign themselves prophetic titles of their choice, like the major one, seer one, etc., without following the due process required to obtain such titles (Agazue 2016:2). In other words, the title of the prophet is used to exalt the person of prophet over and above other prophets. In the Bible, there are no major and minor prophets but only major and minor books of the prophets. It is therefore wrong to use the titles ‘major prophet’ or ‘minor prophet’ when referring to prophets. These prophetic titles are indicative of idolism. According to the Bible, there are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ (Eph 4:11–12). No reference is made as to who among these is major or minor.

In addition, the prophet in assigning himself or herself a title like the ‘major one’ becomes part of a celebrity cult. Celebrity cult is a cult of personality that arises when an individual becomes more important than the mission he or she belongs to. According to Hunter, celebrity cult exists when the person becomes more important than the formal position (Hunter 2010:3). In this scenario, the congregants come to church to give their lives to the prophet and not to the founder of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ. Any minister of the gospel can fall into the trap of cult of personality, intentionally or unintentionally. It is therefore the responsibility of the prophets to point people to Christ and not themselves.

Prophetic objects

Pentecostal Prophets in Southern Africa use prophetic objects or the so-called spiritual materials. It must be noted that the use of prophetic objects is not a new in Southern Africa. In AICs, they have been called ‘weapons of the spirit’, and they are known as ‘sacramental’. Rituals and ritual objects are essential dimensions of all religions, especially in ATRs. Abioje (2010:801) says that Pentecostal prophets use holy water, sacred oil, ash, candles and incense to heal and to prevent diseases. The cross has acquired a power, which is almost magical. They offer prayers with persuasive, evocative and emotive language. As it has already been discussed, these practices are very much related to divination in ATRs.

The churches also sell spiritual materials, such as olive oil, as well as souvenirs, such as magazines, books, stickers, pamphlets, key-holders, handkerchiefs, video and audio discs/cassettes, T-shirts and scarves. The face of the pastor is often printed on clothing, which members believe can work miracles when needed, such as saving them from road accidents, armed robbery attacks and other social ills (Agazue 2016:6). The most used product is a bottle of olive oil which is considered as ‘anointing oil’. It is believed that the anointing oil can neutralise devilish works and bestow promotional and preventive effects upon believers (Quayesi-Amakye 2015:167). These products are used to have material blessings such as being married and getting a car, a job or a visa to the USA or the United Kingdom (Kangwa 2016:5).

In the words of Deke (2015):

The idea of salvation is taken from the Christian faith, but is changed. New conditions for salvation are given, such as purchase of anointed products, allegiance, the use of certain sacraments and commitment to the organization. Members are thus obliged to fulfil these claims before they can be sure of salvation. Anointed towels, anointed bangles, anointed grass, anointed rings, anointed portraits of the prophets, talismans, oils and all forms of objects has become a common feature in Pentecostalism and African Christianity. Other products used are highly perfumed mystical oils and powders for every spiritual purpose. Incenses, true Love oils, life protection oils, good fortune sandals, exam success oils, attraction oils, good luck oils, money drawing oils, holy waters, beauty powders, Florida water, witch expellers and bath mixtures are also availed for those desperate for supernatural intervention. (p. 7)

There is nothing wrong with the use of substances in Pentecostalism as much as they are used in ATRs and AICs. There are numerous examples of instances where prophets used substances to heal or deliver people.

Naaman in 2 Kings 5:14 was instructed to dip in the Jordan River seven times to be healed of leprosy. In John 9:6–7, Jesus healed a blind man by mud. In the Book of Acts 5:14–15, multitudes of believers were added to the Lord. Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might cure some of them. In the book of Acts 19:11–12, God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

However, the use of substances in divine healing and deliverance only becomes wrong when such substances are exalted above the person of Jesus Christ. In this way, people tend to forget that it is not the ‘anointing oil’ that is healing them but the work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. The second problem I have is that these products are highly commercialised. They are sold at exorbitant prices that the poor cannot afford. This practice by Pentecostal prophets in South Africa, according to Kgatle (2017:1), has caused the Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities Rights Commission to start a debate on the commercialisation of religion and abuse of people’s belief systems.

Prophetic consultation

Pentecostal prophets use the so-called prophetic consultations. As other practices discussed above, traditional doctors in ATRs use consultations such that Christians cannot make a difference. There is a phenomenon among Pentecostal prophets called ‘one on one’, which is also not a new phenomenon. However, in Pentecostal prophecy, the phenomenon is used to describe the fact that during a formal service, the prophet cannot minister to everyone in full detail. Therefore, there is a need for individuals to seek a spiritual direction by making an appointment to see the prophet privately, ‘one on one’. It is alleged that the prophets charge anything between R5000 and R7000 for such services. During the consultation, the problem of a specific individual is discussed, and the apt remedial measure is suggested to the concerned individual.

In response to these rumours, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and others like him say that the money is charged to visitors from outside South Africa. The fee is meant to cover accommodation, meals and transport. The prophet has nothing to do with levy of the fee, as it is managed by the public relations officer of the church (Mzansi Stories 2017:1). However, most of the time the arrangement is used by local people who wish to see the prophet ‘one on one’. The local members are required to pay the same amount even if they do not need transport, accommodation, food, etc. The main problem with ‘one on one’ is the aspect of financial exploitation, which has become a hallmark of the so-called prophets, prompting many individuals desperate to get rich quick to establish a church and present themselves as a prophet (Agazue 2016:7).

Prophetic miracles

Pentecostal prophecy also known for miracles whose authenticity is questionable. One example of a questionable miracle is the video that shows Prophet Shepherd Bushiri walking on air, but in reality there were people at his sides assisting him, because there were shadows seen and voices heard while the prophet claimed to be walking on air (News24 2015:1). Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is not alone in this type of fraudulent prophetic miracles – other prophets around Bushiri’s circles claimed to have walked through the wall and on water. In another hoax, the prophet claimed that he had taken the picture of a person in absentia through an iPad phone, but in reality the picture existed in the phone long before the prophet used the iPad (Prophetic Channel 2015b:1).

Other miracles include the appearance of angels during a church service that was broadcast live. The angels were shown appearing in the overflow section of the church building and not at the main church building where the prophet was at that time, because the goal was to demonstrate the appearance of angels to the people who were at the main church building (Prophetic Channel.tv 2015c). Another miracle involves the appearance of angels dropping oil in people’s hands (Prophetic Channel.tv 2015d). In one of the services, some people came with a boy claiming that the boy was dead and was resurrected during the service. This testimony was used to prove that the prophet can resurrect the dead (Prophetic Channel.tv 2015e).

Another dimension of this prophecy is miracle money. Mochechane (2016:12) says that Bushiri is strong on ‘raising millionaires’ and people give testimonies in every direction of how God prospered them in different activities. Even more interesting is the promise of ‘Miracle money’, where cash is deposited into one’s bank account in miraculous ways. The faithful are encouraged to lift up their phones in prayer as God miraculously manipulates banking systems to bless those who believe. In one service, one of the congregants testified that indeed R5000 was deposited into the bank account (Prophetic Channel.tv 2015b).

There is nothing wrong with performing miracles. Moses in the Old Testament and other prophets performed miracles. In similar way, Jesus performed miracles in the New Testament. However, according to Deke (2015:14), God’s prophets performed miracles so as to bring people closer to God and not to man (1 Ki 18:36–39). The focus was on God and not on selfish ends (Ez 34:1–3). However, as prophets become ubiquitous, millions of prophecy and miracle seekers look for signs (i.e. prophetic ability and testimonies of miracles) to identify who is a legitimate prophet. This has led to the pastors coming up with dubious prophecies and staging miracles to present themselves as legitimate (Agazue 2016:7).

Reimagining the practice of prophecy

Prophecy of salvation

The connections we have seen above between ATRs and Pentecostal prophecy pose serious problems for African Christianity because salvation in Pentecostal prophecy is now connected to divination, financial exploitation, prophetic objects and dubious miracles. This state of affairs, according to Chimuka (2016:14), gives credence to the fear that the light of salvation in Africa is being blown out. The challenge then is how to develop a brand of Christianity that recognises and dignifies the Africans, but at the same time preserving, as it were, ‘the pure milk of the Gospel’. If there is another version of holiness running parallel to the one associated with the God of the Christians, the challenge is how to harness this in the development of authentic Christian worship in Southern Africa.

One of the problems with this prophecy is the notion that the demonstration of power is more important than the prophetic proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Prophetic Channel.tv 2015a). The preaching of the gospel is not seasonal. In fact, preaching is what Christ is waiting for before he comes back, as the scriptures say that the gospel must be preached and the end will come. Matthew 24:14 says, ‘this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the entire world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come’. Therefore, prophecy should be based on the word of God. The preaching of the word and not the other way round should precede the demonstration of power.

People should be led to salvation rather than miracles. Prophecy should concentrate on preaching and announcing the Good News of the salvation of souls. Paul says, ‘for I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified’ (1 Cor 2:2). True prophets do not speak for themselves but speak on behalf of God. They do not speak to benefit their own lives but the body of Christ. True prophets do not speak to embarrass others but to restore them to Christ.

Pentecostal prophecy should enact their own unique liberation theologies, without falling into the trap of reducing the message of salvation exclusively to a this-worldly programme of liberation from sociopolitical oppression or poverty. They should also avoid the pitfall of reducing the Good News to one-sided future salvation of souls through their holistic interpretation of the Holy Spirit’s comprehensive involvement in all of life. Thereby, according to Daneel (1993:166), they escape the Western classifications of ‘liberationist’, ‘evangelical’, ‘charismatic’ or ‘ecumenical’. Daneel continues to say that instead, they should encompass all these distinctions and many more, as they uninhibitedly read the scriptures and intuitively feel for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in Africa. Herein lies their challenge to the world church as it ponders both vision and strategy for a renewed evangelistic thrust (1993:166). Thus, salvation should become a requirement that attests to authenticity of prophecy thereby bringing honour to God. Prophecy should become the result of salvation and not a means of salvation (Bariu 2017:156–157).

Prophecy of love

Pentecostal prophets should not exploit the finances of the people of God but prophesy in love. Paul says that pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy (1 Cor 14:1). It means that prophecy should be preceded by love. Again, Paul says that though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2). Love never fails. Where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be restrained; where there is knowledge, it will be dismissed (1 Cor 13:8).

Prophecy of humility

Instead of running after titles like Major one, Seer one, etc., Pentecostal prophets should always be humble. Maintaining an attitude of humility is essential in prophecy. Otherwise, elitism creeps in and grows up to characterise prophetic individuals and groups. Experiencing supernatural revelation can be ‘heady wine’, and people too often begin to think of themselves more highly than they ought to after having drunk it over a period of time. A subtle temptation comes to people who have been blessed with spiritual gifts. After they become used to the gifts’ presence and operation, it is easy to take them for granted and even subconsciously start to entertain the idea that God originally gave them based on merit. This allows a mentality of superiority to set in within that person or group (Sullivant 2013). Paul addressed this issue with the Corinthians: ‘For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?’ (1 Cor 4:7, NIV).

Thus, Pentecostal prophets should humble themselves for God to lift them up (Jm 4:10; cf. 1 Pe 5:5, Mt 23:12, Lk 14:11). God resists the proud but gives grace unto the humble (Jm 4:6). They must follow on the example of Christ who was found in the fashion as a man but humbled himself and became obedient unto death even the death of the cross (Php 2:8). Jesus himself commanded his disciples to serve in humility. He said to them that whosoever of them that desire to be great must be a servant of all. For even the son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mk 10:44–45).

Approved prophecy

Prophecy should be based on scriptures. In Pentecostal prophecy, two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said (1 Cor 14:29). The scriptures have said many times that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact will be confirmed (Mt 18:16, 2 Cor 13:1, Heb 10:28, 1 Tm 5:19, Dt 17:6). In addition, prophecy should contribute meaningfully and fundamentally to a society’s progress, and sociopolitically and economically, by being vigilant and critical of inhuman conduct (Abioje 2010:787).

Conclusion

This article discussed the practice of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa. The article has demonstrated the spread of prophecy in Southern Africa and beyond. The article has shown similarities between Pentecostal prophecy and divination in ATRs. Other similarities between Pentecostal prophecy and ATRs include prophetic objects and prophetic consultations that financially exploit the people of God. The article explored the practices of prophetic practices in Pentecostal prophecy. The current prophetic practices call for a prophecy that is based on salvation, love, humility and approved prophecy as a remedy for bizarre practices of Pentecostal prophecy in Southern Africa.

Acknowledgements

Competing interests

The author declares that no competing interest exists.

Author contribution

I declare that I am the sole author of this research article

Ethical consideration

The research for this article was limited to the analysis of literature that is publicly available as a result of having been published, and that was interpreted with due caution in accordance with the standards that are considered appropriate with the philosophy of religion.

Funding Information

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Data availability statement

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analysed in this study.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any affiliated agency of the authors.

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Prophetic channel.tv, 2015d, Angels drops oil in people’s hands - Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, viewed 07 March 2015, from www.propheticchannel.tv.

Prophetic channel.tv, 2015e, The dead comes back to life-Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, viewed 16 November 2015, from www.propheticchannel.tv.

Prophetic channel.tv, 2016, This prophecy will shock you - prophet Shepherd Bushiri/Enlightened Christian Gathering live Friday service, viewed 10 September 2016, from www.propheticchannel.tv.

Quayesi-Amakye, J., 2015, ‘Prophetism in Ghana’s new prophetic churches’, Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association 35(2), 162–173. https://doi.org/10.1179/1812446115Z.00000000019

Rupapa, T. & Shumba, D., 2014, ‘Thousands queue for Makandiwa’s anointing oil’, The Herald, viewed 11 August 2014, from www.herald.co.zw.

Shepherd Bushiri Ministries, 2017, The birth of the enlightened Christian gathering, viewed 28 January 2017, from www.shepherdbushiriministries.org.

Sullivant, M.S., 2013, ‘How to stay humble in the prophetic ministry’, Charisma Magazine, viewed 15 February 2013, from www.charismamag.com.

Tetteh, G., 2016, ‘Analysing perspectives on evil, enemy and divinatory consultation among participants in neo-prophetic movements in Pentecostal Ghana’, Doctoral dissertation, University of Oslo, Oslo.



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