By Rev. Victor Adeyemi
I am very curious about the future and so are most human beings. My first expression of this interest was to read daily horoscope columns in newspapers as a child. I remember our dad taking it further by occasionally buying whole published books covering his star for the year. I later got to understand he had patronized a UK-based psychic before who advertised regularly in weekly popular magazines in the Nigeria of my childhood. I was also told an Uncle of mine tried tracing the psychic’s address in the UK to no avail. She had predicted some things accurately and it would have been nicer to meet her in person for guidance beyond mere correspondence by post. Psychics and mediums ply their trades on the internet today and their industry is flourishing although the bible condemns their trade and instructs against seeking them. Some however come dressed in religious garbs and are therefore more accepted, yet, they receive their ‘revelations’ from the same source. The bottom line is that as humans, we all want to know the future and it creates an opportunity for those who know or pretend to know.
Curiosity and anxiety about the future make us do all we can to find out about it ahead of time. As believers, however, we must be careful not to allow this curiosity to drive us beyond the boundaries of the word of God. I also believe the same quest provides a ground for opportunism for which ministers of the gospel in particular must be careful. Predicting the future accurately can boost our ego, validate our ministry and even put more money in our pockets as people begin to seek us out. This reality creates occasions for the flesh to come into manifestation. It has led many ministers of the gospel to greed for money and to various compromises. I was told of a Pentecostal minister who will usually send young men ahead of him to churches where he will eventually minister to gather information about people, cars, social media presence, and the like, only to in turn use such in the guise of revelations and leverage on all that to raise money. It was a first-hand report from a close acquaintance of his.
This leads me to the show of shame that election predictions have become. The 2020 United States elections were characterized by many false prophecies of a second term for Donald Trump. The evangelical community was so excited about his pro-conservative posture that they saw nothing but visions of a second term. How shameful I felt for the church when Joe Biden won the elections. The Nigerian clergy learned nothing from it as Prophet after Prophet began to predict Peter Obi’s victory in the 2023 elections. I know the case is in court but I will honestly be very surprised if the status quo is not maintained because while my sentiments were also with Obi due to his relative youthfulness which none of the others could match and my opinion that for inclusiveness and a sense of belonging, it is high time we have an Igbo president in Nigeria, my ‘political arithmetic’ kept tilting towards a victory for Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I have been a student of Nigerian politics for over 40 years and I knew the votes of the Christian states alone could not deliver the elections to Peter Obi nor could Atiku Abubakar win without significant votes from the south. His own southern following had been eroded by the lack of unity in his party and Peter Obi’s exit and movement to the Labour Party.
As I write this article, I remain in reverence towards some senior ministers in the body of Christ and out of my honour for them will leave them out of my examples but, I am even more concerned about their own false predictions due to their visibility and massive influences. However, I remember a minister I will consider a more popular contemporary of mine confidently declaring ‘I see number 2 becoming number 1’. A much younger minister described in vivid terms how an unconstitutional interim government will be installed on the Handover date with Yemi Osinbajo presiding till the courts declare Peter Obi the winner and he takes over the reins of government from Osinbajo. Another minister would come out accusing the young man of stealing his prophecy and confidently boasting of the veracity of the prophecy. So detailed and persuasive was he that I was almost carried away with it till I reflected well and also made inquiries about the character. Several other charlatans and sorcerers also added their voices but mostly got it wrong except for one or two lone voices. Today I am ashamed and embarrassed about the laughing stock we have made ourselves and our Faith in the eyes of the world. This show of shame has become a subject of newspaper articles and media conversations that are very condescending towards the church of Christ.
I want to use this medium to plead with our ‘Prophets’ to admit their failures and apologize to the body of Christ and the nation alike. They should go further and simply learn to ‘keep quiet’ henceforth, except God clearly speaks to them. They should admit to themselves that they were moved by the flesh towards self-aggrandizement and greed to tell lies in the name of the Lord as prophecies. If indeed they had supernatural experiences, they should admit they were deceived by demons and go for deliverance. In the name of the Lord, I plead they should stop embarrassing the body of Christ. I witnessed loads of prophetic analyses driven by emotionalism and even ethnicity. I wish I could drop the toga of a Pentecostal these days because it is in our ranks that all manners of bizarre practices and most of these fake prophecies are found. Can the fathers of the Faith who did not soil their names kindly speak out on this matter? I honour Pastor EA Adeboye for saying that God had not told him who would be president when obviously the whole world expected a prophecy from him. It was humble of him but how dignifying today.
Let us realize the world is watching and their Faith in the gospel is diminishing further and further by our false prophecies. We are hindering the cause of the gospel of Christ unknowingly. I am also concerned about how our children and grandchildren are viewing it all. Will they believe in the gospel we preach? Will they believe God truly speaks to people? Will they not be suspicious that we are hypocritical and also deceptive? Will they follow our faith at the end of the day? Let us think deeply and realize we are not under compulsion to predict anything in the New Testament. The New Testament prophet confirms the will of God but is not a guide in the sense of the Old Testament prophet. There is more dignity in our silence than in our false prophecies.