I have previewed hundreds of articles and video clips from last year’s church cross-over services and have yet to find a pastor that prophesied – or gave an inkling of forewarning – regarding the ominous events that befell the world in 2020. The question is – if ministers of God are truly mouthpieces of God, why did no one warn the world about coronavirus? The prophetic proclamations I heard were almost unanimously painting 2020 in a positive light, bolstering expectations of ‘uncommon breakthroughs’, ‘mind-boggling promotions’ and ‘extravagant abundance’. Opposite was the case for the world in 2020 – both individually for many pastors and collectively for their members.
Let me pinpoint a few practical examples. Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy declared 2020 the ‘Year of Perfection’. Several months later, he was embroiled in controversy after stating the coronavirus pandemic was caused by 5G technology – a claim so spurious his television channel in UK was sanctioned for it. Malawian ‘Prophet’ Shepherd Bushiri said he had prophetically visited all the months of 2020 and they were resoundingly ‘great’. He was arrested two months ago over charges of fraud and eventually escaped to Malawi where he remains a fugitive. RCCG Pastor Enoch Adeboye declared 2020 “the year of series of joys” and “series of victories”. In May, a young girl was raped and murdered in one of his church branches, sparking outrage and protests throughout the nation of Nigeria.
Apostle Johnson Suleman termed 2020 “the year of greater glory”, Bishop David Oyedepo said it was “the year of breaking limits” while COZA Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo called it “the year of unprecedented exploits”. Zimbabwean Pastor Emmanuel Makandiwa said 2020 was the “year of excellence”, Dunamis Head described it as “the year of supernatural shift’ and DayStar’s Pastor Sam Adeyemi announced it as “the year of rest”. However, the members shouting ‘Amen’ to these ‘prophetic proclamations’ are mostly the same people facing the brunt of the economic backlash caused by the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and the lockdown imposed to contain it. While, of course, there are some sparse individual cases where these themes saw fruition, I think it’s safe to say that – as a whole – 2020 proved the entirety of these pastors wrong. Indeed, it will easily go down as one of the worst years on record and one most citizens of the world will be most to forget and forge ahead from.
Yet with 2021 approaching, the majority of these churches will be packed with congregants – most flouting COVID-19 guidelines – to hear another ‘word from the Lord’ for the upcoming year. It suggests to me that most attendees at such events are simply going for social, traditional or conventional reasons, not to actually hear a genuine message from above. In the same vein, I would surmise that most pastors choose to ‘prophesy’ words that tickle ears and elicit a sufficient emotional frenzy to ensure a sizeable offering is collected at the crossover service. In the case of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, he stated he would not read his ‘prophecy’ but it was available to be purchased for N100!
Let me conclude by giving an honourable mention to TB Joshua of The SCOAN who did aptly term 2020 ‘the year of humility’. If there’s anyone who needed to be humbled in 2020, I’d highlight these pastors who yearly prophesy smooth things under the hallowed guise of hearing from God.
Tawia Acheampong is a writer on religious affairs