When the role of Jesus is replaced by ‘men of God’ — Afrika Mhlophe

Video screenshot of the arrest today of Pastor Omotoso at Port Elizabeth Airport. (PHOTO: HeraldLIVE )

In December last year, I wrote a piece about Lethebo Rabalago, a so-called prophet who gained notoriety for spraying his congregants with the insecticide Doom to heal them.

Now the latest ‘prophet’ to bring disrepute to the Christian faith is Timothy Omotoso. This Nigerian national was recently the subject of a SABC 1 Special Assignment expose into allegations that he lured young ladies, some as young as 14, to his Umhlanga Durban house for them to perform sexual acts on him.

Up to 30 ladies throughout the country have now come forward to reveal that they have been victims of Omotoso, whose alleged modus operandi involved the use of a recruiter who approached beautiful ladies from disadvantaged backgrounds to spend time with the man they refer to as “daddy”.

These ladies were then trafficked to Durban on the pretext that daddy will help improve their lives, but ended up as sex slaves who were detained for weeks to satisfy the carnal needs of Omotoso.

Shift in focus of faith
The unfortunate thing about these abusive incidents is that they provide fodder to secular media and sceptics who already have a bone to pick with our faith. But the same incidents reveal a shift from a Christ-centred faith to an anthropocentric one where the meeting of our personal needs ranks higher than knowing Jesus.

We are now living in the days of Christian hedonism people follow Jesus for the fish and the loaves that feed the flesh for temporary satisfaction. And not for the words of life that feed the soul for eternity.

In fact, the majority of people who shore up the ministries of false prophets and false miracle workers are Christians who have left their congregations in search of human mediums who would connect them with God.

Thus the role of Jesus has been replaced by “men of God” who operate with supposed superhuman abilities. In fact, the Holy Spirit, who convicts, corrects and helps to produce the character of Christ, has also had to give way to spiritism that produces a false sense of righteousness.

Most of the people who fall victim for the likes of Omotoso do very little to advance God’s kingdom. They don’t witness to the lost, will never go on missions, or support a charity. They won’t attend a prayer meeting unless they are the main focus of the prayer.

But their time is preoccupied with running from demonic forces that are forever chasing them. If they give, it is often to their man of God because of the idea that he’s their main channel of blessings from God.

As for faith, it is safe to say that they do have, but it is directed to the wrong object. Instead of faith in God, it is faith in the man of God.

What kind of believers are we producing?
So the question we should be asking ourselves is what kind of believers are we producing in SA? Are we producing believers who can stand persecution and can sacrifice all for Jesus? Or ignorant ones who want shortcuts and aren’t prepared to see Jesus as anything more than a Christian sangoma?

Heavily armed police arrested Omotoso as he landed at Port Elizabeth Airport today. But what I am hoping for is that the church will arrest the rapid decline from Christian orthodoxy — and disown a faith that exists to placate the egos of prideful charlatans and that caters to the whims of self-centered Christians.


  1. Actually, the first and only reaction I had when I heard about this Omotosa character was concern for all the girls and young women who had been lured into this trap and had been sexually abused. The last thing that would have concerned me was that this could or was bringing “disrepute to the Christian faith” as you put it, or disrepute to the pastoral profession as you implied.
    Maybe the biggest thing that the church is struggling with right now is not with the charlatans like Omotosa that appear from time to time, but when it places reputation above people. The Catholic Church did the same thing for many decades, but while they tried to hide the abuse, the Protestant church’s concern is to dissociate itself from the abuse. While the latter appears to be more ‘righteous’, in both cases there is seemingly little concern for the victims. The Pharisees did both because it’s the same spirit.
    Jesus did not care about His reputation, he cared for people. Read the Gospels.

    • Hi Sarah. The abuse the girls suffered is a great concern. But so is the disrepute to the faith and Church — but not in the silly, self-centered sense you have in mind. We (all believers who together are the Church) are called to represent Jesus well to people as witnesses to His love and the eternal salvation that He alone offers them. It is indeed sad and a great injustice when people who are supposed to be ambassadors to Christ — especially those who are seen as leaders — drive people away from Jesus by their example.

  2. Nokulungs Ngalo

    I trust God for everything. I trust Him and I know He will heal and deliver our nation. Our God is very wise, I am so sorry for the victims, but we have been warned several times by our leaders not to fall into the hands of these people from wherever. We always have curious to see what miracle is a new prophet will come with. Despartion makes us to do stupid things sometimes. But our God will surely come and delivery Us from these Lions. Oh yes He will. He did several times with Israelites,He will make a way out of noway. Omotose came to destroy our children and our married people. I have people that left our church and run with this men they ended up living their jobs and devorce their husbands because they are following this men.we need to fix that by doing the right thing and represent God. The Lord will walk before us. He will help us to help our communities to take them back to God.
    We say yes Lord to your will, we will go out there and do damage control.