It is sadly obvious that there are many wolves in sheep clothing among leaders in the Church today. Genuine believers should not be shocked by this but should be ready to identify them and not to fall victim to the manipulation of these fake ministers. They are in every city and nation in the world.
Christ warned us in the past: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). These fake pastors are agents of darkness who use manipulation as a tool to psychologically brainwash God’s people for their selfish gains.
In Nigeria, these groups of followers do not listen to anyone except their “Papa and Daddy” who are master manipulators.
Their intentions outwardly look harmless, but a closer look at all the subtle gestures and messages display an undertone of selfish aggrandizement. When a pastor tells his followers not to make any major decisions without consulting him first, what does that mean? It is a way of assuming absolute control over the lives of his sheep.
Many of these pastors manipulate people to donate to them at the expense of their own families. Women are the major victims of this brainwashing. I have seen a woman who donated her only car to her pastor who has an entire collection. A widow gave the only house, which the husband left for her and her children, to one of her pastors.
There is nothing wrong in giving for the work of God, but giving under manipulative and coercive persuasions is demonic. Christians should give willingly and not out of coercion. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:17).
The worst part is even when some of them begin to realize that they are being manipulated and are disgusted about what their pastors are doing, they find it difficult to express their feelings. They wake up in the morning on Sundays and drag their feet to their churches. They are afraid to leave the Church for fear of the unknown.
I have been in a church where our pastor regularly announced that anyone who leaves that church will be under a curse. Fake pastors use threats as a tool to keep people in perpetual bondage. People, out of fear, do whatever they are told even when it negates the explicit commands in the Word of God.
It is important to note that fake pastors also preach from the same Bible that genuine pastor preaches. They talk about Jesus but quote the Bible out of context. Their interpretations of the Word always tilt towards earthly gains and the cross of Christ is completely sidelined in their messages. Salvation and the coming Kingdom are seldom mentioned by these fake pastors.
Believers should be as wise as serpents in a perilous time like this. Let us be careful not to develop itching ears. When Christians are not grounded in the Word, they can easily be swayed by every wind of doctrine. Christ prophetically informed us that in the last days, many false prophets will preach false christs. Be warned!