"If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. A prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded . . . .  is to be put to death.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭18:20,22‬

Apostle Johnson Suleman

How come the people who bang on about what a fantastic place heaven is are the ones most scared of death? Judging by his pronouncements, it is fair to infer that Apostle Suleman prefers the privileges of this life and does not wish to die, the only means by which he could be with Jesus. I find this hypocritical, and sufficient evidence in itself, that he does not believe what he preaches. If heaven is the fantastic place pastors say it is then they should be praying to die rather than accumulating worldly treasures such as cars, mansions, business portfolios, private jets, etc. I suspect that the apostle, like most Christians, will "reject" any prayers for his death. But he is all over the place praying for the Kaduna State governor (Mallam Nasir El Rufai) to die because he sees death, not as a means to unite one to God but, as a horrible thing. 

It's ironic that a death-wish is coming from a man who claims to be the apostle of Jesus. Has he forgotten that Jesus commanded his followers to forgive their enemies 70x7 times in a day? Has he forgotten Jesus's admonishment to pray for one's enemies and to "bless those who curse you"? Jesus forgave the people that crucified Him. What has Mallam El Rufai done to apostle Suleman that warrants death threats? Okay, how about letting Jesus and/or God fight for themselves? If the apostle truly believes what he preaches (that prayers can move mountains, and that the hearts of Kings are in God's hands and He directs them as He wills), couldn't he simply have asked God to direct the governor's heart to withdraw the bill? Does the bible not teach that "all things are possible for him who prays and believes"?  It is evident that there are irreconcilable differences between Apostle Suleman's teachings and those of Jesus. To add further embarrassment for him, the governor is still alive. The apostle should be thankful that we do not live in the bible times when God prescribed the death penalty for false prophets. 

It is doubtful that the apostle has even read the bill judging by his body language in this video. Intelligent people debate and negotiate, they do not issue death threats when they cannot have their way. By now, one expects the apostle to have articulated his objections to the bill and presented them to the public but instead he is running around trying to heat up the polity and looking for excuses why his prophecy has failed. Saying that someone is going to die is not prophetic at all because everybody will die at some point. If he is indeed a prophet he should accept the governor's challenge to announce the day and circumstances of the governor's death. This way we can test his claim and decide for ourselves that he is not just another charlatan trying to make ends meet by exploiting the vulnerability of his gullible followers. 

Here are the facts: churches and mosques cause a lot of noise pollution. This is a great inconvenience and an absolute nuisance. I can never understand why believers adopt measures that project the sound of their worship beyond the buildings they occupy especially at night. How inconsiderate?! This is proof that religion does not make people good.

Here is another fact: there are far too many preachers with dubious credentials all over the place. They exploit the desperation of vulnerable citizens to enrich themselves. They get away with this form of "419" because the fraud is done in the name of God. Even more worrying, foreign preachers with extremist views are allowed to spread their hateful ideologies without much challenge. 

Every reasonable person would agree that the government needs to do something about these issues. I commend Mallam El Rufai and his government for this bill. Instead of heating up the polity, I would advise the apostle to study the bill first. If his objections remain, then he should present them for further discussions. That is how civilised people deal with disagreements. Pentecostalism (but also Islam to some extent) is handicapped by its systematic lack of vetting procedures, which means that just about anyone could declare that God has called them to start a church. As a result, there are all kinds of shady characters masquerading as respectable religious leaders. Licensing is one way to unmask these charlatans and end their evil trade. 

Yes, I have personal concerns about the potential for abuse of this bill by the government but we cannot kill a good idea simply because it has the potential to be abused. It is time to bring sanity back to our religious institutions. 

Ijabla writes from the U.K. and can be contacted at [email protected]

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