The pressures of life in Africa, low salaries and poor work conditions, poor trade sales, unemployment and a myriad other factors have sent many Africans away from the main traditional churches, Methodist, Catholic and Anglican to the growing number of Charismatic Pentecostal Churches. 
The Charismatic Pentecostal Church movement started in 1905 in the United States and England, coming out from the Apostolic Church and the Assemblies of God. Worldwide, the church is reported to have 400 million members and is the fastest growing Christian church movement. 
The Charismatic Pentecostal Church reached South Africa in 1908 and reached La Cote d’Ivoire in 1914. In Ghana and Nigeria the church started as Aladura churches in the 1930s, growing to increased membership from the 1980s.These were generally small churches but started growing rapidly as the harshness of life increased, and as governments failed to provide meaningful life solutions. 
Deutsche Welle (DW) reports that there were 10,000 Charismatic Pentecostal churches in Ghana in 2014 and these were “faith-based groups claiming allegiance to Christianity.”  Some of these churches have their own church buildings; some hold church meetings under tents on open grounds; and some meet in school classrooms at the weekends. A mega-church in Nigeria with a branch in Ghana and possibly in other African countries boasts of a congregation of 50,000 worshippers. The Head Pastor of the church promises the following: 
“The siege of unemployment is over in your life, the siege of business stagnation and frustrations in your life are finally over.” 
This and similar soul winning promises keep enticing people in desperation into the Pentecostal Churches. These promises, coupled with enticing church names constitute the carrot that keeps drawing people into the growing number of Charismatic Pentecostal Churches across the African continent. 
In an internet article on “Religion and development in Africa: Blessing or Curse?” Mimi Mefa Takambou writes the following: 
Africa is host to the highest number of religious countries in the world, according to a recent Gallop poll.” 
It is not clear the number of charismatic churches there are in Nigeria. It is however, reported that “The Redeemed Church of God which was founded in Nigeria has over 14,000 branches worldwide and has branches in over 140 nations.” 
It is reported that “20 percent of the total population of Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Malawi and Burundi” are members of Pentecostal churches. In Zambia, the church is reported to have 1,200 branches; and “The Bread of Life Church International in Lusaka has membership of 10,000.”  It is also recorded that there are more than 4,000 registered Charismatic Pentecostal Churches in Kenya and more than 6,000 Pentecostal churches in South Africa. 
The alluring names of some of the charismatic churches in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya are as follows: 


  1. Believers on Fire International Ministries 
  2. Christ Oil Fields Authority Church 
  3. Holy Fire Revival Ministry International Church 
  4. Fruitful Hill Chapel 
  5. Golden Street Chapel 


  1. Oil of Joy Ministry 
  2. Flaming Conqueror Church 
  3. Christ Chosen Ambassadors 
  4. Glorious Destiny Family Church 
  5. Jesus Never Fails Church 
  6. New Wine Church 
  7. Souls Harvester Church 
  8. Pillar of Eternal Life Ministries 


  1. Friends Church 
  2. Overcoming Faith Centre Church 
  3. Scriptural Holiness Mission 
Who really would not wish to be part of Christ Oil Fields Authority Church, Jesus Never Fails Church, or make friends in the Friends Church? 
In the Eastern and Southern Africa countries from Rwanda and Uganda and up to Kenya, the rage is the Balokole (The saved people) religious movement, a breakaway movement from their original Catholic and Anglican roots. 

Have the Charismatic Pentecostals been effective? 

So far as drawing Christians from the main traditional churches, the Charismatic Pentecostal churches have been very effective. 
Many members of the Pentecostals are women, Women carry a lot of responsibilities and consequently face many personal and family challenges and needs: 
  • Infertility 
  • Low sales in their businesses and consequent poverty 
  • Business collapse 
  • Lack of business capital 
  • Wayward children 
  • Unemployed children 
  • Profligate husbands in some cases 
  • Problems with co-wives in polygamous marriages 
These are some of the challenges many women face in their daily lives. The men are mostly drawn into the Pentecostals for reasons of unemployment and lack of business capital. 
While the traditional churches mainly preach the Bible, the charismatic Pentecostals are going beyond the Bible. The Pentecostals go to the core of human suffering. They articulate the desires and frustrations of people under stress in the countries of the continent. An inspiring Pentecostal pastor will quote from six books of the Bible in rapid succession within 20 minutes; passages that are targeted to assuaging human suffering with practical everyday examples. It is by this that Pentecostals have made themselves more relevant to millions of Africans across the continent. 
Voltaire (1694-1775), the French writer, philosopher and poet made this statement:  
“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” 
Indeed, virtually all humans will at some point in their lives acknowledge that there is a supreme spirit that created and manages the universe. Virtually all humans under stress at some point in their lives will believe that God is still alive and will provide an answer to their challenges. 
But not all Pentecostals are truly for the Good Lord. Some of them are established as trading ventures using the Bible as a decoy. Some of them are just rogue churches using the word of God for extortion and fraudulence. 
A worshipper goes for counseling, generally held after the church service.  The worshipper pays a sum of about three dollars and gets into a queue. Just about four minutes into the counseling session, the chairman of the session, aided by a team of two or three church members or young pastors, tells the worshipper to get up and buy a candle from a shop outside the church and bring the candle with additional five dollars. What is the purpose of the candle? The chairman says it is used as part of the prayers to bring an answer to your problems. But really, the candle is just to add a seemingly spiritual dimension to the naked robbery. And what about the additional five dollars besides the counseling fee already paid? A question like this will probably get you thrown out of the church. 
What is worrying is that the young pastors attending the counseling sessions acquire practical lessons in the art of fraudulence from of the pastor or church elder who chairs the sessions.  
Each time a worshipper goes for counseling, he/she is required to provide additional sums of money to the chairman of the counseling session. It is by such fraudulent practices that false pastors and false prophets prey on the hopes and fears of their poor and gullible flock. It is by such mean tricks that false pastors and prophets are able to amass wealth and drive ten saloon cars under the pretext that God has blessed them. The Good Lord keeps a record of every sin committed on Earth including the sins of false pastors and false prophets and will judge them at the due time and season. 
At least in one church service a month, the head pastor will intone: 
 Anyone who has US50 dollars (in the country’s equivalent) should bring it to the   offertory for a ‘lay-of-hands’ from the head pastor. 
A few people will get up, put in their money and receive the head pastor’s lay-of-hands. In the next few minutes, the head pastor will continue: 
 Anyone who has US40 dollars should bring it to the offertory for a handshake with the head pastor. 
The process will continue for the next 30 minutes. From 10 dollars downwards, the head pastor will promise the “Blessing of the Lord” for giving to the offertory. Eighty percent of the congregation will rise up and go forward to the offertory box when the head pastor comes to two dollars; and 95% of will rise up and go to the offertory box when the head pastor comes down to one dollar. At about 20 cents, 99.5 percent of the congregation will get up and go to the offertory box. 
To ensure that each person attending the church parts with some money, all worshippers have to get up from their seats two or three times during the church service to put their collection into the offertory box positioned in front of the congregation. If there are eight hundred or more worshippers in church, the two or three offertory intervals will take a total of over one hour. The wise person will stop attending the church to prevent further extortion and also prevent being a continuing victim of fraudulence. Others get hooked to their church because of the music and dancing which serve as catharsis; a relief for the soul. 
Just over a decade ago, the Head Pastor of a charismatic church in Ghana went to the American factory that used to export Florida Water, an after-shave lotion, to the West African market. The lotion was used by our fathers and grandfathers until about 1950 that the imports ceased. The factory was required to package the lotion in smaller bottles for shipment to the Head Pastor who sold the product as “Anointing Water” to his congregation. 
Martin Luther will certainly turn in his grave on realizing how far corruption and direct extortion have engulfed some of the off-spring of the Protestant churches on this African continent. 
It was the protest of Martin Luther against the role of the Catholic Church as the only intermediary between God and man in 1517; it was Martin Luther who declared that 
people should be less dependant on the Catholic Church and  that,  
“People should take responsibility for their faith and be able to read the Bible directly for spiritual wisdom.” 
Further, that people should have the freedom to practice religion according to their beliefs. These were the declarations of the priest who opened the closed gate of Christianity making it possible for the emergence of the Protestant Reformation, a period when protestant churches started springing up in Germany spreading to all of Europe and America. It is disheartening that the efforts of one man to make Christian worship accessible to all people across the world should end in church corrupt practices 500 years later in Africa. 
Churches no doubt need a lot of money to be able to operate efficiently. There is a church in South Africa where the pastor frequently reminds his congregation that the church needs their tithes and donations to pay rent, to pay for light and water and that they should give generously. That is a wise admonition to the congregation. That is plain talk with no tricks. The congregation therefore gives from their hearts. 
But apart from the roguery in some of the Charismatic Pentecostals, there are others that provide scholarships and other facilities to their younger church members. There are also others that provide inspiring Christian messages for their members; messages from the word of God that serve as fuel for harassed people to help them go through weeks of desperation. 

Wrongful messages 

What may worry devout Christians are the wrongful messages some of the charismatic Pentecostals give their members. There is a church in Ghana which pours libation as part of the church’s praying rituals. They use a verse from Psalm 75, verse 8 as the basis for their ritual: 
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same; but the dregs thereof, all the wicked… 
Libation is poured to a superior being or superior spirit. God is the ultimate spirit. God therefore will not pour libation because there is no other spirit higher than God. It is therefore wrong to use that verse to portray to worshippers the importance of libation in prayers. 
Some other churches believe that God himself came down to Earth to be born as Jesus. This is just preposterous. To imagine that the Creator himself will come down to be born by a human is ridiculous. 
Another church asks its members to bring machetes to church to fight the devil.  It is difficult to understand how a human could fight or kill the devil with a common machete. Spiritual battles are different from worldly battles. Spiritual battles are fought in the spirit and not by humans with flesh and blood against a spirit. 

Unanswered prayers 

An unanswered prayer is painful. To get an answer to their problems and life challenges, many worshippers fast and pray for many days for an answer. God works in mysterious ways and will perform his wonders in due time to the faithful. However, Pastor David Ibiyeomie of Salvation Ministries, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, advises his congregation that, 
“praying and fasting to get out of poverty will not work. Develop your mind and use your mind. Poverty starts from the mind and manifests in the pocket.”  The pastor continues: “An underdeveloped mind is a disaster.” 
Education is important and prayer is also important. But it is clear from observation that many pastors who call themselves Prophets are not really prophets. True Prophets on this continent may not be more than five. In serious problems, a person should seek a true prophet who indeed has God’s telephone number as Bishop T. D. Jakes puts it; a prophet who has a direct line to the Father and Creator. It is such prophets who heal and deliver the souls and physical beings of humans from the clutches of demons. 


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