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One mans holy war on religious commercialization

Pushing back: Mogano's book is expected to spur debate
History shows that revolutions around the world were either started by one person or just a small group of people.

One such example of a revolutionary is Bino Mogano who has declared war on religious entrepreneurship and indoctrination saying this should be nipped in the bud. Mmegi Staffer BAME PIET sat down with the man and shares excerpts from his book

The mushrooming and influx of foreign churches into Botswana and the growing number of prophets is a source of headache for many, including the authorities. That is the reason why the government recently came up with stringent and controversial regulations to control the emergence of churches. However, after a thorough observation, one man in a million has taken this issue further and declared war on Christian indoctrination of unsuspecting Batswana, some of whom have surrendered to false prophets to run their lives.

Mogano is a trained economist who studied at the University of Botswana and later at University of Stellenbosch. He has worked for several commercial banks and has started a consultancy firm on issues of finances. He is also a devoted Christian who has spent most of his time with the United Congregation Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) until 2015 when he decided to part ways with the church. This divorce came as a result of the church’s reluctance to go modern and embrace ‘Fire’ pastors. The church had conducted a survey or referendum to hear the views of the congregants on which way to go – Fire or remaining the ‘old’ church of the UCCSA.

“My feeling was that my continued stay in the church would result in a friction between myself and the church leadership, so I followed my calling and left the UCCSA. I have observed that there are false prophets out there who have commercialised the church, who are enriching themselves with the name of God,” Mogano said in an interview with Mmegi, just a few weeks after the launch of his book, The End Time Church. With the book, which he says is a handbook for Batswana, Mogano’s mission is to enlighten the nation on the existence of false prophets who are after wealth than helping people or congregants. 

He is adamant that it is wrong for prophets to sell merchandise and things like body lotions that are branded with so-called prophets’ names. He says people are indoctrinated to believe in these individuals to do miracles for them and some have even surrendered to the prophets in a bid to “tap into the Anointed One”.  This is wrong he states. “People have been falsely indoctrinated, hypnotised by these false prophets and they cannot see anything beyond the prophets. You find a young man, young woman working in the prophet’s farm or business free of remuneration or charge whilst they (the individual) does not have a life at all. They do not have such businesses. They believe in the doctrine of tapping on the Anointed One and hope that they will also be blessed.” In some instances, he says, a person would say they dedicate a day to their prophet and that they are not performing any duties except when such is for the prophet. “One Saturday I went to see a mechanic who did not only surprise, but shocked me when he said he was not doing anything that day, but would only touch the prophet’s vehicle.”

Mogano believes that some churches operate like multi-national companies and millions of pula are repatriated from Botswana to foreign countries but the authorities are struggling to contain this.

His main gripe with fellow compatriots is that they never question anything about the finances and administration of their churches.

“Batswana never ask anything about the running of their churches be it annual general meetings, finance and administration issues, policies and they just part ways with their hard earned cash enriching their prophets.” In this interview, Mogano cites a prophet in one of the Pentecostal churches saying people who want to meet him are required to pay approximately P7,000, but they find nothing wrong with that because they believe the prophet will solve all their problems.

While he acknowledges that there are true or genuine prophets, Mogano maintains that the Christian religion has been hijacked by unscrupulous individuals and churches who are taking advantage of the poor to enrich themselves. Prophets drive expensive cars, live in porsh houses and fly in business class if not in private jets and they finance all this luxurious lifestyle through the poor who desperately need a few pula to survive a day.  Mogano says his book, The End Time Church introduces a new field of knowledge called theonomics.

“Theonomics is the exposition of theological or biblical truth using the lenses of economics.

Theonomics brings eternal truths to the comprehension of the human mind.“ He argues that economics and theology have intersecting points and have the same probing dimension, seeking the same answer to the statements of their problems. With 17 chapters, Mogano’s book discusses the link between economics and theology and states that economic and financial equations and economic reasoning are essentially borrowed from biblical truths.  “It is rightful and logical to use economic apparatus to dissect biblical and theological truths for the benefit of all who have always posited that theology and Bible studies are abstract, philosophical, and utopian in nature,” he says in the preface.

Furthermore, Mogano argues that the Bible is as compatible with the economics as it is with other disciplines such as leadership, governance, management and finance, amongst others.  The man of God states that church leadership has no excuse to fault governments of the day for the stringency required of them given the growing incidents of confusion, thuggery, theft and other forms of deceitful tendencies in churches and ministries all over the world.

“As custodians of the livelihoods of people, governments assume the role of managing the spiritual and divine, and sacred things of God – such as faith, giving and tithing, church establishment and church growth – for faith based institutions have failed to regulate.”

He said the recent years have witnessed a growth in reports of Satanic practices in Botswana but churches failed to intervene.  This led to introduction of stringent and regressive requirements for the establishment of churches to safeguard the unsuspecting congregants from unscrupulous prophets, pastors and companies masquerading as ministries who steal from them before disappearing. 

He says mushrooming of churches supports freedom of Christian association; churches promote good health and good family values and decent lifestyles as much as business enterprises do. “Governments should recognise that entry of ‘spiritual entrepreneurship’ should be encouraged, with governments providing an enabling environment.” However, he says there should be a model that forces leadership of the church to develop policies, processes, transparency, develop operating model, strategic planning, evaluation of programmes and appraisal of board members and employees alike. He cautions that some church ministers are unable to handle success and become pompous and arrogant in the process.  “They display greed of all sorts in their pursuit of glamorous and flossy lifestyles. To the unsuspecting saints, they utter false prophecies. They sell God. They feed people with snakes and grass, and offer them petrol to drink, all in the name of deliverance. This is religious witchcraft.”

He says that some congregants believe in their prophets to a point that they would heed their advice not to insure their homes and vehicles, but instead buy bumper stickers for protection; that medical cover is no longer necessary for the church is under the anointing for all their various sicknesses.

“In some churches one has to be a persistent tither and participating in all kinds of giving in order to receive a blessing and healing prayer”.

He argues that this is done so that members are held at ransom by instilling fear so that they are bound by a leash of fear to a church. He says societal disintegration, moral decay, degenerated family norms and collapsed economic fabrics should be revived. “Encroached church capitalism; intolerance based on religion, deceitful and distorted polity and church governance; spiritual witchcraft must be rooted out.”
Mogano recommends that churches should have investments for which financial contributions can be easily accounted for and are predictable. He also cautions about pastors who manipulate the Bible to support a particular doctrinal issue of their liking even if it is false and used to instil fear in the congregants. “The manipulation is to justify deliverance at every service, with the view to instil fear and coerce members not to leave the church for another one. Such practices lead to controlling, domineering and subjugation tendencies”.

Furthermore, Mogano argues that some churches have embarked in sale of gospel at exorbitant prices to the poor and unsuspecting congregants. “What is mostly cited is the sale of anointing oils, anointing waters, car bumper stickers portraying ministers, prayer shawls, bracelets, and aprons and handkerchief just to mention but a few. Ministers often defend their conduct by saying that all gifts and talents are from God”.  He says it is unbiblical for ministers to sell merchandise using the name of God.  The book argues that congregants should demand transparency, put processes and policies in place to hold the leadership accountable, and that there should be financial reports every year.

Further, prophets should not live flamboyant lifestyles that were financed by congregants.




Court Verdict

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