Exclusive: Pastor Leaves the Darkness of Word of Faith to the Glorious Light of the Gospel
The following is a testimony from an African pastor who was caught up in the heresy of the charismatic Word of Faith movement that is prevalent in Africa.
My name is Elly Achok Olare. I am a pastor in a small town in Kenya called Mumias, in Kenya’s sugar belt, about 500 kilometers west of Nairobi. It was in the year 1994 when I heard what appeared to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In reality what was advertised to me then was a Jesus who would meet all my needs and fulfill all my dreams as a young man. I was told that to be unsaved was to sign up for a life of misery, sickness, and poverty. To embrace Christ was to step into a world of limitless blessing. I made then what appeared to be a practical and most logical decision to ‘accept Christ into my heart’. Zealous and wanting all that God would have for me, I quickly rose through the ranks and soon became a preacher of the same message I was given. I would later learn that this is the Word of Faith teaching, also called the Prosperity Gospel, or as some would call it, ‘the Health and Wealth Gospel’. I knew nothing else because there was nothing else apart from this that I heard. I only knew that God was good and that meant nothing negative or uncomfortable came from Him. I was taught at the start to deal with Satan who caused all negatives in my life in what I later came to know as ‘spiritual warfare’. It was ingrained in me that I was in the ‘God class’ (as Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland would insist), and therefore had absolute authority in and of myself to ‘create my own world’ by positive thinking and faith-filled confessions. It was God’s will for me to be healthy and wealthy and anything less was to be repudiated in faith and the opposite called to existence by my positive confession. I learned that if all else fails, I was to engage the ‘heavenly language - the language of angels’ and bypass Satan and the hosts of darkness by praying in tongues. These I had thoroughly learned and taught others for many years
So when my wife and I lost our first child in 2003, a girl we had named Whitney, I had to face the self-imposed reality that 'the spirit of death' had prevailed over me. The turmoil that ensued was chaotic in my soul, perhaps more so for my equally 'faith-filled' wife. How could a good God, who we served faithfully, let the devil overrun us like this? The well-meaning church people who came to us suggested in different ways that our calamity was due to either a sin our lives, some curse, or as I held very firmly, a lack of faith on my part. My grieving wife and I would spend many months repenting (in case there was hidden sin). We also sought answers from our families, in case this was a generational curse (a teaching that was very dominant at the time and still is, what is known as ‘spiritual mapping’ and ‘identificational repentance’). In this painful ordeal of inner turmoil in the context of bereavement, we became pregnant again. This time we would get a boy child. From Hospital that sunny afternoon my wife and I, jubilant in our final triumph, took Robin home. The next 24 hours would be the darkest period the Lord took us through (yes, He did).
Baby Robin developed complications and we went into a frenzy of prayer, spiritual warfare and a wide net of intercessory appeal went forth. This time we were not caught off guard (or so we thought), and 'faith' had assured us that the devil would not take Robin from us. Everyone we called returned 'prophetic assurances' that only life was permitted; death was not our portion. But despite our bravado, the night was growing more intense.
I have been a Pentecostal/Charismatic/Word of Faith preacher for a better part of my adult life, and I think I am competent to say that night must have been one in which heaven got busy with dialed calls. My wife believed then that she had a prophetic gift and she saw several visions that single night. In some, our Robin was happily playing in the mud; in another, he was an ‘international preacher’ addressing thousands as his father ‘taught him by example’. All these she shared with me in tears in the presence of the many faith and prayer warriors we had gathered in our small house.
It would be past midnight when I would cave in as the condition of the child grew worse, and some ‘prophetic word’ indicated that the healing of our son has been placed in the hands of a doctor (all to rationalize the deep darkness of the word of faith error). So off I left with my boy clutched in my hands, behind me a praying wife supported by a battery of ‘faith warriors’. At the coast general hospital, at 3:00 am, the doctor looked into the determined eyes of a ‘faith-filled preacher’ and declared the worst news I could possibly hear - Robin was dead.