Prophet Bushiri’s Visit Angers Namibian Church Leaders

The New Era, Windhoek — The authenticity of Malawi-born ‘prophet’ Shepherd Bushiri has attracted sharp questioning by some Namibian religious leaders who claimed his methods contradict biblical teachings.

Bushiri made history in Namibia by attracting the biggest crowd ever witnessed in the country, compared only to the number of people who attended the independence celebrations at the Independence Stadium in 1990.

Social media was trending with comments on whether the self-styled prophet’s coming to Namibia was purely commercial.

The Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura has a capacity of about 10 300 people, which the crowd surpassed. Although it rained, people from near and afar remained put as they were hungry for miracles, signs and wonders.

However, religious commentators had doubts regarding his prophecies and miracles.

“My faith is not based on such … I rather listen to what the Bible says. The Bible says we should distinguish spirits and many people don’t have that ability,” remarked retired reverend of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia, Ngeno Nakamhela.

Nakamhela admitted that he is not a fan of Bushiri or his preaching thus he is not attracted to his prophesies or those who are out to perform “so-called miracles”. He also explained that biblically a prophet is someone who says something is going to happen and does not depend on his (or her) own power but communicates what is given by God to tell.

“They are biblical instruments in God’s hands and he or she can’t perform things on their own.”

Reverend Maria Kapere of the African Methodist Episcopal Church said that she knows very little about what Bushiri prophesied individually and nationally at the stadium.

“I can’t really analyze what he said or prophesied,” said Kapere, who added that she also does not know who Bushiri is, and neither heard about him on television or in the news.

However, Kapere added that the Bible is clear that prophesy is one of the gifts mentioned in the Bible. Hence, Christians who believe in the Bible should closely follow what people are prophesying.

Kapere said there are three kinds of prophesies. One is spirit to spirit, which is information from God to a person, such as on the state of the nation, family or someone, she said.

One characteristic of a prophet is that they are not boastful about their prophetic gift. “You can’t play around or boast and tell people that ‘I have so many cars’, or whatever. You should use it for the common good of people and not personal prosperity,” said Kapere.

Sharing similar sentiments, Reverend Willem Denhertog, the acting principal of the Namibian Evangelical Theological Seminary, said:

 “I’m not sure I agree with the way he (Bushiri) works because he pretends to offer a quick fix for the genuine needs of the people and that is sad.”

Denhertog said the Christian community in Namibia really needs to address the inequality gap and poverty so that “self-proclaimed prophets from outside the country don’t find loopholes”.

“It is important for the church to address poverty, inequality and to tell people about miracles,” said Denhertog.

“Those prophets are quite successful in countries where there is a huge income gap. In Europe and Japan we don’t have those things,” added Denhertog.

He said that miracles happen but Namibians should not wait for prophets to come from Malawi to deliver prophecies.

Meanwhile, a 38-year-old woman who travelled from Katima Mulilo to see Bushiri in person said she wanted to see him face to face and to be “blessed”.

She added: “I used to watch him on TV but now I came from Katima (Mulilo) just to see him face to face. I didn’t see anything (miracles that happened). He didn’t pray for me specifically because there were too many people. He preached nice and called out people from the crowd and told them exactly what was happening.”

She however could not say what the prophet preached about. “I forget what he preached about,” said the woman.

A cleaner at the Sam Nujoma Stadium said he had never before seen a huge crowd of that magnitude. “I arrived here at seven o’ clock in the morning and there were already people. As a matter of fact, people started arriving on Thursday evening but we told them that the event was just on Friday.”

He said that people braved the odds just to see and hear from the prophet.

“As people waited for the prophet some were buying holy water and anointing oil,” said the cleaner.

Although sick people were disappointed that they did not receive healing, he described the mood as blissful as people cheered and screamed to see the prophet.

“Some doors were even broken as the people scrambled for space in the stadium. People came in wheelchairs and went back in wheelchairs.”

When New Era journalists visited the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) branch in Windhoek to seek its comment yesterday, they were told its leader Apostle Jimmy Kapinda was not available. Members of the church on site refused to give the contact number of Kapinda.

Categories: Church & Ministries, News

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