In the last several days there has been a decent amount of Christian press about a “prophet” by the name of Chris Oyakhilome who now has a worldwide ministry including numerous churches in Canada (18), the United Kingdom (39) and in some of the major cities of the United States that follow his teachings. His teachings have also spread to Eastern Europe where I do a decent amount of ministry year-round. And here is the problem. His teachings are not exactly Christian nor biblical. And the power that he works in is “questionable” to say the least. Although he denies being a disciple of T.B. Joshua – a Nigerian occult healer – his ministry has the same foundational teachings, the same look, feel, and mannerisms. And, Christians worldwide are being deceived by this man and his ministry just as they are by the ministry of T.B. Joshua.
How can so many be deceived? Easy – deception is very powerful. The lethal thing about deception is its close proximity to truth. For a thing to have the power to deceive, it must look as close to the real thing as possible without being itself real. Take banknotes as an example. Counterfeit notes would not deceive anyone unless they were as close as possible to real banknotes. So it is with spiritual things. The devil is a master counterfeiter. When he attempts to deceive people he does so by imitating God’s work. The devil is incapable of either originality or creativity. He is a forger, a copier, a dissembler. Therefore he works by producing demonic imitations that are close to God’s original design. Deception wouldn’t be so deceptive if it was not so close to truth. Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians, speaking about false teachings in the city of Corinth:
“These people are false apostles. They have fooled you by disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers. In the end that will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.”
Of course, one of the major problems is how biblically illiterate a lot of believers are. So, they are unable to “rightly divide the Word of truth” and so do not sense or see the false teaching because they honestly do not know the real teaching…You see, there is no “gift of discernment.” Discerning truth from error, the real from the false, comes only by knowing the truth. That truth is found only in the pages of Scripture where the Bible interprets the Bible and we come to be rooted and grounded in that truth. Then as we hear men like Chris Oyakhilome and T.B. Joshua teach the Holy Spirit (the true teacher of the Church) will give us a “check in our spirit” and we will simply turn off the teaching and the teacher and return to the truth.
These men are dangerous and deceiving many. A number of men I have ministered for in Eastern Europe have been deceived by these types of ministries and travel at least annually to visit, listen to, and receive from these men. And sadly, they take large numbers of Christians with them when they go – thus many are deceived believing a lie and declaring the devil’s counterfeit as truly the hand of God. And, if you dare to speak against these men – they strongly react and refuse to consider your comments and input. The deception is strong and powerful. And continues to spread, it seems.
The answer: teach the truth and teach it every opportunity that is given to us – in season and out of season. Because the eternal destiny of many hangs in the balance.