Dear Prophet Elvis Mbonye…

I greet you and hope you are doing well. Following the events of the past week, I tried to restrain from sharing my sentiments but realized that’s not what Jesus commended as believers who are in conflict and I hope as a brother in Christ you can give me an ear. I will not cite multiple verses or scenarios of Paul and Barnabus, Paul and Simon the sorcerer, Peter and Cornelius, Matthew 23, or Paul being a tent maker, that Revelations encounter with angels etc because I know interpretation is like an “opinion”, everyone has one and deserve to be respected,plus we probably wouldn’t end as many may counter me with verses to justify their position, so let’s keep this civil and let me just share as a Christian and human being. Being Christian doesn’t make us ‘super-human’ but better human.

First off, allow me to apologise for the negative statements, memes and insults shared back and forth by some agitated believers and nonbelievers towards Zoe Members. A lot of it was uncalled for, rude, spiteful and, maybe, provoked and didn’t reflect godliness. And I do hope some Zoe members are also apologetic for some irrational statements, reluctance to reason, insults and threats issued towards others than play victim. Conflict is part of life, but how we solve it shows fruit and character.

I write this knowing God is not a respector of persons and can use the lowest, unqualified of men to share a message and challenge believers. Ask Simon, the Samaritan lady, Martha and Phillip. Maybe I’m not a ‘general’ or don’t have spiritual powers, but only God can tell and no one has a “spiritual meter”, so let’s avoid the threats and spiritual pride, I would humbly ask for any believer, Pastor, Prophet or atheist to kindly read what I share with a fair heart and godliness.

“With great power comes Great Responsibility”- Spiderman’s Dad once quoted. I think you know this more than anyone. I believe God chose you and lifted to serve as living testimony of his goodness and grace. But like many great men called of God who later went astray, e.g Jimmy Swaggart, William J Seymor, William Branham and Jim Bakker, you need to be cautious and careful.

You see the formula most of them fell prey to were the 3Ps: Power, Prosperity, Pleasure. To make it simpler, let me just expound briefly on them:

Power – which was driven by fame and cult personality from followers idolizing their miracles and prophecy and the reluctance to control it.

Prosperity – Credited to fame and multiple lavish gifts from grateful followers, or those who desired the gift impartation, and of course preaching the prosperity gospel (Wonder why Jesus and Paul didn’t have say much good about money) and

Pleasure- of course with fame, a compromised message, lack of rebuke, correction and lack of caution allowed a form of sexual immorality, tolerance and compromise.

You see People are watching and will always judge us because it’s part of the Christian walk, it’s what we signed up for. It’s why we have prayer partners, accountability partners, married’s fellowships, mentors and cells. Paul judged the church on several occasions if it went astray, as long as it was not hypocritical. We can’t confuse rebuke with judgments, we can’t call correction as condemnation, and we can’t say fellow believers are persecuting us to evade solving misunderstandings. It looks bad and will strain your relationships.Many believers in the Bible made mistakes and were corrected and rebuked, I too have, whether emotional, physical and even sexual mistakes. Accountability keeps us careful and sensitive to our responsibility and power

Titus even told us that to avoid doing anything that will bring your salvation into disrepute. Paul warned us not to do anything that will stumble a believer or cause ridicule, even as far as speaking in tongues publically. One who welcomes positive criticism welcomes growth. Arrogance looks bad on anybody. So you’re reputation does matter because you represent the whole body of Christ, not your church only.

It was sad to see a 65-year-old man angry about the images he saw, to see Whatsapp groups talk agrily about the “submit our economy and politics to your authority” message. I sat next to a 40-year-old Christian lady in a taxi who was disgusted and sharing in her groups. This shall pass and be old news soon, but impact stays. It takes days to build a reputation but one minute for it to crumble.

And mind you even if such images of ‘economy submission’ and cult personality had come out of Miracle Centre, St Luke’s, Kampala Baptist, Omega Healing Centre, Watoto Church or Worship Harvest, the public reaction and outrage would have been the same. Christians are held to a higher standard so you are not really special or being persecuted. Human beings know right from wrong and it would be an insult to many to say, they are jealous of your financial success, crowds or fame, or worse “not spiritual enough”. The right thing would be a retraction and apology for the excessive cult personality attributes of members, but if this is ignored, I guess the 3Ps would also involve ‘Pride’.

Accountability and criticism is a price of fame, Hollywood stars can tell you. It’s why people went as far as questioning into your past, making memes, rude jokes, speculation about your personal life and wife, questions of any community projects done, who keeps you accountable, if you have elders you listen to, why you can’t sell your car and help build a hospital, or worse, why the extravagant lifestyle in a city which is broken. The life of a Pastor is expected to be upright, and the world doesn’t have mercy when we fail. It’s why many are encouraged to marry to avoid sexual temptations. Wouldn’t it have been better to avoid all this early? Or maybe you say “haters mean you’re winning.”

I would also urge Zoe members not to argue that it’s your business how you spend your money and how you honour your prophet. You represent a whole body of believers as a light, a city on a hill, not “one God for all, everyone for themselves”. Especially if you believe the church should be united. Because it shows many arrogance, bias with truth and no desire to reason. Which would mean you have to also mind your own business and beliefs, and not invite anyone to your fellowship, not to street preach to people minding their business, not to disturb Catholics or rebuke them, not to convert Muslims and not to reason with Atheists. But that is not our calling in the great commission, so we give some, get some.

I challenge you to retract or denounce the statements made about “submitting our economy and so forth to your authority”. This country belongs to Jesus’s authority. I challenge you to control the cult personality complex made around you like Paul did or maybe Pastors Kayanja and Skinner have done in the past. I challenge you to draw less attention to your money and extravagance. I challenge you to sit with local elders and pastors for accountability. I challenge you not to hide behind your congregants and allow them to idolize you. Speak out, rebuke them and correct them. Silence doesn’t always mean humility. Ask many cowards who were silent as their neighbours got slaughtered at night. God will hold you accountable as Matthew 7 reminds us. We shall be judged according to the fruit not the gift. Gift is facilitation for you to bear fruit. We are not defined by Prophecy or Miracles, we are defined by Christ and trust in his promises.

I challenge the Anglicans, Pentecostals, Baptists and any other Christian denomination that desires unity as Christ comes, let’s stand for truth, integrity and justice. If any Spiritual leader decides to sleep around, cheat, rape, we shall privately rebuke, correct and if all fails, we shall seek justice and stay away from them as Paul did with the immoral brother. If any leader fleeces a congregation, we shall seek audience, correct, and if all fails, seek justice. If anyone changes the gospel or brings disrepute, we shall correct and seek justice. No conspiracies, secrets, cover ups, compromises, tolerance if we are defending the united faith. We are not the CIA, illuminati or an African Government. We are God’s Church and we are accountable! We as believers protect families, help widows, help the vulnerable, serve community, respect government and uplift society. Lest we have no right to judge Muslims, Mormons and Buddhists. We don’t desire to be super rich, entitled, always healthy, with wealth we don’t deserve. That’ why we serve!

I wrote this as a man without a pulpit, but a heart. A sinner saved by grace, a messed up person desiring to grow, a future father, a human who wants to be better and especially a man who loves God, an anointed child of God as Prophet Elvis is to. I appreciate your gift and many you have brought to Christ, but this caution comes to remind you not to lead others away with certain actions, and to focus more on the Giver not the Gift because it becomes idolatry or a show which draws attention away from God and leads to the 3Ps. I hope my Zoe friends will exhibit love towards me after reading this, pick a leaf and be challenged in prayer and character adjustment, than act like everyone is out to get you or its ‘persecution’ if people desire humility and less cult personality complexes. It’s the best way you will avoid scaring people, pushing others away or straining your relationships. So I hope this message reaches you somehow as the Holy Spirit leads and as you’re a servant to us, God’s people and not our King, master or multiple titles others entertain sijiu spiritual submitted authority. There is no shame in change or adjustment. Redemption is a daily process. Ask Pastor Benny Hinn, Tye Tribbet, Israel Houghton and John Bevere. So same goes to all spiritual leaders you can take heed. May God continue to do a work in you and richly bless you. Shalom.

Denis Tumuhaise

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