Transition from the Opium of Religion to Religion as Opioids Abuse of Religious Teachings in the New Prophetic Churches in South Africa

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Mookgo Solomon Kgatle
Jonas Sello Thinane


Opium of religion, New Prophetic Churches, Pentecostalism, classical Pentecostalism, African independent churches, African traditional religions, opioids


The New Prophetic Churches is a religion in the mix, demonstrated by their points of contact with classical Pentecostalism, the prosperity gospel, African independent churches, and African traditional religion. New Prophetic Churches have points of contact with classical Pentecostalism with reference to the doctrine of baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. They are also influenced by the African traditional religions with reference to their connection with the spirit world. In addition, they have points of contact with the African independent churches concerning the use of healing and deliver-ance products. Furthermore, they have points of contact with the prosperity gospel in teaching the message of material blessing. The original form of these influences is presented in this article as opium religion, whereas the corrupted form of these influences is presented as opioid forms of religion. The latter refers to a somewhat dangerous mix of religious teachings, advo-cated by self-appointed spiritual leaders within the New Prophetic Churches. These spiritual leaders have concocted this mixture contrary to the original purpose of such teachings with the intention to satisfy their commercial de-sires to the detriment of the spiritual wellbeing of their followers and the sa-credness of religious teachings, particularly Christian teachings. Relying on a literary analysis, this article challenges the religious teachings of opioid reli-gions that undermine the original good intentions with which these teachings are mixed. It suggests that any religious teaching in the Christian tradition should be consistent with the eternal purpose of God’s mission, identity in Christ, and the fundamental tenets of the Christian tradition.


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