Faith Or exploitation? Shedding Light On Controversial ‘Money For Miracles’ Trend


You have perhaps seen or heard of devoted Christians who have offered everything they own to preachers in exchange for miracles. These particular evangelists are referred to by many as ‘false leaders’ who pervert the truth of the Gospel by turning it into a tool for monetary profit — making it a ‘prosperity gospel’ to get churchgoers believing that if they have genuine faith in Christ, they will undoubtedly achieve physical, material, and financial fortune in their present lives.

Although many scriptures in the Bible encourage giving, for instance, 2 Corinthians 9:7 which states: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”, when does one notice the warning signs that a preacher is soliciting money for their own benefit?

According to Reverend Canon Antoine Rutayisire, a prominent figure in the Anglican Church of Rwanda, any preacher who asks for money to pray for followers, or promises any miracles in return, is simply a crook.

“God’s miracles are not for sale. Jesus sent his disciples, gave them the power to heal the sick, and told them, ‘freely you have received, freely give.’ This, however, should not be confused with tithes and offerings we give in church services, those are biblical and ethical, agreeable to the Lord,” Rev Rutayisire stressed.

Chrispine Katiyi Banda, a preacher at New Life Bible Church, Kigali, explained that when it comes to following pastors or preachers, it is important to exercise discernment and watch out for certain red flags that may indicate potential deception or misleading practices.

He called upon Christians to be cautious if a preacher consistently focuses on material wealth, constantly asks for large monetary donations, or promotes a prosperity gospel that guarantees blessings in exchange for financial offerings, it could be a warning sign of manipulation.

“Some Christians lack biblical truths and contextual interpretation. You ought to pay attention to whether the preacher distorts or misinterprets biblical texts to support their personal agenda or teachings that are not widely accepted in the broader Christian community. Misusing scripture can be a sign of manipulation,” Pastor Banda noted.

He added that if a preacher claims to possess special powers or methods that can guarantee specific miracles like visas, marriage partners, or instant healing, and asks for monetary donations in return, it is essential to be cautious as genuine faith does not come with a price tag.

“Be cautious if a preacher or their ministry lacks transparency regarding their finances, organisational structure, or decision-making processes. A lack of accountability can indicate potential misuse of resources or abusive practices,” Banda said.

He also heartened individuals to pay attention to any excessive emotional manipulation, guilt-tripping, or fear tactics used by a preacher to pressure believers into taking specific actions or giving money, stressing that genuine leaders empower and guide, rather than manipulate their followers.

Banda also said it’s important to remember that not all pastors or preachers exhibit these red flags, but being aware of them can help Christians make informed and discerning decisions about who they choose to follow.

He urges believers to always study the Bible for themselves, seek guidance from trusted spiritual mentors, and rely on the Holy Spirit for discernment.

Enock Luyonza, an author and Christian at Worship Harvest Church Kigali, noted that it’s unfortunate that some individuals misuse their positions to exploit people’s faith for personal gain.

“It is your fault, however, if someone exploited your ignorance for personal gain. We must exercise discernment and be aware of some red flags that may indicate false teachings or misleading practices. And, we gain discernment by acquiring knowledge ourselves. It’s important to study the Word of God for ourselves to have a solid foundation,” he stated.

For Luyonza, studying the Bible will equip believers with knowledge about what is right and wrong, hence not being misled.

He added that knowing the word of God will allow individuals to detect materialism and greed, and demand for accountability from the wayward preachers.

However, we should not disregard the truth, just because someone abused it. Remember, Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” And also 2 Corinthians 9:6 is clear when it says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” God encourages us to give cheerfully, knowing that He will multiply our generosity,” Luyonza emphasised.

He also noted that we shouldn’t quit being generous because someone abused the principle.

Justine Mirembe, a Christian and member of Phaneroo Ministries International, said that it is very clear in the Bible that the power to work miracles and healing are gifts of the Holy Spirit given to different people by the will of God, stressing that these gifts are not given by merit nor were they bought from God.

Mirembe also explained that the gifts preachers possess were freely given to them, therefore, they shouldn’t ask for pay for what they freely received from God.

She also stressed that God doesn’t withhold anything good from us, which is therefore a red flag for one to ask for a pay to manifest what God said he can’t withhold from you.

“For instance, marriage is God’s idea and as a Christian, you should know that you shall not lack your mate, it is clear in scripture.”