Original Research

Whatever happened to God’s holiness? The holiness of God and the theological authenticity of the South African neo-Pentecostal prophetic activities

Collium Banda
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2323 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2323 | © 2021 Collium Banda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 June 2021 | Published: 26 August 2021

About the author(s)

Collium Banda, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


The controversial activities of the neo-Pentecostal prophets (NPPs) in South Africa raise many theological questions. From a systematic theological perspective that affirms the importance of Christian doctrines in regulating church worship and practice, this article uses God’s holiness to evaluate the theological authenticity of the NPPs’ controversial activities. The research question answered in the article is: how can an understanding of the holiness of God empower Christian believers to respond meaningfully to the controversial practices? The article begins by describing the theoretical framework of God’s holiness. This is followed by describing the NPPs’ shift from prophecy focusing on holiness to one focused on human needs. Furthermore, this shift among the NPPs from holiness to human needs is attributed to celebrity cultism through which the prophets thrust themselves as powerful figures who are able to solve people’s problems. Afterward an analysis is made of how the holiness of God is violated by the NPPs’ controversial practices. Finally, some steps are suggested for NPPs and their followers to take to align their activities with God’s holiness. The contribution of the article lies in highlighting the importance of God’s holiness as a standard of measuring the Christian authenticity of the controversial activities of the NPPs in South Africa.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article uses insights from the doctrine of God’s holiness, the role of biblical prophecy and the doctrine of the church, to critique the controversial activities of the NPPs in South Africa.


holiness; neo-Pentecostal prophets; celebrity cultism; South Africa; spiritual fear; neo-Pentecostal practices


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Crossref Citations

1. Propagating Afro-pessimism? The power of neo-Pentecostal prophetic objects on human agency and transcendence in Africa
Collium Banda
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi  vol: 56  issue: 1  year: 2022  
doi: 10.4102/ids.v56i1.2845