Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries

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The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM)[1] is a Pentecostal denomination founded in Yaba, Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria in 1989, now with churches in several countries. It was founded by Daniel Kolawole Olukoya ("DKO"). Many publications on deliverance have been credited to Olukoya, such as the popular prayer book known as The Prayer Bible.[2][3][4]

Unlike a few popular charismatic and Pentecostal African initiated ministries promoting prosperity gospel, MFM's leadership and its sub-ministry, Battle Cry Ministries, place emphasis on deliverance ministry and prayers against the works of demonic forces.[5] It teaches members about dealing with ancestral spirits and the existence of hidden evil and spiritual forces against progress toward the fulfilment of one's "destiny", resulting in a theology that promotes practices dominated by prayer points to free individuals from those hidden forces.[6][7]

History[edit]

Mountain Of Fire And Miracles Ministries was founded by Daniel Kolawole Olukoya at a prayer meeting in 1989 in his living room.

The prayer group purchased a large site at an abandoned slum near the University of Lagos, and converted it into the International Headquarters of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, of which Olukoya is the General Overseer. The first service there was on 24 April 1994.

At the new location, worshippers and those seeking help kept coming, leading to a very large congregation. This situation posed a challenge of crowd, growth and expansion management to the leadership of the church. Thus, MFM created a network of branches in every state capital, local government headquarters, senatorial district and locality.

According to the group's literature, it is committed to "the Revival of Apostolic Signs, Holy Ghost fireworks and the unlimited demonstration of the power of God to deliver to the uttermost".[8] As the name would imply, the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries places a great emphasis on wonders, miracles and other Apostolic acts.

Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries church in East Providence, Rhode Island

From humble beginnings in the home of Olukoya, MFM has grown to over 300 churches within Nigeria and branches in African and Western countries. Those branches located outside the African continent mainly cater to African immigrant population.[6]

Distinctive practices[edit]

Visible among book sellers on the street of the church's headquarters is MFM's leadership litany of publications on prayer points against demonic and hidden forces opposed to personal fulfillment and growth.[9]

MFM describes itself as "a do-it-yourself gospel ministry, where your hands are trained to wage war and your fingers to do battle." This militant tone against spiritual wickedness is reflected throughout the teachings of MFM, where it calls upon members to become spiritually aggressive Christians, and some of the groups founded by MFM call themselves names such as the Prayer Warriors, the Territorial Intercessors and the God's Violent Army.[10] This does not mean physical violence by MFM theology, as the battles take place in spiritual realms only.

As with many Plain dress churches, all women are required to wear skirts and headcovers when attending MFM services in any location. Prayers tend to be repetitions of faith-based claims, spiritual decrees and commanding prayers often directly from Scriptures and proclaim that safety lies within Jesus Christ. Although prayers are loud and believed to be "spiritually violent", it is noteworthy that the church preaches against physical violence, typically alluding to Paul's teachings on Christian warfare (2 Cor 10:4, Eph 6:12).

Olukoya teaches that "The Bible refers to homosexuals and lesbians as dogs".[11][12] Its "deliverance" events have been viewed as code for "pray the gay away".[11] An undercover reporter in Liverpool was urged by an assistant pastor to cure himself of homosexuality by fasting for 3 days; however, MFM said that this was not sanctioned by the movement, and denied that it promoted conversion therapy.[13]

In 2019, Pastor Daniel said at the church Headquarters in Lagos State that it is "unbiblical" to celebrate Christmas as there is no such word in the Bible and neither did the Bible state that Christ was born on December 25. He said "If you really study the Bible from Genesis to Revelation , there is no word like Christmas. The bible only recorded that the Shepherds were taking care of their flocks during a very cold season when they sighted the star that announced the birth of Jesus Christ. This cold period could be around April or May".[14]

Leadership[edit]

MFM is headed by a General Overseer, who is also the main theologian of the church. He is assisted by Assistant General Overseers, helming specific departments.[15]

Properties[edit]

Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Main Entrance

MFM owns a large expanse of land along Lagos–Ibadan Expressway called Prayer City, located close to the international camp of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Among structures located within the camp is an auditorium capable of holding 100,000 members during special occasions.[6]

In Enugu, MFM's worship centre was judged to have been constructed illegally, and despite its popularity it was demolished in 2013 by the state government.[16]

Lawsuit in United States[edit]

In 2017, the church had some legal battles with some former pastors who separated from MFM and claimed a church building in the United States. The former pastors alleged that Olukoya engaged in fraud including evasion of US import duties. In particular, it was argued that books penned by the General Overseer were shipped to the United States as donations for MFM parishioners (thereby evading import fees) but in actuality, the pastors were instructed to sell them to members and return the profits to MFM HQ.[17][18] The property dispute was settled in favour of the church.[19]

Investigation in United Kingdom[edit]

The UK Charity Commission (which regulates registered charities in the UK) opened an official investigation into the church in 2018, citing concerns about administrative and financial weaknesses, including failure to submit the required accounts.[20] In August 2019, the Commission appointed an interim manager for the MFM charity.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Udodiong, Inemesit. "Mountain Of Fire: 7 intriguing things about this popular church". Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  2. ^ Udodiong, Inemesit. "Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries: 17 things you should know before getting married in this church". Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  3. ^ "MFM coach: Rangers must fall in Lagos - New Telegraph Nigerian Newspaper". New Telegraph Nigerian Newspaper. 2017-02-24. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  4. ^ "MFM founder, Olukoya releases 40 prophecies for 2017". Daily Post Nigeria. 2017-01-01. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  5. ^ Adelakun, Adewale (2017-02-08). "Understanding sexuality from the security gospel perspective: Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries as a case study". HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies. 73 (3). doi:10.4102/hts.v73i3.3453. ISSN 2072-8050.
  6. ^ a b c Adogame, Afe (2012). "Dealing with Local Satanic Technology: Deliverance Rhetoric in the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries". Journal of World Christianity. 5 (1): 75–101. doi:10.5325/jworlchri.5.1.0075. JSTOR 10.5325/jworlchri.5.1.0075.
  7. ^ "Deliverance from Spirit wives and Spirit Husbands (Incubus and succubus)". Welcome to Fire Power Deliverance Ministries. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  8. ^ name="mountainoffire.org">"About MFM". Mountain of Fire And Miracles Ministries. Archived from the original on 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  9. ^ Hackett, Rosalind I. J. (August 2003). "Discourses of Demonization in Africa and Beyond". Diogenes. 50 (3): 61–75. doi:10.1177/03921921030503005. ISSN 0392-1921. S2CID 144654316.
  10. ^ "About MFM". Mountain of Fire And Miracles Ministries. Archived from the original on 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  11. ^ a b "'Pray the gay away' event happening at same place and time as Comic Con". Metro UK. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  12. ^ D. K. Olukoya (25 November 2009). "Paralysing Satanic Dogs". Archived from the original on 6 March 2019. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  13. ^ Andrew Norfolk (10 October 2018). "Amazon supports Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries church that backs 'gay conversion'". The Times (UK). Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  14. ^ "No word like Christmas in the Bible – Olukoya". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 2021-02-21.
  15. ^ Aigbadumah, C. A. (2011). "History, Structures, Practices and Theology of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church". Jesus the Healer: A Theological Reflection on the Role of Christology in the Growth of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in Nigeria (PhD). Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
  16. ^ Tony Edike (11 October 2013). "Enugu demolishes Mountain of Fire & Miracles' church building". Vanguard. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  17. ^ "Former Mountain Of Fire Miracles Ministries Pastors Accuses General Overseer Olukoya Of Illegal Importation Of Goods In US Property Dispute". Sahara Reporters. 29 September 2017.
  18. ^ Barry Duke (6 August 2019). "There's something rotten at the heart of Mountain of Fire Ministries". The Freethinker. Patheos. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Property Dispute: US Court Rules In favour Of MFM Over Breakaway Pastors". Sahara Reporters. 30 June 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  20. ^ "New Charity Investigation: Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International". Charity Commission.
  21. ^ "Commission appoints interim manager to Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International". Charity Commission.

External links[edit]