The attacks, by way of social media, on the Layou Miracle Church, will not stop the Pentecostal establishment from spreading the gospel.
“As a matter of fact,” says Pastor Noel Clarke, “the criticisms and the critics are good advertisement for me, so I don’t have a problem with that. I’m not troubled about that. Jesus Christ went through more than that.”
Pastor Clarke, the senior pastor of the Layou Miracle Church, sat down with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday to speak about his church, prophets and the criticism that his ministry has received after one of its services was streamed live on Facebook.
The church service, held at the Russell’s Auditorium at Stoney Ground featured president of the Brian Jones Outreach Ministries Prophet Brian Jones Amoateng and his brother Prophet Daniel Amoateng.
During the service, the pastors spoke of things which they said would happen in the future and appeared to heal people of various ailments.
A demon is said to have been cast out of a woman who had been tormented by it since she was five years old.
The prophets also made requests for money.
Pastor Clarke said that many people do not believe in prophets, but prophets are real and are mentioned throughout the Bible.
He said he is sure of this as he has spent 53 years as a Christian, with 43 of those years running his own ministry. He has operated his church in Layou for 34 years.
He said that prophets are a gift to the church and make up what is called the five-fold ministry which consists of a pastor, evangelist, teacher, prophet and apostle.
“A prophet is one who hears from God directly and makes prophesies. A pastor reaches a certain level and a prophet tells of
the coming of Christ and prepares people.
“The prophetic is that gift that God gives to individuals — man or woman — to speak things in the future. We have a few prophets here from different religions,” explained Pastor Clarke.
He added that prophets in the Pentecostal denomination include Prophet Griffin Daniel from Dominica and Prophet Andrew Clarke, his son.
“My son assisted me in the church, and he went on to study in England and the prophetic utterance came unto him in England,” revealed the outspoken pastor, who co-hosts the Encounter programme on SVG TV on Monday nights.
He said people have been denouncing prophets, but that is okay, as every person is free to have his or her opinion.
Pastor Clarke advised churches to embrace prophets or “miss God” if they stick to the traditional ways of preaching.
“The church has to operate in all five areas, and I must admit that we have failed. We have not emphasized the prophetic over the years, because people have questions about it,” said Pastor Clarke.
He believes that public scepticism relating to prophets is because of the many fanatics and fakes who have been exposed.
“Wherever you find the genuine, you find the counterfeit and we are afraid now to face the reality that the prophetic is real.”
In relation to the large sums of money that are sometimes requested, Pastor Clarke said that asking for money is a must in ministry as the gospel needs money.
He opined that people in St Vincent and the Grenadines have a problem with giving.
“… It is a culture problem when it comes to money,” said Pastor Clarke.
He said the issue comes from the fact that many years ago, missionaries were well paid, so they didn’t take money from people.
“They were being paid by persons overseas, so in other words, they kept us in poverty by giving us used clothes, used Bible, books and whatever, so we had that receiving mentality…so instead of giving we believe in receiving.”
Pastor Clarke assured that none of the money received by the church during the visit of the overseas prophets goes to the prophets.
He said a committee which was set up to ensure transparency and accountability gives account of all the funds gathered and how they are used.
Pastor Clarke also said that every year, his church holds an open-door meeting during which he is required to report on his stewardship and present the audited finances to the members and the authorities of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies.
“Crusades cost money. We have to rent every single thing, the venue, lights, sound system, screens, transportation and we are hoping that we get money to pay for accommodation for the visitors,” said Pastor Clarke, adding that the church is not charged by the prophets, but if money comes in, they will be refunded for their tickets and other expenses.
He however said he will never allow anyone associated with his ministry to charge persons to pray for them.
“I am a patriotic Vincentian and a child of God. I have to stand before God. I do not take any money and I will never, as long as I am alive, take any money for praying for people.
“One of the signs of a fake prophet is if you are charging people for prayer and saying things, and they do not come to pass. The prophetic has to be judged,” stressed the church leader who added that the crusade was streamed live for everybody to see and he does not see why it is causing such a commotion.
He said he does not agree with prophets pushing people over with their hands, but many times, the power of God works and pushes people over without physical contact.
“I have seen prophets do it in other countries and I said I don’t believe you should push anybody, you must be moved by the power of God and in my church, any falling is under the power of God, you just hold your hand up and they fall.
“I have experienced it, praying for people and I usually grab them early, but some of the guys have trained ushers to hold them from getting hurt when they fall, but I don’t believe in pushing,” he said.
Pastor Clarke added that what has been going on in relation to local prophecies “is amazing” as it is the first time in his life that he has seen such accurate predictions.
Last October, Prophet Brian said that someone wanted the Prime Minister dead, then on December 9, 2018, the Prime Minister told supporters that his political enemies wanted his scalp for stopping the sale of Vincentian passports.
During one of the last meetings, it was predicted by the prophets that Orande Brewster, the Unity Labour Party’s hopeful in the Central Leeward constituency, and a member of the Layou Miracle Church, will be in Parliament soon.
Pastor Clarke said that he has seen prophets speak things into people’s lives and has seen them heal people. He added that he once saw a prophet pick out a family, name all the members and speak about issues in the family.
He said also that he once saw a prophet expel from a child, a demon that was causing her tremendous pain and suffering and had been placed on her through witchcraft. He noted that locally, the prophets are exposing quite a lot of witchcraft.
Pastor Clarke invites persons to come out to the crusades and his church, as he is open to everyone.