Brazilian televangelist Silas Malafaia and his support to socialist politicians in Brazil
In the lack of a Prophet Elijah or a John the Baptist in Brazil, let us make what Jesus taught us, “So practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.”
By Julio Severo
Notice to English-speaking readers: To know more about Silas Malafaia, click here to read a New York Timesarticle on him.
“Ahab for King of Israel. Sponsor: Prophet Elijah.” Such message would never have appeared in a political poster of old Israel, not only because there were no posters on that time, but also because Prophet Elijah never supported politically King Ahab.
Elijah’s mission was to come to the king and say, “Thus says the Lord…” And he fulfilled his calling faithfully, delivering divine messages, which were usually reproofs.
Prophets of God gave their lives for their ministries. They spoke to the kings what should be spoken, no matter who might feel hurt. And it did hurt. And they paid dearly.
I can imagine Elijah in our days, coming to Brazilian socialist presidents, and saying with authority, “You are sinning against God and against the people of Brazil. Your administration has been promoting abortion and homosexuality, which are abominations in the sight of God. Repent and stop your politics of wickedness!”
I can see those red men blushing of fury, and saying, “Insolent! How do you dare to rebuke me? Just for that, I will order the revoking of your TV and radio license.”
So Elijah would break completely the Brazilian tradition of evangelical leaders supporting politicians to receive favors. The prophetic reproof of Elijah to the rulers would make him lose everything!
However, Brazil has no daring Christian leader to come to the “kings.” All of the ministers, bishops and other leaders only come to the “kings” of Brazil to get favors, in a way or other, not to deliver divine messages, much less divine reproofs!
Why to deliver messages and lose everything?
We have a mission to accomplish, even in the political ream, but often we forget it, and God can use the most unexpected people to remind us of our call.
Reinaldo Azevedo became one of those people. He is a Catholic that works as a columnist in Veja magazine (the Brazilian counterpart of Time magazine). He supports gay adoption and is very fond of social democracy, but, by the Brazilian standard, he is a “conservative” and very critic of the Brazilian socialist government. He is not a prophet, but he made some “revelations” that are important for Christians in Brazil. He declared that one of the most sinister men of the ruling Workers’ Party:
1. Has revealed there is no longer any opposition for the advancement of the socialist goals of the Workers’ Party in Brazil. Opposition to socialism in Brazil has been annihilated.
2. Has made clear that today the only opposition is the mass media churches—which belong mostly to neo-Pentecostal televangelists.
3. Has declared that the Workers’ Party is getting ready for a confrontation with those mass media churches.
I wanted Brazil to have some Elijahs for that confrontation, men with the integrity of John the Baptist, who was not afraid of telling a king, “You are sinning against the Law of God when you commit adultery!”
The Workers’ Party, with its obsession of institutionalizing abortion and homosexuality, is getting ready for a future confrontation with churches, but we Brazilians have no Elijah or John the Baptist.
Everything that we have, generally, are two types of evangelicals:
1. Churches and leaders that follow the Workers’ Party for opportunism, because they do not want to lose their radios and TVs. Most of them are neo-Pentecostal.
2. Churches and leaders that follow the Workers’ Party because, brazenly or not, they are socialist for ideological reasons. Most of them are not neo-Pentecostal.
It is in that reality of a spiritually sickened leadership that evangelicals in Brazil have to lead their lives.
In response to the declarations from the sinister man of the Workers’ Party, Silas Malafaia said, “I demonize no political party. As everybody knows, I have already voted for [Brazilian socialist politicians] Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Lula and José Serra.”
Can such a declaration reflect the spirit of a prophet? Elijah never had his name registered in a poster of political support to King Ahab. In contrast, Malafaia didn’t just vote for pro-abortion and pro-sodomy politicians. Only that would already have been a mistake sufficiently disturbing for a Christian leader. He did much more than this: he gave his name for pamphlets supporting those politicians. He led, by his wicked example, crowds to vote for the most pro-abortion and pro-sodomy politicians in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. It was, for instance, what happened in 2002, when he, with many other evangelical leaders, signed a public document supporting Lula, with all of the consequences that today we know very well and that a genuine prophet would have seen from a distance.
In that time, I denounced the evangelical pro-Lula alliance involving the union of traditional churches (Baptist Nilson Fanini, Presbyterian Guilhermino Cunha, Anglican Robinson Cavalcanti, etc.), Pentecostal churches (Jabes Alencar, Silas Malafaia, etc. [both Assembly of God]) and neo-Pentecostal churches (Marcelo Crivella [Kingdom of God Universal Church], Estevam Hernandes [Reborn in Christ], Robson Rodovalho [Heal Our Land], etc.).
While the most powerful evangelical leaders in Brazil were supporting Lula and the future administration of the Workers’ Party, I was crying out in the wilderness. (In 2002, the president of an evangelical denomination asked me not send him anymore e-mails “attacking” Lula and his ideological record, making clear that he, as a member of the Workers’ Party, was very offended by my alerts.)
Even after seeing all the anti-family attacks by the Lula administration in his first term, Malafaia supported his reelection, showing an obstinate and blind side of his evangelical character. In that point, in 2006, Lula’s pro-homosexuality obsession was patent, national and internationally. If he were trying to be a modern King Ahab, he achieved it. Nevertheless, instead of delivering reproofs to Lula, Malafaia preferred, consciously, giving him political support. If he were trying to be a prophet, he did not achieve it.
So, Malafaia was limited in his public declaration, when he said, “I have already voted for [Brazilian socialist politicians] Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Lula and José Serra.” He forgot mentioning that he voted and promoted Sérgio Cabral, the most pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality governor of Rio de Janeiro.
The declaration of Malafaia should have included what he really did, “I have voted for, I have supported and I have promoted, with my signature, all of those socialist men, including Lula, the most pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality president in the history of Brazil.” He should also have stated, “I encouraged crowds to vote for the most pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality politicians in the history of Brazil and of Rio de Janeiro.” It would be hard to confirm that truth, as well as it would have been unpleasant for Elijah to say, “As a prophet of the Lord, I have voted for, I have supported and I have promoted, with my signature, Ahab, the most pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality king in the history of Israel, and I encouraged the whole people of Israel to vote for him.”
Malafaia also said, “I vote for people and not for parties.” Does this justify voting for, supporting and promoting systematically people that have an ideological history against family and against Christianity? Does this justify encouraging crowds of evangelicals to vote for people that have an ideological history against family and against Christianity?
It is paranoid to fight abortion and homosexuality and to vote for, to support and to promote politicians that promote those evils. It is equally paranoid to fight abortion and homosexuality and to encourage churches to vote for those politicians. It is like a man that fights a great fire, but once in a while he throws gas in the fire. It is like seeing a dog trying to catch its own tail.
Elijah was a man that fought the great fires of the social wickedness without throwing gas in the fire. But Brazil doesn’t have that kind of man.
What Brazil has, mostly, are 1) Christians that vote for and promote the Workers’ Party or other socialist parties (PSDB, PSOL, etc.) and remain silent, and 2) Christians that vote for and promote the Workers’ Party or other socialist parties (PSDB, PSOL, etc.) and don’t remain silent.
To remain silent in the presence of the institutionalization of sin is sin! To open the mouth against the institutionalization of sin while promoting those who do it is better than silence, but it is also sin.
However, because Brazil has no Elijah or John the Baptist, we are left with the imperfect option of supporting Christian leaders that at least open their mouths. That is the case of Malafaia. Although he has thrown a lot of gas in the fires that he is combatting, at least he is not like many others that equally threw a lot of gas in the fires and today remain silent or soften the dangers of the fires.
Actually, Brazil needs a man to open his mouth without throwing gas in the fire. That is God’s ideal. A man that denounces sin and says to the “kings” of Brazil, “Thus says the Lord.” A man that, even running the risk of losing his radio and TV license, would proclaim his messages in the corners of streets or in the corners of internet.
In the lack of a prophet Elijah or a John the Baptist in Brazil, let us make what Jesus taught us:
“So practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.” (Matthew 23:3 ESV)
Those words of Jesus can also be paraphrased this way:
“So practice and follow whatever they tell you in defense of family. But don’t imitate their actions of voting, supporting and promoting anti-family politicians, because they don’t practice what preach.”
Some consent only by their actions; others by their words and actions. Therefore, let us know how to discern what to do in the presence of total or partial omissions.
When they teach us against abortion and homosexuality, let us hear and practice.
But let us don’t imitate their actions. When they vote for anti-family politicians, let us don’t imitate them.
When they support and promote anti-family politicians, let us don’t imitate them.
Let us remember their words and messages in defense of family, but let us don’t imitate what they practice in election times, throwing gas in the fire. Let us ignore completely their irresponsible political recommendations when they don’t practice what they preach. After all, such was Jesus’ command: to follow their good teachings and not to imitate their hypocrisy.
Therefore, in obedience to Jesus’ words, let us follow everything that Malafaia and others teach on abortion and homosexuality, but let us don’t imitate their actions. Let us defend everything that Malafaia teaches in defense of family, but let us don’t imitate him when he throws gas in the fire. On the contrary, let us throw water in the fire, rejecting irresponsible political recommendations.
This article is not criticism, but a necessary clarification after several articles by me defending the antiabortion and anti-homosexuality stance of Malafaia.
He is doing very well in the defense of family. Only his political weaknesses have been a great trap for him and for Brazilian evangelicals.
In regard to moral values, Malafaia has been an excellent conservative: he has been conserving the biblical standard very well. But in regard to politics, he has been everything, except biblical and conservative. As a minister of the Gospel, his only role in politics is to lead wicked politicians to God and repentance, not to lead evangelical crowds to wicked politicians, as he has been doing systematically.
Above all, help Malafaia to defend family, and Brazil will be greatly blessed. But if you follow his political recommendations, you may eventually end up throwing gas in the fire, and Brazil may have other Lulas and Cabrals, crazily obsessed by the destruction of family.
More about the Lula, the socialist politician that Silas Malafaia voted for, supported and promoted among Brazilian evangelicals: