The Nonsensical Utterances of a Charismatic “Prophetess” After South Africa’s 2021 Riots
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 Jn. 4:1)
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you…” (2 Pet. 2:1)
It didn’t take long. In July 2021, in the aftermath of the worst riots in South Africa since the Communist takeover in 1994, a South African Charismatic “prophetess”, Janet Brann-Hollis, tossed her penny’s worthlessness into the fray.
But before looking at what she said, let’s learn a bit about her:
Brann-Hollis’ “Ruach Ministries” website has this to say about her: “Janet Brann-Hollis is a well-recognised prophetess who has travelled internationally for 30 years, ministering the word of the Lord across a large spectrum of the globe. Not only is she known as a strong teacher, but she is well known for her in depth accuracy of prophetic word, and specialises in assisting pastors/leaders in the raising up of the local church prophet and establishing prophetic teams.”
Well-recognised? Well, maybe in whatever Charismatic circles she moves in. As for having travelled internationally for 30 years, so what? Charismatic leaders love to boast of their international travels – as if you’re not really qualified until you’ve “ministered” internationally. You will search in vain in the Bible for “international travel” being any kind of qualification for “ministry” at all. All it really tells us is that the world is full of deceived people who accept the ministry of false prophets, and like the Pharisees of old love to compass sea and land to make proselytes (Matt. 23:15), finding an endless stream of gullible people to lead astray.
As for being an accurate “prophetess” and a “strong teacher”, the Bible is very clear on this. No men or women have the gift of prophecy today. The prophet or prophetess was a gift given in the first century AD during the apostolic age as a foundational ministry (Eph. 2:20); but it came to an end with the completion of the written Scriptures (1 Cor. 13:8-12). For a detailed exposition of biblical cessationism, see my pamphlet, Charismatic Doctrine in the Light of God’s Word, and my sermons, That Which is Perfect and Pentecostal/Charismatic Doctrine in the Light of Scripture. Furthermore, no woman is ever called as a pastor/teacher – the office is reserved for men – so how can she possibly have a ministry which “specialises in assisting pastors/leaders”? As for teaching pastors to raise up the ministry of the “local church prophet”, this would be nonsense even if prophets were still given, because a biblical prophet was raised up by God, not men.
The website goes on to say of Brann-Hollis and her husband Bill, “Janet and Bill are submitted to their local church in Johannesburg.” How can you be under submission to a local church, while simultaneously having a completely unbiblical “ministry” which places you, as a supposed “prophetess”, above any pastor? For the prophetic office, when it was given in the apostolic age, was greater than that of the pastor/teacher (1 Cor. 12:28).
So what did she have to say after the terrible riots in South Africa? Well, she and Pearl Kupe (described online as an attorney, “global leader”, business woman, and a “servant leader of Kingdom Mandate Assembly”, among other things) called for a three-day national fast from 26 to 28 July, after warnings were issued that further violence was being planned for the country. Brann-Hollis claimed to know this was about to happen because four “trusted leaders” she knew had notified her of what was coming. And according to her, this is how they knew:
“Each leader was warned in a dream of a second wave of destruction and devastation that is about to be released over South Africa.” Oh, sure, that’s evidence – dreams. We’re all expected to accept this because four people dreamed it. Or said they did. Never mind the very obvious fact that there are always people planning violence in South Africa. No daydreaming self-proclaimed “prophet” is needed to tell us that.
And then she just couldn’t help herself – she just had to drop in a sentence in which she implied that the Church must listen to God’s “prophets and leaders”: “God speaks by His prophets and leaders, encouraging warnings, for the Church to arise and take dominion over these planned attacks of the enemy.”
So let’s break this down:
- As explained above, no one is called into the prophetic office today. And frankly, that’s really all we need to know. If prophets are no longer given, neither she nor the others are true prophets. But let’s analyse the rest of it anyway, just to be thorough.
- These women called for a national fast. Firstly, who gave them this authority? Even though there are those foolish and unsound enough to look to them as spiritual leaders, this would only be within the Charismatic “churches”, and a restricted number of them at that. They do not speak for anyone else. Secondly, is South Africa a Christian country? No, there is no such thing as a Christian country. Are all South Africans Christians? No. What then would a “national fast” be all about? In the Old Testament such fasts could be called for, because the entire nation was a theocracy: all the people in Israel were, outwardly, the people of God. This is not the case anymore, for any nation anywhere. True Christians are “strangers and pilgrims” in the countries they inhabit.
Besides, even if a “national fast” was organised, it would involve all kinds of false “churches” and false “Christians”. It would be an ecumenical Babel, an abomination to the Lord.
- The “many warnings of further violence” planned for the country, which she says Charismatic leaders gave her: this is very convenient. If the violence does not occur, she can then claim it was because “Christians” heeded her call for prayer. On the other hand if it does occur, she can claim this is because her call for prayer and fasting went unheeded by the majority. All her bases are covered – a characteristic feature of all false prophets. It’s a case of “heads I win, tails you lose.” And once again: it doesn’t take a “prophetess” to tell South Africans that further violence is being planned. This is no great revelation. It’s a well-known fact.
- The warnings were supposedly given to these “leaders” in dreams. Prophetic dreams, foretelling the future, were given to the prophets of biblical times, certainly; but this is not how the Lord speaks to His true Church today. He speaks to us through His written Word. Prophets, and prophecy, are no longer given by the Lord, for they are no longer needed (as explained above). Thus all so-called “prophets” and prophetic “dreamers” today are automatically false prophets, for there are no true ones called by God.
- “God speaks by His prophets and leaders,” she said – plainly implying that she and others have been divinely raised up as prophets and prophetess of the Lord and as leaders in the Church, and that to ignore their words would be disobedience to the Lord. Again, the gift of prophecy has ceased; but just as troubling as her insistence that it is still given is her implication that she is one of the leaders in the Church. To repeat: no woman is ever raised up as a church leader. Brann-Hollis cannot point to a single example of a female pastor/teacher in all the New Testament. But she is not in submission to the Bible at all. She is a false prophet and a false teacher. Automatically so – we know this without even examining her claims – because there are no prophets given today, and no woman is ever called into the ministry of the teacher, or as a leader in the Church. Case closed.
- Note the typical Charismatic jargon: that destruction was about to be “released” over South Africa, and that the Church must “arise and take dominion” over the planned attacks of the enemy. Why do Charismatics always speak about things being “released”, and about “taking dominion”? This kind of language has permeated the Charismatic world, but it isn’t biblically sound. It just sounds good to their biblically-illiterate fans. It makes them feel important and powerful: “taking dominion”, stopping destruction in its tracks. It’s all very heady stuff. And much more fun than keeping oneself unspotted from the world (Jas. 1:27), living separated from sinful practices (2 Cor. 6:14-18), and being hated by the world for it all (Matt. 10:22). You know, all that the real Christian life entails. Far easier to simply sway on, eyes closed and hands uplifted, “taking dominion over the enemy in the name of Jesus”.
- And anyway, just how is the “Church” (by which she surely means the Charismatic “churches” and those happy to be in ecumenical fellowship with them, which are not part of the true Church at all) supposed to “take dominion over the enemy’s planned attacks”? Just what does such language mean exactly? Where in all the Bible do these heretics find this stuff? The answer of course is that they don’t find it in the Bible, because it simply isn’t there.
- One last point: the riots in South Africa were not directed against the Church or even the professing “Church”. They were acts of lawlessness and anarchy. And since when is it the Church’s ministry, as the Church (assuming just for a moment for argument’s sake that Charismatic churches are part of the true Church, which they are not), to in some undefined way “take dominion over” the people of the world? For the rioters were not Christians, and the mission of the true Church is not to “take dominion over” rioters. This is all nothing but nonsensical, unbiblical gibberish, spoken by a false prophetess to false “Christians” who believe her words are from the Lord.
So exactly what was the “action plan” put forward by Brann-Hollis and Kupe? Well, on the 25th July Church leaders were supposed to “raise corporate prayer into this attack” (there they went off again, using that Charismatic jargon that finds no support in Scripture). Then, from the 26th to 28th July they were to begin a personal and corporate prayer and fast. For what, precisely? Well, according to Brann-Hollis and Kupe:
“We are to fast, pray, and decree for the following: the Spirit of the Lord to raise a standard against:
The altars of witchcraft that are calling for blood in SA;
Prayer to seal the gates of SA from every principality of destruction released against us, releasing angelic gatekeepers at the gates!
The release of the spirit of Destruction back upon the enemy;
Utter confusion amongst the enemy, that he cannot move forward;
Healing and restoration for our beloved SA, economically and socially.”
So once again, let’s break this down:
- “The altars of witchcraft that are calling for blood in SA”. Yes, witchcraft practitioners may have been calling for blood in SA; but they were certainly not the only ones! Witchcraft may have played some part in stirring up some of the rioters, but the riots were far bigger, and more complex, than merely some witchcraft-inspired uprising.
- “Prayer to seal the gates of SA from every principality of destruction released against us”. First: if this is what we all should have been doing, as Charismatic leaders claim, then why only now? Why was this not called for before? Why, in fact, is this not being prayed for all the time? Second: “sealing the gates of SA” – really? Which gates would these be, precisely? SA’s borders? No, this was not their meaning. So then they must mean spiritual “gates”. But what are these? Where is this to be found in Scripture? Again – nowhere. It is nothing but meaningless jargon, getting Charismatics all excited as they somehow, they know not how really, “seal SA’s gates”. Probably by screaming at the devil, or “naming and claiming” shut gates, or some such crazy technique that has absolutely nothing biblical about it. Third, there’s that favourite word again – “released”. Charismatics are very concerned about demons being “released” against them, against others, against the country, against whatever; but what about “the plague of the heart” (1 Kings 8:38) – sin within? Very little is said about this. Brann-Hollis does not call for her swaying supporters to examine their own hearts, to repent, truly repent, of their sins, to turn away from worldliness, to separate from the world, etc., etc. It’s far easier to pray against released demons. More popular too: people don’t like being told about their sins, their worldliness, things like that. Easier to blame the devil.
- “Releasing angelic gatekeepers at the gates”. What? Where is this in the Bible? And why, we must ask, do the Lord’s holy angels need to be released? Were they captives somewhere? The Bible says no such thing. They are in the highest heaven and worship the Lord. So what then? Why do they need releasing? Releasing from what?
And besides, since when does any believer have the authority or power to release angels, even assuming for one horrible moment that they are bound up somewhere? It is the LORD who sends forth His holy angels as ministering spirits to true believers (Heb. 1:7,14). Believers are never to pray to angels, so they cannot call them forth; nor do they somehow “release” them, as if they are held in check somewhere, itching to burst forth in a blaze of glory and pent-up energy, exclaiming, “At last we are free to act!”
The Charismatic god is a strange one: he always seems to be holding angels, demons and men back, like race horses in their stalls, where they wait for the starting-gun to be fired so they can be “released” to rush forward to wherever they have to go. This is all heresy, plain and simple.
Here’s a quick study you can do with a concordance and a Bible: just look up the word “release” and “released” every time it occurs in Scripture, and see if in even a single case it is used as Charismatics use it. Spoiler alert: it never is. Not once.
- “The release of the spirit of Destruction back upon the enemy.” Note how Charismatics always, and I mean always, get back to evil spirits. We do not deny, of course, that Satan and his legions are very much at work in the world; but where is the acknowledgment of the sin and wickedness that resides in the human heart? The rioting and destruction were not solely the work of evil spirits – they were caused by wicked men. The devil used these men, certainly, but he worked upon the wickedness in their own sinful hearts. “The devil made them do it” is just a convenient cop-out.
- “Utter confusion amongst the enemy, that he cannot move forward”. Who is the enemy? Probably they mean satanic forces, but again: since when is it the Church’s mission (allowing for argument’s sake here that Charismatism is part of the Church, which in truth it is not) to fight a country’s political and social problems? A country does not equate to the Church! No country today is a theocracy. This kind of nonsense just sows confusion amongst people. They are led to confuse the world with the Church.
- “Healing and restoration for our beloved SA, economically and socially.” In the country we live in we are merely strangers and pilgrims (Heb. 11:13); but those who are members of the true Church are part of the very household of God (Eph. 2:19)! So many professing Christians pray for their country; but how many pray for the true Church, the people of God who are a tiny remnant within any country, or for the spread of the Gospel, or the edification of the saints? We are not here on this earth, as believers, to work for “healing” and “restoration” in our country! That is “liberation theology” on the left of the political and religious spectrum, and it is “dominion theology” on the right. Both are heresies. Once again, this is not the Church’s mission. You will search in vain to find this as the mission of the Church, in the Bible. The worldly will do what the worldly have always done. They will fight, and war, and hate. True believers are “an holy nation”, a separate people, the people of God. The only ministry we have to the people of this world, and to the nations, is to preach the Gospel of Christ to them.
Charismatism is not biblical Christianity. It is a heresy, a blight upon the earth. It is unsound doctrinally and unsound in practice. It cares little for the Word of God, except where it can extract favourite “proof texts” used out of context and tossed around like magic talismans. It cares nothing for the glory of God. It must be shunned as a devilish deception.
Shaun Willcock is a minister, author and researcher. He runs Bible Based Ministries. For other articles (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, audio messages, pamphlets, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website; or write to the address below. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ email list, to receive all future articles, please send your details.
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. Gateway News, 23 July 2021. “National fast called amidst warnings of more planned attacks.” https://gatewaynews.co.za.