|Linda Paul Rika|
Since Linda received her original revelation, she has taken to prophesying future events that do not come to pass. For example, she falsely prophesied the winner of the Nigerian presidential election. The person she prophesied would be the next president was not the person who won the election. While I have known about this for quite some time, I have chosen to remain silent about it until now. But I can no longer remain silent, because she has given many other prophecies that did not come true.
She also prophesied about a certain governor of a Nigerian state, who was seriously wounded in a plane crash. After the crash he was airlifted to the US where he received medical care and later returned to Nigeria to govern the state. A meeting was arranged with the Governor to be prayed for by a team of ministers from HOREMOW with Paul Rika in attendance. During the meeting she prophesied that he would recover from his injuries and go back to his job as governor. However, to this day he has not gone back. His term of office ended while he was still sick, and another person was elected in his place. To this day he is unable to hold office.
There was another case where a Nigerian governor actually died in a plane crash, who had been a Christian. His deputy, a Muslim took over in line with the Nigerian Constitution. Linda prophesied that a Christian governor would replace him. However, another Muslim succeeded him, not a Christian, so once again Linda’s prophecy never came to pass.
At a HOREMOW event in Bauchi State, Nigeria in 2013, where Linda was a guest speaker, she also prophesied that the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria would end that year. She prophesied that the Lord said He would take out Boko Haram Himself. In fact, Jeff Zanni was also a guest speaker at that same program and heard her prophecy. However, Boko Haram did not end after that, so her prophecy did not come to pass. In fact that group has gotten worse, and is still killing people. They are still there and have even sworn allegiance to ISIS.
Although I am not saying Linda's original testimony was not true or genuine, all of these false prophecies she has been giving call into question anything she now says or has ever said in the name of the Lord. Therefore, the warning of our Lord Jesus to beware of false prophets applies to her in this case:
"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'" (Mat 7:15-23)
Ungodly Treatment of Michael Sambo
Moreover, she has attacked my friend, brother Michael Thomas Sambo. She has attacked his calling, his family, his ministry, and his revelation that he had of heaven and hell. In fact, she had said it's the spirit of Allah using brother Michael. Her husband, Paul Rika, had been brother Michael’s spiritual father. In fact, he transcribed Michael’s testimony from a video recording and published it as a book, called Divine Revelation of God's Holiness and Judgment. When it was initially published, he seized control of it by giving Michael a legally binding statement drafted by a lawyer to sign, which stated that Michael gave up all rights to royalties from the book to Paul Rika, and that Michael would only have the content of the book to defend. At that time, Michael was young and did not fully understand the implication of what he was signing. Now Paul Rika has informed him that the 300 free books he initially gave him to hand out for evangelism were his full share in the royalties, and that he has no rights to the book. Paul says the book belongs to him. This is amazing, since the book contains Michael’s own testimony as given by Michael himself. While I do not know his motives for claiming exclusive rights to the book, I do know that selfishness, greed, and covetousness have no part in the kingdom of God. Moreover, the revelations the Lord has given us are not for sale, as I have written in my article, The Sale of Christian Music and Art -- A Robbers' Den?
|Paul Rika, pastor and International Director of HOREMOW|
Subsequently Michael received two invitations to speaking engagements that were independent of HOREMOW. But he felt that he needed to clear it with his spiritual father before going to those engagements. Mike felt that no preacher who is backslidden or whose name was no longer in the Book of Life should be speaking for the Lord, so he wanted to know if Paul would authorize him to go and speak. In an email he sent to Paul about this, he said in part, "...In my understanding, I think I am on discipline. I have been praying before the Lord on all that was discussed and feel that as a son in the Lord, I need a clearance on my state before I am engaged to preach. Please sir, I am confused." However, all of his attempts to reach Paul went unanswered up to the dates of these engagements and Mike did not go to either one. He did not see any reason that he should do so, since Paul considered him to be a backslider.
|Michael Thomas Sambo|
Mike responded in part by saying, "Before I go on to explain why I acted that way, I still want to apologize again before I explain. I'm very, very sorry. I'm not going to defend myself." Then in his detailed explanation of his actions, he said something like this: “Sir, you told me my name is not in the Book of Life, that I am backslidden, and that I don’t even have any more future in HOREMOW to do any ministry, and that I should go and pray." And Mike continued, "Sir, you did not confirm to me in response to my email that I should go and speak. I called you on the phone, but you did not answer. I texted you, but still received no response. I emailed you, but you did not answer me. The day came and went, and since I did not receive any answer from you, I did not go to speak.”
In a short, fifteen-minute clip of the meeting that I watched, Mike got down on his knees facing Paul, who was seated, and said he was deeply sorry. He made it clear that his intention was not to run away from Paul, to hurt him, or to compete with him. He pleaded for forgiveness for any way in which he had offended anyone. He said once again, "I'm very sorry."
In response to this, Paul said that he himself had moved very slowly on this matter for months, wondering, "What do I do?" He said he had continued that way until the day before the present meeting was held. He said he had been given "two verdicts" for Mike, but he only elaborated on one of them initially, which was the one that would apply if Mike felt he had finished apprenticeship and wanted to have his own ministry. He said if that was what Mike wanted, they would pray for him and give him all the support he needed. Mike could still be a minister in HOREMOW. They would use him any time they wanted, but he would be on his own. "Whatever assistance we want to give you or you need from the movement, fine. The materials you need you have access to those. You have access to me for any help you need. You have your liberty. I think this is a good option, if you consider it so." He indicated that Mike could come and go any time he wanted and would be one of the HOREMOW leaders. He asked Mike how he would like to proceed.
There was a long pause for a couple minutes as Mike knelt before the group. Then Mike said he was not in a position to make a choice at that moment. He needed time to go and pray about it before he would make a decision, since it was very serious.
He asked Paul whether his apology was accepted. However, while all this was being video recorded, Paul said, "As for apology, right from the beginning [I have said that] it's only...the act is before the Lord. I have said it. The act is before the Lord. So you are not making apology [to me]. You are making apology to the house and before the Lord." As Paul paused to wait for Mike's decision on which verdict he would choose, Mike replied, "I don't have the answer, sir. I don't have the answer."
Then Paul, pressed for a response, saying, "Do you choose so or do you not choose so." He had given Mike a choice: Mike could either go and have his own ministry with the possibility of speaking at HOREMOW events, or else he could stay in HOREMOW and only do whatever Paul says he must do. He reiterated that the second option was that if Mike chose to remain in HOREMOW, he would be saying to Paul, "I want to remain with you, as a minister under your command." He also said that the first option was that Mike would not be under his command. He once again repeated that the second option was, "You are under my command! Then I will take decision on you as a minister under my command." He gave examples of what that would mean, saying he would be managing Mike's activities each step of the way, saying, "Back again. Go here before you go. Do this before you do it." He asked Mike if that is what he wanted or if he wanted to be able to go and conduct his ministry without such restrictions.
Mike simply replied, "I want the will of God, sir."
Paul replied, "You want the will of God. You have a right to the will of God for you."
Mike responded, "I want us to pray."
Paul replied, "Then I will take this decision. You are now on discipline. You will stop all ministry and go to pray to recover your Christian life, because this thing you did offended the Lord. That the Lord's people were crying out and just your stubbornness -- stubbornness, just because you would not submit. You allowed the name of the Lord to suffer shame. You allowed the Lord to be grieved over the message the Lord has given you. You offended God. So you will go and have your time to recover, [his words after this were inaudible]. I want to make sure I walk with a holy man, a righteous man. I will journey very far. And the eyes of God are upon Holiness Revival Movement, and we must give God the best. You are coming short of the best. Your life has to be improved. You must attend to righteousness and holiness. You've behaved badly. So I have placed you on discipline indefinitely until such time as God has finished working in your life." He also told him he needed to go take care of his communications, remain where he is there, and “be faithful to fellowship, being careful to attend all meetings, but no ministry."
When Jeff heard this, he later challenged Paul’s decision publicly, since it seemed quite harsh. Paul replied by asking Jeff whether he would have challenged Moses’ decision, if he had been present when Moses consulted with God about a certain man who had sinned, whom God said should be stoned to death. In saying this, he implied that the Lord told him to discipline Mike indefinitely. It's interesting that Paul related himself to Moses, rather than the Lord Jesus, who said, "Neither do I condemn you," when those gathered around Him were ready to stone the woman caught in adultery, and asked Him what He thought should be done with her (Joh 8:11). The Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (Joh 1:17).
When Paul had finished placing Mike on indefinite discipline, he said, "Everybody will pray with you to help that you recover. And I want to ensure that all the nuances that are going around, 'Pastor Rika is in trouble.' or "Pastor Rika and Michael Sambo are in conflict.' Those nuances must be stopped! All people forming cliques everywhere. I see there's two cliques now -- one for Pastor Rika, one for Michael Sambo. It must disappear! You will come back as a son walking with his father. And we must walk in righteousness and holiness." He said all of this while remaining seated in his chair and while Mike remained kneeling on the floor in front of him in the middle of the room.
Incidentally, in that meeting, Paul denied that he ever told Mike that his name was not written in the Book of Life. Jeff Zanni was there in the meeting, as one of the people Paul considered a HOREMOW leader. He knew that Paul had told him privately that Mike’s name was not in the Book of Life, but he did not want to embarrass Paul publicly, so he did not say anything at the leaders’ meeting. He assumed that perhaps Paul had forgotten, so he held his peace.
However, a few days later, Jeff spoke to Paul privately. He told him in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t happy with Paul’s handling of Mike and his case. Jeff reminded him of the private meeting they previously had together, in which Paul told him that Mike’s name was not in the Book of Life, and he also reminded Paul of other details of that meeting. However, Paul was speechless. Jeff told him to apologize to Mike, but he did not. Instead he began telling false stories about Mike and even about Jeff himself. In doing so, Paul is acting as if he is does not need to be accountable to anybody, including the elders within his own organization. For example, one of the claims Paul has made several times is that Mike did not apologize to him. However, I have seen the video recording, showing Mike apologizing multiple times, which I have documented in this article. Both Mike and Jeff have released Paul in their hearts and they have peace inside, because the Lord knows and sees what is happening.
Revelations Equal to the Bible
Another issue I have with HOREMOW is that Paul Rika says that when a revelation is given and it is confirmed to be from God, that revelation is equal to the Bible. So his wife Linda gives dreams and revelations on people, and he believes them and acts on them based on whatever she says. This is an unbiblical practice that is very dangerous. It leads to all kinds of error, both doctrinal and practical. It has been and is being used to manipulate, abuse, and hurt people seriously, as has been done to brother Michael.
As we have already seen, people can make false prophecies that do not come to pass, as with Linda's prophecies. If those are considered equal to Scripture, then many people will be led astray. That would mean these messages are inerrant and become elevated to the level of Scripture. In other words, each prophecy would hold the same authority as Scripture. Or else it is regarded as another rule that Christians must obey, besides the Bible. The end result is that such prophecies and revelations end up superseding Scripture, because they are regarded as authoritative and binding upon all Christians, even if they contradict the Bible. This essentially nullifies the Word of God. The fact is that no prophecy carries the same authority as Scripture, and must either conform to the Word of God or be ignored.
The apostle Paul said, "For we know in part and we prophesy in part." (1Co 13:9). Our sole rule of faith is the Bible, and prophesies are meant to strengthen, edify, and encourage the Body of Christ (1 Cor 14:3).
Also see my article Scripture Alone.
Use of the Title "Daddy"
Another issue I have with HOREMOW is people calling Paul Rika by the title "Daddy." Jesus commanded, "And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven." (Mt 23:9, NIV). In light of what our Lord commanded, I once asked Paul in February 2014 why he allows people to call him "Daddy," since it means father. However, he never replied to me. Daddy and father are two synonymous words. If we are not to call any man by this title, we should also not let any man address us that way, since it would be sin. There is absolutely no Scriptural basis at all for calling any man Father or Daddy.
Remarrying Your First Spouse
Likewise, I do not see any Scriptural basis for the teaching of Paul Rika and HOREMOW, regarding remarrying one's first spouse. They teach that if someone has been remarried after divorce, they must return to their first spouse.
First of all, as I stated in my article, Divorce -- Two Divine Revelations, I agree that the ideal situation is to be reconciled with your first spouse and get remarried to that person. Simply repenting for committing the sin of divorce and not going back to your spouse is not enough. You must make restitution!
However, if your first spouse has already been remarried, I do not see any Scripture that allows you to remarry that person. Even if their second spouse divorces them or dies, the Bible teaches that it is an abomination for you to remarry your first spouse once they have been married to someone else.
"When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man's wife, and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.” (Deu 24:1-4).
Likewise, the Lord declared through the prophet Jeremiah, "If a husband divorces his wife And she goes from him And belongs to another man, Will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted?" (Jer 3:1)
Therefore, the only scenario in which Scripture allows you to remarry your first spouse, in my opinion, is when neither of you have been remarried after divorcing. In fact, if you have been divorced and neither you nor your spouse have been remarried, you should certainly repent and remarry your spouse if he or she is willing to do so. However, there is no biblical basis for remarriage to one's first spouse after divorce and remarriage has already occurred. Doing so would violate the Word of God, and teaching people to do so would nullify one of God's commandments.
Our Lord said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mat 5:17-20)
In July 2015, I brought all of this to the attention of Paul Rika by sending him my article on Divorce, which contains the section above on remarrying your first spouse that I have just quoted from (except for a couple, recent, minor revisions), and asking for his input. However, he never responded to me.
For more on this topic, please see Adultery According to Jesus.
Putting it All Together
All of this needs to be evaluated based on the Word of God. First of all, we are not to listen to a false prophet, but rather expose them. If someone is giving prophetic predictions that do not come true, then they have proven to be a false prophet. We should not listen to anything else they say. Secondly, if someone is using prophecy to judge or control people, they are abusing the gift of the Holy Spirit, and are in need of church discipline. Thirdly, we must not make any prophecy or revelation equal to Scripture, since that is not the purpose of the prophetic, and we only prophesy in part (1 Cor 13:9). Fourthly, there is to be no division in the Body of Christ (1 Cor 1:10), and we must love one another from the heart (Joh 13:34; 1 Pe 1:22; 4:8; Rom 12:9). If a brother repents, we are to forgive him and comfort him (Lk 17:3-4), so that he is not overwhelmed by excessive sorrow, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Cor 2:7,11). If we do not forgive others, then our Father in heaven will not forgive us (Mt 6:14-15). The way that Paul and Linda Rika have treated brother Michael is hurtful, unforgiving, and controlling. Whatever they have done to Mike, they have done it unto Jesus (Mt 25:40). Fifthly, Paul has told false stories about Mike and Jeff, and we are commanded not to bear false witness against our brother (Ex 20:16). We are supposed to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), for all liars will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur (Rev 21:8).
Sixth, the way Paul has seized control and claimed exclusive rights to the book containing Mike's testimony is not right. Seventh, there is no Scripture that says anyone should be denied forgiveness or disciplined indefinitely. This is an abuse of spiritual authority and a form of mind control. The Lord does not accuse forever, nor will He always be angry. He is with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit (Is 57:15-16). "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (Jam 4:6). Eighth, Paul seems to be lacking accountability, since he is acting unilaterally without regard for what one of his own elders is telling him. Ninth, he allows people to call him "Daddy," contrary to what Jesus taught. Tenth, there is the unbiblical teaching on remarriage to one's first spouse after divorce and remarriage. Eleventh, Linda accuses Michael of being used by the spirit of Allah, and Paul has been echoing that same thing. People who say such things to those who are operating by the Spirit of God should beware of blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mar 3:28-30). Finally, Paul’s heavy-handed, domineering behavior is not the way a pastor is supposed to care for the flock. The Scripture says that an elder is not supposed to lord it over others like that.
The Lord said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.' But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” (Luk 22:25-26). Likewise, the apostle Peter said, “Nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.” (1Pe 5:3).
Sadly, based on these bad fruit, we can say for sure that this couple is no longer operating in the Holy Spirit. This is not the fruit of the Spirit. Since Jesus said you would know them by their fruit, we have now identified who they are. They are bad trees, and bad trees cannot bear good fruit, neither can a good tree bear bad fruit. I do not judge them, but I have identified them based on the fruit test, as I have written in my article, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets.
After documenting these issues, I humbly submitted the document to Paul Rika via email to read and respond. His assistant, brother Ande, replied to say he would print my document and give it to Paul once he returned from a trip he was currently on in Sierre Leone. His email was sent from "Holiness Revival Movement Headquarters Abuja," displaying Paul Rika's name and profile picture on it, so he was officially representing that movement and its International Director. Underneath Ande's name in his email was a caption stating, "Holiness; the only requirement for Heaven" (emphasis mine). This is not to pick on brother Ande, but this slogan helps to reveal an underlying assumption within HOREMOW that is being taught, which is not biblical. I replied back to him, asking what Scripture he bases that slogan upon, but he did not answer me.
Holiness is certainly one of the requirements for heaven (Heb 12:14), but our Lord Jesus said that the greatest commandments are to love. You are commanded to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27). These are even greater than the command to be holy, as important as holiness is. Jesus said, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Joh 13:35, NIV). We do not want to be a holy people without love. If we attain the very highest level of holiness in our lives, but have not love, we are nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3). Let's not forget that! May the Lord help us all to be a holy people who love the Lord with all our being and love one another deeply from the heart. This whole matter should cause us all to go before the Lord, asking Him to evaluate us and reveal to us anything that is hidden that must go.
I do not relish or enjoy writing an article such as this, and I wish I did not have to do so. I myself am just a man who has not yet attained to perfection. But I also have a responsibility to my readers to warn them of things like this, especially since I had previously written a favorable article about Linda, and other articles associated with HOREMOW. As the apostle Paul instructed Timothy, "Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning." (1 Tim 5:20). And he instructed the Ephesians, "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." (Eph 5:11, NIV).
The exact sequence of what was said in the HOREMOW elders' meeting and the exact words that were spoken were not recorded with complete accuracy when this article was first published. I sincerely apologize for that, however, I was originally relying upon the account that Michael Sambo and Jeff Zanni had given me to the best of their ability from memory. They had sought to be as accurate as possible in their account, being very careful not to misstate anything, doing their best to concisely summarize a long story. I have since reviewed some of the video record of the meeting that they have sent to me, and made some corrections, as well as added some direct quotes for clarity. However, I don't think those revisions have changed the overall outcome of what has happened or the implications.
As I mentioned in the article, I sent an email about this matter to brother Paul Rika, but he never replied to me. There has been no repentance, no apologies, no brokenness in response to this matter being publicized. I also sent this article to the US Coordinator for HOREMOW, brother Johnson Tata, but he never replied to me either. And I know that brother Jeff Zanni has also spoken to the HOREMOW Coordinator for Europe in London, as well.
A dear Nigerian pastor I know and love, who lives abroad but recently visited his native Nigeria, told me that the conditions in the Church there have gotten worse since he left the country. He said there is human worship, pastors are prideful and unaccountable, and people worship them as God, as if they cannot fall. This very practice is setting these pastors up for a fall, because instead of helping to bring about repentance for ungodly behavior, these people are encouraging pastors to continue in it. This should be a wake up call not only for the Church in Nigeria, but throughout the world, to stop worshiping men and making idols out of them. Stop treating them as if they are not accountable to any man. I suggest you repent for the way you have contributed to this sad state of affairs.
If this article does not appall you and grieve you, and if you are more interested in keeping your idol from toppling, then you are part of the problem I have just described. This message should cause you to grieve, lament, and pray. However, many readers have chosen to attack the messenger instead. If you plan to use the comments section for that purpose, then please don't bother, because your comments will not be published. If you are going to leave a comment that disagrees with what has been presented in this article, then please provide factual evidence to support your view, as well as any witnesses you are able to cite, if you want your comment to be published.
Finally, as for my views on holiness, they haven't changed one bit because of this matter, because they are based on the Bible and not on any man's revelation. You can still find my articles on holiness, such as Holy Living in a Perverted World, Garments of Godliness, and Godly Attire & Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, along with revelations about God's holy standards on Eternal Destinations, such as Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Ezekiel Moses Testimony of Heaven and Hell, Eudoxia Varga's Testimony of Heaven and Hell, and Baptized by Blazing Fire -- a Korean church's testimony.
Part II - Exposing the Darkness within HOREMOW
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB,except where noted otherwise. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted.
Author's Note: I also recommend reading Exposing the Darkness within HOREMOW, Judging Revelations, Visions, and Prophecies, Grieve and Lament for the Church, The Nature of False Prophets, Leadership Approach Reveals View of God, Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, A Tale of Two Kings, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, Accountable, correctable, and teachable, Loving Deeply, Filled Up to All the Fullness of God, Angelic Escape from Terrorist Assassins, Interview with Brother Michael Thomas Sambo, The Wardrobe of the Saints, Whatever You Do, Do All Like This, How to Treat Leaders, Our Senior Pastor, The Shepherding Role of Elders, Exposing Heresy, Divorce -- Two Divine Revelations, Adultery According to Jesus, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Purge the Evil from Among You, and The Rise of Antichrists. You can access the Home page of this blog for more articles on Truth and heresy, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master.
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.