Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dawit Molalegn and FBI's Miracle Church

By the time I reach the end of this sentence you'll likely be asking why I'm suddenly concerned with a Megachurch in Ethiopia. I have a radio show coming up where I'll be discussing miracles, and as part of my background reading I've been investigating those listed as reliable witnesses of the miraculous. The FBI church is not my strongest case, but I'm working through these in rough chronological order so it managed to come up trumps.

Although originally named Faith Baptist Church, self-styled megachurch President Dawit Molalegn rebranded his ministry to Faith Bible International Church. The more astute among you will already have noticed the logo in the bottom right corner of all screenshots - he's stolen his livery wholesale from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A documentary made by the megachurch is available on ethiotube.net and the comments make for interesting reading:
"This man is so fat, because of this poeple's money and fat life. But full of lie. He drive, he eat, he talk(bussiness), and live like he is popstar. There is no way he look like pastor. He did not even mentiion one word from bible. 
all is money, dollar, dollar, dollar, dollarhow paster take the stage to talk about dollar???"
Comments on Molalegn's weight may seem a little ill spirited, but if you watch the video you won't find anyone else who's managed to acquire such a quintessentially Western complaint.


The documentary starts in regal style. Molalegn takes to the stage in a bespoke pinstripe suit with double cuffed shirt, a fine watch and golden wedding band. Although obviously not poor he commences his address with an appeal for funds.

Slipping off his tailored jacket he lays it on the floor. Those with cash are encouraged to donate it. Those without are told not to be concerned - they can donate their wedding bands instead.

Molalegn leads the charge and others are moved to follow, though you will notice his ring reappears later in the documentary. Perhaps this is miracle number one?


His congregation lack his expensive wardrobe but give all they can under his watchful gaze. It's perhaps worth noting that in a separate clip, the FBI church say that all child church attendees require foreign sponsorship. Throughout the documentary Molalegn undergoes more wardrobe changes than one might see in a boy band video. Fine suits abound and he seems to have a generous selection of watches. For outdoor scenes he favours designer jeans and polo shirts. Stylish shades are a must in the harsh sunlight, protection those outside his megachurch enterprise seem unable to afford.

During his service he wanders through the penitents, collecting cash by hand, waving it onstage, banging it on tables and encouraging closeups. Manna seems very much the core of his ministry.

But was this always the case? I went looking for details of President Molalegn before he made the big circuit and found this old YouTube clip of him 'healing' an elderly lady. It's a small tent, the suit is gaudy and not tailored. His hairline and waist suggested a gap of some years. It seemed obvious this was from earlier in his career.

With that I wondered of his career progression. Luckily much of it is detailed on the FBI Church's website. It seems that he "came to the church saying that he was directed by the Holy Spirit to serve in this church.", an interesting tactic for those of you seeking a change in employment, and a reference that is very hard to check. At the time church attendance for his Wednesday evening slot was "about 20 people".

Luckily this future President of the FBI Church was able to spice up his service through "deliverance and healing ministry". That's exorcisms and faith healing to you and I. An unconvincing example of healing is shown above. If you'd like to view exorcisms set to music and dance by none other than President Pastor Dawit Molalegn himself you need look no further.

For those Christians among you, it's worth noting that pastors commissioned into his empire do not get formal theological training before planting new churches. "Most of the ministers are untrained formally but filled by the power of Holy Spirit..." and we are I warrant supposed to be grateful that Molalegn is able to discern this.

His career has seen some movement since the screenshots above, as has his hairline. His wardrobe has improved. His highly profitable claimed healings continue. The act is slicker now with heavy influences from such American fraudsters as Benny Hinn and Peter Popoff. I don't speak Amhraic but I'm sure you share my concern to see 'HIV AIDS' flashing in large letters before footage of a claimed healing here.

So I ask - is this man a reliable witness to the existence of the miraculous?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for exposing this. I can't believe this daylight robbery to the poor Ethiopian people. I am an EThiopian myself and so saddened by this. I hope and pray that all this people will be able to see the true light of GOD.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why you are concerned about his wardrobe and watches no offense but i can help you if you need any cloth from Ethiopia we are happy to give away our money because we want to why dont you jst mind your busines find a way to afford wardrobe like my pastor get good Job other than gossiping any ways you can watch but you can not touch

Geoff said...

That's okay, I had no intentions of touching the chap. Why does he do faked healing shows?

Anonymous said...

why is it that journalists are always against politicians now churchs you guys are the reason the world is at war