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Friday, October 17, 2014

The Millionaire Pastors And The Poor Members

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There is no doubt that church business is very lucrative. The overwhelming number of churches in Nigeria is a testament of how profitable owning a church is and if that is not enough evidence, then perhaps the recently published list of the top 10 richest pastors in the world where the top earner, Pastor David Oyedepo, is estimated to have a networth of $150m should suffice.

While the notion of soul-saving preachers with humble earnings and possessions is currently quite surreal and almost fictional, it was the norm until the healing revivals of the 1950s. When a group of pentecostal evangelists such as William Branham, Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts and A. A. Allen embraced an understanding of faith as an activator that unleashed spiritual power. At the same time, they understood the Bible as a source of God’s laws and covenants that gave believers specific rights and privileges.

Over the years, this teaching was revamped and made more sophisticated. Preachers shifted from the “God of fire and brimstone” to a more appealing one of “grace and prosperity”. It gained worldwide prominence and prominent preachers like Chris Oyakhilome, David Oyedepo, Chris Okotie and Matthew Ashimolowo are keeping the movement strong in Nigeria.

This brand of Christianity advocates behaving like children of the kingdom by dressing like queens and kings, thinking positively, and believing it is your right as a child of the kingdom to be rich and you should partner with God by faith to pursue riches.

The heart of the principle of this teaching seems to be exclusively reliant on you using something to get something. Though you could give God your time and other non-material things, money seems to be the most acceptable form of payment to unlock the blessings of heaven. It almost has the undertone of taking from the devil.

These preachers sell the gospel as the pathway to riches. Feeding the desire of their followers to be rich even though it is contrary to what Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:6-10.

To support their theory, they use themselves as examples testifying of the turnover they made from sowing seeds. Dr. Mike Murdock is well known for this tactic.

Motivated by stories of financial gain, out of the little they have, members pay their tithes and then go through the rigmarole of seed sowing. They sow the seed, water it, weed it and even fence it. The seed then become more important than seeking the kingdom of God. Matthew 6:33- “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

While giving is not wrong per se, a majority of these prosperity preachers are living a luxurious life off their poor members who are in dire need of help. Owning a multimillion-dollar private jet just to “oversee churches” to quote Pastor Adeboye while some members are living in poverty is acceptable by these preachers.

Being accustomed to life of luxury, some preachers with branches in the west gets carried away and spends church funds at will, which eventually lands them in murky situations.

While Christ Embassy is currently under investigation for alleged mismanagement of funds, the British government ordered Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo to pay back £200,000 in 2006 after it emerged that he used church assets to buy a £13,000 Florida time share and spent £120,000 on his birthday celebrations, including £80,000 which was spent on a car.

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor is currently embroilled in the controversy of how his private  jet was used to ferry  $9.3 million seized by the South African government. He is a friend of government as well as National President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Though members should be responsible for the needs of their pastors, making giving money a prerequisite for receiving from God is punitive.

It is a safe bet that a congregation with less than 500 members would surely have testimonies of people reaping from sowing but not everyone would experience such gain.

However, those who did not reap from sowing are not given a refund rather they are encouraged to sow more and believe more. The onus is placed on them and not the preacher who spoke confidently about the powers of sowing and they are thrust into a perpetual circle of giving and believing while the preachers travel the world in private jets, drive in fully air-conditioned cars, send their children to the best schools and have the best of everything.

The height of the irony is that; members cannot afford to send their children to the schools they helped establish and majority of these preachers benefited from free missionary schools.

Charity, which is a foundation of Christianity seems to have absconded. Even those claiming to be involved in charity are just using it as a fa├žade

The church is now a market hub, everything is for sale. It is all about the cha-ching! cha-ching!! And if you do not have loads of it, then you are relegated to the bottom of the food chain.

People are using God's House To Enrich themselves .  

2 comments:

  1. all this fake so call men of God

    ReplyDelete
  2. sometimes i wonder if its by force to pay title

    ReplyDelete