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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
Civic Rights …

PENTECOSTALISM: FOOTHOLD OF PROSPERITY PREACHING

The present Christendom is being plagued by fake pastors pouncing on unsuspected worshippers by using different systems by which they collect money from their worshippers.  Critically speaking, the Catholic Church cannot be accused of having fake pastors.  Before you can be a Catholic priest, you will have to undergo a period of training that will not be less than 10 years.  To spend 10 years in the Seminary is not a child's play.  During this period the candidate in question is being subjected to various activities.  It is no gainsaying that after undergoing training in the Seminary for 10 years (even the 10 years does not automatically qualify a candidate to become a Catholic Priest) the candidate must have being tested and certified okay by those who are in charge of their training. The policy of the Catholic Church, in line with Apostle Paul's teachings, to keep priests away from the worries of raising families and accumulation of wealth has proved to be great wisdom. The Catholic Church owns the priests while in many of the other churches (Pentecostals) that abound now the priests literally own their churches. The Church of Christ is now littered with small men in cloth with huge egos.

The congregations know the truth but cannot pay the price of righteousness and the pastors interpose themselves between God and miracle seeking men in the manner of the prophets of the Old Testament. These pastors claim familiarity with God and congregations  worship the pastors in the erroneous belief that the pastors can help them attract divine help, which ordinarily their unrighteousness and distance from God, would deny them. The pastors, now gods, water down Christian doctrines, permit all sorts and keep the needed numbers. If the congregation is Spirit filled and not deluded, the pastor loses his 'divinity'. But the congregation wants magic. Pastors promise wonders at the sight of money. The congregation chooses to go to God through the 'understanding' of pastor. That is why pastors receive more gifts than God and people no longer give secretly. Because those who give millions and millions to pastors do so because they believe that in so doing they will tap into the pastors' chumminess with God. 

But if these pastors were truly converted they would not need anyone to tell them that all gifts they receive, personal or otherwise, by virtue of their positions must go to the Church and the work of God. Only a carnally minded pastor lives a lavish life style while children of God die of hunger and homelessness and God's works suffer from privations. Why do pastors who take offerings from the poorest of the poor in Nigeria ride limousines? Isn't the flesh at war with the Spirit any longer? Why would a church that accepts offerings from wretched people buy private jets for pastors? The idea in itself is immoral. Pastors who live in lavish opulence in the midst of general poverty are not heavenly minded.

When Pentecostalism crept into Nigeria, the born again Christians of those days went about their Christianity with a determination to distance themselves from the world and worldliness. In those days, Pastors then across all divides were not exactly monks but were contented, simple, people called to a service of godliness, humanity, charity and peace. Pastors didn't struggle to be wealthy because the church existed to redefine the terms of success the world knew. Then, prosperity preaching came, found a foothold in the Pentecostal churches and contaminated everything. And since Pentecostalism possessed the youths, the corrosion proved contagious and seeped into many orthodox churches. The clergy then began to regard poverty as sin and began to do all not to be afflicted by it.

There are many occultic pastors nowadays. In fact, we can count good pastors now by the fingers; the more reason why we all have to be careful. The fact that somebody claims to be seeing vision does not mean he is from God. Today, people are dabbling into occultism and playing some smart games. They get information about people and use such information as prophecy to get money out of them. It's for people who don't understand the Word of God, who have itching ears, who want a quick fix, who don't understand what it means to wait on God, who are not prepared to prayerfully wait on God to do what He wants to do at His own time. Sadly, these occultic pastors are the ones who have access to top government officials; so invariably, they are the ones telling the rulers who to appoint to political offices, what to do and what not to do, all in the name of prophecy.  We are busy raising up a bunch of people who just want to know how to make money and live big. It's all about here and not about hereafter.

In Mark 11:22-24, Jesus says: Have faith in God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, be taken up and cast into the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass; it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. To overcome any problem one needs to have faith and trust in God. Faith and good work are therefore essentially concomitant to prayer as a mode of worship of God and can result in the healing of a nation. Thus faith without good works is dead (James 2:14-26). Churches are being opened in all nooks and crannies of the nation, several of which are demonic and evil in practice and their leaders immoral, corrupt and driven by materialism. Thus, the Christian religious worship is no more being practiced in its true form: truthfully and spiritually.

This is in contrast to the injunction in John 4: 24 and James 2: 14-26. Hence, human effort in terms of putting faith and good work to action is needed in solving the problem of Nigeria. No matter how Nigerians pray without a change of heart (in other words, self or internal reformation) the problem will persist and continue to multiply.  Nigeria cannot be good if her citizens are not good. We need to emphasize values of honesty, love, peace, justice, trust, impartiality, accountability, kindness, respect for human right, transparency, discipline and so on. The church should put to practice what they preach. Our church leaders should de-emphasize materialism. In some churches there are prayers mapped out against corruption in the society but things have not changed. This could be because we have not prayed with sincere hearts. The church should be in the forefront in the campaign against corruption and should organize seminars, conferences, and workshops for the people to acquaint them with the negative effect of corruption and the importance of matching prayer with good work. Until Nigerians change, the nation will not change.

 


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