by Victor Oshisada
This is why Pastor William Kumuyi’s puritanical stance must be commended. By frowning at the son’s wedding misdemeanour, he is warning other members that similar behaviour cannot be tolerated from them anytime in future.
In the world today, there are diverse religious faiths-Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and others. Apart from these faiths, there are Atheism and Agnosticism. In practising religious faiths, and there are many of them as enumerated above, two types of practitioners or devotees exist. First, there are the practical devotees. Second, there are the theoretical ones. The first category really practises the doctrines wholeheartedly to the letter, whilst the second group merely theorises without actually practising the doctrines or rules.
In my candid opinion, it is not every devotee who is devout. In every faith, there are the “Pharisees” who believe in outward show (hypocrites). Among Christians and Muslims, there are hypocrites (“Pharisees”). What is in focus is the Deeper Life Ministry. A little insight into the background of the religious organisation is necessary. From the outset, however, I must confess that I am a Church of Nigeria (Anglican) member, and not of Deeper Life. Therefore, the opinion hereby expressed is dispassionate. I am of the opinion that the Deeper Life Church is truly morally decent.
The Deeper Christian Life Ministry is as well known as Deeper Life Bible Church. Its Superintendent is Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi. It is Holiness — Pentecostal Church with emphasis on Holy Livings. According to records, the Church teaches the doctrines of Holiness and living practical Christian life. Its members are taught and are also expected to live holy lives, as born again for the Kingdom of Heaven. I may, however, add: “How holy lives are holy, needs to be explained”. Established in 1973, the church has wide national and expansive international spread in all the continents.
Recently, Deeper Life Ministry got into hot water, when it suspended the Superintendent’s second son from its fold. In far away Jamaica, its General-Superintendent, Pastor William Kumuyi’s second son, John Kumuyi, was reportedly suspended, because of the latter’s controversial wedding. Newspaper reports said: “The controversy was over John’s bride who flouted the church’s rules by using make-up and other flashy ensemble that accompanied wedding gown. The gown also had see-through sleeves. His bride, Love Odih, was accused of flouting the established doctrine of the church on conservative dressing”. Opinion must be expressed on available facts.
The reported quote above needs to be analysed. First, the bride-groom, John Kumuyi, is the second son of the General-Superintendent, Pastor William Kumuyi. John ought to be familiar with the terrain where he is treading. So, he must tread carefully. He must be aware of the church’s rules about wedding gown that there must not be make-up and flashy articles. It must remain opaque, devoid of see-through (transparent) sleeves. Much is expected from him as a beacon of light to guide other members. Second, Pastor William Kumuyi, the father of the bridegroom, was reported to be absent from the wedding in Jamaica. Is it because of the “unholy” gown? If so, it is palpably clear that he was aware of the short-comings in the wedding ceremony, consequently, he decided to keep off, instead of witnessing what was clearly derogatory to his enviable episcopal status. The church overseer was reported to have expressed his displeasure with the “standard” of the wedding. In that situation, the couple might have been given the caveat before the wedding, which they might have flagrantly disobeyed. William Kumuyi’s absence could be a disapproval. If so, the General-Overseer deserves commendation. Nigerians doff their hats for him, as a no-nonsense father-in-law, who realises that Christians are the salts of the world and the light to show people in finding their ways.
Third, I learn from authoritative source that in Deeper Life Ministry, Marriage Committee (including a Woman Representative) is usually set up to examine every wedding gown to ensure its compliance with the accepted standard. Also, the Committee interviews the prospective groom and bride (that is, the couple) to find out, for example, if parental consents are sought. The reading public like to know whether or not the wedding gown at issue was earlier submitted to the Marriage Committee to vet in Nigeria or Jamaica.
If it was vetted or screened, what was the Marriage Committee’s verdict? Approved or disapproved? If it was not submitted to it, why was it not? If it was submitted, screened and allegedly declared unacceptable, why was it used for the wedding? In my own opinion, the members of the Marriage Committee, if still extant, must not escape culpability, if found wanting, unless if in Nigeria, one type was recommended and accepted, whilst another type was adopted for use in Jamaica, as a trick to deceive. From my heart of heart, it is my considered opinion that the Ministry has set a good standard, which every member must follow. It is irrelevant whose horse is gored; it could be the son of the Superintendent or ordinary member. Once the rules are flouted, discipline ought to be effected.
This is why Pastor William Kumuyi’s puritanical stance must be commended. By frowning at the son’s wedding misdemeanour, he is warning other members that similar behaviour cannot be tolerated from them anytime in future. William Kumuyi has done the right thing. The church organisation has grown from University of Lagos campus of 15 members in 1973 to be a global one of millions in membership in 2013. As for the tendered apology, I have my reservation. Apostle Peter asked: “Master, you say that we must forgive. How many times shall we forgive? Our Lord Jesus replied: “Continue to forgive and forgive seventy times seven times” Much as I support Christ’s admonition as a good lesson in forgiveness, my suggestion is that William Kumuyi must never be patient for as long. The period of suspension can only be reduced. There must be punishment to deter future occurrence.
In the Holy Bible, almost identical behaviour is recorded. In 1 Samuel, Prophet Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas who made themselves vile, and Eli, their father – Prophet failed to restrain them. The Lord, speaking through young Samuel said: “Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that hear it shall tingle. In that day, I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end”. Thereafter, in an ensuing battle between Israel and Philistines, Israel was defeated by the latter and the Ark of the Lord was carried away as Prophet Eli’s two sons were slain. (1 Samuel, chapter 4, verses 1 to 12). May our Lord God forbid this similar tragedy befalling the Deeper Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi, his family and the whole lot of Nigerians. Amen.
Victor Oshisada, a veteran journalist, writes from Lagos.
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