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The Cross and the Crossroad – Leke Alder’s thoughts on the ongoing church controversy

LEKE_ALDER

At the heart of the ongoing debate is the nature of church economics. Why do people give to churches in such huge figures? Why would a Pastor take money from the poor?

Recent events in the Church have generated social fervor about the lifestyles of men of the robe and the governance structure of the Church in Nigeria, in particular the Pentecostal hue. This is as expected because the funding profile of the Church is primarily derived from contributions from congregants. There is a lot of angst out there because Nigerians are experiencing economic hardship. This provides some of the context for the public backlash. However we risk throwing out the baby with the bathwater if our passion becomes a raging flood that sweeps away reason and structural facts.

Are there excesses in the church? No doubt. The eco-system is imperfect for the simple reason that Pastors are men afterall. And the operations of some snake oil merchants have only served to compound issues. There are now magicians in robes, economic opportunists in cassocks, ecclesiastical predators in surplices and charlatans in collars. But there are also genuine men of God and ministries, thousands upon thousands of them.

The spectrum of the Church in Nigeria consists of orthodox churches, evangelicals, pentecostal institutional and pentecostal independents. Methodist Church is orthodox, ECWA is evangelical, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Deeper Life Bible Church and the Assemblies of God are pentecostal institutional, whilst Daystar Christian Centre is a pentecostal independent.

The Orthodox Church establishment laid the foundation for modern Nigeria. They are the offshoots of missionary work. They educated the people we now refer to as the founding fathers of the federation. They established the first set of hospitals and schools in Nigeria. Methodist Boys’ High School, Baptist Academy and Our Lady of Apostles Grammar School are well known examples of schools established by missionaries.

It was the Church that educated the first set of civil servants in Nigeria. And the Church has always been at the nexus of cultural re-orientation in Nigeria. Who can ever forget the work of Mary Slessor, the diminutive nurse who fought against the barbaric culture of the killing of twins? And so when we chant about the “labour of our heroes past,” we must not forget that some of these heroes are the missionaries and the orthodox establishments.

Now we do not know why but clearly, God raised a generational stream of young men and women to build on the foundational work of the orthodox churches. The work began with the establishment of the Scripture Union (S.U or C.U – Christian Union) in primary and secondary schools. From that movement emerged the generation of those who now head the Pentecostal institutional churches today, in particular the unassuming Pastor Enoch Adeboye and the self effacing Pastor William F. Kumuyi. Incidentally both attended The Apostolic Faith before fate directed their trajectories. Both are very well educated. Pastor Adeboye has a PhD in Applied Mathematics whilst Pastor Kumuyi has a first class honours degree in Mathematics. At the time of their ascendance, the “faith movement” was taking root in America and this spawned the ministries of the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, Bishop David Oyedepo and Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. We must also note the great work of a little known Englishman who settled in Ile Ife, the late Pa Elton. He would be responsible for the mentoring of the next ministerial generation and the establishment of Pentecostal doctrine in Nigeria.

However something major took place in the early 80s. A then unknown medical student at the University of Lagos was ordained a Pastor by the Assemblies of God Church. This was an extremely radical event 30 years ago. His name is Dr. Tunde Joda of the Christ Chapel fame. He was a product and proponent of the Faith Movement and was highly influenced by the ministries of Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin and Kenneth Copeland. He opened the door for his generation and made God exciting to young people. That was a generational advent and invariably members of that generation became Pastors.

Because of the educational background of the generation, the Pentecostal movement acquired sophistication. The emergent Pastors are generally creative in approach, aggressive, uninhibited and resourceful. Many emerged through the “model parish” structure of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Dr. Tony Rapu would prove pivotal to that structure though there is evidence to the effect that Pastor Tunde Bakare was perhaps the first model parish Pastor. That was before he went on to found the Latter Rain Assembly.

Some in that generation are now in full time ministry but many maintain a dualism – they work as professional managers and entrepreneurs whilst running the churches on a full term basis. (Some are in government). And so we arrived at a literal prophetic era in Nigeria church history – the era of the order of priest-kings technically known as the Order of Melchizedek. All Christians belong to this Order but these young Pastors in dual callings typify the Order. Most are successful in their secular callings and it would be uncharitable to assume that they went into ministry for money. Most do not collect salaries from their churches. Instead they contribute. These emergent Pastors signified a generational move of God. The generation is noted for “speaking in tongues” – a peculiar glossolalia dating back to Pentecost. They are thus referred to as “Pentecostals”. (In modern parlance, the term “Pentecostal” has come to signify exuberant loud worship and gifted oratory). They redefined what a man of God is and till today, the redefinition presents a challenge to society. So aggressive are members of this Pentecostal movement that in a strange twist of fate, they exported Christianity back to the UK. And they have established churches in over 160 Nations of the world including Ukraine America and Ireland.

Nigeria as a nation has no social security system. The absence of social net is why individuals take care of the economic needs of their parents in old age. This familial approach to social security leaves huge swaths of needy citizens unattended to. Into this void has stepped the Church. The Church complements the efforts of some State governments who clearly cannot cope with the deluge of developmental challenges facing Nigeria. And the Pentecostal generation has acquitted itself wonderfully at this task.

Let’s be more particular. Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, a man of grace runs The Fountain of Life Church. It has a hospital, an orphanage, a school for the indigent and orphans and a vocational farm. Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, the founder of Trinity House supports indigent students with scholarships. His Lydia Grace Foundation supports the rehabilitation of lower class prostitutes, among so many other initiatives. Pastor Tony Rapu, the Pastor of This Present House runs one of the most successful drug rehabilitation programmes through the Freedom Foundation network. Pastor Poju Oyemade organises a hugely successful bi-annual youth empowerment seminar called The Platform.

Rev. Sam Adeyemi, a gentleman of the robe runs Daystar Christian Centre. His Church has a community impact programme and has renovated 5 State schools, among so many other programmes. He is particularly noted for leadership training. Pastor Paul Adefarasin of the House on the Rock Church hosts an annual cultural impact programme called The Experience. It is a major engagement platform for youths through music. The City of David, a Redeemed Church parish runs a most successful soccer academy and acclaimed football club, COD United FC. These are just a few examples of what these particular ministries are engaged in and space will not permit us to name the works of so many other ministries. Many church ministries run schools, hospitals, orphanages, sex worker rehabilitation programmes, drug rehabilitation programmes, community development programmes and youth development programmes. By the time we scale up to the network of Redeemed Christian Church of God and the like, the exponential value of Church ministries becomes staggering in proportion. The Catholic Church is responsible for the establishment of a post graduate university, the Pan African University. That university has taken up a major responsibility for skill development in the private sector. The Church also founded Loyola Jesuit Secondary School. Even the much maligned Bishop David Oyedepo founded two universities! No other Nigerian, living or dead has accomplished such feat as far as we know. Invariably almost every church has bent its back to carry the burden of the State and it’s a huge burden.

A wholesale condemnation of the Church is not helpful. The Church through its programs saves Nigeria from the consequences of its dereliction in governance. Perhaps there is a need for a compendium of the good works by churches that is accessible to the general public. The Church essentially aggregates resources to create a social security net for Nigeria. Otherwise we will have more drug addicts, prostitutes, orphans, hapless widows and certainly more crime.  We will also have less kids in school, less young men acquiring trade skills, less micro-financing of small businesses, and less value orientation and instruction for our youths.

At the heart of the ongoing debate is the nature of church economics. Why do people give to churches in such huge figures? Why would a Pastor take money from the poor? To the man looking from the outside those giving ten percent of their salaries are either gullible or hypnotized. But the notion of giving is a fundamental of the Christian faith. Jesus said, “Give and it shall be given unto you”. Apostle Paul wrote, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9: 6 – 7). Giving in Christianity is predicated on the principle of sowing and reaping. And giving is a socio-economic ladder according to Christian doctrine. It is also proof of love for God. It is within this context that we can understand why the poor give to churches. The poor man’s faith teaches him to give his way out of poverty, though we must admit that the role of industry is sometimes neglected in teachings. There are perversions of the doctrine of giving but that does not make the doctrine any less fundamental.

Now, unlike some religions, Christianity runs an economic commonwealth when it comes to institutional development and building programs. Everyone contributes to the commonwealth. And the value of a gift before God is relative to deprivation. That would seem heartless to the outsider and some will consider it exploitative, but the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath is a wonderful illustration of the dynamics of giving to a man of God (or church ministry) in an economic downturn. And the parable of the widow’s mite establishes the principle of relative deprivation as a measure of value.

That said, it must be mentioned that the Church has oft times operated with a silo mentality. There has to be better engagement between the Church and civil society. In addition, a peer-to-peer review system must be instituted. If the Pastors judge themselves they will escape condemnation. Some advocate state interference in religious affairs. Regulating the Church sounds okay in theory but it can prove a very dangerous idea in a tri-religious society like Nigeria. Not with all the goings on. And we may have a peculiar situation of a man of different faith sitting in judgment over Christian economics without doctrinal understanding and vice versa. We must not rush us into dangerous territory. As we shall soon discover, this obviously targeted regulation will create inconsistencies and challenges as we seek to apply it across all religious boards. But the Church has to recognize that society has significantly altered, and for many Nigerians it is the one true institution.

This is my humble contribution to the ongoing debate.

————————-

 *Alder can be reached on leke@lekealder.com

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.


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Comments

  • This Piece is objective & it’s bias of any form of subjective opinion that pervades virtually any write up about this sensitive issue…God bless Adler

    Riches December 13, 2012 3:41 pm
  • When people get adequate information on sensitive matters like this, then they can be disuaded from making hasty generalisattions that have marked the expression of pubic opinion. I really appreciate this effort of our erudite Leke Alder to share some light. I hope those who are bereft of facts will learn.

    Jeremiah Adesina December 13, 2012 7:25 pm
  • On point sir!

    Gbenga Johnson December 13, 2012 8:02 pm
  • Just had a paradigm shift of about 85% but still remain skeptical
    But its a very good piece on the part of a hasty policy to be
    Taking. More opinion nad viewed should be heard from all sides

    limbostica December 13, 2012 11:06 pm
  • The piece is quite incisive. Evangelism cannot thrive without finance from the congregations but this should be done with consideration, moderation and sincerity of purpose.

    Matthew Idiahi December 14, 2012 5:30 am
  • A little correction for the records.Pa Elton settled, lived, died and was buried alongside his wife in Ilesa, Osun State not Ile-Ife as documented in this article.He only held services in OAU Ife which had a lot of followership from christian brothers who today are front line ministers of the gospel.Mr Alder like i earlier re-iterated in my mail to you this piece is timely especially for the education of christian novices who has joined the fray in hurling insults at their religious leaders.

    Tolucci December 14, 2012 10:12 pm
  • The major concern for many is the idea of giving as a guarantee for prosperity, while ignoring the fundamental principle of Christianity, which is Eternal life. many churches today dont put enough effort into building the spiritual life of members, there seems to be to much focus on earthly wealth and riches. what would it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your soul, says the bible. this is what we are seeing today. so you can justify the prosperity teachings, but eventually, the vanity of earthly riches dominates the minds of to many religious people today. thats the angle of the criticism directed towards vain accumulation of material things.

    Terseer December 15, 2012 3:55 pm
  • This piece is more than enough to educate the most ignorant of men, myopic christians like myself especially! God bless Alder.

    Ayoyemi Ezebune December 16, 2012 9:00 pm
  • A brilliant piece from Mr Alder. we need more voices like this to come up and educate the society about the culture and history of our faith.

    It is well founded truth that the church is the light and salt of the earth. we are the torch bearers and the preservatives for the universe. these distractions and persecutions should not scare the church from doing the assignment of the kingdom.

    political ideologies,governments and earthly kingdoms have been rising and falling away, it is only the church of Jesus christ that will live forever.

    oluwaseun December 16, 2012 9:30 pm
  • good work but i hav some objections to your explanations on giving. When the BIBLE TALKS ABOUT GIVING, WE are fast to relate it to giving to the church. i find that misleading cos giving covers all society especially to the less priviledged. That is the Giving Christ was talking about. The church is tring but hav not done enough for the society. We preach Christ and Love but dont act it. WE cannot be in wealth and allow our brethren perish in hunger.

    imama Amakiri December 17, 2012 1:34 pm
  • Well Said. My Point is this. I sometime laugh when people criticize the Church and Men of GOD using Private Jet saying they have Poor congregations.
    1) Even if the Church gives all its Members 1m each. In the Next One week, You will still get more than enough Poor People. The churches that Buy private Jet 2day dint buy it when they started 30 years ago o. If you teach your members the right Principles to Make Money from the Bible, then GOD Blesses them, dont u know that, Got is blessing the church Back. If u want Private Jet, starts ur Own Church Pls or tell your Father to build a Church for you.

    Ogunyemi Tosyn December 17, 2012 4:47 pm
  • Thanks sir for the piece, quite educating. It must be stated still that inspite of all the short comings of Men of God, the Church still remains God’s ONLY instrument of redemption on earth. Jesus Christ is the author though He may be sad with what is going on, yet does not have another body for the work.

    EdoAbasi Charles December 19, 2012 4:30 am
  • Bros,I can’t just understand your points.The universities so established that indigent children can’t afford compared to the ones the missionaries established as you rightly mentioned?.The Church-School Founders of today benefited immensely from the missionaries schools.May be if those missionaries had adopted the same posture of our current Church-School Founders,they would not be educated today.Am even surprised you can’t mention the efforts of Tb Joshua in your write-up.Why? may be because you have judged him as fake,abi? If every Church can learn from Scoan, it will be great. After all,mind the message of the messagener but not the messenger–THE LIQUID CONTENT ONLY!

    Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 9, 2014 5:58 pm
    • write ur own and put the names he forgot to mention. #read with an opened mind

      wols February 9, 2014 7:07 pm
      • wols,I quite did but the truth must be told.put yourself in the shoes of a child of Pepper seller in Oyingbo,can he ever get near the school gate of these Universities established by these churches,let alone gaining admission?

        Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 9, 2014 7:34 pm
        • None of the missionary schools established a university in Nigeria. What we must understand is that university administration is highly regulated by the NUC. You cant wake and do as you fit! Maintaining standards mean your overheads are high. To make education cheaper we need grants, scholarships etc. When you compare the number of missionary schools then and the population at that time, you’d realise that not many people had access. If access was that wide, then government wont have to open new schools and take over mission schools that had to hike fees to maintain standards.

          James February 9, 2014 8:52 pm
          • James,even at that,the quality of education then was almost far better than what we have now.The standard six of that time was superior yet the education was almost free.You talk of population then and now;I quite agree with you that population is higher now compare to then but can u just take a look at tb Joshua of SCOAN and count the number of countless students on the SCOAN Schlarship scheme in this same country.can you imagine that SCOAN spending over #10m on just one member of the church to do her masters in uk?pls can you point to one church in this country that could do that? in the same country o!

            Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 9, 2014 9:34 pm
          • Because SCOAN chooses to advertise his good deeds and other churches prefer to keep quiet and keep a low profile on what they do right? You want a Pastor to become as poor and wretched as Lazarus because your twisted MInd believes that’s the bEST way they can do the good work…Sorry to BURST your BUbbles, Christains are meant to be rich, be fruitful and dominate the earth and what a better way to show it other than the flamboyance and utter domination of the Nigerian Socio Economy by our Pastors

            nathan February 10, 2014 3:41 am
          • Nathan ,u got it wrong.SCOAN NEVER DOES ADVERTISE HER ‘GOOD DEEDS’ but rather practising accountability to the core.Why? because thousands all over the world contributed that money as partners.So, there is no other way to let people know how their money is been spent than that.You also got it wrong that I wanted pastors to be poor or live poor.No! since poverty is never one of the of the fruit of the Holy Spirit,exbiting it is a colossal waste of heavenly resources. I know what am talking.Enough of just telling people,give,give but when the people needed help ,suddenly the Church come up with criteria like ‘where is your House fellowship centre,how long have been in this church etc but when the pledges and others were to be raised,such criteria were never put there as conditions before you give or redeem.What an irony!

            Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 10, 2014 4:18 am
          • Mr. Olufemi Progress Bamigboye, I totally agree with your points. But do you know that there is this parish of The RCCG in Lagos (Dominion Sanctuary) that does what you are claiming to be extraordinary from T.B Joshua’s ministry single handedly? This is just a parish of the church. I’m not a member but I love the church for that. To now mention what the RCCG ministry does. It’s not mandatory to give in the church.

            Kayode Komolafe February 10, 2014 8:05 am
          • Mr Kay,thank you for your response.I never said what SCOAN is doing is extraordinary or not neither did I mention RCCG(Am a PST. in RCCG). But I still insist that if 80% of Churches devote their time and energy towards the welfare of their members like Scoan and perhaps, like that RCCG PARISH too ,the Church will be the envy of the world.Am happy to hear that that Parish is doing that and I know there are a few others Parishes and denominations doing that too.yes! it is not mandatory to give in the Church but where you belong to a Church where you contribute towards the welfare of the indigent,I don’t think it is wrong for you to know how your contribution is helping to put smiles on other people’s faces.By so doing,you will be gingered up to do more and that is the inspiration I get from SCOAN which is really helping me to take welfare of the people God has placed in my care to the next level.How did I know this? because I saw what SCOAN is doing.If it has not been exposed,may be the kind of reformed mentality I have about welfare would never have been in me.

            Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 10, 2014 2:54 pm
          • Did you say you are a pastor in RCCG? Which parish please?

            Mossy February 10, 2014 11:38 pm
          • Mr.Mossy,I pity your frustration and ignorance.Did I say I receive a dime from tb Joshua or did you even bother to know the core issue at stake here? even if you hate TB,must you close your eyes to the strength or weaknesses of your enemy? no regret from what I have learnt from him on how to better handle welfare of People.Unlike you with a jugdemental&biased heart,I have the mind of Christ to mind the message of the messagener only while I leave the Husband of The Church to do Hs cleansing.For me,’Its the liquid content only’

            Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 11, 2014 1:46 am
          • From experience, there are professional beggars. When I was worshipping in Baptist many years ago, a man came that he wants to be operated and needed this amount of money, a contribution was made and the church arranged to take him back to his residence through the church bus and on the road, he said he wanted to urinate and through the bush ran away. Today, people take Christians for granted because of our emotions and believe of assisting people, they move from one church to another begging for money, the church as a way to checkmate the genuineness of their claims put some criteria like being a member of an house fellowship and so on at least to create some consciousness in those professional beggars. Not even only in the church, at bus stops you see these beggars, one came to me one day that he is going somewhere but do not have money, I told him to enter the bus and I will pay, then he started giving reasons why he cannot enter the bus. Another one came that his child was admitted in the hospital and needed money to pay, I said ok, let us go to the hospital together and I will see the doctor to arrange for payment, we got to the hospital and he told me that the child had not eaten since money that he wants to go and buy something to take to him and that is how he ran away, Church is putting in criteria to check those that are genuine and those that are fake. God bless you.

            Ade February 10, 2014 10:45 am
          • Mr Ade,thanks for your response.I fell victim of one recently. But then it now behove the church or whoever to thoroughly and truly verify what is genuine or fake.Truly,nothing is wrong with those criteria but should not be taken to the extreme where the church will refuse to bury a deceased member who joined the church for about one year,died within that one year but the church refused to bury him because he was not a member of a house fellowship.

            Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 10, 2014 3:04 pm
          • My friend, that you are a beneficiary of TB Joshua’s largess doesn’t mean you should turn this debate to a forum to advertise SCOAN. Not everybody wants to be ignorant of true worship, so get focused on the topic pls. When you attend a living church, expect your blessings from God and not the man of God. By so doing you will taught how to be a blessing to your generation instead of always expecting gifts and charity from some prophets thus getting yourself confounded.

            Mossy February 10, 2014 11:31 pm
          • thnk u, jare james, some pple just fight battles that r self made,
            like 1 who plays a football match from their living room thru d TV, or those that fight war back home while the “soldiers” are on d battlefield, pls tell us what quota u hav contributed to our dear country’s development…

            eeeeee February 9, 2014 10:03 pm
    • I’m surprised you are the same person calling the man you are advocating for a fake. The writer didn’t say that. And for you to liken spiritual fruits with scientific liquid content is a mark of ignorance. I think you should learn not to introduce unnecessary controversy into other peoples’s article. Meanwhile, without claiming to be The Judge, the Bible says “By their fruits we shall know them”.

      Mossy February 10, 2014 11:16 pm
  • This is a well thought of and well written piece. I applaud the informations given and the insightful write up. But as much as I’m inclined to agree with about 60% of the article, I have to disabuse the overt righteousness accorded to some of these men of God. You mentioned the missionary schools founded by Christians of the early days, the biggest difference between those institutions and these ones sprouting up from every corner of the nation is the economic accessibility to the average Nigerian. We understand the hardship that the average universities pose to students and their families alike, and that’s what the church should hope to combat and yet, it has instead become the den and haven for the Haves and the Christian “have nots”are still being sidelined and shortlisted because of their lack of financial means. I believe these institutions should be based on merits and not on money but it has instead become a mirror of what’s wrong with the federal and state colleges.

    Wunmi February 9, 2014 6:29 pm
  • If a rapist feeds his victims, do we forgive his atrocities for his acts of kindness? It is time Nigerians began to think independently of the crap that has been forced down our throat by the church for several years. We are so religious and yet our state suffers, the only people that are happy are the Pastors (who continue to increase in wealth unlike their members) and the politicians (whom the pastors endorse and have refused to criticize). Our children will see through the crap of these men of the cloth, and like the french revolution many will be swept away.

    cool ade February 9, 2014 7:25 pm
    • You’re an idiot. Did anyone force you to attend any CHURCH and to GIVE. People keep talking about the POOR> please what have you done on a personal NOTE to help these POOR like the CHURCH has done. You have a POVERTY MENTALITY ,,, Please the only REVOLUTION we need in Nigeria, is the change of MENTALITY of people like you as that’s what;s keeping this Nation from progressing

      nathan February 10, 2014 3:36 am
      • @Nathan its a free society. why insult every body that comments. your opinion should not be everybody’s opinion. if you dont have any contribution then get off and stop insulting people. a true christian should not be this rash and insulting. Ignorance they say is a disease.

        Name February 10, 2014 10:42 am
      • Nathan,you need to work on your emotions.Seem you are quick to temper,u had better work on yourself before it is too late.Go for deliverance!

        Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 11, 2014 3:35 pm
  • It is quiet unfortunate that the people that cry about church economics are not the ones contributing. The people contributing are not complaining. It is the case of someone being beaten and another seeing stars. I am a christian, a professional and also a business man who believes absolutely in the power of sowing and reaping, give and it shall be given unto you and whose life has been transformed by following these principles like a ‘sheep’. One of the churches RCCG has churches in countries where Nigeria does not have embassy. One of their pastors won the most influential black man on earth a couple of years ago in UK. If only some of us can pursue our own calling to points of relevance just as these men of God we take delight in castigating are pursuing theirs this country will be far better. If The ministry of technology is aggressively pursuing export plans for Nigerian products the way RCCG is exporting her parishes, our local industries will not be able to meet demand.

    Mark Garland February 9, 2014 8:53 pm
    • You are very much on point.

      Mossy February 10, 2014 10:59 pm
  • @markgarland:disqus please speak for yourself only and don’t say people contributing are not complaining. Most who have seen the light are complaining and better still opted for a more humane and spiritual course. The Universities our Nigerian pastors founded with church peoples money- are they free? The Missionary schools the missionaries founded with their money weren’t they free? Why should the pastors run for profit organizations when they are not taxed? It is a matter of indoctrination but it is a matter of time people will soon see the fraud in this. Tithes are given to God but then the pastor uses it to sent his kids to school overseas

    Gangan February 9, 2014 9:56 pm
  • I love your piece but disagree with some of your points. Aside their area of core interest, yes, the church has done well, especially in the area of education (more of tertiary as witnessed) in Nigeria today. But the question is, even with all the encomiums and the insights given, are these Universities, founded by the church with peoples’ offerings and tithes, free? You would be surprised to hear some of these Pastors lay claim to these institutions as theirs (Covenant and Landmark Universities for example). Imagine the celebrated pastor-founder (name not mentioned but you and I already know him) telling his congregation he didn’t build the schools with their tithes and offerings, hence whoever wishes to attend his schools (and who happens to be members of the church) but without the means should forget the idea. And come to think of it, the said pastor never told the church he has another business bringing in the cash to finance these schools; so where is the money coming from? Now, even if he has a business supplying this money; is it a nice thing to tell the poor within your walls, ‘go and die’ since you don’t have the money, like Governor Oshiomole told ‘that’ widow? Your article suffered the best shortfall, perhaps deliberately or by omission or commission, when you failed to include T.B Joshua’s SCOAN. None of all those you have mentioned can stand his efforts on socio-economic gestures around. He (T.B Joshua) is a man of the societal poor.

    Poor Christian February 9, 2014 11:24 pm
    • wonderful piece

      Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 11, 2014 3:25 pm
  • It is disturbing what the church in Nigeria has become. Being in
    ministry is today seen as a way of making ends meet for many simply
    because of the state of the economy. I can count at my finger tips the
    number of my high school mates who are into full time ministry.
    The
    church system allows pastors and the so called founders to abuse their
    position and mismanage the resources entrusted into their hands. Good
    that they fill in social service provision that Nigeria’s government has
    failed in – however, I consider what they contribute as a crumb
    compared to the resources that some of these pastors control.
    Government
    should regulate church structure (religious house) as you find in
    places like the US and Canada. In Canada or US, the pastor is not the
    most influential person in the church, but the congregation. They decide
    who constitute the leadership and how church resources are disbursed.
    Churches are obligated to file tax return even though they don’t pay
    taxes as charity organizations. This allows for transparency. No one
    person should be able to solely control the church finances. Pastor
    should be on salary, and they must pay tax as income earner. Ashimolowo
    ran into problem and relocated to Nigeria from the UK because he could
    not explain sources of some of his money.
    Pastor in some cases are
    richer than church. They use cheap labour from church members to build
    their empires – schools, farms, social centers, etc. It is time to regulate so that only those truly called will remain in ministry not those going there because of fame, MONEY and other ephemeral reasons!

    Akinbode Adedeji February 10, 2014 12:10 am
    • Please CAN YOU SHUT UP and read the article? Who made you the judge over them? Is it the same corrupt Nigerian GOVT who has not been able to manage itself and reek of corruption you want to come and regulate the church? If a Pastor is stealing CHURCH’s money, its between him and his God as JUDGEMENT will start from the house of God. We don’t need outsiders to come interfere with our religious beliefs. And if you’re a Christian, DONT give if you don’t feel like doing so because it’s not MANDATORY!

      nathan February 10, 2014 3:31 am
      • you are very wrong to say its between him and God. there must be accountability in the house of God. ignorance at times is a sin. the house of God must be with orderliness and not the other way.
        also stop thinking a congregation can not judge an erring member, 1 cor 5:12,13 tells a congregation to remove an erring member, so you can judge a christian member that is unrepentant, stop reasoning like someone who does not read the bible.

        ibukun February 11, 2014 12:31 pm
        • Thanks Ibukun, you are on point and hit the nail on the head. Nathan has spoken like a typical religious Nigerian who does not really have depth of how God operates. This same attitude of “God will judge” has transcended into how Nigerians view
          the state of the nation and believe there is nothing that can be done to stop corrupt political leaders, they are waiting for God to come from heaven and safe them. Your salvation is in your hands – work it out. We should expose corrupt and abusive church leaders. This attitude of human worship (idolatry) that Christians in Nigerian church system continue to baffle me – they base this
          on the scripture that says “touch not my anointed and do my prophet no arm” – I ask the question, who says “I” am not anointed, who says every member is not anointed, why should these so called men of God be abusing God’s anointed – their members, do they fear God who will defend the defenseless?

          If the church does not take care, the society will one day conclude the church has lost its savor. Ask the Pope and the consequence the Catholic Church is facing for covering up years of member (especially children) abuse in the hands of priests, or how the church in Quebec Canada has lost its place in the society because at some points Catholic leadership there abused their powers.

          Akinbode Adedeji February 11, 2014 7:25 pm
      • Nathan, I did not initially pay attention to the “SHUT UP” part until I re-read your comments. If I may ask you, why are you angry at the truth? I have read some of your comments to other contributors, it tells a lot about your personality. Are you a Christian? If yes, who is your Pastor?

        Akinbode Adedeji February 11, 2014 9:05 pm
  • 1.Nowhere in the New Testament dowe see that a ‘man of God’ owns a church. The church is the Body of Christ and belongs to God, with Jesus as the Head. The Church is not an institution not a club not an organization per se but an organic expression of the Body of Christ. We should stop hero-worshiping ‘men of God’. In the New Testament all
    Christians as priests, it was in the Old Testament that men stood as mediator
    between God and Man.

    2. Offerings in the New Testament were given for reasons different from those given in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament offerings were given as a ‘sacrifice’ to God. In the New Testament offerings are given as contribution to the poor, and for other churches.

    3. Tithes were given according to the Old Covenant to the Levitical priesthood. In the New Testament, Tithes do not belong to God but all we own belongs to God and must be consecrated to Him through prayer, then we use own money and the provisions we receive as we are directed by God. Going back to justify ourselves by tithing according to the Law returns back to the Law with its curse (Galatians 2: 21, Galatians 5:4).

    4. The Church should spend more time helping the poor and empowering them. Individual Christians who can afford it can build schools, hospitals and universities.The church is not a money-making institution, it is not a business.
    5. There are ministries in Nigeria who do not collect ‘offerings’ from members or vistors but simply minister the Word and carry out God’s work and the Lord provides for the ministry. Some of these ministries are very large and operate all over Nigeria, they sometimes accomodate up to 5,000 people during their annual retreats, where the also feed them free-of-charge. Let all churches follow the example of Jesus: when 5,000 hungry people gathered to him, he did not sit them down and lecture them on why they must ‘give’ their way out of poverty. Jesus did not sit the 5,000 people down and empty their pockets, He sat them down and fed them.

    Uyi Omoregie February 10, 2014 10:21 am
  • 1. Nowhere in the New Testament do we see that a ‘man of God’ owns a church. The
    church is the Body of Christ and belongs to God, with Jesus as the Head. The
    Church is not an institution not a club not an organization per se but an
    organic expression of the Body of Christ. We should stop hero-worshiping
    ‘men of God’. In the New Testament all Christians as priests, it was in the Old Testament that men stood asmediator between God and Man. Men owning churches not only creates division in the Body of Christ, hence denominationalism (1 Corinthians 1 :12-13, 1
    Corinthians 3:1-6) which is described in the Bible as carnal. This works
    against Jesus’ prayer for oneness and unity (John 17:21-23). John 11:51-52
    says that one of the reasons Jesus died is for ‘gather’ all God’s people
    as one, divisions and denominationalism scatter what Jesus is trying to
    gather, hence Jesus that He does not gather with me scatters (Luke 11:23)

    2. Offerings in the New Testament were given for reasons
    different from those given in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament offerings
    were given as a ‘sacrifice’ to God. In the New Testament offerings are given as
    contribution to the poor, and for other churches.

    3. Tithes were given according to the Old Covenant to the
    Levitical priests. In the New Testament, all we own belongs to God (that’s why
    we gave our lives to him !!) and we must consecrate to Him through prayer all
    we own, then we use the provisions under the direction of God. We then become stewards of the resources and God the owner. Going back to justify ourselves by tithing according to the Law: this returns us back to the bondage of Law with its curse (Galatians 2:21, Galatians 5:4).

    4. The Church should spend more time helping the poor and
    empowering them. Individual Christians who can afford it can build schools,
    hospitals and universities. The church is not a money-making institution, it is
    not a business.

    There are ministries in Nigeria who do not collect
    ‘offerings’ from members or vistors but simply minister the Word of God and
    carry out God’s work and the Lord provides for the ministry. Some of these
    ministries are very large and operate all over Nigeria, they sometimes accommodate
    up to 5,000 people during their annual retreats, where these ministries also
    feed all who attend the meeting free-of-charge, for 3 to 5 days.

    Let all churches follow the example of Jesus: when 5,000
    hungry people gathered to him, he did not sit them down and lecture them on why
    they must ‘give’ their way out of poverty. Jesus did not sit the 5,000 people
    down and empty their pockets; He sat them down and fed them.

    Uyi Omoregie February 10, 2014 10:41 am
  • Giving in church is NOT MANDATORY!!!. For your giving to be acceptable and be fruitful, it must be from a WILLING HEART. It is lack of knowledge of the TRUTH that makes people to criticize the church. When you give in church, it is not for the pastor but to God. Whatever the pastor does with the money is between him and God. Surely, everyone will reap the work of his/her hand. The fact that there are people or pastors who mismanage the church resources does not negate the TRUTH that it is more blessed to give than to receive whether to God or human beings(the poor, family members, friend etc). Everybody is accountable before God, Who sees everything and He is the right Judge. As individuals, let us strive to make our own contribution in our own capacities to humanity. We must ask ourselves; how many lives have I touched? You don’t need to be a millionaire to impart lives, but whatever you have.

    kay February 10, 2014 12:07 pm
    • you are very wrong to say it is between him and God. there must be accountability in the house of God. ignorance at times is a sin. the house of God must be with orderliness and not the other way.

      ibukun February 11, 2014 12:01 pm
    • Thanks, Mr Kay.You have well spoken except your insistence on Giving in The Church is not mandatory.Why,because every child of God who is truly born-again must belong to a Bible Believing Denomination(Heb.10:24-25) not Church perse because the body of Bellivers in CHRIST JESUS all over the world is called Church(the called out,the saints).It follows ,therefore that as as member of that Denomination, it behooves such a one to give in his church to God and for other purposes of God.I will agree if you say ,”It is not mandatory to give only in the Church.All said and done,thanks for your wealth of Knowledge shared.God bless.

      Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 11, 2014 3:20 pm
      • Thanks, Mr Olufemi. What I meant by not mandatory is specifically for offerings which must be FREE WILL and also base on what you have. Some people do not go to church when they do not have money for offering. This is as a result of ignorance, God will never ask you what he has not given to you. Some have but find it difficult to give or give less than what is their status (Reference to the Widow’s mite). There is a grace for giving as recorded about the Macedonian churches in the passage below

        2Co 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
        2Co 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
        2Co 8:3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

        All am saying is that our giving to God must be with understanding. It is not always about the quantity but the quality (Cain and Abel). The quality is of the heart and the motive behind your giving (Ananias & Sapphira -.Act_5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

        The truth is that God is never in want but He wants to bless us through our givings. Each individual makes a choice to give, not to give, give sparingly or bountifully. Hope you will understand my point, God bless you.

        kay February 12, 2014 9:54 am
        • Thanks too!I 100% agree with your viewpoints,they are well thought and perfectly in order.God bless!

          Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 12, 2014 1:09 pm
  • It may interest you to know that every kobo given to the church by the members, either it is well utilised or miss-managed (miss-use) will be fully accounted for by whoever that is in charge of the church…….
    Everyone, including the general overseer will give full account of himself in the presence of God at the appointed time.
    This does not mean that the church fund should be miss-managed, and members deprived of certain benefit from the church.
    My plea to each church founder or overseer is that they should kindly copy the model of the Acts of the Apostles, the way things are shared amongst genuine members of the church and none of them was lacking.

    pastordeeone February 10, 2014 1:31 pm
  • There are seasons in Church History and in Nigeria we are in a very “sensitive” season…but there are certain laws in God that are unchanging, so are the rewards…but it also gets to each individuals “calling” and priesthood…it could even get down to the family and generation BUT God is NOT mocked whatever a man sows, that he will reap…(Gal 6:7)

    Ime Udo-Obong February 10, 2014 11:00 pm
    • sonsonron etieti.Inspiriring piece!

      Olufemi Progress Bamigboye February 11, 2014 3:02 pm
  • Man made god in his own image.

    mikee February 23, 2014 12:42 am
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