Opinion: Bishop Oyedepo: A fisher of wealth?

by Ofordile Tony-Okeke

“Archbishop dey enjoy, Pope self dey enjoy, Imam self dey enjoy, My brother wetin you say?” – Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

The above are words from the song of an African Legendary musician whose music continues to inspire me and sound anew whenever it is played. In writing this piece, I take inspiration from it and would ask that you “non-Winner” please listen to me as a Winner and you “Winners” listen to me with open mind.

Bishop David O. Oyedepo, affectionately called “Papa” by members of his church congregation is a man I cannot help but admire. Born to a Muslim father, he was able to answer God’s mandate at the relatively youthful age of 27, when he founded the Liberation Faith Hour Ministries, which later metamorphosed to Living Faith Church. Through his teachings (which centre on prosperity and faith) the Bishop has not only been able to bring many lives to God, but has also helped people propel themselves into success.

He describes his own teaching on prosperity as “covenant software for programming yourself into victories and triumphs”. He believes that people have the power to be free from poverty. To the Bishop, there are no limits to how prosperous you can be with faith in God. According to his write-up in the Vanguard Newspaper of December 4th 2011, the Word of God is the richest oilfield and goldmine and that is where his church has been mining from for the 30-odd years of its existence. In his words, “It is loaded with treasures—treasures for your pleasure, treasures for your comfort, etc.”

TREASURES FOR YOUR PLEASURE AND COMFORT? My Dictionary tells me that living in comfort means living a pleasant way of life in which you have everything you need. It also tells me that ‘pleasure’ has to do with worldly or frivolous enjoyment. This gets me asking so many questions. Should one seek the treasure of everything she/he needs? How distinct is the line between need and greed? Are we as Christians meant to focus more on our physical or spiritual needs? Let us take a look at the Bible and what it says about riches: “The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up,” (1 Samuel 2:7).

They are no doubt that many of us like Bishop Oyedepo are blessed with prosperity. No matter how much or how little, however, it is important to use our wealth wisely, and keep Christian principles in mind. The principles of humility in knowing that we are called to be fishers of men and not fishers of pleasurable wealth. This is especially important when we have more than others. The Bible points out that part of the blessing of having money is to use it to help others and further the Kingdom of God: “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother,” (Deuteronomy 15:7). “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away,” (Matthew 5:42).

Listed last year as the richest Pastor in Nigeria worth over $150 million by Forbes, and as the head of a church with a presence in about 400 cities worldwide, many people—like me—definitely see no crime in Papa acquiring a private jet for his missionary work. When the number climbs to four private jets and then extends to setting up of an airline however, there is cause for alarm as it portrays an unsavoury regard for pleasure and comfort, a departure from core Christian principles.

The Roman Catholic Pope oversees over a billion Catholic faithful worldwide and also makes travels round the world. It may interest you to know that he has no private jet for his travels. And before you say the Catholic Church has no money let me inform you that she is worth billions of dollars. During the Pope’s travel, he always departs Rome on Italian airline Alitalia, and an airline from the country he is visiting usually brings him home.

He should also borrow an example from Bill Gate who lives a humble life and has pledged 95% of his $61 billion net worth to charity. He owns only one private jet, an 8-seater Bombardier BD-700.

With about 70% of Nigerians living in poverty, Bishop Oyedepo would do well to invest financially in the poor in his church and country. I am aware of what an arm of the Living Faith Ministry, World Mission Agency (WMA) is doing as it provides welfare and other health and humanitarian services to the needy in the society. I am also aware it administers partial scholarships for education to church members but what I am saying is that more is required to be done. The act of giving should never be enough. We should give as if all things depend on giving. Bishop David Oyedepo should give, give and give until it hurts him. That way he will be doing a sacrifice like Jesus Christ, his mentor, did.

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Comments (26)

  1. God bless you Titanium.

    You just said my mind. People should go do something and stop analysing Bishop's doings.

    Bishop David Oyedepo is inspiring millions all over the world.

    And I strongly doubt that Mr. Ofordile is a true Winner. If he is, he wouldnt be giving this half-baked analysis.

  2. Remember, Christ was poor so that I may be rich, the extent to which my faith can take. He died so I may live. He was made sin so that I can be called the righteousness of God. Christianity is so practical. People who truly tap into God's provisions would not complain.

  3. Shame! shame! Christ whom we claimed 2 b following could nt afford a tomb 4 his burial & rode a borrowed donkey along d streets of Jeru -salem. Yet his acclaimed followers r justling 2 own d world & we see nothing wrong in it. Big shame dt certain of dez commentators who compared d man of God 2 Adenugas, Dangotes, owning 4 cars vis-a-vis owning 4 jets, etc will turn around 2 label our politicians as corrupt. So painful dt d Body of Christ z so thus bastardised in dz era. Every man will reap wot he sows on d last day.

  4. Let your moderation be KNOWN to all men, the Lord is at hand (Emphasis mine)

  5. Titanium, Why would you in your right senses compare Bishop Oyedepo to people like Dangote or Adenuga? For Christ sake we all have different task to fulfill on this earth. Bishop Oyedepo cannot and should not be seen doing some things these Billionaires you mention do with their money.

    On how much i have given to Charity, I do not think you want to know. QED.

  6. Mr.Okeke your point is totally clear, but yuh still got some facts twisted. I woudn't say much as this α religious issue, but Christains should have christ as their role model. We should also just hope and pray that our leaders follow the steps of christ..there's always more to this than what we see!.

  7. Oladipo, to answer your question i would say there is a HUGE difference between both. Managing four cars in your home is different from managing a transport company with four cars. You do not think so?

    Now a question for you. Was Bishop Oyedepo called by God to be a business man? Quoting the same wikipedia page you advised me to read, It tells us that the Bishop received a mandate from God through an 18 hour long vision in May 1981 to 'liberate the world from all oppression of the devil through the PREACHING OF THE WORD OF FAITH'. It did not say liberate the world from all oppression of the devil through material investments.

    Like i said in my post, there is nothing wrong with the Bishop having a private jet but when it exceeds one and grows into floating an airline, SOME THING WRONG.

  8. Dele, I have neither condemned the Bishop nor compared him in terms of righteousness with the Pope. All I have done is to advice Bishop Oyedepo whom I respect so much to stay focus. He was anointed by God to be a fisher of men not wealth and so he must utilize every available resource he has, including his wealth, in bringing people to God. Maybe you do not know but the best form of investments are those we make on human beings.

    On your accusations on me, your entitled to your own opinion.

  9. Hmmmm…Good writeup but make I sit on the fence on this.

  10. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. Let us not judge the Bishop or even the writer. God is able to do just that.

  11. Lemme get this straight. R we talking about bishop oyedipo, the pastor and man of God or bishop oyedipo, the business man? All this people talkin bla bla here claiming they are not winners members are just myopic, else how in d hell would a reasonable person compare d bishop and dangote? R u for real? Dangote can have chains of airlinessssssss its nobody's business. But if the Man of God who is supposed 2 be like Christ and follow his preachings of not dwelling in earthling tins( rmber the camel eye and the rich man and heaven) had chains of business….. And now calls himself an entrepreneur …. Then it becomes our business(it is people's money). He has built a school his church members cannot afford, now its an airline, his church members definitly cannot afford!!! Wat next?

  12. Whether you are a pro or con of this subject, be careful and don't judge, leave everything to God,God knows all, Let us all take a minute to ask God for forgiveness. @bioodeli

  13. Someone says the pastors of Winners have to move around urgently and at odd hours. What are they, drug dealers?

    The thing is, we all read the bible. We all know it says about greed and inordinate ambition. This is why when you start over-explaining and over-justifying what seems like greed and ambition, it's hard to chew. Being called to be a Man of God essentially means yes I am human, but hold me to the highest standards of human behaviour because I stand as a disciple of christ. And I don't understand the comparison to Dangote. Is Dangote a religious leader? Unless of course the god is money.

    When the things you do start to cast aspersions on the faith you preach, it might be time to pull back.

    In the end sha, God is the final arbiter.

  14. pls pple tell d guy to go &learn, then ask for forgiveness. His ignorant of many things he hath said about d man of God.I wish is beta cautioned nw b4 he sees d wrath of God.Yet i wish him well &beta unnderstanding.

  15. Ofordile Tony-Okeke, mr chief justice of the federation, before i can give a concrete contribution to your write up, you have to tell me how many members of your family you have affected postively with your wealth not to talk of your immediate environment, since you are made the judge of another man, lets start with you first.

  16. I dunno if I read most comments correctly but there seems to be a 'business' flavor to it and not much 'spirituality'. Face it! I find it EXTREMELY scary when I see RICH pastors. Not even just the ordinary rich, FILTHY rich. I always ask myself-the ones that followed Jesus gan-gan(apostles), were they rich??? The prophets from the PRE-JESUS era, were they rich??? I mean rich in d monetary sense of it??? But NONE, not one of dem lacked ANYTHING. Big diff here. I aint no bible scholar and stand to be corrected ANYTIME but this is real food for thot for all prosperity harping men of God in times when it is obvioulsy glaring the end is near.

  17. well all these rants for what? We are humans and i believe we jave consciences to judge us. If u feel dat a church is a business, fine! Then it is okay to compare Oyedepo with Dangote, if not, i dnt see any relationship there. A business is started by a capital which is either borrowed or saved, labour and a lot of risk. A church is much more divine… Started by God tru a human servant and maintained by offerings, tithes and donations. If you believe that a pastor who takes the collective tithes, offerings and donations of church members to buy 4 private jets for himself is doing right, well u hav ur freedom. If u tink dat it is okay for an ordained man of God to build a university (from church funds) which most of the church members can't afford to send their children to (cos they charge far more than the Federal and state governments who are supposed to be corrupt), then you have to tink twice. Let us be wise and call a spade a spade. Religion is truly the opium of the masses.

  18. Am really diaappointed. No one should judge another. You have got it wrong. I attended covenant university under Bishop's personal foundation not the church's millions was spent by papa on me. You can't hide it. He lives what He preaches. Even forbes can't measure His weaith cos it's divine. Write article on boko haram ok. Not judging papa and pope

  19. Nice composition but not without flaw. I don't think there is some wrong with being very rich to show the pple can too when they follow your principles. I believe he is Oyedepo is an epitome of what he is preach.

    And moreover, why teach a man how to spend his own money, in the first place? I was thinking you will unravel the source of is wealth as being illicit. If not, stop devoting your time on telling rich man, either Pastor or not, how he should have spent his own money. Why can't you work hard to get wealth and show pple how to give better? Abeg!!!!!!!

  20. Ofordile, I honestly dont know what you are doing on this page. Cheap twitter followership or what? You have no idea what you are talking about.

    At a mere $150m compared to someone like Aliko (whom I respect so much)'s $13b and you are shouting. I have news for you Bishop is just beggining.

    So it's ok for Adenuga, Otedola and the likes to have private jets but not him? Those who have been blessed will rather think this way, God can do even much more for me if he can do this for the ministry.

    Talking about charity one of the marks of a giver is prosperity (u get it now?) how much at your level have you given to charity? (I'm sorry I can't hear you?)

    David (commenter) you are just here to advertise websites so I wont bother with you.

  21. Sir Okeke, I'd like to ask a question. What is the relationship between having four cars in my Compound and owning a Transport company?

    I am making a reference to: "many people—like me—definitely see no crime in Papa acquiring a private jet for his missionary work. When the number climbs to four private jets and then extends to setting up of an airline"

    An airline is a business venture. How does setting up a business venture make you more worldly or corrupt? What is the difference between setting up a School and setting up an airline. Both create value and people pay for it. Is the airline not going to be taxed by the Federal Govt?

    And mind you, the four jets are for the Ministry as the number of trips being done by not only Oyedepo but people that need to move around urgently and at odd hours increase. Does he fly four jets simultaneously? Are the four jets always parked at the hanger. Mind you, Winners missions has now extended into over 40 countries of the world.

    Read the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Oyedepo which says: The church he pastors, owns four private jets.

    I am an entrepreneur and I will always do things and spend money on my business to ensure my work is done faster and easier so I can achieve more with less stress.

    The Ministry bought 500 buses to ensure that people coming to worship at Canaanland, Ota get there on time, in an orderly manner and to ease traffic. That is what someone with a business mindset will do. And mind you, if you think doing business is worldly, business also means: "A rightful concern or responsibility" which is why Jesus said in Luk 2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? and Paul said in

    Rom 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

    Finally, I'd like to see the dictionary you used where you found the plain definition of Pleasure that has to do with worldly or frivolous enjoyment.

    Mind you, I am not a Winners Member, I have never attended a Winners service, neither have I ever seen Bishop Oyedepo in my life.

  22. Wise words

  23. Its so funny:

    How you have suddenly become a judge of who should be like Jesus. Comparing Bishops and Pope by the measure of a Jet. I dont belong to the catholic or winners but I tell you this write up is utter rubbish, using inspiration from Fela to dissect pastors and imam. This shows you cannot know better than Fela. Can I ask you a question? Didn't u put up ds post for d hits and twitter followership? Which translate to modern day currency. So your earnings so far, what have you done in donations to charity yourself before becoming a judge over bishops,imams, pastors and popes. SMH for u have lost focus in pointing people in d right direction.

    1. Dear Dele, Please do not be deceived. ALL christians should be like Jesus. That is where the name 'christian' comes from : "Follower of Christ". So by calling yourself a follower of Christ, you are accountable to fellow christians – to live a Christlike life. So YES, we should judge.

  24. Speechless! God, and God only knows his true worshipper.

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail