Popular preacher and author, Joyce Meyer recently got into the mix of trending topics after she released a video where she made a strong case for tattoos explaining why tattoos aren’t a sin and why religious people often take the scripture out of context to suit their narrative.
Midway through the sermon, she also made a slight joke of wanting to get a tattoo in order to “push religious people off the cliff” a.k.a. shake tables.
Joyce Meyer’s argument in the video was based in the premise that God has tattoos – as seen in Isaiah 49 and that the new testament has given us much more “freedom to do”, and doesn’t restrain us with fruitless laws and list of commandments especially when approached with a right motive.
Watch the video below:
But what has this got to do with the Nigerian church?
Unlike you probably think, it has a lot to do with the Nigerian Church. Here’s why: The American Church or most accurately, American pastors are a great source of influence to the Nigerian Church. It’s why the likes of Steven Furtick, Hillsong, Bethel Music, Joyce Meyer, Joseph Prince even though not Nigerians are all-time favourites of Nigerian Christians and determine hugely the pulse of the Christian Culture in Nigeria. We listen to them, we dress like them, we love their church set designs, their preaching on doctrine seem to be the most accurate and we just generally love them. In the midst of 5 well exposed Nigerian Christians are 4 Nigerian Christians who listen habitually to Steven Furtick and are thrilled by his massive youth appeal, who love the simplicity of Joyce Meyer, the radical grace teachings of Joseph Prince and the divinely inspired music from Hillsong Bethel Music, Elevation Church and Jesus Culture. In essence, they are the yardstick that most use to judge the practices of the Nigerian church.
Many would say with so much confidence that they learnt so much about grace from men like Joseph Prince but what they won’t tell you (which they probably don’t know) was that many years before that Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy was labelled a false teacher for maintaining a “jerry curled hair” and preaching radically about God’s grace. A few years later, we have experienced men like Joseph Prince and it’s now generally accepted.
This answers perfectly to why “Nigerian Christian twitter” immediately took up the debate the moment Joyce Meyer dropped it. And as usual, there were three sides to the conversation – those who were doggedly in support of Joyce Meyer, those who felt Joyce Meyer was wrong this time and she might as well be labelled a false prophet and finally, those who felt indifferent about the tattoo discourse. The underlying factor, however, was that they all had bible passages to support their claim or conviction.
But, we have seen this cycle before and we know where it is leading. It is less about the person of Joyce Meyer and more about the conversation she has started that is making many Christians pay attention or re-consider what they’ve always believed.
Without any form of a prophetic inkling, one can be very sure that this controversy on “whether or not to do” will come up again and in different forms, until Nigerian pastors do the needful and prepare their audience for that. How? By addressing the foundation of core issues and not just waiting till it’s a controversy before addressing it. The fire brigade approach of coming out to say “Yes, it is biblical or No, it is not” is not the proper way to do so.
For instance, many thought the conversation on tithing was merely about Tithing, but it was not. It was deeply rooted in greed, in lack of trust, in finances, in accountability. So, you see why saying Yes or No doesn’t really solve the problem.
This applies to several other aspects of the Christian faith. You don’t solve an issue by making it look non-existent or attend to it only when it concerns you.
Nigerian Pastors, your people are watching, they are hearing, they are beginning to doubt and the heat is rising. They will ask these questions again. They will play you Joyce Meyer’s session; do you have answers for them?