by Ejike Alphonsus Kanife
A pastor should receive a gift jet when every other member of his Christian community receives one.
Nigeria, thank God, is a very religious country. Very, very religious indeed such that when anyone attempts to criticize a religious leader of owning a private jet, they rise in their millions to defend such a leader. Even when such person eventually manages to appeal to their rationality they prove their staunch devoutness and deep piety by having the last say: “We are not to judge” or, “Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm.”
Well, I wouldn’t go near enough to touch one not to talk of doing any ‘anointed’ any harm. Plus the bible forbids me to judge any human, talk more an anointed. But the bible doesn’t say I shouldn’t testify.
If anything it encourages me to. So, while I won’t judge anybody, I sure will testify. Recently, a pastor in Imo state was accused of adultery. Another in Osun was accused of fornication. What am I saying? Many pastors all over the country have been accused of, and indeed have been found guilty of such immoral and condemnable behaviours. Our communities are rife with such occurrences. I wonder why Christians don’t rise to the defence of such pastors, or are they not anointed enough? That begs the question, how do we even determine who is anointed and who is not? I’ve asked this question severally but none of the said faithful could give a satisfactory response.
Some say hence such a person mounts a pulpit and preaches the bible then he’s anointed. Yet we acknowledge that we’re living in the end time and Christ himself said many false prophets will rise and preach and perform miracles in his name. Are these false prophets also anointed? If no, how do we tell the anointed from the false? Is it by their preaching (they all preach the same Bible anyway) or by their practices?
A pastor owning a jet, or in recent terms receiving a gift jet from a congregation is not a bad thing, not legally at least. Since I’ve said I won’t be judging, I would leave God to determine if it’s a sin or not. But morally and psychologically, considering the socio-economic situation the country has been flung into, considering the multitude of impoverished and indigent people around us and even among our congregations, and considering especially how the early Christians lived which should be a model for any Bible believer and any Bible believing congregation (the Bible said whatever they had they shared equally), a pastor should own a jet only if the other members of his Christian community own one as well.
A pastor should receive a gift jet when every other member of his Christian community receives one. Okay, let’s assume that is unattainable, but what happened to the humans out there who only live expecting death? The people out there who have great dreams and aspirations that could move the country forward but no motivation? People out there who couldn’t send a child to school? The numerous impoverished souls dying out there whom a jet’s worth of philanthropy could have saved?
Indeed, no matter what a pastor or anyone else for that matter does, we would always have the poor and the dying with us, but I think it should matter to us that one less person doesn’t die for nothing. That one less person doesn’t get to attain his aspiration. That our actions could either save a dying soul or leave such to their fate, a fate a jet’s worth of aid could have altered for the better. Thus I ask, which is humanely ‘wronger’; an anointed who sleeps with a woman who is not his wife or one whose action could lead, even though unknowingly to the perishing of a soul?
Again let me ask, prior to owning or receiving a gift jet, doesn’t the big pastor fly overseas for ministry or any other businesses he has? Doesn’t he fly in comfort; in first class of the best airlines? Hasn’t his ministry grown all too well during those times? Why then does he suddenly need a private jet? What extra spiritual benefit would the acquisition of a private jet add to him, to his congregation, his country and to the human race? Would it attract new members, would it keep old ones? Would it ensure the salvation of anyone? What would be the fate impact of the acquisition of luxury?
Yes, yes, the Dangote’s, Adenuga’s, business men and politicians have private jets why not ask them why they acquired theirs. It’s simple. Our business men and politicians are not pastors or religious leaders. They are of this world, our pastors shouldn’t be of the world, should they? Our politicians most of whom are business moguls are corrupt, the last thing anyone wants is our pastors and religious leaders being like them; living extravagant lives.
Neither Christ nor Mohammed nor Buddha was like the politicians and business men of their times. As a matter of fact, they were all rich but all at some point left their riches and glory and became lowly individuals. Is the lesson in that so hard to comprehend? There is a fine line between ‘Bible believing’ and ‘Bible preaching’ church even though we fail to see it. If what we claim to preach and believe does not reflect in our life and the things we do then we better start asking if we really believe what we hear being preached because they are both entirely different things. You can’t say you believe if that belief doesn’t reflect in your actions.
The problem with Nigeria is leadership; political and especially religious leadership. It’s my opinion that if we indeed have strong and effective religious leadership, the political leadership would be forced into sanity. In a country as ours where political leadership has failed woefully and is still failing, I think the strongest and most potent institution to right the situation is the religious institution. But when even that fails then the future is indeed bleak and the country’s problems just began. Ever wondered why we are among the most religious countries on earth yet with some of the highest poverty rates? Yes, it’s because of bad political leadership, a situation which religious leadership with all the strong sentiments they have among the population has done nothing about. The time has come for us to demand as much from religious leaders as we do from their political counterparts.
Kanife, Ejike Alphonsus is a Lagos based creative writer and trained journalist. He tweets from @AktivIngredient
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.