“For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense, BUT the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives LIFE to those who have it” (Ecclesiastes 7: 12 NKJV)
I had relaxed writing on the state of the Church as it suggests that the more I do as well as others do, the more discouraged you get. I saw a Church service recording sent me by a friend yesterday and it made me cry. I just have to respond in my own way. Here is the short story.
A visiting minister hosted by a Church in a part of Nigeria came to town, and in the service preached on how to break the power of poverty. The service ended with the minister telling the congregation that “God Almighty” told him CLEARLY that people would break the hedge of poverty around them by putting DOLLARS on the stage. “God will break every influence of poverty over you if you drop money on the stage, actually God told me you have to give in dollars” his words said to the congregation that wears every evidence of lack, struggle and need for help on their faces.
True to life, people started dolling money around the minister’s shoes to move God in outmost sincerity of faith to have their situations changed for the better. That is the ridiculous state of what is called the Church now. I must say here though that the true Church has no such semblance in the first place. It will also be true to attest that such misrepresentation is rife and vast in all society of the world.
The effusive lies, the overly subtle casuistic reasoning, the deceptive simplicity with which many ministers drivel absolute unbiblical acts, teachings and doctrines has left us all in a bogus bubble of misunderstanding of who God is and how He works in the affairs of men. Men trusted with the message of hope now preach hopelessness with the caption of faith. Rapscallions are now the carriers of the message of freedom. Rogues and thieves are the custodian of the message of the cross of Christ.
And in the midst of the grand deception, the nuancing nicety of presentation, the recruited naïve and gullible vast army of supporters that this popular erroneous message of prosperity has garnered over the years, it is expedient to state equivocally that the true Church is marching on quietly. It is not a Church without, but a movement within the hearts and souls of pious though imperfect men who knows and understands God in His works among men.
The corruption in politics is intrinsic, the corruption in societal interactions is expected, the corruption on the street is unavoidable and so is the corruption in our justice system not so much tongue tying. The corruption on the pulpit, in the house called after God, in the sanctuary of acclaimed redeemed, in the tabernacle of the body of our Lordship is astonishing, jolting and stupefying. The dimension it has now taken in the last 5 years is egregious, jarring and portentous to the general message of salvation.
Mahatma Ghandi said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”.
I just wondered what Ghandi would have said if alive today! In our society are many more Ghandis who would have loved to follow Christ and submit to His way but the bottleneck of hindrance are the greedy avaricious bunch of hellish Pastors who has turned the message of redemption to a message of money and lots of money.
Don’t tell me these thieves make it better!
Within these mega-temples are millions of abject poor families, within their walls are millions without jobs, in their midst are broken hearts and wounded souls who only seek to have God intervene in their plights. What they now get is the message that further puts them in misery. Somebody left Church and has this to say, “I became worse than I met them after four years. If it is the same Christ of the Bible that is in their midst it would not have taken four years to see my desperation for help. I counted my loss, and realized after a while I have been stolen from by men and not Christ”.
Every bad political crook, every street rascal, every public thief now finds a haven in many of these Churches. Nobody preaches salvation by repentance anymore because it is not crowd-friendly. Nobody asks a civil servant or politicians who puts huge money down for private jets the source of their wealth. They are often prayed over for more success!
Money is a defense; no doubt about it but the truth is that it does not give life. Money does not defend life. Money simply defend the rich against the poor, it defends the haves against innocence of the don’t haves. However, no amount of money can defend against the anger of the poor and the deprived.
Time is the difference!
Benjamin Franklin said this “Poverty wants some things, luxury many things, avarice all things”
Three stages of life in relation to money were silently discussed in that quote. The poor prays to have the means to meet their needs. The rich prays to have more luxury. The avaricious wants all things. When greed and lust takes its roots in man, the love of money becomes the principal demon driving his/her course of life. Satisfaction eludes them, happiness becomes a stranger, and their passion is always more and more without any end. There is always somebody to compete with, a record to break, and a new height of self to attain.
Isn’t appalling that the Church of Christ can be talking about the biggest Church in the world? Isn’t it preposterous that somebody is claiming to have the highest number of congregation in the world? Doesn’t it disturb you that people are talking about how vastly they are connected? Should the Church be talking about numbers of branches or the depth of devotion of the followers of Christ?
Don’t be fooled about the variations of their appearances. Some of them are so simple and subtle in presenting the same errors while others are very demanding and loquacious, and sometimes petulant. Some dress simple while others are regaled in robes of high custom brand names. The denominator is self and the nominator is certainly not God. Several direct messages are claimed t be from God promising to change every situation of people yet years in and out things are getting bad. The only testimony that keeps coming is from the pulpit owners.
William Wordsworth says “Rapine, avarice, expense. This is idolatry, and these we adore; Plain living and high thinking are no more”
The high road of vanity is the vogue now. Buy Church or corporate jets that is simply owned by one man is the prime. Build colleges and other institutions that only corruption can offer to afford. Disengage the poor but still ask for their money. Get so connected to the political pillagers and the excessively corrupt people in government and private sectors is what makes them thick. Ask yourself this question; would Elijah or Paul even care to sit with all these rogue ministers tend to seek to connect?
The lies on tithe, offerings, vows, special offerings etc are the instrument of their trade. They demand it, force it and threaten it. You either give it or get cursed! Wisdom has no place in their bosom anymore. The love of money is now the hidden ‘wisdom’ of their teachings. There are always new project after finished ones, and none has any direct bearing to care for the real needs of the people.
“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.” (Proverbs 19: 17 NKJV).
The above is my counsel in the midst of the confusion. Look for lives to bless with your means, do not give it to men of the belly on the pulpit again. Lend to God, but let it be from what you have earned from legitimate and fair dealings with men. You cannot rob men and mock God!
William Ellery Channing said and I quote “The lust of avarice has so totally seized upon mankind that wealth seems rather to possess them than they possess wealth”
Next time you see your Pastor, look at him and his material possessions and sincerely compare that with the poverty around your immediate environment and reason if the patriarchs of the Christian faith would have allowed that. I am not against been rich, but it is given for much more than your own needs. Every rich man is a custodian of the provisions for many around him/her.
Olumide Goodness Adeyinka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org