Cameroonian Pentecostal Debacle And Pastor Adeboye’s Type Of Christianity

Cameroonian Pentecostal Debacle And Pastor Adeboye’s Type Of Christianity


Winner’s Chapel Logo

By Samuel Ogundipe

Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, recently marked about 500 pentecostal churches, allegedly operating incognito as houses of God, for closure across the country following the death of a 9 years old girl, CNN’s Tapang Tanku reports Wednesday .

The report also noted, among other things, the ordeal of a Cameroonian mother: ”On Sunday, a 9-year-old Christian girl collapsed and died during a prayer session in Winners’ Chapel, a pentecostal church in Bamenda.” It has since been established that the church is the same as Bishop Oyedepo’s.

The girl’s mother, Mih Theresa, told CNN that the pastor was attempting to cast out the numerous demons that were in control of her daughter’s life and demanded government do something about it.

“I want the government to stop these pastors who use mysterious powers to pull Christians and kill them for more powers. All my children have ran away from the Catholic Church in search for miracles, signs and wonders.” She lamented.

”We will get rid of all the so-called Christian pentecostal pastors who misuse the name of Jesus Christ to fake miracles and kill citizens in their churches. They have outstretched their liberty,” the Network’s Cameroon stringer quoted a government spokesman as saying.

But a pentecostal bishop reacts to the new edict on behalf of other disgruntled Cameroonian evangelicals: ”Boniface Tum, a bishop of the Christian Church of God in Yaounde, said that Biya, who has been president since 1982, is becoming insecure about the freedom of speech within these churches.”

It’s hard to tell if the criticism of government is what informed the President’s decision, since Mr. Biya has been in charge of that country for over three decades and has always been an object of untold ridicule in the hands of Cameroonian religious leaders. But there’s no exaggeration in noting that substantial majority of a populace would be alarmed if their government dithers in the wake of an untimely death of a 9 years old girl.

My unreserved condolence goes to the bereaved.

Yet, the Cameroonians are not alone.

The academia is debating the magnitude of a moral decadence that the lingering exodus of youngsters from orthodox to pentecostal churches across Africa bequeaths on future generations, of which the sustained proliferation of churches is a palpable axiom.

READ: Winners Chapel Under Investigation In UK And Kicked Out Of Cameroon By President Paul Biya  

READ: No! Pastor Adeboye, Your Approach Is Wrong Sir 
Writing as a grandson of an Anglican reverend, and a 4th generation Christian with unwavering belief in Trinity, this news should ordinarily strike me as just another episode of a power-drunk African leader infringing on the fundamental rights of his citizens.

Although it did, but merely: My view of who truly is a good Christian has changed overtime. And I’ll attempt to offer few examples to buttress this.

However, in looking into what constitutes a good Christian life, one must be very painstaking in order not to contravene the Bible which warned in Matthew 7:1-3 that ”judge not, that ye not be judged.” Therefore, this columnist will refrain from passing judgement on anyone but will, instead, juxtapose the characteristics of men (and women) of God from history to the contemporary ones.

I grew up knowing a good Christian as someone who has utmost devotion to God with minimal interest in the (material) things of the world.

Indeed, I knew a good Christian as Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, who managed to translate the Bible for millions of Yoruba speakers without having to establish his own church under the guise of having been ”called by God.”

I knew a good Christian to be someone like Reverend I.O. Ransome-Kuti, whose spiritual and financial assistance, especially to poor students of Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, helped groom several Nigerian leaders pre-independence.

I knew a good Christian as some like Bishop Oluwole, whose altruistic tendencies made King’s College a foremost high school in Africa.

And finally, I knew a good Christian as someone like Mother Theresa whose charitable endeavour is unrivalled in modern history.

All these esteemed individuals served God with their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honours.
Alas, the rarity of their Godliness (which was virtually universal amongst the clergymen of their times) is becoming so pronounced nowadays that it could become a legend in not so distant future.

Indeed, today’s men of God now focus more on acquiring obscene monies to buy the latest SUVs, fly private jets and erect mega churches. These traits are especially emblematic of mostly Nigerian pentecostal preachers. Mostly Nigerian  because Reinhard Bonnke, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyers, to name but a few Western evangelists, are not known for their aggrandisements.

But why are Nigerian (and African) pastors different? Well, they’re different for the mere fact that they can’t be what they’re not; Their behaviour is in tandem with the corrupt mind that is becoming increasingly attributed to the Negroid.

Last week, Nigerian blogosphere erupted in bewilderment following a statement credited to Pastor E.A. Adeboye of the delightfully named Redeemed Christian Church of God. This is how blogger Larrie Peniel captured it:

”Then before sermon, General Overseer of RCCG, Pastor Adeboye made a special announcement. The church is to build a new auditorium, stretching 3km in length and width, and four times the size of the present auditorium, to accommodate many more parishioners, before next year’s convention. Everyone was naturally excited, particularly those who get to camp ground late and cannot  be seated in the present auditorium.”

”Then Pastor Adeboye shocked me with the following pronouncement: “We need ₦1B from ten (10) people, If you are one of them, please see my personal Secretary after we finish today. We also need ₦10M from those who can afford it, if you are in that category, please see my personal Secretary as
well. Nonetheless, we need everyone’s involvement. If you can afford ₦50M, ₦20M, ₦5M, ₦1M to as low as ₦100, kindly make sure you participate. How many of you will build for the Lord?” All hands naturally went up in delirium.”


Reactions to the statement were mixed, with his supporters fallen over each other to defend him. That is understandable.

If it were that convenient, I would have just dismissed Pastor Adeboye’s remark as another innocuous faux pas (like claiming he drove 461 KM with less than 10 litres of petrol. Or that he ordered a private jet because he couldn’t ride on donkeys) expected of a loquacious fellow of his ilk, especially since he only had a masters degree in mathematics but not semantics.

Similarly, the demand would have made a fascinating tale by moonlight but for the fact that it came from a man that millions of Nigerians look up to as their spiritual leader. Which is why it must not be allowed to go unscrutinised.

First, there’s nothing wrong with Pastor Adeboye building new auditoriums to accommodate his ever-expanding followers, but there are better ways he could solicit money for such projects.

For one, he could have placed calls through, or mail letters, to targeted individuals.

Similarly, he could have conveyed his message through his provincial or area pastors, they know the rich amongst their members.

Alternatively, he could have embark on a state-by-state tour of his churches all over the country for 
fundraising activities. This may take a while, but 2014 is not too late to build more space, neither is 2016.

But by failing to do any of these, Pastor Adeboye is punishing Nigerians, twice. He sends a message to the world that we’re subservient to his pronouncements. He also portrays us as a bunch of wealthy people in the face of the world (even though we’re not), which is guaranteed to infuriate some Western philanthropists so much so that they could jettison Africa for South America or Southeast Asia. And that would be a tragedy.

Considering the huge deficit of ICT resource centres all over the country, and the number of those who die yearly for lack of access to clean water, it would be interesting to know who the donors of the initial ₦10B would be, but don’t hold your breath because our pentecostal churches keep more secrets than the CIA.

But that may soon be a thing of the past: Staff at the Central Bank of Nigeria are having sleepless night working out the details of how churches will be subjected to taxation — as any money making venture should be. But the policy may not be rolled out until after the 2015 elections, since its not politically expedient for 
President Jonathan.

Suffice it to note that African pastors will continue making insensitive utterances for as long as the substantial majority of the populace continue to blind themselves to their grandiose posturing.

Makes you marvel at the pleasures that come with being a modern day ”man of God,” or does it?
 

@SamuelOgundipe on Twitter

************
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Paradigm.

Follow us on TWITTER via @Theparadigmng and like our FACEBOOK page via www.facebook.com/ParadigmShiftNigeria.

Send your articles for publication to editor@paradigmshiftng.com. You can also send your eye witness reports, photos and videos to iwitness@paradigmshiftng.com

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Winner’s Chapel Logo

By Samuel Ogundipe

Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, recently marked about 500 pentecostal churches, allegedly operating incognito as houses of God, for closure across the country following the death of a 9 years old girl, CNN’s Tapang Tanku reports Wednesday .

The report also noted, among other things, the ordeal of a Cameroonian mother: ”On Sunday, a 9-year-old Christian girl collapsed and died during a prayer session in Winners’ Chapel, a pentecostal church in Bamenda.” It has since been established that the church is the same as Bishop Oyedepo’s.

The girl’s mother, Mih Theresa, told CNN that the pastor was attempting to cast out the numerous demons that were in control of her daughter’s life and demanded government do something about it.

“I want the government to stop these pastors who use mysterious powers to pull Christians and kill them for more powers. All my children have ran away from the Catholic Church in search for miracles, signs and wonders.” She lamented.

”We will get rid of all the so-called Christian pentecostal pastors who misuse the name of Jesus Christ to fake miracles and kill citizens in their churches. They have outstretched their liberty,” the Network’s Cameroon stringer quoted a government spokesman as saying.

But a pentecostal bishop reacts to the new edict on behalf of other disgruntled Cameroonian evangelicals: ”Boniface Tum, a bishop of the Christian Church of God in Yaounde, said that Biya, who has been president since 1982, is becoming insecure about the freedom of speech within these churches.”

It’s hard to tell if the criticism of government is what informed the President’s decision, since Mr. Biya has been in charge of that country for over three decades and has always been an object of untold ridicule in the hands of Cameroonian religious leaders. But there’s no exaggeration in noting that substantial majority of a populace would be alarmed if their government dithers in the wake of an untimely death of a 9 years old girl.

My unreserved condolence goes to the bereaved.

Yet, the Cameroonians are not alone.

The academia is debating the magnitude of a moral decadence that the lingering exodus of youngsters from orthodox to pentecostal churches across Africa bequeaths on future generations, of which the sustained proliferation of churches is a palpable axiom.

READ: Winners Chapel Under Investigation In UK And Kicked Out Of Cameroon By President Paul Biya  

READ: No! Pastor Adeboye, Your Approach Is Wrong Sir 
Writing as a grandson of an Anglican reverend, and a 4th generation Christian with unwavering belief in Trinity, this news should ordinarily strike me as just another episode of a power-drunk African leader infringing on the fundamental rights of his citizens.

Although it did, but merely: My view of who truly is a good Christian has changed overtime. And I’ll attempt to offer few examples to buttress this.

However, in looking into what constitutes a good Christian life, one must be very painstaking in order not to contravene the Bible which warned in Matthew 7:1-3 that ”judge not, that ye not be judged.” Therefore, this columnist will refrain from passing judgement on anyone but will, instead, juxtapose the characteristics of men (and women) of God from history to the contemporary ones.

I grew up knowing a good Christian as someone who has utmost devotion to God with minimal interest in the (material) things of the world.

Indeed, I knew a good Christian as Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, who managed to translate the Bible for millions of Yoruba speakers without having to establish his own church under the guise of having been ”called by God.”

I knew a good Christian to be someone like Reverend I.O. Ransome-Kuti, whose spiritual and financial assistance, especially to poor students of Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, helped groom several Nigerian leaders pre-independence.

I knew a good Christian as some like Bishop Oluwole, whose altruistic tendencies made King’s College a foremost high school in Africa.

And finally, I knew a good Christian as someone like Mother Theresa whose charitable endeavour is unrivalled in modern history.

All these esteemed individuals served God with their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honours.
Alas, the rarity of their Godliness (which was virtually universal amongst the clergymen of their times) is becoming so pronounced nowadays that it could become a legend in not so distant future.

Indeed, today’s men of God now focus more on acquiring obscene monies to buy the latest SUVs, fly private jets and erect mega churches. These traits are especially emblematic of mostly Nigerian pentecostal preachers. Mostly Nigerian  because Reinhard Bonnke, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyers, to name but a few Western evangelists, are not known for their aggrandisements.

But why are Nigerian (and African) pastors different? Well, they’re different for the mere fact that they can’t be what they’re not; Their behaviour is in tandem with the corrupt mind that is becoming increasingly attributed to the Negroid.

Last week, Nigerian blogosphere erupted in bewilderment following a statement credited to Pastor E.A. Adeboye of the delightfully named Redeemed Christian Church of God. This is how blogger Larrie Peniel captured it:

”Then before sermon, General Overseer of RCCG, Pastor Adeboye made a special announcement. The church is to build a new auditorium, stretching 3km in length and width, and four times the size of the present auditorium, to accommodate many more parishioners, before next year’s convention. Everyone was naturally excited, particularly those who get to camp ground late and cannot  be seated in the present auditorium.”

”Then Pastor Adeboye shocked me with the following pronouncement: “We need ₦1B from ten (10) people, If you are one of them, please see my personal Secretary after we finish today. We also need ₦10M from those who can afford it, if you are in that category, please see my personal Secretary as
well. Nonetheless, we need everyone’s involvement. If you can afford ₦50M, ₦20M, ₦5M, ₦1M to as low as ₦100, kindly make sure you participate. How many of you will build for the Lord?” All hands naturally went up in delirium.”


Reactions to the statement were mixed, with his supporters fallen over each other to defend him. That is understandable.

If it were that convenient, I would have just dismissed Pastor Adeboye’s remark as another innocuous faux pas (like claiming he drove 461 KM with less than 10 litres of petrol. Or that he ordered a private jet because he couldn’t ride on donkeys) expected of a loquacious fellow of his ilk, especially since he only had a masters degree in mathematics but not semantics.

Similarly, the demand would have made a fascinating tale by moonlight but for the fact that it came from a man that millions of Nigerians look up to as their spiritual leader. Which is why it must not be allowed to go unscrutinised.

First, there’s nothing wrong with Pastor Adeboye building new auditoriums to accommodate his ever-expanding followers, but there are better ways he could solicit money for such projects.

For one, he could have placed calls through, or mail letters, to targeted individuals.

Similarly, he could have conveyed his message through his provincial or area pastors, they know the rich amongst their members.

Alternatively, he could have embark on a state-by-state tour of his churches all over the country for 
fundraising activities. This may take a while, but 2014 is not too late to build more space, neither is 2016.

But by failing to do any of these, Pastor Adeboye is punishing Nigerians, twice. He sends a message to the world that we’re subservient to his pronouncements. He also portrays us as a bunch of wealthy people in the face of the world (even though we’re not), which is guaranteed to infuriate some Western philanthropists so much so that they could jettison Africa for South America or Southeast Asia. And that would be a tragedy.

Considering the huge deficit of ICT resource centres all over the country, and the number of those who die yearly for lack of access to clean water, it would be interesting to know who the donors of the initial ₦10B would be, but don’t hold your breath because our pentecostal churches keep more secrets than the CIA.

But that may soon be a thing of the past: Staff at the Central Bank of Nigeria are having sleepless night working out the details of how churches will be subjected to taxation — as any money making venture should be. But the policy may not be rolled out until after the 2015 elections, since its not politically expedient for 
President Jonathan.

Suffice it to note that African pastors will continue making insensitive utterances for as long as the substantial majority of the populace continue to blind themselves to their grandiose posturing.

Makes you marvel at the pleasures that come with being a modern day ”man of God,” or does it?
 

@SamuelOgundipe on Twitter

************
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Paradigm.

Follow us on TWITTER via @Theparadigmng and like our FACEBOOK page via www.facebook.com/ParadigmShiftNigeria.

Send your articles for publication to editor@paradigmshiftng.com. You can also send your eye witness reports, photos and videos to iwitness@paradigmshiftng.com

Click here to subscribe to The Paradigm Newsletter

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