New Telegraph

When Mammon threatens Churches’ credibility, existence

When Jesus entered the temple courts to drive out traders and money changers, as recorded in the Christian Holy Book, he lamented that the house of prayer had been made a den of thieves! Thousands of years after, for some observers, grimmer stories of stench from the house of prayer still trigger concerns. From ritual killings to outright fraud, the lust for sudden wealth among supposed servants of God, Sunday Telegraph observed, has handed Mammon the highest seat in a number of altars. Meanwhile, in Matthew 7:21 of the Good Book, Jesus had warned: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father, who is in heaven.”

What is Mammon? According to christianity.com, the term Mammon stems from the Greek word Mammonas and related root words appear in Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic. For centuries, it was learnt, the term has been used in both religious and secular contexts to negatively describe the pursuit of wealth. However, in Mattew 6:24, the Bible forewarned that; “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” Mammon, according to study.com, may also be personified as a money demon or false god, who is worshipped for the desire to gain wealth. Pay N310,000 make heaven Just less than a week ago, the Ekiti State Police Command, in collaboration with the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), rearrested Pastor Ade Abraham of Christ High Commission Ministry for allegedly kidnapping nine persons.

This is coming less than two years after he allegedly convinced about 40 members of his church to camp in his church, telling them to pay N310,000 to takẹ them to heaven. That was also amid allegation of impregnating his choirmaster’s wife and other female members of his church. “Truly, I told my congregation to pay N310,000. I made the declaration when I noticed that my members’ troubles were increasing. I did it because I got the authority of God, who called me to practise for all that want to serve the Lord with their whole heart,” he told BBC Yoruba. Cleric slept with me,failed to pay me N500k pledge after hiring me for prophecies – Prophetess Although it is often said that the gift of the Holy Spirit is free, for some, it is a means to an end. What is deemed a smooth relationship turned sour after a breach of contract between Prophetess Nike and a cleric in a white garment church. Baring her mind in a chat with Sunday Telegraph, Nike said things had taken a downward slide for her after the said cleric slept with her in a hotel in Ketu, Lagos State but would not honour their contractual agreement. Speaking further on the details of their agreement, Nike said she was contracted to be in a trance( otherwise known as Ori Oke among white garment church faithful) for seven days, with the understanding that she would be paid N500,000 from proceeds of patrons, who throng the church to seek prophecies and spiritual solution to their problems. She told Sunday Telegraph that that incident led to her expulsion from her original church.

“When he called me, he said he had a job for me and that I would be happy at the end of the day because he knows I would deliver. And, indeed, he made money. People were charged N30,000, N50,000 and more for spiritual assignments. Surprisingly, when I honoured my own part of the agreement, he was giving me stories when he should fulfill his pledge,” she added. Meanwhile, findings by Sunday Telegraph revealed that it is antithetical to the tenets of the said church to plan Ori Oke. Another prophetess, who used to be a member of the church, said it was the reason she left his(the cleric) church. “He told me to go into a trance for seven days. I declined because it is wrong and I don’t want to incur the wrath of God. I noticed that after my refusal, our relationship was not the same again. I was no longer feeling comfortable. I had to leave his church for him,” she explained. N100k for fruit of the womb, N1m for special prayer Disturbed by how the Catholic Church has deviated from its doctrines, a Catholic, Sunday Abumere, said it was concerning that the church now embraces practices from other denominations that are alien to it. “After Holy Communion yesterday, somebody came out, displaying a very large banner,saying “we are from Unusual Praise. It’s sponsored by Access Bank and GTBank.”

They said we should come and register .When I saw it, I asked them: are you turning the Catholic Church to a pentecostal church? The Catholic Church does not advertise most of these things. They kept quiet. In the Catholic Church, they tell you that if you have special intention, come to the altar. People would hold money to seek favour from God. Who told them God gives special intention with money? You go to Church, they say they are selling fruit for Harvest(or whatever they call it).They bring apples and ask ,who will buy one for N100,000?Are there people willing to buy? These things are unknown to catholicism,” he reasoned. Sharing her experience during a visit to a Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) prayer mountain,which is popularly known as Ori Oke Ikoyi, Osun State, Bimpe Komolafe, a trader, who shuttles between Osun and Lagos told Sunday Telegraph how shock gripped her ọn discovering how prayers were being merchandised. “It’s shocking what the Church is turning to these days – and it’s not limited to a particular church. At the CAC mountain, a pastor said a particular prayer request was for 100 people that could pay N1million each. That weakened me.

You know there is a difference between what you are told and what you heard yourself. I heard this one. No ọne told me.” I fund my church with rent but tenants only stay for two months; I raped my housemaid to death Pastor Felix Obajimi(not real name) had only gone to the Ikoyi mountain for a special prayer. There and then, he revealed, his path and that of an old prophet crossed and he was told to confess his sins because untold misery would be his lot as his death would be delayed. Ordinarily, men take about 175 steps to reach the zenith of the mountain but after Obajimi rolled from the summit to the floor, it dawned on him to openly reveal the atrocities he had long kept to himself. He told how he raped her housemaid maid to death, afterwhich he compelled his two male housemaids to takẹ an oath of secrecy after burying her in the bedroom, where she was raped to death. In an open confession, Obajimi said he could no longer live in his house because his housemaid’s spirit still haunts him, but there is another problem. “I decided to rent my house out after quitting but whoever rents the house does not live more than two months before moving house.

My housemaid’s spirit disturbs them but I fund my ministry from the rent,” he revealed. 40 pastors sacked for allegedly generating low income In viral video in 2021, one Pastor Godwin said he was privileged to be one of the pastors that were employed on the 28th of August, 2020, following the mandate of the Pastor of the Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, received from the Lord to plant 10,000 churches in Nigeria. “I started working, engaging myself in the work of the Lord. I tried my possible best to make sure I win souls for Christ but unfortunately, on the 1st of July, I received a call that the state pastor wants to see me. So, I thought I was the only one. I was surprised. So, I went to his office. When I got there, I saw other pastors too, over 40 of them. So, I joined them. A few minutes later, we were issued letters. I opened the content of the letter to see what was there and I saw that it was a sack letter,” he said. Godwin said he put a call across to the management to know his offence but was told he generated low income. “What I was told by the management was that the church doesn’t operate at a loss; they also told me the total income that is being generated from my station should be able to cater for my welfare and accommodation. So, as a result of low income, I’m hereby dismissed.” Justifying the dismissal of the pastors, Oyedepo said the sacked pastors were unfruitful and blatant failure.

Hear him: “We asked you to go because you are unfruitful. Unfruitful! Blatant failure. Doing what there? We have no patience with failure here. When we employed 7,000 people at a time, social media was dead. “We have more employees in this organisation than most of the states. No one is owed a dime salary and we don’t borrow, we don’t beg. Ask our bank whether we take overdraft. We are covenant bound, working in the light of God’s word, enjoying an open Heaven.” According to him, the church has never lacked money, even when it never prayed for it. Pastors should be licensed – CAN,PFN official For the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Chairman, on General Duties and Director of Politics and Governance at PFN, Bishop Taiwo Ajose, it was time the church regulated itself to weed out those bringing shame to the body of Christ. According to him, his efforts to get pastors licensed have consistently hit a brick wall. Speaking on commercialisation of miracles and prayers by men of God ,Ajose said: “The fact that people are ọn the mountain doesn’t make them men of God. I want to believe that a well trained man of God, who is genuinely called by God and who understands the biblical principle and process will not do such a thing. One mistake you are making is viewing these people as men of God. As a leader in the body of Christ, both in the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), I’ve proposed so many times ovẹr the years that we need to be licensing pastors. If we don’t do it, government will do it one day. “As an organisation recognised by the government and by the law, we have the moral right, even if you are not our member; we can denounce you because as a body of Christ, we have the authority to guard over the soul for God. But the church leadership-CAN, PFN- are the ones not taking this seriously. I can say it boldly. I’m one of them.” He said there was need for the leadership of the church to be vociferous about condemning the shenanigans of supposed pastors, who bring shame to the body of Christ. “I usually tell them to condemn this thing; they all keep quiet. They will say it’s his ministry. What about the souls he is destroying? Is he the one that created them? Government has the right to protect citizens. So, if we don’t regulate ourselves, government will regulate us. The second scenario is the issue about those who are genuinely called by God and still engage in these things. But it is the bills that’s driving them,” he said. He further stated:”I believe the government should put the church leadershipCAN, PFN,ECWA,OAIC,et al- on notice that if they cannot check their members from exploiting the public, the government would intervene. When people come to church, you don’t know if they have eaten or not; they must pay money for protection; they must do this for building and people are suffering. A church is buying one property with N100million, N1billion, yet people are suffering in the church. It doesn’t make sense to me.” Why some Christians are how they arePsychologist Commenting on why it is easy for some pastors to manipulate their followers, a psychologist, Dr Morolake Samuel, said an individual’s cognitive functioning, which has been programmed to accept what is thrown at them as normal, could be responsible as it controls their behaviour.

“If you notice,most pastors like that, their selling point is faith. The people paying N310k to go to heaven know that they have to live a righteous life to make heaven, not by paying.You cannot pay your way to heaven. That’s where cognitive programming comes in. They have been given some sort of doctrine that if you do this, you are going to get this. It all boils down to their cognition, their thought pattern.” Explaining how conformity, as a psychological reaction, fuels illogical actions among church goers on the one hand and fraud among supposed pastors on the other hand, Samuel noted:” Even though you don’t believe in something, when you keep hearing one thing, seeing that thing…If you notice, churches like that always have people who say this is the XYZ I did; I got XYZ. So, other members would say,”let me tap into this as well.” That’s where conformity comes in. I’ve been to a CAC church where you will hear things like,”God spoke to my heart. If you have 100k, come out and drop it. I realised one person came out and dropped it. From that one person, two persons came out again…it’s called conformity. It’s a psychological reaction because you feel if this person can takẹ this action, it means the action is good; I can also takẹ the same action.” She continued: “Sometimes, some people know this thing they are doing is not logical. I know someone who is well read. When she told me the gimmicks she fell for, I was surprised. I asked her to give me the logical explanation behind her action. She said the person that took her there has seen a lot of things; that she respects the person’s opinion. That’s conformity. That’s not her making a decision based on the fact that she believed in what she’s doing but based ọn the fact that she has seen somebody she knows, trusts, or looks up to doing it. For some people, it’s not conformity. They have been brought up in a particular way. There is nothing you can say to change their perception.” No fake without original Speaking ọn what Christians should do to stop being victims of fake pastors, Samuel urged followers of Christ to read and understand the Bible. “When it comes to religion, I always tell people to know the word of God. If you know the word of God, you will know that there is no place in the Bible where you can buy salvation; where you can buy your way to heaven; where you can buy eternal life. Know your faith.” In a chat with Sunday Telegraph, a CAC pastor, John Kolawole, said it was not possible to have fake pastors without those who are genuinely called by God as every fake has an original. He added that the weed would be separated from the chaff on judgment day.

Read Previous

Christmas: We’ll Continue To Implement Palliatives To Ease Burdens On Vulnerable – Tinubu 

Read Next

70-Year-Old Grandma, Son Nabbed For Drug Trafficking