By Tochukwu Ezukanma
Frazzled by the power politics, financial dishonesty and lechery that pervade many of the one man owned Pentecostal churches I disengaged from my last church. I have since not been a member of any church; I visit any church of my choice every Sunday. This has taken me to both the older and orthodox, and nouveau and trendy (usually one man owned) Pentecostal churches. At the invitation of a lady friend, on this particular Sunday, I visited the Christ Dominion Church at Oregun Road, Ikeja Lagos. I was impressed by the array of worshippers resplendently attired in their Sunday-bests, and the choir’s rousing and inspiring symphony.
To the deafening silence of the sanctuary and the rapt attention of the congregants, the pastor preached. As usual in most one man owned Pentecostal churches, the preaching was not on the tenets of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but on prosperity. In total disregard for the biblical pre-conditions for the wealth and material well being of a believer, the preacher dwelt on wealth and its accoutrements: mansions, luxury cars, jet-planes, etc. He limned the splendor and glamour of wealth, and gushed on the benefits and importance of being wealthy. He elaborately illustrated the evils, deprivation and gloom of poverty. He said that Jesus became poor so that we can be rich. Believers must therefore dread poverty and strive to be rich.
According to him, the secret of prosperity is in giving – your money – to God, of course, through the pastors. The more you give to God, the more you prosper. God blessed Abraham exceedingly because he was ready to give all he had, his only son, Isaac, to God. So, if you give God all you have, your blessings and prosperity will be ineffable, just like those of Abraham. As an example, he talked about an American pastor that is indescribably wealthy to the point of buying jet-planes and sowing them as seeds in different churches. He is so wealthy, and keeps getting wealthier and wealthier because he keeps giving and giving to God.
Although the most routinely quoted verse on tithing in the Bible, Malachi 3:10 to 12, specifically stated, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, …and prove me now herewith …if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it; and I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes” and “all nations shall call you blessed…”; the preacher said that paying your tithe does not bring you God blessings. It only rebukes the devourer for you. It is after paying your tithes and offerings that you start the giving that will bring about the financial blessings of God. Although his preaching was diametrically contradictory to the teachings of the Bible, it still impressed his listeners to the point of periodically applauding him.
He said that the smirch of poverty is indelible that, even after death, and the poor believer goes to heaven, there will still be the lingering evidence of his earthly poverty on him. He made reference to the Bible story in Luke Chapter 16 of a rich man that “fared sumptuously everyday”, and the beggar, Lazarus that “laid at his (the rich man’s) gate, full of sores”. After death, Lazarus went to heaven and was in the bosom of Abraham, and the rich man was consigned to hellfire. From hell, the rich man cried out to Abraham, and asked him to send Lazarus “that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame”. The preacher said that despite his being in heaven, Lazarus earlier earthly poverty was still evident on him. And that was why the rich man in hell, could not ask Abraham, who was rich on earth, but Lazarus, to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue.
By then, I have heard enough of this deliberate, unabashed convolution of the Bible aimed at goading the gullible and timid into emptying their pockets into the offering boxes, as offerings, tithes, first fruits and seeds. It was time for me to go. I picked up my Bible and walked out of the church. Just before the gate, an usher accosted me, “Oga, why are you leaving so early”. I replied, “Yes, I have to leave because your pastor is lying. He is talking nonsense”. He screamed, “Wow! How can you say that a man of God is lying, talking nonsense? It is wrong. You cannot say that. Though shall not judge”. To which I retorted: but you just judged me by saying that my statement is wrong.
Prosperity Doctrine is falsehood. It distorts the Gospel of Jesus Christ by disregarding the central themes of Christianity and dwelling on sowing seed and getting rich. The object of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ was not to make us rich but to reconcile us unto God, and transform us into living a Christ-like life. The wealth of a Christian is contingent on being a true Christian, as stated in Matthew 6:33, “Seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” – which is the object of Christianity – “and all these things shall be added unto you”. So, according to the Bible, wealth does not come from sowing seeds, but by seeking the kingdom of God and all his righteousness. To ignore the motifs of Christianity, such as salvation, love for our neighbor, faith in God and being Christ-like and just talk prosperity is tendentious mendacity.
The aim of this purposeful falsehood is to line the pastors’ pockets, build their financial empires and maintain their awe-inspiring life style. It enables them to dwell in magnificent mansions, continually spruce-up their lavish wardrobes, maintain their fleet of luxury cars, buy private jets and indulge their other fancies – all – at the financial strangulation of their congregants. Just like the political elite, the religious elite are a major source of the problems for the Nigerian society. Both elite groups are obsessed with power and money. They both reinforce their powers and bolster their personal bank accounts by the intimidation and exploitation of the people. The only difference is in their methods: the political elite through their perversion of the political process, and the religious elite through their perversion of the Word of God.
That Nigeria, the home to the greatest concentration of the extremely poor in the world, is also the home of the wealthiest pastors in the world is a powerful testament to how successfully the pastors are swindling the masses with their distortion of the Word of God.
Tochukwu Ezukanma writes from Lagos, Nigeria. You can reach him via email: email@example.com or phone: 0803 529 2908.
‘Amotekun, What Is The Arewa North Afraid Of?’
By Charles Ogbu
The level of apprehension, paranoia, and panic that has gripped the Arewa North since the inauguration of the Yoruba Regional Security Outfit codenamed Operation Amotekun (which is not even going to bear arms) is indicative of something very positive for the non-Caliphate rest of the country.
In the entire southwest, there are state owned vigilante services helping to provide security for the locals. In the East, you have the Forest guards in Enugu, the Homeland Security (not fully operational but has been approved by the police) in Abia and one of the best organized vigilante services in Anambra. Yet, neither the Northern controlled security agencies nor the Attorney General has declared those ones illegal.
Well the answer is not far fetched.
It is not really the Amotekun the Danfodios are scared of. It is the fact that a Southern region was able to find the needed UNITY and COURAGE to look beyond partisanship and other mawkish considerations by setting up a regional security outfit to protect their people from a govt sponsored terrorist group masquerading as cow herders. The Caliphate sees this as a form of defiance on the part of the Yoruba. But even more than this, the Arewa North fears the ripple effect of the success of operation Amotekun and one of those ripple effects is that other regions which have been victims of the murderous indiscretion of the fulani killer herdsmen will follow the Yoruba example by setting up their own regional security. And when this is replicated in most part of the country, you will have Organic Restructuring even without amending the Constitution. This is their biggest fear.
As for Miyetti Allah, their fears are understandable; no thief will be happy that his victim has decided to put measures in place to secure his home.
What the Jukun people of Taraba just did, announcing their own security outfit is what every non-Caliphate part of this forced union needs to do. Don’t just stop at showing solidarity to the Yorubas, come out with your own regional security outfit. This is not about the Yoruba as a people. This is about every region in the country making a bold statement that a govt which has refused to protect her citizens has no right to stop them from protecting themselves especially when the killers of these citizens are being protected by the same govt.
There is something the Southeast can learn from Amotekun.
The fact that both the official inauguration of Amotekun and the back and forth verbal gymnastics with the affidavit Attorney General are being handled by the duly elected governors of the SouthWest (most of whom are APC and even in their first term) has a lesson for Ndigbo: YOU CANNOT LIBERATE A PEOPLE WITHOUT BEING IN CHARGE OF THEIR POLITICS. It is your being in charge of their politics that will give you the needed legitimacy, platform as well as the structure to be their savior. As a matter of urgent importance, we must take more interest in the caliber of men and women managing our affairs at home. If we don’t, by 2023 which is almost here, this same crop of politicians will still be running our affairs and no amount of social media insult and name calling will change that. When your regional politics is controlled by men who think of their political interests before thinking of your safety, you stand absolutely no chance of being liberated. You can dislike your politicians. But you cannot hate politics itself because it is the key to everything including your liberation. Political power is the number1 controller of all other powers. It is the reason some clown in Abuja can sit in some office and declare a regional security effort illegal. It is also the reason the Yoruba governors who are resisting him haven’t been “gifted” with Python dance.
~ Charles Ogbu is a social-political analyst and a good governance advocate.
Amotekun By South-West Is Illegal: How To Respond To AGF’s Opinion
By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
The governors of South West had recently established Amotekun, a regional security organization to protect the people of SW. Mr. Malami, the attorney General of the federation has declared this formation to be illegal. The leaders of SW, SE and NC have cried out against the proclamation by AGF as not correct and Mr. Falana, a well know civil rights leader and a respected attorney has said the AGF is wrong. Merely saying that the AGF is wrong is a timid response to AGF and the federal government that the represents.
No matter what the Supreme Court declares as the constitutional requirements, the first law of nature is self-preservation. Anybody, who fails to protect himself from any enemy has himself to blame. Any government that is incapable of protecting its citizens has lost the authority of the people. And lost the reason for its existence. The leaders of SE, SS and NC should go beyond verbal challenge of AGF’s opinion (it is only an opinion). They should move on to form their own versions of Amotekun. They should also sign a cooperative agreement whereby an attack on one Amotekun is an attack on all the others.
The reign of King Muhammadu Buhari has been nothing than a reign of terror. It has showered a situation in the places around and below the confluence of Niger and Benue where neither life no property is safe. Ordinary citizens, in pursuit of their legal businesses are kidnapped and killed; their property, like farm lands, have been taken over and if they dare resist, their lives go with the property. These criminal activities are blamed on Fulani Herdsmen, yet nobody is in the police custody, nobody has been tried. The laws and the law enforcement apparatus are incapable of protecting innocent citizens from the attacks by enemies within and without.
We the people have absolute right to protect ourselves and in situations where one cannot do so by himself, one should form alliances to help. That is what Amotekun is intended to do.
Man is not made for law; but laws are made for man.
What should the federal government do?
1. The FG should listen to the voice of the people (onuorah) and hear the fears that are driving the formation of Amotekun.
2. The FG should come to the negotiation table in good faith and negotiate with the zonal leaders to amend the laws and allow for the regional protection forces and establish the modus operandi by the forces.
3. The regional leaders must show that they could control the forces they have created so that they don’t become another kind of armed marauders. In USA each municipality has its police force which calls on neighboring police for help in difficult situations. This round robin calls go all the way to the state and FG police until the emergency is resolved and eventually to the armed forces of the US if the enemy is from without.
The emergence of Amotekun is not good for Nigeria, but it is an opportunity which if seized would make Nigeria better and safer.
If President Muhammadu Buhari is indeed interested in the future of Nigeria he should seize this opportunity or he will be forever remembered as the architect of Nigeria’s collapse.
~ Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba writes from Boston, Massachusetts.
Why Humans Don’t Live As Long As They Once Did – Reno Omokri
By Reno Omokri
Have you ever wondered why the animals in the Garden of Eden never posed a physical threat to Adam and Eve, or why the wild animals Noah kept in the Ark never attacked him and his family?
It is because in the beginning, God created humans and animals to be vegetarians. Don’t take my word for it. Let Scripture convince you:
Genesis 1:29 is for humans:
“Then God said, “I give you every SEED-BEARING PLANT on the face of the whole earth and EVERY TREE that has FRUIT with seed in it. They will be yours for FOOD.”
Genesis 1:30 is for animals:
“And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.”
The difference God made between the food for humans and animals is that we were only to eat fruits and vegetables that had SEED in it. While animals were allowed to eat any fruit and vegetable, whether or not it had seeds.
Yes, Cain kept livestock-Genesis 4:2. But he did NOT eat them. They were for sacrifice.
From Genesis 1 to Genesis 9, you will not find even one verse were any man or animal ate meat. So why did man and animal start eating meat?
Genesis 9:3 gives us the answer. That verse reads:
“Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the GREEN PLANTS, I NOW give you everything.”
Notice the word ‘NOW’. God gave man and animal meat to eat because the Great Flood had destroyed all vegetation on Earth. It took a while for the Earth to be revegetated.
But then you will notice something. Noah and his ancestors all lived extraordinarily long. It was only after Noah and his children started eating meat that their lifespan reduced. Let me give my readers some examples.
Adam lived for 930 years. His son Seth, lived for 912 years. Seth’s son, Enosh lived for 905 years. Enosh’ son, Kenan, lived for 910 years. Kenan’s son, Mahalalel, lived for 895 years. Mahalalel’s son, Jared, lived for 962 years. Jared’s son, Enoch, lived for 365 years, but never died. He was taken to heaven, alive. Enoch’s son, Methuselah, lived for 969 years (the man with the longest lifespan ever). Methuselah’s son, Lamech, lived for 777 years. Lamech was the father of Noah. Noah lived to be 950 years. You can find these information in Genesis chapter 5.
Now go to Genesis 11. After man started eating meat, Shem, Noah’s son, lived for 500 years, which is half his father’s lifespan. His son, Arphaxad, lived for 403 years. Arphaxad’s son, Shelah, also lived for 403 years. Shelah’s son, Eber, lived for 430 years. Eber’s son, Peleg, lived for 209 years. Peleg’s son, Reu, lived for 207 years. Reu’s son, Serug, lived for 200 years. Serug’s son, Nahor, lived for 119 years. Nahor gave birth to Terah, who was the father of Abraham.
So you can see that it was AFTER man started eating meat that we started to live shorter and shorter lifespans.
Consult your doctor and he will tell you that if you want to live a long and healthy life, you must stop eating or reduce your intake of red meat.
In Japan, the nation with the highest life expectancy in the world, the eating of meat was banned for centuries. Google it. Even after the ban was lifted in the last century, the Japanese still rarely consume red meat. That is the secret of their longevity.
If you want to live a long, healthy and happy life, your chances are increased (but not guaranteed), if you can eat only fruit and vegetables. And not just any. Eat organic fruit and vegetables.
Think back to Daniel. Daniel 1:8 reads:
“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not DEFILE himself with the portion of the king’s MEAT”.
Daniel was a vegetarian. Daniel 1:12 reads:
“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but VEGETABLES to eat and water to drink.”
Daniel 1:15 reads:
“At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”
I am proof of Daniel’s word. I don’t eat meat. I eat only organic fruit and vegetables. I eat fish and seafood. Yet, I am stronger and healthier than my own blood brother who eats meat, despite the fact that I am 10 years older than him. He travels the world with me. I run everyday for an hour. He lasts 30 minutes and gives up.
I never get sick, even though my brother gets sick periodically. Health insurance is wasted on me. Without trying to be vain, I look physically good though I am 46 years old this year (2020).
Follow the word of God. Eat and live as it says you should. “It shall be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones.”-Proverbs 3:8.
If a doctor tells you you are going to die next month, you will make peace with God and man and start living right. But we will all die one day. Tomorrow is promised to no man. Why wait until death is imminent before having a conscience at peace with God and man?