Charles Anwuzie is a Nigerian, a pastor, a software engineer, an ethical hacker/CyberSecurity Expert and studied Biochemistry at the University. He is the CEO of Gemsbok Group, a South African Technology company located in the South of Johannesburg. He shares his ministry experience with Church Times in an online chat. Below are excerpts:
When did you start preaching the gospel?
I started preaching at quite a young age and served under seasoned ministers of the gospel.
Kindly tell us your early encounter with God. How did you come to know the Lord?
My dad couldn’t have a child after several years of marriage. I remember him telling me that he promised God that the first child God gives him shall be returned back to God as a minister of the gospel. So when I was less than 9, my dad took me to a prophet whose name was Chichinta and that was my first exposure to the work of the ministry.
At 9, I preached my first sermon at Iheorji Secondary School, Aba but you know, growing up into my teenage years was challenging. Teenage exuberance dimmed my passion for the ministry as I started pursuing secular education. It was in my 2nd year in the university that God arrested me again and since then up to today, I have been burning for Jesus, travelling from nation to nation, city to city, preaching the Finished Work of Christ.
If you can recall, what were your early experiences of salvation. How did you roll in God’s vineyard in those early days?
I spent the greater part of my early days in ministry as an itinerant evangelist. I travelled the length and breadth of Nigeria – ministering in several churches across the country. I am a born evangelist. My passion has always been souls and truth. But along the way, I met some unholy men in ministry who taught me that ministry can be a way to raise funds. I watched them raise millions in services and I felt God was with them. I started raising funds in services too and became very perfect in the act of fund raising but just as I was about to settle and establish a prosperity centered ministry, God arrested me again and this time, God opened my eyes to see that the sow-to-prosper ministry which I had gotten into was actually the Anti-Christ gospel which the kingdom of hell injected into the vineyard to divert the attention of God’s people from the Father’s love to mammon.
I then made up my mind to fight and expose mammon and its subtle ways.
Who were the people you looked up to then and what were those things about them that fascinated you?
I have always looked up to Dr. Myles Munroe for his understanding of the Kingdom. He made the biggest impact on my life.
In what area of ministry did you operate in…what in specific terms were your involvement in the church?
I operated as a travelling evangelist and ministered with the gift of healing and accurate word of knowledge. I saw pains of all kinds disappear instantly. I still believe in the healing power of Jesus and minister it always.
You seem to have a sort of different theology compared to when you first believed judging by your various online posts. How did you arrive at the change in understanding of God and his operations?
Like I said earlier, I bought into the Sow-to-Prosper Pentecostal theology until the Holy Spirit told me that it was not of God. The Holy Spirit took me to a Spiritual question in Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” It was Jesus Himself that asked that rhetoric question implying even though birds don’t sow seeds yet God takes care of them, how much more you and I who are made in His image? Will God now demand a seed from us to do His job as a loving Father? The answer is NO. Romans 8:32 asks “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, through Him, freely give us all things?”. If God didn’t ask us for money to save us from sin, how can He now ask us for money to save us from poverty? It doesn’t make sense. God doesn’t need seed or tithes. It is us, the preachers, whose greed and need has caused to hold on to such creed. But the truth is prevailing.
What in practical terms have this change in theology caused you as a person?
Well, like Paul cried in Philippians 3: 8 “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”, same is my experience and the experience of all those who shall stand for the truth of the pure gospel void of mammon. We lose all things – relationships, money, comfort, respect, reputation, our empires, our pride, our followers, our ambitions – everything…But guess what? We gain Christ!
You seem to be so bitter and angry with the Pentecostal movement. What is the thrust of your anger?
No happy person has ever caused a change in history. Every revolution or reformation in history was pioneered by someone who got angry at the status quo. Yes, I got angry at the fraud I saw in the pulpit. I saw Senior Pastors become millionaires while their branch pastors suffer in poverty. I saw prophets lie to church members in order to rape their pockets. I saw fake miracle workers who arranged miracles and I also saw fake revivalists who spoke like revivalists but behaved like the false prophets. I saw all sorts of fraud and lack of seriousness in the pulpit and I got angry and decided to break the ranks and call the body of Christ to order. A lot of people misunderstood me but with time, thousands of people around the world are beginning to understand our anger. People are now realizing that we are not angry with the body of Christ because we are part of that body…but we are angry with the strange hirelings who invaded the vineyard. Like true sons, we have risen up. You know, when true sons arise, false hirelings hide in shame. That’s what is happening now.
What specifically do you think led the Nigerian church to its present situation?
It was greed and lack of proper Bible interpretation that led the Nigerian church to this abyss of mammon. The dead economy too affected our people. Every young man in Southern Nigeria today either has a calling or may soon have a divine calling. Sad. If things were economically well, many of the young pastors would be gainfully employed in corporate organizations. But religion seem to be the opium of the average Nigerian today. So yes, I will say, Greed, Ignorance of the Truth and a bad economy led us down this drain.
You have had to intervene in many of your online posts concerning the Nigerian church. Do you see this move bearing fruit?
When Benny Hinn posted an advert where he marketed a bottle of anointing oil, I led an aggressive online protest and in less than 2 hours, he was forced to pull down the post both from facebook and his website. Rev. Funke Adejumo’s excessive demand for money has also been called out in the process of this reformation and we all can see the result. She has realized that the game is up and if she does it again, she might risk getting those videos submitted to the embassies which would affect her international trips. A huge army has arisen and unlike before, believers are now able to think with their brains and question their religious leaders. The result of this ongoing Apostolic Reformation is huge and someday, it will be documented for posterity.
If you are to address the church in Nigeria, what are the things you think should change and why?
I will encourage pastors to get involved in economic activities like business or side-jobs so that they won’t be tempted to romance with mammon. I will also encourage Senior Pastors to take very good care of their assistant pastors and branch pastors and not hoard resources to themselves and immediate family. I will encourage church members to study the epistles more to discover the true gospel of the New Covenant we have in Christ Jesus so that nobody will take advantage of their ignorance again. If I have the platform to address the church in Nigeria, I would help them to change their mindset about God – from the mind that sees God as a terrible consuming fire to a mind that sees Him as a Loving and responsible Father who has given us everything through Christ.
One of the arguments of those who are against criticism is that servants of God are answerable to God not to man. How will you react to this?
Well, if we can criticize a constitutionally elected and anointed President like Buhari, why shouldn’t we also question every other leader whether they are business leaders or religious leaders. The problem with Nigerian Christians is that their pastors have brainwashed them into believing that we all are not equal before God. So the average Nigerian Christian sees his pastor as a deputy god which is quite unfortunate.
Is the situation in the Nigerian church that bad? is it that there is nothing good about the church?
I celebrate the good side of the church in Nigeria – like the fact that they are apostolic in nature. The world has been influenced greatly by the church in Nigeria and this is the more reason why we must strive to get it right again so that we don’t feed the world rotten food. We are an apostolic people and that is something to celebrate about the church in Nigeria.