Prosperity message, evil holding church back-concerned ministers
…form coalition against heretic teachings
Ministers of the gospel under the name, Concerned Ministers Forum have observed that the main evil threatening the church is the undue emphasis on prosperity message noting that it is an indirect way of playing into the hands of the devil.
The group which comprises of church leaders from a number of churches made this known at a press briefing on Wednesday October 2 at the Bible Guest House, Ilupeju, Lagos.
It also promised to begin a sustained campaign against heretic and materialistic teachings in the church.
Present at the briefing were Bishop Abraham Olaleye, President, Abraham Olaleye Evangelistic Ministry, Rev Toyin Kehinde, Senior Pastor Agape Generation International Church, Pastor Emmanuel Patrick, Rev Adeboye Joshua, Rev Bode Orekoya, Christ Image Assembly, Senior Pastor Christ Image Ministry, Prophet Animashau Oladimeji of the Latter House of Glory, and a host of others.
Talking on behalf of the group, Bishop Olaleye who titled the four-page delivery, “the heart of God concerning Nigeria’s crisis, a cry to the church and the prophets”, observed that the seeming anomie and dysfunctional state of Nigeria are necessary grounds for concern for well-meaning Nigerians.
He stated that the backwardness and the state of lawlessness characterized by mindless killings, kidnapping and chaos can be summed up in one simple truth: “Our naked pursuit of crass materialism,” adding that “the severest warning must go to the church and its leaders in the present scheme of things”
He lamented that the church has woefully failed the nation; “The church has turned its historic mission upside down, abdicating its sanctifying purpose and the sanitizing power of its presence, becoming rather the chief accomplice in Nigeria’s unbridled initiation into satanic pursuit of perishable material gains”
Olaleye who declared that the group had resolved to continue to stand against the gospel that does not align with God’s written word, stated that “the sickening elevation of the prosperity gospel is playing into the infernal plans of Satan for our nation”
He stressed that “such gospel is emptying the gospel, along with its church and its leaders of its redemptive powers. Such gospel rouses gullible masses and turn them to false worshippers who become slaves to satanic manipulation. This is the reason millions of our people engage in endless pursuit of a phantom miracle of material prosperity.”
Defining what the church truly stands for, Olaleye said, “Our commission is to preach the good news of salvation and deliverance from sin through the redemptive work that our Lord Jesus accomplished on calvary”
Drawing heavily from the life of Jesus, the Bishop evangelist who has traversed many nations of the world preaching the gospel of salvation said the gospel of Jesus was direct in its proposition.
“The gospel of Jesus is about salvation of a repentant soul from otherwise certain eternal perdition. While an abundant life filled with joy with dominion remain the benefit of a sanctified life, crass emphasis on material pursuits are exactly contrary to the purpose of the gospel.” He said.
He took exception at the way church members are promised fake financial breakthrough noting that such promise is directly linked to the increase in the rate of youths that are indolent and lazy.
According to him, “the manner in which people are coopted en-mass into false and heightened financial expectation that is not anchored on inbuilt virtues of hard work and honest work is the reason why there is poor work ethics in the country.”
He decried the way church leaders now compete for material possession in the midst of grinding poverty.
His words, “whether deliberate or otherwise, whether consciously or unconsciously, misplaced emphasis on material prosperity and a general disposition to feel good messages is neither Christ centred nor heaven focused.”
Concluding his delivery Olaleye warned that this is not time for denominational finger pointing. “It is not time for unguided defense of our individual and corporate corruption as a church. This is the time to think soberly. Nigeria is desperately in need of our intercessory prayers and of the sanitizing power of the true and authentic gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let leaders examine themselves exhaustively. With prayer and fasting let us subject our cherished teachings to the penetrating search of the Holy Spirit once again. Let us find the meekness to stand naked before the almighty God and in heartfelt repentance.”
The group of pastors took time to dispel insinuations that they were acting on their own. They stressed that they were representing the entire body of Christ though the representation at the meeting was lopsided.
Olaleye and his colleagues said they have interacted with a cross section of church leaders and consulted widely before coming to make public statement on the decay in the church.
He explained that the expression judge not’ and touch not my anointed are scriptures people quote out of context noting that “believers are expected to judge between right and wrong but they are not expected to pass a verdict on anybody as God is the only one who can pronounce judgement on people the way judges pass judgment on people in the law court.”
On how the church can impact the society, Rev Kehinde offered that the church has a responsibility to embark on mission, welfare programmes and education of Nigerians. “The good news of Jesus is liberating. It has capacity to liberate people from sin and make them good citizens. When people are genuinely saved, they will live right. We also have a responsibility to attend to the needs of the people as the Lord supplies. I believe if these are adhered to, Nigeria will be a better place.”
The body of preachers further emphasized that the church is the hope of Nigeria noting that if the church gets it right the country will get it right.
On the call for spiritual intervention in the fight against Boko Haram, the preachers said the Chief of Army Staff was making the right observation.
They however noted that his dimension of spiritual approach to the crisis is what is not clear.
Olaleye explains, “We know that all physical problem has its roots in the spiritual. It is gratifying that the Chief of Army Staff could own up to the inadequacy of the army in combating terror. We can’t discountenance the spiritual in the scheme of things. Unfortunately the church that should give direction to the nation is itself enmeshed in moral crisis”
The preachers said the press conference was first in the series of the activities that they would embark on noting that they would continue to explore ways the church would come out of the mess it has found itself as they are being led by the Holy Spirit.