Sunday, September 19, 2021 3:16 pm
By Omoh Giwa
Dear Omoh Giwa,
Would you think it satirical to ask how you are faring (considering the state of affairs in Nigeria)? I bring you warm tidings from Osalobuwa (though He dissociates himself from the filth and treachery of a particular individual that claims to be led by the spirit of God). I do not envisage a response from the Lioness of Lisabi or the great Awo (like the gods of ancient Greece, there are weightier issues than those iterated in your previous missives like our bets on the VAT brouhaha).
I am contacting from Nirvana as I could not but notice in your tirades, a disconcerting notion. (Digressively, are you really surprised that over fifteen million Nigerians voted not once but twice the nepotistic general or is this your weak attempt at humour?) I have been called ‘Father of Pentecostalism in Nigeria’ several times and it is on this authority I want to discuss the subject of Christianity in Nigeria.
How can you honestly expect a response from He who is addressed as the Holy One of Israel while wallowing in your filth like swine (blocked drainages or heaps of refuse on major roads? You are an unclean lot spiritually and physically) However, this is insignificant compared to my reason for writing. I am bothered about the increase in false prophets and the gullibility of the sheep.
When our messiah charged Peter with the care of the flock, it was under the impression that as a religious leader, he would lead and act in the footsteps of the Nazarene but consider the perversion today. I understand the epistle of Paul to Timothy prophesizes that men would be lovers of themselves and practice heresy and idolatry but should this associated with men of the cloth?
The role of the priest is to act as ambassador between the sheep and the master of the flock but these wolves are more interested in exploiting and extorting the flock than caring for them. Remember how politicians hoarded palliatives during the lockdown from the pandemic (do not get me started on the importance of cleanliness and abstinence which you are now being compelled to obey but at what cost?), well how did your general overseers care for you (you weren’t expecting anything or the miracle of the five loaves and two fish doesn’t apply to you?) Instead they capitalised on avenues to ensure the steady inflow of wealth through tithes and offerings.
You don’t believe me? Did one of them not recently boast that he acquired not one but two private jets during the pandemic as though that is a reflection of the gift of the Holy Spirit. A nation enormously blessed with vast reserves of mineral resources yet is the poverty capital of the world coincidentally boasts of elegantly constructed cathedrals but has less than a tenth of the total number of churches in factories that could improve the economy and standard of living. Is this not the same church leader smeared in a sex scandal of funding the rich and extravagant life of a certain actress? We particularly like the social media captions of “small girl big God” when they speak of their blessings and source of their lifestyles. Ironically, the blessings are from the pulpit (a gathering of the widow’s mite. Jokes! Jokes! Relax, humour is not reserved for the living).
What about the one that was exposed as a sexual predator, preying on young girls (you’d probably remember him as the ‘Krest’ Pastor?) and intimidating them when they go public? The feigned public outrage and anger lasted mere weeks and the nation carried on, business as usual and service continued as usual. Is he not back on the pulpit and his cathedral bursting at the seams? What about priests that not only engage in fornicating with women but have added young impressionable boys to their list of victims?
I especially like the one that calls himself “liquid metal” and has turned his church services into a carousal. One time he claimed to be casting demons out of a member and kept kicking and throwing the victim on chairs as though the erring demon is physical and could feel the torture. Do you remember a certain pastor that asked her congregation to tap into her special anointing of rearing virgins (I’m as confused as you are) for a paltry sum of one thousand dollars as though God’s blessings could be repackaged for sale like exotic wine? How can you be comfortable with the denigration of Christianity? Was the blood of Jesus shed for this? This reminds me of Simon the Sorcerer who attempted to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit but was rebuked by Peter but look at stomach-infrastructure deacons.
My lengthy harangue seems to have gone off-track because I wanted to address the role of religious leaders in the political affairs of a nation. A certain influential religious leader has been tagged ‘Kingmaker’ because a sitting president and British prime minister knelt before him for re-election success (coincidentally didn’t go as planned).
I wish to remind you of the biblical story of Elijah and Ahab where the prophet faced the dictator without fear even though he knew the implications of such actions. You do remember that Elijah went into hiding for fear of his life and pleaded with God to take his life? What do these clergies do with their influence? Amass more wealth, influence and build bigger cathedrals during economic hardship and political unrest/instability when they have been charged with speaking truth to the powers that be. Do they even consider creating avenues for economic growth for their members? I guess they have no intention of inheriting the kingdom of God (the Beatitudes).
My daughter, men of the cassock have become influencers for politicians and have no regard for God whom they profess to call. Have they forgotten the prophecy that God’s judgment will start from the church? When did the pulpit become a poverty alleviation scheme? How did the church get to this point where one cannot differentiate the heathens from the righteous? When did we lose focus and sight of the goal?
I think it is time to get off your knees in reverence to your religious leaders (I like how you are quick to quote ‘touch not my anointed…’ does having a pulpit make one God’s anointed?) and take the bull by the horns. Our Father considers the prayer of the unrighteous an abomination.
Yours in His Vineyard, Benson Idahosa.
*Giwa, is of the Department of English, University of Lagos.