JESUS CHRIST FOR SALE
BY PROF.NATHAN UZORMA PROTUS
As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might. This is the situation with the preachers of today. Christ visited this planet earth some years back and left an indelible step worthy of emulation. He preached the gospel of truth and love. Jesus history made a new calendar which we call the Christian era. He did not establish any ritualistic worship. He knows that men can be baptized, partake of the Eucharist, support the clergy, observe the Sabbath, make long prayers and be sensual and sinful.
Jesus Christ bore our infirmities. He knew the error of men. Despised and reject of men, returning blessing for cursing, He taught morals the opposite of themselves, even the true nature of God. When error (heresy) felt the power of TRUTH (knowledge) the scourge and the cross awaited the great teacher. What a great life of a great man! Men did not understand Him due to their attachment to material belief which is slow to acknowledge what the spiritual fact implies. The truth is the center of all religion it commands sure entrance into the realm of love.
If my friends are going to Europe, while I am enroute for California, we are not journeying together. Being in profound sympathy with error of materialism some modern and worldly preachers are at the back and call of falsehood and illusion. They are like travelers going westward for a pleasure –trip.
In Nigeria today being born again has become a modern industry that has accommodated neo-paganistic creed and preaching. Yet corruption and other related evils are on daily increase. A look at the religious terrain in this country reveals a very high degree of religiosity whose spirituality is at best questionable. Every available space in people’s houses, ears, implements of work, purses and covers of bibles are covered with stickers of seeming spiritual statements ranging from personal attunes to the spirit –world to indications of a quest for personal protection from the devil and evil men and women. In some cases they invoke direct “Prayer” for divine attack on supposed physical (i.e. human) enemies and in some extreme cases a wish that such “enemies” were dead. Examples of such stickers or statements include: “I am covered in the Blood of Jesus” “Holy Ghost Zoon keep off”, “Holy Ghost Fire”, “No Power directed against me shall prosper”, “Back to Sender”, “I bind every Spirit of Failure in my life”, “Attack those who attack me”.
The reason for this state of affairs could be traced to uncertainty experienced in Nigeria during the war years, 1967 -1970; thereafter, came the dictatorial regimes of the military, especially those of Babangida and Abacha. Those periods brought to Nigerians more concretely the Gospel message; Be prepared for you know not the hour the Son of man will come –Matt. 24:44. The end of the war did not bring to an end this serving God (satisfying the spirit) and serving mammon (satisfying the flesh) syndrome. The effect of the effort at personal survival saw the very first scandalous examination malpractice in Nigeria “EXPO 70” as eventually put into High life beat by the late Oliver De Coque.
One of our contemporary Scholars Onah gives six reasons for the proliferation of churches. These include religious enthusiasm, commercialization or “quick money”, quest for social status, frustration, inability to adhere to doctrines and or dogma and scandal. In addition to Onah’s view, I wish to state that ignorance of the true nature of God is also responsible for this. Shakespeare says, “There is no darkness, but ignorance”. In fact, nothing is worse than active ignorance noticed today in some churches. Thomas Aquinas says, “No more, where ignorance is bliss, it’s folly to be wise” for Confucius, “Ignorance is the might of the mind, but a might without moon or star”.
Those who brought Pentecostal idea meant well for humanity. When the fire of God’s word was revived in some orthodox groups then, and their members refused to bow to authority to be beaten into line (status quo), they equally refused ejection from the churches; the churches consequently modified their position. Today there is Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the Romans Catholic church, Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion, and Methodist Evangelical Team in Methodist Church. They all share many things in common with the classical Pentecostal groups. Like Albert Einstein would say, “Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either”. Our case in this context is that, the type of Christianity practiced by many in this country is used to canonize tribalism, xenophobia, sectionalism, greed and galloping avarice. We have failed God! All have sinned again! Jesus is placed on various modern alters for sale.
In Nigerian context, Karl Mark’s theory can easily be forgiven. He arrived at his conclusions after rightly observing that religion in history (and to a great extent today) has been variously employed for the maximal exploitation of the weak, the powerless, the peasants, the hoipolloi, the anawim, and the poor in whatever shape or configuration they appeared in history.
Humanity seems not to have changed much. It is still obvious that some leaders of churches have been fleecing their flock, arrantly milking and feeding them off, without an ounce of conscience. Consequently, the booming and mushrooming of many ministries and shades in the Christian bloc today, has more of a pecuniary base than the desire to do God’s will. Otherwise, how do we justify the activities of the modern native doctors hitherto masquerading as Pastors and Evangelist, who end up calling Tele-phone numbers of many via occultic powers? Some of them will tell you everything you have done in life as prophesy, but this is done through psychic invasion into one’s psychic space.
Majority who do all these are workers of iniquity. Christ had warned, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” Matt.7:15.
JESUS CHRIST FOR SALE PART 2
In the last week edition of this article the following statements were quoted from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy “Jesus history made a new calendar which we call the Christian era. He did not establish any ritualistic worship. He knows that men can be baptized, partake of the Eucharist, support the clergy, observe the Sabbath, make long prayers and be sensual and sinful.Jesus Christ bore our infirmities. He knew the error of men. Despised and reject of men, returning blessing for cursing, He taught morals the opposite of themselves, even the true nature of God. When error (heresy) felt the power of TRUTH (knowledge) the scourge and the cross awaited the great teacher”. What a great life of a great man! Men did not understand Him due to their attachment to material belief “which is slow to acknowledge what the spiritual fact implies. The truth is the center of all religion it commands sure entrance into the realm of love.
If my friends are going to Europe, while I am enroute for California, we are not journeying together.” Being in profound sympathy with error of materialism some modern and worldly preachers are at “the back and call of” falsehood and illusion. They are “like travelers going westward for a pleasure –trip”. I quite apologize for the typographical error.
Today the number of prophecies you receive will determine the amount of money you will pay. Olive oil and other anointed oils are all modern ways of exploiting some people. Compelling people to show seed of faith and determining the amount of money to pay by the priest is a sure way to “modern righteousness and obedience to God’s voice”-oh what a heresy! Gathering people together under one uncompleted building and picking their pockets with mass hypnotism, mesmerisms, alleluia gravitated hysteria, all in Jesus name, has today become a national industry. Agwunsi and Amadiohia Pentecostal ministries are here and there. Yes, the Nose and God’s Anus Fellowship is everywhere, yet the behavioral bearings of our people remain suspect.
The Naira note is now the ‘God’ that is firmly emplaced in our various temples. The way our modern preachers worship money is very amazing. “Me I no go suffer, I no go beg for bread” summarizes the way we approach God. In business a Nigerian can cheat you while saying the afternoon angelus in the market. A prophet can defraud you while speaking in tongues too. In Nigeria, gospel messages are preached in busses and funds and offerings are raised too in order to support “the work of God”. After all, GSM handsets have been stolen at crusade arenas, pockets have been picked in Churches too, etc. I have heard a pastor said that under good arrangement Satan can go to heaven, meaning perchance God can be bribed to change His mind. I’m not saying that all Nigerians are crooks, no, there are some good pastors but the bad ones have overwhelmed the good ones.
The question that has continued to keep me awake at night is: why is it that the picture that is painted of God in Nigeria today is that of an economic goldmine, a huge investment or material gains only? The use of private Jet is the watch word of many men of God as Jesus has promised us paradise of goodies, promotions, banishment of suffering etc, as we accept him into our lives. What an error! The Bible says, “for it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” Heb. 2:10. Remember that one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (as is evident in Galatians 5:22) is longsuffering, so from where do we get the message that “If E no be me, Na who God go bless” if not from ignorance and falsehood? It is my honest opinion that Nigeria will be better than it is presently, when Christians start to seriously question themselves on how far they are approximating the degree of excellence inherent in the tenets of the faith they profess.
I have no apologies to render to anybody consequent upon what I have said so far. I’m bamboozled at the way things are going on in this nation. How many Roman Catholic, Arch Bishop, Bishops and Rev. Fathers have private Jet in Nigeria? What about other clergies in some other orthodox churches? In these orthodox churches, things are done with profound understanding and wisdom. In the Pentecostal churches where the Holy Spirit is assumed to be reigning supremely things are not done wisely. Oh what a fulfillment of Christ prophesy/sayings that “…the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” Luke 16:8
Money is good but we must be very careful how we associate Christ with it. Yes, He (Christ) made use of money during his first advent, no doubt about it but the same Christ warned, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and loose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”. Mark 8:36-37. The modern day preachers have reduced God to only tithe and offering. The God of material acquisition only. Those preaching the message of salvation to people are now enslaving the same people. A situation where young girls descend so low hawking their sacred bodies at the corner of some churches is amazing. It was in Port Harcourt that I was told that a young girl who had no job (but specializes in prostitution) pays a better tithe and supports the work of God with ill-gotten money. What an abomination! When the Pastor got to know about it, he consequently implored the sister to continue in the business (prostitution) until she gets a better work. Christ forewarned, “When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth let him understand” Matt 24:15. It should be noted here that the above Bible quotation has a profound eschatological meaning in relation to the end time. On the other hand, the pastor’s advice to the young girl is an abomination in the science of the true worship of God.
Today we see people who dress well with their Bibles begging for food in the name of God. In fact na poverty cause am. I remembered two years ago, I gave my sister her University school fees and she went to the church and sowed it as a seed of faith telling me that the man of God told her that she will buy a car before the end of August 2010. Up till now she has not bought a bicycle tube not to talk of buying a car. I’m not doubting God at all neither am I against sowing of seed faith, but like the great sage, “Wisdom is principal thing, therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding” Prov. 4:7. Some church people end up getting wisdom without understanding while few have understanding without wisdom. The two (wisdom and understanding) are the highest seed of faith a Christian needs to have in order to be productive.
Child of God, consider the true life and examples of Christ and relate same to the life of the so called great men of God of today. I am not the judge, neither am I here to judge any but simple logic should tell us that if you have enough money to the extent of getting a Jet for yourself and you have some unemployed people in your congregation, it is not very religious and loving to assist the unemployed in one type of business or the other? Is this not the best form of serving God? Christ met with a young ruler who shared the same view with some modern preaches during his time. The rich young ruler was so nice and abided by the rules of the kingdom when Jesus instructed him to “…go and sell what you have and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven….he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” Matt. 19:21-22. How many of our present day preachers can sell 40% of what they now have to create employment for our jobless youths in their various (private business centers) Churches in keeping to divine injunctions? Have the present day men of God forgotten that serving God means serving man?
Today God can be sold for much money in some churches. To consult a prophet is like consulting a medical doctor; you must pay consultation fees, pay prayer seed, Bible reading seed, prophesy seed, marriage seed, building seed, examination success seed, seed for fruit of the womb, accident free seed, to mention a few.