BY WILFRED JIBRIL
Is there anything wrong with proliferation of churches? My answer to this question is yes and no. Yes, because in Nigeria, there is no need for it since the establishment of churches has been grossly abused, with every Tom, Dick and Harry setting up a church after graduating from the Bible College.
And no, because if churches were run with the fear of God, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. If we have churches in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria preaching holiness and preparing the citizenry for the coming of their Maker, the country will, no doubt, rank among the greatest countries in the world.
But what do we have instead? We have a situation whereby people set up churches for commercial purpose, making merchandise of gullible worshippers.
It is an open secret that joblessness has compelled a number of Nigerians to seek admission into Bible colleges with the sole aim of setting up churches to defraud unsuspecting worshippers.
I want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that the essence of going to Bible College is not to establish a church but to acquire theological knowledge.
That you are in a Bible College does not mean you are automatically called into ministry. And that you are even called into ministry does not mean you should set up a church immediately.
Being called into ministry and being led by the Spirit of God to start a church are two different things.
I dare say that most of the ministers in Nigeria are actually not called. Greed and inordinate ambition to acquire wealth overnight called them into ministry; hence we have this tragedy on our hands today.
It is not hyperbolical to say that the body of Christ, as we have in the country today, is not what the Lord Jesus Christ died for.
I told my church members in a Sunday message that the Church is supposed to be a body of transformed Christians. But the question is, how many Christians in Nigeria are transformed?
Is the lifestyle of the minister exemplary? Today, we have more crooks in the Church than elsewhere. Why? Our ministers have failed in their divinely ordained responsibility to preach the truth to members.
They are afraid to preach the truth because they don’t want to get into trouble with the crooks that are paying their bills.
If these ministers are called by God as they claim, they will toe the line of our Master, the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who, in John 6, preached the truth to the multitude who were looking for Him after they had been miraculously fed.
And what was their response to the message of the Lord? In John 6:60, the Bible says: “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?”
verse 66 tells us. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him”.
In Galatians 1: 10, Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians’ Church, says. “For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be a servant of Christ”.
But are our ministers not pleasing men in their messages, turning the Church of God to a place where money is being worshipped?
Rather than preach what God wants them to preach, they preach what members want to hear. Little wonder then that their assemblies are bereft of the presence of God and they are as spiritually dead as the Church in Sardis in Revelation 3: 1.
Why must any reasonable and heaven-bound Christian advocate a proliferation of churches in Nigeria where most ministers hypnotise members and swindle them of their hard-earned money in the name of sowing seed of faith for prosperity and the like?
Why should any God-fearing believer throw his/her weight behind proliferation of churches in a country where ministers pray for armed robbers, fraudsters and other criminals in a bid to get fat tithes and offerings from such evil members?
It is only an enemy of the Cross of Christ that will see nothing wrong in churches springing up everywhere and winning souls for the devil rather than winning souls for the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Sadly, that is what most assemblies are doing today. For all they care, members can go to hell as long as they are making their money and cruising about in exotic cars.
These evil ministers have a lot to learn from Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi, General Superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church, who in 1999 while addressing a workers’ retreat of the church at International Bible Training Centre, Ayobo, Lagos, read the riot act to some unfaithful members:
“I am not interested in a crowd; I am only interested in those who are going to heaven. If you are not ready to obey the Word of God, please, pack your load and leave Deeper Life”.
How many pastors in Nigeria can preach such a message? The love of money and materialism will not allow them to do so.
A story was told recently of an Isolo, Lagos-based minister who buys an exotic car after every crusade the church holds.
There are several others who do the same. But why are they succeeding in their evil? It is because most worshippers in the country hate the truth.
They like being deceived, streaming to these assemblies, which I consider the congregation of the dead, in a desperate search for fake prosperity at the expense of their souls.
In Hosea 4:6, the Bible says: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shall be no priest to me: seeing thou has forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children”.
Let us go back to Bethel and tread the path of godliness.
Pastor Wilfred Jibril can be reached on 08037831431 and via firstname.lastname@example.org