Africa: Home | Religion

Pastors Dangle Wealth To Lure Poor to Church

NIGERIA


“You don't automatically become rich because you have given your life to Jesus. You have to follow the principles of hard work and investment, the principle of resources management. You have to understand the principle of generosity, and you have to understand the principles that guide money management. No church makes people rich. God makes people rich, but not because they are Christians only, but because they do what is required of them.”

He explains further that though giving is rewarding, it is wrong for pastors to tell their members to “sow” their money before they can be rich. Rev. Badu says that applying such method amounts to manipulation of members.

“[My] question has always been, where did we find that example in Jesus? Giving and receiving is a universal law. It is not peculiar to Christians," Badu says. "...I have not found a place in the scriptures where Jesus or the disciples called people to come and give their money to be rich...

“Teach the people the law of harvest, but don't manipulate them to give what they don't have. Most of what is seen in churches today is witchcraft. It is manipulation, intimidation and domination, and it is high time we spoke against it.”

Seyi Adeyemi, pastor of The Worship Centre, a fast growing apostolic gathering in Lagos, says the important thing is the motive of the pastor.

"It’s going to be foolhardy and unscriptural for a man of God to see somebody in need and still want to place a demand on that person, rather than being a blessing to him.

“The Bible says if a man is hungry and he comes to you, first give him something to eat, before he would be able to listen to whatever you want to say, and doing otherwise could mean that such a person has a motive to exploit the people, which is evil.

“However, one could have a specific instruction from God on a specific issue, like the case of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath [from the Old Testament book of I Kings]. That case was different, because you would find that that kind of sacrificial giving led to an instant replenishment because it was ordained by God.

“People just need to be guided so that they would have the conviction in their hearts," Pastor Adeyemi says. "The widow of Zarephath was convinced that Elijah was a true man of God. So pastors should also be a blessing to people.”

An analyst, Pius Adeyemi, says churches should not just be spiritual organizations but also charity organizations where people in need can benefit. He thinks the country needs laws in place to guide the social responsibilities of the church in Nigeria.

“I’m not sure there are regulatory requirements in that regard, but I believe a church has both spiritual and social responsibilities," Adeyemi says. “...I think churches should be exemplary, not just about praying but in terms of touching lives.

“But I must say that a lot of churches are [touching lives] now," Adeyemi notes. "I think more than ever before, churches are more socially relevant. Just that many of them don’t make noise about it. I know people who give the poor food and all kinds of outreach programs. It’s not anything they could get the press to cover, but God sees everything.”

Customize This