The yuletide is upon us
again. It is that time of the
year when both true and copycat Christians traditionally assemble to celebrate the birth of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, the author and the finisher of our fate; one whose life and works changed the course of human history. Like previous seasons, it is my seminal season; that time of the year when I usually wax lyrical.
I have always spoken out, no holds barred, against some of the ungodly atrocities being perpetrated in the house of Jehovah, the God of creation, in contemporary times, by the devil incarnates in our midst masquerading as angels of light; ceaselessly slammed the indecent and sacrilegious manner some self-styled “shepherds of the flock of Christ” have transformed Christianity into a huge Joke; continuously carpeted the taboos of the false apostles of moral correctness in our midst. Of all the outrageous practices that have received the fiery brunt of my sword of truth, the inroads capitalism has made into the establishment and administration of most contemporary churches has been the most prominent. This piece continues in the same stead.
That money-changers have taken over the running of most contemporary churches is no longer breaking news. Some of our worship centers, which have been blasphemously christened the “Houses of God”, are actually dens of thieves; abodes for some of the most reprehensible characters that can be imagined; havens for wolves in sheep’s clothing. The fact is that most modern churches are no longer places of refuge for the spiritually infirm, but huge business centers where some of the most mouthwatering financial transactions take place; bustling commercial hubs where trunk loads of cash constantly changes hands. Most of today’s churches operate strictly as commercial consortiums that are meant to bolster the exchequer of their proprietors – the General Overseers; business concerns that are driven by the “Mercantilist Philosophy”; the Philosophy that defined and drove the colonial enterprise – a commercial enterprise that is based on the notion that an individual or group can increase their status and power by obtaining as much wealth as possible, and by instituting a favourable balance of trade, in which they receive more than they give out. The ultimate goal of this system of commerce is economic self-sufficiency (emphasis added).
That contemporary churches have borrowed from the Mercantilist system of commerce is a fact that cannot be overemphasized. The establishment of churches with their large network of branches is meant to shore up the wealth of the parent church by exploiting the labours and resources of their congregations and securing the future of their children and children’s children. It is on the basis of these strictly commercial considerations that the unholy prophets in our midst go to extreme lengths to establish churches of their personal contriving; houses of debauchery that are devoid of divine authority; whore houses where the most reprehensible characters regularly assemble; centers of deceit where hypocrites rendezvous to play-act.
The “moneycentric” dispositions of some contemporary churches are legion; schemes that are designed to enrich the potentates at the expense of the unsuspecting, ignorant and largely brainwashed members of their congregations. When a church spends the proceeds from the tithes and offerings of its members to invest in capital intensive projects – like filling stations, financial houses, publishing houses, commercial airlines, private educational institutions et al – that are expected to yield huge profits that will not be redistributed to cater to the needs of the largely impoverished members of the congregation, it deviates from its core duties– catering to both the spiritual and physical needs of its members – as depicted by Christ throughout His earthly ministry. Our Lord Jesus Christ recognized the significance of balancing both the spiritual and physical needs of his flock. On several occasions, he took out time from His very tight schedules to also minister to the physical needs of the multitude that thronged the venues of His crusades to hear His message of salvation for their souls (See feeding of the multitude, Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44 ; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10). But majority of the chief shepherds of some of today’s churches don’t’ give a hoot about the welfare of their flock. All they are pre-occupied with is devising newer and more satanic methods of worsening the already pitiable conditions of their sheep. What a pity!
In some of our churches, today, we are continually inundated on the need to “sow” or “plant” seeds – of the need to invest in ministries through offerings, tithes and other contrived, compulsory contributions: “partnering in the ministry”, they call it. But unknown to the bewildered herds – the ever submissive sheep who daily flock to these centers of shame – who are ever submissive to the manipulations of the men/women on the pulpit, sowing, planting seeds or partnering with the ministry actually has nothing to do with investment or entrepreneurship, which has become the chief focus of the self-styled shepherds of the flock. The word partnership has been corrupted to serve the greed-driven ploys of the men and women in cassock. When you browse through most church websites, watch television programs or read handbills, you are more likely to come across bank account details that members are supposed to fund in order to “partner with God” and qualify to enjoy his goodness. What a laugh!
Unlike the practices in the past when we had Christian missions that were performing largely voluntary humanitarian functions – collaborative efforts by churches that helped in supplementing the efforts of government in mitigating the conditions of the masses such as the establishment of orphanages, schools, relief centers, hospitals, maternity centers, home for the homeless to the granting of scholarship schemes – most cotemporary churches have operated more like self-aggrandizing, profit oriented enterprises – money changing concerns that prefer plowing funds into enterprises that will not benefit those who contributed their operating capital; services they view as strictly government business. On the rare occasions when some of these churches manage to give things freely to the society, it’s simply to sell their brand to the impressionable public and possibly win more potential contributors to their already swelling purses; a form of advertising that is targeted at an audience with itchy ears. More annoying is the branding of these churches with the pictures of the pastors and their wives (This will be the subject of another discourse on this page).
The hypocrisies in today’s churches are mind-bending; man-made contradictions that are as nauseating as they are damning. Is it not hypocritical for a church to set up schools that majority of its members – individuals who contributed their hard earned tithes and offerings, that are supposedly to being invested for them in heaven by their pastors, towards constructing these projects – cannot afford to attend because of the astronomical costs required for entrance into these centers of learning? Is it not more hypocritical that the student populations of these same schools are largely constituted by the children of the so-called “unbelievers” – non-Christians – who can afford to pay the exorbitant fees required to gain admission into these schools? Is it not hypocritical that the same churches that criticize political leaders for failing to provide the basic necessities of life for the enjoyment of the citizenry are the same ones avoiding providing these same responsibilities in the little ways they can? Is it not hypocritical for churches to accuse their members of not paying their dues – as and when due – into the exchequer of the church, when they refrain from plowing back the profits made from their various investment portfolios into making life better for some of their members? What we have is the case of pots calling a kettle black. The bible admonishes us to first remove the log in our own eyes before attempting to remove specks from the eyes of others.
Churches are supposed to be non-governmental and non-profit organizations established to cater to both the spiritual and physical needs of the multitude; not centers of commerce where mammon is venerated. Most of the common challenges people have had to grapple with over the years – especially in developing countries – would have been effectively ameliorated if religious institutions had been contributing their own quota by collaborating with the authorities to tackle some of these challenges. Considering all the billions that are being contributed to the coffers of most churches, succor from the ravaging effects of poverty, disease and other social insecurities should not be far from the deplorably poor members of these congregations.
The craze by the heads of most contemporary churches to acquire wealth is ridiculous. From the acquisition of private jets, state of the art cruise ships, posh mansions in choice locations around the world, customized bulletproof cars to other luxury items money can buy, the vanities being exhibited by our church leaders are as shameful as they are embarrassing. Most Pastors buy jets with church money and register it to their names, obviously with the intention of willing it to their siblings. All these they do at the expense of the stupefied members of their flock who are at the mercy of these charlatans. The greedy, mingy merchants of death acting as caregivers in some of our churches today are not the true shepherds Christ spoke about in his biblical parable. What we have are impostors who have turned the house of God into a house of thieves; a brood of vipers whose goofs are legendary. Christians must be wary of the evil designs of these dark lords; these incarnates of Satan.
True Christianity is not a commercial enterprise – it never was and never will be. Jesus Christ, the avatar of the Christian religion laid its basic pillars, none of which is centered on the acquisition of worldly wealth. Accepted that the children of God are supposed to live blissful lives on earth, as well as in the afterlife, it should not be at the detriment of their souls (Matthew 16: 21; Mark 8:36). Christ’s teachings on true wealth was of a spiritual mien (Matthew 6:19-21), not the mainly physical definition it is being coloured with in the present dispensation. Rather than being cocoons of caterpillars where greed and avarice runs roughshod uncensored, contemporary churches must endeavour to take a cue from Christ Himself and shed the false skins of perfidy that have defined its evolution since post-apostolic times.
Rather than being centers of falsehood where some of the most marvelous scams are devised and perpetrated by some of the most despicable scammers the world has ever laid eyes on, contemporary churches must do a detour and revert to the true teachings and practices of the early apostolic church of Christ- one that was based on the key principles of loving, sharing and giving. God bless us all!
MR OBUSEH JUDE, A PEACE RESEARCHER AND PRACTITIONER, WRITES FROM BENIN CITY. TEL O8033510173.E-MAIL: [email protected].