Pastors Of Perfect Power

Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

The powerful pastors of newfangled Christianity are all over the place in good old Nigeria today.

Anywhere you care to look, you are sure to see one pastor or his comrade-in-miracles claiming all sorts of impossible deeds.

There’s the fine boy pastor who made broadcast the other day that he had raised more than 50 people from death.

Another senior pastor announced that he left his cup of tea only to discover that God had come down to drink it on his behalf.

Nigeria’s arguably greatest 419 kingpin now runs a Pentecostal church in a corner of Delta State.

Who can ever forget the pastor of many powers in Onitsha who stressed that he used one of his powers named Abido-Shaker to bring down the high exchange rate of the American Dollar?

It is quite obvious that no power in Nigeria can stop the Christians from speaking in scattered tongues.

Like the church at Antioch, the many claimants of Christ in this benighted country are seeing all kinds of visions.

Witch-catchers and sundry demon-arresters are parading themselves as Christian preachers and Pentecostal evangelists.

There are more charlatans of diabolism on the pulpits of Christianity than there are criminals on the streets and motor-parks of Lagos and Onitsha.

You can sum up the antics of these so-called Christians with one short sentence: The devil finds work.

While the early church found its anchor by the salvation of the soul, the Nigerian church mostly preaches material success.

Prosperity is the word.

Every pastor stresses that his “God is not a poor God,” and the name of the game is crass materialism.

There is no greater trading organization than the church.

Some of these so-called churches ask to collect tithes via online transactions with the bold imprint of the presiding pastor’s personal account details.

All through history, the church flourishes at the worst of times, and Nigeria today suits the bill.

Christianity has been commandeered for nefarious reasons by the cream of Nigeria’s devil-may-care social climbers and ill-assorted wannabes.

The man-made churches of today are as wonky as all single proprietorships which more often than not die with the owner, or may be transferred to the son, or the wife as “Mummy GO” until fatal fate takes its toll.

In this Easter season, it is incumbent on me to cry out on the need to return Christianity to its sacred roots, back to its spiritual moorings in the Bible.

The Catholic Church traces its history to Christ’s naming of Peter the Apostle as the rock on which the church is built.

The Catholic Church was the universal faith until 1517 when in Wittenberg, Germany, Martin Luther challenged the Catholic sale of indulgences and the doctrine of salvation by merit.

Henry VIII followed suit in 1534, breaking from Rome for marital-cum-political reasons, and thus was born the Protestant Anglican Communion which got a boost when the Protestant Episcopal Church was founded in the United States in 1789.

John Calvin’s efforts during the 16th Century Reformation movements led to the birth of the Calvinists and ultimately to the founding of the Scotch Presbyterian Church by John Knox in 1560.

The history of the Baptists dates back to John Smyth and the English Separatists of 1609; and later, Roger Williams of Providence in 1638.

The Methodists started out within the Church of England, Rev. John Wesley having founded it in 1738.

The Church of Christ Disciples would in turn challenge the decline of fervor and the factionalizing within Protestantism by carving out yet another faction among evangelical Presbyterians from 1804 to 1832.

Joseph Smith received visions of the Angel Moroni as revealed on the golden tablets of The Book of the Mormons to found the faith of the Mormons in 1827 in New York.

Charles Taze Russell founded the Jehovah’s Witnesses movement in 1870, incorporating the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1884; and the church finally adopted the Jehovah’s Witnesses name in 1931.

A major rupture in Christianity occurred in the American cities of Topeka and Los Angeles in 1901 and 1906 when the Pentecostal movement of “speaking in tongues” began as a reaction to the loss of fervor among Methodists and sundry Christians at large. The advent of Pentecostalism has been quite sweeping across the globe.

To take one example of church-founding from nearer home, Samuel Bilewu Joseph (SJB) Oschoffa founded the Celestial Church of Christ in 1947 in the jungles of Porto-Novo after wandering in the forest for three months without food or water.

Like the other sects, the Celestial fold has broken into factions since the death of the founder.

The history of the church as summarized here clearly shows that all the other churches in one way or the other were protesting against the Roman Catholic Church, the pristine universal faith.

Even as far back as 1054AD the Orthodox Catholics had broken away from Rome because of intractable doctrinal dissension.

Amid the factionalizing, some churches did see the need to come together to form a strong union.

The United Church of Christ is a 1957 ecumenical coming together of Calvinists and Lutherans.

Now it is as though everybody wants to head his own church, in the manner John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost, to wit, “To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n.”

Every bloke today adorns the toga of Man of God, even when caught with bleeding severed heads of human beings!

Christ is simply seen as the winning brand that can serve as cover for a vast range of practices such as voodoo, juju, magic, grigri etc. of pastors of perfect power.

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