It is no longer a surprise, that God’s name and house provide cover for a multitude of unrighteous acts.
I remember my first upfront encounter with fraud. It was church related. Someone had defrauded his establishment and customers, in order to give a robust offering to his god of men. Because I am a million percent sure that, the offering in question was not heading towards God.
Anyways, he took over N15m in the early noughties (2000s) and bought a sound-proof generator for his church – a new generation church.
Now this generous – not to mention “cheerful” – giver, was a clerk or cleaner or something similar in his bank. He most definitely could not afford the amount he had expended on that generator. Not even if he was retired and the generations after him continued from where he stopped.
But he gave the offering.
Which was happily accepted by the church, no questions asked.
It was taken as a seed and prophecies and prayers were poured on the young man’s head; with promises that the seed would germinate into a plant that will bear promotions, prosperity and productivity.
They forgot one “pro” though.
Because that was what the prayers eventually led to when the bank could not balance their books and external auditors were invited to assist trace the missing money. When the young man was dragged in handcuffs to the “crime scene”; his god of men feigned surprise that anyone could think of questioning his sense of judgement in accepting such a gift from one who obviously could not afford it.
As far as the god of men was concerned, it was a factor of “grace”; and no two people carried the same amount of grace. Therefore, if your grace is more than another person and is so bountiful in your life that you start performing wonders, who is he to question you?
By his logic, if pastors were to question every donation and offering they got from their dedicated members; how would the Church of Christ march on without the gates of hell prevailing?
The god of men had an answer for every reason why the bank felt he should be joined in the matter. He also felt that the bank was impudent in questioning how God chooses to bless his congregation.
Does your own god also endorse accelerating someone’s blood pressure and putting them in a near vegetative condition because another human stole from them?
It was a difficult one o – not for the Nigerian police though who ensured they arrested any and every arrestable element related to the matter; but the point is this – right from the days of John the Baptist; Nigerian Pentecostal churches, all sorts of hidden sins and pastors providing cover for congregation and vice-versa; are stronger together.
Pentecostal churches o, because I would like to also provide a flip side to the story. One I also had the opportunity to witness first time.
Again, fraud related.
Again, offering and tithe related.
But this time round, in one of the “evangelical” churches – those that had caught the fire of evangelism from the onset, and were determined to only practice the old time version of the religion.
This uncle, incidentally an elder in the church, had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He had stolen a million naira from his office and donated the lion share of the stolen money, to his church.
Investigations narrowed down the loss to him, then handcuffs led him and interested parties to the “crime scene” only that this time; the god of men at the other end, was a bible thumper.
He listened to the bank’s complaints, apologized on behalf of his shameless church member, and issued the bank a cheque to cover the portion of the theft that had come to his church. Then informed his church member that he would duly hear from the church even as he continued to face trial for the theft.
Come that Sunday, I followed my friend to that church for their annual harvest. We didn’t know the church pastor had a more bountiful harvest planned for us.
Midway through the service, he called out the thieving brother, and read out his crimes before the congregation.
In the pregnant silence that followed his announcement, pastor asked the thief to choose a punishment – did he want to be punished by the church now or would he prefer they prayed over him, suspend him from the church and leave him to the wrath of God?
Without hesitation, he choose immediate punishment.
Four elders held him down, while the church pastor flogged the thieving demons out of him.
Remember that this was during harvest. The man’s family and friends were there; concerned by-standers like us were there; other congregants were there.
But the man knelt down, and humbly took his medicine like a good boy.
And the moral of this story?
If you are still waiting for a “robust response” from the Pentecostal Church god of men currently being accused of turning his church members irrespective of gender, into sex slaves; you are on a long thing.
You see, 99% of Nigerian Churches are like the first instance I gave.
Church covers up for strong financial members and vice-versa. Touch not my anointed is the most misused Bible verse, only referred to when a Nigerian god of men has brought disgrace upon himself, the body of Christ and his family and friends. You don’t hear it misused when ordinary Nigerian Christians are slaughtered or bombed by terrorists.
I doubt we even have up to one percent of churches in category B of this story.
They are the equivalent of unicorns in Christendom.