A certain wise man once said:
“The pious mind must ascend still higher, namely, whither Christ calls his disciples when he says, that every one of them must “take up his cross,” (Mt. 16:24). Those whom the Lord has chosen and honoured with his intercourse must prepare for a hard, laborious, troubled life, a life full of many and various kinds of evils; it being the will of our heavenly Father to exercise his people in this way while putting them to the proof. Having begun this course with Christ the first-born, he continues it towards all his children.”
Well, that man was a pastor called John Calvin in the 16th Century.
Several years later (okay five centuries or more later) a new breed of suave pastors has cropped up. They seem to have conveniently swapped spiritual piety for earthly notoriety. No longer do they say the “Lord is my shepherd” for they already have had their fill beside sprinkler automated plastic astro -turf.
You see, in Africa apparently…
An African Church
A few wealthy Nigerians spent at least $225 million acquiring private jets between March 2010 and March 2011, a Nigerian newspaper reported…
Apart from wealthy business tycoons, Nigerian clergymen and spiritual leaders are also joining the very elite league of jet owners.
In March this year, David Oyedepo, a Nigerian [Bishop who according to Forbes magazine is said to be worth $150 million] generally believed to be Africa’s wealthiest gospel preacher, acquired a Gulfstream V jet for US$30 million. Oyedepo, who presides over the Winners Chapel, one of Africa’s largest churches, now owns a private collection of four aircraft. In addition to his latest acquisition, he previously owned two Gulfstream planes and a Bombardier Challenger Aircraft. He is also reportedly creating a private hanger to accommodate his flying toys.
Oyedepo is not the only Nigerian clergyman to own a jet. Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the revered overseer of Nigeria’s largest congregation, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, is also a proud jet owner. In March 2009, the great man of God spent $30 million on a Gulfstream jet amidst widespread criticism. Pastor Sam Adeyemi, another cleric and founder of the Daystar Christian center, a flourishing Pentecostal congregation which repeatedly preaches financial prosperity, is also a jet owner.
It’s not cheap to own a private jet. On average, it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain a personal plane. The majority of Nigerians frown at such flagrant displays of opulence, particularly on the path of their clergymen, given that 60% of Nigerians still live below the poverty line.
Paradoxically, the same people who complain about the extravagant lifestyles of their spiritual leaders are the same ones who finance it…
A new false “gospel” (gospelite) that glamorises materialism is devouring pastors and infesting congregations. It itches the ears, draws great numbers, fills up auditoriums but sucks all the life out of the people leaving them seven times hardened to God than they were at the beginning.
Such is the state of affairs in Africa where the prosperity gospelite has spread. It is not surprising therefore that Christianity in Africa is a mile wide but an inch deep.
The one lesson one must learn from this sad debacle is that if you neglect sound doctrine but adopt a minimalist view of studying scripture, you will soon drift from Orthodoxy (to a form of godliness that denies the power thereof) … even if you are called “Bishop”.