Between Evangelical Opportunists and Opportunism

Religion, like politics, is an effective powerful weapon of social control. For good or bad it has transformed individual societies and shaped the faith of man towards divinity. Whilst the soul of man is in constant search of hope and salvation it has somewhat found succour in heeding the good news from the pulpit pumped every now and then by those in whom some semblance of ecumenical confidence, prophesy and redemption could be extracted.

The formidable spiritual realm in Nigeria as elsewhere — especially in America — is intimidating and influential enough! The epicurean philosophy which seeks to diminish hope unto the future and celebrate morbid mortality finds no accommodation in the consciousness of those Christians seeking life hereafter by adhering to Biblical promises of paradise. The ultimate triumph of good over evil in the battle between hell and heaven is envisaged, thus those who profess Christ (forces of good) and those who see good in Satan (forces of evil) are pitted in crusades for soul-winning.

Men and women of God (or some of them at least) are seen as special breeds, people who communicate with God or so they claim. In this modern era with so much paradisic theories in circulation even when we are not very sure where this paradise is located a whole lot of spiritual gamble and gambling is going on. While some new-generation pastors take delight in hoodwinking the faithfuls by hypocritically arrogating elusive powers (powers to heal, deliver, prosper) to themselves it is self-evident truth that Christianity is unravelling at great speed.

In America, so-called ‘God’s own country’, and relatively in Nigeria pastors rank among the richest. We have super-rich pastors across the Atlantic and in the crawling giant of Africa. Some not only own mega churches they are proprietors of institutions, universities, printing press, companies, hospitals and what have you. Through ‘selling’ the Word these men and women strike gold diversifying their business interests and becoming chancellors, publishers, authors and teachers of abiding human/heaven, social/divine contracts between the immortal God and His mortal subjects.

And those worshipping Satan are not complaining; they prosper as much as servants of God. I believe the battle for the soul of man is tilted in their favour! Many people (some frustrated and hopeless at God’s apparent slow answers to prayers) find solace in Devil’s quick fixes. Patronage of the Satanic clan ensures easy material ends but the end always sees the gnashing of teeth and regrets.

The spiritual merchants on both great divides preach according to the dictates of their Masters. The major problem here lies in the hypocrisy of both parties: some of the pastors sometimes seek power from the devil to do Christ-like miracles and the Satan agents conveniently ‘invade’ the arena of faith and snatch some faithfuls with ready-made solutions to their problems. These dark agents master the art of Biblical interpretation surpassing even the great ‘prophets’ in its understanding.

In today’s world with astonishing human accomplishments in science, IT and other hitherto unexplored complex areas of human development evangelical opportunism exists side by side with its opportunistic variants. Whilst evangelical opportunism is there for whoever claims divine calling to exploit this scenario has produced many opportunists purportedly working in the Lord’s vineyard.

A very rich established new-generation pastor in Lagos was reportedly ‘caught’ by some boys on a stroll who stumbled on his amoral amorous exercise in his classic car. The man of God had, late in the night, dropped off a supposed female member of his congregation in her house but instead of letting go the devil used the ‘forbidden fruit’ as a weapon for scandalous blackmail. As the man and his girl were in the car making love in the dark, oblivious of the surroundings, some young men who saw the big car parked were surprised that no one was coming out of the glittering automobile.

As seconds gave way for minutes the boys out of curiosity decided to approach closer to know what was amiss. Lo and behold they caught the big man of God pants down on top of the girl who lay in the driver’s seat — disabled bed-like for the occasion! The boys recognised the pastor and as they hurried to cover their naked bodies the boys waited patiently. As the girl came down the boys ‘hailed’ the great pastor who in turn asked them what he could do for them so that what they had just seen could be kept a top secret. The boys asked for money which was handed over with a promise from the compromised ‘servant of God’ to them to come to his office the next day for more money.

And from there it degenerated into a blackmail that lasted for years. Week after week the unemployed youths would pay the ‘sinful’ pastor an unscheduled visit in his office and literally held him hostage until he ‘settled’ them bountifully. The pastor ‘co-operated’ until a time came when he felt the boys were capitalizing on that sin of the flesh to continue fleecing him, so he told them off and the boys leaked the secret to some highly-placed members of the church who were not convinced without a shred of evidence.

Here two Nigerian pastors have made it big through evangelical opportunism. Whilst the Yoruba zebra-like-necked one was formerly a dry-cleaner who has now become so rich that he has opened up branches across town with luxurious church buses that ferry members to and from the headquarters. And the Delta-Igbo-born other was a policeman in Nigeria before joining the exodus. Today he has a church though not as prosperous as the former. The scandals in and around the Yoruba-born pastor and his church are ear-piercing; from money, to women and a particular one had to do with a fellow estranged high-ranking pastor in his ministry accusing him of using tortoise as source of power!

The Kenyan Catholic Bishop who broke his celibacy oath and defiantly married an Asian girl must be enjoying the good fruits of marriage by now after stirring huge controversy over his choice. Attempts by the Vatican to call him to order were rebuffed. Thank God the modern pastors are married or believe in the need for marriage. Having a woman by one’s side is an advantage because the devil uses women more to tempt and overcome its enemies.

In Accra Ghana the Ghanaian ex-head-pastor of Winners Chapel simply rebelled against Bishop David Oyedepo when he was asked to hand over to the next man in line of succession. He refused categorically to be posted out, so he left the international church with most members and established his own local ‘Winners’ but that does not mean that Bishop Oyedepo’s Winners no longer exists in Ghana. But the opportunistic Ghanaian pastor must have depleted the original Winners’ stock. Today the two ‘Winners’ are winning souls for God in the Kofi Annan/Kwame Nkrumah country but the proceeds in terms of offerings and tithes go to different ‘store houses’ and not the center in Lagos anymore.

Written by
SOC Okenwa
Join the discussion

1 comment
  • Well I liked the part about the fornicating that is prevelent in the church. We all know that there is alot of scandals that ocurr in different forms of religion. However if we do not truly exercise what the bible teaches what do you expect. Christians today listen do very sexual music and also watch very sexual forms of movies vidioes chat room ect.. And they see nothing wrong. THey commit spirtual idolitry by idolizing Beyonce Jay zee ect… BET has alot off fithy shows. And unfortunatly They thrive on sex Just like the Romans and unfortunately this is a problem in Africa as well. so rather ponder over this look at the souce.