Christianity commercialized, rendered suspicious, largely profaned-Obienyem

By Valentine Obienyem

Our society is presently undergoing a profound transformation: from a society where Christianity was held sacred to one where Christianity has been commercialised, rendered suspicious, and largely profaned. We are rapidly witnessing the loss of prestige, respect, and attractiveness that hitherto were the hallmarks of Christianity. Christianity has been invaded by “church” founders, pastor-impostors, pimps, plain thieves, wolves, and worldly men. They are wreaking havoc on Christianity in acts that can be described as ecclesiastical corelate to contemporary 419.

However, the issues of founding churches and deceiving people are not recent phenomena. Right from the days of the apostles, one form of schism or heresy has tended to destroy the church. How well the apostles foresaw these can be ascertained from the farewell address of St. Paul to the elders of Ephesus: “I know quite well that when I have gone, fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock” (Acts 20:29). Many other scriptural passages contain similar warnings.

Throughout history, these wolves have been active, trying to destroy Christianity. Nowadays, they are arising more unrestrainedly and injuriously than ever before, wolves (pastors) of diabolical errors who are ensnaring the souls of the simple. With their superstitions, false teachings, and phony miracles, they are perverting the meaning of the Holy Bible and feeding their captive followers with poison instead of the words of God. How do we know these wolves?

As a prelude to their satanic activities – founding churches – they will first claim a sort of “divine visitation and/or revelation” instructing them to go and found churches. Having accepted the “revelation,” the pastor will hire a batcher as his place of meeting. At this stage, his fledgling organisation is not yet a church. He invites everybody, no matter their church, to come and fellowship with him. Meanwhile, he allows you to continue attending your church whilst he keeps on brainwashing you. When he is sure that you have been thoroughly brainwashed, he becomes intolerant. That practice of your church becomes devilish. The use of sacramentals becomes idolatrous; that simple honour you give to our Mother Mary, as one would give to his biological mother, becomes worship; the Pope becomes an anti-Christ; the Mass is attacked. He disparages anything about Catholicism: her baptism, confession, the rosary, devotion to the saints, and her other beliefs.

At this juncture, the pastor proclaims his organisation a fully-fledged “church.” He rents a more spacious place and erects a more imposing signpost. On the signpost, the most visible and boldly written words are often the most attractive: COME FOR MIRACLES, PROSPERITY, SIGNS AND WONDERS. New converts are encouraged to testify against the Catholic Church and her practices. Their membership will begin to increase.

Apart from occasional additions from the affluent bourgeoisie, they always draw quite a chunk of their membership from the poor, the uneducated, the gullible, the despondent, the mediocre, and the idiots, offering them false security and stability. For those reasons, they are usually called the “Church of the Frustrated.” Others prefer to call them the “Church of the Wretched of the Earth.” In Nigeria, they are popularly known as “Mushroom Churches.” Being despondent of betterment in this world, they solace their souls with a lively belief that the final judgment will come soon, when the rich and powerful will be cast down and the righteous, that is, themselves, will receive their just rewards. What a self-propping delusion!

Central to the belief of these “churches” is the doctrine of conversion by the Holy Spirit. This teaches that we become Christian not through the Christ-instituted avenue – baptism – but through an emotional crisis in which the person believes that he is a sinner and accepts God as his Lord and personal saviour.

How to reach this emotional crisis is the central training those wolves (pastors) are skilled in. To reach it, they play on the feelings and make use of any means to arouse the emotions of the listeners. Rousing hymns are sung; vividly coloured but empty sermons are preached. The congregation is always encouraged and often forced to express their reaction audibly. We hear words like “binding the devil,” “Holy Ghost fire,” “violent prayer,” etc. If overwrought individuals become hysterical or hypnotised, unintelligible in speech, or fall unconscious, they believe the Holy Spirit has descended upon the poor instrument the mischievous pastor uses for his own end.

To these pastors, the next logical step in the growth of their churches is to organise crusades or revivals. The central theme in their adverts is that people should come and claim their MIRACLES. Not even a word on the supposed spiritual benefits derivable from such crusades. On the appointed day, fake miracles are done; the deaf hear; the dumb speak; the lame walk; the poor become rich; the barren become fertile. The deceived people donate handsomely to the wolf (pastor).

The wolf (pastor) uses the money donated to him to finance his worldly-oriented life. He must drive the most expensive car; he must wear the costliest shoes; he must keep the most beautiful mistress. It is incredible and yet reliably reported that some of them have fleets of cars. We finally surmise their lifestyles when we bear in mind that some of them have private jets. If genius depends upon some acts of deception, these wolves (pastors) are richly endowed. Their “churches” survive through the folly and gullible simplicity of mankind.

Sometimes they rival one another with the hatred of enemies who meet each other in war. In their mutual antagonism, they reveal the source of their “powers,” which are often diverse: Queen of the Coast, Mermaid, Beelzebub, Indian mysticism, babalawo, Satan, and magic. Some are even accused of practising voodooism, necromancy, and spiritual séances or using the otokoto style. Most of them are native medicine men who want to appear modern by hiding under the guise of churches and, presto, metamorphose into “men of God.”

Having come thus far, certain truths need to be asserted, and I will hereby assert them. This assertion should not be construed to mean that one suffers from “superiority complex.” Not at all! The aim is to enlighten those who have been deceived or are on the verge of being deceived by the wolves (pastors).

We assert that reciting prayers in self-hypnotising repetition or studying the Bible so faithfully as to quote it from memory for almost any purpose is not a sign of being a man of God. We assert that those pastors claiming to have been called by God are all liars. Why do they always prefer Lagos and other major towns when there are many remote places in dire need of evangelisation? We assert that those phoney miracles they deceive people into believing that they perform are insults to the miracles of Christ. I have never seen anybody I know who has benefited from the so-called miracles, yet they perform them daily. In any case, the devil does inspire miracles and wonders. We assert that it is a fraud to see fifty people who are gathered together suddenly start speaking in tongues at a particular time and end at a particular time. Is the gift that mechanical?

Finally, I would like you to compare diligently the rapid division of Pentecostalism into warring sects of different doctrines, led by crafty men avid for power, tithes, offerings, and perquisites, to the centuries-long unity of the Catholic Church, and know whether it is more likely that truth lies with those contradictory factions than with a Catholic doctrine formed by the experience of ages and the assembled intelligence of ecclesiastical councils derived from the Bible and apostolic tradition as supported by the Bible.

In comparing, always remember that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ himself. Remember that the Catholic Church is older than the Bible; in fact, the Bible as it is today is a product of Catholic theologians of the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Remember that the Catholic Church is the only church that boasts of the souls and areas it has recovered from Satan, not of her piles of naira nor of the number of jet planes she has. If the Catholic Church was not the church started by Christ, then Christ never started any church. But wait a minute! We know who founded other churches; can you tell me who founded the Catholic Church? Do not be deceived!

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