Men of God who flaunt their wealth influence younger ones negatively
For 28 years, you waited on the Lord for a child. What was the experience like?
When I gave my life to Christ, it was not because I had any particular need in terms of financial or material. I was a student then. It was because of the love I saw in the fellowship, the agape kind of God’s love that drew me to Christ.
My conversion was genuine, as there was no ulterior motive. In those days, our desire to get born again was because we were hungry for God and not because of anything else. It was so strong that there was no challenge I could not overcome, if I could overcome religious challenges from my family. I got to realise that when you give your life to Christ, the problem you face will be more than before, because Satan would want to discourage, frustrate and prevent you from moving forward.
So, when I got married, I already had this knowledge at the back of my mind. Although I didn’t know it was going to be that long, but then, I had made up my mind to serve God, and that no matter what happened, I would serve Him. So, the long waiting for a child didn’t affect my faith in any way.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
The Devil always likes to frustrate people of God and distract them. He doesn’t bring temptation to unbelievers, but he distracts people of God from the ministry and makes people to whom you are preaching disbelieve what you are telling them. Satan would want to make life difficult for them, so that the message would be difficult to pass across.
Does the love that drew you to Christ still exist in the church today?
The love is not as it used to be in those days, because a lot of things have encroached into the church today. Such things as materialism and some others that are not scriptural. The Bible encourages moderation, humility and not the flaunting of wealth, contrary to what is happening today. Some ministers of God are busy flaunting their wealth, talking about how many cars they have, how many houses they have, the kind of shoes and wrist watches they are using before people that are experiencing a lot of hardship in the society. Those flaunting their wealth are also making wrong impression and influencing the upcoming ones negatively. And these younger ones will end up having the idea that that is the way Christianity it is supposed to be. The things I am talking about are so bad that when you are invited to go and minister in a church, people don’t look at the anointing you carry, but the cars that you brought.
Is all well with present-day church, in view of some ungodly activities of some so-called men of God?
All is well with the true church of God. When I say the true church of God, I mean those that are genuinely born again, those practising the Bible as it is supposed to be practised, and not those who are mixing it with other things. These are the ones that are spoiling the church’s name. That is the reason Jesus said that many shall call His name and say they have cast out demons in His name, they have done many miracles in His name, but He will tell them, depart from Me you workers of iniquities. These fake pastors do wonderful things in His name, but they are just using His name as a cover up, thereby spoiling Christianity.
The easiest way to know them is by looking at what they are preaching. A lot of things they talk about are miracles, as they don’t talk about salvation, or holiness. They don’t talk about sin, and they only emphasise on miracles. I think they are only taking advantage of the state of the nation. And because when you have a church, according to the Bible, you have the right to collect tithes and offerings, they are just taking advantage of that to make money.
What is your view about churches that own universities, but their school fees are very high?
In our church, we have a nursery and primary school, and we know what it takes to run a school like that. We have a vision for secondary school, but we have not gone into it because I believe so much that whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well and secondary school is more capital-intensive than nursery and primary school. I also have an idea of what it takes to run a tertiary institution and I know that university costs a lot of money to run. You cannot compromise or negotiate the salaries, if you want good quality staff, or a high standard. And you cannot compromise equipment in the laboratories, library and the infrastructure. It takes a lot of money to run a university, which is why it is difficult for the churches that own these institutions to bring down their fees.
If you look at the institutions owned by the government, you will see that their standard is going down. You will know that a lot of things are not right there, because they are not being well funded. In fact, somebody once told me that, if you want to establish a university in the country, you need about N7bn for a start. If I’m right, if you want to get an approval from the government to start a university, you need about N200m. If you look at all these things very well, you will come to the understanding as to why the fees of these universities are high. What I would suggest to these churches is that, they should give scholarships to some indigent members’ children, as they cannot afford to give scholarship to all of them.
I would not suggest that they should reduce their school fees, because one of the major problems in this part of the world is the falling standard of education.
Do you share the view that churches should pay tax?
The church is supposed to be a charity organisation; it is supposed to complement government’s efforts to raise people of integrity, people that will be known for good leadership. My suggestion is that we should do everything possible to ensure that we get the true word of God across to the people. I also want to warn pastors that are living flamboyant lifestyle to have a re-think. Government should not tax churches, because when you do that, you are taxing people who contribute financially to the church, but these people had already been taxed. So, such would amount to multiple taxation and will discourage the efforts of genuine churches. In fact, in developed countries, it is the government that gives churches money, rather than taxing them.