Religion is not Christianity and no message is more saving than the message of Grace, truth and love.

Mr. Abiodun


NOT AS INNOCENT AS YOU THINK

Several people have said, “Why the fuss about doctrinal correctness?”

Such people argue that there is no need to worry about doctrinal details, what is important is love. So far as we love our neighbours, the details of what we believe do not make much difference.

Is this really the position of the Bible?

While it is true that we ought to love our neighbours as Christ loves us, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that it is also very important that we pay good attention to the details of what we believe.

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the DOCTRINE; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1Tim 4:16)

“As I besought you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might charge some that they teach no other doctrine.” (1Tim 1:3)

Why is this so? It is because doctrine drives practice. What we believe mostly determines what we do. In other words, our belief system is the engine that drives our lives. We can’t love our neighbours as Christ loves us if our belief is faulty.

For example, the true Gospel places a high premium on giving to the poor and the needy. As far as Jesus is concerned, whoever gives to the poor gives to Him (Mat 25:31-40). In fact, He says categorically that He would reject some people on the last day for their insensitivity to the poor and needy.

“41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Mat 25:41-46)

The Apostles of Christ took the words of Jesus very seriously. The few occasions they raised funds as documented in the New Testament scriptures were basically because of the poor and the needy.

However, the prosperity gospel places a higher premium on paying tithe and sowing seeds to the institutionalized church or “the anointed” above giving to the poor. Some of the prosperity teachers actually teach that giving to “the anointed” or “an anointed ministry” is sowing to the Spirit while giving to the poor is sowing to the flesh. In other words, giving to “the anointed” or “an anointed ministry” is highly profitable while giving to the poor is of no value.

A keen observer cannot but agree that this teaching is primarily responsible for the skewed pattern of giving in the Prosperity/Pentecostal circle today whereby church members strive to give substantial portions of their income to “the anointed man” and his ministry while they turn blind eyes to their suffering neighbours whom they could have easily helped.

Another reason why it is important to pay a keen attention to doctrines is because doctrinal errors that are left unchallenged have a way of spreading far and wide in the Church like the way a small quantity of yeast does in a lump of flour. Just like the way a good doctrine spreads across the body of Christ, an errorness doctrine left to continue without adequate countermeasures would sooner or later become mainstream.

“Another parable spoke he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” (Mat 13:33)

“Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” (Mat 26:6)

For example, a crop of preachers started the prosperity gospel in the US about 70 years ago. Today, the theology has become a global phenomenon that is a serious threat to the Gospel message. Another example in this regard is the the fall-down-and-die theology. One man in one corner of Lagos repackaged the concept of praying against enemies that was previously restricted to the indigenous Nigerian “Aladura” group some years ago. Today, this theology that majors in “killing” both human and demonic enemies in prayer has spread like a wildlife across various denominations in Nigeria and is now becoming a pan-african phenomenon. This is in spite of the fact the Lord Jesus and His Apostles expressly commanded that we should love our human enemies.

Not only do the unchallenged error spread, it also creates room for several errors to spring up since the peddlers know that whatever error they concort will meet little or no resistance. Again, we see examples of this in the Pentecostal circle how one error after another sprang up and spread because many of those who know the truth were not willing to speak against the errors being peddled around by their contemporaries.

In order to underscore the importance of doctrinal correctness, the Apostle Paul in particular devoted substantial portions of his epistles to the churches to doctrinal instructions. In fact, a recurring pattern in most of his epistles to the churches was a lager initial portion that was committed to doctrinal instructions and a smallar second portion that was devoted to moral instructions.

From the foregoing, we can see why the Apostles of Christ and the early Church saw doctrinal correctness as a matter of life and death.

They wouldn’t allow anyone to peddle an error around them, no matter how innocent it looks, without adequate challenge.

Those who were sincerely wrong like in the case of Apollos who preached the baptism of John were corrected in love. They were not left to themselves out of feigned courtesy.

However, unrepentant peddlers of error were treated with appropriate measures ranging from sharp reprimand to isolation and excommunication from the community of the believers. For them, the way to love error peddlers was to rebuke and expose them.

“10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; 11Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” (Titus 3:10-11)

“19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1Tim 1:19-20)

“10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2John 1:10-11)

So, we see that doctrinal error is not as innocent as we may have wrongly assumed.

We would be wise to realise that all the Apostles of Christ except one, the Apostle Paul and many other early Christian leaders defended the truth of the Gospel with their very lives. They poured out their lives as a libation in order to pass on the Gospel to us undiluted.

Are we sure our generation will be able to transmit an unadulterated Gospel to the next generation?

IS IT WRONG TO REBUKE A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL?

By: Mr. Abiodun


ANATOMY OF THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL –

PART 2

DEFINITION

The prosperity gospel, also known as the prosperity theology, is difficult to define precisely because it is not a systematized theological thought. However, it is often defined by many theologians as the “gospel of wealth and health” because of its disproportionate emphasis on material wealth and physical health as opposed to the traditional Gospel message that emphasizes deliverance from sin through the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

ORIGIN

The prosperity theology is a relatively new concept because it was birthed less than 70 years ago. It is an offspring of the Pentecostal movement which broke out of the Methodist-Holiness movement. The Pentecostal movement began on the Azusa Street of Los Angeles, California, USA, in 1906 through the Azusa Street Revival that spanned from 1906 to 1915. The revival was led by William Joseph Seymour (May 2, 1870 – September 28, 1922), a holiness preacher of the African American extraction. From the street of Azusa, many participants of the revival went to different parts of the United States of America and the World at large with the Pentecostal Revival message that spread like a wildfire thereafter. Prior to this, Charles Fox Parham (June 4, 1873 – January 29, 1929), an American holiness preacher and evangelist, started conducting a Bible study series in late 1900 with his students in the Bethel Bible College at Topeka, USA, where it was discovered that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was usually accompanied by the evidence of speaking in other tongues in the Bible. On the evening of 1st January 1901, Agnes Ozman, a female student at Bethel Bible College, requested to be prayed for to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which she received. She was the first person among this group to speak in tongues, even before Parham. William Seymour was a student of this Bible college before he left to start the Azusa Street revival.

Although several individuals have tried to label the Pentecostal experience as false or demonic because of certain character defects noted in Charles Parham, I am of the opinion that Scriptural evidence ought to take precedence over human frailty since God often uses imperfect people to accomplish His work. We shall deal with the subject at another time if God permits.

Classical Pentecostalism emphasized four cardinal doctrines: salvation by faith in Christ alone, baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in new tongues, divine healing and the second coming of Christ, in addition to other classical Protestant beliefs. This continued until after the World War II (WW 2) when the American healing revival broke out. Several healing evangelists began to emphasize divine healing in their messages in addition to salvation and prayed openly for people to be healed. Some of these healing evangelists in the early 1950s then began to emphasize that God blesses His people financially and materially in addition to salvation from sin and healing from sicknesses. We shall call this the “Abundant Life theology”. In the 1960s, the abundant life message became the primary focus of the healing revivals. During the decade, Willian Braham, a healing evangelist and prophet, criticized these preachers that their fund-raising tactics unfairly pressured the seekers.

We need to at this point understand the state of the Church prior to this time. Due to overemphasis on the sovereignty of God, it was a general believed that sicknesses and poverty in the life of the Christian were acts of God. Whoever was afflicted with any of them thought they were suffering for Christ. It was the will of God as far as they were concerned. Some actually thought that poverty was synonymous with piety. They had a limited understanding of the scriptures in regard to the origins of these twin afflictions, the efficacy of prayer and the application of practical wisdom in overcoming them. Hence, the general belief in the Church then tended towards fatalism.

It would have been alright if these teachings were limited to exactly what the Bible says on these subjects. Alas, this was not to be. Just like all other restoration movements that went beyond what is written in the scriptures, the healing revival and the Abundant Life gospel went awry in their emphases.

Several healing evangelists such as Asa Alonso Allen (A. A. Allen), Gordon Lindsay, T. L. Osborn, Oral Roberts etc. championed this movement at inception. Gordon Lindsay and A. A. Allen, among others, published literature that outlined the basic contents of the Abundant Life message. However, Oral Roberts is believed to be the one who laid a grand foundation for the theology. He published a book in 1970 entitled “Miracle of the Seed-Faith” in which many, if not all the principles and methods of the Abundant Life theology were outlined. A revised edition of this book was published in 1999.

Classical Pentecostalism ab initio maintained that the believer’s healing is in the atonement based on Isiah 53:5.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isa 53:5)

Two basic questions come to mind in regard to this belief. Is divine healing truly in the atonement? If divine healing is indeed in the atonement, is it meant to be manifest exactly like salvation from sin in this present dispensation for all believers in Christ at all the times? We shall leave these questions unanswered for now until a later time.

About fifty years after the beginning of Pentecostalism, the Abundant Life theology declared that the believer’s material prosperity is also guaranteed by the atonement. This time around, there was no explicit scriptural reference that could be cited to establish this assertion. Though paid for by the atonement as taught by the theology, the believer can only access these blessings through the seed-faith that comes in form of tithe, first-fruits, seed offering, special offering, prophet offering, sacrificial offering, vows, pledges etc.

In addition to the Abundant Life movement, the “Word of Faith” movement also began among the Pentecostals in the 1970s and became very popular thereafter. The Word of Faith emphasize divine healing and material prosperity like the Abundant Life message but it teaches that positive confession (Word of Faith) is the means by which these blessings are obtained. In other words, the Abundant Life theology teaches that the seed-faith is the key to these temporal blessings while the Word of Faith teaches that positive confession is the key.

The Word of Faith theology was popularized by Kenneth E. Hagin, although Essek William Kenyon (1867–1948) who died about two decades and a half before the teaching became popular laid down the principles of the theology. Several individuals have attributed the origin of the Word of Faith theology to the New Thought or Mind Cure movement pioneered by Phineas Quimby and the other New Age teachers because E. W. Kenyon once studied at the Emerson School of Oratory as a young person. This may not be absolutely correct because he rebuked the New Age teachers for their faulty theology because it isn’t based on Christ. Kenyon believed that positive confession is alright but it has to be founded on Christ’s finished work.

To Kenneth E. Hagin’s credit, he made effort to correct some of the excesses of the prosperity gospel towards the end of his life. Some of the corrections were documented in his book “Midas Touch” but it seems many of the second-generation prosperity preachers are too far into the theology to retrace their steps.

Therefore, the prosperity gospel, as we know it today, is an admixture of the Abundant Life theology and the Word of Faith theology.

To be continued………………….

ANATOMY OF THE “PROSPERITY GOSPEL” (PART 1PREAMBLE)

By: Dr. Abiodun Jemilohun


ANATOMY OF THE “PROSPERITY GOSPEL” (PART 1PREAMBLE)

First and foremost, I would like to clarify that this treatise is not an attempt to refute the fact that God can and does endow His people and humanity in general with financial and physical blessings. If we begin on the premise that God is a good God, as the Bible declares Him to be, we shouldn’t find it difficult to believe that God would have no trouble blessing the people who are called by His name with the good things of life.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Mat 7:11)

Why this Prosperity Theology:

The main objective of this treatise is to conduct a thorough examination of the “prosperity theology” as it currently exists in the light of the Bible, the written word of God, which is the only authentic canon by which the veracity or otherwise of all Christian doctrines and practices can be established.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION in righteousness.” (2Tim 3:16)

Someone may ask, Why this effort?” To such a one I answer, “If not for any other reason, the numerous controversies surrounding this theology are enough to prompt a sincere inquirer to diligently seek the true position of the Bible on it.”

Contrary to my usual practice of refraining from mentioning names in my apologetics activities, it is inevitable that names of a few prominent men who pioneered this theology would be mentioned in the course of this discourse. This is by no means an attempt to cast aspersion on their persons but an attempt to give an accurate and honest account of the evolution of this theology.

It is also important to state clearly that this work is not an attempt to judge any man but an effort to subject a theological thought to the scrutiny of the holy word of God.

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1Thess 5:21)

Bearing in mind that the first rule of Christian apologetics is FIDELITY to the letter and spirit of the Scripture, I shall maintain strict adherence to the principles of biblical hermeneutics (interpretation) we previously outlined in one of our series throughout this discourse. The reader should kindly refer to this for clarification as occasion may demand.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (1Tim 2:15)

This is probably going to be the longest public treatise I would ever write. I must confess that the enormity of this task is enough to debar one from beginning in the first instance but I am convinced that it is a work that must be done for the defence of the glorious Gospel. I believe it is an idea whose time has come.

I am quite aware that our society is till uncomfortable with frank public discussions that relate to religion but if we must make progress we have to be willing to take these discussions from behind the curtains to the arena.

“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.” (Mat 10:27)

Since we know in part, everyone is welcome to contribute, but on the condition that CIVILITY will be maintained. Please bear in mind that I shall not hesitate to delete every comment I consider unkind or unchristain. There is no time for frivolities as the King’s business is urgent. ANATOMY OF THE “PROSPERITY GOSPEL” (PART 1PREAMBLE) – To be continued…

Who is a Prosperity Minister?

Dr Chinomso Jude Nwala


KING SOLOMON’S GLORY DOME

The temple that Solomon built for God was said to have a great quantity of gold, silver, bronze, and other precious metals. The temple consisted of several layers, with the Most Holy Place housing the Ark of the Covenant in the center. (The presence of God). It was built in the 10th century BC.

So, how much did Solomon’s temple cost? The amount of gold, silver and bronze, along with other precious metals are recorded in various places in the Bible.

(1 Chronicles 22:14)- 100,000 talents of gold, 1 million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighted.

(1 Chronicles 29:3)- 3,000 talents of gold, 7,000 talents of silver from David’s personal treasures.

(1 Chronicles 29:7)- 5,002.5 talents of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze, 100,000 talents of iron from the leaders of Israel.

(1 Kings 5:10)- King Hiram of Tyre gave Solomon many cedar trees for the temple.

In total, over 108,002.5 talents of gold, 1,017,000 talents of silver, and quantities of bronze much greater than that. A great quantity of cedar trees were used- so many, in fact, that Solomon had to pay King Hiram with 20 towns in Galilee! (1 Kings 9:11)

108,002.5 talents of gold would beg an incredible amount of gold. One talent was approximately 75 pounds, so 108,002.5 talents would be a mindbogglingly 8,100,187.5 pounds of gold.

1,017,000 talents of silver would be an equally mind-boggling 76,275,000 pounds of silver! Excluding the bronze, and using the average current price of gold, the gold alone of Solomon’s temple would have been an astonishing $194,404,500,000.

The silver would have been $22,199,076,000. Added together, the gold and silver used along in Solomon’s Temple was worth $216,603,576,000. Calculate this in Naria and know what it worth.

This does not include all the precious metals, bronze, iron, ivory, or cedar wood used in the temple. Extrapolating from the number, the total cost of Solomon’s temple including the labor costs (153,000 forced laborers) would have been well over half a billion, Building the temple took over seven years.

Dr. Paul Enenche’s new cathedral is like a children’s department to what king Solomon built for God and people are complaining.

During the time of king Solomon, there were beggars then, there were priests and high priests and prophets then but none was envious of Solomon. None talked against or criticized what Solomon did for God. People far and near come to worship God in the temple Solomon has built and the Bible recorded that the glory of God came down mightily.

Jealousy and envy will kill some people. At the success of others they get angry. When they can’t bet your standard they become your adversaries. The church is rising and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. No amount of criticism can bring a great man down. If King Solomon can use such an amount of money to build a glory Dome for God then what Dr Paul Enenche built is just small.

You guys haven’t seen anything yet. Mine is coming. The more you talk and get angry, the more God builds his church and make name for himself.

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