Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dear Pastors in Nigeria

Dear Pastors,
I greet you by the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord and Messiah.

I have joined the Deeper Christian Life Bible Church, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Assemblies of God and others to testify of the good news of the gospel of our Saviour Jesus Christ since 1988 to date, both in Lagos and on Bonny Island, Rivers State. I was baptized in the Deeper Life on December 1, 1990 when I was living in Lagos where I became the house fellowship captain and visitations team leader. I preached the good news on public transport buses, on the streets and in homes for over 11 years and I enjoyed doing so to the glory of the Almighty Jehovah God.

I believe we are all educated and enlightened enough to understand what I am going to address in few words.

Please, do you know about Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria?
Please, do surveys of all the churches in each of these countries and do a survey of the number of churches in Nigeria.
Then, analyze the GDP and GNP of each of them and compare them to Nigeria.
Analyze the living standards in each of them and compare them to Nigeria.
Analyze also the level of corrupt practices in each of them and compare them to Nigeria.
What are their resources and compare them to Nigeria.

We preach and preach and preach in a million and one churches in every nook and cranny of Nigeria as the so called Christian churches are competing more for the Guinness Book of Records than for the Kingdom of God on which of them has the biggest church building or largest congregation as if the population of church goers is the indicator of true Christians.

We also preach our own theology more than we preach the truth of Jesus Christ.

One church preaches that you cannot receive Holy Ghost Baptism except you have been first baptized by immersion in water as if the church does not know about Cornelius And His Household?
1. How could anyone forbid water to those who had received the
Spirit just as the apostles did? - Ac 10:47; cf. 11:17-18
2. So Cornelius and his household were commanded to be baptized
in the name of the Lord - Ac 10:48

Were they baptized by immersion in the swimming pool of Cornelius or by sprinkling water on their bowed heads?

We see all the social and economic inadequacies, inefficiencies and failures in Nigeria as spiritual problems caused by both visible and invisible evil demons and spirits instead of saying the truth that our corrupt government has failed to utilize our vast resources for the common benefits of all Nigerians, to create good jobs for the millions of school leavers and graduates who are now applicants and millions of them have been forced to do odd jobs instead of practicing what they studied in schools. And instead of asking them their academic or technical qualifications, many fake pastors or ministers lie to them that household wickedness, marine spirits and other generational curses are holding them in bondage from getting their dream jobs, dream wives and even visas to flee Nigeria.

To get a good job in Nigeria, you need to fast and pray and if you get it, it is a miracle!
To get a good spouse in Nigeria, you need to fast and pray and if you get one, it is a miracle.
To get a good accommodation in Nigeria, you need to fast and pray and if you get it, it is a miracle.
To even pass your examinations in Nigeria and gain admission into primary school, secondary school or post-secondary institution, you need to fast and pray and if you get it, it is a miracle.
Lest I forget to get a Visa to flee or travel out of Nigeria, you need to fast and pray and if you get it, it is a miracle.

Pastors and ministers even prescribe the dosage of fasting and prayers depending on what they assume is the gravity of your sickness, disease or problem.

These erroneous and ambiguous sermons have only led millions of the ignorant masses astray and worsened the social, economic and academic state of Nigeria to make Nigeria become one of the poorest countries in the world.

A pastor says sexual immorality causes poverty and millions of pious Nigerians who are even Christians live in abject poverty.
Then, when they complain to their pastors, the fake pastors will now claim to discern the generational curses or household wickedness to blame for their poverty. And will not interview the poverty-stricken members of their church to know their real economic, social, academic and technical causes of their poverty. Instead they lie to them to hope for miracles of dream jobs or windfalls to make them rich overnight.

Churches have become fund raising centres or NGOs competing for the best tactics to extort money from both members of their congregation and invited guests including pagans, crooks, rogues and Moslems.

More millions have been spent on competitions to build the best magnificent church buildings than on evangelism or on the economic empowerment of the economic handicapped poor and needy among us.

Most churches hate to see beggars and paupers coming to their church on Sunday.
The more posh cars and jeeps they see parking in front of their churches the more elated they are and they praise and shout more "Hallelujahs!", because the sight of these posh cars and jeeps is the evidence of the miracles of prosperity God is doing for their churches. And they fail to see the corrupt government officials, shylock landlords, wicked employers who pay their poor employees meagre wages and come to bribe their pastors with fat offerings and tithes and ask for dedications for their new cars and jeeps bought by cheating and exploiting the poor and needy ones they employ and by fraudulent means. And the churches expected to alleviate the suffering of the common man will give him excuses and lies on how the sin in his life is the cause of his poverty.

Even if he repents, they will say repentance is not enough, that he must undergo 7 to 70 days fasting and praying for deliverance before he can be saved from his perpetual poverty.
I wonder when Jesus Christ gave such excuses?

Let us all stop deceiving ourselves and Nigerians and tell the ignorant masses the truth as Jesus Christ preached and practiced by his exemplary life and not competing for who is going to be the pastor of the most magnificent church building, largest congregation of owner of jeeps in Nigeria or Africa.

It is even easier to see God than to see many of the celebrated General Overseers of the churches in Nigeria. You have to book an appointment weeks in advance. And I don't know how many poor members of their congregations the GOs have been humble enough to visit and spend some time to know how they are faring?

We must realize that the social, political, economic, academic and other similar woes plaguing Nigeria today are not caused by evil spirits, carry-over generational curses, marine spirits and demons but by the hypocrisy, kleptocracy, cheating, greediness, wickedness, bribery and corruption of most Nigerians in both the private and public sectors.

If you are threatening the poor masses with your competitive doctrines and continue to keep them in ignorance of the truth, remember the sermons of Jesus Christ on the generation of vipers, "Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves" (Mark I 1: 17).

Matthew 25
The Parable of the Ten Virgins

1"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6"At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
7"Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.'
9" 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'
10"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11"Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!'
12"But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'
13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

The Parable of the Talents
14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

The Sheep and the Goats
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Matthew 25:15 A talent was worth more than a thousand dollars.

Isaiah 58

True Fasting
1 "Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?
6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

a. Isaiah 58:8 Or your righteous One

Salt and Light

13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16 (New International Version)

May God help us all.

Yours faithfully,
Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima.
August 2006.