FEATURE ARTICLE

Gabriel Osamwonyi OmozuwaMonday, July 14, 2014
aceomozuwa@gmail.com


ANNOUNCE THIS ARTICLE
TO YOUR FRIENDS

PASTOR, DON'T TEACH ME NONSENSE (1)

advertisement

ela Anikulapo-Kuti, for many reasons, will remain evergreen in our national memory. He was a maverick cultural icon that sought to illumine society's conscience. He bravely spoke truth to power consistently. With his legendary Afro-beat creation, he fiercely fought to protect the fundamental rights of Nigerians to determine their future and elect leaders in accordance with democratic principles. For these and many more reasons, he enraged military dictatorships and was a victim of their brutal assaults. Almost pointless to state, the title of this article is a slight modification of his song, Teacher Don't Teach me Nonsense.

More than ever before, pastors are prone to embrace errors and teach nonsense. It is apparent to every discerning believer that teachers of heresies are everywhere. Streams of error are as common as sand. Apostate teachers have access to revered pulpits and Christian television channels. First shocker, you are likely to find some on TBN. Well, it happens to be one of my favourite channels, that is why I know. These teachers of errors generally manifest as apostles of syncretism. Some infuse New Age concepts and practices like contemplative spirituality into Christianity. Others wed Christianity with Afro-Caribbean Spiritualities, amongst this group, are those who see God as a serial killer ever-gloating in the death of the wicked, or better said, in the death of their imaginary progress-retarding enemies. I see on TBN some religious teachers who syncretise Judaic customs with Christian doctrine and practice. And there are those who promote the rituals of Neo-paganism, polytheism fuelled by Eastern religions. They have given rise to a new form of phoney Christianity, which could be termed voodooistic Christianity.

One of the greatest Christian thinkers in modern era, C.S Lewis, aptly posited that: "When poisons become fashionable they do not cease to kill." Regrettably, wells of poisonous errors are commonplace in the churches of Nigeria. Note, I didn't say the Church in Nigeria. Worse still, is that our famed it-is-well attitude has blinded us to prophetic red flags. Hence, many heroes of faith are sleepwalking through terrains thick with landmines.

Let me offer some contextual clarifications before proceeding any further. Nonsense in this context denotes beliefs, doctrines, rites and rituals, or practices that are not rooted in scripture, yet are upheld by pastors. Any theology, deliverance methodology, prescriptive formulaic prayer, or practice that lacks sufficient biblical evidence espoused and observed by a pastor could be considered as ecclesiastical nonsense. In other words, whatever is against scripture is nonsense, regardless of the ecclesiastical pedigree of the purveyors.

To hold back the tide of heresies from eroding the foundation of truth requires consistent scripture-based spiritual enlightenment, a willingness to cast off from our minds pious fables that have formed multilayered refuge from harsh realities and expose the spirit of error. Error detection demands Berean-like vigilance, as opposed to uncritical acceptance of whatever emanates from the pulpit. I wish it could be said of Nigerian Christians as it was said in Acts 17: 11 that: "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

In this day when it pays to market falsehoods, error exposure requires the fearlessness of Maccabean martyrs.

One of the befuddling ironies of our time is that wolves are leading sheep. Devourers parade as life coaches, ever churning out self-help books. Soul-care giver, which is a New Age terminology, is increasingly becoming popular amongst hype-charismatic. A pastor that designates himself as a soul-care giver is likely a courier of delusion, particularly, if he did it with full understanding, not that he is being faddish. One that prefers "As above, so below" to "as it is in heaven ... on earth" may be steep in New Age philosophy. Don't be fooled into New Age mysticism. There are no "new territories of consciousness" to be explored.

One common attribute of sheep led by wolves is that their worldview is not Christ -centric, because the gospel proclaimed to them is largely man-centric. The need for pastors to make people feel good has given rise to a form of warped humanism. In many seeker-friendly churches, there is a gradual shift from God's authority and capabilities to humanism, which is about faith in human-based morality, values and abilities. Sin rules and reigns where the righteousness of God, which comes by faith in Christ, is made secondary to human-based morality. The gospel of humanity according to humanity and for humanity is an obscene travesty of the Gospel of Christ.

The fountain of all error is to put man at the centre of theology and God at the fringes. Anthropocentric theology is not God-glorifying, faith-building or life-changing, at best, it is a psychological prop for world-wearily escapists hopping from one miracle arena to the other.

Ordinarily, these are danger signals. But our spiritual alarm system is dysfunctional. To expose error is to run the risk of being tagged an alarmist, or an outlier with humanistic sentiments. The big question of today is do we have sentinels like Apostle Paul in the watchtower of truth? For me, the critical need of our generation is spiritual shepherds who are committed to guiding our cherished apostolic legacies of true faith and maintaining high fidelity to scriptures in all things.

Believers are now pleased to be deceived on purpose and for purpose. Any pseudo-religious, psychology-based scheme that promises flourishing health and wealth holds a universal appeal in Christendom. This explains why some Christians will elatedly eat grass. It is the same reason why some husbands will allow their wives to sleep on the miracle-performing beds of apostles of fruitfulness.

In the concluding part of this article, I hope to x-ray common nonsense streaming from the pulpit. Guard your heart. Refuse sweet-coated errors. The bitter truth is better than anything.

@omozuwaspeaks (On Twitter)

advertisement
IMAGES IN THE NEWS