"God don't make furniture, he makes trees."
- T.D. Jakes
n the 1970s, an SU (Scripture Unionist) or Born-Again Christian was recognizable by the shabbiness of his clothes, scruffiness of his shoes, and an ashy or oily face. His demeanor told the story of one who had "forsaken the whole world to follow Jesus." Today, the individual known as a "Born-Again Christian" (Pentecostal) floats in the lofty heights of fashion like an angel. What changed?
Short answer? - The doctrine.
The SU doctrine called for the believer to live a life set apart from the cares and concerns of this world while current Pentecostal doctrine proposes adherents thrive in the world.
The SU was expected to shun worldly goods and accoutrements unlike the Pentecostal whose God wants her to have all her heart's desires.
The SU's mantra was "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he'll lift you up" while the Pentecostal believes in "making yanga" because God has given her victory over her enemies round about.
Then there's 'go out into all the world' vs. 'bring everyone to Shiloh for a crusade. And once in Shiloh, make sure they sow for every miracle they crave.'
Under the Scripture Union, Christianity was a leveler. Everyone became a brother or sister in humility while today's born-again brigade is highly hierarchical. There are the generals who sometimes rival God in their authority and many layers of officers before the common chair warmer.
The most crucial difference however, is the transition from an emphasis on faith through works to one of faith-wrought works. Rather than working hard to build a business while believing God for success, today's born-again Christian believes faith, demonstrated by the copious time and effort invested in prayer, will produce everything needed. At church, she's instructed to sow a seed for fuel, pray till the relation who lives abroad is so disturbed, he sends a hefty wad of cash, and stretch her faith for the miracle of electricity.
Akin to the preceding, is the doctrine that God wants to prosper the believer. Pastors spend timeless moments in weekly services telling congregants God wants to bless them beyond their wildest imaginations. They make pronouncements of abundance and the church choruses, "AMEN!" Then, they walk out of the sanctuary into joblessness, destitution, scarcity, and lack of prospects. They have big dreams but no means of achievement. As such, they become frustrated and seek the greener pastures of Europe via Libya. They are ill-equipped to work their prayers into reality.
As the quote from T. D. Jakes above states, "God don't make furniture, he makes trees." Likewise, we can argue, God don't make governments, he makes people who put other people in government for better or worse. God don't make jobs, he makes people who create jobs for themselves and others by starting businesses. And God don't make electricity, he makes people who study enough about electricity to generate it for the benefit of all the people God made.
As we used to say in the Anglican church, "Ma? ko? ja mi Olugbala, kii s?'orin akunle?? ko?"* Faith requires getting up and chasing one's goal, education, work, contract, business, opportunity, right leaders, and whatever else is prayed for and not for escaping into a fantasy land of one's imagination.
*The hymn, Pass me not o Gentle Savior is not a song to sing on one's knees.
Continued from Part 3
(This is the fourth article in the Slavery begins at Home series that focus on the roots of the current crisis of the enslavement of Nigerians in Libya).