Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Moral Abuses In The Church – Time For Government Intervention

By Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke

I’m not surprised by the recent slapping of a young worshipper in the service by Bishop David Oyedepo in the presence of thousands of parishioners.

I have seen worse abuse than that.  The difference is that the abused appears to be a very young girl.  

From her dressing, she is probably a poor young girl, who attends Bishop Oyedepo’s Winner Chapel – aka ‘Cananland,’ which is the richest ministry in Nigeria with over 50,000 members, a university, hospital, clinics, various real estate properties and other business interests in Nigeria and overseas.  Like most of other abusers in the church, the bishop’s behavior is the height of Satanism, arrogance, atrocity, pervasion, godlessness, deception, manipulation, and abuse in the church by men who claim to be prophets of God.  The bishop’s action is not just a physical abuse but emotional, mental, moral, and financially abusive as well.  

Bishop Oyedepo slapped the poor worshipper because she said, “I’m a witch for Jesus.”  That statement can not be the only reason for the richest Bishop in the nation to slap the young girl in the presence of thousands of worshippers.  

This behavior is the sort of godlessness that is rampant in churches throughout the world today – especially in Africa – Nigeria leading the pack. And this is because most Christians have become very gullible and biblically ignorant. I could not imagine any intelligent person sit and listen to the junks that most of these men and women of cloth rap from the pulpit nowadays.

Jesus Christ warned his followers about false prophets who would rise up to lead many astray and to destruction (Matthew 24:11). In Oliver Discourse, Jesus warned, "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name. And will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5).

But, let us examine a few examples from biblical text to compare if what the young girl said should cause Bishop Oyedepo to slap her face publicly.
 
When Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, a man possessed by evil spirits cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are – the Holy One of God.” Jesus did not slap him.  Rather, he sternly said, “Be quiet! “Come out of him.”  And immediately the evil spirit left the young man. – Mark 1:23-25. In Mark 5:6-7, Jesus was confronted by a man possessed of demonic spirits at Gerasenes.  When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.  He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I swear to God that you won’t torture me!”  Jesus simply commanded the evil spirit to leave.  “Come out of this man, you evil spirit”- Mark 5:8.  Then Jesus asked him, what is your name?  Jesus did not slap the man.

What about other deliverances like the forgiveness and deliverance of Mary Magdalene, who was possessed of seven demons, the Samaritan woman at the well, or the woman who committed adultery that the Pharisees wanted to stone to death.  Jesus had compassion and forgave them for their sins and short comings.  He did not slap or beat them like the foolishness we see today in churches around the world.Jesus had compassion on people and that was the secret behind his genuine miraculous healings.

The Apostle dedicates the entire epistle of Timothy to teachings against false prophets, false doctrines and godlessness in the last days and warns Timothy, his son in the ministry to flee from such things. He writes, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”, Second Timothy 4:3-4.

In Second Timothy 3:1-5, Paul warns, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

Second Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Apostle Paul charges Timothy, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”

As teachers and preachers of the Word of God, we are reminded to do our best to study and show ourselves approved to God, a workman who odes not need to be ashamed but who correctly handles the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
 
What we have in Nigeria today especially within the Pentecostal and various charismatic churches are men and women who do not know how to rightly divide the Word of Truth.  What we have today is not proper of the Word of God, but pragmatic psychological philosophies for attaining success or solving spiritual matter rather than a sound exposition of God’s Word.  

What we have today is deceitful prosperity preaching where the preacher alone gets richer and richer and the parishioners poorer and poorer.  What we see today in Nigeria are men and women who are using the Word of God for profit, men and women who are not called - but who have called themselves into ministry for lucre.  

What we have today are men and women who do not give a damn about the implication of God’s call - who do not understand that one cannot be a preacher and teacher of the Word without receiving a divine call from and of God.  What we have in today’s Christendom are men and women who do not take the call of God seriously and who do understand the enormous task, duty, suffering as well as honor and blessing of God’s divine call on a life.  

So today, we are witnesses of the manifestation of Jesus and Apostle Paul’s prophetic warnings about the increase of godlessness, false prophets, satanic churches and establishment of ungodly religious organizations worldwide.

In the United States alone, there are over three hundred thousand ($300,000) local church congregations out of which thirteen thousand ($13,000) are satanic churches. Worldwide,there are about seventy thousand ($70,000) satanic religious organizations and three thousand ($3,000) denominations. The proliferation of these ungodly religious organizations has given rise to the plethora of atrocities we see today in churches. In the U.S, we have seen not only financial impropriety, but sex scandals of enormous proportions, including the ongoing scandalous sex scandal of Bishop Eddie Long, the senior Pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, who was accused of molesting and sexually abusing fatherless young men he claimed he was fathering.

There is no doubt that the Nigerian church and pastors are emulating and borrowing from the rich American church and her superstar pastors, bishops and televangelists. One can easily notice some of the Nigerian pastors who are imitating and preaching like Pastor Benny Hinn, Bishop TD Jakes, Dr. Creflo Dollar, Bishop Eddie Long, Bishop Dale Bronner, Pastor Joyce Myer, Pastor Paula White, and Pastor Darlene Bishop etc.

Today, the streets of major cities in Nigeria are littered with all kinds of churches promising healing, wealth, prosperity and happiness and yet Nigeria and majority of her citizens remain among the poorest in the world. In addition to that – are the presence and practice of rituals, divination, astrology, sorcery, witchcraft, voodoo, magic, envy, greed, jealousy, hatred, idolatry, hypocrisy, ungodliness, wickedness, lust, immorality, adultery, and corruption remain inalarming proportion in our nation.

What we have today in Nigeria is moral bankruptcy, biblical ignorance, and satanic spiritual capitalism.
These imitators and imposters refused to understand that United States is a rich and capitalist country. The American religious organizations are big businesses and they have huge faith based budget and initiatives in addition to the monetary tax law exceptions from the federal government that makes wealth accumulation of the churches possible and easy without the churches depending solely on the meager tithes and offerings from their members.

Nevertheless, there are religious institutions, nongovernmental organizations, local, state and Federal Government that keep watch and monitorany abuses and atrocities in the church. Clergies have been arrested and imprisoned in the United States when any abuse is reported and found guilty. In the case of Nigeria, who will arrest Bishop Oyedepo for slapping a poor young girl in the church?  

There are no institutions – religious, non-governmental or governmental institutions monitoring these abusive churches in Nigeria. As a result, they are taking ignorant and gullible Nigerians for granted.

False prophets have been around since the beginning of redemptive history (Deuteronomy 13:1-5), and they always find ways to get their human words out to the society at large. Jesus warned, Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15). Saint Jude, in his brief letter to believers, warned against false prophets and told us how to respond to them by keeping ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21). In the teachings and writings of Jesus, Apostle Paul, Peter, John and even Saint Jude, we are also encouraged to confront false prophets and their followers, doing so with a special dependence on the Lord and being careful not to get contaminated by their false teachings.  

False teachers and prophets have been around since the history of mankind. They are in our churches and society at large and they are hard to be detected until God exposes them for what they are. However, the Bible warns to have a discerning spirit and learn how to respond to them.

Despite the counterfeit churches and crisis in Christendom, the true Church that Jesus Christ established with the Apostles is still the most important institution in our universe apart from the family. The church is the custodian of the divine truth of God's Word. The church was entrusted with the divine truth, where certain men and women are called and ordained not only by religious organizations but by God to proclaim and teach these truths to the people.

Christianity must restore its credibility and purpose. Despite the scandals by men and women of cloth, the true Church –i.e. the Kingdom of God is still God’s number one agenda for redeeming His creation. It is through the Church that mankind can be redeemed. The Church is the custodian of the divine truth and should use the riches and wealth of God’s Word to redeem people not to exploit them.

Bishop Oyedepo should be investigated for his abuses – physical, emotional, mental, emotional, financial, and moral abuses. It is time; our law-makers work on a legislation to checkmate these kinds of abuses in the Church, otherwise our young generation and future ones are heading for moral bankruptcy, and biblical ignorance and the consequences will be enormous.

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I dont think u understand the

I dont think u understand the consequences of what u are saying against the man of God. some girl came out from d congregation and say she is a witch 4 Jesus. Does Jesus has a witch? or is Jesus a witch? The bible says suffer not the witch to live. She was not killed, but only received a slap and one charge n bail lawyer somewhere coming to claim N2Billion. Criminal, have u seen 1Million b4? Please save urself the wrath of God n jejeli go back to d court room and wait 4 ur time. N2Billion naira is no joke.

It is not enough to Complain

Can someone undertake to sue this 'Man of God' on behalf of the girl since she is poor and may not afford legal services? That is how it is done in developed countries. It will teach other lesson and make other 'Men of God' to thread with caution. If we write from now till tomorrow, nothing will happen and the 'Man of God' will never regret his satanic act. I'm calling on someone who care to take this matter beyond the cyberspace condemnation.

Are you a real human being or

Are you a real human being or a Zombie? Donate your wife and daughters to him too, if you are married and have girls!

Wake up Nigerians...........

Nice article. Reading from some of these idiots supporting this pastor,I see why Nigeria will remain the same. Why are Nigerians so gullible? That's why we are so behind the rest of the world in everything. Propaganda, propaganda, propaganda...... we are acting like educated illeterate. I believe that's why the politicians are getting away with all the nonsense they are dishing out. Even the white people who brought christianity to us are not practicing it the way we are. Stop getting carried away with idiocratic ideas and wake up. Worship with your brain and soul...stop getting carried away with these fools that called themselves 'man of God'. Hubert Ogunde said, "Idajo kan ko si l'orun l'aiye lo wa" - (Judgement is not in heaven but here on earth). You reap what you sow. James Hadley Chase said, "the dead stay dumb". That's what happens to you when you die. Once you are dead, you have no idea of what else is happening here on earth.

Thanks, but Shut your Mouth Up!

This is just a tip of an iceberg. The poor ladies, who received hot slaps should thank their stars that the annoited hands of Bishop fell on their faces/bodies. How I wish, these kinds of slappings are extended to me.

Oga, C. Kingstoon Ekeke, ebi like sey u de tek style enfi the Man of god's biz, which is fast growing. Pls, go establish yours! This is neither the 1st time, nor the 2nd time, people get abused physically, emotionally, socially, economically, legally, and morally in places of worship in Nigeria.

TIME FOR TOTAL REGULATION

It is time Governments in Nigeria introduce a rigorous regulatory framework to checkmate the activities of these bandits robbing believers in the name of Jesus. One issue that is also important in their regulation is that of noise polution. In most streets of metropolitan Lagos and elsewhere it is so hard to have a peaceful night sleep on Fridays because of their so called night vigil, even though the Lagos state government did pass a half hearted law to deal with it. The mosques too are very guilty of the same using public address systems to broadcast their prayer sessions as if the entire neighbourhood is interested in their preaching and services. They should all be made to install systems that is adequate for the purpose of addressing those within the four walls of their premises and can only be tuned to a specific decibel. No organisation should be allowed to install external speakers or any other equipment that will disturb the peace of the neighbourhood.

Feel your pain but...

Your essay is well written...but alas, your call for government to legislate or regulate church affairs will go unheeded. Except in communist countries, the church is largely left alone to handle its business. The church has a huge influence on millions of people and no government will want to willfully get on its wrong side and risk been labelled antichrist and "lose" valuable votes. The church needs to champion its own redemption and purge itself of charlatans.

brainwashing of ignorants

i dont knw why my people are always myopic. Pls ppl, ask yourself this question. All the achievers i know, how many churches did they attend before they became achievers? Did they achieve their goal by attending winners, redeem, synagogue or they did by hardwork?. Am urging my fellow christians to refuse all this tricks use by mischievious elements to draw them into this kind of mess. Gods blessing is spontaneous and he gives whoever he cares to give not withstanding your statue nor sins. Just appreciate his might and trust in him. You will eventually get his blessings without you begging for it even when you do.stop jumping around bec at d end, u r not better than those who r steady with their faith.

TRUTH WAR

Thank you Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke.There is absolute necessity for truth.You have done justice to this issue.Oyedepo and his team of followers have dissociated themselves from the truth of the knowledge of God.In Romans 1:28,the apostle Paul wrote "Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,God gave them over to a debased mind to do those things that are not fitting".This is the situation in Winners Chapel.

Thank you for this beautiful

Thank you for this beautiful write up. We should all read this and digest.

Which government?

I do not think your assessment of the situation and your recomendation are well thought out. Which government are you suggesting should step in to ameliorate the abuses in the religious institutions in the country? The government that has been abusing his citizen for decades, the government that has no solution to the basic needs of the populace! The government that continue to loot the common wealth of it's subjects with utter impunity! The same government that cannot fathom or curtail terrorism under it's nose disguising as "Boko Haram". Is Bishop Oyedepo the problem that the government need to address? Asked the multitude of the people feeding under him, they'll tell you more than all your biblical quotations that the government is more of the problem and not the solution!

roforofo fight between igbos and yorubas

This one is a roforofo fight between igbos and yorubas with boko haram as the judge. Goodluck to una and patience to the victim and her team of negotiators

Fake Pastors

Can u imagine d pride and anger he displayed. I laugh at pple who worship these kind of pastors. I hope did is seen internationally,