Sunday, 19 May 2013
God’s Private Jets and Limousines By Ogaga Ifowodo
And it came to pass, that the congregation of the Lord in the Word of Life Bible Church took count of the forty years marked by the wonderful things that Jehovah, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, had done through his humble servant, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, in their lives and they were ashamed that they had treated the anointed servant of the Lord very poorly. They had left him to the indignity of traveling by car and commercial air travel to his many deliverance missions in near and far places even when his fellow Daddy Overseers owned private jets. And being deeply shamed, they said unto themselves, Behold, in this year of our Lord, our father in Christ shall mark the fortieth year of the “unique anointing upon his life” that has “brought Salvation, Deliverance, Revival, Healing and outstanding Miracles to millions across the world as God’s power is demonstrated with signs and wonders.”
Now, therefore, let us hasten and do unto him according to the riches with which the Lord has blessed us; let us buy for him a private jet. And in this, we shall do as our brethren in the Living Faith Ministries did unto Bishop David Oyedepo, and in the Redeemed Christian Church of God unto Pastor Enoch Adeboye, and in the Redeemed Evangelical Mission unto Bishop Mike Okonkwo, and in Christ Embassy Church unto Pastor Chris Oyakhilome. Then shall we present the aircraft as a gift to our Papa Ayo, that he may fly without hindrance, delay or discomfort to the farthest reaches of the world, where the people walk in darkness and do not know God, and have not confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal savior, for behold, the kingdom of God is at hand. Yea, let us do this mighty thing in the sight of the Lord that we may cease to be the laughing stock of our brethren in Christ who say of us, Surely, their God is a poor God! Wherefore do they preach prosperity? Oh, their God is a poor God indeed!
And it came to pass that on the 10th day of November in the year of the Lord, which also is the anniversary of his birth, the congregants presented unto their pastor, Papa Ayo, who also is the spiritual leader of Christians in all of Nigeria, a Bombardier 601 Aircraft, the cost of which is about $5 million. And the same was done in the presence of the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who knows a thing or two about not one but a fleet of jets and their constant replenishment. And the president, whom Jehovah, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, appointed over his people in the un-promised land of Nigeria, gave testimony of the servant of the Lord in words that I understand thus, Verily I say unto you, Papa Ayo is the uniquely anointed son of God in whom He is well pleased. Hear and honour him with every material thing of which your hands and the blessing they have received are capable; but which, in his own words, went thus, “I can say without any equivocation that Oritsejafor, from the very humble beginning in 1972, has moved from strength to strength. … he is a Christian visionary leader who preaches the words (sic) of God clearly and eloquently as a good shepherd … He has earned his respect among his peers and this explains why he is holding the two very important positions in Christendom in Nigeria as the President of CAN, and President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.”
And the congregants made a great shout, such as could have felled the walls of Jericho, and there was dancing and merriment and the offering of praise to Jehovah who had brought this great deed to pass, according to his riches and glory, that the world may know that he is Lord and there is none like him.
Since Pastor Oritsejafor loudly entered the Jet-set Club, many Nigerians disturbed by the phenomenon of unabashed embrace of a hedonism usually associated with the heathen have begun to ask questions about what a true life of the spirit entails. And the fruits of the prosperity gospel that has overawed a nation steeped in grinding poverty have now begun to set on edge the teeth of a few in the fold. Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, for instance, does not believe that without private jets the gospel suffers. And I agree. After all, Mary Slessor did not sail from Scotland to Calabar in a private ocean liner. Nor did St Paul or any of the apostles, founders of evangelism, need the equivalent of a private yacht for their mission. Bakare sees not soul-winning but soul-weaning, the separation of church-goers, majority of them poor, from their means of keeping body and soul together. He sees thieves in priests’ clothing and would have them imprisoned and then cast into the hottest part of hell on judgement day.
But not so some of his brethren whose doctrine of prosperity has long done away with the key tenet of sacrifice. So we have heard the defenders of high-flying predator capitalists in cassock and collar, and very often in pin-striped suits, say that a pastor is deserving of his reward. Here on earth.“There is nothing wrong for a preacher to own (sic) a jet. If people in the secular world can acquire jets for chief executive officers of big private enterprises, there is nothing wrong in giving gifts to a man of God of Pastor Oritsejafor’s standing. … He deserves what he has been given,” says one Reverend El-Buba, General Overseer of Evangelical Bible Outreach Ministries International, Jos, clearly anticipating his own jet for the glorious all-nations-for-Christ crusades and revivals; though this always excludes, quite conveniently, places like North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, China, India, and even good old Judaist Israel. And, of course, there is nothing wrong with comparing self-proclaimed men of God and churches to CEOs and business enterprises!
The Pharisee-pastors and congregants defending crass materialism think they answer their critics by claiming that the jets belong to the church, and not to the Daddy Overseers. The only problem is the damning evidence of bondage to Mammon; of the manic setting up of treasures here on earth: palatial mansions, jewelry, fleets of luxury cars (even including stretch limousines).
Ye shall know the truth and the truth shalt set ye free? Here is the truth: the predator capitalists in cassock and collar are rich men in the manner of that poignant parable of Christ in Matthew 19. A rich man, who has followed the commandments, comes to the barefoot carpenter to know what else he might do to gain eternal life. Jesus says tells him to go and sell all that he has, distribute to the poor so he shall have treasure in heaven, and then “come and follow me.” Whereupon the rich man went away sorrowful, “for he had great possessions.” Prompting Christ to utter the famous words, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”