PBY Lolu Akinwunmi
I have carefully followed very recent discussions and arguments on tithing. A certain daddy freeze started the debate when he cited scriptures to support why tithing is not required of the Christian. The moment i read it, i knew he was stoking what would become a massive conflagration.
Expectedly, the response was fierce. On both sides. Those who agree with freeze and those who don’t. Soon scriptures were being copiously cited; the combatants would shame many trial lawyers by their performance.
Then the matter escalated.
My bold, dear friend and brother Paul Adefarasin was soon quoted on the social media as weighing in on the side of tithe compliance. And what I am sure he believed was a family discussion in his magnificent church was openly shared out here and of course daddy freeze saw it and responded, further digging in. Paul reportedly responded the following Sunday and the social media quoted him, and daddy freeze was also waiting for him. It became roforofo.
Then a video of the venerable pastor Adeboye surfaced and in a few words he condemned Daddy Freeze’s doctrine of no tithing. Daddy freeze was not going to allow daddy G.O. get away with it. Politely, he gave it back to baba and kept insisting that instead of attacking him, let the focus return to the substantive issue he raised and let relevant scriptures be the arbiter.
Last week, the London/Lagos pastor Matthew Ashimolowo was on tv. He understandably supported tithing and even supported the ownership of private jets, citing daddy G.O.’s ownership of one as a blessing.
This issue of tithing is about money. Period. And as a Pentecostal pastor myself, I know why this is generating so much furore. It’s not about tithes per se. In the dock is the general disenchantment with the lifestyle of some Pentecostal ministers. Let us be clear. Orthodox churches, white garment churches etc., have been paying tithes forever. I should know. My late father was an Anglican Revd. And it’s never been an issue. No one ever made a sound. No one ever complained.
People within and outside the church are using tithing, expensive church schools, flashy lifestyles of some Pentecostal ministers as reasons to complain. I assure you that if the Anglican or Catholic Church were to acquire a jet tomorrow, the noise would be less or none. It’s about Pentecostal lifestyles. The body language. Its about US. We are in the dock and not the body of Christ.
And it was bound to get to this level.
I wrote a piece on Pentecostal excesses a few months ago. I warned that resistance from the public would continue to build up. Very soon Pentecostal ministers will have more Rolls Royces than industrialists. What business do they do? People will ask these questions!!!
What to now do?
First on tithes. I believe in it. And so I pay. But I also would feel offended if my tithe was funding some pastor’s Hollywood-type lifestyle. And if for any reason anyone does not believe in it, it’s not a condition for making heaven. Hold on to your money.
On the more serious matter, Pentecostal ministers must urgently come together and speak to one another. Their lifestyle is too reminiscent of what their American counterparts do. If this backfired in America, be sure it will here!!! Its not so in the UK, at least not so prevalent. It’s too showy. There must be a new code of conduct. The bible talks of sobriety and moderation. We no longer see these in the Pentecostal fold. The excesses must stop. This competition with Rolls Royces and Pjets must be contained. And must every church have a London branch? Why not Gambia and Iraq and Afghanistan?
We must not forget one thing. The only source of these monies that are being spent on luxury lifestyles is via the congregation. Tithes. Offerings etc. Okay some pastors have a thriving publishing ministry, but who largely buys the books? While many pastors are still in bed till midday, the same congregants have done six hours of labour. We must respect them.
Its a matter of conscience even if it is not a sin. Must such monies from the labours of others be so spent? Even if the scriptures don’t condemn it, it is morally decadent. I have nothing against pastors living comfortably. Anglican, Methodist and catholic clergy are comfortable but are not excessive. The Deeper Life G.S., Pastor Kumuyi is comfortable but sober.
The excuse by people like Pastor Ashimolowo that pastors need jets because staying at the airport wastes time is sensitive. So why cant Pastors stay at airports if other people do? So without private jets, the work cannot be done? The British PM has no jet. Jesus our master had no donkey. These itinerant pastors can reduce the junketing and make use of technology to reach millions. Seriously. And why can they not fly commercial airlines? Former heads of states do!!!!
As a matter of grave urgency, an enclave should be called where these matters are discussed. Non-pastor Christians must also be invited to contribute. Its time to speak truth to ourselves in love. Its time for a serious chastisement and admonition. Lets manage this before others get involved! Self regulation is the best form of regulation.
Otherwise the public resistance will drive especially the young out of the church to undesirable places. Plus government will one day move in to control this wealth that is being spent on decadent lifestyle. This will be a pity and shame.
– Mr. Lolu Akinwunmi is a public affairs analyst.
– The opinions and views expressed in this article are solely those of the writer/author, and do not necessarily represent or reflect the editorial policy of Headline News Nigeria.