The Church has exerted enormous influence on the world as we know it! Even though it remains one of the most influential institutions worldwide, its power is declining globally except in Africa, especially Nigeria, if we check or crunch the numbers. However, untoward practices might make it unravel even faster despite its seeming growth in Nigeria.
Across Europe and the Americas, Christianity, the lifeblood of the Church that heralded democracies through the Lutheran Revolution because it provided comfort, guidance, and a sense of community for millions of people worldwide, is ebbing. Many Christians have either lost their faith or chosen to become non-Church-going believers.
Churches are declining in power and prominence in most industrialised societies, except in evolving nations like Nigeria, where the Church does more than regulate the relationship between individuals and God – it spins miracles and mints wealth! Ah, the almighty Church in Nigeria – the source of all truth, wisdom, and miracles. It answers all of life’s questions, from the meaning of existence to the afterlife. Isn’t it?
Imagine a preacher advocating that believing in miracles is the best thing you can do for yourself, instead of worrying about those pesky little things like hard work, logic and reason. A lesser number of people in society would have achieved success through hard work and determination if they’d put all their faith in miracles, as posited by false clerics.
These miracle peddlers will convince you to believe in their miracle service. Assuring that your life will magically transform into a never-ending parade of rainbows and unicorns. And if you are still waiting to see the results you were promised? Well, that’s just because you didn’t have enough faith.
Like your favourite pastor, you get to run your car on urine from Lagos to Ibadan, entering your toilet in Benin City to pop out in Germany without a visa. And we have that super-human pastor once caught on camera body-slamming a worshipper in the name of demon exorcism. He also said, “A prophet can change the message of God. When God says yes, a prophet can say; Sir, please, no! They say, obey the word of the prophet, you shall prosper.” Comically, he announced his death claiming to be done with his life mission. It’s like a never-ending game of make-believe and sacrilege! Charades like this have been continuously used to rip and strip the undiscerning of their treasures, throwing them into the abyss of ruin. To be clear, miracles do exist, but not as advocated or demonstrated by these false clerics.
Due to the mysterious nature of some aspects of religion, many false preachers have taken undue advantage to turn apostolic callings into entrepreneurship. The Church is being hijacked each dawn by a new tribe of get-rich or richer schemers posturing as teachers of the sacred word. It is now a remedy for joblessness to escape poverty and another business that can be bequeathed to a spouse or children.
The Bible has been translated and interpreted many times. It is still being reinterpreted in so many ways by false clerics who often fabricate their gospels to deceive people. It is often used to exonerate themselves from their ridiculous and sometimes criminal acts and rituals – what’s with all the public anointing of female privates, special prayer session for Yahoo Boys, body slams as demon exorcism method, feeding of grass to the congregation and devious tithing/ first fruit extortion tactics. The Church has fallen into the hands of charlatans.
Wondering why fakery and miracle peddling thrives in Nigeria? It is simple – multidimensional mass poverty! Ah, that’s what’s enabling these miracle peddlers – charismatic individuals who promise to solve all your problems with the power of faith. But let’s be honest here – these men and women are nothing more than con artists. They’re preying on people’s hopes and fears to make a quick buck.
They’re not interested in helping anyone – they want our money (yours and mine). Think about it – if their miracle cures, prayers, and supernatural financial breakthrough formulas have been as effective as they claim, Nigeria would be one of the most developed nations in the world. Yet, here we are! Furthermore, the sheer audacity of these miracle peddlers is astounding. They use ridiculous excuses to justify their lack of results. Oh, you didn’t get healed. That’s because you didn’t pray hard enough! Or, if you haven’t given enough, you need to double your offering.
Fake clerics have and will always use the Church to oppress, exploit, abuse and enslave people. They applaud the wealthy, notwithstanding the source, and are a menace to society because they corrupt the Gospel and convey fake messages that appeal to worldly desires or emotions. Sadly, they thrive on the blind loyalty of their congregations and the lack of clear legal jurisdiction over the Church in Nigeria to engage in fraudulent and criminal activities without fear of consequences.
The Church’s mission is to preach the Gospel and serve those in need, just as Jesus did during His time. This involves feeding the hungry, giving drinks to the thirsty, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and setting the oppressed free. Failure to do this will accelerate the free fall.
These fake clerics’ shameful, fraudulent, and criminal acts will continue to destroy Christianity, an integral part of society, if unchecked. Just as the youths have started kicking back against corrupt politicians, it’s time Christians brazenly and rigorously question these fake clerics, seek prosecution of wrongdoers like regular citizens that we all are, and save the Church from its vaunting free fall!
Nutty Pin, a conscious artiste, writes from Lagos. He tweets from @nutty_pin