I recently had an interview with a Nigerian news outlet where some interesting questions were asked. I am sharing the questions and answers with you because I believe they will help enlighten and explain some misconceptions people have about me and what I am about. Please read, and share this piece so that others can also benefit from it.
Pst. Sunday Adelaja
For The Love Of God, Church and Nation
You exposing some leading pastors in Nigeria is causing quiet a revolution. The income in some churches are dwindling. What exactly is your position about money vis-a-vis the church work?
On the issue of money in the Nigerian church. Of course, I believe the church must support their ministers and church members should support their local church and ministers. But the only kind of giving the bible encourages in the new testament is free-will offering. That’s all.
However, what has happened in the Nigerian church and among her leaders is that they have sold their conscience to mammon.
2 Peter 2:3 said, “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingered not, and their damnation.”
What is happening in the Nigerian church is that covetousness has overtaken the Nigerian church and the pastors are using feign word to merchandize the people of God.
Ezekiel 34: 7-10 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus, saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
I think this particular passage is talking to the Nigerian church. I believe the Nigerian pastors are feeding themselves and building their empires and ministries while church members are going hungry. Nigeria has become number 1 poorest country in the world per population right now.
Our people are living on less than $1 today and our pastors at the same time are buying flashy cars, private jets, flying all around the world and building their empires while people in their own churches cannot even eat three square meals.
Our Nigerian church has departed from the injunctions in the bible that the offerings that are coming into the church must first of all be used in taking care of the poor.
Jesus in Matthew 25:42 “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink”.
This what the church is meant to be doing. We are meant to eliminate poverty and wretchedness from our society. We are supposed to use the resources in the church not only to take care of the needs of our church members but of our community also. Just like in the book of Acts, we see the offering that came into the church was used to meet the needs of the people.
In Acts 4:32-37 said, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all. That there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
There was no needy person amongst them because the church had taken care of all the needs of the society. The church today is now taking from the needy and using it to take care of the bishops and G.O’s. It is wickedness!
The bible says that whosoever that gives to the rich is an oppressor and the same as someone stealing from the poor. Whereas the bible tells us in Psalm 82:3
“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Proverbs 19:17 If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD–and he will repay you!
In Matthew 19:21, Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come,follow me.”
Anybody that wants to follow Jesus must learn to pay attention to the poor. This is what the Nigerian church has to come back to. It is the basic and elementary part of the gospel of Christ.
I think I must also touch here about the question of tithe and offering. Like I said, in the new testament, there is no place for compulsory giving of tithe. I personally give tithe not 10% but 20% just as a measure of discipline to honor God. Giving to God must be as appreciation and thanksgiving for what he has done for us. It should be a measure of love. It shouldn’t be because of the law or that it was done in the old testament. When Nigerian pastors are saying people are cursed because they don’t pay tithe, it is because they don’t understand the new testament gospel. Because in the New Testament Jesus and his disciples didn’t preach tithe talk less of collecting tithe. Jesus never collected tithe.
The apostles never collected tithe and never demanded tithe from the church in the New Testament. So when it talks about tithe in Malachi 3:5”
“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.”
It is talking about the leaders of the churches and the country that are well to do, collecting this tithe from the people and are not using it for the purpose that God instituted it. God said so that there would be food in my house. Why food? So that people can come to the house of God to eat. So in Malachi, the ministers instead of using the tithe to feed the hungry, they were using it to build their empires just as the pastors in the Nigerian church are doing today. They were not using the tithe to take care of the poor, the widows and the fatherless. That is what that Malachi was talking about; the money that was coming in was supposed to take care of these people according to verse 5.
The Nigerian church just read from verses 8 to 12 omitting verse 5 telling us the real culprits who are stealing from God. Just as the church in the New Testament used the offerings to take care of the need of the people, the Nigerian church has to get back to this if they want to follow the truth of the gospel of our lord Jesus Christ.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja