By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
It was with great happiness, infinite joy,and a Christian spirit of generous charity that I watched a video of a jet-set Nigerian born-again, very holy and rambunctious businessman, even controversial Pentecostal pastor recently who boasted in the Lord in a garishly vainglorious manner that he bought his third jet during the pandemic, a pandemic that has killed about a million of God’s children across the world and a friend wondered where on earth has common sense gone among the supposedly wise and prudent in the ways of the Lord, and not to be surprised at such inanities because we are in the last days of Satan’s rule and false Christs shall arise and shall perform signs and wonders that if it were possible they would deceive the very elect!
The pastor under reference (do I remember his name?) went further to declare that when he speaks in tongues, it produces dollars, and my friend observed that this speaking in tongues must be an import from sacred India where rings or a potion or a fetish object could be placed on the tongue and followers would become mumu to the utterances of the man, akin to crowd hypnotism in the practice and art of magic, like what happened in what has been branded the Guyana tragedy! This was in response to an allegation that he prints money because he is stinkingly loaded with mammon of righteousness while God’s hapless children struggle for daily bread, often going to bed without food! The same pastor I am told once asked his customers whether they thought it was from their kobo and naira that he made such fantastic wealth!
One envious friend of mine who watched the video with me countered that the speaking of tongues in the Book of Acts was meant for edification and people understood what was said because they communicated in different languages, not gibberish like hibra hibra shakabuyaya okokobioko buharee atikoo boko haram egbejule tumtumtum! I simply ignored my friend because of the wonderous and wonderful magic which this Apostle of the Jeroboam tradition performs for the people. I intend to visit his church so I can speak in tongues and buy a jet too! What the heck! What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I could be COVID-19 lucky too!
Not stopping there, this great apostle of the Lord asserted that he almost prayed for COVID-19 not to end so that he would continue to reap the benefits of distressed people of God who seek strange signs and wonders to believe that there is God, people who find Catholic or Anglican or the regular churches boring, or who attend the regular churches in the morning and visit the Pentecostals at night for very hot and consuming prayers, (let my enemies fall-down-and-die prayers) and stupendous signs and wonders for humongous sums of mammon of unrighteousness!
Of course, the congregation (customers?) was so enraptured with this gaudy display of God-inspired wealth that they burst into a deafening applause and emotive ecstasy of demonic proportions! I was so envious of such a man whose main gift in the Lord’s Ministry is to make gluttonous profit in the name of the Lord, buying not one, not two, but three jets from tithes and offerings given to God by poor and rich people so that they may have salvation here on earth and later in paradise. The Lord is good! The Lord is good, especially to the great pastor who bought aircraft while followers of Christ were breaking into warehouses in search of palliatives and buckets of rice or garri to eat for the day! The Lord is really good! Which Lord, my sceptic friend asked? As for me I have little time and patience for people who castigate others that have been blessed by heaven with exceptional gifts.
Some jealous persons have argued that Jesus Christ ran a poor ministry, he rode on a donkey and that no man of God should live in luxury! This friend of mine says the leader of his church used to say that one false prophet is more dangerous than one thousand armed robbers, or Boko Haram scoundrels! This is because, he says, whereas a gang of armed robbers can only kill two or three people, one fake pastor could lead one million people to perdition! Well, that is neither here nor there. The people are hard pressed on the daily tasks for bread. They want to eat here and think about heaven later.
The truth is that it pays to be a pastor, fake or real anywhere in the world. Your meals on earth are guaranteed once you can mess up the mind of people gullible enough to believe anything that spews from your mouth. After enjoyment here on earth, Fela says there will be ‘enjoyment in heaven’. Some people believe that it is only in Nigeria that pastors spin false yarns. They are everywhere. See what became of the prophecies about Donald Trump!
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I therefore salute the jets-buying pastor and encourage him to buy more to the glory of his god, the god of wealth. God’s glory must be on display for the unbelieving world of heathens and false religions to see. With those jets I am sure the word of God will go round the world before the end comes. That Jesus Christ rode on a donkey does not mean 21st century pastors should also ride on donkeys to travel from Lagos to Abuja or from Abuja to Ilorin or from Port Harcourt to London. Our people must be charitable towards the men of God, even when they buy jets with God’s money and charge tuition fees that most members of their congregation cannot afford. Never mind those who faithfully lust after their customers’ wives or daughters or maids. By their fruits ye shall know them, says the Lord, and on judgment day the wheat and chaff will find their berth!
The jets are a welcome development in the dispensation of the gospel in these perilous times. By the way some other pastors have jets too, pandemic or no pandemic, and this shows that their God is not a poor God, not a God for the poor or the hungry or the dispossessed. As for those who mischievously insinuate that money laundering on behalf of some powerful people is blatantly going on, let me face them head on and assert firmly that they can ‘do my (God’s) prophets no harm’, as declared by God himself in the Book of books. I am sure that the jets will be used to convey foodstuff to hungry people around the country, not to carry money to buy arms in South Africa, as the jet of one jet age pastor was deployed sometime, during the reign of GEJ. When I tell my friend this, he quotes Jeremiah the Prophet from the good book at Chapter 5 verse 31: ‘The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end? I had no answer to this!
Professor Eghagha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org