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The church and spirituality; how some leaders exploit their congregations

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OLUDARE MAYOWA
BY OLUDARE MAYOWA

I had a discussion with a pastor friend of mine in the church today on the subject of spirituality and the manner African Christians and religious leaders struggle hard to prove their religiosity through some of their actions and utterances.

The church today needs major reforms and reawakening to bring the body of Christ back to where it should be in terms of spirituality and not the outward demonstration of it.

First, the way church leaders spiritualized everything makes it difficult for the young ones to catch up with them and in the process, they get confused and discouraged because they can see through the veil and some of the deceits of some leaders who play religion rather demonstrating the power of God.

What do I mean? The church today emphasises things they ought not to and neglects to do what they should do. Take for instance some songs we sing in the church, some prayers we prayed and some character we exhibit.

There was this song that I stop singing a while ago, even though it sound sweet and spiritual, its content is antithetical to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord…” is a song that talks about Christ on the cross; still bleeding and we are asking through the song that we should be drawn nearer to that place of suffering.

To me, such a song should have been discarded by the church long ago; because it only sounds to massage the ego and religiosity of the singers without spiritual value to it.

Christ left the cross over 2,000 years ago and he is already seated on the throne and in the place of honour on the right side of His father; why is it then that the church is still talking or singing about His bleeding side.

We should be asking Him to draw us nearer to His throne of grace, where dwells his blessing and not to the cross where he had already suffered the pain for our sins.

There are other hymns that by now the church should have deleted from their hymn book and stop singing in their services because they never glorify God, rather they belittle our faith and merely appeal to our religiosity.

Secondly, there are some prayers that the church still prays today that even Jesus would shrink on the throne listening to such prayer being said from the altar where He has commanded blessings upon His people.

Some leaders today talk about the curse of the firstborn so much and in the process put many of their congregations in bondage and make them believe that Jesus’ works on the cross were not finished.

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There are no more curses for those who have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and saviour, all the work has been finished on the cross. Leaders should keep emphasizing the finished work and not create fear in the minds of their congregation through such messages.

The church should rather focus more on the redeeming work of Christ and pay less emphasis on those things that sound religious but are really mere empty airs.

The church is a place of worship, a place of victory and a place of celebrating the finished work of Christ. All the talks about the ancestral curse are really not what the scripture teaches us, rather African pastors have improvised this to instil fear in the minds of people who are not in the right standing with God.

Praying that our enemies should fall and die is also not part of the scriptural teaching of Christ, this can only help the church to keep some of their congregation in the bondage of fear.

Deliverance ministry, to me, is also one of the biggest scams in Christendom; what the scripture says about deliverance is that ‘you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.’

But all we see today in some churches are those people who called themselves deliverance ministers, who I would rather call spiritual exorcists, who are quick to attribute every problem to spiritual attack.

We have a responsibility as the church of the living God to build, strengthen and uphold the people to be able to function in the place of their callings.

We should be breaking down all barriers that could hinder people from serving Christ in the liberty that He has given unto us.

We should teach them that their liberty should not be abused or taken for granted but deployed to glorify the name of the one who saved us. The scripture well defines the role of each minister in the temple; the evangelists and prophets should not abuse their positions otherwise their role will be redefined by their congregations.

I was told of a prophet who exploited his position to enslave his convert and turn him into a cash cow, after putting his victim under the bondage of fear. This kind of practice should be done away with and completely discouraged by leaders so as to save the church from the multiple embarrassments it is facing today.

The shepherd should be careful not to devour the flock through spiritual manipulations. The church is going through a trying time today and people should rather be taught to see the worship places as the centre of solace, comfort and rejuvenation and not a sanctuary of rogues.

We should use the light of the word to light up the dark places and not further put more people in the darkness.

The Lord will keep and watch over His church, He will surely send purifiers to cleanse His church and preserve it till the day of His coming.

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