With all the noise going around about the biblical issue of Pentecostal Christians paying tithes, you would think no other Christian denomination practiced this doctrine.
Unless they have they stopped since I left CATHOLIC school in 1982 (long before I heard of RCCG or Pastor Adeboye), the Catholic church was the first ever place I heard of the payment of tithes
The first I heard of tithe paying was not in the RCCG of which I became a member in 1995 but in 1977 when I attended OUR LADY OF APOSTLES SECONDARY SCHOOL, Ijebu Ode as the first child from a muslim family.
I lived in the school’s boarding house for 4 years and as a boarder, morning mass was compulsory for every one, 6 days a week with the long procession over almost 2 miles to church (St Sebastians) every sunday.
After school, I continued my romance with the Catholic church till I gave my life to Christ in 1986 while in university
The teachings I received in all those years as a Catholic DID NOT inspire or convict me to have a personal relationship with Christ neither did I acquire much if any memorable biblical knowledge. But I remember the boring services, long hymns, very short and unconvincing sermons, the tedious stations of the cross and long repetitive memorized prayers in a language I did not understand.
I also cannot forget the long queues for Communion….and the sassaying catwalk style walks back were a sight to behold. I tell you, many of us invented and practiced our own individual “walk” back to our seats!
There is an old school mate we called “Gbegbe wo” because of the way she tilted gerself side ways as she walked back to her seat after receiving communion.
It is almost certain that many of us in the boarding school took holy communion – not out of Faith – but for the opportunity to pose and show off.
But I also remember the scandalous stories involving some of the “fathers” who were stationed to our school. Many of them with students but some of them with the reverend sisters – although these could have been mere rumours… still….
However, apart the long repetitive prayers and sermons, I go idly remember the weekly demands for offering, thanksgiving offerings, building offerings and TITHES.
Many like to act as if tithes were invented by Papa Adeboye or Pastor Oyedepo and many of those saying these are from the fast becoming irrelevant orthodox churches!!! But tithes have been asked for and paid long before Adeboye or Oyedepo became GOs of their churches.
However, the origin, biblical historical relevance or even to which tribe it was specifically given simply bears no relevance today in the church. Since time immemorial, tithes have been a means of the church (catholic, pentecostal or celestial) – levying their core members to raise funds for church administration, maintenance and payment of staff including the pastorate. COE or Anglican churches have vicarages which are furnished and paid for including use of a personal car and staff for their vicars and priests. The Catholic churches have their convents and bishops quarters.
By the way, many Pastors have other jobs outside their pastoral works and most of them have published works and recordings that they draw additional income from. But BISHOPS, priests, vicars and reverend sisters very rarely have jobs outside the church and if at all, they are limited to classroom teaching within the church’s school system.
The issue of tithing is just another tool the enemy is using to discredit the Pentecostal church and won’t it be astonishing that these attacks are synchronised or syndicated by echelons of other “denomimations” out of envy and pure hatred for the works of drawing many to Christ and filling churches that they have failed at?
At the height of the revival that saw the growth of Pentecostal Christianity in the 80s, many did not think the movement will last. University campuses, colleges and schools erupted with the “born-again” syndrome and the arena filling church attendances that the combination of Methodist, Catholic and Anglican churches could not manage. Many kids from Muslim, Catholic and Anglican homes who gave their lives to Christ and started attending “born-again” churches were disowned and kicked out or flogged by their parents. Others were locked up and prevented from attending fellowship.
In fact many parents were more accepting of their teenage daughter getting pregnant than for them to become born again!
But the move of the Spirit as many from the orthodox establishment failed to recognise was strong; powerful and relentless. And the more they kicked against It, the stronger the church became. Many secular establishments such as cinemas were converted to churches to accommodate the simply overwhelming congregation sizes that mere classrooms and fellowship centres could not contain.
Campus fellowships were led by fire brand student preachers – many of them pastors today.
And over the years, the sheer number of Pentecostal church members – not just in Nigeria or in Africa, but all over the world has grown in unpredictable and unforeseen magnitudes that the orthodox churches are still reeling with confusion. Many church of England churches are virtually empty on Sundays and you will really struggle to see young people who are self professed Catholic or Anglican. But come to Pentecostal churches and the story is glaringly different.
Many will say joining the born again movement in those early days was the fashionable vogue that everyone did to be relevant without having the true conviction or even knowledge of what true Christianity entailed. That could be true because that was so in my case. Many of us after giving our lives, failed to change our lifestyles and many backslid within years. And that was sadly because many evangelists were also new converts themselves who lacked the wisdom to follow up on new converts – or expected them to know straightaway, what needed to be done. Little emphasis was placed on new believers class or Bible Study attendance.
But many years later, many of those backsliden Christians also returned to the Faith with their children, rededicated their lives and are now ministers and leaders in the church – parents of the next generation of pentecostal Christians, ministers and leaders which means an even bigger growth for the church.
And that is what the enemy is afraid of.
A bigger and stronger church with many being added daily. No wonder it is on the warpath. And how best to destabilize a church than by attacking and discrediting the leadership. Remember what happened to the early disciples after Christ was crucified….but after the Pentecost, they and their followers received power and enablement from the Holy Spirit and they went on to preach the gospel in Samaria, Judea and all parts of the world.
Those Africans who believe Christianity is the white man’s religion should read Matthew 25 and Acts Ch 1
That power is still as potent and as alive today as the day it was first given to the early disciples.
Christians need to be sensitive and realise that the Pentecostal church is not under attack from mere critics but from the pit of hell and it’s humam agents and mouthpieces determined to bring down the church.
The sustained Church, Christians and pastors bashing is a concerted effort to incite discord in christiandom and to sow seeds of lack of trust in the very leadership by questioning and undermining the very basics of the church’s doctrines.
Admittedly as on any other gatherings of humans, you will have bad eggs. Afterall, Christ had Judas among his closest friends. Have you seen a beautiful garden of flowers without weeds? True we have the insane, the weird and the most questionable individuals posing as pastors in our midst.
I have personally witnessed a row between two folks I knew were not in any was, shape or form Christians – rowing over the proceeds of a “fellowship” they fraudulently started together. Now, if they had been patient, their fellowship could have grown after they must have succeeded in fooling and deceiving people that chose to follow them – and many ignorant folks would be referring to those two as pastors – and assuming all pastors are like them….
But those are in the minority. And they are always hell planted to distract and remove focus from the bigger picture. And once people notice the crazy antics of the kerosene or grass pastors, attention is removed from the multitude doing God’s work, God’s way.
The church is facing it’s hardest times in modern history – not helped by the big established orthodox churches with their “let’s change Gods will and His words so we can accommodate everyone and fill our empty pews” attitude.
They don’t evangelize or preach the gospel like the Pentecostal do – yet they sit with government officials and leaders, to give their watered down version of Christian advice and sir back and applaud when government hands down laws that stand right in the face of God’s law!
By the way has anyone seen pictures of the Vatican City, the official town of the pope? He even has his own currency! And the imagined wealth of all the heads of Pentecostal churches combined is peanuts compared to the vast wealth commanded and controlled by the pope who has his own special “Popemobile” costing an eyewaterong £345,000 and the sole exclusive use of an Alitalia Airbus for his very occasional ventures out of the “holy city”
It is easier to pick on the likes of Pastor Oyedepo and Pastor Adeboye and others because they are from “among us: and are open in their ways. Half of Catholics do not even have the foggiest idea about the “independent state” called the Vatican city with its own laws, bank, currency, tax system and constitution even though it is right in the middle of Italy, a sovereign state.
The wealth of the pope/ and the Vatican city is made up of tithes and offerings by Catholics from all over the planet.
However, Many schools including the one I attended and churches owned by the Catholic church are in ruins and various state of disrepair – but the Vatican city is a flourishing, well built “city” with buildings and edifices built of marble and other previous stones and furnished with the most expensive paintings, statues and every kind of luxury you can think of.
Whatever the historical or regional origin of the early day tithes, tithing is a doctrine with it’s origin derived from the scriptures and even acknowledged by our Lord Jesus Christ. And the main purpose of tithes are to levy willing and committed church members for the purpose of raising funds for church administration and maintenance.
Next to their work place, the church is the next place Christians spend more time outside the home with an average of 2 weekly attendances. And many of these buildings are rented or mortgaged.
There are also other running costs such as heating, cleaning, water, repairs, sound engineers, electricians, church buses fuel, insurance and servicing, diesel and generator maintenance as in the case of Nigeria. etc. The list is endless and one does not need to be a university graduate to realise that all these cost money.
Money that can only be raised from church members – through tithes.
And even the Catholics must admit that.