Stemming the tide of money rituals among Nigerian youths: The role of the Church, By Dr Ayo Akerele

Posted by News Express | 1 March 2022 | 349 times

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•Dr. Ayo Akerele

 

The Real Gospel Should Not Produce Greedy and Covetous People     

It was Bruce Shelly who once said, “Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central event the humiliation of its God”. And that is exactly the core of the gospel, humility. The real gospel does not and should not produce proud people, neither should it produce greedy and covetous people. Why? Humility and greed are mutually exclusive entities and are antithetical to the values that Christ represents. As Dr Lutzer clearly elucidates, “the cross no longer humiliate us; it exalts us”. That is where things have gone wrong, and that is why the Nigerian youth is becoming rebellious to the God who made him and to many of the messages we are preaching.

In the days of the fiery British Preacher, Jonathan Edwards, he would stand to preach, and people would be trembling on their seats, holding tight to those seats to prevent their descent to hell as they cried to God in forgiveness for their sins. It was in one of those sessions of his teachings that he preached the popular message, “sinners in the hands of an angry God” – a message widely regarded as the most popular message in Christian history. Those messages can’t produce greedy or covetous people who would ever dream of bringing blood money into the church as tithe and offerings.

The Church Of Christ Is the Moral Compass of Any Nation

The church of Christ is the moral compass of any nation. The key actors in every church system are the clergies, the pulpit handlers or put in a layman’s language, the pastors and preachers. The quality of the teachings emanating from church pulpits determines to a large extent the dominant values of a nation, and in particular, the overarching values of the youths. For every lover of truth, the words of Jesus together with the dominant teachings and practices of the Apostles should form the basis of doctrines and values for every true follower of Christ. But when evil reigns supreme in a nation with many of its actors being named with churches, it becomes a matter of emergency for all men of conscience to rise up in support of the outbreak of revival in the land.

Money Rituals is A Culture of Greed

Ritual killing for money making is deeply rooted in an extreme culture of greed and sudden outbreak of wealth. It is a reflection of the pervasive spiritual climate over a nation. Some years back, I visited a particular state in Nigeria, and with the recommendation of a dear friend, I attended one of the popular Pentecostal churches in that city. I was dazed to see the numerous crowds of young people and adult alike who attended the first and second services of this big church. In my own estimate, this was a beautiful community of believers. I didn’t attend the church as an investigator, but I attended just to fellowship with my brethren and be blessed. After the service, I struggled among the thousands of worshippers to locate my friend who had invited me. When we got back into his car, I was too quick to share my excitement with him, “This church is so blessed and big”. And that was when he surprised me. He said and I quote, “many of those young men you see driving flashy cars are into various degrees of fraudulent businesses, which we call Yahoo Yahoo”. If this was someone given to frivolity or tale bearing, I would have dismissed it. But this was someone I knew who was not given to careless and cheap blackmails. The question here is this, would Leonard Ravenhill or Jonathan Edwards or John MacArthur or Reinhard Bonnke be the pastor of this church and these criminals would still seat comfortably in the pew for these many years? That is exactly where my point is. The church in Nigeria has produced many fantastic and God fearing preachers, but at the same time, has also got quantum numbers of false preachers with large followership whose lives and ministries have contributed immensely to the furthering of the wave of greed, covetousness, materialism, pride, arrogance and ego-centrism among the youths and across the nation. When we preach sudden wealth transfer without responsibility and commitment to work, we are programming the youths to become ritualists in the future. When we tell them to expect a 24-hour miracle money in every meeting and at all times, we are programming them to become future ritualists.

The Presence of The Church Should Reduce Evil In A Nation Drastically

While it is true that the presence of the church would not completely eliminate evil in a nation, we should at least start to eliminate some evils in our nation. Can it be said that the number of criminals has reduced year-over-years in Lagos state because of the church. Let it be said that the spate of ritual killings and money rituals has reduced in the nation because of our crusades and evangelistic activities. It becomes increasingly depressing and disappointing if our large numbers cannot be correlated with any positive changes in the society, and particularly in controlling the money ritual vices among the youths, many of whom are attending our churches. What kind of messages are we preaching? What types of lives are we living as pastors? What do the youths see us model as core values on our pulpits? All of these are poised to shape the right and wrong values in them.

The Promotion of Success without Hard Work and Integrity Must Stop

The evil trend of money rituals will continue unabated as long as our society continues to celebrate church leaders whose core values keep appealing to the ego of their listeners through the preaching of blessings without repentance, prosperity without piety and success without hard work and integrity. The church that will stem the tide of money rituals to the barest possible level is the church with the majority of her leaders doing exactly what Jesus modelled and taught, that is, standing on the pedestal of humility, integrity, truth and love in word and in deed. It is a church that will be deeply rooted in the message of repentance, humility, hard work, love, truth, holiness and consecration. If the youths don’t see you do what you preach, they won’t believe you. It is by seeing a new generation of church leaders and pastors that don’t fraternize with occultic and corrupt politicians; leaders who don’t accumulate wealth and rub it on the face of the members with little or no appreciable support for those members in times of their needs; and leaders who are never associated with all shades of financial and sexual scandals. Such leaders will continue to advance the growth and passion for truth in the nation. To change the trajectory of value system collapse in Nigeria, we need the emergence of new breeds of preachers whom the youths can see as true role models in message, character and values.

PROFILE OF THE WRITER

Ayo Akerele holds a doctorate degree in employee turnover, human capital development and organizational tacit knowledge from the prestigious Edinburgh Business School and has worked extensively for more than twenty years as a consultant for multinational corporations in Africa, Europe, and North America before answering the call to ministry. Pastor Ayo is a passionate & foremost teacher of the word by the grace of God with prolific insight into scriptures. He is a public speaker, an intercessor, a leadership expert, and a national transformation proponent with immense impact on the body of Christ worldwide.

His itinerant prayer, teaching and speaking ministry under different Christian organisations has lasted for many years since he met the lord as a young boy in the early 1980s. With a contagious passion for knowledge and truth in the word of God, his deepest desire is to see the body of Christ take her proper position in God through the teaching of the undiluted word of God; the demonstration of valid and authentic signs and wonders; the dissemination of kingdom values within and outside of the four walls of churches and the raising of sound disciples of Christ across the nations of the world. He is the author of twelve books; the founder of the Rhema For Living Assembly ministry in Toronto, Canada, and the host of Rhema Hour on 32fm – a radio ministry to a network of five million people in South West Nigeria. He is also an entrepreneur, as well as a leadership and national transformation consultant. Ayo Akerele is married and blessed with children.

Ayo Akerele, a leadership and system development strategist and minister of the word holds a doctorate degree in employee turnover and human capital development from the prestigious Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, Scotland. He is also a public speaker with twelve books to his credit. He is based in Canada and can be reached at: ayoakerele2012@gmail.com

 


Source: News Express

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