Inequality in the church: Obedience or Ignorance?

Does the bible promote inequality in churches?

…and God said, “Go ye forth, milking dry the springs of prosperity from all peoples and nations. Take from the poor, prey on the sick, and manipulate the needy. In this manner, each may have jet planes, mansions, and shiny jewels according to the strength of his hustle and depth of his compromise…”

If you are a not a frequent reader of the bible, you might assume that there is such a scripture. Truth is, that is what many of the Christians leaders around the world consciously practice.

The Prosperity Gospel (originally known as Seed Faith) began as what could be considered a “grift” (scam) that took shape in the early to mid 50s through tent meetings that moved from town to town, and city to city, in a procession of eighteen wheeler trucks. It initially attached itself to the Pentecostal movement who were excited to hear about the advertised claims of miracles that would happen at these tent meetings – the precursors to the cleaner looking multimillion dollar “healing and miracle” events of today.

In the early 2000s, we witnessed a staggering increase of these men and women who are drawing millions of Christians around the world to believe that they are superior beings “ordained”, “highly spirit-led” men and women of God who deserve better than what their congregants have.

This teaching is adopted from the misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 9:14 and 1 Timothy 5:17 and has led many into despair and an increasing poverty in their homes. Yes the bible teaches that we need to honour our leaders, but the bible doesn’t say that “you should take all your money, and you will see what the Lord will do for you.”

During some of my engagements with many believers in the Christian faith, I always alert them that in order to understand any scripture in the bible, one needs to first insulate themselves with the Holy Spirit and also take heed of the context and settings thereof. When, where, who and to whom the message is said determines how it will be received and perceived.

One popular scripture used by church leaders in trying to justify their self-proclaimed superiority over congregants is Ephesians 4:11-12 where Apostle Paul writers “And he [Jesus Christ] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints [us], for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” The scripture is very clear and needs no effort to understand. It says that the church and society at large is given these five-fold ministries in order to empower us to become better people. Notice that the Paul says “for the perfecting of the saints” and “for the edifying of the body of Christ” which simply means they are tasked to perfect [empower] us and not us perfecting [empowering] them.

Let’s say you sell oranges on the street and each bag has 15 oranges. You then decide to take out 5 out of the bag and leave the rest 10 inside. The 5 oranges are used for display and advertising purposes to lure potential clients. When you have 5 oranges outside, does it mean they transform into mangoes? Do they change what they are now that they are outside the bag? No! It simply means that the 5 are given a much greater task than the 10. They are supposed to take care of the 10 in the bag. Hence Paul continued to say “For the perfecting of the saints [us not them], for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:12 KJV).

So then, we now know that these folks are tasked to make sure that we lack nothing. But that has changed in our society. Sadly, pastors are regarded as the most important people in the church that the congregants themselves.

Early 2014 I heard from a close pastor of a con artist who was visiting a couple of local Pentecostal churches claiming to be a prophet of God sent to assist them with musical instruments. This man robbed pastors and even kidnapped one of them. I partly blame these “men of God” for not being able to “discern” the fella’s crooked ways. He used cajolery, deception, and manipulation to get what he wants from gullible church leaders.

What I’ve learned about humans is that most of us are so desperate for success to a point that we can do literally anything to attain it. Anything can go extreme. We are caught up in the “he/she has this and that. I also need to have it.” We never understand what people had to go through in order to become successful. We’re just looking for instant means to get rich. Be cautious of fraudsters posing as ministers and preachers of the word who deliberately prey on the insecurities of people by acting as though they know things that their followers cannot know.

In his brilliant song titled Royalty, Mali Music writes “Wolf in sheep’s clothing with a cross on his chest. Taking people’s money, and promising them to be blessed”

I want you to ask yourself: “Am I being obedient to God when I keep giving all my belongings to these ministers or am I deliberately ignorant?” If you buy your pastor a car ‘cause “God said so” when your neighbour slept with an empty stomach, then I have a problem with your God. Highly anointed people will use their anointing to make money in an earnest but not by guileful manner (emphasis added throughout).

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Paul’s profound words in Galatians 6:6-10 that the “One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.” Therefore we are all equal and we all deserve the Mercedes Benz, private jets, and special treatment as the bible teaches in Romans 12:4-5 and 1 Corinthians 12:12 about the body of Christ.

Black PHDs

During the festive season, I decided to finally read Chika Onyeani’s book titled Capitalist Nigger. After many years of running away from it due to the commentary I read on it, I felt it was time I had my fair share. Mr. Onyeani’s book was published in 2000 but after reading through it, I thought it was recent looking into the current events. It is still relevant and still does provoke one’s thoughts.

What I have learned about human beings is that when someone hits hard at home, we are quick to jump to protect our infirmities. We haul “though shalt not judge” and pull out the race card. Mr Onyeani’s book “tells it like it is” without fear or favour. That’s why I respect him.

I would like to believe that most black people hold PHDs. I mean the Pull Him/Her Downs. We are so good at obtaining them. I have my reasons which I will argue. This is not to degrade the black race, but to explore one of the many reasons why we don’t make it in life. The first step to solving a problem is to create a point of engagement so that we can identify the many challenges we are facing, out of it comes solutions to move forward.

Do you know what black Africans say when you share your success story with them? They say “ya, but so and so did it better. You are not the first.” Well first and foremost it was never about so and so, it was about showing that “With God, nothing impossible”. If none of you never did it, it means I am the first to do it in your circle. I have been told that and never got a heads up for what I was doing. That’s just too demotivating.

The second week of December I attended the Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship Emporium in Free State hosted by Sibusiso Leope Education Foundation (SLEF). Sbu shared with us his journey to success and the many challenges he had to face trying to rise up to the top. Having launched the first black owned energy drink – MoFaya, he inspired many of us to go into manufacturing and owning strategic industries that build our economy.

Instead of being inspired, I heard some people say “but that idea was not his”, some said “redbull and other energy drinks are still the best”. That for me disappointed me because for a change we have our very own energy drink which we should be very proud of but people are already criticising without bringing solutions. These are the very people who will rejoice at your downfall and mock you on social media. If that’s how we are going to carry on, then we are on our way to owning nothing and having nothing to be proud of.

Another practical example I recently witnessed was that of a learner who passed her matric. Instead of congratulating the lady, some people said “we never thought she will make it. We will see what happens in varsity.” I was so disappointed again not to hear a simple “congratulations” coming out of their lips.

I’ve observed one particular reason why most of my fellow black Africans don’t succeed in life and that is they can’t appreciate and embrace success of their peers. Instead of being inspired, they feel threatened. You refuse to learn from Abuti Rams because you think you know him too much! Maybe you have schooled with him or maybe you stayed in the same house with him or you are in the same hood together, but that doesn’t mean he can’t teach you something you don’t know.

I guess I sometimes exempt many of successful black folks who at one stage lived in kasi but moved to the suburbs. They argued “why be in a place full of negative people who don’t see success in you but think you are nothing?” It is tough and everyone wants you to be apologetic about succeeding in your endeavours.

I want to see many of my brothers succeed. It can’t always be a handful individuals. Let us put away all manner of hate, jealously and negative talks. Let us learn from each other and help one another become better people. Only better people can make a country better. Don’t be counted amongst those who have no intentions to succeed.