By Femi Aribisala
The bus going from Lagos to Benin was waylaid by highway robbers. They got on the bus brandishing automatic weapons: “This is a stick up,” declared the leader of the gang in a menacing tone designed for maximum effect. “Is there anybody here who has been paying his tithes? If you have been paying your tithes raise your hands.”
A few passengers raised their hands sheepishly. He told those who did to move to one side. Then he declared: “Those of you who have not been paying your tithes are thieves and robbers. You have been robbing God. Therefore, we are going to rob you.” The robbers then carted away the money and valuables of those passengers who had not been paying their tithes.
You might not have heard this story before. But, in all probability, you might have heard a similar version of it. Different versions are common in the churches. Those who tell it insist it really happened. But every time you hear stories like this, know for a fact it is a big fat lie. Only a thief would employ a thief to preach “the word of truth.” (James 1:18).
Consider this: a thief broke into a man’s house and held him at gunpoint. After collecting as much of his valuables as he could, he asked the house-owner a question on his departure: “Have you given your life to Christ?” The hapless house-owner replied in the negative. “I don’t believe in God,” he said.
The armed robber became concerned about the man’s salvation. So he sat back down and decided to have an extensive chat with him. For the next one hour, he preached to him as persuasively as he could, “the gospel of salvation.” Then he left with the man’s valuables.
Do you think the house-owner became a Christian? If he did, what kind of Christian do you suppose he became? What kind of righteousness can one expect to learn from a thief?
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” (Matthew 23:15).
Tabernacle of liars
If something is of God, it does not need to be promoted with lies. However, pastors don’t consider it a sin to tell lies in order to scare Christians into giving them their hard-earned money. Listen to one such fabrication coming from no less an eminent pastor than the former president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ayo Oritsejafor: “I know there are some people telling you not to pay tithe. Don’t listen to them. They want to kill you. You go die quick.”
This is nothing but witchcraft. I have paid no tithe in over 20 years. Nevertheless, I am still alive. Indeed, God has blessed me with good health.
Pastor Sam Adeyemi says: “Tithing helps us to secure God’s blessings.” Compare and contrast this piece of sophistry with Jesus’ statement: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3). Did Jesus forget to include in his beatitudes: “Blessed are the tithers for theirs is the kingdom of heaven?” Certainly not!
“Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit.” (Jude 1:11).
Tithe-collecting pastors preach more persistently about tithing than they do about anything else. Even salvation does not come anywhere near in their scale of insistence.
Adeyemi continues: “The way you are a citizen of a country and it is mandatory that you pay your taxes to ensure national prosperity, is the same way that, as a cirizen of God’s kingdom, you pay your tithe.” So God’s kingdom will not prosper without tithes? Malarkey! Where is it written that tithes are for the promotion of the kingdom of God?
Jesus asked: “‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes- from their own sons or from others?’ ‘From others,’ Peter answered. ‘Then the sons are exempt,’ Jesus said to him.” (Matthew 17:25-26).
For his part, so-called Apostle Johnson Suleman tells his congregation: “The tithe I pay every Sunday is more than the tithe all of you pay for two Sundays. I pay tithe to ministries, I pay tithe to ministers. It’s a personal revelation.” Suleman should be well-advised that all liars end up in the lake of fire. (Revelation 21:8).
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices- mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law- justice, mercy and faithfulness.” (Matthew 23:23).
Pastor Enoch Adeboye says: “Please do not let anybody get you into trouble by attracting God’s curse to yourself, please pay your tithe.” This is fear-mongering. However, John says: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.” (1 John 4:18). Adeboye needs to take some bible lessons from Paul Adefarasin: “In this new covenant era, even if you don’t pay (tithe), there is no curse. There is no curse for the child of God in Christ. Only blessings.”
Bishop David Oyedepo is Adeboye’s partner in mischief. He says: “If you don’t pay tithe you are permanently a beggar.” Poppycock! There is absolutely no scriptural basis for this kind of witchcraft. Nevertheless, the bishop is confident no one in his large congregation would dare contradict or challenge him. Indeed, Uche Maduagwu proclaims a dangerous article of faith: “Great pastors like Pastor Adeboye and Bishop Oyedepo cannot be wrong on tithe paying.”
They are not only wrong, they are deceitful.
Some “kindhearted” Christians have written to appeal to me to stop attacking pastors. They insist that I am undermining the Christian church and impeding the growth of the kingdom of God. What nonsense! Their concern reminds me of Peter who, out of the false goodness of his heart, would not have Jesus embrace the cross. This earned him a sharp rebuke: “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23).
Have you never heard? “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (Matthew 23:13-14).
Pastors don’t promote the kingdom of God. They promote the kingdom of pastors. Pastors are Jesus-killers. Instead of allowing men to follow Jesus, they present themselves as the Jesus of men’s lives.
The Church of God needs no human defense. Jesus says: “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). If the church can be scattered and the kingdom impeded, then it is eloquent testimony that it is not of God but of men.
“You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:24). “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33). Your time of desolation is near. These are the days of vengeance. Your bogus kingdoms must fall.