“It’s not about the bible: it’s about the money.”
In his book, “Breaking Financial Hardship” (1995, p.165), Bishop David Oyedepo says rats ate all the cables in the car of a woman in his church. When she had the car re-wired, rats ate the cables again. On investigation, it was discovered that the lady had not been paying her tithes, which was why the menacing rats had been unleashed on her. Once she started paying her tithes again, rats stopped eating the cables in her car.
Stories like this are commonplace in the churches and they are pure balderdash. It is amazing how many lies we pastors tell in the name of Jesus. Christians should be wary of such manipulative old-wives-tales. They are designed to frighten people into paying tithes.
Do bad things only happen to those who don’t pay their tithes? The answer is emphatically “No.” Indeed, do bad things only happen to unbelievers? Certainly not! The truth is that, in this world, worse things actually happen to believers than to unbelievers. Jesus does not sugar-coat the gospel. He says to his disciples: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33).
But we pastors and evangelists of today preach a different gospel. This new gospel has the extraction of money from Christians as its main focal point, on the grounds that without money God’s work cannot be done. This is drummed into Christians through a litany of indoctrinating slogans and sound-bites, such as “vision without provision is television;” or “anointing without money is annoying.”
Oyedepo says: “If you are not a tither, you will be a struggler.” Creflo Dollar is also a wordsmith. He says: “God isn’t going to supply that need if you haven’t sown a seed.” Reverend Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II even turns Paulinism on its head, saying: “the lack of money is the root of all evil.” Says Prophet T.B. Joshua of the Synagogue Church for All Nations: “When God gets hold of your heart, he also gets hold of your wallet.”
In this new gospel, tithing is another word for righteousness. “Tithers” are granted pastoral exemptions from the travails of life. They are said to earn brownie-points from God, who ostensibly gives them a hundred-fold return for their investments. The pastor proclaims: “Offering time!” while the congregation replies: “blessing time!” The inference is that God only blesses those who pay tithes and give offerings.
As a result, churches have been turned into casinos, where people come to gamble on Sundays in the vain hope that they would more than double whatever they give. Former faith healer, Hector Avalos, refers to this casino Christianity as “a spiritual version of Wall Street- give up some of your money in hopes of getting a lot more back.” Maria Alvarez notes that: “It’s not about the bible: it’s about the money.” “Get Jesus on that credit card,” a televangelist said, asking his viewers to send him money by going into debt.
A repentant Mario Justino of the Universal Church, Brazil said he told his church-members that God was not content with small change. If they want to prosper, they must give until it hurts: “We’d tell them, ‘You have to give something that you can’t afford, something that you will feel the next day, like the money for the rent, for the groceries, for your children’s schools.’”
Reversal of fortune
Let me tell you a parable. A major financier of a church, a multi-billionaire Christian, phoned his pastor in the dead of the night. “Pastor,” he said, “I apologise for phoning you at this ungodly hour but I have not been able to sleep for the past one week.” “What happens to be the matter?” asked the pastor. “I invested all my money in the stock market and I lost everything. You won’t believe it pastor, I lost everything. Everything!”
“Oh my God,” exclaimed the pastor. “But I am not even concerned about myself,” said the man. “My concern is about the church. I am afraid that under the circumstances, I won’t be able to give to the church the tithes and offerings I have been giving. I cannot even give the fifty million naira I pledged for the building fund. I hope the Lord would not mind. I have been worried sick about this I can’t even sleep.”
The pastor assured him God would understand. He should not worry but should try and get some sleep. He then prayed for the man and asked God to give him beauty for ashes.
The man was much relieved. He thanked the pastor profusely, dropped the phone and went to bed. For the first time in seven days, he finally slept like a baby.
The pastor, however, could not sleep again that night.