A blogger, who goes by the name Aunty Adunni seems to have a beef with the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Just last year, she made a sarcastic remark about a three-year-old video where Leke Adeboye had counseled people to go farming rather than pestering the church for support.
Her sarcasm got the attention of the young Adeboye. He sent a message to her requesting that the video which had been re-posted on her YouTube Channel be pulled down. The blogger was adamant.
But barely a year after that incident, the blogger is out with a five-part video. This time, she recounts her experience as the wife of a pastor in the RCCG.
The videos which are spiced with disparaging remarks about RCCG gave a graphic description of how she and her husband served in the workforce of the church.
She talked about how her husband made a lot of financial and emotional “investment” in RCCG. They were transferred from one place to the other to start new parishes.
She alleged that the church put so much pressure on her husband to meet certain growth expectations. In the process, they had to spend their personal funds to build some of the parishes where they served.
Unfortunately, her husband who was not a full-time pastor died in his prime. He was 36 at the time of his passage. But from her account, he was a successful corporate person.
Her husband died
Recounting how her husband died, she said he became sick shortly after the 100-day fast of the church which her husband observed religiously. But he refused to take medication. He was believing God for divine healing.
The blogger’s narration however goes beyond her husband’s passage. Her pain is about the way the church treated her shortly after she lost her husband. And what she suffered after his death.
Her narration also touched on how it was difficult for her to take care of her three children. The oldest was 7 years old at that time.
RCCG sent a delegation
The church according to her sent a delegation to commiserate with her on the death of her husband. Some money was given to her.
But weeks after the burial while still mourning her husband, a delegation from Haggai Bank presumably owned by RCCG, came visiting and said her husband owed the bank.
The bank insisted she had to pay the money because the document of their house was in its custody as collateral. She did pay according to her account.
What finally broke the camel’s back was when she was invited by a committee in the church and told she should no longer attend the parish where her husband was pastor. The reason was to avert a clash of interests between the new pastor of the parish and his wife.
She was advised to look for another RCCG church around her area. Also, members of the church including the new pastor and his wife stopped visiting her.
She said, “the only people I started seeing were Baptist people. They are the reason I did not commit suicide. They are the reasons I am standing today.” The love of the Baptist people made her start attending the church.
Read also: Leke Adeboye’s three-year-old video sparks fresh controversyhttps://churchtimesnigeria.net/leke-adeboye-video-controversy/
Back in RCCG again
But in the process of time, a delegation from the RCCG came again. They were wives of some pastors in the church. They came to visit and gave her a good sum of money. That motivated her and made her think of going back to RCCG.
But she had a motive. She recalled that her husband’s money was the major funds used to build the Rivers of Life Parish of the church in Gbagada. She thought of getting back part of her husband’s “investment” in the church.
She went back to the parish where she was known and appealed to the authorities to support her family, especially the education of her children.
This time, the church rose to the occasion. They sponsored the education of her children to a certain point. When the last born was about to finish school, the church stopped the support. But then she already got what she wanted. She took off again from the church and said bye to it.
Throughout her narration, she casts aspersions on the RCCG and the church in Nigeria. She believes many who are workers in many independent churches are being enslaved and could no longer do independent thinking.
Ironically, she seems to have found love again as she claimed. She got involved in a relationship that informed her trip to the US where she now lives.
But the downside of her submission is that she no longer goes to church. And she no longer prays as she used to. She however says her faith in God is intact.
She says with glee that since she stopped listening to pastors in Nigeria she has had peace of mind. “I no longer have nightmares. I am at peace with myself” she enthused.
After listening to such a supposedly true life story it is easy to join her to paint the church with a bad brush; and possibly call for the head of the RCCG.
On the other hand, it is also possible that some church enthusiasts will dismiss her as a babbler and attention seeker. And conclude that she is misguided.
But anybody who listens to her dispassionately will pick some lessons and dismiss the rest.
Pastors under pressure
Her point about pastors being put under undue pressure by church leadership is quite valid and should not be dismissed with a wave of the hand.
But then pastors that are being led by the nose don’t really know God in the true sense. Or it could be that they have allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by human machinations.
Being a pastor does not stop you from using your brain and from being true to God. You are not to serve man. You’re called to serve God. So anything that will imply trying to impress church leadership should be avoided. If the pressure from the church is becoming unbearable, pastors should have the liberty to resign their appointment.
Churches are not cults where people are made to do things against their will. Even those in cults come to their senses.
If the account of the lady is correct, it was clear her husband was quite zealous and would readily want to please the church authority. But when the chips were down, the church didn’t care as implied. While the church has some blame, those who volunteer as pastors should also be wise enough to know what God is calling them to do.
I don’t think any church will force money out of anybody’s pocket. But then the church must be careful not to preach messages that put subtle pressure on people.
There is no doubt the RCCG has been doing great when it comes to its social responsibility. It has spent millions of naira to attend to critical infrastructure across Nigeria, especially in the health sector.
It has helped a lot of out-of-school children and has helped to rehabilitate many. The church has been responsive to the plight of many Nigerians through several interventionist programmes.
But then, it is said that charity begins at home. There are also reports about the lacklustre attitude of the church towards widows especially those whose husbands have served the church so well.
It won’t be too much of a cost if the authority takes over the education of widows’ children in the church especially those whose husbands were pastors.
There is a need to avert a repeat of the woman’s situation. Widows, especially those whose husbands were pastors before their demise must not be allowed to feel a sense of neglect. Orphans too should be given similar considerations.
It won’t be out of place if orphans in the church, especially those whose parents served the Lord in the mission are given free education up to the university level
The gospel message
From the lady’s account, she must have heard the wrong gospel at the point of her conversion. The gospel she was fed with was the give-and-take gospel where you give to get. Or perhaps that is implied.
She believes her husband invested a lot into one man’s vision. The death of her husband brought her to that conclusion. It is made worse when she did not get the needed support from the church.
But then, there is a need to sound the alarm that serving the Lord has nothing to do with giving the church anything. But it has everything to do with allowing Jesus to be the Lord of our lives. If Jesus is Lord, we will do things not because people want us to do them but because we are convinced about it.
The note of cynicism in the lady’s presentation is high. Many are trapped in her kind of scenario where they are being led by the nose. And not because they really have a personal relationship with God.
Saying she no longer prays as she used to and describing prayer as a mere wish is a very wrong interpretation of our relationship with God.
It is a consequence of a transaction mindset. If discussing with our earthly father is not a mere wish, I wonder how having fellowship with God in the place of prayer is a wish.
Many have the wrong notion that prayer is an opportunity to lay our wishes before God. But in a relationship with God, prayer goes beyond that.
It is more of a fellowship with the maker of the universe. It is the prayer-point mentality that gives us the impression that prayer is a wish.
In sum, while her presentation may not go down well with people who are sympathetic to the church and indeed to the Christian faith, it should be noted that she has a right to her feelings more so that she was bereaved.
Though she claims she is no longer hurt there are indications that the pain is still resident in her.
The only way to find healing is perhaps to talk about it which she did quite well. It is now left for the church to look into her delivery and do a home search on what is true and what is not with a view to making corrections.
By Gbenga Osinaike
Copyright Church Times Nigeria