Methodist Priest Adekoya explodes, says nothing like Pentecostal church
Rev’d David S. Adekoya is a Presbyter of Methodist Church Nigeria (MCN). He is the Head of the Methodist Church, Bodija Circuit. He had served the Methodist Church Nigeria as Circuit Minister, Circuit Presbyter and as the head, income monitoring coordinator for the church. In this Interview with Church Times’ Abraham Oladipupo, he talks on restitution, scriptural holiness, fraud in the church and how he came into the ministry.
What is it about your role as income monitoring coordinator for Methodist Church Nigeria.
I served in the capacity in the headquarters of the church in Lagos. The job involves moving round the country, everywhere we have Circuits and Dioceses. Checking records of remittances of various Local Churches, Circuit and Dioceses and reporting same to the conference headquarters, Wesley House, Marina, Lagos. I did this until 2014 when the World Methodist office invited me to plan finances for Methodist Church Sierra Leone. However, as I was preparing to embark on this journey that was when we heard of the outbreak of Ebola Virus and the international office advised me against embarking on the journey. And since I had prepared to move out of the country, my office at the headquarters has been restructured and one of those working with me has been assigned to lead the section. This necessitates my posting by the Methodist Church Nigeria to Bariga Church as Presbyter temporarily.
“It is convenient to talk to people about prosperity because God also prospers us, so it is also the teaching of the Bible. You can work and make money. But the way people preach prosperity now is making people run after money at all cost because this will give them recognition in the church and society. Therefore, it is very wrong to make prosperity your doctrine or focus of your ministry. What we are called out to do is to dispel darkness, so majoring on prosperity is off it. The Bible says, seek first the kingdom of God and all other things shall be added but most prosperity preachers want you to see it as the advantage of serving God.”
So you did not have to go to Sierra Leone again?
After the news of Ebola subsided, the conference decided not to border me on going to Sierra Leone and I was reposted to Methodist Church, Bodija. I resumed here November, 2016. I’m in charge of Bodija. The Bodija church is a Circuit. In Methodist Church we have Conference, Archdioceses, Dioceses, Circuits, and then we have local churches. For instance, I’m the Presbyter and minister in charge of Bodija circuit, having twelve churches in different locations in Ibadan under it. I have about 19 ministers working with me. Bodija appears to be the most modern and unique Methodist Circuit because the church comprises of University Professors, Engineers, notable people in the ministry and different spares of life.
So how did you come about ministry work?
Right from the inception of my life, I have been involved in church activities. I was in the choir; I was in the lay preaching ministry. This position is not for the ordained ministers. They just serve as assistant in encouraging people, lead Bible Study and sometimes they preach. But never in life did I think I will be a minister. I went to the University, studied Economics and graduated at the age of 21. After graduating, I got a job in Lagos, though it was difficult securing job at that time also but I manage to get one. But things changed after I lost a particular job. This was in those days of finance houses. This incident forced me to leave Lagos for Ekiti state which was then Ondo state. I later got a job with Ondo State Teaching Commission. It from there that my Bishop at home, Methodist Church Cathedral, Ifaki , Bishop Most Rev’d L. S. Ayo Ladigbolu who later retired as an Archbishop found me so useful that. He encouraged me and pointed at the call of God in me.
Although I knew all along that I will be useful for God but there was nothing mechanical about it like some would say they saw a vision, revelation etc. I just find myself showing congenital interest in the work of God. I was so involved that I was one of those who brought Vigil to the Cathedral for the first time. It was trailed with criticism then because they believe it was meant for Pentecostal churches, white garment gatherings and other similar bodies. It was the Bishop who persuaded me against my wish of being just a tent making minister. A tent making minister is a non-stipendiary role, someone who will not be collecting salary but occasionally allowances may come. In fact, the kind of tent making ministers we want in Methodist today are those who would be gainfully employed that they can even use part of their money to assist the ministry. That was the category of ministerial calling I wanted to be involved in but the Bishop said no. so I came to Emmanuel College to study and that was how I became a Methodist minister.
Methodist Church is different
As someone who has headed an income monitoring section, what advise do you have for the church on how to curb fraud in the church?
- First, our setting is different from modern day churches. I don’t like classifying churches as Pentecostals or whatever. My classification is usually, orthodox and modern day churches and we belong to the orthodox, the front line churches. These are churches that came through the missionaries. Pentecostalism is an experience and church cannot be classified along that line. It was said that on the day of Pentecost, they were all in one accord and the Holy-Spirit came upon them as it has been promised. It was on the day of Pentecost, when the Pentecostal were outside celebrating Pentecost. Pentecost is celebration of God’s deliverance to the Israelite coming out of the land of affliction. It was the feast of the pass-over in the Old Testament. So Pentecost is an experience, it could be called Pentecostal experience but that does not give anyone reason to classify church as Pentecostal churches. So for me, we have the orthodox and the modern day churches. We all belong to that Pentecostal experience which enlarges witnessing.
The experience of Pentecost and witnessing moved from the Apostles to the Roman Catholic and then the first Protestant, Anglican, which is the first mission that centres around the charisma of John Wesley (The Methodist Church), being the first evangelical movement. It was a movement in the Anglican.
If we look at those who call themselves Pentecostals, what they did is that they took advantage of the coldness in the church and the tradition that was being given premium upon in the orthodox churches at the expense of the leading of the Holy-Spirit and the teachings of the Bible. Some of them came out and started these churches. What I’m trying to say is that, they came out to evangelise the already evangelised. But for the missionaries, they came talking to people who were worshiping Ogun, Sango, Oya etc and risked their lives, entering into villages that were almost impossible for anybody to just enter except you have the Holy-Spirit and God leading you. What most modern churches do is to talk to somebody who already converted but the real evangelisation came through the missionaries to us the mission churches. They just pick some of these teachings, modernise it and feel it should be more aggressive. All these Pentecostal churches should have been movements under mission churches.
So what do you have to say about fraud in the Church?
When we talk about embezzlement or misappropriation of church funds, it is because people now see church as business. When you begin to see church as a vocation and not a call to serve or advance God’s kingdom, propagate Jesus then there is a problem. While it is not wrong for Churches to go into business, we should be very careful not to major on the minor and the motive behind such move is also important. So church is gradually turning more or less to profit making organisation and so you expect corruption in that kind of setting. It is appalling and shouldn’t be heard in the church but that is where we find ourselves. I’m not exonerating orthodox churches but we frown at this in Methodist Church Nigeria and God has endowed us with honest and accountable men who know that they are accountable to God.
Is there a practical way to curb fraud in the Church?
People embezzle church funds because they are not born again. This kind of people does not have a renewed heart. Romans 12 explains this better for all to see. Once you’re saved, your mind should be renewed, Holy-Spirit should be leading and covetousness, stealing should be a thing of the past. Every evil is first conceived in the mind before actualisation. So if you are truly born again, you won’t be involved in such. However like you noted, practically, I will suggest that churches put in place practical steps to forestall such evil. If church administrators fail to put up a practical step at discouraging such, then, they are also guilty. There must be adequate check and balance.
“I don’t like classifying churches as Pentecostals or whatever. My classification is usually, orthodox and modern day churches and we belong to the orthodox, the frontline churches. These are churches that came through the missionaries. Pentecostalism is an experience and church cannot be classified along that line. It was said that on the day of Pentecost, they were all in one accord and the Holy-Spirit came upon them as it has been promised. It was on the day of Pentecost, when the Pentecostal were outside celebrating Pentecost. Pentecost is celebration of God’s deliverance to the Israelite coming out of the land of affliction. It was the feast of the pass-over in the Old Testament. So Pentecost is an experience, it could be called Pentecostal experience but that does not give anyone reason to classify church as Pentecostal churches. So for me, we have the orthodox and the modern day churches. We all belong to that Pentecostal experience which enlarges witnessing”
What is your view on the teaching of restitution among converted souls?
Restitution is the act of restoring something to its original state or owner. It could come in the form of indemnification, redress, amendment, compensation for loss or injury. Doctrinaly, in restitution you want to restore relationship with God and your fellow human being. You don’t want any encumbrances or something that could hinder your salvation or distort your relationship with God. However, restitution must be done through the power of the Holy-Spirit. You must be led and in trying to restitute, it might be difficult for you to do wholesome or total restitution, so the Holy-Spirit will have to lead you. Zacheus said if I have taken anything by force, I return in four fold. If you look critically at that, you will know it won’t involve him going round to see all those he has defrauded. He was a tax collector and how many people can he meet. He already had a new ministry. So when we talk of restitution, you need the Holy-Spirit. There are major ones that you need to restitute, but there are some you may not even remember and you may not even come across those you have offended any longer. Restitution is better done with the renewing of the mind and with God. When you see an armed robber, it is likely he won’t know all the people he had killed, so it will be difficult. But once, you have turned a new leave, God will forgive and the greatest restitution is to be in tune with God and your fellow human being.
It is wrong for any pastor not to preach restitution. We restitute our ways as much as possible and as much as the Holy-Spirit can lead us. The leading of the Holy-Spirit will not make you to go into very minute or less important issues. There are major ones that you know yourself, the Spirit brings to your heart or those that are hunting you and you know yourself. There are ones that would always come fresh even 100years after and you must restitute. If you have taken what does not belong to you, even if you cannot go back to that place, you have to return it. Find a way of relieving yourself of the burden.
In Methodist, we are conscious of the source of your money. This may account for why we are not as rich as others but we are rich in the things of the Lord and of the Spirit. Politicians are aware of the fact that if they come to our church we teach them the right things and they may not be willing to bring their ill-gotten money to our church.
There are ministers who are expert or specialist in one area of the Bible like some say they are prosperity preacher, holiness preacher, deliverance preacher etc which area are you and is their room for specialising in one area?
The church should preach scriptural holiness. Our basic tenet in Methodist Church Nigeria is scriptural holiness. Holiness in such a way that the fruits of the spirit will be seen in your life as listed in Eph. 5. The church is not against the acquisition of wealth but first and foremost, we are created to worship God and serve Him, every other thing is secondary. The moment you begin to place prosperity above other truth you err. Jesus Christ never preached prosperity but holiness. If you study the beatitude in Mathew 5, you will see all that is written there.
It is convenient to talk to people about prosperity because God also prosper us, so it is also the teaching of the Bible. You can work and make money, but the way people preach prosperity now is making people run after money at all cost because this will give them recognition in the church and society. Therefore, it is very wrong to make prosperity your doctrine of focus of your ministry. What we are called out to do is to dispel darkness, so majoring on prosperity is off it. The Bible says, seek first the kingdom of God and all other things shall be added but most prosperity preachers want you to see it as the advantage of serving God.
Read also: My travails in the Anglican Church:https://churchtimesnigeria.net/travail-anglican-priest/
I heard one Yoruba song, Olorun mi ga, emi na aga, olowo ni Jesu, emi na a lowo (My God is great, I will be great, Jesus was a rich man, I will be rich), Jesus was not a rich man. There are times He was hungry, there was a time He gathered people and they had just five loaves of bread and two fishes, at another time He was to pay tax and He asked them to get same from the mouth of a fish.