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What Shall It Cost To Build the Lord’s House?

After a long hiatus from church, I was welcomed back to the fold with the most disturbing testimony I had ever heard. The visiting pastor was on a mission to raise funds for the completion of the half-built church and decided to share two mind-blowing testimonies. I’ll be sharing them with you and will like to know your thoughts on the impact of such testimonies.

The pastor regaled us with the story of a lady who was attending a branch of his church in Abakiliki and suffering from severe ‘fiblods’ (read about Fibroids here), she decided to enter a covenant with God and committed a particular sum every Sunday towards the building of the church. The same night she made the commitment, she had severe abdominal pains and went to the toilet to defecate, the faeces came out with two giant fibroids.

The church was thrown into shouts of excitements praising the name of the Lord.

I couldn’t exactly think up any logic behind the miracle as I try to do whenever I come across one. The closest that I could come up with was the spontaneous expulsion of a submucous fibroid (which I stumbled across during a google search after I shared the story on twitter). I, however, didn’t think it would be a common occurrence and with the pastor saying the fibroid masses came out with faeces it sounded very concocted. I had to cut him some slack because patients can be shifty with medical history and even medical professionals need to take extra pain while teasing out, for example, bleeding from the vagina vs anus. So, he gets a pass. (tongue-in-cheek)

He then went ahead to add another story of someone’s son getting raised from the dead after she committed to paying a particular amount for the church building in another location. This kept the church hyped up, riding on this hysteria he quickly made a call to the members of this church to come and key into this blessing by committing a specific amount every Sunday to the building of the church and everyone in the working class age pyramid in the church trooped out to make a commitment that they figure will cure fibroids and raise the dead, I think.

I understand these antics and don’t blame the man or the naive congregants who decided to make a commitment entirely based on the stories. It has been established that a very effective way of getting money from a group is to appeal to their emotions and that is exactly what the preacher applied and got his results.

The main issue I have with this particular situation is the effect it will have on the public’s health-seeking behaviour. I believe these kinds of stories will negatively affect the way people understand illnesses. I don’t think it is proper for someone to hear about disease conditions in this type of religious situation where a lot of embellishment, exaggeration, and maybe outright lies are propagated to further an agenda.

My thoughts are not yet fully formed on this issue as I understand there may be limitations to my understanding because of my belief system.

I will like to know what you guys think in the comment section. What may be the impact of such testimonies on the health-seeking behaviour of people in 3rd world countries? I remember a friend on twitter saying he would walk out of the church. Would you do the same or would you ‘unlook’ and come write a blog post about it like some people who will want to be kept anonymous?

featured image: Photo by Milada Vigerova

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Godspower Oboli

    Thanks for sharing.
    Well, nothing is immune to perversion by members of our species. People will come up with innovative ways to milk their members to generate funds, sometimes because they can’t see any other possible or alternative means to raise such money. It’s not new, but the Bible doesn’t teach anything like that.

    That said, my approach is to engage other Christians that attend such places on these practices, asking questions like, “does God really give one special blessings for giving certain sums of money?” or ” what does such and such attitude to giving say about one’s motives as a Christian?” And it’s amazing the conversations that follow. I wouldn’t walk out of the service. I would stay put to “see it finish”

    Indeed, it’s awful what it does to the mindset of the laity. As a friend of mine used to joke, there’s always a church member that has delivered her baby after a pregnancy of 2 years. People take their health for granted, and really, this practice you observed doesn’t even scratch the surface of the damage. I guess we should just do out little bits here and there, educating as many as we can.

    1. Ikechukwu

      Thank you Godspower for your comments. I totally agree that should do more in our little corners. The only issue I have with actually engaging people like this is that they quite frankly believe what they preach wholeheartedly and turning them away from it might be a mission one will wish they aborted before starting. This is aside the condemnatory stares and remarks you will get from other members and leaders for daring to challenge their anointed.

  2. Damilola

    Nicely put.
    I completely agree with your points and also because of how well constructed it is. Respectful and honest.
    Firstly, what this man did here was basically extortion and thus his intention or motive wasn’t pure from the start. Thus, he will do anthing possible to appease to the emotions of his hearers, even, lie.
    Jesus, never used the miracles he did as an avenue for extortion, thus, he cannot claim to serve Jesus because such examples are not found in Jesus’ ministry.
    So, let us dissociate this man from Jesus.

    Now, on it’s impact on the health seeking behaviour of the public. There’s definitely already a poor health seeking behavior, this being just one of the many causes; poverty, the cost of health services, inadequate health awareness and education campaigns etc.

    My point is, I don’t think the general populace have been given the opportunity to have a very strong health care system that will open their eyes well enough to help them see through the lies of such men.
    And more importantly, majority haven’t also been exposed to sound teaching of God’s word to also help them see through the lies and manipulations of such charlatans.

    My opinion.

    To your question, what shall it cost to build the Lord’s house??
    It cost the death and resurrection of Jesus.
    The church (Men and women indwelt by God’s spirit through faith in Jesus Christ) is the Lord’s house.
    Jesus is the foundation upon which God’s habitation is built.
    It’s also an ongoing work, which will cost the sacrifices of men and women, who will willingly give their all to see that the truth of Jesus is preached all around the world.

    1. Ikechukwu

      Thank you, Dami.
      I understand your viewpoint. I agree that the health system needs to be strengthened for us to get rid of charlatans like this. I agree that this is essentially a symptom of a failing health system. thank you for coming by and leaving a really comprehensive comment.

  3. Covenant

    I believe Dami has made a detailed exposure of what I had in mind while reading the article.
    The bible teaches giving as “… as every man purposes in his heart, not grudgingly not as a matter of NECESSITY…” if a building needs to be built, there’s no need telling the people those stories. Asking them to give for the church building is enough. It is also important to state that the Bible teaches that God blesses giving.

  4. Otote Osagie

    Sowing a seed is something I believe in. Remember bible stories like that of ‘the widows might’, ‘the woman who gave the last of her honey and bread to Elijah’ and so on and so forth.
    Preachers have twusted and turned these stories so that they may exploit people and that is exactly why it works. Remember the temptation of adam and eve and the temptation of jesus after fasting were all backed by twisted scripture from the devil. The most potent way to device a Christian is to twist popular scripture.
    That said, I think these people should be arrested… Lol. On a more serious note as long as nigerians remain poor and helpless, these sort of things are here to stay.
    You may not have made a conclusion yet but I have concluded that the pastor didn’t do well at all.

    1. Ikechukwu

      Lool. I agree with your conclusion.

  5. Covenant

    Plus… We don’t know if the Pastor is a “charlatan”.. at least we can’t tell from this story alone. What if that way or approach to giving was what he learnt and how he learnt giving? What if he is yet to get light on Bible teaching on giving?
    Many things done in this country are done in ignorance, we can only truly know his motive if we know that he has understanding of what the Bible teaches on the “how” to giving.

    1. Ikechukwu

      Hmm until he gets the light on the proper teaching of giving, he shouldn’t mount a pulpit to address people on giving. If he decides to mount it and broadcast his ignorance, he is indeed a charlatan and should be called out for it.

  6. Chinwendu

    So i think its only natural for a man who was probably chosen for the purpose of stiring individuals to contribute financially to the course of building the church to appeal to the emotions of individuals(this is a strategy in raising funds). And if they choose to respond positively, fine. But if they do not, thats also fine because I believe they will not be coerced but probably compelled. And the difference between coercion and compelling is that they will be giving according to their capacity or in faith.
    Although it is advised in Christianity not to adopt human strategy or human principles and ideas in getting solutions but to trust God in all totality to provide for all our needs. This is the only aspect in which i think this individual had faulted but on another note theres a positive side to this, which is that it compels/encourages and teaches giving. Even children,youths and adults alike are compelled to give to the building giving them a sense of responsibility especially the younger kids.
    On the other hand , concerning the testimonies of the pastor. I believe in miracles and they are not really within our human understanding so for me since i was not present in any of this events of the miracle happening.personally I’d rather give the guy(pastor)a benefit of doubt. And if it is true,fine. But if its all lies,let God be the judge. For me i take the lessons to be learnt and forget the story. From this article, if i was in the church on that day.
    Two lessons i am going home with
    First- I should Just trust and believe in God and have faith that all things are possible
    Secondly, I’d learn to give to the course of God’s work which I’d be doing within my capacity.

  7. Ogaga

    I think on some level I completely ignore talking or thinking about places like this. What benefit would there be? Some people are ready to die on this hill with their men of God.

    1. Ikechukwu

      Yeahh. At least, let the records read that we saw and called out their sham

  8. Chuks

    I will onlook.
    Ignorance will kill the weak. The wise will survive.
    Win win for everyone

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