Singer, Etcetera throws jabs at Pastor Chris Oyakhilome

Christ Embassy pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, is today on the receiving
end of weekly jabs delivered on the Punch by singer-cum-writer,

Comparing himself to the Biblical Paul, Etcetera began the letter with: 
write to you, in the same form that Paul wrote to the Ephesians
expressing his advice and counsel to the followers of Jesus Christ. If I
had 1,000 tongues, I could not thank God enough for your role in
winning souls for the kingdom. I bless God for revealing through you the
divine plans of Jesus Christ for us. Through you, a lot of people have
experienced Jesus in person.”

And then, he moved on to blame the Man of God for the ills in his
church especially the allegations levelled at the church for charging
members a gate-fee to attend its end of the year service.

“I write to you as a Christian who is saddened by the series of
troubling news emanating from your church, Christ Embassy. I am worried
that the seeds you have planted in us through your teachings may no
longer germinate as a result of the numerous scandals coming out of the
church. The roots of your messages, spiritual guidance and leadership
that once brought deeper understanding of the workings of God need a
little more reassuring with the church toeing this ungodly path of
collecting a thousand naira gate-fee from believers coming to hear you
teach God’s word every New Year’s Eve. Your church has opened a new
chapter in what we all know today in Nigeria as church business.”

He accused Christ Embassy of turning into a money venture.

“Over the years, this must have turned out to be a very
profitable innovation. I have to admit that the economic implications of
this ingenuity are mouth-watering. If some of the Christian outreaches
on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway adopt this modus-operandi, they can make
hundreds of millions of naira in just one night of devotion to God. This
is surely the smartest innovation so far in the history of church
business in Nigeria.”

Reminding him of what the scriptures instructs Pastors to do, Etcetera said:

“Are we allowed to peddle the Word of God for profit? No pastor.
We are not. The scriptures forbid charging for ministry (worship,
preaching and teaching of God’s Word, evangelism, fellowship of the
church, psalms/hymns or spiritual songs, discipleship) in any
circumstance or situation. It is stated clearly in black and white.

Matthew 10:8-9, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers,
cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire
no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts.”

2 Corinthians 2:15-17, “For we are the aroma of Christ to God
among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To
one, a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life
to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so
many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned
by God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ.”

“It is true that God’s people through faithful giving are to
supply the financial support for the ministry. But issuing a mandate for
people to pay to have access to God’s word is ungodly. A genuine
ministry for the Lord cannot have an advanced price tag to pay before
the ministry is given. Why? Because then it is no longer ministry, but
commerce, employ, trade or entertainment. You are in the ministry of
rendering services to God; and with Christ as example, you are to give
all that you are for all that He is.

“It is even wrong to charge honorariums and tickets to religious
concerts. The Lord deeply warned us through his Word that there is no
justification for every charging for the work of the gospel. Think of
what you are doing: charging people to pay a ticket to come to a church
or civic venue to hear that which is eternal, is wrong. After all you
take offerings from the same congregation.

Matthew 21:12 “Jesus entered into the temple of God, and drove
out all of those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the
money changers’ tables and the seats of those who sold the doves. 21:13
He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of
prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers!”

The greatest proof-text your followers will misuse out of the
Bible to try to “justify” charging for the ministry of the Lord is this
familiar phrase: “the workman is worthy of his hire.” Yes, I fully agree
with that phrase for it is God’s Word; but they are wrongly applied
when trying to condone treating ministry like a business, trade, or

It doesn’t mean we have the right to charge for “hire.” More
appropriately, it means those “who proclaim the gospel should receive
their living by the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14b) and do so in a manner
commensurate with the gospel.

Aren’t you glad that the Lord didn’t charge you to hear about the
good news of the gospel unto salvation? Aren’t you glad that the Holy
Spirit doesn’t charge any of us for the spiritual gifts He gives to the
church? Money, beloved, should not be a prerequisite for ministry.”

And he concluded saying: “My Christian brothers and sisters, let
us continue to pray for our pastors, gospel artists, authors, speakers,
and evangelical leaders who are still trapped by the allure of a
market-driven ministry; parroting worldly techniques rather than
emulating the humility and servant-hood of Christ. This principle should
even affect Christian retail bookstore outlets and how they “sell”
their items; but that debate is for another time. Amen.”


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