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Pastor Enoch Adeboye is the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God while Ifedayo Olarinde popularly known as (Daddy freeze) is a celebrity broadcaster, the convener of #freethesheeple and a renowed critic of flamboyant lifestyles Nigerian pastors live.

APC Bolaji Paul Gbengbeleku

Over the years, they have acted like “Tom and Jerry” over irreconcilable differences; one will not stop making statements that would unleash the terror in the other while the former does not enjoy the grace of silence too. People have watched endlessly the battle with hope that it will surely end one day. But as the battle dies, it is being rekindled and we can not ask Pastor Adeboye to stop using the microphone.

Distinguished readers, as much as I try to ignore the exchange of words and melodrama between these prominent Nigerians this time around, it is virtually impossible for me. Daddy Freeze, Pastor Adeboye and other Nigerian pastors have tackled themselves on tithe payment, flamboyant lifestyles of Nigerian pastors and how most pastors see themselves as “gods” than the true God people supposed to serve.

They make references to same holy book, same followers but they appear as saviours with differ ideologies targeting same purpose. As usual, followers of Baba Adeboye and Daddy Freeze have queued behind their leaders, just a little push and the essence of the argument is lost. The rest is story.

Two days ago, I visited a close friend whose love for Christ is unparalleled. He is a regular church attendant and worker. I always love to engage him once in a while not only to learn but to sharpen my intelligence about Christianity. We were discussing about Nigerian pastors and how their lifestyles are inversely proportional to the gospel of Christ and teachings. My close friend concluded that true evangelism is dead in Nigeria but it has not been buried. Its fossils are what we see nowadays that we call evangelism, a rather sad Christian concluded.

The authors and bringers of true evangelism died with its purpose. True evangelism goes beyond erecting big edifices, climbing top mountains to pray and preaching the gospel from one town to another; evangelism without humanity and taking survival of others into consideration is just for prosperity and riches. Jesus did not just feed five thousand people with loaves of bread and fishes neither did Elisha multiply the jars of oil of the biblical widow for no reason? There is a silent message of compassion and humanity. Building of church was important as at then but the survival and comfort of people who will attend was more important then.

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The bringers of evangelism won hearts of the people through selfless service and education. They built schools, sunk boreholes for good and drinkable water and tackled poverty to the barest minimum for people to see Christ in their act not in words. They invested in people and engaged in developmental projects that would relieve the burden of the people. The welfare of the people was a priority to them. There were blessings and a true reflection of Christ.

The churches of yesterdays are no more alive. Pastors who care about the society and how people’s lives would be better are no more. This was recently justified by the most respected leader and general overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) when he reportedly said that “he is not ready to die unless he builds a church auditorium as big as Ibadan city; the largest city in West Africa.

In a nation where millions of students leave school as graduates every year including members of RCCG and join the colony of unemployed ones and this colony keeps expanding every year and the best gift Baba Adeboye could ever think of his building auditorium as large as Ibadan city amidst sad narratives hovering like birds in this sad nation. I sincerely do not think it is a nice sending forth gift.

Truly, the church can not perform the duty of government and it is very unfair to say that leaders of Redeemed Christian Church of God have not contributed his quota to the development of the nation but are these services accessible and approachable for the poor they are meant to relieve their burdens? I am not here to defend Daddy Freeze who has taken up the job of granting freedom to people of assumed mental slavery in religious wears rather I am more concerned about the message.

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There are 12 churches in my Neighbourhood and there is a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). Inspite of the large number of churches in my locality, social crimes of all sorts occur at regular intervals and they are mostly perpetuated by jobless youths. There was a time some yet-to-be identified young men stole electric cables and speakers from one of these churches. This message is very clear. The churches you build and furnished with classy interiors will be robbed by the same people you refuse to assist rightly.

God created people for different reasons. Some are destined to be governors, presidents, senators and captain of industries. Early pastors and missionaries who established free schools and developmental projects to assist the poor are destined to be helpers. They provide water to the needy, they give clothes to people who have nothing to wear and most importantly serve as guiding lights to people who want to be prosperous.

Pastor Adeboye is a minister, follower of Christ and a minister of God who once had a tea session with God as proclaimed. No one knows if he’s not destined to assist the poor, relieve their burdens or probably proffer long lasting solutions to problems. Maybe he’s destined to build churches most especially auditorium that is bigger than Ibadan city? He is a pastor and I see nothing wrong in doing something remarkable in your chosen career.

I have limited knowledge on the rightful stand of the bible on tithes but it is my belief that it is always right if churches do everything humanly possible to ensure that these tithes, grants and free monies are properly spent on projects that would benefit the miserable and poor. There is poverty in the land. Majority of these poor people are members of top Islamic organisations and churches.

Churches and mosques see themselves as problem solvers but unfortunately they have successfully deepening the gap between the rich and the poor through their exploitation and supposed social development programmes.

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The tale of how rich and corrupt politicians take front seats in churches and mosques at the expense of the poor is a story I can not afford to relay today. Cruelest of men attend mosques and churches, merciless politicians who have squandered resources meant for all and have refused to tow the line of repentance sit at the front seats in mosques and churches yet these religious centres praise and receive handsome donations from these people to establish projects that will further put the poor and masses in bondage.

It remains a mystery to me if sons and daughters of nobody/less privileged can not attend schools primarily established by churches and mosques to relieve the burden of the masses and give unto them better alternatives, these alternatives are more costly than the government owned schools.

The battle goes beyond Daddy Freeze and Pastor Adeboye. It is a battle for the restoration and redefining of humanity. Daddy Freeze only mentioned unemployment and tithe in his criticism but there are numerous ways that have put true evangelism into lock. Evangelism is never the problem but Nigerian pastors and their counterparts in Islam are the true problems.

I do not see Daddy Freeze relenting at all. If he relents, many people will rise up to continue the enlightenment. As far churches who recieve tithes, grants and donations from organisations and wealthy people for the betterment of the church and its members do not run open accounts and activities or projects funded by people are not affordable or does not in any way proffer solutions to the lingering crisis in the society, Pastor Adeboye and host of others may always find themselves at the gnashing teeth of Daddy Freeze and host of church activists.

The battle is not against true evangelism, the battle is simply against people who run offices in disguise of churches and have no sympathy for humanity. I doubt if there is anybody on earth that can rescue Pastor Adeboye and host of others from Daddy Freeze and others.

Apagunpote Olayimika Chocomilo is a columist at WITHIN NIGERIA. He can be contacted via Adewale858@gmail.com.