Use of inhuman, unorthodox methods by some ‘Men of God’ to conduct deliverance service
• ‘A Young Man, Who, After Smoking Marijuana (Igbo), Runs Mad Is
Not A Spiritual Matter, But A Case That Needs Medical Intervention’
• ‘Same Thing Happens Today And You See People Using Evil Powers
To Do Fake Miracles Because They Want To Be Known Like BarJesus’
• ‘A Well Informed Minister Of God Should Be Able To Know His Limit’
• ‘Christ’s Methods Must Be The Standard’
The cleric wields immense power over his/her congregation. To many faithful, life begins and ends with their spiritual leaders, whose counsel they strictly adhere to, regardless of what this entails. With this scenario, it is not surprising that some unwary clerics often play god. Lately, there have been reports of some ‘men of God’ adopting questionable methods to tackle members’ problems. For instance, there was the pastor, who chained his son to an altar, claiming he only wanted to discipline the boy, whom he alleged was a thief. Some ministers see nothing wrong in chaining and whipping mentally sick patients in very unhygienic surroundings, all in the bid to ‘cure’ them, rather than take them to psychiatric hospital for proper diagnosis and treatment. Others gleefully flog their members in the bid to exorcise the ‘evil’ spirit from them. But do men of God really have all the solutions to life’s issues? Where should ministers draw the line and restrict themselves to their spiritual abilities and callings? CHRIS IREKAMBA and GBENGA AKINFENWA report.
‘An Informed Pastor Would Know His Boundary’
(Pastor (Dr.) Jacob. E. Umoru, President of Lagos Atlantic Conference, Seventh Day Adventist Church)
THE word of God is very clear and He would expect us to handle issues with His word, as stated in the Bible. The Bible says God is near to those that fear Him. Any one who fears God will not use other methods to solve problems. The Bible tells us to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. The Bible says this book of the Lord you would teach your children to meditate on it day and night. However, the Bible also recommends using the rod sometimes to correct a child. This is after you might have used other methods such as discussing, counselling and all that. Once in a while, the rod may be used to discipline the child, but it shouldn’t be the main thing.
So, chaining a child is tantamount to dehumanising him/her and you may end up making that child to even hate God, since a degree of torture goes with chaining. This is not advisable, especially as God made man in His own image. So, when you are cruel to a human being, you are doing that to the image of God and He will resist such. You know that God even said we should be careful the way we treat the less fortunate ones, including orphans. Such wicked treatment is not biblical in the least.
Unfortunately, it is not everyone who calls the name of Lord that truly belongs to Him. Some ministers are called, while some invited themselves for economic gains and such things. So, they don’t have the true knowledge of the scriptures. Consequently, they are not able to draw the line. If you study the Bible and you have the fear of God, you will be careful what you say and do.
So, a well-informed minister of God should be able to understand his limit. If it is a psychiatric case, then you refer it and if it is a medical issue, you should know what to do and not that you have to handle everything.
Of course, God can solve all problems and what we can do is to pray, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty, let the specialists handle special cases.
‘No Record In The Scriptures That Beneficiaries Of Jesus’ Miracles Were Subjected To Any Traumatic Experiences’
(The MOST Rev. (Dr.) Michael Olusina Fape, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos/Diocesan Bishop of Remo, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Sagamu, Ogun State)
WHEN Jesus Christ says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also and greater works than these he will do” (John 14:12); it is certain that ministers of God are included. Every one of the miracles Jesus performed was gracious, without any iota of coercion. There is no record in the scriptures that beneficiaries of Jesus’ miracles were subjected to any traumatic experiences. While in the cases of demon-possessed individuals, the demons were forcefully cast out with authoritative screaming, and foaming; the demon-possessed regained their sanity and peace, (Mark 1:23-28; Luke 8:28-35) devoid of any scalds or traumatic experiences.
Today, what many, who claim to be ‘Men of God’ do in the guise of ‘deliverance ministry’ leaves much to be desired. While many members have been abused physically, others have been wounded spiritually and emotionally. Certainly, flogging, chaining, cutting and applying pepper on the bodies of perceived demon-possessed persons have no scriptural foundation. And of course, whatever cannot be sustained scripturally must be jettisoned in deliverance ministry. Christ’s methods must be the standard.
It is true that many church members look up to their pastors for solutions to their problems socially, materially and spiritually. However, this trust must not be betrayed by subjecting them to inhuman and ungodly treatments. ‘Men of God’ must know their limitation, and be ready to make referrals to appropriate helping institutions for further assistance, as they seek to provide solutions to the problems of their members.
‘Men of God,’ who are engaged in deliverance ministry, today, must ask themselves, if Christ would approve of what they are doing. If not, they must go back to God in repentance and ask for forgiveness from Him, Who is the owner of the Church.
‘Not All Cases Are Spiritual’
(Kunle Jacob, Senior Leader, Celestial Church of Christ, Oshodi Parish 1)
YOU called them ‘men of God,’ but I want to say to you, that not every one that calls himself man of God, is a man of God, in the real sense. Some of them are using the power of the devil to operate, and because the ministry is open to everybody one way or the other, these people found their ways into the church, and because they are now in the church, they are referred to as men of God, but they are not from God.
How can a man of God chain his own biological son? Some people are using the name of God to deceive innocent people. For instance, a pregnant woman doesn’t just come here and expect us to give her water, without asking some obvious questions about her antenatal, because that will help us to know what next should be done. It is not all cases that men of God can handle, although we believe that God can do all things. He is the healer, while we are the instruments that He uses to perform such miracles, that is, if you are in right standing with Him. There is no issue you cannot handle, whether spiritual or otherwise.
Jesus did it, and even the Apostles’ shadows were healing people with diverse sicknesses in their days. Nevertheless, God has given us different gifts as prophets, teachers and evangelists, among others, after you might have established your area of calling. There are cases that are not spiritual, and so, when such come to you as a man of God, don’t try to force yourself to do it. If it is a case that requires a physician’s attention, let them go there for proper treatment. But if they have tried on their own and there is no solution, and then they come to you as a man of God, there is nothing else to do than pray.
For example, a young man, who after smoking marijuana (Igbo), runs mad, it is not a spiritual matter, but a case that needs medical intervention. Here, in this church, we do ask people questions, whether they’ve gone to the hospital and what the test result says and things like that. If they bring any mentally sick person, you can only pray for them, though the result may not come immediately. For example, a man was brought to us and as at the time he came, he wasn’t talking. In fact, he didn’t know anything, but when we backed it up with prayers, today, God has answered our prayers. The man has started talking, and he is doing other things now. He can pray on his own, go errands and things like that. We don’t heal. It’s God that heals, but if you think you can heal by your own power, then there is something else that you are using other than God’s power. Some who try to go extra miles to do the impossible are those who want to impress people. They want to show people that they can heal. They want to arrogate to themselves the power that God has not given to them.
It is, therefore, advisable for ministers to stay in the area of their calling, and not claim to be this or that. The problem is that everybody wants to have a name. Paul the Apostle had an encounter with a man called Bar-jesus, a sorcerer and false prophet (Acts 13:6-12). This man, rather than answer to his name, added Jesus to it so that he could deceive people. And there are people like that. This man was performing miracles, as if those miracles were coming from God, until Paul, who was filled with the Holy Spirit confronted him and of course, the lesser power bowed to the more superior one. Same thing happens today and you see people using evil powers to do fake miracles because they want to be known like Bar-jesus.
Finally, there are cases that need only counselling. In the case of that boy, whose father chained him, all he needed was counseling. You let him understand that what he had done is not good and then you support him with prayers. You don’t need to flog or cage him. That is inhuman treatment.
‘Men Of God Should Pray But Refer Sick Members For Orthodox Treatment’
(The Most Revd. S.O.Babatunde Ojumu, Archbishop of Ogun Province/Bishop of Abeokuta Diocese of The African Church)
IN the real sense, it is right and proper for men of God to exercise their spiritual gifts by words of prayer only. So, going extra miles to chain or chastise their members, who have problems, is extremely improper.
Men of God should allow their prayers heal and advise their members to seek orthodox medicine to compliment God’s healing. Actually, it is proper to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto them (Matt 6:33).
First is prayer of healing, second is faith. Others are necessary and needed treatment.