Etcetera Picks On Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, Writes HAWT! Open Letter | READ

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Dear Pastor Chris Oyakhilome,
Greetings in the name of the Lord. I hope this letter
finds you in the best of spirit and health.
I 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.
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.

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Pastor Chris Oyakhilome

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
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!”

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Etcetera

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 entertainment.
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.
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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