Remi Tinubu, Ordination and RCCG: A Commentary on Nigerian Effete Christianity

by
Moses Oludele Idowu

I’ve just read the Guardian newspaper online of today, Sunday 12/8/2018. Inside is an interesting article on the just concluded 66th Annual Convention of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG): ‘REDEEM ORDAINS TINUBU AS PASTOR’.

The story is about the ordination of Remi Tinubu, wife of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State and leader of ruling party, the fractious and fractionalized APC. Remi was a First Lady of Lagos State and the current serving senator of Lagos West senatorial district. A staunch member of RCCG her ordination is probably a fitting climax for a longtime relationship with the church.

I congratulate her and her family on this extra feather on her cap ( or is it hat, since women don’t wear caps) on her head.

However, something troubles me reading the said article. And you will see what I am saying very soon and why Christianity especially the contemporary Nigerian Christianity is effete and largely counterfeit, apostate and spiritually poor, wretched and miserable like the Church of Laodicea in Revelation chapter 3. Ignore me if you like, hate me or shun me, I will continue to bear witness to the Truth, to the Bible and to God’s Total Counsel as has been revealed through His apostles and prophets in every age and through every genuine apostolic movement from Paul till today. Even if Nigeria and Nigerians will kill me , even if the votaries of the modern Babylonism, in its orthodox and traditional varieties will attack me, even if the Ruling Hierarchy of Darkness that controls Nigeria and her religious and political institutions will attack me as they have done several times in the past- I am not afraid of anyone or any church. Even if the Nigerian Christianity and Church places embargo on me and my ministry by not inviting me to any church or Forum to speak as is largely the case now- except students- it does not hurt me; I can continue to write if I cannot preach. Still I will testify to the Truth and justify God’s ways to men.

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Let me begin with clarifications. I have nothing against Remi Tinubu or her husband. Neither do I have anything against Pastor E. A. Adeboye or RCCG. It just happened that the issue is coming to light around this period and specifically with this ordination.

The issue I am about to address this morning concerns RCCG but it does not end with her. It concerns every church in Nigeria. Since RCCG can be called the “face of modern Christianity in Nigeria” we can use her as a model of the issue I want to raise.

In the said article in the Guardian newspaper perhaps in a bid to justify the ordination it listed the conditions, prerequisites, requirements or qualifications to become a pastor in RCCG.

Remix Tinubu being ordained a pastor 

It is those qualifications that trouble me and why I am writing. Here are the qualifications:
I.i ) Must have participated in preparatory stages of Baptismal and workers in training class.
.ii.) One year course in School of Disciples.
iii. Consistently participating in church activities and programs.
iv. Be a worker that has served in different or specific position in the parish he attends.
v. Be recommended by senior pastors for ordination.

These, according to the article, are the requirements to become a pastor in The Redeemed Church. And probably similar or even the same requirements hold in other new generation churches.

This is why I AM TROUBLED.

Look again at the list. Does it convey anything to you? Is anything missing there? If you cannot tell then you confess to me that you have not been mindful of the NEW TESTAMENT.

All the requirements are okay but the MOST IMPORTANT REQUIREMENT to become a pastor is missing. The only requirement that can make you a real pastor in the correct biblical and historical sense is what is missing and it tells something about modern Christianity in general and contemporary Nigerian Christianity in particular.

What is the missing requirement in the list- A DIVINE CALL. This is in fact should be number one requirement to become a pastor in a church professing to be a “Pentecostal, full gospel church” – as many Nigerian churches style themselves. All those requirements cannot make anyone a pastor WITHOUT A DIVINE CALL FROM ABOVE.

A church can ordain ushers, deacons from within her ranks without much efforts. But not any of the five- fold ministry – teacher, pastor, evangelist, prophet and apostle. Those belong to Christ and He is the only One who can call anyone to each of those offices as the Head of the Church. So the most important requirement to become a pastor is TO BE CALLED BY GOD INTO THAT OFFICE. And you cannot be called and not know that you are called.

What brought Pa Akindayomi from his Ondo town to Ife into C&S and also out to found RCCG? IT WAS THE CALLING OF GOD. What brought E. A. Adeboye from teaching his beloved subject, Mathematics where he had a lot of prospects: it was the Calling. What brought him from the rear to the forefront of RCCG as General Overseer after the death of the founder, even ahead of many pastors more gifted, experienced and older than him: THE CALLING.

What took Babalola from the Roller? It was the Apostolic Calling.
That is how God has been doing it since the days of Paul and will continue to do it. “No man takes this honour upon himself except whom the Lord calls “, says the Scriptures. Today the modern Church in Nigeria has tragically departed from this. A calling is not necessary again to become a pastor in our churches as you can see from those requirements. And that is why the Church is looking everyday like the world and our motives, desires and pursuits are becoming like the world till there is no distinction again between the two. What is in those requirements that a thief or robber, cultist or even a witch or wizard or a medium of familiar spirits cannot meet? Why? because the only God- ordained requirement- DIVINE CALL- we have removed.

When did RCCG become like this? How many senior pastors recommend Pastor Adeboye to become pastor or GO before he was ordained? What has made the difference now? Has God changed?

Anyone who knows the history of this church can understand all these within the metamorphosis of what this church used to be and what it now is under its present leadership.

The Christ Apostolic Church brought a notable and grievous heresy in 1966 into the Church with the ordination of the first set of what she called “honorary pastors “,- a nebulous and amorphous nomenclature which has no basis in Scriptures nor in the history of the Church; and in rebellion against Babalola’ s strident warnings and injunctions. RCCG has now taken this a notch higher by her nebulous and self serving requirements which outrightly minimizes divine prerogatives, marginalises the Divine Calling and frustrates Divine Purpose.

I want to address some issues before I round up this article.
The prerequisites for ministry and ordination today in the church are tailored more to the secular than to spiritual. Just like you are taking up a career in the Civil service or industry, there are levels and cadres you have to cross and examination or courses you must take and pass to move to higher levels. This is what the Church too has now largely become. There is no need for Calling, just be well – behaved, active and support the church. The pastoral gift or office is no longer ” an office set by Christ into His Church ” but a hamper given by a grateful church to supportive members; a souvenir generously delivered by an institution already trapped in exponential decay. A civil servant helped a church to secure a facility for use. And what happened? The next thing the church ordained him as pastor. Another pastor of an apostolic church confessed that he was ordained even before he knew Christ.

That is what it takes now to be a pastor in our church and that is why you can now have pastors who are not even born again, whose journey of faith is questionable. Like the RCCG pastor who was INEC commissioner who at his death was discovered to be a polygamist and with billions of public money in his private account.

The next thing is the claim of the Cross. The Lord Jesus purchased those five- fold offices with the price of His Blood. ” He ascended on high and gave gifts to men”. He actually pleaded with the Father to bring those gifts to heart. So it is a serious thing. This is the same gift that a backslidden Church is trivializing with the same cavalier and untowardly attitude with which a great and prosperous nation has come to ruins right under her watch and even, to a large extent, with her active collaboration. The modern church has left the Cross, hence a Divine Calling, is not a prerequisite for pastorate. Those who took away the Cross from the message of the Church and substituted antichrist gospel of materialism, success, worldliness etc will ultimately take away the Calling too. But as Church History shows us with the Church of Rome there comes a pay day, a day of reckoning. History shows us that you cannot ignore or set aside God’s Patterns without severe consequences.

The Church of Rome ignored the Calling and set aside divine prerogatives. Every office from bishop to cardinal to pope was on offer as benefices to the highest bidder. But after servers years judgment day came: a Luther was born.

Right now there is no Luther on the horizon of Nigerian Christianity but scriptures cannot be broken without consequence.

” Remove not the ancient landmarks which the fathers have set ” (Proverbs 22:30), says the Scriptures. Every church that I know is in defiance of this passage, one way or the other. For how long?

In the day of the fathers, without a Calling you have no office. It is the Calling, evidenced by a solid anointing that gives you a seat at the gate of authority. That was why Babalola at only 25 had a place and a seat among elders old enough to be his fathers. He had a calling too notable to deny and an anointing that was visible even to the blind. These are the evidences of a Divine Calling, not earthly riches, status, position in government, closeness to G.O or his wife, services to the Church etc- criteria now being used by the postmodern Church.

At the heart of all these is human ambitions. There are legitimate ambitions but most ambitions are rarely legitimate. The cry now is having the largest church in town, having the biggest auditorium in the nation perhaps as big as Ibadan or a tower that stretches to heaven like that of Nimrod. The trend is building buildings rather than building people. Hence the emphasis is on profit- motif and numerical power. This Babylonian ambition is why today the church will do anything just to bring crowd including comedy, drama, entertainment, games, gifts, bribes etc. How do we build a spiritual body under this condition?

Are we building His Church or our Church?
Ambition turned Lucifer that beautiful angel and singer to a sinister, mean and cruel Devil and Satan, a fugitive from the Court of Heaven. Let us be careful.

“To him that has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church”.

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