By Okoro, Innocent Tochukwu
A specter is haunting Christianity – the specter of ‘Prosperity Gospelling’. This Christianity 2.0, an updated version of Christianity as we know it, precludes all the prerequisites needed for qualification for God’s blessings, and the inevitable doom that hangs over sinners as explicitly enumerated by Christianity’s main dossier, the Holy Bible. Instead, this Version 2.0 over-amplifies all the promises of blessings which the bible is replete of. This ‘Jehovah Sharp Sharp’ type Christianity does not scold Christians for wrongdoings neither does it hold them to certain moral standards, instead, it teaches that the all Merciful God would not punish his children and expects them to sin, albeit always. Therefore, one can regularly attend church straight out of a whore house and still be a true worshipper of God even though one has no intention of quitting one’s trade. Consequently, traditionally fundamental Christian teachings no longer emanate from the many pulpits that are now everywhere; such teachings as chastity before marriage, decency, respect for constituted authority, and righteousness no longer radiate from the loudspeakers that regularly disturb our acoustic peace. In place of these teachings, prosperity remains the only mantra. The moral looseness of Christianity 2.0 is so much so that if not for the few Bibles and many iPads that scroll bible passages during church gatherings, one could easily mistake the church for a Night Club or a bacchanalian festivity because the dressings of these ‘believers’ are extremely explicit while their ‘love feasts’ are too loose, too provocative, and too celebratory. As expected, Christianity 2.0 has caught on with many.
One can never underestimate the place of religion as a social control mechanism, for Karl Marx was right when he stated that religion is the opium of the masses. How else would the poor be happy if not that there are mansions prepared for them in heaven? Why would people endure injustice and hardship when they could easily reach out and take their freedom if not for the promise of a blissful after life? We all must be grateful for the prevalence of organized religion and their wildly romanticist teachings for it is largely responsible for the order we have now in our world as the ninety nine percent who remain at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder can easily find refuge in organized religion. In a world with so many challenges, where much people seek easy paths to success, the spread of Christianity 2.0 does not come as a surprise since conmen have exploited this vulnerability and established their prosperity churches through which they have become millionaires while their addicted followers keep pouring their every dime into these ministries like investors on Wall Street months before Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929 who kept investing to their doom, out of greed.
The developers and pioneers of Christianity 2.0 were very mindful of not transgressing the prescriptions of the scriptures, they were therefore very careful in not sounding too fake to their listeners. They backed up their teachings with genuine scriptural references and anticipated every manner of criticism before they were even made, this made them very effective, though their calling was from anywhere but God. However, as time passed, the foolishness of men and the ease with which they could be deceived whenever desperate made sound scriptural background unnecessary in carving out a niche for one in the largely open source Christianity 2.0. All that is needed was an ability to produce, by any means necessary, a series of ‘miracles’. The background and character of most leaders of denominations in Christianity 2.0 remain very questionable, some are unknown. Despite the fact that the lives of Christian 2.0 Ministers leaves a trail of scandals and controversies that are too empirical to be waved away as mere rumors, they still garner much followership from people seeking quick fixes to their problems – the pews of these ministries remain filled and can hardly hold the population that throng to their temples on Sundays.
At this point, one might wonder if am against the performance of ‘Signs and Wonders’ but that would be wrong, far be it from me. As a Christian (not a very good one though) and a Bible student, I know of Philippians 4:19 which tells us that ‘… God shall supply all your need according to his riches in Glory through Christ Jesus’ and that Signs and Wonders would confirm the ministers of God, but the fundamental objective of the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ in Matthew 28: 16-20 was the salvation of souls. How would Christianity 2.0 ministers claim they follow the Great Commission when they flagrantly flout basic Biblical prescriptions? I once watched a self-acclaimed ‘Prophet’ ask a woman to leave her husband and marry the boyfriend she brought to church that Sunday, this is contrary to Jesus’s teaching on Divorce in Matthew 19:3-9. More annoying is the fact that prosperity Ministers elevate themselves to so high a position that they are regarded by their followers as co-equals to Christ himself and they do nothing to dissuade their followers from taking this path as they enjoy the pecks and pleasures that accompany their status as demigods. In this information age, these prosperity gospellers have exploited technology to reach greater fan base as they fill television channels, and the social media. I have one good thing to say about these Christianity 2.0 ministers – they have done well for themselves.
I have no anger against the Version 2.0 ministers, they are smart alecks and conmen who have discovered a way to make money, and thanks to them, we have a global multibillion dollar industry that employs a lot of people. My concern is with the thousands that have allowed themselves to be bamboozled so easily, and the ease with which they are hoodwinked. Unable to obey the teachings of the Bible and still wanting to receive the blessings that come with service to God, they have accepted an alternative – Christianity 2.0, a Greek gift. Venerable sages have been led to ask: How can so many be deceived for so long? Ironically, the answer lies in the very book that Christianity 2.0 ministers have distorted and which their followers have refused to study on their own, the Bible. It says in Hosea 4:6 that ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….’
Finally brethren, I admonish you as Paul did in his epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:15-16) to ‘see then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil’.
Okoro, Innocent Tochukwu
+2348163600660, [email protected]
Recent Graduate, Department of Electronic Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka