Search Site: OnlineNigeria

Close






If God asked for my opinion, I wouldn’t have agreed to get born-again – Prof. S.G. Onibere

Posted by By Segun Faturoti, Ile-Ife on 2005/11/20 | Views: 4541 |

If God asked for my opinion, I wouldn’t have agreed to get born-again – Prof. S.G. Onibere


Simon Godknows Onibere is Professor of Religious Studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He is the president of Onibere Global Outreach Ministries and president, International Communion of Pentecostal Churches.

Simon Godknows Onibere is Professor of Religious Studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He is the president of Onibere Global Outreach Ministries and president, International Communion of Pentecostal Churches.

In addition, the university don cum evangelist is the chairman, International College of Pentecostal Churches.
In this interview, the renowned preacher likened his call to that of Paul the Apostle. He also talked on religious intolerance, false prophets and proliferation of churches, among other sundry issues.

My call
I was an ardent member of the Anglican Communion until when I became “sensible” at the age of 18. I deliberately use the word sensible because before then I had erroneously thought that going to church everyday was all one needed to be called a Christian. But when I was in form two in the secondary school, something happened. Strange enough, what happened did not consult me before it happened because if it had consulted me, I probably wouldn’t have agreed because I was always thinking I was on the right path. On the day in question,

I was just praying the normal routine prayer when Christ came into my life. Immediately that happened, my old world crumbled and a new world emerged. Unfortunately, there was nobody to explain to me what was happening. That made me to think it was sheer madness but I said to myself that even if it was madness, then it must be a good madness which I was going to enjoy. In any case, the Holy Spirit later explained to me that I had become a child of God and there was a specific message to me that I had been called to become a preacher of the gospel of salvation, healing and deliverance. So, in a way, nobody spoke to me to be converted.

It was the Holy Ghost Himself that converted me and did the follow-up. My conversion was exactly like that of Saint Paul, when God crossed him on his way to Damascus. Interestingly, Paul was an academic and an intellectual like me even though he was a very short man unlike me. And, of course, he was not married but I am married.

Proliferation of churches
I see nothing wrong in the so-called proliferation of churches. One basic truth is that if churches don’t proliferate, something else will proliferate. To be specific, evil deeds will proliferate. Although I agree that some churches are not churches at all, but then in every good thing you have a bad aspect of it. For instance, water is an essential of life. It is very useful. But still, you can drown in water. Some churches are occultic, I agree. Some are camouflaged shrines, yet, I think it is a good development most especially in Africa because the evil would have been more if not for churches. The social and moral decadence would have been worse than this. So, let the churches continue to spring up because as I said, if they don’t multiply, evil things will multiply.

Payment of tax by churches
I don’t support the idea that churches should pay tax. If our government is in dire need of money, I think we have a lot of ways through which we can generate income. Let me declare straight-away that churches are voluntary organisations. I know some countries where the government support ministers of God. A church is a charity body set up to help the community. It should not be levied at all. By the way, what have we been doing with the money we have generated from crude oil and from other products?

Are they not mismanaged? This country is very rich but her poverty rate is the highest in the world due to blatant corruption and mismanagement. So, churches should be left alone because the worst church is still better than a hidden house which nobody knows what goes on inside it. And, mark my words, any government that thinks it can frustrate churches’ growth and activities either through tax payment or through any other means, that government is done for.

Pentecostal churches
I will say it is the challenge of co-ordination. What I mean by that is this. For instance, the Anglicans can trace their headship to Canterbury. If, for instance, there is a problem within a province in Nigeria, and they cannot solve the problem here, they will refer it to Canterbury and whatever the Archbishop of Canterbury says is the final. The Catholics also have Rome. There is no bishop that was not elected by the Pope. There is no bishop that was not elected by the Pope. So, that unity is unflinching. It is a very strong, fundamental unity.

But for the Pentecostals, the reverse is the case. There is no real order. In some cases, once you have money to build an edifice you can call a church and you buy a car, gather some people to worship with you, that is all! That is why Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) is not really a strong body. Although PFN is good as a common forum for Pentecostal churches, nevertheless, it cannot enforce any code of conduct on any church because every church in Nigeria is a denomination with its own constitution. Invariably, whenever there is a crisis between a General Overseer and members of the church council, unless Holy Ghost takes perfect control, that might be the beginning of the end for such ministry because there is no headship that can say the final word and because PFN, as it were, is just a fellowship of churches. So, that is the greatest challenge facing the Pentecostal churches today.

Flamboyant lifestyles of some pastors
It is a matter of conviction. In the scriptures, John the Baptist that came to herald the coming of Jesus lived a more strict life than that of Jesus. Jesus was more liberal, more sociable, more accessible. So, two individuals can never be the same. While some preachers preach moderation in dressing and general ways of life, some will want everything on them and about then to really shout, thereby attracting attention.

I see it as a way of living one’s life, not somebody else’s life. Those that wear big agbada, ride in big cars and display wealth do so according to their conviction and God uses them. Which is the ultimate! So, one should not condemn at all. Righteousness has nothing to do with whether one is flamboyant or not. It is a matter of choice and conviction. That you wear small dresses does not make you the holiest man in town.

False prophets
There is adulteration in everything on earth. We have fake doctors and nurses; fake drugs, fake students, fake currencies and so on. So, it is not a new thing that there are fake ministers of God everywhere. There is nothing we can do about that. The only solution I give to people in this respect is that every individual should deepen his relationship with God so that you will be able to know the difference between the fake and the real whenever they come to you because whether we like it or not, they are always there.

Read Full Story Here.... :
Leave Comment Here :



Add Comment

* Required information
1000
Captcha Image

Comments (0)

No comments yet. Be the first!