article is especially troubling because it graphically details
the utter corruption and depreavity that those who promote the
Prosperity Gospel have passed on to their disciples making them
two fold children of hell of what their teachers are.
BBC NEWS UK ADDITION
Monday, 27 June, 2005, 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK
Pastor Hinn in Nigerian money
By Sola Odunfa
On Africa magazine
Benny Hinn is one of the most successful
TV evangelists in the US
late April, scores of giant billboards and thousands of wall
posters all over Lagos proclaimed the first of three days of
divine miracles and healing for at least six million Nigerians
- but at the end of the third day, there was more bickering
over money than praise to God for mercy received.
vehicle of the expected wonders of the Holy Spirit was the UNited
States-based evangelist Benny Hinn, who flew into Nigeria in
a Gulfstream private jet with a large retinue that included
was received at Lagos airport in a motorcade of Hummer jeeps
and other expensive cars.
deaf would hear, the blind would see, the lame would jump and
walk, barren women would conceive, the jobless would gain employment,
and the enemy - both seen and unseen - would be vanquished.
Mention any problem - physical, spiritual, economic - Hinn had
come with the instant solution.
things did not go well.
300,000 people attended the event each night - a modest congregation
by Nigerian crusade standards. It is estimated that about 1
million worshippers attend the monthly Holy Ghost Congress service
organised by The Redeemed Christian Church God (RCCG) at the
disappointment he felt on the first and second days of the miracle
crusade, Hinn kept to himself - but he opened up with anger
on the final day.
"Four million dollars down the drain," he shouted into
the microphone from the huge rostrum.
is on the up in Nigeria - and the word
is being spread by the country's Pentecostal pastors.
The doyen of them is
is Pastor Enoch Adeboye,
who introduced the hugely successful Holy Ghost
Congress in the church in 1986. Today the congress
is held monthly and is the largest regular gathering
of Christians in Nigeria.
said that he had been assured by the local organizing committee
that at least six million people would attend the crusade -
but the total turnout was only around one million. As a result,
he realized that all the mega public address equipment he had
flown in from the US was not needed.
also complained about some claimed expenditures, the charges
imposed on pastors who attended his day-time seminar, and journalists
who sought to cover the crusade.
then announced publicly that he would not provide any more funds,
and that the local organisers should pay all outstanding bills
from the collections they made on the first two days.
complaints instantly overshadowed the spiritual context of the
event. Some people from the congregation came out to declare
that they received healing and other miracles after the prayers,
but they were hardly audible.
Nigerian head of the local organizing committee, Bishop Joseph
Olanrewaju Obembe, accused other Nigerian Pentecostal preachers
of sabotaging the crusade and pedaling false information to
Hinn and his aides out of envy, and to discredit him.
after the crusade, a committee was set up by the leadership
of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) - the umbrella
body of Pentecostal churches nationwide - to investigate the
Pentecostal faith in Nigeria is a veritable goldmine, judging
by the opulence of most of its pastors.
is made even more attractive because incomes of churches are
tax-exempt. Nearly all the churches are the private property
of their pastors or founders and their immediate families.
an economic environment in which the majority of Nigeria's estimated
130 million population has been impoverished by unemployment,
lack of basic social infrastructure and rising inflation, the
church has become the last refuge for many people.
favored churches are the new-generation Pentecostal assemblies,
that are owned and managed solely by fast-talking American-style
Christianity is growing rapidly in Nigeria
and powerful Nigerians run after the pastors for "spiritual
protection" from imaginary 'enemies' who, they are convinced,
are lurking around the corner to pull them down.
are the big spenders in the churches.
attraction, perhaps, lies in the often-quoted biblical injunction
that "givers never lack" and the fact that most pastors
don't ask the donors how they make the money they give.
March 2003, a cashier at a five-star hotel was arrested for
allegedly stealing nearly 40 million naira (then about US$400,000)
from his employer.
colleagues were shocked because there was nothing to suggest
that he was living above his means - he had no car and he lived
in a rented flat in a non-fashionable part of Lagos.
man confessed that he gave all the money to his Pentecostal
church in cash and equipment.
another case a bank clerk stole 40 million naira from his employer
and gave 10 million to his church as 'seed money' in the belief
that the seed would germinate and yield several fold as promised
by his pastor.
Nigerians believe that a large number of pastors are honest
and devoted to the service of God and mankind.
they readily take umbrage under the Yoruba saying that "only
God knows who serves Him truly."