THE SHIBBOLETHS OF FEMI ARIBISALA’S “BABALAWO PASTOR” IN THE VANGUARD NEWSPAPER OF NIGERIA
It's Mr. Femi Aribisla again! Each time I wanted to walk away from this man and his write-up of Sunday April 27, 2014 in The Vanguard of Nigeria, the Holy Spirit kept drawing me back to reply to his tendentious write-up. I have had opportunities in the past to spar with this man on some of his write-ups, like when he referred to all pastors who received tithes and offerings as robbers and thieves, or when he made ahistorical and unbiblical assertion that David never killed Goliath. I didn't want any distraction or pause this week on the continuation of our series on Divine Health which we started penultimate week but the Holy Spirit instructed me to set it aside and repudiate Mr. Aribisala's “Babalawo Pastors” where he tarred Nigerian Pastors with his populist stance disguised as a Christian column article.
Any Christian writer who pens any written material inspired by the Holy Spirit must achieve two things, according to our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 12: 30: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” In other words, if you are a Christian columnist, a pamphleteer, author or writer, your articles and or books must be inspired by the Holy Spirit which bring unbelievers unto repentance and profession of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and, or deepen the faith of believers in Christ in their Christian Walk. But those who took it upon themselves to write when not inspired are rabble rousers who, as Jude. 19 noted “… are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” Or of what use to the body of Christ is Mr. Femi Aribisala who writes-off all pastors, turn upside down the basic tenets of the Christian faith, question Biblical narratives and rambunctiously made assertions that are unbiblical and shallow? This audacity of madness is being stretched to a frightening limit because of the ample space afforded him in his local newspaper. Femi Aribisala needs to be called out as the Holy Spirit instructed me this week, because if left unchallenged, as Apostle Paul observed in 2 Timothy 2:17, “such messages will spread like gangrene and shipwreck the faith of many.”
Mr. Aribisala began his tommyrotty piece with these words: “Bishop David Oyedepo says poverty is not of God. He insists a child of God has no business being poor and declares: "There's a proven covenant cure for poverty." If this were true and proven, all the world's poor would have become rich Christians by now.” What an arid statement? It is not the will of God that any should perish but all human beings must forsake their evil and sinful ways, repent and give their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior so we are told in John 3: 15, but millions, if not billions are walking literally to hell every minute. When Bishop Oyedepo said that poverty is not of God and Divine Wealth is a covenant, he was saying it as the Lord God Almighty Himself promised His children in the Word of Life in Deuteronomy 28: 1-14: “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.”
If those blessings above were not iron-clad immunity from poverty, I don't know what Femi is talking about. But just as salvation is free and must be accepted by human beings, those blessings were prefixed with the word: “if.” Following his jejune opening sentence, Mr. Aribisala wrote: “Let us juxtapose the bishop's enticing words with the word of God and see whose report should be believed. Jesus says: "You will always have the poor among you."(John 12:8).Moses says: "The poor will never cease from the land."(Deuteronomy15:11). So where does that leave Bishop Oyedepo's "proven covenant cure for poverty?" It is a pie in the sky.” But Mr. Aribisala forgot to tell his readers the contextual circumstance our Lord Jesus Christ made that statement in John 12: 8. The Lord Jesus Christ was repudiating Judas Iscariot who rebuked Mary, sister of Lazarus for anointing the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ at Bethany six days to His Crucifixion. It was a sharp indictment of Judas Iscariot who used the name of the poor to steal from the treasury, because Judas Iscariot “…did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” Mr. Femi Aribisala forgot to quote our Lord Jesus Christ in John 10: 10b that “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” No human being can live life to the full if he/she is poor, because the Lord Jesus Christ knows we need money and material possessions as His redeemed children to carry out His Wills for us on earth. The caution is: do not let your money and material possessions control you.
Apostle Peter came to our Lord Jesus Christ in Mark 10: 28b -30 and said: “Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” The Lord replied him: “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” The Lord Jesus Christ didn't tell His disciples and followers that they would be poverty-stricken; after all, poor people cannot own homes. I don't know about the Lord God you serve and write about Mr. Aribisala, but the Lord God Almighty that I serve is a rich God Who owns gold, diamond, silver and every riches in heaven and on earth and said in Psalm 50: 10-11: “… for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine,” and “…will meet all (my) your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 19). Papa Abraham, the friend of the Lord God Almighty was a billionaire over and over again, because, “…he had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.” (Genesis 13: 2). Papa Abraham was so blessed materially that 318 servants served and worked for him because he had great possessions and “…the Lord had blessed him in every way.” (Genesis 24: 1). Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and the great Solomon were all rich men of God in every conceivable way, spiritually and materially. So why did Moses say in Deuteronomy 15: 11: “The poor will never cease from the land?” In the same Deuteronomy 15: 4-6, Moses had already told them that there would not be poor people among the Israelites. “However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance; he will richly bless you…” But the eradication of poverty in the land was premised on one condition and so he continued: “… if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.” But because Moses knew that there would be unbelieving souls like Femi Aribisala among the Israelites who would be disobedient and like poverty which is a curse, Moses now told the Israelites in verse 11 of that chapter: “The poor will never cease from the land." You would think a man like Femi Aribisala who we assumed has the Holy Spirit should not have been so disingenuous to quote a verse out of context in the same chapter as we read in Deuteronomy 15 above to suit his convoluted view point.
But more was yet to come from the frowzy pen of Mr. Femi Aribisla which makes every born-again Christian with the Holy Spirit cringe. “The preaching of the gospel is not intended to eradicate poverty. Indeed, the gospel acknowledges the existence of the poor and confers spiritual blessings on them (Luke 6:20).Simultaneously, it proclaims woe on the rich (Luke 6:24-25). Jesus even warns that it will be virtually impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew19:24). If so, why are pastors presenting the antithesis of the counsel of God as our exalted objective in the service of Christ?” What hogwash? In Luke 6: 20 where our Lord Jesus Christ said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God,” the Lord was not referring to material poverty. He was referring to those who are spiritually poor; those who know that they have nothing good in them to endear them to the Lord and acknowledge they are poor and need the saving grace of the Savior, unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees who were self-righteous and bask in their hollow spiritual riches. To be spiritually rich means you have no need of a Savior and thus spurned the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Later on in Luke 18: 9-14, our Lord Jesus Christ explained that statement of “Blessed are the poor…”with a parable thus: “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Again, you would expect a man who wanted to teach the Words of God like Mr. Femi Aribisala to heed 2 Timothy 2: 15: “ Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Femi mentioned two men of God in Nigeria in his last week's slimy write-up: Bishop Oyedepo and Mathew Ashimolowo; the former he twisted his words, because of Femi's lack of spiritual understanding and the latter he scathingly attacked over money and financial issues. I have never met any of the two men of God in my life and I am not writing on their behest but know this Mr. Femi Aribisala, if you truly are a man of God and have the Holy Spirit, you will know that we do not attack our own. The Word of God is not a populist message, our Lord Jesus Christ is neither for the poor nor for the rich, but our Lord Jesus Christ is for those who believe in Him and have taken Him as their personal Lord and Savior. If you are rich and have given your life to the Savior, you will enter heaven. If you are poor and refused to acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will perish, because Revelation 6: 15-17 told us: “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
As stated above, many of them men and women who worshipped the True Lord God Almighty in the Old Testament were rich and comfortable: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, Job etc. Our Lord Jesus Christ ate His Last Passover in the mansion of a rich man as recorded in Mark 14: 12-15 thus: “On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” Poor people cannot keep guest rooms, large rooms and furnished dwelling! Nicodemus was a Jewish landowner and a member of the elites Pharisee Sanhedrin and was very rich, ye he believed in our Lord Jesus Christ (John 3: 1-21; 19: 39). Joseph of Arimathea was a top shot, an elite and rich man who laid the Body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in an expensive tomb that no one had lain in after His Death from where the Lord resurrected three days later according to Mark 15: 43: “Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.” (NLT Version). Cornelius, the Italian military general in the Acts of Apostle was a millionaire, a rich man with servants and landed properties, yet he served the Lord with fear, faith and devotion as we read in Acts 10: 1-8: “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.” Apostles Paul's missionary journey to Thyatira was supported by a wealthy woman known as Lydia who provided for Apostle Paul, Dr. Luke and their fellow missionaries as stated in Acts 16: 14-15 thus:- “One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.” Sisters Euodia and Syntyche were merchants and rich women in Philippi, even though they disagreed over certain doctrinal issues in their local church, yet Apostle Paul vouched for their faithfulness and sincere believers who assisted him and Clement in the city during his missionary journey (Philippians 4: 2-23). Philemon was a wealthy land owner, a slave dealer and the first and only Christian believer in Asia Minor who gave out his house to start the first church in that part of the world, if you have read the Book of Philemon. I can go on and on in both the Old and New Testaments of wealthy men and women of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who worshipped Him in Spirit and truth and lived prosperous and wealthy lives.
There is nowhere in the Holy Bible that the Lord God Almighty preferred poor people to rich people. Proverbs 22: 7 says: “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower [is] servant to the lender.” That was why the Lord God Almighty told the Israelites that, if they served Him faithfully and kept His commandments, they would be the head and not the tail and would lend to other nations and not borrow according to Deuteronomy 28: 1-14 verses quoted above. Femi Aribisala referenced Pastor Ashimolowo's crusade in Port Harcourt where Ashimolowo spoke of Wealth Transfer. Hasn't Femi read in Proverbs 13: 22 thus: - “A good [man] leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner [is] laid up for the just.” Money, riches and wealth do not make people sin and forsake the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, poor Femi Aribisala, but “… the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6: 10). Poverty is a curse and all curses are from Satan, because of disobedience to the commandments of the Jehovah Lord God Almighty.
This your attitude of playing class warfare, criticizing other men and women of God, especially when the so-called criticisms are spurious and mere scuttlebutts lacking bases in the Word of God, because you have the platform in The Vanguard Newspapers do not serve the body of Christ, neither does it advance the Gospel. As I stated above and I repeat, you're either gathering for the Lord or scattering for Him. In your case, you are doing a great disservice to the body of Christ, injuring other fellow believers, tearing down the church, scandalizing pastors and workers in His vineyard and questioning the basis of our Christian faith. The other day, you attacked Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God as a “tin god” who is being deified, because worshippers revered him as a true man of God. At other times, you called all pastors who received tithes and offerings which the Lord Himself decreed in the Holy Bible as thieves and robbers. At another time in one of your numerous sloppy articles, you questioned the historical narrative of the Holy Bible. One can go on and on which makes a sincere seeker of the Truth of God's Word to wonder what exactly your agenda in the Body of Christ is? The Holy Bible tells us that we believers have on enemy: Satan. As I Peter 5:8 disclosed: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
I am not averse to serious disagreements on the fundamental issues of our Christian faith, because the Lord God Almighty Himself commanded in Isaiah 1: 18
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD,” (ESV). As born-again children of the True Living God, we should debate, engage in serious intellectual discussions and robust reasoning to deepen our Christian faith, but we do not take on pastors and fellow believers up for porous criticisms. Your articles are completely out-of-whack with fundamental Christian faith; and rather engage in serious Christian Bible studies, you flit through Bible passages, twist their meanings, scandalize fellow believers and gleefully celebrate shenanigans as if these are your trophies. You have forgotten that the fulcrum of the Christian message is to preach the Good News to a dying and preaching world and assist fellow believers to grow and deepen their knowledge in the Word of God and these twin objectives can only be achieved by genuine faith expressing itself through love (Galatian 5: 6). When you write articles that run down fellow believers and question the Word of the Lord in the Holy Bible, which purpose do you serve, Mr. Femi Aribisala? You write as if you hold the truth of the Word of Life, whereas when your write-ups are securitized and measured along the real Word of God through the Holy Spirit, they're empty and of zero-utility in saving souls and advancing the Gospel, although they may win you plaudits among your liberal-minded jesters in your locality who are waiting to pounce on the children of God at the slightest moment on our beliefs. Of course, you are there to be their pliant tool, because of your articles which are not rooted in things thought by the Holy Spirit.
Mr. Femi Aribisala, I do not know your educational background, but whatever your secular educational accomplishments, please avail yourself of sound Biblical education from a Word-based Christian Bible School. I want you to know I am offering this suggestion in sincere faith. No matter our level of educational accomplishments in the secular world, we all need sound Biblical education. I am not talking of Theology here, but a Word-based Biblically-sound and Holy Spirit-directed Christian Studies and Education where you can “… present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” I did the same before and even after all the chains of university degrees and titles from secular educational institutions. This is necessary, because those of us who write about the Word of Life will be judged more on the Day of Judgment not for condemnation into hell, but because of the faith of millions and billions of souls that will be affected by our write-ups. As I repeated few months ago-last year- in my first rejoinder to one of your crappy pieces, if those of us who write Christian articles in newspapers and other media platforms are not called genuinely by the Holy Spirit into this ministry-because teaching is a ministry-and we took it upon ourselves for ulterior motives, we-you and I-will stand before the Throne of Judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ to give account on that Day. It is indeed dangerous and a curse invitation to maintain a weekly Christian column in any medium and then begin to disorganize the Body of Christ, pull down fellow believers rather than building them up, pray and intercede on their behalf instead of twisting the Word of God, standing Biblical Truth on its head, attacking men and women of God when there is no credible reasons to do so and continue to scatter with the Lord rather than gather with Him in His vineyard.
NEXT Week: We will look at sicknesses, diseases and ailments that have their origins in the human soul as part of the continuation of our series on Divine Health.
FROM MY MAIL BAG THIS WEEK
Dear colleague, Wonderful write-up my brother. Please keep it up. We want more of it. I pray that the Lord strengthen you more with His anointing in Jesus Mighty Name. Thank you and Calvary greetings from Ibadan, Nigeria. Remain blessed--- Ezekiel Ayoola, PhD, Professor and Head, Department of Mathematics, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Thank you Dr. Fayemiwo---Dr. Adenike Yesufu, Canada.
Thanks Dr. for the encouragement.
Thanks, prof. I enjoy reading your articles at all times any day. May the blessings and Love of God remain with you and your family Amen! ----Ms. Victoria Olomiye, Kansas, USA.
Thank you Ma'am, I hope the weather in Kansas is not too harsh as we read in the news? Remember we have you and all that pertain to yours in our payers. Please tell Sister Debby to call me. Thank you and God Blessed in Jesus Mighty Name, Amen.
Dear Sir. Good day, I hope you had a wonderful weekend. These words are very powerful as it opened my eyes wide open and made me back away from the computer for a good few minutes as I tried to ruminate on these words in your article two weeks ago titled: “The Origins Of Diseases, Ailments And Sicknesses: Tapping Into God's Laws Of Divine Health (http://nigeriaworld.com/feature/publication/fayemiwo/041714.html
You wrote: “Death employs these demons known as associate demons in claiming human souls. In that spiritual encounter, the Lord told me that just as humans stay nine months in the womb to develop their souls and bodies before they are born, so also all souls need nine months to sever from the spirit before it is taken away by Death. For example, all those who will die in January 2015 now are already gone this month. They are no more with us.” Does this all sum up that those that will be taken away by the demon of death after their souls have been infested by nine full months by the demon spirits are not of God or some are? If I didn't take anything out of the article which I actually did and enjoyed but just saying hypothetically, that sentence is VERY scary and an eye opener. I guess that's why they say “tomorrow might be too late.”---
Oluwaseun Akinrolabu, U.S Army, North Carolina, USA.
Dear Brother Akinrolabu, thanks for your question. All believers and unbelievers, indeed all human beings come the same way: nine months in the womb and nine months to go, which is physical death. The difference is that a believer who has worked with the Lord Almighty intimately knows when it is time to go home-heaven-when his/her time is up in this temporary planet earth. As a matter of fact, the Holy Spirit will tell you when it's time to go home-2 Peter 1: 13-14: “I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.” Also read Joshua 23:14; 1 Kings 2:2; Isaiah 38: 1 and many more.
*Dr. Fayemiwo , formerly professor of Biblical Exegesis at Kingdom Bible College and Seminary, Tucson, AZ is CEO, Alternative Lifestyle Communication, DBA Chicago and co-author of the latest book: “Coming to America.” The collection of his articles in The Christian Walk column has now been compiled into a book by popular demand and the book titled: “Walking the Christian Walk: Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior” is available now for free. Visit his company's website and find out how you can obtain your free copy of the eBook at:www.allternativecommunication.net