This appellation stealing in the name of the Lord was made popular by a renowned reggae musician MAX ROMEO some years back. In most of our churches today so many profane acts and misdemeanor take place and bring to question our Christian faith and beliefs. Many false prophets, pastors and teachers have arisen in the body of Christ; people make money and steal in the name of the Lord. There are so many charlatans and false prophets who prophess God but deny His true power- the source thereof.
A lot of these false prophets or teachers teach false and wrong doctrines, fallacies, that are inconsistent with the Christian faith and beliefs, indeed, we are experiencing the signs of the end times. Jesus Christ, founder of the world’s greatest religion, Christianity prophesied in the Bible that in the last days, false teachers and prophets, will arise, people would not endure sound doctrines and would develop itchy ears.
Nowadays, there are so many fake miracle churches all over the country and the world staging phoney miracles, signs and wonders all in the name to attract converts and make quick money. These days you have prayer contractors who are paid and contracted to pray, fast for individuals including so many of our public office holders for a said fee. And all these amplify the timeliness and aptness of the title- stealing in the name of the Lord.
In the holy scriptures, the Bible says freely you have received freely give but the rise of these wonder churches where all they preach is how to make money, prosperity and work fake miracles in order to attract followership, cheap fame and acquire all the luxuries of life. Most of the leaders of these so called wonder churches and congregations live very flamboyant and ostentatious lifestyles that their often less privileged followers cannot afford. Where is the Christ like love, sacrificing for others, sharing and caring for the flock (members-brethren) and the less privileged among us.
The emphasis ought to be on salvation, repentance from sin, holiness, loving your neighbor as yourself, living at peace with your fellowman, faith and righteousness in God etc. These are some of the strong points and pillars of the Christian faith and what Christ Jesus exemplified and taught in His sojourn here on earth and in His earthly ministry. Why is there so much difference today? Big food for thought.
We are enjoined in the Bible that these signs shall follow them that believe in my name ye shall cast out devils, you shall heal the sick, you shall raise the dead … et al.
The Bible does not preach that Christians should be poor but on the contrary, that they should live a good life and prosper. To this end, Isaiah 1: 19 says ‘If ye are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land’. Also, 3 John 2, further lays credence to this fact where it says, ‘I desire above all things that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospereth’ – source holy Bible (paraphrased).
However in the light of the foregoing, emphasis should not be our signs and wonders, miracles or healings and mainly prosperity messages but on true and sound Christian faith and tenets like love, which is the greatest commandment, faithfulness, holiness, repentance, humility, salvation and evangelism etc.
Be that as it may, there have been so many earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars, pestilence, Tsunamis, Cyclones and hurricanes, floodings and landslides including other natural disasters as well as economic recession etc. All of these are proofs of Bible prophecies of the end times on last days. As Christians therefore, we should be expecting and preparing for the imminent return of Jesus Christ. And the more reason why Christians should be watchful, careful and walk circumspectly knowing fully well that the days are evil.
Interestingly, the Christian faith if properly practised and applied is a true agent for socio-economic and political change. By the total transformation it brings to society and human existence, it ought not to only reform humans or society but bring about a total societal-moral and spiritual rebirth, thereby impacting positively on the entire human race and giving society a new lease of life and purpose, of which, some Nigerian churches and Christian leaders are engaged in and doing now.
Indeed like the early Christian missionaries who came to Africa, India-Asia, South America etc, who identified with the rural populace, built wells that the locals could fetch water from and mix with them. Schools to train and inculcate sound morals in the people, hospitals or dispensaries to treat and minister to the people as well as providing scholarships to the locals. All these positively impacted our communities and societies that brought about the change and transformation experienced then irrespective of their beliefs.
Consequent upon the aforementioned, Christians and faith-based organisations could do more in supporting self-help community projects and contributing as corporate social responsible citizens. Especially in the rural and urban means, micro-credit schemes could be established to assist youths and the old. Also, small and medium scale enterprises could be established to encourage and generate employment as well as support entrepreneurship in the society. These among others will go a long way in bringing about change and transformation that the world and Nigeria need Christianity does not preach selfishness but love, care and compassion. Need I say more.
Samson T. Ayooso