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Gabe Ozoani

Engineer, Aerospace Engineering

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Extraordinary wealth of pastors in developing countries and the congregation that support them.

Bishop David Oyedepo is the richest pastor in Nigeria. He has amassed a wealth of over $150 million dollars. He has numerous business ventures (which he obviously encourages his "faithful" members to patronise) including a recently launched airline. He adornes himself in expensive watches and clothes and has more than one private jet. Many other "men-of-god" are in the same ball park (in terms of wealth).
This isn't only peculiar to developing countries as there are quite a few "millionaire" pastors in the west also.
Are the people who support these "representatives of God" brainwashed?
Are they providing this financial support to these men and their "empires" with the hope that the "investment" will one day pay off?
Could they be victims of a discrete form mass hypnotism?
Or could this be a aspect of Christianity that comes natural to the believer?

This is an epidemic that has plagued not only developing countries where the populace are searching for hope and prosperity, but also the developed world.

In this time of austerity are these institutions simply a drug to help soothe hopelessness?

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    Mar 25 2012: Hi Gabe
    This phenomenum is common to many aspects of life. Look at professional football, or motor racing, or what have you. It's really just a matter of getting a large number of people to buy what you're selling, be it God, or movies or anything else. We are all gullible in some ways.
    Whether this behaviour is compatible with Christianity can only be judged on a case by case basis.
    Jesus certainly had quite a bit to say on the subject :-
    Matthew 6:19 (NIV)
    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
    Matthew 19:21 (NIV)
    Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
    Luke 12:34 (NIV)
    For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
    Matthew 8:20 (NIV)
    Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
    Matthew 19:23-24 (NIV)
    Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. [24] Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

    I have a good friend who is an African pastor. He raises a lot of money & every penny is ploughed into his people. He is trying to bring modest prosperity to his people both spiritually, morally, & yes, financially. You will probably never hear of him, or the hundreds like him, but please don't judge him by the excesses of others.

    :-)
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      Mar 25 2012: Peter,

      I agree.

      It is a shame that people (such as your friend) dont get the publicity they deserve.
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        Mar 27 2012: It's better if they don't,it can trap a good man of God into temptation if his congregation explodes,it starts with needing a bigger hall as there is not enough room and can skyrocket out of control,before they know it the good man is gone consumed by the machine.
        • W T 100+

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          Apr 8 2012: I'm replying here since there is no reply button on your other comment.

          Wish I had a podcast or link to a brief visual presentation. But, nevertheless, here is a clear and consice explanation to the prophecy on Messiah's arrival as described in Daniel.

          http://www.watchtower.org/e/bh/appendix_02.htm

          If you google the prophecy, you will find that many faiths agree on this prophecy's fulfillment.

          As far as Jesus's second coming. That one requires some additional reading. I don't know how much you are willing to read....
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      Mar 25 2012: Peter,
      One glitch in your argument is that "professional football, or motor racing, or what have you", usually does NOT promote the player or the sport as spiritual/religious "holier than thow" guides and leaders of humankind.

      Football players and race car drivers generally DO NOT bless starving people and advise them NOT to use birth control because it is a sin. Football players and race car drivers generally DO NOT ask poor starving people for more money to support their already wealthy life style.

      The catholic church is one of the largest, richest entities in our world, and they are preying on people.....that's right "preying", rather than praying.

      Years ago, I stayed with some lovely, genuinely giving benedictin nuns in Mexico. I learned that of the 127 bishops in that country, only a handful of them were actually helping the people. The rest were/are living in luxury. The nuns teach and minister to the people in poor villages with no financial support from the church, while the bishops are living a life of wealth. This happens in many areas of our world, and it is, as you say Gabe, an epidemic. Thankfully, more people in our world are seeing the truth regarding this issue and have often stopped supporting it.

      So, yes Peter, the bible contains all those lovely, noble quotes, and because the leaders of the church are not paying attention to the verses in the bible, or the teachings of JC, it makes them even MORE hypocritical.

      I totally agree with Lynn...there are some who walk the talk, and they are few and far between.
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        Mar 26 2012: Hi Colleen.
        I totally agree with you on the Roman Catholic thing. I'm sure that there are lots of folks within it who are doing a good job, but the organisation itself is an affront to Christianity.
        I know many who absolutely worship their football teams with a fervour that puts me to shame, while at the same time there are many nominal Christians. We're a mixed bunch we humans.

        :-)
      • Apr 4 2012: I agree about the football players and birth control, But I would say The church generally holds the stance of abstinence before marriage, (the original birth control) The whole no condoms thing is, to my best understanding, a Catholic thing. Although there are many Catholic Christians, I disagree with much of the Catholic structure, and emphasis on works based salvation over Grace. (that isn't biblical and the opposite of Jesus teaching) It is a bummer that Christians get all lumped in together defiling the name of Christ to kind people like you and so many others. But I guess that is what happens when we sinners do things. This African pastor may or may not be a True Biblical Christian. But if he is laying up treasure for himself at the expense of his congregation he is no different that the war lords, that is evil, and God WILL deal with him. (it's just hard to be patient sometimes right?) Ultimately God knows his heart and motives.
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          Apr 4 2012: Hi Ramon,
          I do not lump all christians together, which is why, in my comment, I mentioned the kind, lovely, giving Benedictine nuns, AND the bishops, who are living a life of luxury. This is not an isolated situation...unfortunately, it plays out in many parts of our world.

          I have no patience for any religious leaders who are "laying up treasure for himself", as you insightfully express, ESPECIALLY when people in the congragation are starving. You are absolutely right Ramon...it is "no different than the war lords"!

          I'm more interested in dealing with these folks here and now, rather than waiting for god to deal with them. It's time that the global community stop being patient with, and making excuses for these folks, who are building extraordinary wealth for themselves at the expence of the starving, destitute people in the congregations that support them.

          It's time for the excuses like "this phenomenum is common to many aspects of life"...."be patient...God knows his heart"... to stop. These are religious, spiritual leaders and guides to thousands of people, whose life style is contradicting what they teach.

          If there is a god, he/she/it gave us a brain and the ability to use it for a reason. Just as some of the wealthy pastors in our world have used their brain to build their own wealth, we have the ability to change that dynamic with our own brains, logical thought processes and actions. Making excuses, or being patient with them is not going to change anything.

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