Ostentatious Religiosity- Bewitching of the Brethren
The early church history was characterised with Heresy and schism, a lot of disturbing and unbiblical practices was the order of the day which later lead to the Reformation of Martins Luther of Germany.
Just as the early church, the church of today is in the battle of ostentatious religiosity which is gradually shaping the future of Christianity around the globe especially in Africa. Bewitching of members is at the increase in various places of worship and private devotions resulting to Heresy of which the early church was accused of. It is sad to note that the very points of faith upon which the reformers established the scriptural truth has been turned into the object of oppression by many church leaders today. Let us look at St. Peter and St. Paul’s admonitions in this regard…
But there were false prophets, too, in those days, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly tell their lies about God, turning against even their Master who bought them; but theirs will be a swift and terrible end. Many will follow their evil teaching that there is nothing wrong with sexual sin. And because of them Christ and his way will be scoffed at. These teachers in their greed will tell you anything to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago and their destruction is on the way.(2 Peter 2:1-3|LIVING BIBLE)
St. Peter in the above passages acknowledged that what we are facing today in the church did not start from our time, the aims and objectives of these false prophets consist in denying Christ; making jokes and slander the truth of the revealed word of God, they intention is not departing totally from the word of God but to use it to manipulate the church of Christ. It is clear from the passage that many will follow their teachings just as in the church today, many people no longer care about the truth and the originality of the word (Spirit inspired word of God) but now run after human philosophy and rhymes which has the form of the word but lacking the backing of the Spirit; so today we have pastors who specialises in making rhymes and using it as a principle upon which the members should operate and we can see members gladly write them down and begin to shape their lives towards them. A typical examples of such is “If you are gentle, you cannot be settled” “if you don’t pray you become a prey” if you pay your tithe, nothing will be tight for you” etc as good and fantastic as some of these things sound, the truth remains that these are not the truth of the scriptures but mere manipulative means of taking advantages of the members and showmanship of the so called men of God.
St. Peter pointed that many people will follow these false prophets and one of the reasons is because these are what their itching ears what’s to hear. Particularly one of the biggest challenges facing the church in the western churche is the issue of sex and sexuality, pastors and many church leaders have come openly to declare that there is nothing wrong with same sex marriage in the church, not minding the scriptural truth on marriage in Genesis 2:23-25. I once meet a minister who boldly told me with scriptural back ups that premarital sex is not a sin… all these and more is setting the pace for derogation from the truth set out in the word of God but the truth remains that no man can shortchange God and His holy word for every man will surely reap what he sow.
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you ?(Galatians 3:1|KJV)
It is not as if we don’t know the truth of the scriptures, some of us bear witness to this truth of the word of God through experiential knowledge, some are scholars and educated men and women but it is still amazing how some of us still fall victim of these false prophets and they teaching, St. Paul called it bewitching; it is an act of foolishness that can lead a man full of knowledge of the truth to fall victim of such. I once watched a professor who was asked by a pastor while the service was going on to pull his shirt and wear the pastors coat as a means of change of level and I was wondering the particular scripture that inspired such obnoxious act and to my greatest anger; how a whole professor can succumb to such stupidity, It is called bewitching.
We live in a generation where the wisdom of men has taken over the still voice of the Holy Spirit, we live in an age where globalisation is gradually transforming and translating the Ancient Word, today many consults pastors and prophets just as our forefathers consulted native doctors, you bring yam and kolanut, prophetic seed and prayer offerings must be paid before the man of God attend to you, today nobody admits his or her sins anymore because so called men of God has made us see boldness even in the face of sins and rebellion, it is now a matter of how much you can raise to have a particular spiritual problem solved. I have seen and heard of men who must take instructions and directions from their pastors before sleeping with their wife, what of those who cancelled their flight ticket because the man of God was not in town to bless the journey, I won’t forget those who won’t leave their house every morning without kissing and bowing before the stickers of the man of God, all these are not normal; it is called bewitching and the only way out of it is to know that God is Spirit and true worshippers must worship in Spirit and in Truth.
The Spirit of the Lord be with your spirit.
Prayers: almighty and blessed savour, you created all things for your pleasure and by the power of your word you have them being. Thank you for the revealed truth of the word, thank you for your word is settled forever in heaven and they is no place for argument; no one can stand against you no power can assult your throne and no one can steal your glory. Thank you for the Holy Spirit who helps our understanding of the very thought and mind of God. Give us repentant spirit to turn away from every scheme of false prophets and doctrines of devil, help us to renounce every works of the flesh and to embrace the truth which comes from you alone through the merit of our mediator and advocate; Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.