Christian pastors have become demigods. Their word is law; no questions asked. As Jesus said, they teach as doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9). They come up with all kinds of self-serving principles that turn scripture on its head; just in order to justify themselves before men and control their lives. One such manipulator is Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy.
Man of God
Pastor Chris is going through a rough patch at the moment. His wife, Pastor Anita, has filed for divorce, accusing him of having inappropriate relationships with female church members, among other things. Instead of waiting for his day court, Pastor Chris has resorted to bogus interpretations of the scriptures; even proclaiming he is a “man of God” and therefore above sin.
Pastor Chris declared to his congregation through a live telecast: “There are preachers and there are men of God. I am not a preacher; I am a man of God, and I go in the way I’m asked to go. You have to understand something about a man of God. A man of God is not just someone who worships God or preaches God. A man of God is handpicked by God, set on course by God. If you study the scriptures, you will not find one man of God go against God, sinning against God.”
What nonsense! Who made Pastor Chris a man of God? From which school of theology did he get his sinless distinction? John says: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10).
David was a “man of God.” (2 Chronicles 8:14). Yet he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Balaam was a “man of God;” yet he became apostate. The “man of God” who came from Judah was killed by a lion because he sinned against God. (1 Kings 13:23-26).
Anita and Chris Oyakhilome
Anita and Chris Oyakhilome
But listen to what Pastor Chris says about himself: “We are not working in sin and living in sin and hoping that we can mix sin and righteousness together. We are the manifestation of his righteousness.” This is standing logic on its head. If our marriage breaks down, we must not fool ourselves and others by insisting like Pastor Chris that we are standing in the righteousness of God. There is no righteousness in divorce.
In the bid to justify himself, Pastor Chris is fabricating similarities between Jesus Christ and himself. He said: “Jesus Christ was accused by many – a lot of frivolous charges. There will always be those who would like for it to be true. But you know, in spite of the accusations against Jesus, it didn’t change who he was.”
However, Pastor Chris is not Jesus. Many accusations were indeed leveled against Jesus, but they were not made by his wife and they did not include inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Jesus did not receive stolen money as tithe and refuse to give it back as Pastor Chris did with regard to the money Lawrence Agada stole from Sheraton Hotel in 2002. Nobody healed by Jesus later said he was paid to sit in a wheel-chair and then stand up and walk, pretending to be healed; as a member of Chris Embassy claimed in South Africa in 2008.
Jesus did not auction his clothes to the highest bidder like Pastor Chris does on his birthday. He never charged gate-fees for his crusades as Pastor Chris did on New Year’s Eve in 2010. Jesus did not preach that masturbation is not a sin as Pastor Chris did in February 2012. Jesus did not issue a church directive that husbands and wives must not worship in the same parish in order to justify his estrangement from his wife as Pastor Chris did this year.
In short, Pastor Chris might be whoever he likes, but he is certainly not Jesus. Jesus says: “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” (John 5:31).
Yes, there are “men of God” in the Old Testament. However, Jesus created no such distinction in the New Testament; we are all “children of God.” Jesus says: “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3). Indeed, Jesus was implacably opposed to men like Pastor Chris, who sit on pedestals and claim to be holier-than-thou. He says:
“Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend’. Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates.” (Matthew 23:5-8).
While Oyakhilome was busy elevating himself, he was also snidely putting down his wife. He said: “If you are married to a man of God, it doesn’t make you automatically mature. You can make mistakes; you can do something that is wrong. But some people expect the wife of a minister to definitely be at the level of that minister.”
This is an arrogant statement. What makes Oyakhilome more spiritually mature than his wife? By what measure and by what criteria did he come to ascribe this superiority to himself? Anita Oyakhilome was also a minister. She was a so-called pastor of a London branch of Christ Embassy. So why should Pastor Chris presume himself more “minister” than her.
If we are to accept Pastor Chris’ bogus self-appellation as a “man of God;” what disqualifies Anita from also being called a “woman of God?” Are women inferior to men? Oyakhilome said: “If a man of God is married, it doesn’t automatically mean that the wife of a man of God is therefore a woman of God. That’s not the way it is in the Bible. That’s why you don’t really find the wives of men of God mentioned in the Bible…. You never find their names.”
What poppycock! When one of the female pastors in his audience asked why the names of wives of the men of God were not mentioned in the bible; Oyakhilome’s response was a classic. He exclaimed: “Why? You ask God when you find him. Ask God when you find him!”
But it was not God who fabricated this theory that the wife of a man of God cannot also be a woman of God simply because wives’ names are not mentioned in the bible. It was Chris Oyakhilome. Therefore, it is up to Chris Oyakhilome to provide us with another bogus explanation.
Pastor Chris ended his diatribe by saying: “When it comes to Reverend Anita, what I will say to you is ‘pray for her.’” There is no doubt that, more than anybody else; it is Pastor Chris himself that is greatly in need of prayer.
Aribasala’s article was first published in THE NEWS