Oyedepo’s Slap, a game of What?

Oyedepo’s Slap, a game of What?

This write-up by Douglas Anele, a Philosophy icon in the University of Lagos and first published in the Punch newspaper. Anele opines that Bishop David Oyedepo of Winners Chapel is very derogatory and demeaning. Let’s jointly analyze and give our respective opinions.

 

Tin gods, Holy dictators and Anointed tyrants (2)

Now, Nigerian pastors have taken their arrogance, aggression and presumptuous megalomania to dangerous heights. Aside from cruel infliction of physical pain on the faithful who came for “deliverance” in the absurd belief that doing so will exorcise their demonic powers and witchcraft, some pastors actually assault worshippers physically. Recently, a video recording of David Oyedepo of Winners’ Chapel went viral on the net. In it, the pastor was apparently conducting a so-called deliverance service on some young girls alleged to be witches. The girls had to kneel submissively before Oyedepo, in order to be delivered from “spiritual affliction.”

One of the girls angered Oyedepo by claiming that her own witchery is for Jesus. Oyedepo responded: “You are a foul devil! Do you know who you are talking to?” He then gave the girl a hard, dirty slap and thundered: “Jesus has no witches. You are a devil. You are not set for deliverance and you are free to go to hell!”

In another video, “the man of God” boasted about the incident, claiming that the girl he assaulted later came to apologise to him! Now, what can we make of this incident? For me as a humanist and hater of all forms of authoritarianism, Oyedepo’s conduct embodies all that is hideous, despicable and irrational in contemporary Christian clergy.

Belief in witchcraft is one of the wicked delusions which have been used for centuries to maim and kill innocent people who happen to be different in some way from the average person in the society.

It seems pretty obvious that Oyedepo did not understand that perhaps the girl’s claim of being a witch for Jesus was a metaphorical way of conveying the depth of her devotion to Christianity, just as one reads in several passages of the Holy Bible where Jesus allegedly took on negative roles for the redemption of believers.

Furthermore, his response is a total negation of spiritual maturity and genuine love for humanity, which is the hallmark of true spirituality. Indeed, that Oyedepo asked the girl whether she knew who she was talking to, and bragged that she later came to apologise portrays him as a person who likes to exercise absolute control and power over those who look up to him for spiritual guidance.

Hence, irrespective of the impressive material successes recorded by his church, the deplorable act of slapping and cursing someone who came to him for “spiritual deliverance” disqualifies Oyedepo as a trustworthy spiritual guide — his conduct is not in line with the attributes usually associated with enlightened spirituality such as humility, compassion, empathy and love.

It is very disappointing and demeaning, in my view, that the girl in question apologised to Oyedepo — in fact, the apology ought to have been the other way round. I think that by apologizing, the victim further dehumanised herself, instead of doing the right thing by reporting Oyedepo to the police for assault: after all, no one — not even the pastor of a big wealthy church — is above the law. Her cowardly behaviour is fallout of the worshipful, self-abnegating, and irrational respect accorded to the clergy in Nigerian society, which is a worrisome manifestation of cognitive and existential dissonance connected with contemporary Christian worship.

But come to think of it, what gives pastors the audacity to wield enormous powers over members of their churches? Why are pastors boastful, arrogant, ostentatious and aggressive nowadays in their approach to Christianity? What has happened to the virtues of tolerance, patience, humility, forbearance and love extolled by genuine spiritual leaders like Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Pope John Paul II, and the Dalai Lama, etc.? My answer is that contemporary Christianity has substantially deviated from the original mandate ascribed to Jesus in the New Testament, which was to prepare believers for eternal life in heaven.

Most denominations of the religion have mutated into business concerns. Consequently, pastors have very little to offer those genuinely interested in spiritual growth. The new Pentecostal churches are “factories” for “manufacturing” Holy Ghost fire, instant miracles and material prosperity on an industrial scale. The fearful and gullible, those desperate for quick results and others misguidedly seeking spiritual enlightenment fall prey to the soap-box histrionics of bombastic preachers.

Pastors commit atrocities in order to win more converts and increase the quantum of tithes and sundry donations they collect regularly. In my opinion, the outlandish doctrines preached by pastors are clearly unsuitable for rational humane living. Take for instance, the notion that man was not created to be sick, but the devil uses sickness to torment unbelievers and sinners. What about the stupid belief that by the mere act of praying, making a decree or pronouncement, all the existential problems of born-again Christians will be eliminated miraculously, or that the challenges of life such as poverty, childlessness, sickness and death are due to the machinations of the “enemy,” the devil?

By teaching their followers to rely on incoherent gibberish masquerading as the impartation of Holy Spirit, pastors are actually discouraging their church members from creatively deploying their productive powers in handling the vicissitudes of life, which is the only way the good life, one inspired by love and guided by knowledge, can be actualised.

What our pastors and imams are doing in places of worship is utterly reprehensible. Therefore Nigerians, especially the youths, should stay away from these centres of self-deception and delusion to avoid material, psychological and spiritual manipulations of the worst kind by tin gods, holy tyrants and anointed dictators.



56 thoughts on “Oyedepo’s Slap, a game of What?” by Whiz Da Poet (@whizpoet)

  1. My feelings exactly. I believe very much in God, and I also believe that we all have a direct line to Him. You don’t need an all-powerful pastor to connect you. You can go straight to the power source yourself.

    And it’s so true that many of these people absolutely do not display any of the true tenements of Christianity: Love, Tolerance, Forgiveness, Kindness. They almost make you feel like ‘… if your god is anything like you, you can keep him for yourself…’

    1. Oh yes, and Humility. I forgot Humility. Show me a loving, tolerant, forgiving, kind, and humble Nigerian pastor, and I’ll be quite happy to learn from them.

      1. @Obi thank you for airing your view this way

  2. There is more to the story than meet the eyes……

  3. Wrote similar observation in my poem Mr Reverend Sir.
    If any preacher slaps me…will burn his church down.
    Camerounian government recently banned T.B Joshua from entering Cameroun.
    I think Naija pastors are worse.

    Anyway, there is a Goodnews by pastor chris of C.Embassy. Masturbation is no longer a sin! Should have told me 10 years ago.

    1. @Kaycee… Are u sure he said that exactly or it was just a rumour??

      1. @Kaycee, how do you mean? What was T.B Joshua’s offence?

  4. Pastor Chris na… Only Bros J go save ’em all.

    1. @Lactoo, be more direct…

  5. Well, the truth is that money is the root of all evil. When this people start making money,they begin that ascent to tingodship and all hell breaks loose.
    He has 2 moneyspinning schools, places of worship that bring in money. The girl obviously doesn’t know about him. We don’t know if her parents pushed her to make that apology..I am quite sure they did.

    As for the Christ Embassy dude, he has gone global and he has to give the goodnews to the wanksters in his congregation.

    Well God dey… Eye opening article Whiz. Well done…$ß.

    1. Its you I should thank more @Bubblinna for sparing your precious time in reading and giving a reliable response

  6. Well I don’t blame them, it’s the worshippers I blame…

  7. We claim to be so much in love with God, yet we ignore the simple things that take us closer to him and embrace all sorts of funny acts.

    Anyway, Nigerians have been made to believe that nothing good can ever come easy. That we must suffer, do marathon fasting, make heavy sacrifices, go for deliverance, e.t.c for us to be able to see the light.

    Painfully, the people that are supposed to be showing the way are the ones leading us into tunnels.

    God help us!

    1. Hmm…@Electrifying ‘Eletrika’ But whats your exact take on Oyedepo, Is he wrong or???

  8. To each his own.

    As far as I’m concerned; I aim at far loftier things. In other words, I’m too busy engaged with God as He allows me to bother/be bothered about some other person’s style of worship – even if that worthy is a ‘man of God’.

    I don’t measure myself/my relationships/my spiritual life by human yardsticks; there’s the word of God to guide me. I attend church and I listen to my pastor with an open mind. Whatever he speaks that I find validation to in my bible; I absorb. Whatever he does that cannot be backed up with the word I evaluated with my logical mind. If it makes ‘logical sense’ I take; if it does not, I discard. I fully understand what ‘man of God’ means; I understand that however ‘great’ he is, he is but a man first.

    That said; God relates to us differently. So who am I to say your style of worship is wrong? I might say it does not work for me, but unless I have irrefutable evidence; I think I will look ‘stupid’ for judging things I know nothing about. Of course I only speak for me; there are people who know more than I can ever hope to know about God and related things.

    So about this; I can only hope people who use ‘men of God’ as validation for ‘wrongdoing’ know at the end of the day (if there is such a thing) they; and they alone will speak for themselves. That pastor won’t be there to defend you even though he will answer for misleading them; as they will answer for allowing themselves be mislead.

    My 50kobo.

    1. Thanks @Seun. This is indeed a very objective analysis. We can only learn from

  9. I usually avoid reading articles where science tries to rationalise the spiritual.

    I’m not surprised that this was written by a philosopher. In my years of partaking in philosopy courses while I was in the University, I’ve come to generally understand one thing about Philosophers – They think too much and end up confusing themselves. Not that its bad to think, but there are times when questioning some things will only generate more confusion.

    Everyone is quick to judge when a man of God makes a strange move that’s controversial; everybody is ready to nail him. I’ve always wondered why people always beef men of God (especially when they are blessed with wealth). The funny thing is that all the beefing is just fulfilling the scripture where Jesus even said a prophet will always be despised in his own land. And that’s very true…

    People are quick to notice acts that seem negative and forget anything positive.

    This is the same pastor who offers scholarships to many children in the schools and universities built by the church.
    Meanwhile one of the Universities is highly ranked internationally and recognised by foreign academia; other african nations have called for his intervention in their educational system; the Nigerian university community have commended his efforts and affirmed their pride in his efforts.
    Presently, the second university built by the church is deep into agricultural research and has high percentage of foreign students in attendance.

    There is so much positive done by this man and the ministry but I’m not surprised that of all things, it is the issue over a slap that an academician who works in an educational system that needs redemption deems most important to write about.
    Everybody is making assumptions over the slap due to the drama they saw…and he joins in…what a shame.
    Abi na joblessness cause am?

    ‘Let him who is sinless cast the first stone’ was what Jesus told pharisees who wanted to stone an adulterous woman to death. Meanwhile, they themselves were not clean and even worse off.

    For me, the slapping drama is a past issue. It has happened and people have aired their opinion and made noise over it. But for a professor to make a fuss over it and write a ‘thesis’ on it is just a waste of time.

    So what are we to learn from it?

    This is why I despise the way Nigerian academicians think…they talk too much and actually do nothing to make things better except write stupid journals. The man under fire meanwhile has done so much that he will never be able to do in his lifetime.

    1. @Afro…..this is too subjective now! aba!!! How do you condemn the writer so much.

      1. Try to look at this from a wider perspective…

      2. LOL!

        @whizpoet

        I’m not subjective naw…okay is it because I mentioned the positive stuff done by the pastor?
        But its the truth now…if a layman or somebody who wasn’t an academician had written this article I would have waived it…but a prof for that matter. I’m sure if one dug deep, it would be as a result of beef for what the man of God in question has achieved.

        Maybe the pastor should have handled the small witch in another way but even if it was a mistake, nobody is above mistakes!

        Or am I still being subjective with this point?

        1. Now you are talking, so everywhere you go, make sure you speak in an understandable language…Mscheeeeeeew..LOL

    2. My point exactly @afronuts. Especially the point about people trying to judge the spiritual from a scientific perspective…perfect.

      1. @Chemokopi, what perspective should be used to judge the spiritual? A spiritual perspective?

        If so, then there is the potential for much confusion, because unlike science which demands rigorous proof and evidence, spiritual perspectives are very subjective. There is nothing stopping me from validating the actions of a Man of God because according to my own spiritual perspective, they are holy and righteous.

        But I also see the futility of using a scientific method to criticise ‘spiritual’ actions taken by a ‘man of God’, especially when your audience strongly believes in this ‘man of God’. The failure of science is that it relies heavily on logic, and the reality is that human beings are driven more by emotion than logic.

        1. @TolaO: “If so, then there is the potential for much confusion, because unlike science which demands rigorous proof and evidence, spiritual perspectives are very subjective.” This your line is very much on point and is the reason why their is a proliferation of religions with the attendant confusion and hostilities. But then judging the spiritual must still be somewhat tide to logic (I must agree), for the fact that we live in a physical world and must do so with other people who practice other religions or are guided by other beliefs.

          1. Well, that could be a subjective analysis too

            1. @Tola please check your inbox, we need to talk

  10. I believe in God… Being religious is not my thing for religion has been taken the wrong way. You see a girl who wears skirt, doesn’t perm her hair nor wear earings and to her, she is born again while she disobeys more than half of the 10 commandments.

    God has given us gifts, given us his word, written his word in our hearts and given us the brain, the intelligence to reason…. If we can read his word and make our conscience alive and also apply reasoning, we would face less problems… I’ve heard so many awful things about men of God, those who get powers through fetish means and all that but I can’t know the truth, that’s why I’ll never speak evil of them nor judge them. My own is nobody should disturb me to join their church…

    About what oga did, it is wrong to assault people physically. I dunno any prophet in the bible who did such… They mostly punished using words and not slaps… But then, na them know. As for me, I’m with God and not man…

    1. Thank you! I fail to understand what part that man has refused to take in ” no man will teach his neighbor to love the Lord,For all shall know me from the least to the greatest” okay, the quote is not verbatim but….. Man has suddenly taken leave of their senses and so called religion( which has nothing to do with the reverence to the creator mind you) has become perverse.

    2. Well. we should not judge

    3. Hey @Goose, its been a while. What’s your latest work??

    4. i will only add to all that has been said

      it’s funny Jesus was recorded as having used a whip to drive out the money makers and sellers in the synagogue in his time. Holy righteous anger? I dont know.

      But I know this one thing, every man of God is accountable to God and to Him only. We are not meant to judge but then even pastors are not above mistakes

      My plea to Nigerians, follow what you read in the Bible not always only what you hear Men of God say, confirm all things by God’s infallible word. I judge no man.

      1. Yea, because most of us have been beclouded by the syndrome of “My Pastor says..”

  11. For our good Pastor….I don’t know him, have heard a few things about him.
    As the thousands of such calling in the world, it’s his right to practice as he see’s fit.

    His congregation must have confidence in him as a leader to be there in the first place, and as for the slaps…totally lost on that one. AS the say, “the spirit moves”…the question would be what spirit?

    Freedom of religion has enabled such acts, and except it’s reported that people are victimized and taken against parental consent or personal will, then …..

    Lets not be too quick to call names, belief is a personal thing and just as many choose not to acknowledge that God even exists, those who do equally do so by choice.

    We can only play Savior, no one can achieve that goal until the person intended for such a rescue is zoned in to your thinking.
    Finally, let’s also consider the duality of nature here….evil and good must co- exist in order to maintain the balance…MY TAKE OF COURSE….

    1. Your take is dwindling, You have refuse to take sides. But this appears interesting, yet intriguing, you said “the spirit moves”…the question would be what spirit?…..Are you doubting the spirit-filled man of God? @Kaycee, what do you see in this question?

      1. Dwindling…moi? lol.. My take is far from dwindling.
        I think that freedom of choices and religion is the basis of this sort of thing. It is not my place to take sides,
        I can only speak for myself.

        If the pastor claims to be filled with spirit, I ask again..what spirit? it’s a legitimate question don’t you think?

        1. @Dotta Funny indeed…Spirit of God, of course, or??

  12. Good and evil? as in??

  13. i wonder how brain washing works……

    1. Brain washing…in what sense @yhemie

  14. RIO (@riowrites)

    I grow more weary of organized religion by the day. I am beginning to really get “opium of the masses” .The man of God was wrong. God does not need us to fight his battles or defend him. The people that attend these churches display such mindless devotion to their pastors, it is just unhealthy. They worship these people then they use the bible to defend their stance. IMO they are all guilty of idol worship. No, it should not be waived aside as the past because inclusive of all else it is socially irresponsible to conduct yourself in that manner. What would he say to a male student of covenant university who hits a female?

    1. @Rio, well you can only term that an assault when you know what informed such decision, otherwise you might be judging from a myopic point of view

  15. ONLY GOD KNOWS THOSE WHO ARE TRULY HIS

  16. So whats your take on Oyedepo?

  17. Interesting…

  18. Is that your take on the issue?

  19. can/t talk about a man of God, let God have His way

  20. @mikeeffa, that’s if we you are too sure he/she is called by God. Its good to be objective anyway.

  21. Objectivity and subjectivity are two brothers from the same father…..

  22. Lol. Y is nobody talkin of Smith Wigglesworth and Mariam Woodworth Etter? Smith especially was renown for curing people by literally manhandling them. Lolllllllllll. And guess what he said when naylayers like our learned philosopher started howling? He said it was the devil he was against and people just happened to be in the way. What I hate about Nigerians is they talk too much on what they don’t really know. Like I like to tell folks PEOPLE ONLY @CRITICISE WHAT THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND AND CONDEMN WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW.
    Oya make una stone me na

  23. @Hymar, one thing you got wrong is your ‘generalizations…as in…”Nigerians”…Such generalizations shows a parochial point of view….

    Though, you might be right in stating that, some do not know why and what led to the slap…afterwards criticizing…but be mindful of ‘generalizing…cos that will amount to ‘Fallacy of Generalization…..What I mean here is your analysis of such issue becomes error-prone and not empirical….

  24. Another questions is …who are “Smith Wigglesworth and Mariam Woodworth Etter”…whats the basis of their healing …. and what is the motive behind ??

  25. @whiz. U see,u don’t know. And Abeg am a poet not a lawyer u hear….winks…

  26. this is quite revealing………….. so true……….

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