The above Bible passage and that ensconced in the eight Beatitudes, it would appear do not appeal to these rock-star preachers; otherwise they would have known that their reward is in heaven and not here on earth? Icheoku says, all these worldly things that seek comfort of the flesh are of the Devil and will only ingratiate and gravitate them away from their primary calling to save lives for Christ into a meaningless indulgence. In a country with such suffocating poverty as Nigeria, with some of Redeemed Church parishioners possibly living without basic necessities of life including food, Icheoku says, it is scandalous for the church to chose now to flaunt such extravagance? At a time of global economic meltdown when families are losing their jobs and homes, children dropping out of schools, malaria killing young Nigerians, this church went on a shopping spree? Except there is a compelling reason for this purchase and the church got a deal on the plane, since many owners are shedding themselves of such money guzzling luxurious toys; Icheoku refuses to see the wisdom of such acquisition. Where is the meek in this church headship or the selfless leadership by example practised by Jesus Christ himself? In this regard and notwithstanding its foibles, the Catholic church is still above board; despite being the richest church in the world, yet her Pope still flies commercial on Alitalia airline? Anyway if the Bible is true, which we have no reason to argue otherwise, Icheoku says, the headship of this church has received their reward here on earth. Their argument of easily getting around and away to their various ecumenical centers world-over, does not justify this lavish investment. And this plane cost about $5000.00 each flying hour it is airborne? Put in the local currency, Pastor Adeboye will be burning about N735,000.00 every hour the plane is airborne which forces Icheoku to ask, who is then fooling who with talk of salvation? A caveat however, Icheoku does not begrudge this "Man of God" his earned payment under whatever subterfuge, including the ownership of a private plane; but we disagree with the decision, especially now when the whole world is hurting, economically? It does not show a God-fearing leadership of a church with so many devoted flocks who look up to their leader for direction on their quest to make heaven. Admitted that other super-duper churches, especially in the United States of America and Canada, own private jets but this Nigerian, in a country with such a high poverty rate and over 48million of her youth unemployed, such a vagrant display of wealth will only exacerbate the armed robbery and kidnapping scourge in Nigeria; as more wanna-bes shall become more desperate to try and belong! In their parlance, they have to "kill dead body" (make it) in order to finally join the privileged few, private-jet owning elite Nigerians!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
ADEBOYE'S REDEEMED CHURCH, A PRIVATE PLANE?
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) led by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has finally arrived as a world mega church indeed! With their recent acquisition of a new Gulfstream aircraft worth about $28 million (N4billion), the church has joined the league of "show-me-the-money" churches world-wide; which splash their tax-free dollars on such earthly frivolities? The Gulfstream jet is transatlantic-capable and can conveniently seat about 15 passengers in high luxury comfort, depending on the configuration. Icheoku notes this is the second church in Nigeria to acquire an aircraft following the Living Faith Worldwide (Winners Chapel) of Bishop David Oyedepo, which has a Challenger aircraft?
As high maintenance as these private planes are, Icheoku says these churches are announcing that they have finally arrived in the big players league. From routine maintenance to the rotables (time-bound parts which are changed regularly), to refitting parts which are changed after every 12 or 15 calendar months whether you are flying or not, to operating cost which sometimes runs upwards of $5000 each flying hour, to landing and parking costs as well as crew? The simple summary is that by acquiring a private aircraft you are making a loud and bold statement that you have metamorphosed into an ATM (automated teller machine) spitting money to keep the bird flying? Fortunately for these mega churches, they are spending other peoples' money:- from the parishioners, to the tithe-payers, to miracle-seeking devotees and thanksgiving people? Icheoku asks, what would Jesus Christ say in lieu of the many hungry mouths that could have been fed, the naked that could have been clothed and the homeless that could have been sheltered? Twenty-eight million dollars is just the down payment for owning and operating a private jet? What a bail-out this whopping amount would have provided for the world poor especially in Nigeria and specifically in the Redeemed Church family? Icheoku asks, are these people really serving the true God or are they just using God as a means to an end of their worldly desires and aspirations? Icheoku remembers vividly during the temptation of Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 4:8-9 when the Devil took Him up to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things will I give you if you fall down and worship me." What did Jesus do, he refused to take the bait saying in Matthew 4:10, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only". So who are these guys really serving?