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Bishop, on Ojukwu’s birthday, condemns prosperity gospel, says it makes God ‘user-friendly’

From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi

Thou shalt not make God ‘user-friendly’ through prosperity preaching. That was the charge that Bishop E. O. Ikeakor, of Anglican Communion of Nigeria, Amichi Diocese, Anambra State, handed down, recently, to motivational/prosperity preachers in the church.

He made this appeal while speaking on the topic, “Where Is Your Hope?” during the 50th birthday anniversary of Engineer Ibezim Ojukwu (not a relation of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu), Managing Director, Historical Christian Resorts Centre, Nnewi.

Ikeakor who condemned what he sees as erosion of sound moral preaching through prosperity gospel which he says presents God as if He is only there to bless us, and not rebuke or correct us when we go wrong, and thereby making Him look cheap and easily manipulated by humans to achieve their selfish goals, warned that old-time Christianity that acted as strong moral checks on people’s conduct and character stands in danger of being eroded and going into extinction if we allow prosperity preachers and comedians to take over the pulpit.

“It makes me sad and it should make every concerned individual sad too that we are shifting away from the sound moral teaching of the Word of God to the gospel of prosperity where they are telling people, including the youths, that ‘anointing without money is equal to annoyance,’ he said. “I worry that ignorant people are hailing them for saying what they like to hear, for trying to make God user-friendly and digitalized.”

He declared in the aforementioned message that salvation from sin, and not prosperity, is the greatest need of man. Quoting from Revelation Chapter 2 where the Bible talks about a church that thought it was rich whereas it was poor and wretched, Bishop Ikeakor warned that those who hinge their hope of eternal life on religious titles/positions, financial contributions to church projects and social status will be greatly disappointed on the last day to realize that all the while they had assumed they were in right standing with God, they were just deceiving nobody but themselves.

He added that religious emblems and objects that people wear or carry about are not what make them righteous and acceptable before God but the lives they live in private and public.

He commended Ojukwu’s decision to be totally sold out to God in all his business dealings while congratulating him for turning 50, an age which he jokingly noted that anybody who has not attained is still a boy or a girl.

In his vote of thanks, Ojukwu revealed that before he turned the Historical Christian Resort Centre into a skill acquisition centre where over 50 students are today learning all kinds of skills that will give them a head start in life, the place used to be a hibernation for fun seekers who primarily used accommodation provided by the hotel to relax with their girlfriends/lovers on short-time lease.

He made a brisk business from it he said but decided later to turn over his life to the Lord. “At that time the hotel was making a remarkable progress providing comfort for men, women and young people who needed to use it to play ‘away match’, but no one ever had an inkling that it would one day become ‘born again’ like its human counterpart,’ he observed. “We were running it as a hotel. We were making much money but when we saw that it was against our belief, we stopped.”

Apart from Bishop Ikeakor, other personalities who graced the occasion include the Chief Medical Director of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Prof. Anthony Igwegbe, Pastor and Mrs. Joel Ezekiel of Full Gospel Holiness Believers Assembly, Nnewi, and Mrs. O.O. Udemezue.

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