Ademola Adegbamigbe writes on the wave of s*xual scandals rocking the church in the contemporary world.
Today is a time when Nigerian pastors, some in suits, cassocks, picturesque robes and chasubles will mount the rostrums, belching obstreperous homilies to those they consider hell bound because of their sexual sins that are as red as scarlet. Such preaching, in the seers’ reckoning, will make the listening sinners as white as snow, ready to be received by no less an extraterrestrial personality than Angel Gabriel himself at the Pearly Gates.
However, events in recent times have shown that many pastors themselves may be as guilty as those they try to make holy! For this reason, they too need a word or two on those mechanisms that can make them not only keep away from sins but all appearances of evil, as the Bible admonishes. Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, founder of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), a man alleged to have dalliance with Busola Dakolo and whose case is in court (which has not pronounced him guilty or otherwise) is in the news again.
Two pastors who knew the disgraced Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo in Ilorin Kwara state have, as reported by PMNEWS, given some testimony about him, in the wake of the rape allegations by Busola Dakolo. The pastors spoke in almost an hour interview with TV Talkshow host, the beautiful Adesuwa Onyenokwe. It was aired on Arise TV on Thursday night and is trending on You Tube. One of the pastors, Busola Olotu, a lawyer actually said as far back as 2011, Busola’s sister, Funmi Ayeni reported to her that Fatoyinbo raped Busola and that the incident had given the young lady a lot of psychological problems, almost to the point of depression.
The above shows that men of God are not immune from accusations of immorality. It only means they must be careful. This is where the examples and rules set by Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and Billy Graham, the late American televangelist, can be of help to many Nigerian Pastors who may be holy only from their belly buttons up, but below the belt may be monsters.
Adeboye gave a formula while delivering a sermon at the RCCG July Holy Ghost Service, saying pastors must not take their anointing for granted by believing that they are above sin. Though he did not mention any pastor, it was at the period when the Fatoyinbo, Daokolo story went viral. He agreed with the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria that, as The Punch quoted him, the “body of Christ would not tolerate rapists among them.” Adeboye, reminded the congregation that Samson, a judge in Israel, “fell into sexual immorality despite the anointing over him.” He said it was for this reason that he never had a female secretary to avoid falling into temptation. He added that anyone who thinks he “can commit a sin and it would remain hidden forever was only deceiving himself.”
In his words: “I don’t want to comment on some happenings. You know I have always told you when people ask me why I don’t talk. I say I am under authority. The Redeemed Christian Church of God belongs to CAN and we belong to the PFN and in CAN we have a president; at the PFN, we have a president. But I feel compelled to say some things. To those who are young and upcoming ministers of God, everything I will say will be from the Bible.”
“Whatever they say, that is what I have said. That is why I keep my mouth shut. But I feel compelled to say some things. To those who are young and upcoming ministers of God, everything I will say will be from the bible.
“Number one, it is written, there is nothing hid that shall not come to the open or made manifest. Mark 4:22
“It doesn’t matter how long you think you have done something and it is covered. You think that it will never come to the open? Then you can go throw away your Bible. Because the one who said there is nothing hid that will not come to the open is the truth himself, Jesus Christ, the harbinger of grace.
He added: “Because there are some of us who think that somebody like me is old fashioned. But according to 2ndTimothy Chapter 2: 22, it said when you find yourself facing youthful lust, temptation, it says don’t wait to fight, flee. You know the meaning of flee? Flee means to run as a terror. When you see a sister smiling at you in a ‘koi koi’ way, run, run as a terror. Don’t say I am a great man of God, I am highly anointed. Ask Samson. I know you will say I’m old fashioned, I agree.”
Adeboye himself, at a point, actually resisted and conquered a tempter. He narrated this at the 62nd annual convention of RCCG in August 2014. In his sermon, as recorded by Vanguard and Daily Post, titled; ‘The yoke-destroyer’, Adeboye narrated how a high profile woman who was an executive of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), did everything to seduce him. According to him, the woman came to him and announced to him that God had told her that he would be her husband, and immediately he rebuked her, saying “you know that I am happily married and have children.” That, according to the Pastor didn’t deter the woman who continued to pester him, and even came to the camp to threaten him.
Pastor Adeboye, according to the report, took the matter to the then Inspector General of Police who immediately invited the woman and her husband to his office and after a meeting banned the randy woman from entering the Redemption Camp or ever making passes at the man of God. “But that measure didn’t stop her. I travelled to London without telling anybody, to work on the church’s devotional, Open Heaven. As soon as I settled down in the room, the telephone rang and the voice at the other end said: ‘welcome to London. I am coming in 15 minutes.’”
Fatoyinbo and Busola
Adeboye told the voice: “You don’t know anything, you know that the Police in London are very efficient and if you dare come here, I will call the Police for you. There is a Police station a few meters from where I am staying and she must have known that because she didn’t come but kept calling me. “I cried to God Who told me ‘You know of the scripture that says, whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven.’ Believe me honestly, unless God helps, there are things you cannot handle on your own,” he stated, urging the large crowd to stand and pray with holy anger.
The Billy Graham doctrine is also along this line. It is a practice among some male evangelical Protestant leaders, in which they avoid spending time alone with women to whom they are not married. According to his biographers, “It is adopted as a display of integrity, a means of avoiding sexual temptation, to avoid any appearance of doing something considered morally objectionable, and to avoid being falsely accused of sexual harassment…”
It had its ancestry in 1948, when Graham held a series of evangelistic meetings in Modesto, California. Together with Cliff Barrows, Grady Wilson and George Beverly Shea, he resolved to “avoid any situation that would have even the appearance of compromise or suspicion”. Justin Taylor in an essay “Where Did the ‘Billy Graham Rule’ Come From?” published in The Gospel Coalition wrote that the accountability agreement, which has become known as the “Modesto Manifesto”, covered not only their interactions with women, but also commitments to integrity with respect to finances, their interactions with local churches, and publicity. From that time onward, Graham made a point of “not traveling, meeting, or eating alone with a woman other than his wife Ruth. Graham biographer, Grant Wacker in the book, American Pastor, observed that “Over the years Graham received intense media scrutiny, but hardly anyone accused him of violating any of those four principles.” By Graham’s own admission, in Just As I Am : the Autobiography of Billy Graham, he initially refused a lunch meeting with Hillary Clinton on the grounds that he does not eat alone with women other than his wife, but she persuaded him that they could have a private conversation in a public dining room
The 48th Vice President of the US, Mike Pence in 2017, adopted the principle too. In March 2017, The Washington Post noted Pence had adopted a version of this rule, in that he will not have dinner alone with any woman other than his wife Karen. However, Emma Green, writing for The Atlantic, noted that the controversy was an example of how “notions of gender divide American culture”. He added that while “socially liberal or non-religious people may see Pence’s practice as misogynistic or bizarre”, for “a lot of conservative religious people” the “set-up probably sounds normal, or even wise”
Written by Ademola Adegbamigbe