My interest has been drawn to SaharaReporters publication on the Mountain of Fire & Miracles church handling of Saharareporters crew on new year's eve and the allegations of assault on the publisher of Sahara reporters, Omoyele Sowore. Since the publication became viral, I have read the full excerpts, comments and watched the video clips, paying particular attention to the voices at the background of the video clips as Sowore negotiated with the heinous local church police,
I watched as the Saharareporters crew was escorted out in the glare of the congregation and as the report also claimed they were taken to a dark place where threats were clearly mad by church security and task force members as well as the regular and secret police and church officials.
My problem is not about the "accreditation" noise and brouhaha. I am extremely concerned about what Christianity has become. My interest was necessitated by a probing question posed by Sowore to church officials in the reports on Saharareporters. “Sowore argued against the aggression, wondering why a church service being streamed live was a subject of such secrecy and acrimony." He asked what the church was hiding and what the difference was between the Jesus police and the Devil's army. That for me is the point, a matter that should never have been raised in the congregation of saints.
I broke down several times reflecting on this question. What kind of messages do modern day preachers impart in our minds? They have succeeded in making us twice deadly and violent, unlike Christ. They seemed to hinge only about breakthroughs, prosperity and worldly things. An apparent show of shame such as the one reported by Saharareporters tells a lot about what most of us have become. I said “Us” because as a Christian I am ashamed that such was the first Jesus that Sowore could communicate with at MFM.
I wish I could be helped by God to tell him (Sowore) that Jesus would never do such a thing to a new comer to a church, not even those unwilling to be saved. Today’s gospel has robbed us of Christ-likeness. We are just socializing, mobilizing and hazing innocent people in the name of prosperity and protection.
The media accreditation claim is a mere excuse. I doubt if there was such a thing at MFM for that particular program. It is just a ploy to save face after the disgraceful misrepresentation of the church by security men who were more catholic than the pope. The accreditation claim is just another way of saying only selected journalists can cover a program, they could as well have been paid to cover and report what the Church wants the outside world to see, I am wondering what is exclusive about a Church if it is the Church of Jesus Christ. You may want to say that Jesus had three disciples who belonged to the “inner caucus” but don’t also forget that one of them later wrote:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; ”
For life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; ) hat which we have seen and heard declare we unto you that ye also may have fellowship with us: and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1-3
Meaning that he had no hidden agenda, Jesus himself did say “I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.” John 18 20.
I wonder why journalists will be prevented from covering a program, on the basis of accreditation, whatever that is, except that it is synonymous with secrecy.
For me, I do not see anything wrong in covering a church program. If we are true Christians, I figured from the reports that Mountain of Fire is supposed to be a church where godliness is meant to be learned, a gathering of Christians though not ruling out the possibility of the intrusion of agents of the devil. Although many seemed to justify the fears of Nigerian christians because of the recent attacks by bloodthirsty terrorists who in the name of religion have done havoc to most Christian gatherings in the north and some parts of the country.
It has become so easy for Christians to fear to die in the hands of their physical enemies that we even fear harmless journalists. The fear is not even the issue. I also recalled that the article noted that Dr. D.K Olukoya was preaching about fear. I would like to have a copy of that message, to see if he touched the subject wholly as to comfortably watch his "church task force" from a distance in the drama which began in his very presence.
In all these, I applaud the fearlessness of Omoyele Sowore in the midst of those whom he referred to as the "devil’s army" and yes, I cannot agree more. If indeed Omoyele Sowore was molested and assaulted and taunted with death by supposed Christians then, they must have forgotten that they acted out the same script where one of Jesus’s disciples cut off the ear of one of the priest’s servants in Matthew 26:51, and Mark 14:47. When they had not truly learned to be true Christians, the disciples imagined at the time, that they were engaged in a physical fight and that they would need to violently oppose any intruder.
In any case, they were just too overzealous and power drunk. In Luke 9:49 “And John answered and said, master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade him because he followeth not with us. They forbade a man who was not accredited, he does not carry the "voters card" of Jesus Christ, so they silenced him at another time. They wanted to fight to protect Jesus who later told them: “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword”. In Matthew 26: 52, he said, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” Ver 53. Unfortunately, the type of Gospel we hear has made us become more fighter who are willing to draw the sword.
Why am I not surprised? We think Christianity is physical warfare, so we resort to physical assault at the slightest provocation. Our untrained uniformed men draw the battle line pretending to be security conscious. I ask you, how conscious can you be when sleep overtake you? When you are down in deep sleep, tell I beseech thee, how conscious can you possibly be? We have sent men out of the church because of our lives and this can be said about us “ Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD. “ 1 Sam 2; 17 we have cause many to “abhor” the offering of the lord.
This modern day gospel has exposed the scope of our decadent minds and tells a lot about how the messages we hear that does not transform us as to make us react to situation the way Jesus would. If those who work for the church, even in the security department, will use force against someone who needed to see Christ in them. When the only first lesson that a journalist will learn from our congregation is that of a “violent Jesus army” hounding a harmless reporter to judgment and brutality of the police, then he has a right to write what he wrote.
I have never considered Omoyele Sowore as a Christian as to assume that he would go near a church. Since knowing him, I have also not considered him an atheist who hates God so much to be interested in an end of year program and to want to expose Mountain of Fire and their acts of violence. It is for me a coincidence and it would have been an opportunity to preach the gospel to the social crusader, a man who fought Abacha’s government in the hey days of military dictatorship. A man who was arrested and detained severally for his role in denouncing the ills of government. The man who exposed the evils committed by politicians and risked his life in the hands of the state police. The person daily threatened and abused by government paid bootlickers. The same Sowore who once told a friend that, “I have no country to return to because of these corrupt leaders who hunts for me.”
The reporter who brings first hand information to many of us who do not know where Zurich is and tell us about the lies of a corrupt body of men who have hijacked the reins of governance leaving many in abject poverty.
This guy in my opinion is a better Christian to have added to his honor a visit to a Church, choosing especially Mountain of Fire, perhaps, for his prayers on the last night of the year in his clandestine visit to Nigeria.
He is more Christian, by inclination, who decided to do his (journalistic) work without any ulterior motive until those who have protective powers than God had to attack him because he was moving close to their alter (alter built with gold) by saints and Not Carpenters and bricklayer who have the tendencies to sin like me. An Idolized seclusion of our mind, where we assume that God dwells, a place where the God would only have one Holy man stand from January to December and from where the “benevolent god” of the alter watch security as they harass a reporter.
These security men that gather around the pastors and treat him like a type of God, Jesus who was hundred percent human and hundred percent God was thronged in Luke 8:45 they make themselves like a demi-god and their security who are paid by the offerings of the congregation are willing to fight, even kill those who dare to come near them.
I cannot explain the remarkable thing about our supposed big men of God They want the nation’s audience but not the people’s pain. They want the congregation who sits and listens to them. They quickly run out of the congregation through the backdoor to avoid the questioning of the people. Nothing is fundamentally wrong with protecting your Moses if he needed a human shield.
But how about allowing God to defend your Moses in the face of danger? In this case, there was no danger; it was an expression of a person who is free in his heart and eventually expressing his freedom on his chosen career's before being viciously hijacked and molested.
Let me add that a true Christian congregation does not honestly need all those security mentioned in the exchange so far. It is a miscarriage of justice. It is the compromise that brought us to this low state, where our pastors needed all the security apparatus to go everywhere. It is because we have stopped becoming true Christians that we needed human shields and security all the time. It is even a shame on a pastor to go about with heavily armed guards, gun-wielding police or solider. We have added all of these because of compromise. I know of a church in Lagos where the security man is an OPC member. He has been absorbed, and I also hope they also remember to speak to him about the saving power of Jesus.
Even the fear of Boko Haram expressed and used as an excuse to harangue Sowore is not tenable. Boko Haram became a problem when we stopped praying, when we stopped becoming true Christians, and indeed it is part of the prophetic statements made by our powerful Jesus when he said, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” John 16:2. But today's’ gospel is a service to God because of what we can get and not because of whom he is.
I remember that Steven Akiola of Redemption Ministries prophesied about the colossal persecution that will sweep the land if the church does not repent of this newfound gospel. (In a message, he preached @ Tunde Bakare's Church). The reaction by the church in response to Sowore’s assertions is a mere excuse to justify the crude handling of a first timer to their congregation. No excuse is tenable.
The other 25 journalists claimed to have been cleared needs to answer some questions.
Was there actually any clearance or accreditation of journalists? Has there ever been a clearance for "Crossover Night" service at MFM? Is it an excuse to protect their image from the revelation made by Saharareporters?
Can the 25 media houses be publicly named? If there are 25 journalists, how come none of them captured or reported the episode? Where were they sited? Does the church have a press gallery, if so, where in the auditorium is the press gallery?
I think Mountain of Fire should swallow their pride and accept that an offence against a harmless journalist was committed in a Christian environment.
Even if we can justify the claims of theirs of “breach of jurisdiction” by non-accreditation claims, which I doubt can hold sway for a church, we must also recognize that as a church we have failed to be an example of believer - “but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Tim 4:12.
Here I rest my case because I was privy to other events undertaken by Dr. D. K Olukoya and the church's PR team after the news broke that shook my faith in the church.