IMMORALITY IN CONTEMPORARY CHURCHES: ISSUES AND WAY FORWARD
CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
Immorality has great and grievous consequences both to the family and in the church. A lot of death, diseases and infestations and the free operation of familiar spirits in the church come as a result of the sin of immorality. God’s presence leaves the church whenever immorality comes into the church. Immorality puts off the fire of revival from the church and drives away the presence of the Holy Spirit out of the church. The devil and evil spirit takes over and as a result many people dies and lot of other calamities are registered. God’s command against immorality: Exodus.20:14; Lev.18:20-24; Lev.20:10; Dt.5:18; Prov.6:25-29, 32-33; Mt.5:27-28; Rom.2:22; Eph.5:1-6; Rev.21:8. Both in the Old and New Testament God’s command against immorality are very clear. God is against all forms of sexual immorality before marriage. Boy friend and girl friend immoral relationship is a great sin in the sight of God. It is very unfortunate that these things go on the many churches without anybody taking action or preaching against it. Some church even organize what they call youth programme where the boys and the girls are totally free to live in immorality and dancing and embracing and kissing one another. Sometimes you see it among the choir, ushers etc these are evil and will be judged by God.
In the family, parents “with sound moral and ethical sanctity” Anofienem (2007) are no longer available like in the traditional society. Hence, “morally decadent children with little or no regard to societal norms and values” are increasing as the day go by. When these children move from homes to educational institutions, they become worse due to the current state of education Auwal (2015) in the country. In Churches, where moral values are expected to be inculcated, many strange practices and teachings are subjects of orchestrated arguments Naija Church News (2016) among scholars. Eyoboka, (2004) in particular argues that most Pentecostal Churches have not come out to strongly condemn immorality. Instead they provide comfort zones for moral decadence in all ramifications . This scholar believes that the Church has greatly contributed to the high rate of indecent dressing in Nigeria by allowing their members, mostly ladies to dress half naked. In fact it seems that indecent dressing is regarded as the normal way of worshipping God in such ministries.
Selfishness now supersedes the love for others (Global News, 2016). In most institutions, non-Christians are more useful in assisting the needy than many Christians. The business activities of founders of many Pentecostal ministries are not different from that of bourgeois, as many workers in institutions established by them cannot adequately take care of themselves and their families due to poor remunerations and conditions of service, poor motivation at work and in personal development. Such institutions are only interested in the input of workers and spitefully ignore what the institution needs to do to advance workers course. More often than not, potential materials are being destroyed instead of being trained, assisted to grow and blossom. Therefore, the wealth of some of the Pentecostal ministries could be said to be largely rooted in capitalism.
Not surprisingly, several cases of fraud and corruption are now synonymous with many Pentecostals ministries (Bello, 2016). It is on these notes Anipupo (2015) traces the origin and escalation of corruption in the society to the Church. According to him, the value system of a given culture influences people’s faith and religion. Thus, people have imbibed the wrong and corrupt messages that most Pentecostal pastors preach and they are largely associated with the escalation of corruption in the society (Anipupo, 2015).
In addition, cases of disorderliness and rowdiness in several Pentecostal Churches are evident. The scriptural injunction that things be done decently and orderly (1 Corinthians 14:40) is seems to be irrelevant to many Christians in contemporary Nigeria. This usually manifest in the course of observing the sacred meal (Holy Communion) in a rowdy manner. Impatience, riot, abuse, cursing, fighting, eagerness, witch-hunting, wickedness, hatred are now trademarks of Christianity. These motivated the researcher to carried out this research on immorality in contemporary churches: issues and way forward.
IMMORALITY IN CONTEMPORARY CHURCHES: ISSUES AND WAY FORWARD
1.2 Statement of the problem
Besides, in Christianity, everyone will stand before God for judgment. Although, pastors could be role models, but the standard of God is evident and it has no respect for excuses. If pastors are no longer preaching on holiness, brethren are expected to use the Bible as their standard so as to ensure a godly living as much as possible. But the reverse is the case because the standard of God is not convenient for mankind and anything that is not convenient for humanity is not embraced and followed to letters by them. Hence, living a descent life could be practically impossible for persons who are not addicted to the Holy Spirit. This makes people to be attending Church programmes, listening to massages, etc. and still be living in moral decadence which is evident in all denominations.
The Bible says if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. This is an indication that holiness as a life style determines answers to prayers. Therefore, proliferation of Churches without holiness could hinder answers to prayers. If prayers are not answered it may be very difficult to access deliverance, breakthroughs etc. In that scenario, it is possible for the wickedness of the wicked, suffering, abject poverty and other forms of suffering to continue among the people.
Apart from the above, the Bible says without holiness no one can see the Lord. The negative effect of the escalation of Pentecostal Churches without moral decency could prevent many Christians from entering the kingdom of God, which is an indication of eternal destruction. This study, therefore, focused on immorality in contemporary churches: issues and way forward.
Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of Sir Pee Integrated Services and www.libraryguru.com and www.projectvilla.com.ng. A reputable researcher, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.