The scandals that have rocked the religious space in the past few years have been devastating, if not downright embarrassing. From messy adulterous affairs made public, to church members fighting their pastor because of money, it has been one eventful year. In this post, we will outline a few of these scandals that occurred in 2021.
Let’s get right into it.
#1. “Give Us Back Our Tithes!”
The video showing this drama rocked the internet sometime in July 2021. The viral video showed some angry church members demanding a refund of their tithes from their Pastor. Their actions were fueled by the fact that the man had gotten a new car.
The video showed the Pastor alighting from a newly acquired car and meeting the surprise of his life. His church members accosted him, some even holding on to his shirt as they demanded that their tithes be refunded.
This was a very embarrassing situation to see, and many people reacted to the videos, some supporting the cleric, and the others on the side of the church members.
#2. “He Sacked Me Because I didn’t Make Enough Money”.
Still, in July 2021, an issue rocked the religious space in Nigeria as a pastor, Godwin Onoruoiza, accused the Founder of Winners Chapel, Pastor David Oyedepo, of sacking him and 39 other pastors because they didn’t make enough money.
Mr. Godwin Onoruoiza shared a post on social media including pictures of the sack letter sent to him. This aroused mixed reactions from Nigerians. Some people spoke against the dismissal, saying it was wrong to have sacked the Pastor. Other people felt that the General Overseer was justified, and could sack any pastor who wasn’t bringing in the required income.
Pastor Oyedepo reacted to the whole issue, responding that the sacked pastors were unfruitful and that there was no place for failures in his ministry.
However, a founder of a South African-based church has placed the sacked Winners Chapel Pastor on a 5 years salary of N100k per month. The founder of a church called Abba Father Ministries, Isaiah Okechukwu, promised to pay Godwin Onoruoiza for the next 5 years pending when he finds his feet. The church owner directed Pastor Oyedepo to learn the virtue of patience.
Pastor Isaiah shared a Facebook post confirming his pledge to Godwin. He spoke against the politicking and godfatherism in the church and went on to share a screenshot of his first payment of N100k to Godwin.
Talk about an awkward situation.
#3. “My Conscience Can’t Hold It Anymore…”
Sometime in August 2021, a Nollywood actress, Chioma Ifemeludike, shared a post on Instagram. In it, she confessed how, in November 2016, she had an amorous relationship with the Senior Pastor of Omega Fire Ministries, Johnson Suleman.
In her post, the actress claimed that she has slept with Mr. Suleman twice, and she was paid for it. She insisted that she had no idea that he was a popular preacher at the time the affair took place.
In her post, she said, “I’m sorry my conscience can’t hold it anymore. I encourage you to tell the truth as a mother and a Christian, to put the devil to shame and save millions of souls being misled. To my family and friends, I am sorry, don’t judge me. Please pray for me so the light of God will continue to expose every work of darkness in my life and the church of God.”
The actress decided to confess publicly because she said that her conscience continued to torment her, and she felt that she needed to make restitution for all the sins she committed against her body and the body of Christ.
Apostle Suleman later addressed Chioma Ifemeludike’s allegation, saying that it means nothing. On Sunday, August 22nd, Suleman told his congregation that he is not upset or discouraged by people who insult him on social media. He said that he could not be moody or distracted by the matter.
After her confession, there was a lot of backlash, and Ifemeludike went off social media for a while. However, in an interview, Ifemeludike insisted that her open confession would in no way affect her plans to get married and start up a family.
#4. “Let’s Flog Them and See Which of Them is Ready For the Ministry…”
In October 2021, a video emerged showing a Cameroonian Pastor flogging some members of his church with a belt “to test to know whether they’re ready for the ministry”. The video sparked a lot of outrage on social media. It showed two pastors flogging their church members who were lying on the altar. The pastors moved from one person to the next, whipping the backside of the male and female members to test if they are ready for ministry.
Many people described the pastors’ act as an abuse of the religion, while others said that the church members were to be blamed for accepting to be whipped.
Plot twist: The choir members give a cool, slow rendition in the background as the pastors applied the belts to the backsides of each of the church members on the altar.
Of course, the scenarios above are by no means all the scandals that have rocked the religious space in Nigeria. There are more, but these were the most prominent in 2021 only. Even early this year, a popular preacher has been called out by a member of his church for causing the death of one of his choir members.
Over the years, religious institutions have been increasingly accused of exploiting vulnerable people who have been trusting. From sexual scandals to using the church as a money-making scheme, churches have given critics of religion more reasons to express their thoughts.
But we will leave you with Galileo Galilei’s thoughts that: “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use…”
In other words, as you go to worship God, please ensure that you don’t leave your brains at the door.