"Offering time, blessing time!” So goes the chorus from members of the congregation whenever it’s time to give offering in most churches.
To most Christians, the offering time is, indeed, a time of immense financial blessing. But recently, the offering time turned into a moment of hot curses in a Lagos church when an already used condom, dripping with semen, was discovered inside the offering box after the Sunday service.
It was like a weird dream, according to the former Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Ogba Zone, Prophet Tobi Okonkwo, who witnessed the incident. The cleric said he couldn’t believe his eyes when a discarded condom, with stains, was discovered in an envelope in the offertory box of his former church.
When Pope Paul VI warned on June 29, 1972 that the smoke of Satan had entered the church, not many Christians took the warning seriously.
With this recent incident, Okonkwo admitted that the agents of darkness had infiltrated the churches in large numbers and now occupy high-ranking positions in the gathering of God’s children, where they wreak untold havoc on the unwary flock.
Okonkwo, who is also the General Overseer of Living Word Prayer Assembly, Agege, Lagos, wept over man’s ingratitude to God during a recent monthly thanksgiving programme of the church, tagged Manna from Heaven.
Although the service was a joyful moment where the shepherd distributes food items and other gifts to his flock, his startling revelation brought a hush of silence on the congregation.
His words pierced the hearts of the worshippers, as he explained how man had become ungrateful to divine benevolence. His several instances of the atrocities committed in hallowed places pointed to the fact that messengers from hell now walked about freely in hallowed places. “It is really bad.
It has got to a point where some people come to the church to mock God. They are anti-Christ but they still go to church. You could imagine how somebody came to the church and decided to give a used condom in an envelope to God.
You can see how wicked man has become,” he said. Okonkwo said the giver of the abominable gift refused to confess his crime, even when the entire church rained curses profusely on whosoever was responsible.
He said, “A curse was laid on the person. Even before the people laid the curse, God had already seen the abomination committed in his house by someone, who pretended he came to the church to worship God.”
The former PFN leader warned other members of the church of the reality of the anti-Christ, whose reign would usher ungodliness in the world. He lamented that prosperity message has taken over the pulpit at the neglect of the gospel of repentance, which had enslaved many hearts in pleasure and love of the world.
According to him, most Christians hunger for sermons that promise easy wealth, while rejecting teachings that encourage chastity, discipline, endurance and faithfulness.
“The style of the anti-Christ is to mock Jesus. Many Christians today are crucifying Christ a second time. It’s really sad and unfortunate,” he said. The cleric decried the approval of same sex marriage by different countries, describing the constitutional recognition accorded to such couples as an indication of the reign of anti-Christ in the world.
Rather than milk his members dry, Okonkwo said he introduced a programme, Manna from Heaven, to feed the flock of Christ with the little he could afford. He said the programme involved sharing of bags of rice, noodles and other foodstuff on equal measures to all the members to inculcate in them the love for sharing and concern for their suffering neighbour.
Okonkwo also berated some pastors who, according to him, start Christian ministries and involve themselves in dubious things all in a bid to acquire wealth and fame. He said such ones worship money as their god. “For them to get money, they end up preaching prosperity.
Salvation messages are not often on their lips. The church is not supposed to be a business but most people have turned it into a business.
It is quite unfortunate,” he said. Aside the sacrileges committed in churches, Okonkwo, who had earlier predicted the emergence of Jonathan as President during the ailing days of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, also frowned at the various scandals rocking political offices and other sectors of the economy.
He said most Nigerians have lost the sense of sanity, citing the many cases of corruption in the country. According to him, no day passes without the disclosure of one fresh set of financial scandal or the other.
He lamented that the financial blood of the country was being drained by some thieving elite with no interest of the masses at heart. Although Okonkwo foreclosed the chances of possible disintegration of the country, he warned corrupt leaders to repent or face the wrath of heaven.
According to him, only selfless leaders would bring the nation back from the brink of monumental crisis and repair the ruins caused by corruption and bad leadership in the country.