An influential pastor in Nigeria who slapped a young woman during a 2009 sermon defended his actions in a recent sermon, according to a video unearthed this week.
Pastor David Oyedepo, whom Forbes ranked as Nigeria’s wealthiest pastor (worth $150 million), told a congregation of several thousand that his decision to slap a young girl who said she was “a witch for Jesus,” was justified – and that even the girl knew it.
“I slapped a witch here last year,” Oyedepo told the crowd. “She came back in February to apologize. She begged me to please forgive her.”
Sahara Reporters published a video last year of a sermon given by Oyedepo in which the pastor urged teens to kneel before him and confess their sins in front of the crowd. When a kneeling girl claims she is a “witch for Jesus,” a stunned Oyedepo takes a harsh tone and condemns the girl.
“You are foul devil,” Oyedepo told the girl. “Do you know who you are talking to? Foul Devil.” The pastor than slapped the girl as some members of the audience cheered and some gasped.
The girl continued to say, “I’m not a witch but I’m a witch for Jesus.”
“Jesus has no witches,” Oyedepo replied. “You are a devil. You are not set for deliverance and you are free to go to Hell.”
After telling the audience that the girl came to apologize and that he had done a service by slapping the witch out of her, Oyedepo turned the incident into a lesson.
“Can I tell you this? The things harassing you, you will start harassing them,” he told the congregation.
Oyedepo delivers his sermons from the Faith Tabernacle – a 50,000-seat church outside of Lagos along the southern shore of Nigeria. It is one of the biggest churches in the world, according to a BBC News report.
Known as “Papa” by his church, Oyedepo preaches worldwide and is widely recognized as one of Africa’s most influential preachers.