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Beware of man-made gods in churches

Unsplash/ Ethan Hoover
Unsplash/ Ethan Hoover

God was explicit in His warning to the Israelites concerning the worship of man-made gods when they were about to go into the promised land. He knew what was coming and admonished them beforehand: “The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell” (Deuteronomy 4:27-28).

In the context of this op-ed, I would like to underscore the activities of man-made gods that are not made of wood and stone. These are human beings who have taken the place of God by arrogating supernatural powers to themselves and pervert the true worship of God. In many African churches today, worshipers are no longer adhering to the Word of God but the words of false teachers.

Their words have become more authoritative than the Bible to their followers. They made themselves appear so holy that no one dares criticize them. Every one of their follower bows down to them whenever they are passing by and everyone stands still at their presence. They have thugs and bodyguards who surround them and physically manhandle anyone who refuses to bow before them.

Some of these man-made gods are very subtle in their activities. They fake humility but latently shift the attention of their followers from God to themselves. They make their followers believe that the blessings of their followers are in their hands, and they have the prerogative to give it to those who are loyal to them. They give the impression that they are very spiritual and can see what their followers cannot see.

Believers should be careful of pastors who are always talking about how powerful they are, how they healed the sick, how they raised the dead and how they prophesied. When their followers testify, it is all about the potency of their pastors and not that of God. In their sermons you hardly hear them ascribe glory to God — it’s all about them.

It is appalling that these man-made gods are commanding lots of followers and have manipulative tendency to psychologically intimidate people to do their bidding. They are influential because of the enormous wealth which they have acquired from their followers. They have political connections with the high and mighty, and whatever they say is taken as Gospel truth.

They give the impression that they are doing great works as promised by Christ (John 14:12). If that were true, they would’ve served humbly like Christ instead of walking all over their supporters.

The consequence of the presence of man-made gods in any church is the departure of the glory of God. Perhaps we need to discern why the Church has lost its power and why the enemies seem to be having the upper hand. We need to bring the glory of God back to our churches by giving God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit their rightful places in our churches.

It is not a fair deal to denounce idolatry in paganism and come to Christ to meet another idol. Let our spiritual antennae be lifted high to pick every signal of the manifestation of man-made gods in our churches. “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8). No man no matter the degree of anointing on Him is qualified to receive worship.

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.  

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