Pastor Adeboye and Casino Pentecostalism, By Ebenezer Obadare

Pastor Adeboye
Pastor Adeboye

As an observer of African Pentecostalism in general and the dynamics of mega-churches in Nigeria specifically, I am no stranger to the outrageous and the bizarre

There is a new game in town. It involves- no garlands for guessing- the Redeemed Christian Church of God. But I err. Actually, it’s not a new game. What is going on is a rejuvenation of a scam that began ten years ago, and its chief perpetrator is no other than Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, the General Overseer of the RCCG; Daddy G.O. for short.

It goes like this: for a specified amount of cash (hard currency preferred), you could enlist as one of the Redeemed Church’s coveted “Covenant Partners”.

The first round of recruitment took place ten years ago, as a result of which, according to Pastor Adeboye, many jaw-dropping miracles took place in the lives of the “partners.”

That agreement is now up for renewal. But wait a minute. The terms must be renegotiated; the duration, for a start.  Apparently, God has suddenly grown weary of protecting his covenantees for ten years. Instead, according to Pastor Adeboye (I am quoting verbatim from the announcement on the RCCG website), ‘When I asked God, He said there will be a new set and it will not be for ten years.

He said “because those people were in covenant with you for ten years, I had no choice but to keep them alive for ten years.” He said “You tied my hands”.  And I remembered all the miracles that happened in the life of my partners, and I thank God for all the miracles, I thank God for all my partners and I say, thank you for the past ten years.

Now, the Lord says to me, the new set of partners will be for only three years. He said after three years, we can review.’

As an observer of African Pentecostalism in general and the dynamics of mega-churches in Nigeria specifically, I am no stranger to the outrageous and the bizarre. But even for me, the absurdity on display here is simply stunning.

First, the content of what pastor is pawning here as a one-on-one between himself and God is a basic negation of one of the essential properties of the Christian God, i.e. his omniscience.

The God Adeboye is reporting here is not just utterly capricious; he is also cack-handed. After initially resolving to bless a chosen cohort for a ten-year period, he seems, in the strangest manner, to have had a change of mind.

This time, he will only lavish his special blessings on these new partners for only three years. And why? “Because those people were in covenant with you (Adeboye) for ten years, I had no choice but to keep them alive for ten years.” And why, you wonder, is wrong with that? Why would a good God not be motivated to keep his children alive for ten years? Why reduce ten to three?

Has God mysteriously lost his powers to do all things? Suppose, for instance, that a former covenantee resolves not to renew his/her lease, what happens? Does he or she then forfeit God’s blessings? And what happens in the interim, the time between the expiration of the former lease and the activation of a new one? Would God leave his sheep in limbo?

Questions like these are bound to boggle the critical mind, and make one wonder what God’s actual motives are. But the RCCG announcement furnishes us with probable answers, and this is the second theme I take up here. It transpires that membership of this elect list is not gratis.

Potentially, you could, on an ascending scale, join one of ten groups. Group one is obviously the lowest, and the requirement is a monthly contribution of N100, or, as the announcement briskly- and inaccurately- notes, “USD Equivalent $1.00.”

Top of the list is group ten. Members of this elite group will contribute a princely “N2, 000,000 (two million Naira) and above” or circa $20,000 every month into the coffers of the RCCG. So, you have it right there. You will be the recipient of untold- and conveniently unspecified- “blessings,” but only for a fee.

Gone are the days when God would bless you for merely obeying his commandments. No more. He is not only tired of keeping people alive for so long; the terms for securing God’s blessings have changed. You’ve gotta make a deposit, man!

As it is at the RCCG, so it is at majority of the countless houses of worship (sic) that currently combine to make the Nigerian society easily the worlds most churched. In these abominable places, any thief can be a pastor.Indeed, most are.

What varies is the degree of brazenness with which such religious leaders (sic) go about their nefarious acts, and the sophistication involved in the ruthless evisceration of their congregations. Majority of such congregations are of course there to be taken.

They are either too poor or too illiterate to understand the sociology of their own disemboweling, or too rich and ensconced to give up what they regard, literally speaking, as their investments. It is in this sense that a description of Nigerian churches as mere casinos gains special resonance. You know what goes on in those. In a casino, no one is interested in the pedigree of your money. In fact, the dodgier, the better. Why else do we call it a casino?

In perhaps the most astonishing example of moral bankruptcy in the history of spiritual leadership in the country, Pastor Adeboye and the RCCG, against a social backdrop of chronic underemployment and material deprivation of the most humanly degrading sort, have refused to ask their congregation the most basic and most important question of all: What is the source of your money?

The question is not trite. Neither is Adeboye and RCCG’s highest echelons’ refusal to pose it. Were they to pose it, they would rend the very principle that holds the church together, and that has catapulted it to its current status as one of the most prosperous private investments in modern Africa.

This is what every Nigerian should understand. RCCG is enriched when money is collected, no questions asked. This is the simple explanation for the spineless silence of pastor Adeboye himself in the face of the social tragedy that confronts Nigerians everywhere today.

Obadare (Obadare@ku.edu) teaches sociology at the University of Kansas, USA.

Click on the images below to read the statements on which Mr. Obadare based his article.

  • MizK

    Wow. To be fair tho, I have to say that the RCCG I attend, (9, Oteomi street, Mushin) the pastor insists, infact, both of em, always tell d congregation, that if ur money is not clean, yahoo, 419, fraud at ur workplace, robbery etc. It is def not welcome as tithe or donation or wateva in church. But on al d other points u made, I’m really shocked. I thot E.Adeboye ws d one pastor who ws above al of that.

    • sunny

      Do not believe everything you read, not even in the RCCG website, this is the internet. The bible says: investigate things in truth and obedience….

      • TRUTH!

        STOP LIVING IN DENIAL!! ITS A FACT

      • Kolapo

        You meant to say “do not believe anything you hear, not even from Adeboye’s mouth” ?

    • sk

      YOUR PASTOR IS JUST PRETENDING, HE WILL EVEN ACCEPT BLOOD MONEY!. ALL PASTORS LOVE MONEY! LIERS AND CROOKS! ALLL!!!

  • Oye

    can Pastor Adeboye RCCG come out in person and confirm the covenant partnership ?

    • Bussy

      Oye,you better go and ask God to have mercy on you so you will bring judgement of God opon you household.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victor-Madubuaku/1662099675 Victor Madubuaku

    I have a few words for our prof of socialogy- the Bible says who are you to question another mans servant? adeboye is Gods servant. The Bible also says that its only by faith that we understaand the things of God. The owner of Caterpillar was paying a tithe of 90% of his income to church as a covenant act with his God living on only 10% of his income and yet he couldn’t exhaust that and he found out that God kept multiplying the 10% beyond his imagination. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned they are not academics or sociology. I believe if you exercise as much dexterity in the way your countrys resources are being mismanaged in Nigeria as you are spending in minding Rev Adeboyes RCCG things will be better for the poor masse back home instead of wasting your time on meaningless sociology in Kansas.

    • Nice

      And I have a word for you as well. You said ‘meaningless sociology’. How’s sociology meaningless? Isn’t it more important than religion? Before you start criticising the author, a little background research about him should be a sensible thing to do. Google his name and read of his many achievements.

      • Prosper

        @ Nice, I’m happy for you and your Professor cos its obvious from your point that Sociology is your own way to heaven and not Christianity (religion) cheers

        • Nice

          And religion is your way to heaven? Is that what your bible teaches? If so, I can only feel sorry for you!

          • Prosper

            I can’t join issue with you cos I know your kind. I rest my case.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victor-Madubuaku/1662099675 Victor Madubuaku

        The man has never invented nor created anything (except confusion ofcourse), he’s neither a founder of any institution or any Organisation. Therefore, I can clearly understand why he wouldn’t mind tearing down a distinguished Minister of God and to make jest of RCCG, one of the greatest institutions that has made in Nigeria written on it!

        • kc

          Mr Victor, I have read all your comments. I think you are really weeping more than the bereaved. That can only be a sign that the writer has raised points that must have bothered you for quite sometime but Adeboye has made your mind perpetually depraved that you now fear him more than you fear God you claim he represents. I am so worried that the only time you disentangle yourself from this bondage is when another big time scammer like Adeboye surfaces. When it happens, you will go to your new man of God to give testimony for saving you from Adeboyes captivity. Think about the points raised by the writer and, wise up .

    • misslara

      Obviously you are one of the people who are blinded by religion. As a person i believe in PAstor Adeboye’s ministry, but i think the writer of this piece is not trying to tear him down, he is just asking important questions that plague even your mind but you are too afraid to admit. What happened to the days in which God just blessed his people for obeying his commandments, what happened to the God who spares the life of the adulteress and rehabilitated her making her a Gods general? i can go on with the questions but i won’t. Religion or spirituality shouldn’t blind us or deter us from making intelligible choices and question some things. as for you referring to the writers field of study as meaningless, that’s low. i am going to stop typing now.

      • Kolapo

        @Misslara, I’m glad that reasonable and objective minds like yours are still in Nigeria! I really am.

    • seyitaylor

      You need to read a little more of your Bible. First of all, Mr LeTourneau (whom you refer as the owner of Caterpillar) chose to pay 90% tithe of his own volition. Not as part of a “I want to get rich so let me bribe God; or I don’t want to die in 10 years”.

      Second, even if we are men of faith, we should be able to question bad theology. The Paul who wrote about questioning another man’s servant also criticised Peter for bad theology. In fact, a lot of the Pauline letters are corrections on bad theology. So as a Christian, I can quickly point out that this is wrong

      • Jyde

        “In fact, a lot of the Pauline letters are corrections on bad theology. ”

        Seyi Taylor, priceless…

    • davoo

      Munmun….mungun…..ode, na ur type wey no dey read d bible 2 knw God’s principle about His blessings. A reminder here; in d book of Acts of d Apostles, whn simon named Bar Jesus offerd Peter mony in exchange 4 d blessing of d Holy Spirirt, he ws rebuked 4 believing dt he could purchase God’s blessing wth mony. So it’s nt a question of questionin a man of God, bt it’s a question of standing whtevr is against d principle of God as enshrined in His Holy Word. Read ur bible my frend.

    • Eziokwu bu Ndu

      Shame on you, Victor! You sing the Lord’s song in a strange land. Where is your history? Where are your roots? Forgotten? That you now slave for your un-makers and join them to whip your kinsmen? You sound like a traitor. And I am glad you know how all traitors end. With all the kingly and princely priviledges, Moses knew and showed that a slave, no matter how happy he is can never be a free born. You may chose to remain a happy slave. Understanding spiritual things does not in any way mean being stupid and thoughtless. Pastor Adeboye is a human being. No body should blame him if he engages in the same things any average human being does: trick, lie, dupe, get angry, covet, love ( or is it like?) carnality, desire money and riches, … Woe be tied any man or woman who misunderstands their pastor to be the same as God. No pastor is, was or could ever be God. In fact, many members of the congregation do not understand that they are closer to God than their pastors. Many more do not understand that some pastors are proven criminals. Heaven holds great surprises on that day! No one should be shocked to see their pastor in hell. Except things change, it WILL happen in large numbers. I am looking forward to the surprises. Come back home, now, Mr Caterpillar!!

  • Rauf

    I went on that website as if I wanted to register as a covenant partner and lo and behold, it’s like buying a product or paying for a subscription service! The grace of God is now available on subscription basis? What with the 10 different classes of partners? Nigeria is one of d most religious, most corrupt and least moral societies in the world – shouldn’t that tell people something? If Adeboye tells people to lay down their lives, I know most who will. This is a first level grade scam that should be investigated by the EFCC.

  • Rauf

    I went on that website as if I wanted to register as a covenant partner and lo and behold, it’s like buying a product or paying for a subscription service! The grace of God is now available on subscription basis? What with the 10 different classes of partners? Nigeria is one of d most religious, most corrupt and least moral societies in the world – shouldn’t that tell people something? If Adeboye tells people to lay down their lives, I know most who will. This is a first level grade scam that should be investigated by the EFCC.

  • Ify

    Did God also state how much each group should pay? More than 2million naira/month for 3 years!!! I’m a bit bemused with this.

  • Ronnie

    Daddy G.O is a well respected man of God home and abroad. The writer is entitled to his opinion, God will judge all men accordingly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victor-Madubuaku/1662099675 Victor Madubuaku

    Poor Rauf & his acclaimed sociology appologists, RCCG advertised what God told them to do in order to propagate the work of the ministry and some hell bound sociologists are losing sleep! None of the partners who have sacrificed millions for Gods work has complained of being fleeced, none have died either nor the covenant failed. Yet our socialogist is crying more than the berieved, instead of coming home with your skills to join in creating a new social re-enginneering of Nigeria, you are busy attacking one of the most distiguished Minister and Institution that Nigeria has ever produced.

    • opeyemi

      Mr. victor Madubuaku.. No offense you are a mindless person, very gullible and naive. As a christian you live your life by the bible not by what your Daddy GO tell you to do. For Christ sake, one of the gift God gave you, is the ability to make your own choices, that’s where true discipline and love comes from. Where in your scripture does it say you have to pay for blessings and belong in a certain tier based on your contribution. Christianity is not just about blessings upon blessings, what happens to the long suffering and hard work in sacrificing mundane things, but no lets just pay our way through everything, i bet the next thing will be price tag for the kingdom of heaven. No wonder more people are becoming atheists, this is an act that’s implying, if you don’t have money, you might not be blessed or God has little interest in you. Please stop worshiping Daddy and take the time to study your bible and pray for the spirit of discerning. As for your daddy G.O, he will answer to GOD if he’s really committing a crime and for the ones blindly following their Daddy instead of GOD, you will answer to God too. My advice to everyone though, pay your tithe.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victor-Madubuaku/1662099675 Victor Madubuaku

        I really feel sorry for some of you faceless individuals, with no discernible identity who are riding on the excesses created by the internet to pour inventives on people you cannot possibly stand in their presence in real life. Especially you Mr Opeyemi who obviously didn’t even read the article but readily jumped to comment 8 days later on something you know nothing about. Every Ministry has partners who enter into covenants to contribute to the work of the Ministry. Ministry work involves money, lots of it required to pay for workers wages, adverts, missionaries etc. Even in the time of Christ, people always conributed willingly to the propagation of Gods work and nobody is coerced to do that otherwise it becomes devoid of any spiritual benefit.

        • Rauf

          Mr Madubuaku, come right down from your high horse, will you? What do you mean by ‘faceless individuals who can’t possibly stand in your presence in real life’? Pfff!!!
          I had to ‘Google’ that name to see what comes up..lol. So what if you’re CEO at Southfield Corporation? You think everyone is so stupid to give away their true identities cheaply? If anything, you’ve let everyone know what a bigotry you are. I’d rather not do business with a fanatical, gullible, yet highly opinionated individual like you. Ministry work involves money, yes. I’m sure it involves running a private jet as well, doesn’t it? Exactly how has your so-called ministry work impacted the live of a common Nigerian? How many tuition free schools have been built by your Daddy GO? The Apostolic, Methodist, Baptist, C&S, Anglican and other orthodox churches founded schools which most middle-aged Nigerians attended. Those Schools were (and still are) free! Would it be out of place for RCCG to build, for instance, a free-for-all accident & emergency center for accident victims? I’m sure Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists among the congregation will happily volunteer to work 1 or 2hrs per week (for free) at such hospitals. Wouldn’t this kind of initiative yield more positive results and touch more lives (muslims’, atheists’ and xtains’) in the long run? You can take all your life savings to Daddy GO if you want, it’s your life. I will just ask that you learn to respect other people’s opinions.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victor-Madubuaku/1662099675 Victor Madubuaku

            Nobody is trampling on your opinion, there’s. Freedom of speech for everyone but its your freedom after the speech that’s not guaranteed. People end up in jail for views they expressed online so you must be careful about what you say especially on topics and individuals you know nothing about. What people say online is a reflection of what they have inside of them, therefore its easily discernible when someone is talking about what he knows nothing about. Its on record that non of the RCCG members had made any allegations of misconduct against the Minister of God, no church member had petitioned against the G.O and the writer could not even interview any of the partners as a basis for his harsh criticism. Now what is the basis of your allegations of fraud against the G.O? Can anyone possibly sustain these allegations in a court of law? Do you have the church constitution and were they any infractions by such a practice? Anyone who has ever built an organisation, association or even a family will be more responsible in their criticism otherwise, outright condemnation of things you know nothing about is just a reflection of ones outer ignorance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victor-Madubuaku/1662099675 Victor Madubuaku

    On a lighter note, can any of these our sociologists have the effrontery to challenge an Ifa priest or openly condemn his covenant with his followers? I don’t think so. Why? Because you’re all cowards and opportunistic critics who are just taking advantage of Gods profound mercy to attack his servant anyhow!

  • @aminamaji

    So u believe bcos Adeboye is God’s servant he shouldn’t b questioned? But I thought we are all children of God? One thing is certain-God does not need our money to bless us, after all it is still money we all want him to bless us with. God is not an IFA or EBO!

  • sis L

    Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm. Why not leave pastor Adeboye alone and let God be the one to judge Him or question him. If his doing the right thing or not am sure his accountable and every man will give account of his deeds. Come to think of it until Jesus Christ was crucified this was how many discussed nd tried to critized nd talk until it turned out to be the Jesus. Thank God He wasn’t distracted with such side talks like this. So also leave Daddy G. O alone nd go nd run ur own vision if at all u guys have any. Bye

    • omoba

      it is fools like u dat are easily taken, come to think of it are we all not anointed, the writer is not after him in any way, but only letting u know that these so called Men of God are not better than common thieves and scammers. Note that God will always remain God and will never be less than himself.

  • Bimpe

    This is interesting to see how people can get worked up over nothing. Those in the covenant aren’t complaining and I would condemn the man of God if the rewards are according to ur donations. It’s same whether u give 1 naira or 2 million naira. It’s only Gods way to draw people nearer. Really spirtiual things cannot be physically discerned

  • igbiki

    God Is For Sale, but some fools are still flocking to the dammed man of god

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    I think its time we create a charity commission to make sure church money are not converted to personal use. Left for me what adults do in their church is their business. But we must not allow any man take advantage of the public by feeding fat on their sweat.

  • Eziokwu bu Ndu

    What do you mean by people who cannot possible stand in your presence in real life? Are you a Ghost? By your comments, your intellect and personality are already audited. Verdict: You are getting lost, Victor, Come back home, now!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victor-Madubuaku/1662099675 Victor Madubuaku

    Don’t build your life around old wives fables and tales, your comments are baseless, you are neither a Minister nor a Church administrator. Apparently, your expertise on the subject is based on yor access to free internet. Political parties raise funds from donors, politicians, Social clubs and other associations too. In US presidential elections over $2bn has been raised by donors voluntarily and its all within the law. likewise, God has precribed methods of funding His work on earth and before you begin to criticise that you’d better find out what that process is from the Bible.

    • Uche Ofor

      are you a Pastor? you sound so stupid.If the church needs money for specific things or for general maintenance then the Pastor should say so instead of using these dodgy schemes to exploit people like you. Your personal relationship with God is more important. Adeboye, Oyedepo, Oyakhilome, Okotie and TB Joshua are all worth millions of dollars while there are members who can barely feed their families in the church (but struggling to pay tithe, offering, sunday school offering, thanksgiving offering etc). We need to go back to pure worship not this private jet malarky going on today. You just compared Pastors to politicians by yourself… I think you have made my point.

      • Lighthaus

        you have the nerves to call someone stupid? now tell me who is stupid- you who is watching idly while your nations resources and commonwealth are being siphoned into private pockets by your leaders while you sit like a lame duck doing nothing with fear paralysing your faculties or is it a Minister of God who has built a church from nothing into one of the largest organizations in the world in which you are neither a member nor have you contributed anything towards except your neurotic criticisms! Get a life and face your Govt, you will be more productive with your life seriously!

      • enjoy

        Nice one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oriola44 Dapo Oriola

    Nigeria is a country of much religion but with little righteousness. Corruptions and darkness envelope the country but there are so much dancing in and praying in the house of God… House of worship litters every street but our streets are dangerous for an evening walk. I can’t help but ask, why aren’t our religion activities lead to righteous living? Nigerian has become an expert in the practice of

    Entrepreneurship Christianity.

    • dodo

      I particularly love your coinage “Entrepreneurship Christianity”
      Cheers

  • Uche Ofor

    I am doing a PhD in UK after which I would return to Nigeria for my NYSC and hopefully contribute something meaningful….you on the other hand? You are on the internet screaming about a man who built something from scratch? What point are you making? You are missing the entire point. You are starting to come across as retarded because of your comments. You should read them first before posting them. I am out of here.. don’t bother replying.. just listen to what everyone is telling you and seriously think about this issue. Every individual will be accountable for himself or herself on that day..

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victor-Madubuaku/1662099675 Victor Madubuaku

      Interesting, you know Einstein, Galileo, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, had no PHD, but they all have something in ccommon- they impacted the lives of people the world over and set off innovations that changed the cause of history. You don’t need a PHD to be a thought leader or to effect positive change in your society and you can’t do that by denigrating pillars in our society for no other cause except for a mindless opinion expressed by another PHD sociologist, that lacks any depth except for undiluted bias against a Pastor. I’m not a Pastor but if you read that write up thoroughly, you will observe clearly that the writer never bothered to make any contact with the donors or any significcant official from RCCG before jumping to his conclusions. And also most commentators who are in a hurry to abuse everyone online are those weightless individuals who lack substance and do not even bother to read stories before commenting.

      • Uche Ofor

        Are you telling me what to do with my life without even knowing me? I am sincerely confused. You are an interesting individual. I know for a fact that a PhD would give me very detailed knowledge of my field and I admire the contributions my lecturers have made to this same field after getting proper detailed knowledge. For example the comments you are posting and the secure online payment methods used by RCCG to get money from members… anyway… it’s your life.. Live it the way you like… blindly if you choose.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victor-Madubuaku/1662099675 Victor Madubuaku

          Uche you’re getting it all wrong, I have lots of respect for PHD holders and as a matter of fact my Dad had 2 PHD’s and I’m a product of that intellectual background. But you see most phenomenal achievemens ever recorded in human history are usually transcedental and appears as an offshoot of a super-normal transaction between a man and his universe which we generally applaud as genius or innovation. Uche I wish you all the best in your chosen area profession, we all need every hand to make changes in this country- Nigeria.

  • femi

    What is happening is a punishment from God, because Nigerians has turn away from the true God. That is why all these prophets of God rose up to beguile and defraud many of their livelihood. Do not blame this man victor, all we need is to pray for many like him, that God should open their eyes. They are blind thinking that they see, they walked but in wrong direction, they thought of living a good life but they are not fufilled. They are serving God unrighteously. And to those G.O’s they will take your livelihood, because their gospel is their belly. They do not have any good to contribute to any one life and the whole community. Those following them needs our prayers. Pastors and so called prophets should be kept in prison for a while, not to punish them but to put everything in order in that country, they are the one making life difficult to people. They encourage, stealing, corruption of the highest level, rituals and all sorts of evil you can think of, the evil gospel of prosperity affect people mind, everyone
    want the riches by all cost and the encouragement is from all pastors.

  • kainzo

    I have always said it, all these Pentecostal church leaders are acammers and their followers have been brainwashed. They worchip their GOs, Bishops and Pastors. They have forgotten the simplicity and humility of Jesus Christ. If you render any opInion about their leader, you get labelled as Satanic. What is Adeboye doing with 2 private jets? Ditto Oyedepo. Nigerians should wwake up. Jesus performed miracles for freeeeeeeeee!!!

  • YINKA

    Let us be very careful about word of GOD ,very soon everything will come to an END.,The man of GOD as try a lot.

  • http://twitter.com/Pixyst Pixyst

    2 Peter 2:1-22