This material on David Oyedepo came to hand courtesy of a reader on the www.thetruechristianfath.com. It was culled from the Facebook page wall of Paul Oludairo, a Nigerian based outside the country. It gives a succinct picture of the gross failure of the few true Christians we have in Nigeria in calling out the insidious evil of DOMINIONISM at its beginning. The cancer, sadly, has now virtually overpowered almost all the true cells in the body.
Are you a believer in Christ? Then you must consider the points raised by Mr Oludairo in this short write-up.
May the Lord help everyone who comes by this article to know the difference between Christianity and the various offerings Satan has brought to the fore in our time.
Dr David Oyedepo is a highly enterprising man in many respects. In a little over three decades, he has risen from a modest background to become one of the most visible men in the Nigerian religious scene.
As a skilful entrepreneur, Dr Oyedepo has built a vast network of business interests, providing employment to thousands of Nigerians across several sectors of the economy. He is an astute, vocal, and influential motivator of millions of people. In the course of his enterprise, he has made many of the men around him wealthy. He certainly has made himself extremely wealthy, ranking as one of the wealthiest pastors in the world. None of these accolades, and much more, can be denied to this eminent man on the business/economic side of life.
However, it is when we step into the religious credentials of Dr Oyedepo that the picture becomes rapidly blurry. (It is from this religious sector that he sourced most of his wealth). But even in spite of the blur, there is an element in his character that is highly admirable – HIS SINCERITY. He is a man that OPENLY follows his religious conviction.
In this conviction, Dr David Oyedepo has not made any pretence that he is a TRUE follower of the precepts and examples of Jesus Christ. In other words, Dr David Oyedepo has been an avid practitioner of a philosophy called DOMINIONISM, not genuine Christianity.
The gulf that exists between Christianity and Dominionism is as wide as the difference between light and darkness, between heaven and hell. Let’s go a bit deeper in exploring this difference. In Christianity, THE CROSS at the heart of the faith crucifies the believer in Jesus Christ. In doing so, the cross takes away the rights of the believer – his ambition, his desires, his wants, his opinions, his possessions, his EVERYTHING.
It REPLACES the believer’s former life with the life that Jesus Christ lived here on earth (Galatians 1:20) – a life of purpose, persecution, power, suffering, rejection, vilification, tribulation, etc. A life of complete dependence on provision from God, a life of compassion for the masses. This compassion uses the miraculous power of God to set men free from the captivity of sin, and the devil. In the way of the cross of Christ, the new life that God imparts at salvation focusses PRIMARILY on eternity, and minimises man’s stake in the present world system. The abundant life that Jesus promises in John 10:10, manifests itself in the mystery of the cross that turns the carnal expectation of humanity upside down – reigning by serving, strength through weakness, living through dying, etc. It is a CRUCIFIED LIFE that manifests in a complete surrender – up to the point of death. A life that recognises “… that godliness is NOT a means of gain…” because “… those WHO DESIRE TO BE RICH fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:6-10).
In relation to this, Apostle Paul’s counsel to Timothy was unequivocal – “But as for you, O man of God, FLEE THESE THINGS….” (verse 11). Flee these things because the Christian life is a COMPLETELY SURRENDERED life where God regulates and moderates our desires – according to His own will, NOT according to what we want, or what we desire. This is what it means to lose our lives so that we can keep it to life eternal as Jesus taught in John 12:25, Luke 17:33, Mark 8:35, etc. This is Christianity.
On the other hand, and completely opposite to genuine Christianity, Dominionism places a huge emphasis on the HERE AND NOW: an emphasis on what YOU can get from God for YOUR life. It is about man’s life, NOT Christ’s life – the evidence of carnality.
Dominionism wants to rule over everybody NOW. It wants to control all resources and wealth NOW. It wants all others to bow to it NOW. It wants to display and exercise a high level of superiority over others NOW. The focus on NOW automatically minimises the focus on eternity – for no man can look down and look up at the same time! Dr David Oyedepo has always been an unapologetic practitioner of this Dominionsim, and he makes no secret of this.
Anybody that understands why believers are described as STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS on earth (1 Peter 2:11), will readily understand why the gap that exists between Christianity and Dominionism can NEVER, EVER be bridged. To make it easier, a close study of the life of Jesus Christ – from His humble birth to His ignoble death – will give us an overview of the genuine meaning of Christianity. For we are called to follow Him (Luke 9:23), walking just AS HE WALKED (1 John 2:6).
This is EXACTLY how the apostles of Christ walked, as well as the disciples in the early church. The dominion they exercised, just like that of Jesus, had its focus FIRMLY ON ETERNITY. Even at the height of their amazing power, they walked as strangers and pilgrims on earth. In Philippians 3:18-19, Apostle Paul had some very uncharitable things to say about believers that have a focus on this earthly realm. He described them as the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose God is their belly.
Assaults A Poor Girl
A few recent examples will illustrate how Dr Oyedepo has been consistent in his practice of Dominionism, instead of Christianity. A couple of years ago, he physically assaulted a young girl during a ‘deliverance’ church service. He slapped her on the face because she dared to call herself ‘a witch for Jesus’ (whatever that means!). Please race your mind through the entire Bible and see if you can picture ANY apostle of Jesus Christ doing a thing like this after the Holy Spirit had come upon them at Pentecost. Does any example come to mind? Obviously not!
Now, let us explore the Dominionism side of this slapping episode. For, let’s be fair to Dr David Oyedepo, anybody could have made a similar mistake in the heat of the moment. We are all still on the road to perfection. But, when a true child of God commits a sin of passion like that, the common experience is that the Spirit of God that indwells him will bring conviction upon his heart, either immediately or in his more sober moment. And the result is that he’ll see his error, repent before God, pray for forgiveness, AND apologise to the person he wronged. This was the path of humility that a lot of people thought Dr Oyedepo would follow after the incident. But he didn’t….
Rather, sometime after the incident, another video was released where he openly boasted, during another church service, that THE GIRL HE SLAPPED HAD COME TO BEG HIM!!! She came to beg him because she had been told that his slap could have resulted in her death! So, to prevent an untimely death, the victim had been told to go and apologise to her oppressor. It is quite interesting that in the whole of that huge church, nobody saw that what Dr Oyedepo did was clearly ungodly, and could prevail on him to do the right thing. The video of that episode went viral, and sparked an outrage beyond the shores of the country.
In any sane, civilised environment, Dr Oyedepo would have been arrested for that public assault and may have been prosecuted, if the girl had chosen to go down that route. But in our culture, a child barely has such rights before such a ‘big man’, and an assault like that is permissible. Permissible in that culture, but DEFINITELY ABHORRENT to the high standard of morality, fairness, and servanthood that Jesus IMPOSES as part of the criteria for those that will lead men in His name. This is why the Bible specifically states the qualities of a bishop in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. And stipulates that NO SHEPHERD should act as a lord over God’s heritage (1 Peter 5:3) . Genuine Christian leaders are NOT bosses, they are servants.
David Oyedepo And The Outworking Of Dominionism
Dominionism does not seem to be peculiar to Dr Oyedepo alone. It is evidently a house culture in the church. A few years ago, five government officials that visited the church’s premises to demand tax payment for a school run by the church were beaten up, injured, and detained for several hours; with one of them requiring hospitalisation as a result of the assault. Reportedly, the school had not paid tax for seven years, and had completely ignored all requests to make the payment. Two days later, in yet another incident, a TV crew that also went to the church premises to cover the serving of building inspection notices by government officials were also beaten up by the church office staff. This second assault took place in the presence of the most senior pastor in the church, Mr Oyedepo.
Even after the two assault cases became public knowledge, the church NEVER openly apologised for the despicable conduct. Rather, a former head of state was approached by the church to calm the enraged governor of Ogun State, who accused the church of placing itself above the laws of the land. Obviously, the conduct of the church was NOT the way of Jesus Christ. That is the way of Dominionism, for it has the inherent tendency to see itself above the law, and above lesser mortals.
One more public incident underscores and amplifies this trend. At the height of a period of tension triggered by a fear of terrorist attack on his premises, Dr Oyedepo, in yet another church service, made this statement (quoted verbatim): “If you see anybody here, kill him, kill him and spill his blood on the ground”. A few minutes later, he repeated this for emphasis, “You catch anyone that looks like them, kill him. There is no reporting to anybody. Kill him, pull out his neck, I will spill his blood on the ground. What nonsense?” In the culture of the impunity of that era, barely did anybody challenge his call for jungle justice and blood letting. Till date, neither Dr Oyedepo nor the church has made a retraction of that blood-spilling outburst. Which means they still stand by those comments.
Dr Oyedepo has a legendary inclination to rain threats, curses and invectives on those that dare to cross his path or oppose his plans. In the latest episode in this trend, he urged people to desist from criticising the fees charged by his university, lest they incur the wrath of God. He cited the example of a man that was plagued with chronic mouth odour because he dared to speak against the fees. (After the man confessed that ‘sin’, Dr Oyedepo said he prayed for his healing).
If all this culture of holy imperialism can be traced to any of the apostles/disciples of Jesus Christ, then the way of Dr Oyedepo would be understandable. But all these are the EXACT OPPOSITE of the direct admonition that Jesus gave to His followers to be ‘wise as serpents, and GENTLE AS DOVES (Matthew 10:16). Dominionism has no place for the docile imagery of ‘sheep’ and ‘dove’ that Jesus extolled as virtues for his followers to pursue.
In addition to this imagery, the Bible places a premium value on believers living as ‘strangers and pilgrims’ on earth. Pilgrims that walk softly on earth, but carry a big stick in the heavenly realm from where they influence and shape the events that unfold on earth. Pilgrims whose warfare is not carnal (2 Corinthians 10:4-5), and whose citizenship is not of this world (Philippians 3:20). This is the ‘turn-the-other-cheek’, ‘pray-for-your-enemy’ philosophy that underpins the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. Does this fit the public profile of Dr Oyedepo, or his teaching? Yet, Jesus warned us that ‘by their fruits’ shall we evaluate and know His genuine servants.
Dr Oyedepo has been able to attract a massive followership for his philosophy of ruling the world physically NOW, exercising dominion over his fellow men, pursuing and cornering the world’s resources, and becoming stupendously wealthy to showcase ourselves as the children of God. His huge followership is a sign of the success of his philosophy. For it is a philosophy that appeals directly to the carnality in the heart of man – the desire to rule, the desire to control, the desire to own, the desire to tower above everybody else. Yet this is the same carnality that Jesus came to ERADICATE from the heart of man, teaching mankind that humility, simplicity, and servanthood are the paths to greatness and rulership in the world to come.
So, Jesus focusses the attention of mankind PRIMARILY on eternity, while Dominionism focusses the attention of mankind PRIMARILY on the here and now. These are two COMPLETELY IRRECONCILABLE philosophies, though Dominionism quotes Bible verses out of context to mask its heresy and crass carnality. This is why a lot of its focus is usually in Old Testament precepts, a lot of precepts Jesus Christ has turned upside down (raining fire down on our enemies, etc).
Now, let’s get to the main point of this article. Dr Oyedepo has been at the vanguard of this Dominionism movement for decades, YET it is fair to estimate that over 80% – 90% of believers in Nigeria believe that he is a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! A more discerning minority in that number hold him as A TRUE MAN OF GOD that just teaches a few things that are wrong!
The fact that such a high percentage of believers in Nigeria esteem Dr Oyedepo as a preacher of the genuine Gospel of Christ is a clear evidence that there is VERY LITTLE understanding of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in Nigeria. Deception (and probably the allure of the wealth that he promises) have clouded our minds about the true message of Jesus Christ. In other words, GENUINE CHRISTIANITY BARELY EXISTS IN NIGERIA. Most believers are NOT following Jesus Christ today – they are FOLLOWING MEN that have ensnared their hearts AWAY FROM Jesus through perverted teachings. This is how Apostle Paul warned us against such men in Acts 20: 30, “ALSO OF YOUR OWN SELVES SHALL MEN ARISE, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch…”. A solemn warning from an apostle that understood the danger. Obviously, the Body of Christ in Nigeria has NOT been watchful, and today, most believers have been drawn away. This explains why churches and iniquity are multiplying at the same rate in the country.
Apart from our collective liability, there is also an individual element to this crisis. So, let’s apply this message to ourselves directly. Whoever you are – man or woman, young or old, rich or poor, new convert or old disciple – if you hold men like Dr Oyedepo as TRUE MEN OF GOD, it is an indication that you may need to re-evaluate your understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You may need to re-visit Calvary and pray earnestly that God opens your eyes to the Person of Jesus Christ afresh – His ways, His teachings, His life.
This step may require a great deal of humility, especially for those that have been born again for a long period. But it is ONLY to the humble heart that God reveals the mysteries of Christ. These are the mysteries that guarantee our passage to God’s Kingdom, both here on earth and in eternity. What you do with this message, ultimately, is between you and God.
Dr Oyedepo is NOT alone in this category. It is just that he is the most visible proponent of the Dominionism mentality. There is hardly anything that has been said about him that cannot be said about ALMOST ALL our ‘top’ men of God in Nigeria. Albeit, a lot of them are more subtle in the manifestation of their carnal messages and pursuits. Please open your eyes, for the hood does not make the monk. And Jesus made it crystal clear that it is not all that call Him Lord, Lord that shall enter His Kingdom. His greatest rebuke in the passage in Matthew 7:21-23 was reserved for the ministers that prophesied IN HIS NAME, cast out devils IN HIS NAME, and performed many miracles IN HIS NAME. Yet, He said He NEVER KNEW THEM – though they used His power, and were celebrated as mighty men of God on earth. This is very, very sobering, for all that can reflect deeply.
Please be wise. There are no sentiments or sentimentality in following Jesus Christ. For He is NOT a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Please open your eyes, watch and pray.
And, in addition to everything else, please let us remember all these men in our earnest prayers. There is no single heart that the love of Christ cannot touch, heal, and deliver. In some ways (or perhaps, in many ways), God may have used them to minister to us in the past. It is now our turn to minister to them on the altar of prayer. And on the altar of God’s love. Let us lift up our voices that they, as well as the rest of us, may find the mercy of the Lord on the Last Day.
Please THINK DEEPLY about these things. And please PRAY DEEPLY about these things. May the love of Christ burn passionately in our hearts as we await His imminent return in glory. Amen.
Thanks for reading, God bless you.