I was born into the Catholic Church plenty many years ago, but I was born into a family where religion was just a word defining your supposed spiritual inclination and nothing more.
I grew up attending Jehovah witness meetings with my neighbours, Four Square crusades with my friends because their church was just a walk from my house and one of my favourite teachers was a member, Celestial Church of Christ because I was with my cousin Asurf half the time, and we were in the church all the time. The speakers of Deeper Life Bible Church retreats that never end were practically facing the windows of my room so I naturally attended the retreats without entering the camp ground, and when I did entered the camp, it was always in search of something more unspiritual.
My grandma, my sweet “Sabitiu” was a Muslim so it was only natural that I attended the Quranic School closest to my house. I cooked beans, killed chicken etc. as I proceeded in my study of the Arabic language without relinquishing my duty as an Altar Boy; in fact my grandma was always the one to wake me up to get ready earliest on Sundays after she must have ensured that I attended Altar Boys practice the Saturday before… His grandson cannot be seen lagging in the things of God. My family was one which had more bite for the things of God and no regards for religion and it was a beautiful way to grow up for me, but harder because I was catholic in the midst of it all and my association with almost everybody kept me in the face of contentious situation based on the fault filled perception of Catholism (this is not an argument in support of catholic churches).
In hundreds of places and times, I was caught in the midst of assumption, I hear things about the Catholic Church that makes me wonder if it was the same church that I attended, and I wonder and ask, “Where on earth do this people hear this bullshit from”. The depiction of the things that happen within the walls of the catholic church were scary, I heard tales of idol worship and abandonment of the Godhead to worship saints and Mary and I am like “Wow! Which mass did I miss that I missed all this?” Sometimes I tried defending the church, other times I tried explaining, but what the “god of men” (pastors) had placed in the heart of men was too hard to rewind. Many times, I watched in silence at the misinformed lot that brazenly defends embellished lies with passion, and sometimes rage. Then soon enough, what they call idol worship is the same communion services they now replicate in their own Pentecostal churches, all around the globe.
Too many times, too many people were surprised when I tell them “I’m a catholic” and they confound their all already crooked dereliction from the truth with questions that force me to tell them the real meaning of the word “catholic”, just to ease their confusion about whether I am a Roman Catholic priest or a God’s child that is devoid of any church or religious affiliation. My classmates in the Quranic School still call me Alfa, yes for those that are closer; they add Farouq to it… I’m still a jewel in St. Patrick Catholic Church, it’s always fun to have Anthony back in church…and the questions I get when the fathers and mothers see me are…
“We hope you’ve not left the church?” or “We hope you’ve not join those that claim they’ve seen the light and left the church” and my response is always a subtle laugh or a smile, but deep within me, my answer is “I never lost sight of the light in the first place” because I have always been in the light, operating in the light of God’s word.
The Catholic Church that I knew had a creed for everything, prayers and confessions, pattern that the Pentecostal churches now borrow under the guise of declaration of faith. The Catholic Church had a Lectern for the priest and the Missal for the congregation, a combination that ensures that every mass celebrated is in sync but beyond that, we had the Bible too, and from what I know, the Good News Bible had a few more books than the regular Bibles aka the KJV and other versions. The beauty of being a catholic was that apart from the guided teaching of the church, the priests that I met and grew to know always hammered the importance of reading the Bible and living according to it. They desisted from the worship of men and concentrated on the worship of God and his service. My favourite of them all was Cardinal Olubunmi Okojie; he was a man that rejected any preferential treatment or accord beyond the place of being a priest according to the law of the church and his understanding of the Bible, a man that only embraced what is true and was never afraid to say it.
Okojie has big has he was in the catholic order was the simplest of men, he rode in the front sit beside his driver when he could no longer drive himself due to old age. Throughout my childhood, during his many pastoral visit to my parish to commission projects or teach the gospel, he rejected bogus gifts, warned against idolizing teachers of the gospel and unnecessary ceremonies, and reminded us all at every opportunity that the duty of the head of the church is to serve and not be served, the biggest of gift I saw him receive during those years was a rose necklace presented to him by a child, he openly rejected a portrait painting of him, saying he had enough pictures of himself already and he didn’t need a bigger one. His warning resounded so well across the halls of wherever he went to, enough for the people to understand his stands. He lived an exemplary lifestyle, he lived what he preached and the only time he towered above others was when he was on the altar conducting a mass.
I know we saw the light, yes the light was supposed to shine to a perfect day, but the so-called light seers are only plunging into utter darkness. They run after tares that have been planted by the devil in the fields where Jesus planted his seed, tares that peddle deceptive interpretation of the word of God to fatten their purse. I saw the light too, yes I saw Saul pretending to be David.
I saw it clearly; their churches are built like the cathedrals of Rome, the birth place of the Christian religion, built mightily and adorned like the gate of the proverbial heavens. You begin to wonder if there is any need to go to heaven when this cathedrals God had rejected are, advertised and package to attract unsuspecting light seekers and led by fake pastors and self-servicing bigots, running churches like kings of old over a kingdom, exactly the way God said Saul will rule when the people of Israel rejected God and asked Samuel for a King.
I have read my Bible over and over again and in it, I found out that Jesus worked, his disciples worked, Paul worked to earn his keep and at no point did any of this real men of God tower above the church, but instead referred to one another as brethren. No special anointing or cathedral because the gift of every man is unique, no tithe was demanded, all they did was preached and baptized has Jesus instructed, non was Pastor, Bishop, Pope or Cardinal, just men and brethren, led by the Holy Spirit and lived after the life of our only High Priest Jesus Christ, well enough for the world to see and call them Christians (Christ Like).
Today what we have is Saul’s in churches with interesting titles like “Deacon, Prophet, Pastor, Bishop, Pope, Supremo” and even some call themselves gods, removing the person of Jesus Christ from the equation and declaring earthly supremacy. We saw lies but we convinced ourselves that it was the light we saw in glaring deception. We had the Bible to guide us but like the people of old, we called our Samuel and told him we want a king, we need someone to read the Bible on our behalf and God heard us and gave us these Sauls to rule us but before he did, he warned us, yes! he warned us but we ignored the signs, we wanted to be like others rejecting God and accepting “god of men” (pastors), yes we joined the movement and we get so drunk in it that even when this “god of men” stand accused of defying God and desecrating his temple like the sons of Eli; sleeping with members of their church, we attack those who bring the truth to fore and accrue unto them a new level of grace in disgrace.
It’s interesting though that we’ve been warned but we chose to go our own way.
1 Sam 8:10-18
So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king.
“This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariot. (Body Gaurds)
He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. (Branches)
He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. (Pastorial Care)
He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. (Camps and Schools)
He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. (Tithe and Offering)
He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. (Kingdom Business)
He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants (pastorial workers)
Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”
I’ve heard stories of men who practically worked for this “gods of men” in the name of God, yes some laboured on construction site, others in other places and some gave what they don’t have to build for them, some even stole to meet obligations and pledges all in the name of Jesus for this gods of men… I’m sure they now see their foolishness in this warning.
This is not a call for any of us to go to one particular church or the other, it is a call for us to desist from the worship of “gods of men” that we erroneously call “men of God” and go back to the truth of the gospel of Christ and live as brethren before Him. I have only one High Priest, his name his Jesus Christ and only him I will live for…
Now that we know what we call the light, I hope we will retract and retrace our steps back to the truth.
The devil preaches from the altar too according 2 Cor 11:12-15 (MSG)
“And I’m not changing my position on this. I’d die before taking your money. I’m giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money-grubbing “preachers,” vaunting themselves as something special. They’re a sorry bunch—pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers—posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. And no wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. But they’re not getting by with anything. They’ll pay for it in the end.”
Signs and Wonders (Miracles)
Signs and wonders is not a proof that they are Men of God, god of Men are capable of signs and wonders, but Jesus, even Jesus made a promise that he will deny them in the end.
Matt 7:21-23 NKJV
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”
TAKE HEED WHAT YOU HEAR! TAKE HEED WHO YOU FOLLOW… IN THE END, YOU WILL BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS IRRESPECTIVE OF WHO YOU FOLLOWED, WHO MISLEAD YOU IS NOT THE EXCUSE, YOU HAVE THE BIBLE, READ IT, STUDY TO SHOW YOURSELF APPROVED EVEN BEFORE THE GOD OF MEN.
I’m Abidemi Babaolowo Oderinlo
I Write What I Like