Tithing has become one of the most controversial aspects of Christianity in Nigeria, and the person who seems to be singlehandedly championing this cause is Daddy Freeze.
Sunday morning a while back, I listened to him at his workplace, Cool fm 96.9 and it seemed that Cool fm had made him the resident reverend, seeing as it was a Sunday morning and it was the slot usually reserved for sermons or pastors. Freeze adopted the booming voice of a preacher on a pulpit, and of all the many great things one could talk to Christians about on a Sunday morning, Freeze chose to talk about the scam call tithing. Nothing surprising there as Freeze has suddenly become an evangelist and his calling must be Oyedepo-bashing. The only message his ministry seems focused on is Pastors are 419ers and Yahoo boys; do not pay tithe!
He shared with his listeners the reasons he believes that nobody should pay tithe to their pastors and suggested other ways they can spend their own money. He shared the story of one of his followers who said he was going to work one morning when a neighbor rushed out of his apartment crying that his child was ill and needed to be rushed to the hospital but he needed 30k which he didn't have. The follower also had nothing on him, so they rushed to another neighbour who admitted that he had 30k BUT that it was his tithe and he could not part with it. And so this so-called christian rather than save the life of a little child, chose to pay tithe and enrich the pocket of a thieving pastor.
I wondered if it occured to Freeze that this neighbour just didn't want to give them the money and lied about it being his tithe. But that's all besides the point.
Freeze used this one isolated incident to portray Christians and their pastor-worship. Freeze seems to have made it his life's purpose to stop every Nigerian from paying tithe, especially to Bishop Oyedepo and Adeboye. So I was not surprised when I heard him this morning on Naija Info 99.3fm where he was a guest. The topic was Should Churches Pay Tax? Of course you already know Freeze's take on this, and he somehow found a way to make it about tithes and called into question the wealth of churches owned by Oyedepo, Adeboye, Paul Adefarasin and Tony Rapu. He asked what wealthy churches are doing to better the lives of the common man, and other questions.
He reiterated once again the tithes should not be paid but instead these monies be sown as seeds into people's lives. His point is; rather than pay that 10% to your pastor, use it to feed your hungry neighbour.
I quite agree, because what's the point of Christianity if not love? But I wonder why people like Freeze think that paying tithe precludes you from feeding your neighbour... Like, I could give 10% of my income to my church and feed the poor with 40% or even the 90%? Does this possibility simply fly over their heads?
I understand that there are many false prophets and common criminals posed as pastors and people fall victim to them daily. But I reckon that until you've got evidence that that wealthy pastor with a billion followers is a sham, leave him and his followers be.
I need Freeze and his devotees to understand that for many people, paying tithe is not remotely about the money. It is about the faith they have in the blessings that they believe will come as a result of obeying God's words. Malachi 3:10 perhaps...
FAITH. It's that faith that activates the blessings not the 10%, not the money. And that is what they believe. And most times, what you believe is what works for you!
I believe that people should be allowed to practice their faith how they deem fit, and Freeze should respect that. I've heard so many arguments for and against tithing, most of them backed by scripture.
I think that each person should read their bible with understanding, and be discerning when it comes to giving (and tithing). Some people can attest to stupendous miracles and doors that their tithes have opened. And these are their own testimonies. Who are you to question it?
Some don't tithe yet and greatly blessed. That's their testimony too!
As a Christian, I'm all for living according to God's words to the best of my ability. However I personally tend to avoid churches that insist I bring my tithe and try to put me on a guilt-trip for not tithing (or sowing).
But that's just me. What are your thoughts on tithing?
Oh, speaking of taxing the church, if there was transparency and accountability in the Nigerian government I'd be in support of taxing churches and mosques. But not in present day Nigeria, no please! That money'll still go straight into somebody's pockets so...