By Akin Ojumu

Apostle Joshua Selman had this to say the other day, at the 2021 Annual Youth Convention of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. It was profound, to say the least.

"As long as you are poor, you will never be able to taste the corridors of power and influence. It takes economic empowerment to lift the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus is very heavy, it takes resources to lift it up."

In the versions of the Bible that I have been reading since the very first time I picked up the Bible to read and in Sunday school classes that I attended growing up, the story of redemption was that of a Jesus Christ who was born in a manger, to a poor working family from Nazareth, which was no more than a dirt-poor backwater village of which Nathaniel declared, “Nazareth! Can anything good come out of there?" 

To help him in his ministry, this poor son of a poor carpenter from a poor hometown chose as disciples a ragtag team comprised of a bunch of poor nonentities. Among them were hapless fishermen, a corrupt tax collector, an insurrectionist zealot, and even a thief and embezzler. These were the bloody recruits Jesus selected for the important work of saving the world from sin and these were the riff-raffs he chose to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.

In the Bible I have been reading all this while, I also learned that these poor nobodies were so disruptive to the established order that at a point they were dragged before men of influence and power and accused of being “these men who have turned the world upside down.” These inconsequential men brought down an entire organized religion overseen by the cream of the crop of the society – powerful men with long beards and long flowing costly robes. It was out of the ashes of the ruin of the old religion of bulls and goats and rules of men that the Christian faith rose like a phoenix that cannot be subdued.

Imbued with power from on high, these non-influential bunch took the new way of worshiping Elohim on the road – mostly on foot and not on private jets – traveling thousands of miles at a time. In the space of a few short years, they had spread the new faith all over the known world despite the stiff oppositions and nearly insurmountable obstacles thrown in their paths. 

Yet, many of these simple-minded folks paid dearly with their lives – they were beaten, imprisoned, hanged, stabbed, stoned, submerged in a hot cauldron, eaten by lions, and subjected to all manners of cruelty that the mind could device. Through all the trials and tribulations, their spirits remained unbroken, faith was undaunted, and fire unquenchable.

So successful were these poor slobs, that there’s no country or city on earth today that you wouldn’t find someone who identifies as a Christian or someone who has heard about Jesus, the Savior of mankind. As a result of their evangelical zeal, billions of people of different creeds and cultures became converts and adherents of the Christian faith.

Despite the feat of these impoverished lot, Apostle Joshua Selman says it's all BS and a figment of some ancient people's imagination. In his apostolic opinion, you need a 10-figure bank balance before you can lift up the name of Jesus Christ. According to Joshua Selman’s version of the Bible, if you are poor, you are wasting your time trying to be an evangelist of the good news. He says you cannot save a soul without having a wad of cash. To be an effective minister of the Gospel, according to this apostle of Mammon, you must be stinkingly rich.

You can imagine how rattled I was when I heard the authoritative declaration by the man of God. The very fact that I have spent all this time reading the wrong Bible kind of puts the fear of God in me. To be so wrong for so long, caused me a great deal of grief.

I’m discountenanced to learn that the great Apostle Paul had no idea what he was talking about when he reminded the cliquish, quarrelsome and arrogant Corinthian Christians about their antecedents:

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

O blimey! Thundering typhoons! Billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles! To think that I have been misled all this time erroneously believing I can preach the gospel with a bank account as red as mine. No wonder every Tom, Dick, and Harry – or Rafiu, Mutiu, and Wasiu – abandon school, dump the 9 to 5 rat race to go start a church. Unlike dumb hombres like us, these folks understand that in ministry lieth earthly riches.

The penniless man cannot catch a break anywhere in this world. The one thing the paupers thought they had and are free to do, which is the preaching of the Gospel, has now been snatched from them and added to the long list of things that are completely out of their reach. In the immortal words of Dame Patience Jonathan, “Chai! Chai! Chai! Dia ris Godu o!!!”

Since the man of God cannot be wrong, I must, with immediate effect and alacrity, discard everything I thought I knew about the Gospel up to this point. Having heard this new and powerful apostolic teaching, I’m left with no choice but to pile up in a heap all the Bibles I possess, make a bonfire, and burn them all to ashes.

On a last note, I'd like to seek some help. If there's anyone out there who knows how I can reach Apostle Joshua Selman, I appeal to you, please share it with me. I cannot wait to order me a copy of the Bible the new-age apostle reads.


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