THE GNOSTIC INVASION OF THE NIGERIAN CHURCH
By Akin Ojumu
Christianity has always battled Satan’s corruptive influence. Right from its inception, heresies, errors, and false teachings have put down root within the Church. These have resulted in confusion and division among the faithful and the destruction of the faith of many. Early Christian writings addressed these errors forcefully, and the erroneous teachers were vehemently and relentlessly condemned.
For instance, the theme of Book of 1 John is the separation of truth from error. Apostle John called on true Christians to test themselves to see if their faith is authentic. Letters of Paul to Ephesians, Galatians, Corinthians, Colossians, and Timothy were, to a large extent, written to denounce gnostic teachings – one of the earliest heretic doctrines and false beliefs – sweeping through the congregation of Believers at Ephesus, Galatia, Corinth, and Colossae at that time.
In 1 Timothy 6:20-21, Paul warned Timothy about the danger of the fast-spreading gnostic teachings:
“O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted to you! Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination. For by making such profession some have erred (missed the mark) as regards the faith.”
Paul warned Timothy about “the subtleties and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination.” The word translated “knowledge” in most translations (“science” in the King James Version) is the Greek gnosis. Literally meaning “to know,” it forms the root of the word Gnosticism. His warning was against a particular type of knowledge that induced some members to stray from the faith, knowledge that was subtle and yet contradictory. That it was contradictory is interesting because Gnosticism not only contradicts the truth, but within Gnostic beliefs there are also many contradictions (Courtesy: David C. Grabbe).
Fundamental to Gnosticism, however, is the hierarchy in spiritual illumination and knowledge. Gnostics teach that certain select Christians have risen, or emanated, to the highest spiritual level of operations where spectacular phenomena and fantastic spiritual experiences occur on a daily basis. Such spiritually elite individuals are superior to other Christians in all matters of the faith.
When you look at the landscape of Nigeria Christianity, you can't help but find a widespread influence of gnostic beliefs and teachings. The telltale signs are there for all to see. Gnosticism is particularly predominant among the new generation of Christian leaders in Nigeria. Many of the self-styled apostles and prophets hold on to Gnostic beliefs. You know it from their erroneous teachings and braggadocio mannerisms. They are the types that routinely enjoyed angelic visitations and they always have some formula on how to move the hand of God. Such is the potency of the spiritual power they possess that the mere mention of their name can wake from the dead a corpse pumped full of formalin and laying on the cold mortuary floor.
Osayi Arome is one of the leading Gnostics in Nigeria. In this video clip, he was teaching his audience the technique of enquiring from God through the laws of spiritual intelligence.
“Before I close, I want to tell us how to enquire from God. Enquire from God by the laws of spiritual intelligence. The first law of spiritual intelligence is this ‘God does not speak much; God only answers much. God does not – what? – speak much. He only answers. I tell you this from a wealth of experience.”
Gnostics can’t help but brag, it is their lifeblood and the very essence of their being. If you’ve followed Osayi Arome long enough, you’d know he’s someone who pride himself as having some sort of esoteric spiritual illumination. God appears to him at will and God often talks to him frequently – outside of the Bible of course. He has told countless stories of having been to heaven, taken on a tour, and chatting with Abraham and John Knox who were members of a committee charged with selecting 24 saints from Africa and he was one of the 24 African saints chosen.
The so-called laws of spiritual intelligence, as Osayi Arome himself acknowledged, are based solely on his “wealth of experience.” These are not laws that you’d find anywhere in Scripture. They are the inventions of a haughty heart.
As an apostle of Gnosticism, Osayi Arome considers himself as possessing a special spiritual knowledge and illumination limited to a select few. You’d often hear him boast of one esoteric spiritual experience or another. He always brags about having a deeper spiritual understanding unattainable by ordinary Christians.
More than ever before, the time we are in calls for Believers in Christ to turn back to the Bible and tune out the false teachers. No true seeker of God can quench their spiritual thirst by drinking the rancid water fetched from the well of false apostles and prophets. Faith comes and grows only by hearing the Word of God as written in the Holy Bible. You cannot grow your faith by virtue of feelings, experiences, and occurrences.
Osayi Arome and people like him are peddlers of gnostic doctrines. Their spiritual unintelligence about the Truth of God is a metastatic cancer in need of urgent radical cure. True Christians must never relent in their fight to root out heresies from the faith and they cannot afford to give up on detoxifying the Church of the poisonous influence of gnostic teachings.