ACCURATELY HANDLING THE WORD OF TRUTH (PART I)
“When You Die Is Your Choice”
By Akin Ojumu
Profane and idle babbling has come to define the sermons contemporary pastors preach. Gushing out from the pulpits are torrents of irreverent and empty chatter that drown the audience in lies that lead to unrighteousness, submerge the listeners in deceit that stirs up sinfulness, and asphyxiate the hearers in dissimulation that produces ever increasing ungodliness.
It used to be that the man of God was extremely fearful of God. Gone are the days when those called by God went to extreme lengths and took great care not to ever mishandle the things of God. Not so with modern-day preachers. Nowadays, men of God equate themselves with God.
Many of them have said in their hearts, ‘We will ascend to heaven; we will raise our thrones above the stars of God, and we will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. We will ascend above the heights of the clouds; we will make ourselves like the Most High.’
Overcome with pride, these demigods think they know more than the Almighty God. Their words, they want you to believe, carry more weight than the written Word of God. And their concocted deep revelations, they’ve exalted above the truth revealed in Scriptures.
It’s no wonder then that these folks trivialize the Word of God. Instead of reverence and honor, these all-powerful anointed men of God treat the Word of God with levity. Having no sense of dread or awe, they whimsically abuse and misuse the Gospel of truth.
This video clip of Duncan Williams is another example of the frivolity with which supposedly ministers of the Gospel handle the Scripture. This time, the Ghanaian preacher argues that it’s up to the Christian to decide when he dies.
“…I said that Apostle Paul had an option to live or to die. Then he decided, by his choice, that it was profitable for the church to be alive than to go to heaven. So, he decided that he would live…he will be alive. And Simeon live and not to see death until he saw the salvation of the Lord. And when he was satisfied by seeing the salvation of the Lord, he said, ‘Lord, let your servant depart in peace for I have seen the salvation of the Lord.’ And I’m saying on the basis of these arguments, that believers can choose to die on your own terms. It is possible by the Word of the Lord. Now, go to Genesis. God promised us 120 years. Our years was reduced to 120 years. Long life is possible…”
Where does one even begin to demolish these wild speculations and presumptuous arguments raised up against the knowledge of God? How do you take this superfluous conjecture captive to the obedience of Christ?
When Duncan Williams talks about Apostle Paul having an option to either live or die, he was probably referring to Philippians 1:21.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
As erroneous interpretation of Scripture goes, Duncan Williams’ understanding of the above passage of Scripture is ridiculously alarming to say the least.
Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Philippians while he was in prison in Rome. This was a time of great turmoil for Paul, as he was going through some of the most harrowing experiences of his ministry. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 gives us a glimpse of what Paul was going through at this time.
“In far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”
As a prisoner, Paul was facing the possibility of an imminent execution. But even at the height of all his misery and likely death, what was uppermost in his mind was for the Gospel to be preached and that sinners might be saved. He had no concern for his temporal torment, and he couldn’t care less about the physical anguish. All he cared about was Christ his Savior being magnified. Whether he lived or died, all Paul desired was for Christ to be glorified.
This was the context of the Philippians 1:21. Next time, we’ll delve into this in greater detail.