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The Medicine as Poison, the Physician as the Killer: Modern Pentecostal Theology and Practice as Sources of Insecurity : Proceedings of Conference on Religion and Security by the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan, 2015

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The Medicine as Poison, the Physician as the Killer: Modern Pentecostal Theology and Practice as Sources of Insecurity : Proceedings of Conference on Religion and Security by the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan, 2015
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  The Medicine as Poison, the Physician as the Killer Modern Pentecostal Theology and Practices as Sources of InsecurityPublished as Proceedings of Conference on Religion and Security by the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan. yMoses !ludeleIdo"u C.Eng Divine #rtillery Publications$agos  #bstract  Pentecostalism and neo-Pentecostalism are realities in the religious expression and behaviour of modern Christians. They are two of the varied expressions of modern Christianity and new religions. In this study some of the popular aspects of modern Pentecostal theology are examined vis-a-vis ancient Christian orthodoxy. It is also shown thatsome aspects of Pentecostal teachings today especially prosperity theology in its extreme form could breed greed, disharmony and, in the long run, become sources of insecurity. Introduction eligion is one of the most researched and most investigated sub!ects in the "eld of socialscience and psychology. #everal studies also existwhich show the favourable impact of religion in general and religious participation in particular on the individual and collectivewell-being. $#ee %evin and &anderpool, '()*+%arson et al, '(*)+ Cragigie, r., et al,'(( Thepositive role of religion has also been noted and documented in the area of human stability,happiness, personal well-being, societal progress, marital stability, health and healing,emotional stability, ethical behaviour, "nancial integrity and international trade. $#ee /ergin,'(('+ %arson, et al,'((+ /eit-0allami,'(*1+ 2oo3her!ee, '((1+ 2oberg,'(*(+ 4illiams etal,'(('+ 567ntonio, '()+ 8ennedy,'()9+ /urchinal, '(:*+ /yrd, '();+ <reeman,'():+7llport,'(=), <agan, '((=, <erris,;;+ >reeley and 0out ;=+0adaway '(*)+Ingleheart ;'+ 8rause ;)+ Ellison '(('+ Ellison, >ay and >lass,'()(, 2yers, ;,4itter et al, '(): eligion provides social dimensions to individual lives. Thus religiousinvolvement enhances sub!ective well-being because religious organi?ations o@eropportunities for social interaction between li3e-minded people, nurturing friendships andsocial ties. $5ur3heim '(:'+ #immel, '((*+ 8rause ;) eligion also enhances sub!ectivewell-being by o@ering its practitioners personal networ3s and support. $%im and Putnam,;' /ut religion has also been an instrument of instability and insecurity as situations in India,%ebanon, #udan, Pa3istan, Aigeria and other nations have shown. The aftermath of (B'' andthe strong pull of a globali?ed world has continued to inuenced world politics $8innvall;1 and, conseDuently, international relations and security.It is ironical that religion, whichis supposed to be an elixir to unity, togetherness and harmony being concerned with theworship of >od has become the exact opposite in our day. There is no other place todaywhere this irony is so powerfully demonstrated as Aigeria where more than ;, haveperished in ethno-religious riots since the advent of the democratic dispensation. 7s I writethis the dreaded Islamic sect Boko Haram has caused the deaths of more than ;: ' through serial suicide bombing, engagement with security forces in sporadic shootings,  terrorist raids and sabotage and bombing of public facilities. In short, in Aigeria todayreligion is one of the sources of insecurity and instability. %o" Religion #ids Security and Insecurity eligion ma3es truth claims, fantastic claims which can never be veri"ed or disproved0eaven, hell, 7ngels, eternal punishment, etc. eligion also spea3s or attempts to spea3 for>od and hence it spea3s the language of certainty rather than doubt F6I am the 4ay, thetruth and life, no one can come to the father but by me.6+ FExcept ye be born again yecannot see the 3ingdom of >od6 ; etc. 7ll these reinforce the sense of human security. Thefact that >od has set the rules and made them diGcult to contest relieves the individualpsychologically from the responsibility of having to choose. $urgensmeyer, ;+ 2ol, '(*=/y supplying a consistent structure, religion thus provides order from the chaos anduncertainty in the world. $8insvall, ;1 eligion also creates security by giving a sense of assurance and peace to its adherents. eligion sustains individual and group identities andthus a vital and ma!or power in the world. $4ellman,;1 eligion also assures people F6thatthe universe follows a plan which guarantees that if you follow the rules everything will turnout well, in this world or the next. This belief reduces stress, enabling people to shut outanxiety and focus on coping with their immediate problems.66 $Aorris et al, onald Inglehart,;' /ut religion can also be an instrument of fostering serious conicts and even bloody wars.#ome of the bloodiest wars in history have been religious wars. #ome of the lasting andgruelling conict in human memory has been connected with interpretation and meaning of aspects of religion. $Aorris et al,;'. #ome of the most hideous forms of violence, directedagainst defenceless civilians, is inextricably related to religion $<errari, ;1 /ecausereligion deals with authority "gures and express authority views it tends to bind peopletogether within a collectivity and unites them for a common action, provides a new focus of loyalty and interest and creates an organi?ed following for leadership. $Coleman, '(:) Inthis way religion is similar to nationalism.$8insvall, ;1 Pentecostalism and Theology Pentecostalism is today the most popular, widespread and fastest-growing segment of Christianity. The Third 4orld, particularly in %atin 7merica and 7frica, provides the mostfertile soil for this type of religious proliferation. $#epulveda, '()( It is seen as a Fpopularreligiosity6 which spea3s the language of the masses and appeals to the native customs andculture of indigenous society thereby o@ering the F6 possibility of a particularly intensereligious experience.66 9  ...Pentecostalism is characterized by a great ability to convey the evangelicalmessage in popular language. Although it oers a deeply !elt ne" religiouse#perience that diers !rom the e#isting religiosity, its !orms o! e#pressioncorrespond to those o! popular language. This is made evident in "orship liturgiesand in Pentecostal language. $#epulveda '()( )*It6s a form of religion which grew from the conuence of several traditions within evangelicalProtestantism in the middle and later years of the nineteenth century. 1  Pentecostalismespecially in its classical form became a prominent and noticeable part of AigerianProtestantism in the *6s and )6s+ and in his neo-classical form in the '((6s and the ;' st century and today has become $or has itH the popular face of protestant Christianity. :   /ut Pentecostalism is also prone to several aws, image blemishes and institutional abuses.7s a distinctively 7merican creation = it is not immune to those fundamental aws andexcesses of 7merican society consumerism, mar3eting, salesmanship techniDues and self-centred individualism+ traits that are perfectly normal in a capitalistic society but which areout of place in a religious faith tradition. It is a brand of Christianity given to much fervency,noise, emotionality and intensity. Pentecostals were $and largely still are anti-intellectual,$2artin,'((* * ahistorical, "rst in their lac3 of interest in the history of the church and,secondly, in their lac3 of conceptuali?ation of the relation between #cripture and the culturalcontext in which it arose. ) 2odern Pentecostalism, especially the Aigerian brand, is also givento a form of existentialism, not the philosophical 3ind of existentialism, but theF6unphilosophical, practical 3ind in which Duestions of daily existence not only ta3eprecedence over but crowd out the deeper Duestions of being and truth. 4ill it wor3H66 ismore often as3ed than F6Is it trueH66 F6 5o I feel good about itH66 is felt to be more importantthan F64hat grounds are there for thin3ing thisH66F6 4ill people buy itH66 replaces F6 0ave wetested itH66 ( 7ll these have bred a lac3 of intellectual rigour, inattention to #criptural details, absence of spiritual depth and inwardness+ and, conseDuently, theological poverty. Pentecostals, as hasbeen said above, constitute a very vibrant segment of Christianity. The P<A, the umbrellabody of Aigerian Pentecostals has more voice and visibility than probably its si?e. Thus tosome extent Pentecostalism can be a mirror of what is going on in Aigeria. In this study we shall examine how the theology and practices $ orthodo#y   and, asliberation theologians would say, orthopra#is  of this segment of Christianity are capable of creating a climate of insecurity both for individuals and also the nation as a whole.Jnderstanding the faith and theology of Pentecostals, especially in Aigeria, reDuires sometact, caution, experience and close observation and scrutiny. Jsually the theology of anygroup should be embodied in its statement of belief, rule of conduct and tenets of faith. /utwith Pentecostals, researchers need to go deeper than this to study the actual practices,religious behaviour, ethical conduct, manners, characters of the leadership and foundingpersonalities, the cultic tendencies, attitude to material things, etc. Kften time it is diGcultto capture the totality of this phenomenon simply from the statement of faith because mosttime what people claim to believe is not often what they do. Aext is classi"cation speci"cally what group of churches does this study coverH JsuallyPentecostals are classi"ed into three groups '  the classical Pentecostals,$ such as 5eeper%ife, 2<2, CC>, Loe, 4inners, Christ Embassy etcthe charismatic movement in thetraditional churches $e.g Catholic Charismatic enewal, >ospel /aptists etc and theindigenous Lion-type churches, the 7ladura Pentecostals $ such as C7C, CM#, CK%7 etc The"rst group has been further subdivided into three using 7iyegboyin and 7son?eh '' model as 0oliness 2ovements,$the 5eeper %ife /ible Church is a good example the ProsperityChurches $ li3e 4inners Chapel, Christ Embassy etc and the 5eliverance 2inistries$ 2ountain of <ire and 2iracles 2inistries is a good example <or the purpose of this studywe shall dwell on the last two groupings- the  prosperity and deliverance churches, althoughin a general sense much of the observable lapses also appear in other variants of Pentecostals. Stating the Problem  Aigerians are said to be among the most religious in the world. Aigeria has probably one of the highest numbers of churches per sDuare area. 2ore 7nglicans and 2ethodists go tochurch in Aigeria than in England, the birth place of 7nglicanism and 2ethodism. #ome of the crowds that turn out to grace the /onn3e crusades in this nation are unbelievable. /utthis is where the trouble is. <acts, as %enin once said, are stubborn things. #tatistics is not onour side. Aigeria also has one of the worst human su@ering indices in the world, it is one of the most corrupted nation on earth based on corruption-perception index. '; %ife expectancyin Aigeria is 1).1 years, unarguably one of the worst in 7frica and the world. 7bout *percent of Aigerians live below the poverty line surviving on only about N' per day andabout * million have no access to portable water. Aigeria also loses about '.;million out of the =.;million babies born yearly and about ' million children of school age arepermanently out of school+ all of which have necessitated the remar3 that Aigeria is todayone of the worst nations for a child to be born. Aigeria also has one of the sharpestineDualities in the world. Even though Aigeria earns billions of naira daily from crude oil thisbene"t does not even percolate to the masses as, according to 4orld /an3 report, )O of the money bene"ts only ' O of the Aigerian population. '9  7ll these in a nation where religionis the second nature and where >od is on every lips. 0ow does this a@ect Christians and PentecostalsH 4here is the church in all theseH Kf course the church is, in a sense, part of the problem. euben 7bati the former ace columnistof the $uardian has observed F6that nearly every ban3 chief that was indicted in the recentsha3e-up in the ban3ing sector is a Christian.66 '1  The female 2anaging 5irector of a ban3who was convicted of stealing or misappropriating about A'1b of depositors6 fund thusputting her ban3 at ris3 and sending many shareholders into needless pain is a Pentecostaland member of one of the Fexpressway churches.6 The IAEC commissioner in whose accountbillions of naira were discovered at his death was a pastor in the edeemed Christian Churchof >od+ even though he was also discovered to have a second wife. ':  0ow about the one whocollects stolen money from a ban3 sta@ and was called a F6pastor of thief66 '= H Expectedly, Aigerians are as3ing Duestions #hould this be the result of religionH #houldreligion ma3e a person better or worseH Is religion a positive agent, a catalyst of progress orof decay and corruptionH #hould a Christian be morally di@erent from a non-Christian, in thelight of the Cross, or notH If the brand of Christianity currently in vogue, especially itsPentecostal brand, is genuine how come it has not impacted this nation positivelyH 0owcome that the more religious Aigerians are becoming, the worse in character they alsobecomeH These are right Duestions, legitimate Duestions. It is a fault, and a very serious fault andaw, in our scholarship that no theologian or scholar has attempted radical answers to someof these observable aws in the religion of the present day. &olume of critiDues have beenprinted and published in newspapers and maga?ines against the church in Aigeria in generaland the Pentecostal movement in particular, their principles, lifestyles, leadership stylesetc. '* It is sad that for the most part these critiDues have gone unrefuted or unanswered byboth the Pentecostals themselves or their apologists- a case of being guilty as charged. In this paper an attempt will be made to explain how Christianity, especially in its modernPentecostal brand, by its new teachings, practices and certain aspects of its populartheology is capable of endangering collective security+ and why religion generally is nolonger producing saints but recycling sinners. In this study we shall focus on "ve ma!or areas
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