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‘Tithing is biblical; it’s needed to build God’s kingdom’
by SEYI HJOHN SALAU
December 3, 2017 | 5:39 pm| | | Start Conversation
Apostle Joseph Agboli, General Overseer, The Victorious Army Ministries International, and his wife, Pastor Blessing Agboli, recently hosted a media parley for the church’s 2017 Bethel Convention. They spoke on some key issues in Christendom in relation to tithing and what churches should be doing to impact the society. SEYI HJOHN SALAU was there.
The issue of tithing or no tithing as a biblical injunction has recently come to the front burner in public discourse among Nigerians. What is your take on tithing?
I do not know what gave the young man [Daddy Freeze] the notion to want to challenge tithe. If you believe in the blessings of the Old Testament, you must also believe in the instructions of the Old Testament. We cannot take just the blessings and throw away the instructions. People of this generation do not want to refer to the Old Testament. Jesus said He has not come to abolish the law. This means there is a laid-down law of what you need to do as a Christian, though we walk in the era of grace. There are things a child of God needs to adhere to in order to access some blessings. So tithing is biblical. I think the man who challenged tithing is seeking attention of Daddy G.O. and he has not given him that attention.
I do not want to believe that he woke up one day seeking to change the doctrine of the church. Some call it a revolution, I do not see it as that; I think he has opened more doors for people to understand the importance of tithe. I am not seeing it from the negative aspect but the positive aspect. I am praying for him. He has read the scriptures and quotes the scriptures, but he has not yet understood the revelation of what he is talking about. Until he has acquired knowledge from reading the scriptures, what he is saying will not hold any water as far as I am concerned. He has made the Christian belief on tithing stronger because people are getting to study and know the importance of tithe – why they should tithe or not tithe.
For me, it is time for a wakeup call that tithing is important because for us to build the kingdom, there must be meat in God’s house. Even unbelievers have their way of tithing. The meat must come into the house of God, whether we are using it to feed the poor, building rehabilitation centres, or helping the congregation because the poor will not finish in the land. Let us give him time. As things unfold, you might just see him preaching or opening a church because he is going to be tested by what he has preached to the world, which brought about quarrel.
Corruption and embezzlement of funds are alleged to be getting common among clerics these days, with some even said to be in the custody of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). What is responsible for this?
Whether in church or mosque, people are people. I was complaining to my mother in the Lord the other day and she said she wanted me to build a pyramid to ensure that what I do not want to happen at the bottom must not happen at the top. That has been my watchword. Talking about spirituality and money, the pressure of life and family has made a lot of people to lose their integrity. It is very difficult to be a Nigerian, I am sorry to say this, because Nigeria does not take care of you; you take care of yourself and extended family. The pressure from your extended to immediate family is very suffocating. Each time I see a Nigerian in the world, I applaud them because of the strength and ability they have. We are one nation that can shoulder anything and move on as if nothing is happening.
Many preachers are no longer after salvation of souls but are rather living in so much luxury, turning the church into a money-spinner. Why is this so?
Some years ago, a guy told me he wanted to travel to Germany and I asked him how much it would cost and he answered. So I helped him realize that. Then about a year ago, he e-mailed me that he wanted to send me a car and I asked where he got the money from within six months. He answered that he worked and saved the money for the car. I told him, ‘You know what? Send the money to me.’ He did. Should I throw the money away so that you won’t judge me? Whatever I spend it on is my concern. What is important is this: is God okay with what you are doing? If yes, then go ahead. The critics help you to be careful not even to move forward. You have to know that people are watching and you must manage your excesses. So when they criticize like that, I weigh the options, I welcome the criticisms and advise myself. Not all the voices of critics are wrong; they are warning you against what Satan has planned for your future. Satan speaks through his people as God speaks through his people. I think the church is doing its best at the moment. The church is trying but we do not celebrate what it is doing. I think we should do more within the confines of the church. We need to do more outside the church. Church leaders must step out of the church and do more. Our love should transcend beyond the walls of the church.
Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke recently held a farewell crusade in Lagos. What do you think of his visits to Nigeria?
What he came to do was like a wakeup call; ministry is not for one man but one man can make a change. I am sure when you went to school someone influenced you. You saw someone who was successful and you wanted to be like that person. God will always use one person to influence others. He came to influence the believers and unbelievers that Jesus is coming soon; to remember that the word of God is still working, sickness is not for us and poverty is not for us. We live in the world but what happens to the world should not happen to the children of God. Governments of all nations are upon the shoulder of Christ. If God is in charge of our lives with Jesus Christ as our advocate, there is need for us to live above the physical happenings of Nigeria.
How has the convention in your church impacted the lives of participants?
In every convention, we take care of people. I personally supervise this. For 22 years that we have been in the ministry, we have always taken care of the poor. That is why we go to the streets and do rallies. During these rallies, we win souls and we mentor, train them if need be. Our present location, Acme road, used to be a den of ritualists and robbers; we saw body parts on daily basis when we came here in 1997. And I said to God, ‘How can we stop robbers and ritualists from this route?’ So God gave me a vision and I started taking people from the streets and I can tell you that we have over 1,000 people that have passed through this ministry; those who went to Bible school dropped the gun, those who are now married and doing very well. We have rehabilitated more numbers than I can count. One day, I was driving around ‘Universal’ by 1pm and the Lord asked me to park my car. I spoke to some guys, about 64 of them. They followed me and I took them to Boulus Company down the road and I bought them motor bikes. I bailed the ones already in jail; I took some to the rehabilitation centre in Ikoyi. The ones who did not have money to get married, I assisted them and many of them are doing very well abroad.
We have done quite a lot. Even some Sundays ago, we gave out bags of rice. Over 144 people are on our scholarship list from primary to university level. We do not need to know their parents. There are elderly people from the age of 60 that we placed on salary. These are the few things and we are trusting God for more in ensuring that people get off the streets.
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