THE TREATMENT OF THE POOR IN THE PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES IN NIGERIA IN THE LIGHT LUKE OF 16:19-31

Stella Patrick Essien, Itohowo Christopher Edem

Abstract


Nigerians, both Christians and non-Christians alike, are entangled in the web of poverty, which is both palpable and agonizing. Thus, the country is an example of a nation characterized by mass poverty in the midst of plenty. In the midst of this intransigent poverty is the affluence and stupendous wealth of the Pentecostal congregations. Extravagant lifestyles of rich pastors, gigantic buildings, exotic cars and private jets are the hallmarks of the Pentecostal church’s wealth. Some pastors acquire jets, own houses in choicest cities and travel to any country of their choice for medical care and relaxations. Surrounded by this “affluence” are thousands of poor, unemployed and barely surviving church members who are forced to endure a variety of excruciating situations and deplorable circumstances in order to provide for their families. This calls for the need to examine what the Lukan Jesus would have wanted the church to do with her wealth. Employing a comparative and exegetical methods, this paper examines the treatment of the poor in the Pentecostal churches vis-à-vis the Lukan parables of the rich man and Lazarus. The paper points out that, unlike the rich man in the passage, if the rich Christians in Pentecostal churches should provide the necessary accoutrements that make life easy and enjoyable to their poor brethren, it will help bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in the church, consequently, giving the poor a sense of belonging in the church.


Keywords


Pentecostal church, Treatment, Poor, Rich man, Parable.

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