OF BALANCED TEACHINGS AND EXTREMITIES
One of the most profound book I have read in the last twenty years of my life was a book written by glen bland on SUCCESS. The central theme of the book was about finding balance in the pursuits of our lives goals and calling. This prompted him to define success as balanced living. Those who are successful financially but have had to divorce three times are only successful to a certain measure as they have not been able to find the right balance to juggle every area of their lives without one inflicting pain on the other. The word balance, from that moment onward stuck. For life will always present extremes, wise navigators of the journey of life knows how to strike the balance between all the extremities that life presents.
Few years down the line I picked on the book, THE MIDAS TOUCH, by Kenneth E Hagin of blessed memory. It contains an awful lot of teachings about financial prosperity in the kingdom. He did a masterpiece in putting into perspectives all the factors that are responsible for financial prosperity. The book simply oozes the word: BALANCE! Indeed, it was for that purpose the book was written, to provide a balanced view of what the word has to say about financial prosperity because frankly before the book came out majority of the books written on this subject tends to be overtly devoted to just giving and receiving. But prospering in the kingdom requires much more and the book did well in highlighting all the covenant factors that makes for our prosperity.
The chapter of the book that got the most of my attention was chapter seven where he talked about balance and sound teachings! And in that chapter, he observed and said: ‘FOR SOME REASON, IT SEEMS LIKE THE HARDEST THING IN THE WORLD FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST IS TO STAY BALANCED ON A SUBJECT’. In the past we have had some extreme teachings that wholly emphasize on giving tithes and offering as the only way to financial prosperity, but as time went on some balance was provided by another move of God where the body of Christ in the land begin to come to the awareness of hard work, creativity, the need for saving and investing and creating businesses. Such move was pioneered by books like PARABLES OF DOLLARS, STARTS WITH WHAT YOU HAVE and host of other books from other authors. Now from BREAKING FINANCIAL HARDSHIP to PARABLE OF DOLLARS, the church of Jesus Christ in the land became armed with both spiritual truths and common-sense strategies for financial breakthroughs and intentional wealth creation.
The result of that balanced approach to financial prosperity is the present glorious church that we see in Nigeria today, no longer as poor as a church rat. Even the government of the land could no longer ignore the church. This is the type of church Jesus had in mind, ‘a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle’ (Ephesians 5:26). And now don’t tell me that scripture has just spiritual connotations alone, it has both spiritual and physical. The church will be cleaned spiritually as it will also be cleaned physically. Nothing is glorious about poverty! So, todays churches are not poor, because with wealth comes power for expansion for the gospel. Now this is a threat to the devil!
The devil will only want you to hear that which will pollute your mind, he will let you know of how the pastors of these churches are jet flying, mega institution building pastors. Really, I believe in moderation, but I also believe in getting what you have the capacity for. If a church has been so blessed to put jet in the air to advance the gospel of Jesus, then so be it. Didn’t Isaiah said in Isaiah 60:8 that they will ask who are those that fly like doves in the air! That is our destiny as the church of Jesus, to ride upon the high places of the earth!
‘Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 58:14).
If the demands of ministry require for such necessities and the ministry or church can bear it, then let it be so. But that’s the aspect the devil will only want you to see, he will not allow your mind to see how the church is directly impacting on its immediate environment. The transformation of koma hills today is largely down to the charity work of the church! Millions are on scholarships provided by the church. Many budding entrepreneurs have been so supported financially and groomed from the church. Many widows and orphans supported. Many roads built by churches. There are a lot the church is doing for the good of the society that will not be publicised because the church of Jesus Christ unlike the politicians of our day will not put on camera and national TVs what she is doing daily to alleviate the sufferings of millions of people in the society!
The Church has it weakness and fault, Jesus is aware of that, so he said he will continue to wash the body until it becomes a church without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:26). But equally this present church, this present prosperous church has been a massive blessing to the society more than any other church before it, not because it is perfect, but because we are right in the middle of God’s agenda and we are just privileged to be right in the centre of that move and be part of it. But this the devil will want you to ignore.
I Love the Church of Jesus, it is the most beautiful institution he has given to humanity. He was the one who first use the word ‘CHURCH’. In Matthew 16:16-19, he said there, ‘I will build my church and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it’. The present church, in whatever form it is today, is still been built by Jesus and the gate of hell shall not prevail against it. Now follow my thoughts, when the prosperity gospel started, it was all about giving to the extreme and then God raised wise teachers who provided balance opening our eyes to the importance of creativity, hard work, entrepreneurship, saving and investment. And from there on the church was put on a good stead to dominate the economy of the land. Indeed, this is the pattern that God has used over the ages to advance the church. He brings apostles, extremists to kick start the move of God, that is especially sometimes after the church has been in one spiritual lethargy or the other. There after this he will send teachers who will bring balance to what the Apostles have espoused and preached vigorously about at the beginning.
Quoting from Donald Gee in his articles for the voice of Healing titled, ‘EXTREMES ARE SOMETIMES NECESSARY’, he said the following.
‘There has to be an extremism to move things…Miracles of Healings occur when faith refuses to be logical, and blinds itself to arguments, based on plenty of contrary experience and more balanced teaching…we need extremism for a miracle of healing, but we need balanced sanity for health. We need extreme fervour to launch a movement, but we need the repudiation of extremes to save it from self-destruction. Only a wisdom from above can reveal the perfect synthesis. It takes Pentecostal genius to know when and where an extreme doctrine or practise must be modified to a more balanced view, and where, on the other hand, the broad lines of truth must be temporarily narrowed into an extreme emphasis upon one point to ensure a dynamic powerful enough to move things for God’
This has been the pattern with which Jesus has moved his church over the years. We have had the move of the Spirit, and then we have the move of the word. There was a time it was all about prayer and prayer. And then the movement of the word came, it’s all about the word and the word and the word and that gave birth to the present wave of bible believing and charismatic churches. But there is another move in the offing that will combine both, the move of the word and prayer, both finding the right balance and that is just about starting. The glorious days of the church of Jesus Christ are still ahead.
Therefore, this present move by some people that I will not acknowledge by names or title is not based on the truth and the pattern with which God has moved his church! Yes, there have been some extreme teachings on the tithes, where people have been told they are cursed, where pastors has compelled people to pay it. It has been extreme. But if God is to correct that move it is not by starting another move that says: ‘paying your tithe is not biblical…any church that collects tithe is a sin…. paying tithe is a sin…. don’t give your tithes to the church give them all to the poor’. These are all extreme teachings that are as worse, if not more worse, like those that says if you don’t pay your tithes you are cursed! They are all without sound and balanced biblical judgements, they bother on heretical teachings that emphasizes one aspect of the bible over the other! Sound biblical reasoning puts the word into balance perspective. God does not correct one extreme teaching with another extreme teaching! He is a God of balance.
Any teaching that says don’t give your tithe to the church is false and heretical, quote this anywhere. Because our tithes, twenties, thirties, are giving to the lord. And the lord today, Jesus our lord, is represented here on the earth today by his Church. And not just by the church, by his servants, his people, and the poor among them! When Saul persecuted the church in Acts 9, Jesus appeared and ask him in verse 4 ‘why do you persecute me?’. The church represents the lord, just like the poor. The balance and sound teacher and teaching is the one that will tell you to give to the church and to also give to the poor, not the one that places one over the other!
The balance teacher will not tell you that there is no tithe, but that much more today we that have been recipient of this manifold grace of God should not be limited to ten percent, but should give much more not by compulsion or regulation of the law but by revelation of faith! Although the majority of biblical references to the tithe are clearly part of the old covenant, the fact of the matter is that tithing was not introduced under the law. It was merely regulated under the law. Tithing originated as an act of faith and faith transcends both the old and new covenants! And ‘by faith’ is how we should tithe today, and even give much more – not as act of legalism but as an act of faith!
This is what a balance teacher who has sound and balanced reasoning in the word of God will tell you. God uses extremism to shake the church out of lethargy and uses balance to restore it to order and reasoning.