7 Demons That Attack the Church

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Read Time:25 Minute, 1 Second

When we begin to look at the seven churches described in the Book of Revelation, we discover specific demonic strongholds that can be found at church. Let’s take a look at these spirits.

Spirit of Religion (Revelation 2:4–5, 7)

The church at Ephesus had “left their first love” (Rev. 2:4). They were doctrinally sound and had everything in order but they had lost their passion for God. When you turn to Acts 19 to look at “first works” and “first love” you discover an astounding truth.

At the birth of the Ephesian church they were baptizing in water, laying hands on the people for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, magnifying God in tongues, casting out demons, healing with prayer cloths, and being evicted from the old order.

The church at Ephesus had every element of church life in order and they were a hard working congregation. Yet the fire, the passion, the love had gone out of it. We see now that religion had taken over with its dull duty and tired traditionalism. The power of God was missing; demons were no longer leaving, tongues were absent, miracles were simply a memory. A loveless routine of religious works had replaced the power and passion of the Holy Spirit.

Who can deny the present reality of this deadening demon of religion? Many churches like Samson have been shorn of their power by the Delilah’s of religion! Now blind to spiritual things, we grind out our religious activities and traditions with no transforming power. This demon must be exposed and expelled.

Spirit of Intimidation (Revelation 2:10–11)

The church at Smyrna endured persecution, and many members suffered martyrdom. With this threat, Satan tries to strike fear in the hearts of believers by sending intimidation to frighten us away from faithfulness to God and His Word. Remember Simon Peter warming himself by the enemy’s fire on the night of Jesus’ arrest? This faithful disciple was intimidated by his surroundings and the questioning voice of a little servant girl. Today the church is silent and cowed down before the world and its governments. This demon must be cast down!

Spirit of Compromise (Revelation 2:12, 14–17)

Pergamos was the capital city of the province of Asia mentioned in Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia. It was a celebrated city of Mysia in the Caicus valley, 15 miles from the Aegean Sea about 60 miles north of Smyrna. The river Selinus flowed through it and the river Caicus ran just south of it. This city was rich in historical and literary heritage with a library which boasted well over 200,000 volumes, topped only by the library in Alexandria.

The city had a “pet” god in Asklepion, an idol symbolized by a snake who called himself a savior. They believed that their god incarnated into the area snakes, so serpents were allowed to slither freely around the temple. Those who desired healing spent the night in the darkness of the temple, hoping a snake would crawl over them. The city was an outpost to Greek civilization and was home to the temples of many other deities.

Can you see the parallels of the secular plight in America and its churches? Most churches operate in a community or environment that is controlled by Satan rather than God. What can a church do when ministry becomes difficult? Can we allow the snakes of secular humanism to slither through our congregations? Compromise is not the answer. We cannot become comfortable with the sin around us!

The church of Jesus must take active steps to stand strong in our lost and dying world!

We must recognize the conflict. Jesus pointed out that the city was the church’s dwelling place or permanent residence. To flee was not an option. Instead, He advised them to settle into service and draw the battle lines. Paul recognized the need for battle-readiness when he penned Ephesians 6. The armor of God is needed in the middle of war. Most of all, the church must go forward under the name and banner of Jesus, never operating in their own strength, for in the flesh the enemy could find weakness.

We must repent of compromise. The church at Pergamos had some weaknesses to be dealt with. There were doctrinal problems along with problems with some of their deacons and leadership. One in particular is mentioned, Nicholas, who began teaching heresy, and leading others into sin. How sad when a leader goes bad and quits truly serving the Lord! Often times they lead others astray and take others with them. Yet another conflict in the Pergamos church was a discipline problem. They tolerated the mess they were in by overlooking the sin in their own camp. Jesus called them to repentance. Another problem that arose was the spirit of Balaam. To give you some history of this, Balak, the pagan king, literally bought the prophet Balaam’s ministry. Balak eventually sent women to seduce the men of Israel, thus bringing judgment upon them. It was Balaam that sold out the people of God. In keeping the spirit of Balaam, too often today, money has become the goal and prize of many in the church. Popular preaching has replaced prophetic preaching. Image has replaced anointing and the church is reduced to no more than a place where pop psychology tickles the ears of its parishioners on Sundays. The image-makers and the politically correct have dulled the sword of the churches and its men of God.

We must rely on Christ. The Pergamos church needed to rely on their Savior, who provided the weapon of the sword of the Spirit, His own word. This is the weapon we claim as Christians. The popular “Star Wars” phenomenon has had two generations of children captured in imaginative play with light sabers, defending the galaxy as Jedi Knights! The movies show the young Jedi apprentice was carefully taught to use his weapon, to guard it, to perfect its use. In the same way, we must cling to the Word of God as our weapon—it has a power that is supernatural and effective against the onslaughts of Satan. Our weapons are not carnal (2 Cor. 10:4) but mighty in God, and Satan can be defeated by the power of the Word.

Overcomers are promised gifts. Jesus promised this church that those who didn’t succumb to the sins around them—not eating things offered to idols and partaking in sin—these faithful would eat hidden manna, the blessing of Jesus Himself. They are promised the presence of Jesus in the barren wasteland of the world’s wilderness. He also promised this church that He would set a white stone, promising acquittal, acceptance, and acclaim. The new name upon this stone was Jesus!

Spirit of Jezebel (Control) (Revelation 2:18-20, 26)

A war goes on in today’s church, and the battle lines are drawn. One of the most powerful spirits at work in this ongoing battle is the spirit of Jezebel or control. First Kings tells the story of the woman for whom this spirit is named.

Known as the wife of King Ahab and a follower of the false god Baal, the scriptures regarded Ahab’s marriage to this woman as a horrible sin: “He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him” (1 Kings 16:31, niv).

Jezebel ordered a “hit” on the innocent man Naboth so that she could obtain his prize vineyard. Not only was this murder, but it broke God’s land covenant with His people. In addition to her disrespect for ordinary people and their property, she hated the prophets of God. Scripture says, “While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.” (1 Kings 18:4, NIV)

Later, Jezebel pursued the prophet Elijah following the great contest where God sent fire from heaven and defeated the prophets of Baal. Her relentless pursuit drove the prophet into depression and suicidal thoughts.

Jezebel’s character was wicked, controlling, sexually immoral, murderous, and demonic! It is astounding that the same strong spirit was still operating in Revelation 2:20 and still operates in today’s church. In every congregation we find those who want to control, manipulate, and subvert the men and women of God.

Recognizing the spirit

This spirit is basically the spirit of domination or an unwillingness to cohabit peacefully. This is not about women or liberation, for this spirit can attach itself to a man or a woman. Many may think that this spirit is identified with sexuality, believing that a woman who looks a certain way is a “Jezebel” in her character. But this is not so. A wolf can easily hide in sheep’s clothing.

When you find a spirit of Jezebel operating, you will also find an “Ahab” nearby, or someone in leadership who is allowing the spirit access and control.

The strategy of Jezebel

The tool this spirit uses is manipulation. In 1 Kings 21, we learn that King Ahab would pout when he did not get his own way. He had seen a vineyard that he greatly desired, but the owner would not give up his precious property, even to the king. As King Ahab lay on his bed sulking, Jezebel assured him she would get him what he wanted. This powerful woman had introduced pagan worship into her kingdom, and now she was not below killing to obtain the things she needed to gain more power.

The seat of Jezebel

Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

—Revelation 2:20

When the spirit of Jezebel begins to manifest in the church, it seeks a high seat in the church or a place of dominance. Usually it will manifest in someone who wants to teach or lead, usually leading them astray! To find that place of leadership, Jezebel must look and act in a spiritual manner.

One of these spirits operated in Moses and Aaron’s day. Numbers 16 tells us, “Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men; and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?’” (Num. 16:1–3).

Korah was operating in the spirit of Jezebel, with Dathan and Abiram operating as his power core, and 250 other princes as a structure under them. Moses took immediate action—he fell on his face before God and prayed. Following his prayer, he confronted the spirit, saying, “Is it a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the work of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to serve them; and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking the priesthood also?” (Num. 16:9–10).

Judgment came to this Jezebel spirit—an earthquake came and took the three evil leaders and fire consumed all the rest.

Jezebel’s targets

The controlling spirit wiggles into the church, bent on destroying and undermining the very things that we hold dear as believers. Through manipulation, domination, and control, the spirit begins its battle against the body of Christ.

First, this spirit hates the prophets, the true leaders of God. She cannot control them, and when she tries to win their approval and fails, she will stop at nothing to try and kill them.

In addition, the spirit of Jezebel hates the preaching of the Word. She can’t cope with its message. She will try to either reduce the messenger or the message.

The controlling spirit also hates the praise of the church. During times of true, powerful worship, her carnality is exposed. In 1 Kings when the prophet Elijah prayed fire down from heaven against the prophets of Baal and Jezebel’s schemes, praise broke out (1 Kings 18:39). Jezebel had lost, and the praises of God filled the air.

A Jezebel spirit also hates the preeminence of Christ. There is no way to compete against it. The first time “preeminence” is mentioned is in Colossians 1:18: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (kjv). However, the second time we find the word, a Jezebel spirit is attempting to control a body of believers. “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not” (3 John 1:9, kjv).

Banish the spirit

If you sense this spirit is at work in your church, it is important to see the enemy as spiritual, not fleshly. Don’t hate the person being controlled by the spirit of Jezebel, recognize that it is a spiritual power—one that God must fight. Let your prayer be, “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chron. 20:12).

Spirit of Traditionalism (Revelation 3:1–6)

For centuries the church has been the victim of rumors, hostility, and, what we call in this day and age, negative press. Churches often have to survive this hostile environment; however, outward hostility is not the greatest threat to a local church! Very often the greatest danger comes from within!

The Sardis church lived in a favorable environment with a great reputation. However, in Christ’s letter to this church, He ignored their human reputation and told this church they were listed in the obituary!

Environment of death

The city of Sardis was a city of wealth. History tells us that in 550 b.c., King Croesus found gold in the city’s river and issued the first gold coins in history! Even in New Testament times, gold could be found all along its rivers.

In addition to its wealth, the city was known for its paganism. The favored idol was Cybele, and worshippers of this pagan god participated in wild, frenzied worship that included sexual immorality.

Remarkably, the community was at peace, for the inhabitants were comfortable in their self-sufficiency. This peaceful self-sufficiency had also invaded the church in Sardis; it became the peace of death. A peaceful coexistence with the city and its wickedness had settled into the church and all they had left was their reputation.

Evidence of a church’s death

Viewers of our television broadcast often write and ask, “How can I find a good church in my area? How can I tell if a church is alive and healthy?” A dead church has some basic characteristics that are spotted easily.

Ignores the Holy Spirit. When the complete work of God’s Spirit isn’t embraced in a church, that body is already headed for the grave. Jesus told the church at Sardis that they had a spirit of religion and didn’t have the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit will not be managed or controlled by religious tradition or preferences! John 3:8 says, “The wind blows where it wills…so is every one who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

Lack of godly leadership. The “seven stars” mentioned in Revelation 3 stands for the messengers or pastors of the seven churches addressed in the letters. What the church in Sardis needed was a leader who was called by God and served Him whole-heartedly. Too many churches today fail to get God’s man. Several times a month our church offices receive requests from pastor-less churches that have been searching for a replacement. If these churches choose a pastor by his reputation, resume, physical appearance, or even recommendation, they may find later that they’ve made a big mistake. As important as background information is, the fruit issued in a pastor’s life and his walk with the Spirit of God is what should be investigated. The superficial doesn’t matter as much as the supernatural. Hiring solely on superficial facts may result in a short-tenured, flash in the pan, or morally bankrupt leader.

Reputation over reality. Sardis was a busy, working church with a good name—but it had death upon it. They were an organization, but not a living organism. Sadly, they were so caught up in their reputation they didn’t even realize that they had died. One winter night I noticed our house becoming colder and colder, even though I had turned our heat on full power. I called upon our faithful church grounds supervisor to take a look at the gas-heating unit, and he discovered the pilot light had gone out. The blower was blowing, but the fire was out. Going to church is good, if you meet God. Worship is good if it brings on God’s presence. Giving is good if we have first given ourselves. Prayer is good, but “if we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us.” Form without force is death to a church. It is like a store window containing lots of fluff and finery, but hiding an empty stockroom.

Growth in numbers without growth in people. The letter to Sardis indicated that even Christians who had life in the Sardis church were dying in the cold environment. Churches must offer ministry that encourages its members to grow in the Lord.

Ministry and work incomplete. Beginning a new program or outreach is easy; seeing it to completion is much more difficult! A dead church is a graveyard of partially fulfilled goals and half-baked programs. These skeletons are evidence that they went “partway” with the Lord and then backed up and sat down. A church that goes backward is doomed to death.

Escape from death! To eliminate the spirit of religion from your church, the leadership should gather and repent of religious death. Together they should acknowledge that Jesus’ kingdom is coming, and there will be an accounting for what they accomplish in His name. In almost any dead church, there are a handful of believers who do live in triumph and desire to be alive in God. This team of people should be lifted up and encouraged. Stay with the winning crowd! Finally, rebuke the religious pride that strangles your church. Reject the love of religion and its rules and reputation, and fall in love with Jesus. Determine to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in all decision-making regarding the church, and let His Word edify, rule, and reign from the pulpit.

Spirit of Inferiority (Revelation 3:7–8, 12)

Many times a pastor will contact me about a speaking engagement at a church, and he will begin by saying almost apologetically, “We are just a small church…” His tone implied a sense of weakness or inability. But there is nothing “little” or “insignificant” in the kingdom of God!

At the other end of the spectrum is the church that thinks they have all the answers, who loves to proclaim their statistics and numbers but are satisfied with mediocre efforts as long as they bring the church notoriety and recognition.

God deals strongly with the church in Revelation 3: “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name” (Rev. 3:10–12).

Too many churches and individuals use their supposed weakness as an excuse for failing to advance the cause of Christ. Such notions and statements are foreign to the New Testament portrait of the church. I am convinced that such an attitude is not only false and hurtful but also demonic in its origin. There is a stronghold of inferiority, self-pity, and weakness. The enemy deceives those manifesting this spirit by making them think their attitudes are actually meekness and humility. This counterfeit humility is debilitating to the kingdom of God, crippling the advance of the gospel, and it insults the Holy Spirit.

The church at Philadelphia was at risk to be overtaken by such a spirit. If they were ever to become a “pillar” in the kingdom, they would have to overcome the spirit.

The scripture sets forth the church as a victorious company. Matthew 16:18 declares, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” In his great prayer for the church in Ephesians 3:14–21, Paul ends with this benediction, “Now to Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages” (Eph. 3:20–21).

It is “in the church” that Jesus looses His divine ability, energy, and glory. The answer to our inferiority is His superiority! It is not in trying harder, but in trusting wholly that His work is accomplished.

The church at Philadelphia had “a little strength” (Rev. 3:8). Greek culture, international commerce, and religious diversity dominated them. The pagan goddess Dionysus was worshiped. This ancient Greek god of wine was credited with inspiring ritual madness and ecstasy. Worship of Dionysus was thought to bring an end to care and worry. The city was also a center of orthodox Jewish worship.

This small church could have surrendered to the pressures around them. Yet they did not! They received the wonderful encouragement in Revelation, and history tells us that for nearly 1400 years, this city stood as a Christian city in the face of Muslim pressure. It was only after centuries of courageous resistance that the city was overthrown by an unholy military alliance of Byzantine and Muslim forces.

How did this church overcome inferiority and have a ministry that would last for 1400 years? They came to know the Lord of Opportunity (Rev. 3:7–8). Obedience always leads to opportunity! God promised this church the “key of David.” With God’s favor and their dependence upon His superiority, nothing could stop this body of believers!

Spirit of Pride (Revelation 3:14–17, 21)

Revelation 3 also issues a charge to the church at Laodicea. This city was a wealthy and prosperous one. So vast was their wealth that when an earthquake destroyed the city, they required no outside help to recover! Tacitus, the Roman historian, recorded, “Laodicea arose from the ruins by the strength of its own resources.”

The city was famous for the dark, black wool they produced and was known as the center for fine wool in the ancient world. Laodicea also boasted a famous medical school, having produced two of the most popular medicines for treatment of eye and ear maladies. In short, this city was pompous and full of pride.

But here in Revelation 3, years have passed and now the church in Laodicea has fallen into a rut of mediocrity. The Lord Jesus Himself renders the verdict on this church. What was His appraisal? This lukewarm church was nauseating Him! What had happened to this church to make it slide into a state of mediocrity?

Lost fervency

Sadly, this church reflects the state of many American churches today. Not too cold…not too hot. Not too bad…not too good. Not too faithful…not too unfaithful. The Laodicea church was an ordinary church that had warmth but no fire. If asked about their work, they would say, “We are holding our own.”

Jesus is sickened by the mediocre. He would rather a church be as cold as the Arctic or as hot as the Sahara. In God’s work, there should be no place for “just getting by.”

Elijah recognized this need for commitment when he challenged Israel at the contest of the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. He shouted to the congregation, “If Baal be God, serve him, but if the Lord be God, serve Him!” Standing in the middle was not an option.

A complacent church is a disappointment to Jesus! Laodicea had lost the fire of love for Jesus and for lost souls. The altar fires of prayer were in need of rekindling. It was business as usual week after week. They needed to pray!

The great hymn by Gene Bartlett should be the earnest prayer of the church needing a fresh fervency:

 

O for a passion for souls, dear Lord!

O for a pity that yearns!

O for a love that loves unto death!

O for a fire that burns!

Lost faith

The Laodicean church had tried to become self-sufficient. They boasted of wealth, increase of goods, and that they needed nothing, not even the Lord. They were cursed by their wealth.

When the great Thomas Aquinas visited the Vatican, the Pope escorted him through the vast corridors and vaults adorned with jewels and gold. The Pope commented, “No longer do we say, ‘Silver and gold have I none.” Aquinas replied, “Neither do you say, ‘In the name of Jesus, Rise and walk!’”

A church’s reach must exceed its grasp. An ever-enlarging vision must be forged. The challenges we take should be beyond our resources, so that our reliance and faith remains upon God. Our dreams and our plans should be God-sized.

When God blesses financially, the church should give more to missions, build a needed building, add another staff member, and have the faith to stretch those resources to their limit.

Unfortunately, the Laodicean church did not really see their true condition. God said they were “wretched, poor, blind, naked”—they were pitiful in the sight of God. They were without riches and spiritually blind in God’s eyes. He looked at them and saw them as they really were: spiritually bankrupt.

Lost fear

This church no longer trembled in the presence of a righteous God. There was no remorse recorded for their failures. Jesus warns them by giving three motives to repent: His love, His rebuke, and His chastening rod. These three things could provide the motivation to set this church on the right track.

Lost fellowship

Jesus was standing and knocking outside the door of this church. At one point, He had been shut out; He was no longer the center of things. The church had no basis for fellowship with other churches because Jesus Christ was the only common ground among the fellowship of churches. Without Him, a church can have a “get together” without really being together in unity! “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

The presence of Jesus Christ is the ground of all true fellowship, but too many churches have shut Him out.

God’s Promise and Plea

Jesus keeps on knocking, hoping that someone in the church will open the door. When that happens, it sets the stage for revival and fellowship can be restored. A seat at the Lord’s table is promised when we welcome Him at ours. We can share in His glorious reign! So, let us blaze and burn for Him until He comes in the blaze of His glory.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Pope Francis: church shouldn’t fear structural renewal

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Read Time:5 Minute, 27 Second

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis called for structural renewal in the Catholic church to keep up with the times, although advising future priests and nuns Saturday to shun costly trappings like the latest smart phones so they can use more resources to help the poor.

Francis has been waging a campaign to root out corruption and power plays in the Vatican's bureaucracy and to keep sight of what is essential in the church he was elected in March to lead.

The Argentine-born pontiff offered the encouragement for renewal in a homily during Mass Saturday at the Vatican City hotel where he lives. Francis told Catholics "not to be afraid of renewing some structures" to accord with "the places, the times" and the people, but he didn't specify what needed to be changed.

He said, "In Christian life, even in the life of the church, there are ancient structures, transient structures: It is necessary to renew them!"

Later, he gave an off-the-cuff lecture to a Vatiacn auditorium full of seminarians and novices, and to thunderous applause, told the future priests and nuns to keep "freshness" and "joy" in their lives, and took to task seminarians and novices who "are too serious, too sad. Something's not right here," Francis told his rapt audience. "There is no sadness in holiness," said Francis, saying that such clergy lack "the joy of the Lord."

"If you find a seminarian, priest, nun, with a long, sad face, if it se ems as if in their life, someone threw a wet blanket over them," you should conclude "it's a psiatric problem, they can go, 'buenos dias,''" Francis said, opting for a word in his native Spanish to indicate those clergy are not suited for their vocations.

He cautioned the future priests and nuns that he he wasn't talking about superficial joy — "the thrill of a moment doesn't really make us happy." Francis warned his audience against seeking "the joy of the world, the latest smart phone, the fastest car."

"It hurts my heart when I see a priest with the latest model car," Francis said, then joking that his audience will think "now we have to go by bicycle."

"Cars are necessary. But take a more humble one," said Francis, who from the day he took office declined to move out of the hotel during the conclave of cardinals and into the ornate Apostolic Palace that is the traditional home to pontiffs. "Think of how many children die of hunger" and dedicate the savings to them," Francis said.

While there have been calls within the church for the Vatican to ease the requirement for celibacy for priests, nuns and brothers, Francis praised chastity. "We are victims of a culture of the 'temporary,'" Francis said, adding that celibacy vows for those becoming priests or nuns should be a "definitive choice."

The Vatican allows married clergy in strictly limited cases: married men in the Eastern rite church can be ordained priests, and married Anglican clergy who later convert can stay married after joining the Catholic church.

At one point he turned to an aide and asked how much time he had with the young future priests and nuns. Told that he could stay there "until tomorrow" if he wanted, Francis joked to his audience that they would need "sandwiches and Coke if we go till tomorrow," drawing roars of laughter. In the end, he spoke for about an hour with the seminarians and novices, and will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday morning.

During his remarks, Francis praised Mother Teresa, the late nun who cared for the most impoverished sick of Calcutta, India, and held her up as a courageous example. "I would like a more missionary church," the pope told the young people, who seemed to hang on his every word. "Not so much a tranquil church, but a beautiful church that goes forward."

His lauding the nun will likely be seen as an indication that Francis will be eager to see Teresa made a saint. On Friday, the Vatican announced that Francis had decided to canonize later this year two predecessors, John Paul II, and John XXIII, even though the required miracle attributed to John XXIII's intercession and, according to church rules needed for sainthood, hadn't been certified. Bestowing sainthood on John Paul II, who died in 2005, will put him on a much faster path to canonization than Teresa, who died in 1997 and is widely considered a candidate for rapidly-conferred sainthood.

Francis' decision to OK sainthood for John XXIII without the second miracle pleased that late pope's family in northern Italy.

"We're happy. We were waiting for it for a long time," said Emanuele Roncalli, a great nephew of John XXIII, who was born Angelo Roncalli near Bergamo. "Even though you can still call him, not blessed, not saint , but just Pope John" in keeping with the late pontiff's stress on humility, said the great-nephew in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

In waiving the miracle requirement, Francis was essentially agreeing with the late pope's personal idea that "sainthood is lived during all of one's life," said Roncalli.

A journalist for the local daily L'Eco di Bergamo, Roncalli had written in Saturday's edition that his great-uncle, who died in 1963 when Roncalli was 2 years old, "wanted to be a holy man, in the fullness of the term." His great-uncle's concept of sainthood "could be defined as an available sainthood — if not actually reachable — by all," Roncalli wrote.

The late pope's notion of sainthood "isn't the sainthood of miracle workers, of healers," the great-nephew wrote

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Obama Admin: Forcing German Christians to Send Children to Public School is Not Persecution

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Read Time:3 Minute, 47 Second

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has replied to a request for rehearing of a case involving a Christian homeschooling family seeking asylum in the United States, asserting that the couple has not been able to prove that they have been persecuted by being forced to send their children to public school.

As previously reported, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the United States Department of Justice to respond to a rehearing request filed by attorneys for Uwe and Hannelore Romeike last month. The court had previously ruled against the Romeike family, opining that the requirement that their children be sent to public school in their homeland of Germany under penalty of law — and at the risk of losing their children — is not tantamount to persecution.

“[T]he Romeikes [have] not shown that Germany’s enforcement of its general school-attendance law amounts to persecution against them, whether on grounds of religion or membership in a recognized social group,” the court stated. “There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law.”

The Romeike family fled to the United States in 2008 after German authorities demanded that they stop homeschooling their six children. Homeschooling was made illegal in the country in 1938 under the dictatorship of Adolph Hitler, and the law has never been repealed, but rather strengthened. In 2007, the German Supreme Court ruled that the country’s mandate that children be sent to public school is necessary to “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.”

German officials have been cracking down on families that keep their sons and daughters at home, and have threatened them with fines, imprisonment and even the removal of the children from the household. The Romeike children were taken from their parents for a time before fleeing to the United States for refuge.

In 2010, Memphis immigration judge Lawrence Burman granted the family asylum, stating that he believed the Romeike’s would face persecution for their faith if they returned to Germany. However, the Department of Justice later appealed the ruling to the Sixth Circuit, which overturned Burman’s decision.

In court documents filed last week by the Department of Justice, the Obama administration asserted that the requirement that German children be sent to public school is valid as the government seeks to create an “open, pluralistic society.” It asserted that German officials are not persecuting the family by mandating attendance since the law applies to all citizens, regardless of their religion.

“Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen of Germany,” wrote Senior Litigation Counsel Robert N. Markle. “Along with other evidence that Germany punishes all parents who fail to comply with the law, regardless of all the reasons the parents may provide for failing to comply, substantial evidence exists to support the Board’s determination that Germany has no persecutory motive against religious minorities when enforcing the compulsory-attendance statute.”

He then requested that the court deny the Romeike’s request for rehearing of their case, essentially contending that the family should be deported.

However, Michael Farris, president of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which has been representing the Romeike family in the courts, wrote in a news release this week that it is antithetical to the principles of American liberty to assert that social tolerance trumps the right to homeschool.

“Attorney General Holder is trying to seek dismissal of this case because he believes that targeting specific groups in the name of tolerance is within the normal legitimate functions of government,” Farris said. “This cannot be the ultimate position of the United States without denying the essence of our commitment to liberty.”

“We’re trying to provide a home for this family who would otherwise go back to facing fines, jail time, and forcible removal of their children because of their religious convictions about how their children should be educated,” he added. “Why Attorney General Holder thinks that it is appropriate for any country to do this to a family simply for homeschooling is beyond me.”

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will decide in the days ahead whether to rehear the case before a full panel, or force the matter to be sent to the United States Supreme Court.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Deeper Life Bible Church: Kumuyi’s son apologizes over wedding attire

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Read Time:2 Minute, 30 Second

The controversy generated by the marriage of the second son of the General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church, John Kumuyi, to his heartthrob, former Miss Love Odih, has taken a new dimension.

John and Love had tied the nuptial knot on June 15 in Jamaica, but the ceremony had been a subject of debate on social media over how the bride was dressed, in comparison to other weddings held in the church. The church’s belief does not entertain flamboyance in such celebration.

In the wedding pictures that circulated widely on blogs, online forums, discussion groups and other social networks, the bride, who happens to be the daughter of the National Overseer of DLBC in Jamaica, was seen putting on a wedding gown, ear rings, holding a bouquet and applied make-up — all of which are alien to the church’s doctrine.

However, the couple tendered a letter of apology to the church, saying they have “realised the effects of our actions and omission’’; adding that they may have been distracted by cultural differences, as both of them had lived overseas for many years.

The letter was read to the congregation on Saturday during the church’s mid-year celebration programme held at the Deeper Life Conference Centre, Lagos-Ibadan Expresway and broadcast live to branches all over Nigeria and some parts of Africa via satellite.

The letter, which was read on behalf of the couple at about 8pm on Saturday, read in part, “John and Love Kumuyi write to express our deepest and most sincere apology for the turn of events, that have resulted on our traditional and wedding ceremonies, that took place in Jamaica on 13th June and 15th June, 2013 respectively.

“We unreservedly and wholeheartedly state that we did not intend that our acts or omissions will, in any way, undermine the great works that God has done through the Deeper Christian Life Ministry worldwide and more specifically, through our Father in the Lord, the General Superintendent.

“We also use this medium to profusely and sincerely apologise to the General Superintendent for the embarrassment and heartaches, our actions have caused him, more so that he has earlier declined to be at the events.

“This, notwithstanding, we fully accept that having been nurtured, taught and brought up with the sound teaching of the word of God, we should have been able to draw the line, which we failed to do.

“We have now realised the effects of our actions and omission and do plead with the church for forgiveness and also appealing that any action that should be taken be directed at John and Love, as we take this time to prayerfully reflect on our actions. We take full responsibility for what happened, and this action should, in no way, be blamed on the GS, or the leaders of the church in Nigeria, United States, Jamaica or United Kingdom and beyond.”

PUNCH

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Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Pope names commission of inquiry into Vatican bank

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Read Time:5 Minute, 27 Second

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis' new commission of inquiry into the troubled Vatican bank has a brand new money-laundering case to look into: How a Holy See monsignor withdrew more than a half-million euros in charitable donations from the bank without any flags being raised, walked out of Vatican City with the cash, and then used the money to pay off his personal mortgage.

The case of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano is just one example of how lax norms and incompetence, if not more serious shortcomings at the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR, have sullied the Vatican's reputation in international financial circles and made it a target for Francis' clean-up and reform campaign.

Francis on Wednesday announced the creation of a commission of inquiry to look into the IOR's activities and legal status "to allow for a better harmonization with the universal mission of the Apostolic See," according to the legal document he signed creating it.

It was the second time in as many weeks that Francis has intervened to get information out of the IOR, a secretive institution best known for the scandals it has caused the Vatican. On June 15, he filled a key vacancy in the bank's governing structure, tapping a trusted prelate to be his eyes inside the bank.

Francis named five people to the commission, including two Americans: Monsignor Peter Wells, a top official in the Vatican secretariat of state, and Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor, former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See and current president of a pontifical academy.

American cardinals were among the most vocal in demanding a wholesale reform of the Vatican bureaucracy — and the Vatican bank — in the meetings outlining the priorities for the new pope in the run-up to the March conclave that elected Francis. The demands were raised following revelations in leaked documents last year that told of dysfunction, petty turf wars and allegations of corruption in the Holy See's governance.

Francis, who has made clear he has no patience for corruption and wants a "poor" church, has already named a separate commission of cardinals to advise him on the broader question of reforming the Vatican bureaucracy as a whole.

The Vatican bank was founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII to manage assets destined for religious or charitable works. Located in a tower just inside the gates of Vatican City, it also manages the pension system for the Vatican's thousands of employees.

The bank commission's members have authority to gather documents, data and information about the bank's legal status and activities, even overriding normal secrecy rules to do so. Members can receive information from anyone in the Vatican bureaucracy as well as people who spontaneously volunteer information, and the commission can refer to outside advisers if necessary, according to the terms.

The commission will report back to Francis — presumably with both information and recommendations — and then will be dissolved, the document states. No timeframe was given but the commission is to start working soon.

The bank's daily management and activities continues unchanged.

The announcement came as the Vatican faces a new embarrassment involving the bank: Prosecutors in the southern city of Salerno have placed Scarano, an accountant in one of the Vatican's key finance offices, the Administration for the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, under investigation for alleged money-laundering stemming from his IOR account.

Scarano's attorney, Silverio Sica, told The Associated Press that the investigation concerns transactions Scarano made in 2009 in which he took 560,000 euros ($729,000) in cash out of his personal IOR bank account and carried it out of the Vatican and into Italy to help pay off a mortgage on his Salerno home.

To deposit the money into an Italian bank account — and to prevent family members from finding out he had such a large chunk of cash — he asked 56 close friends to accept 10,000 euros apiece in cash in exchange for a check or money transfer in the same amount, Sica said in a telephone interview. Scarano was then able to deposit the amounts in his Italian account.

"The money came from the Vatican. He wanted to bring it into Italy. He was advised to do it in this way," Sica said.

The original money came into Scarano's IOR account from donors who gave it to the prelate thinking they were funding a home for the terminally ill in Salerno, Sica said. He said the donors had "enormous" wealth and could offer such donations for his charitable efforts.

He said Scarano had given the names of the donors to prosecutors and insisted the origin of the money was clean, that the transactions didn't constitute money-laundering, and that he only took the money "temporarily" for his personal use.

The home for terminally ill hasn't been built, though the property has been identified, Sica said.

"He declares himself absolutely innocent," Sica said.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed Wednesday that Scarano had been suspended temporarily from his job and that the Vatican's financial watchdog agency, known by its acronym AIF, was "aware of the case and is taking — if and where appropriate — the necessary measures."

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported over the weekend that the Bank of Italy had flagged the case to the AIF, seeking information about Scarano's IOR account as part of the Salerno probe. Lombardi didn't respond when asked why the IOR itself didn't flag such unusually large cash withdrawals back in 2009.

There have long been questions about just what the IOR actually is and does — questions which the commission presumably will try to iron out for Francis. Vatican officials have long insisted it's not even a bank, since it doesn't perform key banking activities like making loans.

It does however take deposits, transfer money and invest for its clients, who include Vatican officials, members of religious orders and diplomats accredited to the Holy See. The bank performs asset management services that in 2012 helped earn it 86.6 million euros in profit on 7.1 billion euros in total assets under management.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Pope ‘snub’ of concert stuns cardinals, sends signal

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Read Time:3 Minute, 1 Second

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A last-minute no-show by Pope Francis at a concert where he was to have been the guest of honor has sent another clear signal that he is going to do things his way and does not like the Vatican high life.

The gala classical concert on Saturday was scheduled before his election in March. But the white papal armchair set up in the presumption that he would be there remained empty.

Minutes before the concert was due to start, an archbishop told the crowd of cardinals and Italian dignitaries that an "urgent commitment that cannot be postponed" would prevent Francis from attending.

The prelates, assured that health was not the reason for the no-show, looked disoriented, realizing that the message he wanted to send was that, with the Church in crisis, he – and perhaps they – had too much pastoral work to do to attend social events.

"It took us by surprise," said one Vatican source on Monday. "We are still in a period of growing pains. He is still learning how to be pope and we are still learning how he wants to do it."

"In Argentina, they probably knew not to arrange social events like concerts for him because he probably wouldn't go," said the source, who spoke anonymously because he is not authorized to discuss the issue.

The picture of the empty chair was used in many Italian papers, with Monday's Corriere della Sera newspaper calling his decision "a show of force" to illustrate the simple style he wants Church officials to embrace.

Since his election on March 13, Francis, the former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, has not spent a single night in the opulent and spacious papal apartments.

He has preferred to live in a small suite in a busy Vatican guest house, where he takes most meals in a communal dining room and says Mass every morning in the house chapel rather than the private papal chapel in the Apostolic Palace.

The day before the concert, Francis said bishops should be "close to the people" and not have "the mentality of a prince".

On Saturday, while the concert was in progress in an auditorium just meters (yards) away, Francis was believed to be working on new appointments for the Curia, the Vatican's troubled central administration.

The administration was held responsible for some of the mishaps and scandals that plagued the eight-year reign of Pope Benedict before he resigned in February.

Francis inherited a Church struggling to deal with priests' sexual abuse of children, the alleged corruption and infighting in the Curia, and conflict over the running of the Vatican's scandal-ridden bank.

Benedict left a secret report for Francis on the problems in the administration, which came to light when sensitive documents were stolen from the pope's desk and leaked by his butler in what became known as the "Vatileaks" scandal.

The Vatican source said he expected Francis to make major changes to Curia personnel by the end of the summer.

Anger at the mostly Italian prelates who run the Curia was one of the reasons why cardinals chose the first non-European pope for 1,300 years.

The key appointment will be the next secretary of state, sometimes referred to as the Vatican's prime minister, to succeed the Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who has been widely blamed for the failings of the Curia.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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“What rules today is not man, it is money.. Pope francis

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Read Time:2 Minute, 33 Second

What rules today is not man, it is money… We are often guided by the arrogance of domination… Men and women are sacrificed to the idols of money and consumption" – Pope

Pope Francis blamed widespread degradation of the natural environment and disregard for human life on an increasingly common “throwaway culture” that places no value on the needs of others.

“We are living through a moment of crisis,” the pope said June 5. “We see it in the environment, but above all we see it in man. The human person is in danger.”

The pope made his remarks during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Noting that the United Nations had designated June 5 World Environment Day, Pope Francis recalled the biblical account of creation, according to which God made man and woman to “cultivate and protect the earth.”

“Are we truly cultivating and protecting creation?” the pope asked. “Or are we instead exploiting and neglecting it?”

“We are often guided by the arrogance of domination, possession, manipulation, exploitation,” he said. “We are losing the attitude of wonder, of contemplation, of listening to creation, and thus we are no longer able to read there what Benedict XVI calls the ‘rhythm of the love story of God with man.’”

“We have distanced ourselves from God, we do not read his signs,” the pope said.

Today’s environmental problems also betray neglect of what Catholic teaching calls “human ecology,” he said.

“What rules today is not man, it is money,” the pope said, denouncing an “economy and financial system lacking in ethics.”

“Men and women are sacrificed to the idols of money and consumption,” he said. “That some homeless people freeze to death on the street, that is not news. On the other hand, a drop of 10 points in the stock markets of some cities is a tragedy. That is how people are thrown away. We, people, are thrown away, as if we were trash.”

“Human life, the person are no longer felt to be primary values to be respected and protected, especially if they are poor or disabled, if they are not yet useful, like an unborn child, or are no longer useful, like an old person,” the pope said.

Today’s “throwaway culture” is also reflected in frequent waste of food, he said, adding that “food that is thrown away might as well have been stolen from the table of the poor, the hungry.”

Prior to the audience, the pope made a half-hour circuit of the square in an open-topped popemobile, frequently stopping to kiss babies and small children handed to him by members of his security detail. An estimated 90,000 persons attended the audience, 20,000 more than had requested tickets, and the crowd spilled out into the avenue beyond.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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TB Joshua And Chris Oyakilome Labelled Cultists By Ghanaian Pastor

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Read Time:3 Minute, 41 Second

Ghanaian Bishop Isaac Owusu Bempah, Founder and Leader of the Glorious Word Power Ministries International, has labeled two of Nigeria's celebrated pastors as partners in winning souls for the devil.

In the words of the controversial Owusu Bempah, the founding President of Believers' LoveWorld Incorporated, also known as "Christ Embassy", Dr Christian Oyakhilome (popularly known as "Pastor Chris") and General Overseer of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet Temitope Balogun (aka TB) Joshua, are not "true men of God", but leaders of occults, winning souls for the devil.

This claim, according to Owusu-Bempah, is based on God's revelation to him in a vision as well as his own analysis of the scripture, works and conduct of the two popular heads of two religious organisations in Africa.

Owusu-Bempah said he once heard Pastor Chris saying he saw nothing wrong with homosexuality and lesbianism, and wondered which true man of God would lead his flock with such beliefs.

"No doubt he [Pastor Chris] is a friend and partner of TB Joshua", Owusu-Bempa noted last week, claiming both men are dubious men of God who have a pact with the devil.

For Owusu Bempah, Nigerians have allegedly realized the dubious character of the Nigerian televangelist faith healer and founding president of Christ Embassy and his partnership with TB Joshua and have consequently chased him out of the country to South Africa, where he presently resides.

On TB Joshua, Owusu-Bempa claimed he once saw him with his feet on the floor preaching, an incident he said revealed to him that TB Joshua was not from God.

"When you see anyone claiming to worship God who worships with his feet on the ground, he's an occultist. And TB Joshua is an occultist.

"Ask yourself how TB Joshua, who claims God called him, worships with his feet on the ground? Let me tell you if you go to any church and you see the leader worshiping with his feet on the ground, it's a sign of demonism; it's occultic. People like that follow spirits that are not of God. It is occultic."

According to him, God later revealed that TB Joshua was an occultist who did not draw his spiritual powers from God.

"Some time ago, I used to like TB Joshua. I was watching him on television, and the Lord opened my eyes. I saw him with horns on his head, and he had the face of a wolf. His tongue was that of a snake and he had blood smeared all over his mouth."

"Immediately, I rushed into my bedroom, and the Lord told me that he wasn't from Him, but was working under the authority of bad spirits," the pastor added. "That was when I realized TB Joshua was demonic and not of God."

The man who has himself been labeled a false prophet by some of his critics, advised Ghanaians not to be misled by signs of wonders and so-called men of God whose powers do not come from God.

He also accused TB Joshua in particular of sometimes faking miracles to win the confidence of his flock. "He can perform a clean miracle today and contaminate it with a lot of fake ones".

Joshua claimed his "own junior pastor went to his church to be healed. He was forced to sit in a wheel chair and made to claim before the cameras that he had received his healing even though he hadn't. He returned to the country and within two weeks, he passed away", Owusu-Bempah stated.

He again cautioned Ghanaians not to be in a hurry to attend the services of Prophet TB Joshua since he is the "anti-christ."
"If you are a pastor who worked under him and he gets to know you want to reveal his secrets, he kills you directly," Owusu-Bempah alleged.

"If no one is willing to say this, I will say it: TB Joshua is the anti-christ and an agent of the devil… I know of a pastor who attended his church, and when he should tell you about what he saw, your mouth would drop," he stated.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Every Pastor Who Collects Tithes Is A Thief

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Read Time:6 Minute, 47 Second
According to the scriptures, money is not acceptable as tithe; it has to be food-crops or livestock.
 
As far as many pastors are concerned, the most important scripture of all is not to be found in the word of Jesus.  Neither is it even in the New Testament.  That scripture says: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” (Malachi 3:10).
 
This scripture is drummed repeatedly into Christians on Sundays.  However, the only time Jesus mentioned tithing in scripture, he pointed out that it was not a weighty matter of the law. (Matthew 23:23).  Hebrews says people only receive tithes “according to the law.” (Hebrews 7:5).  It then insists tithing (and everything else under the law) has been annulled: “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless.” (Hebrews 7:18-19).  Nevertheless, mercenary pastors continue to insist on the payment of tithes.
 
Latter-day Pharisees
 
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for keeping part instead of the whole law. (Matthew 23:23). That is what tithe-collecting pastors do today.  If we insist our congregants must pay tithes, we must also insist that they keep the rest of the law.  James says: “Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10).  Therefore, if we insist on tithing, we should also refrain from eating pork.  We should stone adulterers, execute homosexuals, kill Sabbath violators and restore blood-sacrifices.
 
Tithe-collecting pastors counter this by maintaining the payment of tithes pre-dated the law.  Here Abraham is cited as the cardinal example of someone who paid tithes before the promulgation of the Law of Moses, as did Jacob, his grandson.  However, such arguments are disingenuous.
 
Before the law, tithing was at best an example but not a commandment.  Moreover, pastors fail to mention that Abraham only tithed once in his lifetime.  When he did, he did not even tithe his own money: he tithed the spoils of war.  He gave ten percent of the plunder he took when he rescued Lot to Melchisedec, king of Salem.  But then he did not even keep the rest but returned it (all ninety percent) to the king of Sodom.
 
For his part, Jacob also tithed only once.  He did this in a “let’s make a deal” arrangement he offered to God: “Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.  And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you.’” (Genesis 28:20-22).  This kind of deal about accepting God only under certain self-serving conditions should certainly not be a term of reference for any serious believer.
 
Lies upon lies
 
The first lie pastors tell Christians is what some have referred to as “the eleventh commandment:” “Thou shalt pay thy tithes to thy local church.”  But the bible says no such thing.  The storehouse of Malachi was not a church.  It was a place where food was kept.
 
Pastors hide from church-members the fact that money was not acceptable as tithe.  The tithe was a tenth of the seed and fruit of the land and of the animals which ate of the land. (Leviticus 27:30-32).  That is why God says: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be FOOD in my house.” (Malachi 3:10).  He does not say “that there may be MONEY in my house.”  The food was used to feed the Levites, the poor, widows, orphans and strangers.
 
Pastors also conveniently fail to teach the biblical tithe.  The principles of tithing were not laid down by Malachi.  They were laid down by Moses.  The study of Moses’ guidelines quickly reveals that the biblical tithe has no application whatsoever to Christians and is mischievously violated by tithe-collecting pastors today.
 
According to the Law of Moses, the tithe was divided into three allocations.  The first year, it was given to the Levite.  The second year, it was given to widows, orphans and the poor.  The third year, it was eaten in the company of the faithful before the Lord as thanksgiving for his faithfulness. (Deuteronomy 14:22-28).  In the seventh year, there was no planting and no reaping and therefore no tithing.
 
So the next time your pastor asks you to pay tithe, ask him about the seventh-year reprieve.  Also ask him if you can give your tithe to the orphanage, or bring it as food items to be eaten in church.  Believe me; he will not agree with you because it is your money he is after.
 
Inapplicability of tithes
 
Tithing was only applicable to Jews and to the land of Israel.  When large populations of Jews lived in Babylon, Ammon, Moab, Egypt, and Syria, these lands became tithe-able lands.  However, tithes were not acceptable from strictly Gentile lands.  So you need to ask your pastor how come he is collecting tithes in Nigeria.
 
Servants or slaves who worked on the land did not tithe because the land did not belong to them.  Since only agricultural and animal resources were included, a fisherman gave no tithe of his fisheries.  Neither did a miner or a carpenter pay tithes, nor anyone from the various professional occupations.  So if you are not a farmer or a keeper of livestock, tell your 419 pastor tithing is biblically inapplicable to you.
 
Moreover, the only people authorised to receive tithes were the Levites. (Hebrews 7:5).  So if your Pastor is a “tithe-collector,” ask him if he happens to be a Jew.  Remind him that, even though a Jew, Jesus could not receive the tithe because he was not from the tribe of Levi but from that of Judah.
 
The trick, of course, is for pastors today to claim we are “Levites.”  If your pastor is one such dissembler, ask him if he lives as a Levite.  Remind him that Levites had no land and did not have private property.  Ask him also how he knows he is from the tribe of Levi, which happens to be one of the lost tribes of Israel.  Point out to him that even Jewish rabbis don’t claim to be Levites today because all Jewish genealogical records were lost with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, ensuring that it is no longer possible to ascertain the true identity of Levites.
 
Therefore, if Jews no longer tithe because the Levites are a lost tribe, how can Christian pastors collect tithes when we are not even Jewish, how much more Levites?  If Jewish rabbis, whose terms of reference remain the Old Testament no longer collect tithes, then pastors who insist Christians are under a New Testament have no business doing so.
 
The conclusion then is inescapable.  Every pastor who collects tithes is nothing but “a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1).

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Live Holy, Primate Udofia Charges Nigerians

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Read Time:1 Minute, 11 Second

The Primate, African Church Nigeria Mission Incorporated and Overseas and the President, Christian Council of Nigeria, Most Reverend Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, has charged Nigerians, more importantly, Christians, to turn promptly unto the Lord, whom, he humbly described as the light, truth and the way.

In addition, they were also enjoined to be disciplined and exemplary role models, showcasing the qualities of Christ as the light unto other people’s darkness, for the Nation, Society and the Church, to be the very best to happily live in and serve, at all times.

He made the remarks in a Sermon delivered at the formal dedication and the opening of a new Cathedral of the United African Methodist Evangelical Church, 3, Akinsola Lane, Abule Ijesha, Lagos.

Dignitaries at the occasion include Spiritual Leader, Cherubim and Seraphim Movement, Ayo Ni o, Special Apostle, Gabriel Olubunmi Fakeye, Bishop, Diocese of Lagos Mainland, Methodist Church Nigeria, Rt. Reverend Oladapo Babalola, representing the Prelate, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, Archbishop Paul Atilade, Archbishop Paul Onanuga JP, among others.

Berating the religious and others indulging in shameful vices, he promptly charged them to avoid the wrath of God in that regard.

Primate Udowfia pleaded for a complete turnaround from all, for God to appreciate them successfully in their divine disciplines.  He posited that Christians should embrace their disciplines as divine stewardship from God which must be accounted for, any time, requested for by Him.

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Anthony Claret

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