Sunday, July 3, 2011

Preachers of a Different Gospel by Femi Adeleye

Adeleye, a Native of Nigeria currently based in Ghana, writes of the church in Africa.
“These are days of confusion in which the doors of the church are wide open to worldly values and standards. The result is a confusing mix of worldly holiness and holy worldliness. ...[M[en and women who are created in the image of God have seriously embraced the world and yet feel comfortable with both being 'holy' and clinging to values that contradict that attribute.” (6)
Most African countries have a rich Christian heritage from the labor of pioneering missionaries, Adeleye notes. They preached a simple yet powerful gospel. The Nigerian preaching in the 1970s gave an emphasis on the cross of Christ. “It was not seen as a call to an easy life.” (17) There was evangelistic zeal, an eagerness to share the gospel.
Now the Africans are embracing “all forms of strange gospels manufactured in other parts of the world...” (10) Adeleye calls it “the gospel of champagne.” (19) It tells only half-truths and promises short-term thrills. It has produced a new generation of Christians who “want maximum celebration and pleasure here and now.” (21) “Happisees” (as opposed to Sadducees) he calls them. They “are committed to perpetual celebration in and out of church and the acquisition of all that will make life here as comfortable as possible.” (21)
We must choose, Adeleye says, “between the old gospel of the cross and this imitation gospel that denies the power of God.” (22) He passionately calls people to return to the true gospel.
He reviews the transition of the church from the Charismatic revivals in the 1970s to confusion, then to the delusion today. He looks at particular preachers and how they have misused Scriptures, sometimes defending their own wrong behavior.
Adeleye has a great review of the faith teachers who popularized the teaching in the U.S. “Many African preachers have swallowed this teaching hook, line and sinker.” (65) Adeleye identifies the errors and describes true faith.
Adeleye ends his book with a recipe for authentic Christianity. Be grounded in Scripture, using study tools to clearly understand it. Be committed to the true gospel in its simplicity and straightforwardness. Be part of a church community that is a transforming agent, salt and light in the society. Be a person of integrity, whatever the cost. Learn from what has happened and return to the gospel of Christ.

The American reader may not recognize the African pastors Adeleye writes about.” Nonetheless, this is an excellent review of the “name it and claim it” teaching of prosperity preachers and the effect it has had on the African church.
This book was originally published in Uganda in 1999. Some of the footnotes are from sources within the last two years so it would appear the book has been updated.

HippoBooks (affiliated with Zondervan), 141 pages.

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