THE interview granted by the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, to Qatar-based private broadcasting channel, Al Jazeera,stirred a heated debate on social networks on Sunday.
In the interview conducted by Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, Adeboye justified his ownership of a private jet, saying it is necessary for efficiency in his assignment.
Adeboye is one of the increasing numbers of Pentecostal pastors in Nigeria that have acquired private jets. Many Nigerians have criticised these pastors arguing that they are being insensitive to the poverty among their members.
But Adeboye while fielding questions from Adow, said acquiring a private jet was a necessity for him.
“There are things you need, which you must have if you are to be efficient. If you have to oversee churches in 160 nations, you can’t do that on a bicycle,” Adeboye said.
However, Adeboye’s justification for his ownership of a private jet has divided Nigerians on various social networks as some shared his opinion while many opposed him.
A member of a popular online forum, nairaland.com, Onyianyi, argues that it was wrong for Adeboye to own a private jet when the majority of his members live below the poverty line and wallow in abject poverty.
He says, “I’m not a member of any of these Pentecostal churches but Adeboye is one pastor I respect so much. This time around he got it wrong, there’s no reason for a man of God with millions of impoverished followers to be cruising in a private jet.
“After all, are they more committed in this ministry than Jesus Christ? Our Lord Jesus never used a private boat or a private camel during his time. Yet he could easily command one to his usage. Christ, though very rich, chose to live a poor life so that his message can easily get across to the poor.”
Apparently replying Adeboye on his explanation that he cannot oversee his churches in 160 countries of the world using a bicycle, a member of the forum, Olumide, says Adeboye could simply connect his subordinate pastors manning the churches overseas via video-conference.
“As if he (Adeboye) doesn’t have the money to video-chat with the pastors of the branches of the church! At least, that would save him money,” Olumide notes.
Commenting on punchng.com, a reader, Zoemed, says Pastor Adeboye’s defence was not good enough.
Zoemed explains, “I had expected a better defence rather than this ‘I need a plane to do a better job of supervising churches under my ministry’! What are the roles of Subordinate pastors? The Catholic Archdiocese of New York alone could buy many jets for the Pope but they spend most of their money on helping the poor, providing hospital care and welfare for the downtrodden.
“Our Pentecostal churches cannot even build hospitals and affordable schools to supplement the little we have.”
Rising in defence of Adeboye, a visitor to punchng.com, Adeola, says the pastor’s acquisition of a jet was necessary, given the erratic services provided by airlines in the Nigerian aviation industry. She notes that flight delays and cancellations were a setback to Christian ministry, adding that the work of a pastor was more tasking than that of a nation’s President.
She says, “For a man to visit 160 countries in a year is never a joke. Why shouldn’t he have a jet if his church can provide it? You and I know how ‘sound’ our aviation industry is. For a minister of God who is billed to preach in a particular place with other programmes following to have a flight delay or outright cancellation without prior notification, is a loss that cannot be quantified.
“Holding of crusade is different from political gathering, which many of you understand better. The mandate given to these ministers is urgent, the time is short and it covers the entire world. This is more than that of the President. Leave them alone as they will give account of their stewardship to God.”
Reacting sharply to the critics of Adeboye, Genes Donald, also states on nairaland.com, that Pastors must not live in penury all in the name of propagating God’s word.
“I go with you sir (Adeboye). These people think we should ride bicycle, just to propagate God’s word? Who says pastors must be paupers? Some people just reason from the anus! Ride on Pastor,” Donald says.
On punchng.com, Macsam states, “Having a jet is not bad for the RCCG, and it doesn’t mean that they are not doing charity work. For instance. I have benefited from RCCG scholarship.
“I didn’t know any pastor I just obtained the form and went for the interview. I went to my village for something; I just got a call that I was selected. They pay me N250,000 every session and they do it for so many students every year. So stop condemning RCCG for acquiring a jet, it is for efficiency
JD:I have stated my reaction to this in an earlier comment.The reasoning of those who think the acquisition of the private jet is noble is exactly why we are in the mess we are in today.this kind of thinking that has put logic on its head is why our country has been completely run aground.the hopelessness in our situation is that even the so called men of God have joined the fray.Heaven help us all!