Pastor Bisi Olanrewaju is the National Overseer, Cherubim & Seraphim Bible Ministries and author of ‘The Ordinance of Tithe’. The book will be dedicated and presented to the public on October 4, 2020, at 2, Airways Road, off Adeshina Street, Ijeshatedo, Surulere, Lagos. The seasoned author says he does not share the sentiment that one could go to hell for not paying tithe in this interview with ADURA INTERNATIONAL
What informed the writing of the book titled: ‘The Ordinance of Tithe’?
I was ruminating on the arguments for and against tithe in the church and outside the church. I was almost carried away and agreeing with those who were of the opinion that the Church of the New Testament is not supposed to be paying tithe and I was going to support my point of view with Hebrews 7:12 (For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity the change also of the law). But then God put into my mind Gal. 3:17 (And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.) This means that tithe existed before the law, hence the change of the priesthood and the law do not affect it. This understanding that God gave me prompted the writing of the book.
What is the core message you are passing across to your readers in the book?
The core message of the book is that tithe is not a matter of the law. It existed before the law and it is an ordinance of God aimed at catering for His vessels working on the altar and that it is aimed at keeping the enemy at bay. It is also a way through which God redistributes wealth among His people.
Tithe has been a subject of heated debates in recent time with Christians divided over its payment to the church. What position did you take on the subject in the book?
My position is the position of the Master (Mat. 23:23) and for easy understanding, I will want us to check the New Living Translation of the Bible. Mat.
23 says: “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.’
The Master’s position on tithe is very clear here and I stand with my Master. It must be paid to the storehouse – Mal.3:10; that is where you are fed in the word and the priest over your life also feeds from there.
Is it compulsory to pay tithe as a Christian and do you share the opinion that a Chrisitan will not enter the kingdom of God if he does not pay tithe?
It is mandatory to obey all the ordinances of God and tithe is not an exemption. However, I do not share the sentiment that a man may go to hell for tithe evasion. The consequences of tithe evasion are only here and not hereafter. Here the devourer is hindered from plundering you and you enjoy the opening of the Windows of heavens upon your life.
When will the book be released to the public and where can people buy copies?
By the grace of God, the dedication and the public presentation of the book is coming up on Sunday, October 4, 2020, and copies will be available at 2, Airways Road, Off Adeshina Street, Ijeshatedo, Surulere, Lagos. The book will also be available online, though this may be a few weeks after the dedication. This number (08077128453) may be contacted. We will mail copies of the book to anyone in the country who may order for at least 20 copies.
How long did it take to complete the book and were there times you felt like giving up?
I think I worked on the book for about four months. The truth of the natter, however, is that it was God.
As a minister of God, do you think a pastor who has a day job should benefit from the tithe paid by church members?
Hmmm, this one is hard. However, I think the work on the altar should be a full time one. Anyone who is working elsewhere and working on the altar will have divided attention. I think a man who has another business, earning income, should not be paid from the church tithe, my opinion though.
Tell us about the other books you have written?
I have written two other books though only one is published – Your Marriage Will Work. The other one – Understanding the Mysteries in the Christian Faith- is still in the press and I have written that one since 2018, but I have financial constraints. Hopefully, it will be in print next year. ‘Your Marriage Will Work’ is about letting couples know that no marriage is destined to fail if both parties will do his or her part in the Godly way. The other one is a book written to teach on Biblical doctrines that may be a bit difficult to understand.
What are the negative issues you think the C&S church must address to move forward?
What we must address as a church to move forward? The major one I think is to change our attitudes towards God’s word. Many of our assemblies don’t even do Bible studies. The times allotted to God’s word during our fellowships are inadequate; this must be worked upon. We must also improve on the way we handle our young people too, they are our future. Our pulpit should be given to teachers, and not novices.
The C&S recently celebrated its 95th anniversary. What’s your opinion on the standing of the church, generally, with regard to a deep understanding of the scriptures?
I think this has been answered. However, I think many of our leaders are not doing badly, but many of them are not sound in the scriptures and you cannot blame them for that. A man may only give what he has, but that is not a problem. They should give the teachings to those who are called as teachers. The leaders matter in any society. Just for emphasis, our leaders should give room for sound teachings.
What are the core values of the CSBM where you are the National Overseer and how well is the church performing the mandates for which it was commissioned?
Our core values are righteousness, salvation, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, and these we are encouraging through the sound teaching of God’s word. Well, the terrain is rough and tough and the voyage is tempestuous, but we are matching on in the name of Jesus Christ.
To whom do you owe the gratitude for the completion of this book?
God and God alone who gives the correct inspiration must take the glory. Like I said answering the first question, I long to know the mind of God on tithe and it would be my pleasure to see the Church of Christ liberated from this quagmire.
The work on the altar should be a full time one. But many churches, particularly Pentecostal ones, have a large retinue to working-class pastors. Could they be wrong?
I think they are wrong. However, this is not limited to the Pentecostal Assemblies. I think they all got the idea from the C & S Church. Remember that almost all of them have their root there. If you see it as I do, the Orthodox Churches that were on the ground before the coming of the C & S Church had all their clergymen on full time. There were the laity working with them on the altar (the Orthodox Churches), the music ministers, the people’s and the priest wardens, but they were not being paid.
The C & S came and almost all those working on the altar had other works they were doing especially farming. So no one thought they should be earning salaries, except for the Prophets who were employees of the churches where they conducted services on a daily basis and they handled the counselling sessions and held special prayer sessions with people who might need them.
So you see how the part-time in ministry began. But this is the reason many of them are not faithfully committed and many of them are using the church money unauthorised. Many of them have little training if they had any at all. The greatest undoing of this system is they cannot have full attention for the work on the altar. When the man of God is running around for what to eat, you can tell where his real attention would be.
How would you say the COVID-19 pandemic affect the CSBM ministry?
It sure has both negative and positive effects on all churches and C S B M is not an exception. The finances of the churches nosedived, many members who had no access to the Internet were cut off from the communion of the saints. Some even have access to the Internet but they do not know how to use it. On the other hand, there are those that were also reached through the social media who were seemingly unreachable before the pandemic. Many of our people in diaspora easily connected to us. This also costs money and the income of the church has dropped. But all glory to God, we survived it.
Online and physical service, which do you prefer?
I prefer physical gathering of the people of God for several reasons and it included but not limited to the fact that at home you may not have full concentration on the activities that are going on. Distraction is easier. In the church, children are separated from the adults, that is not possible at home. Other issues may have to do with the network, power failure, and your neighbours may be making a noise and several other issues.
You wouldn’t have been able to work on the book without the support of your wife. Tell us how she supported you?
I must thank God for the woman He gave me; she is very supportive and understanding. In fact, she was the one who insisted I must be teaching on the Internet and that was the reason I was doing some teachings on Facebook and this particular book began on Facebook. She does not just pray for me. Whenever she observes I’ve not been waking up regularly as I was doing before, she will always challenge me to go back to the prayer room. Sometimes she read along as I was writing and pointed out omissions and corrections where necessary.
How did your spiritual father, Pastor Gideon Oyedepo, support your book project?
Apart from praying for me, he went through the script and made several corrections and suggestions.
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