Pastor Chris Oyakhilome is the owner of Believers Love World Fellowship which metamorphosed into Christ Embassy International Ministries. This Church has a regular membership of over 3 million in Nigeria alone and fans of over ten million people who belong to other denominations but see Pastor Chris as their alternative pastor. Inadvertently Pastor Chris Oyakhilome controls over twelve million people in Nigeria especially the youth and middle aged. His telecast is still the most viewed among Nigerian Christians including Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists and Pentecostal brethren.
This Pastor recently stirred the hornets' nest in the month of February 2012 when answering a question on how to overcome masturbation said thus ''masturbation in itself is not a sin against God. Satan uses it in oppressing the mind and make them feel ineffective and inefficient in the sight of God. But once you understand that it's got nothing to do with God, its about you and your own body…'' When people thought that his position was a slip of tongue, He defended it in another telecast weeks later and called it a habit which has nothing to do with God. The same pastor weeks later added that alcoholism and smoking is not a sin, rather it is just a habit.
This theory of masturbation not being a sin is not biblical. Masturbation is a besetting sin. A besetting sin is a habit that sticks to someone as though it is normal. A sin that has become a habit is called a besetting sin. Some people call it entangling sin because it entangles a person, thereby making escape difficult. . In Hebrew Chapter 12 verse 1-2 the scripture says that '' wherefore seeing we are also compassed with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith'' In Nigeria now, corruption has become a besetting sin, our religious leaders encourage it and release anointing for the corrupt Congregationalist to escape the arms of the law. However, this does not remove the fact that corruption is evil in the sight of God.
Smoking of Cigarettes, Indian Hemps, Cocaine, Marijuana or whatever are besetting sins. They are normalised anomalies. Masturbation is one of them. In Nigeria today, fornication has become so rampant that it has a besetting sin. People now discuss their sexual escapades with different people as a status symbol.
The Bible has a standard. In Matthew Chapter 5 verse 8 Jesus Christ said that '' but I tell you that whosoever looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart'' This implies that sin starts from the heart. Masturbation definitely involves constant lustful imaginations which the victim indulges in as a means of vitiating sexual pressures. Students of demonology have discovered that those sexual images which follow masturbation are actually pictures from the marine world juxtaposed on the persons' sub-conscious and he begins to imagine some sexy looking man or woman. Some persons get initiated into the company of a spirit husband or wife after orgies of masturbation. In addition, a masturbator will definitely get tired of the self indulgence and would want to experiment with actual sex, leading to fornication or adultery.
Smoking of cigarettes has become a fanciful habit which a lot of persons want to break away from without success. The late minister of health Professor Olukoye Ransome Kuti said that he quit decades of smoking the day he was appointed as Minister of Health by Ibrahim Babangida in 1985. All his previous attempts to quit the bad habit failed until he made a resolution that as the chief health officer of Nigeria he cannot be a bad example, which was how he secured his freedom. If those referred to as unbelievers want to quit smoking, how can a Born Again Christian justify feeding on what pagans, atheists and animists are struggling to quit. The producers and hawkers of cigarettes warn that the substance is dangerous to health.
Alcoholism is an intoxicant which persons use to feel good and fight depression. A lot of sicknesses are directly related to it and the manufacturers will always warn that it is not for those below the age of eighteen. A lot of family breadwinners have expended all their live savings on alcohol while the wife and children are left unattended to.
Therefore for a pastor who directly influences over three million persons in Nigeria and indirectly influences another twelve million fans that belong to other churches to encourage these habits, the end has really come.
The implications of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome's open cheque is that many young men and women running into millions will join the league of masturbators, fornicators, adulterers, smokers of cigarettes, Indian hemp, cocaine and consumers of different brands of alcohol; Whisky, Schnapps, 'Sapele Water', 'Kaikai', Akpuru-achai' etc. In these trying seasons for Nigeria and Africa, this pastor has led his congregation and that of others astray. Apostle Paul said in Galatians Chapter 1 verse 8-9 says '' but even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse ! As we have already said now I say again: if anyone is preaching a gospel other than the one you have accepted, let that one be under God's curse''
Influential pastors are now blessing masturbation, drunkenness and smoking. Soon others will bless watching pornographic materials, same-sex marriage and marriage to pythons, cobras, dogs, baboons and horses. Later they will begin to sanction occultism, human sacrifice, flying in the night and astral projections in the church. In the height of it they will remove Christ as the centre piece and replace him with the man of sin, the Antichrist, who will exalt himself as God in the temple of God as illustrated in 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2, Verse 3-8. This appearance of the man of sin will precede the second coming of Jesus Christ. The level of hero worship that Christian faithful give their leaders is a dress rehearsal of the level of worship the antichrist will receive in the church when he finally arrives. Replacing the views of God as outlined in the scripture with the views of the Senior Pastor or Archbishop who is prone to mistakes and fallibility could lead a sincere faithful to hell fire while the errant pastor might repent at the last moment and escape to heaven.
This constant replacement of scriptural truth with the doctrines of men is as old as Christianity but somehow the Church have always found its way back to the path. The early church was moving in the right direction, preserving the faith the Apostles until Emperor Constantine and Co-Emperor Lucinius passed the Edict of Milan in 313 which proclaimed religious tolerance for all religions in Roman Empire, signaling the end of the era of brutal persecution of the church. Constantine the Great became a Christian and his conversion made Christianity fashionable and a lot of pagan converts clung to all manners of practices and theories which formed part of their former religion. These paganistic practices quenched the fire of the early church, leading to a lot of schisms, heresies and apostasies and eventually ushered in the period known as the dark ages of the Church.
The situation so much deteriorated that the church had to suppress the growing schisms with ecclesiastical proscriptions, anathema, imprisonment and in few cases execution. This schism was so intense that in 1378 a group of Italian Cardinals elected Urban VI as Pope while later in the same year another group of French Cardinals elected Clement VII as Pope who established his seat of papacy in Avigon, France. The two groups were excommunicating each other from the church. The Papacy in the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation restored the rights of the laity to possess, read and translate the Bible. Therefore the views of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome are a modern day replica of the gradual introduction of strange ideas in the early church which nearly suffocated the spiritual efficacy of the church.
The silence of the mainstream Pentecostal leadership towards this theory is dangerous. Our Christian leaders have suddenly lost their voices while a false doctrine is circulating among the church. Other matters are currently occupying their attention. Whether these ecclesiastical authorities condemned it or not is immaterial, what matters is the word of God. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians Chapter 6 Verse 19-20 '' do you not know that your body is the temple of the holy spirit who is in you whom you have received from God, you are not your own: you were bought with a price, therefore honour God with your body''. 1 Corinthians Chapter 6 Verse 18 say'' flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whosoever sins sexually, sins against their own body'' while ''Isaiah Chapter 5 Verse 11 says'' woe unto them that rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink, that continues until night that wine inflames them'' and verse 22 says '' woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and .men of strength to mingle strong drink''
Therefore it is obvious that a Christian has a duty to honour God with his body and not to resign himself to habits injurious to the health of man and the laws of God. These habits and besetting sins are part of why Jesus Christ came, to take away sins and give us power to overcome all these desires. Power over self and sinful habits is more important to the Christian than acquisition of all manners of fame, female and finance but modern days Christianity have elevated prosperity to heights inconsistent with the scriptures. If religious faithful cry unto God for deliverance from bad habits the way they fast and pray for political appointments, marital breakthrough and the death of all their enemies, these besetting sins and habits will leave them and get back to where it came from.