Bishop Mike Okwonkwo has confessed to frightening members of his church over the issue of paying tithes in the past, admitting that those were his days of ignorance. Okonkwo, a leading pentecostal preacher and founder of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) said that preachers had made up many unscriptural phrases to coerce faithfuls into paying tithes. According to him, tithes came before the law and should be giving out of love and not fear. He said:
“The first mention of tithe, there was no curse in it. Abraham gave the tithe of all to Melchizedek, which was before the law. There was no curse and he did it willingly. I have frightened the church with curses for not paying tithes and that was because I didn’t know any better.”
“You know we conjure all kinds of semantics like, ‘If you don’t pay your tithe, your life will be tight,’ and the people pay out of fear without God’s blessing. “God wants you to pay tithe out of love, it shouldn’t be about the money, but about Jesus.”
He also said his ministry does not take the first-fruits offering – a popular church doctrine where members bring their first earnings of the year or an endeavour to the church.
Bishop Okonkwo’s position was heralded by another popular pentecostal preacher, Rev. Sam Adeyemi who said Christians must not be made to feel guilty for paying tithes, saying that the law of the practise has expired.
“So I say again, tithing as practiced under the Law of Moses as a regulation has expired. No Christian should feel guilty for not paying tithes.
“Nobody should tell a Christian that for you to be accepted before God first or for you to be righteous you must pay your tithes. When Jesus said it is finished it was finished. There is nothing anybody can add to what Jesus did to be justified before God,” Rev. Adeyemi added.
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