CHANGE IS HERE

CHANGE IS HERE

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Polygamy church: Leader preaches, practises, enforces multiple marriage



By Chioma Igbokwe 
Friday, April 22, 2011



There is controversy in town. It is in the church and it has been causing ripples among families, especially the women.

The issue of contention is the teaching of a pastor, Harrison Charles of the Day Spring Assembly that polygamy is holy, pure and biblical.

Expectedly, the female members of the church are up in arms as they won’t contemplate sharing their husbands with other women in marriage.

The charged nature of their reactions and the insistence of the preacher with copious bible quotatations have resulted in jolts and turbulence in homes. Some homes are in Disarray as the wives pack out in protest and the husbands with the support of their pastor press their claims that such men in the church must marry other wives.

Saturday Sun listened to the protest of the wives over this doctrine and also sounded out the preacher on his ‘unpopular’ message He insists God directed him to so preach.

…Our husband are gone, and they want the kids too
Another controversy is already brewing around the General Overseer, Pastor Harrison Charles of the Day Spring Assembly over the new doctrine he introduced to the members. While some male aggrieved members of the church, alleged that the boss of the church is living with their wives who were deceived into leaving their matrimonial homes, some of the women who are also victims are crying out that their husbands have been exposed to multiple marriages which they won’t accept.
A staunch member of the church, Mrs. Oluchi Ezeobi has pleaded with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to see that the church is abolished or risk another Rev King incident. She is alleging that her husband who she loves so much had deserted her and their children in a bid.

Come back to me
Mrs. Ezeobi doesn’t hide the fact that she still loves her husband and is willing to make her marriage work. She told Saturday Sun that her problem started when she rejected the ‘strange’ doctrine and subsequently stayed away from the church. She joined the church sometime in 1998 because she discovered that they had the spirit of prophecy.

“I was invited by a member to the church and when I discovered the gift they had, I started attending the church. After the demise of Pastors Augustine Okezue and Samuel Ezeanochie - two pioneer ministers of the church in 2000, Pastor Charles took over the ministry when it was obvious that he was a better alternative. Few months after, he told us to remove our headgear, use cream and start watching television unlike before when we were banned from such. We started wearing good clothes and it was a welcome development.”

Mrs. Ezeobi was one of those who benefited from pastor Charles style of imposition as she alleged that she was betrothed to her husband without any form of courtship. “I was in my shop one day when the GO called me to travel down to Onitsha as he had good news for me. He told me that God wants me to marry my husband immediately. I protested but he insisted that it was the will of God and if I fail to abide by it, the repercussion will be great. Because I believed in him as my spiritual leader, I agreed and the next day he announced it in the church and called us out for prayers. He told the congregation that he had just wedded us, if we like we could go and consummate it in the village with the traditional marriage. This incident took place on December 12, 2004,. The following month, we had our traditional marriage.”

With time Mrs. Ezeobi learnt to love her husband and marriage has been blessed with two children.
New doctrines
All seemed well for the couple until Mrs. Ezeobi decided to call it quits when she became uncomfortable with the new doctrines introduced by the GO. She was shocked when the man of God mounted the pulpit and told the congregation that Jesus told him to disregard the teachings of the Bible. “He told us in the church that he went to heaven and met Jesus who told him not to follow the Bible. One of the things he claimed that Jesus specifically told him was that men should wear women dresses and vice versa.

He also informed them that polygamy is of God and that any woman who stands in the way of her husband’s bid to marry a second wife should be sent to the village until she is willing to yield to the new order. He told us that Jesus married two wives, Gentiles and Israelites.”

The new doctrine was made open and popular when he told the congregation that he would teach them how the multiple wives are consummated in Christ. “He said that he would teach us how a pastor can marry many wives and still confess Jesus. He engaged in it perfectly just few months after. I have been with them for almost 14 years. When these things started, I decided to leave the church. Because of the series of preaching, I was scared that this man would force my husband to marry another woman.

Because he was determined to marry many wives, he told the men to also marry. Sometime in December 2009, my husband told me to come back to the church or the marriage will be over. When I rejected his pleas, he packed his property and left. He began threatening me that he was going to take our children and since he does not have money, that he will send the boy to the north. I cannot leave my son for a man who I am not sure of what he will do next. I am scared that they will come and pick him up. I have assured them that when the children grow up I will ensure that they re-unite with their father. Alternatively, if he wants to take them, let him go to court.”

More crises
Mrs. Favour Ozor is also one of those who felt bitter about the multiple marriage doctrine. She kicked against the polygamy doctrine like most women of the church. When the new doctrine was introduced, she held to the love that kept her marriage despite 10 years of childlessness. When it was obvious that her husband had decided to marry another wife, Mrs. Ozor protested and by way of punishment, she was asked to go to the village until she repents. “My husband sent me packing because I protested that he should not marry another woman. This man stood by my side for 10 years of childlessness until God gave us a baby boy. The boy was barely a year when the problem started. Since my husband sent me back to the village, I left the church. He took my baby who was about two years but with the help of the welfare department, I got him back.

Another ex-member Leo told Saturday Sun that he left the church when strange doctrines were introduced. “It was a good church before the present GO came after the death of the founder. My sister was a victim, she was forced to marry a member of the church and when she agitated when the issue of a second wife came up, she was sent packing while her baby was taken. It is really a pity.”

In his defence
While some are embittered by the new doctrine, others eulogize and pray that the other churches will take a cue. Lagos area pastor, Ikechukwu Elden was contacted on phone and he described such information as false and a ploy to destroy the work of God.

“These are all tissues of lies from the pit of hell within the camp of some men that covenanted with the devil to harm the work of the Lord through a certain newspaper publication and we have made our stand very clear through our spokesman. Almost all of these fabrication are lies. You know when the work of God is going on and the devil does not fight it, it means that it is not the work of God. It is not surprising that the devil will use these men who have fallen out of the grace of God. It is very unfortunate but it is not surprising. It is blasphemy.”

On the polygamy doctrine, Pastor Ik said: “We have made it very clear that there is no where in the Bible that God condemns polygamy. In the book of I Timothy chapter 3v1 - 2, it is stated there. People are quoting Matthew chapter 19 vs. 6 and saying that Jesus said that it is one man, one wife. Jesus never said that rather He was answering the question on divorce not polygamy. This is the truth people do not know, that doctrine came from Babylonian governor not from the true church of God. “Saint Paul because of the issue at hand, made it clear to some particular set of people but that was because of the contingencies of the time.

The scripture ought to be known. Any law that God has given there is a purpose and mind of God for giving that law. The problem people have today is that they know not the mind of God as it is today. We are favoured of God at this point in time and in our generation to know the mind of God. Therefore, we stand to say that we are one living church of the true God and we speak for the truth as it is. God stands by us to confirm it.”

Does the doctrine of multiple marriage partners apply to the women? And Pastor Ik said: “that is not what God is saying, the woman was created for the man so it is no place in the mind of God that the woman will marry more than one husband.”

On how the wives would live in peace among themselves, he said: “In the church of the living God, everyone is supposed to have the holy spirit and having the spirit, it teaches all the truth to know the will and mind of God. She will not be uncomfortable doing the mind of God and abiding in the family that God has put her. Agitation is coming from ex-members that the devil is using. It cannot come from any genuine child of God that has the spirit of the living God”

For another member, Kenneth Okpala, Pastor Harrison was sent by God to deliver them from darkness and ignorance.
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