Nigerian-born Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s church has a strong South African base.
The South African government said it could send the General Overseer of Believers’ Love World, a. k. a. Christ Embassy, to prison.
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, who has a strong presence in South Africa, is one of the several ‘new generation’ church leaders allegedly shielding their financial dealings from the government.
Since most of the money these churches raise come from the people, the government says it wants to take a look at their bank accounts to ensure no South African is being short-changed.
‘Some of these religious leaders will face prison if they do not comply and we have been clear about our course of action,’ Mkhwanazi-Xaluva of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities told News24.
‘If he (Oyakhilome) intends on that route, we are ready,’ she said.
‘He will have to face the same fate as the others who refuse to hand over their financial records,’ she said.
While it remains unclear if Oyakhilome is adamant his church money should be of no concern to the government, some South African church leaders have explicitly threatened not to comply.
One of them said he would rather go to jail than let the government take a look at his church’s books.
‘Now the headlines will be saying Mboro has R10 million in his account…I have enemies,’ head of Incredible Happenings Church, Motsoeneng ‘Mboro,’ said.
‘Now they will know my strength and weakness. I want to protect myself, my church, and my ministry so I have to look and consult thoroughly with my lawyers.
‘For my belief, I will be glad to go to jail. Even now, I can be taken there.’
It’s noteworthy, however, that the South African government did not say it would jail the pastors because they are Christians. It actually says it wants to verify whether innocent South Africans are being ‘swindled.’
‘These people take money from people,’ Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said.
‘What are they doing with that money? We want to know. We will not back down.’
Reports say while some oldies like the Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches asked for time to set their books right; several ‘new generation’ churches threatened not to comply.
If Oyakhilome’s Christ Embassy is one of such, the church founder could wound up in a South African jail.
The move by the South African government could anger Christians who believe the government has no right to probe ‘God’s money.’
What do you think?
This post first appeared on Newsroom.ng
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