Leadership is the eye of the church body. Jesus said that if the eye is full of darkness, the whole body will be in darkness (Matthew 6:22-23) So, it became of my childhood church. As the leaders took second wives, their doctrines began to change. Suddenly, the leaders that used to teach “one man, one wife” began to teach about how Jacob in the Bible married seven wives; how the many wives of David was described as a gift from God in 2 Samuel 12 and how the 1000 wives and concubines of Solomon did not prevent him from being the wisest man on earth. The result was that many of my childhood church leaders became oppressive towards their first wives and the children of their first wives. I was hoping to see fire come down from heaven but it did seem that God was silent! My faith in God drifted further.
One of the practices of the church was for people to spend the night in the church and do midnight prayers. It was believed that sometimes angels would visit and bless members while in the church overnight. In the past, those midnight prayers provided moments of healing and victory for many afflicted. But after the sons of God (church leaders) discovered that the daughters of men were beautiful and took as many wives as their hearts desired, their teachings changed. Subsequently, the house of prayer became the house of revelry. Unholy sex reigned!
During those “stay the night” periods in church, it was not unusual to see a young man lying on a mat with the “girl that he wants to marry” at the dark corners of the church compound.
Being the pastor’s kid, I was privileged to eavesdrop into a top level conversation going on in my father’s living room. The Primate was furious that a Senior Apostle overseeing a branch of his church sexually abused a minor for seven days. To activate his unholy sex-venture, the Senior Apostle “prophesied” that God wanted the church custodian’s teenage daughter to spend seven days in church for “deliverance from demonic attack”. Contrary to the so called prophecy, the deliverance prayer delivered the young maiden into the unholy libido of the Apostle. I will save you the details but the Apostle was suspended that night!
As an upcoming “rebel” of the church, I tried to put my finger on what could be going on between some of the monogamous leaders and the women. While some of them were chaste; for sure, some of them outsmarted me. But I did know that the resident church worker began to “harvest” the young girls. He would promise each girl that he would marry her and after sexually taking advantage of the girl, he would dump that one and move to the next. And if you heard this worker pray in church during those midnight prayers, you will think that he wined and dined with the Holy Spirit.
As these went on, my growth into puberty activated my natural desires for sex. I reasoned that if extra-sex was good for the senior Apostle and for the church worker, it must be good for me too. Regrettably, premarital sex was not good for me! My first sexual experience was a disaster. I was so ignorant, neither knowing what I was looking for nor what I was doing really. I was so afraid! On one hand, there was the fear of God which I got earlier in life and on the other hand, there was the fear of men. In Igbo culture and at that time, sex was not for teenagers! My fear was heightened when after the act, the girl told me that she would move into my father’s house as my wife if she got pregnant. The more terrifying part was that my father would have been happy to arrange that quick marriage to cover up my sin and protect his social image. Though she was very beautiful, I do not think that getting married and raising kids should be the plan of a 14 year old! It was not mine either! I prayed to the God of heaven that if she was not pregnant, I will stay away from the girls. My prayer was answered! For the next 4 years, I left sex alone and focused on seeking knowledge and understanding the way the world works.
In-between this fear of God and the fear of men was my reverence for my father. Though, he was one of those that took second wives, I still held him in very high esteem, having seen God perform miraculous healing through him, even raising the dead! But all that was gone with the adventure into polygamy. This raised new questions for me: Was polygamy really a sin according to the bible? How did the early church address the problem of polygamy? Where did the miracles come from and why did it stop? Please, stay with me as I address these issues in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rev Joshua Amaezechi, an ordained Minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA), is the President of the LEMA Institute. He works as the Lead Chaplain at the Kalamazoo County Jail, Michigan through the Forgotten Man Ministries.
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