Hang On Tight

We are in for another rough ride folks! Oh, I know, it has been a rough year and now that Christmas events and activities have been added to an already wicked schedule – more than overwhelming and past being a rough time. “Stop the world I want to get off!”

Well, you might want to change that saying – as true as it may be at this time and in this busy season. We could just fine tune it a bit and come up with, “Stop the Church I want to get out”.

Okay, we know that we can’t do that because we are members of the Church – not card-carrying members of an organization but living members of an organism – a living, breathing, alive entity called the Body of Christ, the Church. Impossible to simply slice ourselves out of the body just because the Body is suffering another hit from within its ranks and from outside her ranks.

However, you just might want to hang on tight because it is about to get rougher for those of us who love the Church and are active members of this great organism that the Lord birthed into the world on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). There is some mud-slinging going on and it’s aimed at one or some of our own. Some of those throwing the mud are believers, some are not. But mud is flying nonetheless.

The issue – some accusations – very public ones – against Sunday Adelaja of Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations in Kiev, Ukraine. So, close to my heart as I have worked in Ukraine a number of times and over a period of almost 15 years. I pray daily for my friends in Ukraine and the Church that I help to lead here also financially supports the work of a local church there as well. So, I’m all ears.

To save you linking to another site (and to save me figuring out how to do that – although yesterday I did buy myself a “Blogging for Dummies” book so I am out to learn what all these other things I can see behind the scenes (the back door of my blogging structure and programming that you can’t get to) really do and how they function. But, I digress.

To save you linking to another site I have pasted the original article that I just read Friday shipped out from the Charisma Magazine web site … www.charismamag.com/cms/news/archives/121908.php

Then I received today the response from Pastor Adelaja which was sent out via e-mail to his mailing list and kindly forwarded by a wonderful pastor in Calgary, Alberta – William Dennie. Much appreciated William as I try not to get on too many mailing lists as I don’t keep up with all that I now receive as e-mails. I’m a binge e-mailer … I do what I can each day and then when the pressure mounts and I am 180+ behind (as I am now) I can’t handle the stress any longer and I spend a day or two of 10 to 15 hours catching up. Someone suggested that I should just delete them all. But, again, I digress.

So, below I have pasted both the Charisma news alert and Pastor Adelaja’s response. One comment from me first – afterall, it is my blog and I can share a thought or two… Whoops, now it”s up to two comments.

First, Pastor Adelaja did not address the issues that he is being confronted with. His brief email mentions an issue that according to what Charisma reporters wrote was not an issue at all. And he did not address the real issues (accusations) regarding lying, exaggerating the truth, causing the Church in Russia and Ukraine a lot of pain and agony with the government by misreprersenting his church’s role in the Orange Revolution, and so on.

Secondly, with a world-wide ministry through his books and trans-local ministry Pastor Adelaja cannot afford to remain silent and simply state that it will all work out and he is “being hated for My Name’s sake”. Nonsense! No one is hating him. He was confronted by other Christian leaders within the Charismatic and non-Charismatic Church in Ukraine and asked to be accountable for what he has and is saying and doing. That is not being “hated”. It is being accountable and responsible. So, let’s not play martyr and simply answer the concerns being brought up – repent, apologize, get things right IF there is something to get right and let’s get over this speed bump and get on with the work of the Kingdom – winning souls.

So, the article…

Sunday Adelaja Accused of Supporting Investment Scheme
Pentecostal leaders in Ukraine have accused the prominent Kiev pastor of involvement in a failed business that has lost $100 million.

Ukraine’s most prominent charismatic pastor, Sunday Adelaja, is at the center of controversy over his alleged involvement in a business venture that some claim bilked investors out of $100 million.

Adelaja, pastor of Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations in Kiev, was accused in November of being involved in the dealings of King’s Capital, a financial group led by a member of his congregation. The company drew many of its investors from the church, also known as God’s Embassy, promising as much as 60 percent returns on investments.

But last month, several church members went to authorities saying they were unable to recover the money they invested, which left many of them bankrupt. Police later arrested one of King’s Capital leaders, Aleksandr Bandurchenko, on suspicion of fraud.

Speculation about Adelaja’s involvement with King’s Capital grew after reports surfaced that he was part of a bank in Nigeria known as GS Microfinance Bank Limited. Some speculated that Adelaja, a native of Nigeria, invested funds from King’s Capital in the African bank and planned to leave the country.

Adelaja, however, said those accusations are unfounded. He said he has never been involved with King’s Capital but denied that it is a Ponzi scheme, which uses later investments to pay dividends to earlier investors.

Adelaja said King’s Capital is a legitimate business that failed under the pressure of the global financial crisis. He said because the company poured most of the investment capital into real estate, which has decreased in value, it has been unable to pay investors.

“When the [economic] crisis came, all the real estate is no more selling,” Adelaja told Charisma. “The land is enough to pay back the money owed. … The problem is … everything is stopped in the country—nothing is selling now in Ukraine.”

Adelaja said Interior Affairs Minister Yurii Lutsenko accused the church of involvement because he wants to undermine the evangelical movement in Ukraine. With several thousand members across the nation, God’s Embassy is one of the most influential congregations in Ukraine.

“[Lutsenko] is in a very bad situation,” Adelaja said. “He’s got to prove now that [King’s Capital] is a pyramid scheme, but he cannot.”

Adelaja said he never encouraged his church members to invest in the company and cautioned them to invest in businesses that offer insurance. “Of course … if you invest with insurance you get less percentage,” he said. “What happened was many people said they didn’t need insurance because the [King’s Capital leaders] were Christians.”

He acknowledged being affiliated with GS Microfinance, but said he invested his name and influence in the bank, not millions of dollars. He said GS Microfinance was formed to give small loans to poor Nigerians as a way of lifting them out of poverty. “It’s not about what you can get, but the vision of the program [is] to elevate and get as many people out of poverty as possible,” Adelaja said. “That is one of my lifetime passions … because I grew up in poverty.”

Although Adelaja has repeatedly denied any involvement in King’s Capital, which has not officially been deemed a fraudulent business, Pentecostal and charismatic leaders across Ukraine are calling on him to repent, saying they heard him encourage church members to invest in the company on several occasions.

“He was not a president of this company, but he was the No. 1 spiritual leader, and he told them what they have to do,” said Bishop M. S.Panochko, leader of the All-Ukrainian Union of Pentecostal Churches of Evangelical Faith, which is comprised of 1,500 churches across the nation. “He can do everything to tell them [he is] not involved, but all [the] leaders have a lot of facts, and we have a lot of video of when he was pushing people, and he encouraged people to invest in this business.”

Panochko was one of 10 leaders who met with Adelaja on Tuesday to confront him about his alleged support of King’s Capital and the negative impact some of his actions have had on the evangelical church in Ukraine.

The Pentecostal bishops, who together represent more than 2,500 congregations, listed seven items of concern and said Adelaja has a pattern of making exaggerated statements. They pointed particularly to his alleged claim that he led the 2004 Orange Revolution—when Ukrainian voters protested a presidential election many considered fraudulent—and his reports that God’s Embassy has 100,000 members across the nation. The bishops say those and other statements are untrue.

After the meeting, Adelaja issued a statement saying he did not organize the Orange Revolution, though his congregation participated in the demonstrations. He also asked forgiveness for the negative impact the King’s Capital scandal has had on Ukrainian churches, but he added that he did not personally have any involvement in the company.

Despite the statement, Panochko said the bishops would continue waiting for Adelaja to apologize for allegedly endorsing King’s Capital. If he does not repent, Panochko said the bishops would issue a statement to Christians in Ukraine and abroad, and to the Ukrainian government, denouncing Adelaja and claiming no affiliation with him.

Moscow-based pastor Rick Renner, founder of the Good News Association of Churches and Ministries for Russia, Latvia and Ukraine, said Adelaja’s claims are hurting Christians in the former Soviet Union. He said reports about God’s Embassy’s involvement in the Orange Revolution have led some governments to crack down on churches out of fear that Christians are political revolutionaries.

“Pastors and Christian leaders are now trying to maneuver through new restrictive laws that have been passed because of Sunday’s claim that he and his church organized the Orange Revolution,” Renner said. “He owes the body of Christ an apology, first for lying about the fact that he organized it and carried it out, and second, for creating this very difficult environment for which others are now paying a very high price.”

Renner and other Pentecostal leaders say they have long been concerned about Adelaja’s claims that God’s Embassy has 100,000 members across Ukraine when they believe the church has closer to 10,000 members nationwide. But Renner said the King’s Capital controversy provoked him to speak out.

“Thousands of people have been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, and many lives have been changed [through God’s Embassy],” Renner said. “There was never a need for him to exaggerate on such a massive scale as he has been doing in recent years. … I have never wanted to call Sunday a liar, so most often I tried to ignore the subject of Sunday’s falsehoods when I heard them. Now in light of the lies being told by Sunday, denying that he ever recommended that his people invest in this company, I was taken to a new place of prayer and concern. It was in the midst of this that the Lord impressed me to speak out.”

During a recent sermon, Renner told his congregation that the members of God’s Embassy should leave the church if Adelaja doesn’t repent.

“They are not obligated by God to sit up under deception,” Renner said. “ … It’s not the position of a pastor to say to his people, ‘Sell everything you have and put all your money in this particular company,’ especially if that pastor has an interest in that company. That is a very impure recommendation.”

The challenge provoked a firestorm of response, pitting Christians on either side of the debate. Dmitry Kirichenko, pastor of World Harvest Church in Kiev and director of Brightstar Publishing House, issued an open letter expressing his support of Adelaja.

Kirichenko said there are no facts proving Adelaja’s involvement in the establishment and operation of King’s Capital. “The Ministry of Internal Affairs … currently is investigating the case, but even this administration has so far not presented any formal charges against Pastor Sunday,” he wrote.

However, Sergei Shidlovsky leader of the Seeking God movement and a former member of God’s Embassy, said he attended many meetings during which Adelaja called on people to invest in King’s Capital and “laughed over those who have not yet done that.”

“I personally sat in the room when he explained to everyone how important it is to take the credit out of the house or apartment and invest precisely in this company,” said Shidlovsky, who invested 1,000 Euros himself and encouraged his mother to sell her apartment in Belarus and invest the profit. “I became a contributor of King’s Capital only by trust in Sunday Adelaja and his calls to invest in this company.”

Adelaja said Shidlovsky’s claims are “absolutely not true.” He said he invited a church member to discuss investing as part of ongoing teaching on financial stewardship. He said the financial talk was not about King’s Capital but may have been misinterpreted.

Alex Mykhaylyk, dean of History Makers Bible School, a Philadelphia-based ministry affiliated with God’s Embassy, said those attacking Adelaja are looking for someone to blame for the collapse of King’s Capital and Ukraine’s economic woes. “Sunday never told people to invest in this,” Mykhaylyk said. “He told them basic principles of business and investment. I know my pastor too well. He will give away everything and not take anything from anybody. The biggest problem is that the church is divided in opinions.” –Adrienne S. Gaines

His response …

Subject: TRUTH PREVAILS
From: secretary@godembassy.org
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2008 17:59:10 +0200
TRUTH PREVAILS
And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved…
Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. (Matthew 10: 22, 26)

Dear Friends of Pastor Sunday and the Embassy of God,
Greetings to you in Jesus’ name!
We are writing this letter to all of you today because probably you have heard of the false accusations that have been coming against Pastor Sunday in relation to the economic crisis Ukraine is going through.
However, we do not fear because God’s word says that there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
As a result of the Ukrainian credit crash, the country has suffered a lot, and was even recently rated as the country that suffered the most from the world economic crisis, being left with the greatest amount of casualties.
Approximately 25 banks have declared themselves insolvent, and therefore received support from the national bank of Ukraine before completely closing.
25% of Ukraine’s population cannot pay their mortgages and thousands of companies went down as well.
One such company that went down was a financial company by the name of King’s Capital; one of the founders of the company being a member of our church.
Even though thousands of companies nationwide failed, the opposition of the church would like to use this situation of King’s Capital to raise false accusation against Pastor Sunday of being involved.
Because one of the founders comes to the Embassy of God church, a lot of church members invested in his company. Even though the company has real estate to back-up the investments of the people, they are not in a position to pay anything back at the moment due to the real estate collapse in the country.
The government is not officially accusing Pastor Sunday and the church, but some brothers and sisters have come out to launch a massive media attack against him to damage his reputation and character.
Their false allegations have been that Pastor Sunday encouraged people to invest in the company, when contrarily he discourages people from high interest investments.
In Pastor Sunday’s own words, .The God Who sees secret things of every man’s heart knows that I don’t have anything to do with the organization, management or finances of King’s Capital.
Any company from any church could go bust and the pastor does not have to be held responsible for that. The company collapse has nothing to do with me or with GS Microfinance Bank in Nigeria, and they have confirmed this..
We are asking our friends to pray for Pastor Sunday and against these false accusations.
Even though these charges don’t have legal consequences, they are raising a lot of noise, particularly from Christians.
None of this has affected the membership of the church – on the contrary the church has grown and there has been better attendance since these allegations started – as they all know the truth and what Pastor Sunday has taught.
Many blessings as the year comes to a close and may God show you His grace and favour in the new year!
Merry Christmas from Pastors Sunday and Abosede Adelaja,
and the entire Embassy of God family!

Love to hear what you think…

6 replies
  1. Felix
    Felix says:

    1. The Ukraine government has not determined that King’s Capital committed any crime.

    2. Thousands of businesses are failing around the world because of the global economic crisis.

    3. Even if King’s Capital was an illegal business, unless Sunday knew that it was an illegal business was benefiting from that business in some way is he guilty of anything.

    4. Where is the documentation that Pastor Sunday claims to have orchestrated the Orange Revolution?

    5. I have never heard a claim of 100,000 members in Sunday’s church. Where is that documented?

    Reply
  2. Sergei
    Sergei says:

    Recently Sunday confirmed that there are 700 churches under his ministry with total of 100,000 people. This statement can be found on his website.

    Reply
  3. Sergei
    Sergei says:

    There are several problems with this business venture. One, there are many people who testify that Sunday encouraged to invest in this business from the pulpit. Now this is not a proper thing to do. Church pulpit should not be used this way. Otherwise, when business is failed, the church’s reputation suffers. Two, since the investors were promised to get about 40% of interest, some consider this business a ponzy scheme.

    Now there is another side to this story. Now matter how much Sunday is guilty or not guilty in this situation, some ministers use this situation as a kind of opportunity for PR. You know to get noticed by criticizing Sunday.

    Even if Sunday made a mistake (and there is a good reason to believe he did), we should follow Gal. 6:1 and not gloat over others’ mistakes.

    I hope all parties learn from this story, and go on in the Lord.

    Reply
  4. Bev Wensel
    Bev Wensel says:

    …s-o-o-o much “he said, they said…” & a pointing of fingers…like Sergei says, making the most of it for their own PR…not exactly a Gal 6:1 response…LOVE *covers* + always believes the best & supports with prayer & esp so now…we are all in time of grt deception & need to walk closely & humbly with our God, or we too will be dec’d…I weary of all this!!!B&V

    Reply
  5. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Thanks for all the responses to this current issue. I too, like Bev, tire of all this as I am sure the Lord does also. My deepest concern is that it does not sidetrack us from winning the lost and seeing lost sinners brought to Jesus so they can know total forgiveness and acceptance.

    To comment on some of Felix’s questions and concerns (by number to make it easier):

    1> The articles I posted from Both Pastor Sunday and Charisma Magazine reporters clearly state that. The problem as Sergei points out is that as soon as the accusation goes out and the government has enough “evidence” to begin an inquiry then the shadow of suspicion has been cast and regardless of the outcome some damage is done. Much prayer is needed.

    2> Yes, the article does admit that businesses are failing all over the world and that some areas of the Ukrarian economy are being hard hit as it is such a young and vibrant economy without strong roots to help it weather the storm. No one is denying this reality – and, at the same time, no one is saying this did not play a part in the downfall of King’s Captial. They are, however, saying that more than an economic downturn is the cause for the troubles at King’s Capital and that facts that have come to their attention deserve a further look. Fair enough.

    3> They are not accusing Pastor Sunday of being involved in an illegal business (whether it was legal or illegal has yet to be determined). The concern is that he misused the pulpit and his spiritual authority by commenting on this enterprise from the pulpit. They have video tapes and live witnesses of this happening on a number of different occasions. This is, in my mind, a serious accusation and, if true, a serious misuse of spiritual authority and trust.

    4> In a number of Pastor Sunday’s books he comments on his church being one of the leaders of the Orange Revolution (page XXV and XXVI of the Prologue of “Church Shift”) he states “the church I pastor…on the front lines of an amazing national transformation. Our church played a leading role in toppling the corrupt powers and ushering in a new era of freedom for our country. … The revolution in Ukraine did not begin in the halls of power or political backrooms. It began in the prayer closet. It began when our church discovered how to shift society as individuals and as a body of believers. … I knew that God had used our church as a spiritual icebreaker six months earlier… Under God’s direction, we had been used to change the mind-set of an entire country.”

    That is acutally mild to other things I have personally read in print recorded during interviews with Pastor Sunday and published in secular and religious newspapers and magazines here in North America.

    5> Same spot in the book (written several years ago) he numbers his church at over 25,000. Since then, again in interviews and articles (and advertizements for his speaking engagements) it is quoted that his ONE CHURCH and not his network of churches (Sergei’s comment) numbers over 100,000 and I do not know of him denying this or correcting the mis-advertizing if that were not so.

    I think there is trouble brewing…

    Reply

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