If you check your dictionary, gullible is an adjective and not a noun. But, in the context of the subject title, I will be taking liberty to make a noun out of the adjective – gullible. What does it mean to be gullible? According to Merriam Webster dictionary on my Samsung Galaxy phone, to be gullible means: easily fooled or cheated; especially quick to believe something that is not true. The same dictionary defines pageant as mere show; pretense an ostentation display. So, there you have it, my disclosure – that I am not an expert on the English Language (still learning). Now, look at the picture above. It caught my attention as I was driving along Aba Road, Port Harcourt some weeks back. The aforementioned dictionary also defined Pentecostal as an adjective meaning: of, relating to, or belonging to a Christian group that emphasizes the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the Bible.
What an audacious temerity, if you’ve never seen one? Zoom in on the picture and ask yourself the question, is this the latest fad in town – “Pentecostal Pageants”? And the sad irony is that many so-called gullible people who call themselves Christians will be trouping to and sponsoring this show of shame. Any Christian who bears the name of Christ will surely ask himself or herself in the words of prophet Jeremiah (warning the backslidden nation of Israel in Old Testament Bible times), is this the reason why we were redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb of God? For those who have ears to hear and eyes to see, this is another of the ever increasing Abominations of the Nations insidiously creeping into the body of Christ. Unfortunately, many immature and backslidden-at-heart Christians will have us leave it like that while trying to deaden their consciences and those that seek to warn and caution them with, “It doesn’t matter.” “It all depends on the way you see it.”
Jeremiah 7:8 – 11 (KJV)
8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord.
As Christians, we are to show forth the light of Him who has called us out of darkness into His glorious light.
1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
How is the effective preaching of the gospel going to be served in a worldly influenced Beauty Pageant? What has Beauty Pageants got to do with the Christian message? This is an example of how so-called Christians distort the true gospel message and make it powerless. Ever wonder why we as Christians are so ineffective these days? In the times of the Acts of the Apostles it was recorded that Christians (by their acts and influence for good) have “turned the world upside down”. – Acts 17:6. But, what do we have in our own times, “a generation of the proliferation of churches” (to use the words of my pastor, Pastor W. F. Kumuyi)? Here in Nigeria, there are some parts where one can count more than ten churches to a square kilometer. But where are our impacts in terms of effectiveness, positive societal-changes and transformation of lives? Next to nill. All too frequent, what we hear couched in various versions by some ministers (so-called) is, “God will bless you,” “God will make you rich …” (ad-nauseam) even when we are living in worldliness, compromise and outright rebellion against God. In our times, we see women ministers who have no scruples wearing hot-pants, Yoga pants, micro-mini skirts and dresses that are designed to promote sensual nudity on the pulpit and on stage. The male pastors and members are no less guilty because they edge them on. The general congregation are no less accomplices in because they love to have it so. Ever wonder why there is so much sexual perversion and immorality in the church today?
The only way we Christians can convince the world of the transforming power of the gospel message is to always remember that we are in the world and not of the world.
It is the love of the world and the desire to be accepted by the world that will make any Christian think that he or she can win or influence the world by organizing Pentecostal Beauty Pageants, “Christian-jesting parties” and “nights of thousands laughs”. Christians are called to carry their cross and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians are called to be society transformers. The way to this is not by imitating and conforming to the latest sinful trends and fads in town.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
I certainly have nothing against decent expressions of beauty or those who are into promoting and organizing Beauty Pageants. But to attach the name of a Christian group or attempt to “Christianize” those unblemished prurient, human glorifying and egocentric gatherings and shows amount to sacrilege. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. All those who organize these shows and those who patronize them are in the words of Chelsen Vicari trading “their Christian convictions for a gospel filled with compromise. They’re slowly attempting to give the soul-saving and lives changing gospel message an “update” — and the changes are not for the good.” In the name of the Lord, we warn them to repent and turn back to the narrow way of the Lord.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)
The blessed gospel of Christ cannot be promoted by worldly comic and jesting shows and beauty pageants that minister to human sinful flesh. The discerning unbelievers whom we are trying to preach the gospel to will immediately see our phoniness and hypocrisy. Christian churches and leaders that support and promote such shows are at best promoting what Esquire magazine writer Jeff Sharlet called Ministry of Fun. They will end up with empty churches whose congregants are bereft of salvation, true-spirituality and the power to live a Godly life.