The founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo recently made headlines when he broke the news that the Catholic Church has the most organised structure on earth. The clergyman who made the disclosure on 24 March, 2022 at the afternoon session of the Built to Last Church Growth Conference revealed that: “The Catholic has done a good job in terms of structure. An extremely good job. Amazing good job. Where you can sit down and pull out materials of 50-60 years ago, in its original form. How many of us in ministry today can pull out materials from 10 years?”
The General Overseer who explained that other Churches branched out of the Catholic Church said, “It (The Catholic Church) is known to be the longest, organised system on the earth. About 2000 years in existence. And then, came the major Protestant, the Church of England. They made a good deal of organization.” Speaking to posterity, the Senior Pastor insisted, “If we keep going like this, not one material will be traced to the Charismatic. If we keep going like we are going without reviewing our steps, without seeing the place or order, it will fizzle out because many are running it like a shop, you make sales on Sunday, spend it during the week and then come back the next market day.’’ Earlier during the Conference, the Proprietor and Chancellor of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State noted that “any Church that fails to continue after the leaders die has failed destiny, because God’s plan is for the church to continue forever.”
In a related development, the Zambia Bulletin recently reported one Paul Chibuye, an active Pentecostal Pastor as saying: “I admire Catholics level of unbotheredness. You can criticize their church, their leaders or their faith, they will listen to you until you finish, then they will go to church the next Sunday, eat the Sacrament and go home.” Concerning attraction to miracles, Chibuye stressed, “They do believe in miracles but they don’t chase miracle from church to church. Mass is only 1 hr, no time for gossip, you don’t have to over dress to impress anyone.”
He went on to state that “They don’t even have loud speakers in their churches to disturb villagers, they don’t hold crusades or go evangelising. If you want to join them, you have to go look for the church yourself, they have no time convincing you to join them.” On hate preaching and giving influential people undue recognition in Church, he had this to say: “They don’t have time to preach against other denominations. They don’t even have time to recognize visitors for unnecessary greetings.” The Pentecostal Pastor added that “Minding their business is a full time job.” On issues of piety and discipline, he maintained that “They practice daily repentance, prayer, devotion, meditation, humility, charity and sacrifice. [They are a] very disciplined denomination.” He also bared his mind pertaining organised marriages, moral guidance by priests, relationship with God, the hypocrisy of shouting and so-called anointing which claims divine endorsement.
They have “No time to organize false marriages, no hypocrisy. No need for the priest approval to know you are doing right, personal relationship with God, a relationship that is between you and your Creator and Jesus in your heart, not shouting to prove anything. Quietness no fake falling under anointing on pretending to hear from God and doing opposite,” Chibuye stressed. It would be recalled that in 2016, Benny Hinn, an Israeli Christian televangelist confessed firm belief in the Eucharist while addressing an audience on a live telecast. He declared that Catholics have more miracles than other churches.
Soon after the revelation, the viral video became a sensation between Catholic and none-Catholic media enthusiasts. Hinn endorsed the Catholic belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist while affirming that Catholics don’t “church hop” or jump from one church to another like Pentecostals. He, however, insisted that: “There’s healing in the Catholic churches because these people are devoted and show up every Sunday. They don’t church hop. We hop, they don’t. That’s why we’re sick, and many of them are healed.” To concretize this position, he went scientific to explain that: “They just released a study that more people are healed in a Catholic church than in Pentecostal churches.” Referring to the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, Hinn maintained that: “The studies have proven it.”
The supposed faith-healer held that, “Because Catholic people revere the Eucharist. More people get healed in a Catholic Church during communion than Pentecostals… because to us it’s symbolic.” Seizing the opportunity, he defended the doctrine of the real presence by saying, “Well Jesus didn’t say, ‘This is symbolic of body,’ he said, ‘This is my body’; [he didn’t say,] ‘This is symbolic of my blood,’ he said, ‘This is my blood.’” He further stated that miracles also occur in Coptic Christian communities for similar reasons as Catholics while insisting: “I believe, I always have believed, that in the Spirit it is his body, in the Spirit its hid blood, so you revere it. There’s healing in communion. Absolutely, I’ve seen it happen in my own ministry.” At first value, while Hinn tried to affirm the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, he seemed to be holding a different doctrine.
This is because, Catholics believe in transubstantiation which means that after consecration, the bread and wine truly becomes Jesus in substance, not simply spiritually as he suggests. Hinn’s position that he believes the bread and wine becomes Jesus’ body and blood “in the Spirit,” does not pass for Catholic teaching. Known as the world’s oldest and largest existing institution which has an estimated population of 1.345 billion as at 2021, the Catholic Church has paid its dues to the world in terms of influencing global history and shaping Western civilisation.
Suffice it to note that founded by Christ, the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, though human, with limitations, is watched over by the celestial courts. By giving the world the current Gregorian calendar, the Church has shown that her seven sacraments and sacramentals as well as recognition in global affairs as a permanent United Nations’ observer, enjoys a divine seal. The Church’s unbroken apostolic succession (Cf. Matt. 16:19; 18:18 & Eph. 2:20) endorsed by the confessions of none-Catholics should position all Catholics to be timeless influencers of history. No Catholic should take this for granted. With humility, this writer concludes, indeed, the gates of the underworld cannot hold out against God’s Church (Matt. 16:18–19).
• Rev. Fr. Dyikuk is a Lecturer of Mass Communication, University of Jos, Editor – Caritas Newspaper and Convener, Media Team Network Initiative (MTNI), Nigeria. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.