The night before which was a Saturday, for some reason I stayed up so late into the early hours of Sunday, and right there and then I made up my mind I would go to a nearby church, instead of travelling all the way from Yaba to Isolo as usual.
My sleep was so relaxing and long because I didn’t have to wake up early for church, since I was going nearby. Woke up checked my twitter and I saw a particular tweet from a friend directed at Pastor Sam Adeyemi that goes thus “I respect you a lot Sir, but please stop this is nonsense”.
The confrontation didn’t really shock me, if you are a frequent user of the social media platform called Twitter, you would know it’s a leveller and it gives people this faux belief that they are equal with everyone. The ease of mentioning the handle of a particular person and getting your message across to him/her makes it a whole lot easier. Being Nigerians that we are, we tend to overdo and take things to the extreme, hence the reason why the confrontation didn’t shock me. People are naturally rude on social media.
What worried me however was the thought of what exactly Pastor Sam Adeyemi said to warrant such an affront. For those who don’t know, Pastor Sam Adeyemi is a teacher and pastor of Daystar Christian Centre in Lagos Nigeria. Unlike so many other “Men of God”, he is rather known for teaching the word of God according to the bible, and not the typical flamboyance that is known with many others.
“The root cause of mental illness is Sin. (Rom 6:23) and the foundational solution to mental health is salvation #MentalHealth” – @Sam_adeyemi
That was the tweet that caused a whole lot of rancour and uproar on twitter. There were two different angles to the outrage, and both angles were founded on ignorance.
- The first group of angry people based their anger on the fact that Pastor Sam was preaching against seeking medical help for sick people, especially mentally ill people. They went on and on about how he was using religion to misinform and lead people astray by preaching divine healings over medical help.
Firstly that tweet was taken out context of a long sermon on #MentalHealth. They were quick to pick out this one tweet and conveniently formed misinformed opinions about what they felt the pastor was talking about, rather than going through the entire thread of tweets to grasp and have an idea of the pastor’s general stand on the topic.
Before this particular tweet, the pastor had already made spoken about #MentalHealth and the medical angle to it.
Below are some of the tweets.
“Mental Health is a state of emotional, psychological and social well being. #MentalHealth” – @Sam_adeyemi
“Mental illness is a real as physical illness. The lack of understanding gives room for a lot of ignorance & stigmatisation. #MentalHealth” – @Sam_adeyemi
There is a controversy amongst Christians on Mental Health issues because we believe it is spiritual issue #MentalHealth” – @Sam_adeyemi
Seeking medical help for physical or mental illness does not contradict God’s word or having faith for your healing. #MentalHealth” – @Sam_adeyemi
If something is wrong and you need medical attention or if you know anyone with mental illness. Please seek medical help. #MentalHealth” – @Sam_adeyemi
From the tweets above, it’s clear what Pastor Sam’s stand on mental illness is. He spoke against the stigmatisation of mentally ill people, spoke about the spiritualising of the ailment by ignorant Christians, advised people with the predicament to seek medical help, went further to explain to Christians that seeking medical help for ailments wasn’t against Christianity and in no way had any negatives on their faith.
He was very clear and straightforward, but only those wise and patient enough to check the whole message would have realized this, others who were quick to judge blindly, others who followed the band wagon, didn’t bother to find out before casting stones at the pastor.
- The second set of angry people are of the opinion that Pastor Sam blamed victims for their predicaments by saying the root cause is sin.
In a way I can understand the outrage of these set of people because they really did not understand what he meant by sin and the biblical angle from which he was speaking. In as much as I can pardon these set of people, however there are some who are supposed Christians who are expected to understand the concept of sin he spoke about, but sadly their Sunday school classes as kids didn’t impact them so much.
Before I explain what he meant by sin, I’ll like to state here that anyone who doesn’t believe in the bible and thinks it’s a myth shouldn’t bother with my explanation, because it would mean nothing to you, as everything I’ll be explaining will be from the bible.
When God created man in the book of Genesis, he made man in his own image, man had dominion over the earth and everything on earth, man named every animal, man was in the Garden of Eden, enjoying life according to the plans of God. God would come down to Adam and Eve to fellowship with them in the Garden, there was no hardship, no sicknesses, no death, the mind of man was pure and clean, Adam and Eve didn’t even know they were naked.
Temptation came from the devil in form of the serpent, Eve fell and Adam also fell afterwards. At this point they knew they had done bad and began to hide from God.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. – Genesis 3: 8
The conversation between Man and God went thus, for the first time it was different, there was an element of guilt.
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” – Genesis 3:9
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” – Genesis 3: 10
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” – Genesis 3: 11
At this point God was displeased with man and the whole plan of God for man changed in the following verses.
So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” – Genesis 3: 14 – 15
To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labour you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” – Genesis 3: 16
To Adam he said,
“Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return. – Genesis 3: 17 – 19
God did not only place curses on man, he also ensured that they left the Garden of Eden lest man ate from the tree of life and live forever.
And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. – Genesis 3: 22
So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. – Genesis 3: 23
From this moment on, sin came into the world and every form of hardship and sufferings known to mankind today were birthed.
Going further into the New Testament, God decided to reconcile with mankind and had the perfect plan of redemption for mankind, hence he sent his only begotten son Jesus, to come die and pay for the sins of mankind.
In Romans 3:23 the bible says that “for all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God”
In Romans 6:23 the bible says that the wages of sin is death and the free gift of God is eternal life, through Christ Jesus.
What Pastor Sam did was introduce salvation into the #MentalHealth teaching by bringing up the genesis of mental illness and every imperfection of man to the sin of Adam, and went ahead to insert (Romans 6:23) which was a reminder to every man the consequences of the sin of the first man and the plan of redemption in Christ for everyone who accepts Christ.
The book of Romans 5: 12 – 21 gives a perfect explanation as regards the fall of man through the sin of Adam and Eve, how it affects everyone and the plan of redemption.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned – Romans 5:12
To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. – Romans 5:13
Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. – Romans 5:14
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many – Romans 5:15
Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. – Romans 5:16
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! – Romans 5:17
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. – Romans 5:18
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. – Romans 5:19
The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 5: 20 -21
Everything Pastor Sam spoke about on #MentalHealth was correct both medically and biblically, the problem was that people were selective and chose to misinterpret him for whatever reasons, while other were ignorant of the biblical consequences of the fall of man that brought sin into the world.
I hope I’ve been able to shed more light on the Pastor’s message.