Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry
Leaving the Seoul International Baptist Church yesterday morning with my family, we found ourselves greeted by two African men whom I guessed hailed from Nigeria. They smiled and handed us the "Key to True Success" -- not merely spiritual success but material success as well!
This sort of thing doesn't happen every day. It doesn't even happen every Sunday! But it happened yesterday. The key, it seems, is to pray a particular prayer, for the flyer offering the "Key to True Success" introduced a prayer composed by Pastor Wale Oluwanusi, who promises that "you can enjoy this kind of [spiritual and material] success as you give your life to Jesus Christ right now, by saying this prayer":
Lord Jesus, I come to you today. I am a sinner, I cannot help myself. Forgive me my sins. Cleanse me with your precious blood. Deliver me from sin and Satan, to serve the Living God. Today, Lord Jesus, I accept You as my Lord, and Saviour. Thank you Jesus for saving me. Now, I know I am born again! And please Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz? My friends all drive Porsches. I must make amends.Okay, I added those last three sentences, but the explicitly materialistic part of the prayer was obviously missing, for the flyer does explicitly offer "Financial Breakthrough, Posperity and Spiritual Upliftment" . . . assuming that "Posperity" is a typo for "Prosperity." Anyway, if you do pray this prayer -- perhaps specifying what you want -- then the life of some fellow named "Enoch" could even be your life:
Working in the factory is of a contemporary significant in the life of a beginner in S/Korea and that is the sure way to earn a living. As seeds Abraham Isaac and Jacob we shall possess our possession in a foreign land and the lord has been so faithful to most of our members. Brother Enoch has been so faithful and the lord has been using him as a source of blessing to others. As a factory employee in S/Korea then, God has elevated him from the dept of the valley to the mountain top, from ordinary to extra ordinary person now. Someone who was regarded a a write off in the family is now an immense source of blessing. As a humble servant of God, he took a giant step and an astronomical rise to stardom. He is now an investor and the C.E.O of a famous company in S/Korea. God has blessed him with a wonderful wife and a bouncing baby boy. To His name be the glory.An "astronomical rise to stardom," indeed. Someone had a clever way with words despite the typos. I like that pun. Yet . . . Enoch's story sounds utterly implausible to me. Foreigners don't easily rise to positions of power here in South Korea, not even Westerners. But if this did happen to a Nigerian called "Brother Enoch" -- now a C.E.O. and all -- then we probably do need to acknowledge a genuine miracle. Be that as it may, after these words of inspiration comes an invitation:
Worship with the Winners at: Mountain of Fire & Miracles MinistriesThis fire mountain is located in Itaewon, which strikes me as odd, for I've noticed no volcanos in that area. Sunday worship service lasts from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., which I find a bit excessive. But the church offers a lot for its members, e.g., an "Expectant Mothers Programmer." I'm not sure what that is, but it sounds rather technical and impressive.
Even more impressive: "Every Midnight We Have One Hour With God." And atheists still scoff! Oddly, however, this "Hour With God" has a scheduling conflict with something titled "Power Must Change Hands Programme," which takes place "From 12 Midnight - 2:am." Or perhaps the power changes hands at 1:00, when God has to leave.
This church seems to have its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, for I found this via Google:
I therefore know nothing in particular about this church, but it seems to be preaching a variant on the so-called "Prosperity Gospel." Usually, the only ones who attain prosperity in such churches are the church leaders. The congregations, despite giving unstintingly to their church leaders, rarely seem to rise to that sort of wealth. I'm not sure why blessings don't trickle down.
But I don't want to end on a depressing note, so I'll add that there actually does exist some empirical data to support the belief that poor people who convert to Evangelicalism (and Pentecostalism) do indeed experience a rise in their standard of living, for they often adopt a more disciplined life, including more discipline in financial affairs. Believers would argue that God has a hand in that transformation, but no money drops from the skies.