Religion

My Journey (7)

By Paul Dada

TITLE: Epiphanies And Struggles

If you are an ex-Deeper Lifer or a current member of the Deeper Life Bible Church, you may bear witness to the fact that that denomination has a way of dominating your mindset or defining your world-view to the extent that you’d be afraid of sinning or at least incurring the displeasure of its leadership should you openly disagree with any of its doctrines or practices.

As an ardent Deeper Lifer, I interpreted the scriptures through the lens of the denomination. The Christian books I read were also judged and scrutinised with Deeper Life understanding.

But somehow as I continued to pray, interact with the writings of non-Deeper Life believers and study the scriptures objectively, it began to dawn on me that some practices and beliefs of the DLBC were erroneous.

I started to have my epiphanies but was too hesitant to rock the boat. Meanwhile, I was already a regular writer of scripture-based posts on Facebook. I had become concerned about the body of Christ.

So, I started (based on divine leading, I believe) a non-denominational Bible discussion forum called “Let’s Discuss the scriptures” with a Deeper Life friend (who used to be very close and dear to me). The friend later opted out for a reason which I cannot share online.

Let’s Discuss the Scriptures was an event that took place from time to time in different parts of Lagos. It attracted brethren from different parts of Lagos and places like Abeokuta and Ibadan. It was a “teach and be taught” forum for a no-holds-barred discussion of the scriptures. I found myself teaching Bible truths I couldn’t dare to teach in Deeper Life.

LDTS was a spiritually fulfilling forum for me, others invited facilitators and the participants. The forum continued to hold even after I left Deeper Life. The last edition was held a few years ago online during the COVID-19 lockdown, and brethren from within Nigeria and beyond participated in it.

Meanwhile, my concern about the rot in the Nigerian Christendom compelled me to start calling out Facebook preachers for their wrongs while warning believers to flee from their errors. I also tackled entrenched doctrinal errors. But I could never criticise Deeper Life directly. I was a key leader in DL. Perhaps about 50 per cent of my Facebook friends were Deeper Lifers, a good number of whom looked up to me. So, I couldn’t directly write against the things I believed were wrong.

On Facebook, while I identified less as a Deeper Lifer and more as one who had messages to pass to the body of Christ, I remained very active as a notable leader in the denomination offline.

However, I was getting tired and even irritated by certain trends within the denomination. For example, I hated that more funds were being raised for building projects while there was less commitment to the welfare of members. I hated that there were too many meetings (especially for workers and key leaders) which could impact negatively on family life.

But more importantly, I hated the rigid way of doing things in the denomination without making allowance for Holy Spirit-led flexibility. I was tired of dogmas being taken as God’s divine requirements.

When I realised the truth about tithing not being a New Testament doctrine and requirement, I couldn’t teach that within the denomination.

Gradually but steadily, the Lord began to show me both the doctrinal errors and unscriptural practices of DL.

I also realised that the denominational system was unscriptural. Though I had become frustrated, I continued attending, teaching, leading and carrying out functions within DL.

I reasoned (I think) that DLBC was still one of the best denominations (if not the best). I was very satisfied that it was a denomination that preached salvation and holiness. And I was convinced that many Deeper Lifers were genuinely saved.

Although I asked myself what I was still doing in DLBC, I wondered where I would go if I left. I didn’t think there was any other denomination worth attending if I left Deeper Life.

Besides, I was emotionally attached to the young people who looked up to me and loved me dearly.

But there was still this constant and growing feeling of dissatisfaction in me.

Then I got convinced that God wanted me to leave. I even had a dream where the need to leave was seemingly reiterated.

But how did I leave?

(To be continued)

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