President of the Church Growth International Ministry, Dr. Francis Akin Bola John during an interactive session with Christian Press Association of Nigeria sheds light on the disturbing issue of illicit sex in the church and proffers solution to the menace. Below are excerpts from his speech and his responses to questions relating to the issue.
God hates sexual perversion
There are set limits on how we should use our bodies. God gave us guidance concerning sex. I believe the limit the Lord has placed on our lives are placed for a purpose. But as it was then so it is now. Today we have people who abuse the privilege and the sacredness of sex. God could have created man in a different way. But God wants a sexually wholesome people that is why he created them both male and female.
From historical records we find out that God hates sexual perversion especially when we say we are his children. God created sex for marriage but He will judge sex outside marriage. From Bible records we discover that from Genesis to Revelation God judges’ sexual perversion.
In Genesis 34 we are told of a young girl call Dina. She was raped by foreigners. Israelites don’t marry people from other tribes so raping their daughter was in fact a more grievous sin. Because of that singular act, God allowed the entire tribe of the people that raped her along with those who raped her to be wiped out through war. Sodom and Gomorrah also presents a clear case of how God deals with sexual perversion. That is why the old English for homosexuality is sodomy. The whole of Sodom and Gomorrah was wiped out because of sexual sins of the inhabitants. There is another classic case of the Edomites. They felt threatened by the children of Israel. The king of Edom hired Prophet Balaam to put a curse on them. The prophet tried all he could to put a curse on the children of Israel but he soon discovered that he could not put a curse on them. He now said to them that the only way they could get the children of Israel was to make them commit sexual sin. The daughters of Moab came and the young men of Israel slept with them. One day the Lord killed over 24000 of them because of that immorality.
God gave strict rules on sex
The Lord talked about judging Jezebel for her immorality. In Leviticus 25, God gives us strict rules on sex touching on who we should not have sex with. You must not sleep with your father, mother, Sister in-law, animals and strangers. When sexual perversion pervades the church, we can be sure that God has left the church. Sex is the easiest way for anyone to lose his glory. If anybody has a bright future, the devil uses sex to truncate such destiny.
I once preached about this issue in one Church and I told the people that many have sold their destiny on the altar of cheap sex. After the message a lady came to me and shared her experience. She was a professional prostitute. When she got born again the Church rehabilitated her. Not long after her rehabilitation one of her former Customers came to meet her and wanted sex. She declined because she had become born again. The Customer decided to increase her pay to entice her. Unlike when he was paying N10k the Customer said he would pay N250k but the lady stood her ground that she was no longer interested that she had become born again. He now said to him that he was ready to marry her and asked what it would take. Eventually the man met the Pastor of the lady and requested that he would like to marry the lady. The Pastor said the only condition was for the man to become born again. The man agreed and rightly or wrongly he became born again. And they eventually married.
One day, the man came back from work only to come and hear the story of his wife who said the Landlord wanted to have sex with her and was ready to give her N250k. That was when her husband opened up to her and told her the reason he married her. He said to her each time I needed a contract or business success and I had sex with you when you were still a prostitute, I become successful. That was why I insisted that I wanted to marry you. And you can see that since we got married I have been making progress in my business. Her husband then told her that the landlord must have consulted some herbalists who told him to sleep with a lady in her compound for him to become wealthy. It was clear from the story of the Woman that the glory of the Woman was being used in exchanged for wealth. The man and his wife eventually packed to their own house to stay away from the eyes of the landlord.
The point of this true life story is that people have sex for all kinds of reason.
Sex for many reasons
Some use sex for money ritual. Some have been asked by herbalists to sleep with lunatics and the imbeciles if they want to become wealthy. But the truth is there is no man of God that sleeps around that will have a successful Ministry. So, I advise Ministers of the Gospel to: Run away from the woman who wants to be your wife even if he knows you are married. Be careful of those who claim to be your Mother in Ministry. Run away from former girlfriend who is unhappily married. Run away from a female member of your former Church who gets unduly close to you. Be careful of Widows in your Church. Bible says we should not recognise a Woman as a Widow until she is 60. If a Woman loses her husband before she is 60 she should be encouraged to remarry rather than to sleep around.
The reality confronting us today is that there are lots of gigolos in the church now. Their job is to have sex with women that are not getting sexual satisfactions in their homes. A man should run away from divorcees and single parents. He should run away from women who have crush on you. There are women who have wealth but have no husband. They use their wealth to entice unsuspecting pastors. A pastor should stay clear of such ladies. I have counseled such pastors before.
People women should run from
The Woman minister should also run away from her former boyfriend who is unhappily married. She should run away from Mentors who are lusting after her. She should run away from male Ministers she always dreams about. She should run away from man who jokes with her in vulgar ways. She should run away from Prophets who try to seduce her. A lot of Women have lost their destinies to fake and immoral Prophets.
Sex does not just happen
Pastors should also note that extra marital affairs is a no-go area for them. Sex does not just happen. Most of what we call rape is not really rape in the real sense of the word. If a Woman enjoys sex with a man she cannot claim that she was raped. One of the signs of a raped lady is that her body will react to the rape. She will not be happy and she may spill blood in the process of the forceful sex. It is always difficult to have sex with a total stranger. Most of the immoral sex pass through stages.
It starts from casual meeting, then close relationship and then to the point of sharing secrets.
The moment a man and woman are sharing secrets, it will lead to trouble. Once you share secret with somebody your emotional defenses break down. If you don’t have the grace to work with a female Secretary it is better not to employ one.
Why people fall into sexual sins- Akin John
You have said a lot of things about the evils of illicit sex. The question then is how do we rehabilitate Pastors who fall into such sin?
I think the first thing is to understand that nobody is immune when it comes to sexual sin. The Bible warns us that he who thinks he stands should take heed lest he falls. That said, I think also that it is the responsibility of those who are mature and strong to help the weak and vulnerable Believer. But then from my own little research and findings, many Pastors who fall into sexual sins are Pastors that have nobody to run to. They have no Mentors or no Fathers in faith they can confide in. Many of them are just on their own. Nobody to call them to order.
I am saying this because it takes a process to have extra-marital sex. If you notice that you are getting unusually close with somebody and you are sincere with yourself; you will report yourself to a Mentor or your Father in faith or somebody you have some regard for.
There was this National President of the Pentecostals in the US. He was on National Television condemning gay life. But as the programme progressed, a man called and said the Preacher was his gay partner. The programme ended abruptly. But the guy still called later and said he had evidence to show that the Pastor had been having affairs with him for three years.
The Father in faith of this Pentecostal leader had to step into the matter. He went to the Pastor’s church in Colorado the following Sunday and he addressed the Church telling them not to allow their faith to wane because of the scandal their Pastor was engulfed in since it was not the Pastor who died for them. He said the Pastor did not tell him about his moral challenge. He encouraged the Church to hold on to Jesus. The Pastor was rehabilitated. Today the Pastor is back in Ministry but not to his former Church.
I was told the case of the Pastor we are dealing with in Nigeria was known to some Fathers of faith. The Fathers of faith called him and asked him to apologise for what he was alleged to have done. It did not take that advice. Rather he threatened to sue. I think people that have proved they can’t handle the opposite sex should not Pastor a Church. Women will come with all kinds of challenges but Pastors must never take advantage of them. There was a Man of God in Ibadan who God used a lot. He fell into sin. A woman seduced him. He was rescued. He was restored. He came back to the Church and met the same lady and fell again. He never recovered. There was a Pastor who lost his wife. The wife was still in the Mortuary when he started chasing another woman. I was shocked.
I told him if he ever tried to marry the woman I would be the one who would conduct his funeral. The Pastor went online and was saying all kinds of things. He ran away. He also came on social media saying when people fall into sin, other Believers would be making jest of them. But he was being untruthful because there are genuine efforts being made to keep people like him on track. We are supposed to be our Brothers’ keepers.
Before God will allow his servants to be publicly disgraced, God would have warned several times. There was this US Pastor who had sexual issues too. He was retired prematurely from his Church. About 11 women came out to testify against him. What came out of the investigation is that out of the 40 years he had spent in Ministry he had only spent 12 years living holy. The man in question in Nigeria has come back to the pulpit just after one month. It should not have been so. He should have been sober. I have discovered that many are married to Ministry not to their relationship with God.
Women are often at the receiving end of sexual infractions. What steps do you think women should take to help men especially Church leaders?
A woman should not dress suggestively. When they say a woman looks sexy, it’s not a compliment. They should dress moderately. Women must dress in a dignified way. In the old Oshodi in Lagos when a woman is well dressed nobody will harass her on the road. Those who harass women do so because such women are scantily dressed. When you work with unbelievers you need to load yourself with the knowledge of the Word. I once worked in offices and I know what it means. I worked among ladies and I can tell that it was God who saved me from them. A particular lady would come and frontally offer me sex. I made the mistake of telling them I was a virgin. That increased the pressure on me by one of the women. I later resigned from the place and came into the Ministry. A few years after I went to Oyingbo and stopped by to greet them in the office. This same woman came and testified about my fidelity to my associate who accompanied me on the visit.
It is normal for a lady to get advances from men. But then when the advances are becoming too much there is a problem.
One of my students who already had three children and was pregnant once told us in the Class where we were teaching about sexual pressure that some men still wanted to marry her even in her pregnant condition. They would tell her that they were ready to take care of her and the pregnancy asking her to do away with her husband. That shows the extent to which some men could be desperate.
Christian ladies should pray that men should stop lusting after them.
There was the case of Amnon in the Bible who said he loved Tamar his sister. He listened to the advice of a demonic friend and pretended that he was sick. He asked that her sister would serve him food in the room. He used the opportunity to forcefully sleep with her. After the whole thing the Bible records that he now hated her more than the love he professed for her. This tells us that most of the time when men desire to sleep with a woman outside marriage it is not because of love but lust.
It is good to dress well. But then from what you have said it seems it is not enough to dress well on the part of the women?
If it is a society that is backward where nobody puts on cloth the issue of dress may not even be an issue. I remember in those days young boys and girls were always seen naked and it did not mean anything. In Swaziland, as you enter the country the first thing that confronts you is the picture of a teenager with bare breasts. That is the country with the highest number of HIV victims. Many ladies especially virgins dress with their breast exposed. When you lodge in their hotel you are exposed to trouble if you don’t discipline yourself. So whenever I travel there I go with a Brother to accompany me in the hotel room so I don’t get carried away. Sex is nothing to them in that country. There was a particular lady who contracted HIV who confessed she was determined to kill many men by having sex with them. But then in our own clime when a woman dresses properly men will think twice before approaching her for illicit sex.
As it is, it seems many Church people don’t have proper education in the area of sex. What can the church do in terms of enforcing this knowledge?
Parents should go back to teaching sex to their children. Pastors should go for training and update themselves on what is going on around the World so they could bring the knowledge to bear on their teachings. If we don’t teach young ones we are destroying their future because they will learn from outside. I had to teach my boys. By the time I approached the subject one of them said he was already aware because he had been taught in School. I said to him the one I teach is the correct one and not the one he learnt in School. My boys have been behaving well because of the teaching. We must teach sex on our pulpits. I have done books on wholesome sex and taught it. In every congregation there are several kinds of sexual problems.
A pastor once came to seek for my counsel. He had just wedded a couple. It was a big wedding. The father in-law gave a car gift to the couple. But the lady came complaining that her husband does not have penis (his manhood was so small that there was no way he could have sex with it). It was quite disturbing. That is why some Churches have to check the sexual organ of the man to be sure that the man can perform before they join him with a Sister. In the case of the marriage I was talking about, the Mother in-law came and warned the wife not to reveal the secret to anybody. She was given permission to get pregnant outside the marriage that the pregnancy would be accepted in the family. I told the Pastor to tell the Sister in the marriage to break away from the relationship because the marriage was based on deceit.
There was another case of a brother who could not perform. He allowed his wife to go outside the marriage to get pregnant. His wife had Children outside wedlock. This was known to the man alone and his wife. But it came to a time the man heard a message on restitution. He came home and asked the Sister to go and meet the man who gave her the Children.
You just raised another issue on restitution. Is it in all cases that people have to make restitution?
Well I think it depends on what God is telling the person concerned. But it has to be done with wisdom. Somebody who has three wives for instance. The first step of restitution is to stop having sexual relationship with the last two wives. Get separate apartment for them and release them to get their own husbands. But then in the meantime before they get their husbands the women must not suffer. If they have children for him such children must be taken care of.
There was the case of a Sister who was the fourth Wife to an Alhaji. When she became born again, she left the marriage and God was merciful. The Sister later got married to a widower who was a Pastor. Restitution is a delicate thing. There was a friend who got a job with the UN and put his wife in the care of his best man. In the first year nothing happened between that friend and his wife. The second year the wife seduced the friend. She got tired of waiting for her husband. She had sex with her husband’s friend. The guy came back and their friendship continued.
But few weeks later the man was taught in the Bible study of their Church about restitution. He came and confessed that he slept with his friend’s wife. His friend was devastated by the news. He divorced the wife and never came back to Church. So you see that there is need for wisdom when it comes to restitution.
A woman called me that her husband had a love child outside marriage and threatened to pack out of the home. I said no way. I encouraged her to go collect the child and plead with the girl in question to stay off the marriage. Thank God the woman hearkened to my counsel. Today the home is settled. The boy born out of wedlock is doing well abroad now.
In sex education, do you agree to the use of coded messages to teach young people?
It is wrong to code sex teachings for young people because they will still go outside the Church or School and learn somehow. The internet is full of all kinds of things that there is no limit to knowledge. Recently South Africa changed the School’s curriculum. They now show naked picture of women and teach students in plain language. There is a need to educate young people in plain language. There are many homes where incest is going on. Pornography is on the increase. There are Fathers who tell their daughters that they are by tradition entitled to sleep with them first before they marry. So you see that sexual abuse is a serious one.
In many instances we talk about men falling into sexual sins. Nobody seem to look at the angle of the women that they too fall into sexual sin. How will you react to this?
Women fall into sin. I agree and it’s usually because husbands don’t satisfy them sexually. There is a trend now going on in Lagos. It has been discovered that some of these folks who have kiosks where they sell groceries are sexual predators. They also sleep with women who are sexually starved. When the gap between a man and woman is too much there is usually a problem. If the man is 50 and the wife is 20 years, it will come to a time that the man will not be able to meet up with the sexual demand of the woman. That is the cause of the woman’s infidelity. If we subject ourselves to the Bible we will face reality. Each partner should believe in the sanctity of marriage. If we believe in the sanctity of marriage we find solution to our marital problems.
Women that don’t love sex are very few. Most girls of today have been exposed to sex before they marry. Husband and wife should discuss sex. In a young marriage the couple should meet regularly perhaps three times in the week. If a man does not have sex for three weeks he will be hungry for sex. When pastors travel for three months without their wives they usually run into problem. The man should not defraud the woman and the woman should not defraud the man. The only time you stay away is during your monthly period or during prayer and fasting. Even when you are fasting you can still have sex when you break your fast in the evening. Sex beautifies the wife and the husband and removes sickness and diseases. It has to be done with joy and happiness. But when a man wants sex always without inhibition that man may be using sexual stimulant which is not too healthy.
This is very controversial. I don’t have an opinion on this apart from what the Bible says. We need to open our eyes before we go into marriage. The day you’re marry you’re bond forever with your spouse. The Bible supports once married always married until death. Jesus was teaching in Matt 19 and he said divorce was not permitted in the beginning. Moses gave permission for divorce because of the hardness of the hearts of the people. There are some peculiar situation that the couples have to separate for peace to reign. That is not divorce. Marriage is basically a family issue. That is what Gen 24 says. In marriage it is the Father that hands over the Woman to the Man. Church should just be referee directing them to what the Bible says. Marriage is between the Man and the Woman and God. So before you break a marriage you need the permission of God. You can’t succeed in Ministry without a good home for those who are married. There was a case of a Pastor whose Wife packed out of the home for 12 years. I asked him to take a step to visit the family and tell them their daughter had gone for 12 years. The Father of the Woman said his daughter had gone to marry another person that in the first place he did not want his daughter to marry the Pastor. In that case the man is free to go and re-marry.
How do we address cases of young couples who got married and had no idea of sex before marriage? There are cases of men who don’t even know how to have sex. How does the church help these people?
There was this Church Member of mine who got married. I was his Pastor when I was still a Pastor of a Church. They married on October of that year. I saw them three weeks after and I was making jest of them that they must be enjoying their marriage. The Brother shocked me when he said nothing had happened between him and his wife since they got married. The Brother said he did not know how to have sex and he did not know the passage for sex in the Woman. The Woman too was a novice. I was alarmed. I was wondering who their Counsellor was. I took time to teach them and they went home to practicalise it. Now they have four children. I believe every local Church should have a marriage committee that can teach sex in plain language. These are issues that have to be addressed in the lives of young couples.
But some of the knowledge you talked about are available online. Don’t you think believers can take to the internet to learn sex?
I will not advise young people to take to the internet because both the good and the bad are online. They should be guided so they don’t abuse sex. What is shown online are sometimes perversion of sex which should not be encouraged. People who engage in oral sex for instance are doing the wrong thing and its because of what they get online. There was this young man who went to have sex with a lady. Unknown to her the lady has epilepsy. They were involved in oral sex. The lady grabbed his manhood and right there she had the usual crisis that epileptic people have. The manhood of the man was stuck in the lady’s mouth because of the lady’s condition. The man ended in the hospital.
There are cases of men of God who are immoral. How do we separate those who are hirelings in the first place who just use the church to cover their wickedness from those who are genuine but fall into sin?
A lot of Pastors fall because of pride. No man of God sets out to mess himself up through sex. But in many of the cases ignorance, carelessness and inability to deal with one’s weakness are the reasons we get cases of Pastors who mess themselves up sexually. When people don’t study about this area there are tendencies they will be trapped. That is why I tell Pastors in our Schools to learn all they could about sex and its implications. If they don’t need it some other people close to them will need it. We used to say what we don’t know can’t kill. But that is not true in all cases. In the case of sex what you don’t know is what will kill you not what you know. There is no Church leader that can’t fall into sexual temptations. But we can follow after Jesus who declared that the devil came and found nothing in him. While there are people who are not connected with God in the first place on the pulpit leading congregations, the vast majority of those who fall into sexual sins have genuine call upon their lives but were just too careless about taking heed.
Francis Bola Akin-John, Empowering Leaders to Grow Healthier Churches and Ministries Started ministry in 1988. Has now been in ministry for 21 years. Pastored 5 denominational churches in the space of 8 years.
Started Church Growth Ministry in 1994 after hearing God said “go and strengthen pastors and support churches to grow and be healthy”. Has held hundreds of conferences across Nigeria, Africa and Europe with combined attendance of over 30, 000 church leaders