Pastor Olorunfemi J.P. is the resident Pastor of Gospel Faith Mission Int’l, Victory Assembly, Ado-Ekiti. He’s a devoted servant of God and has served God in so many parastatals including being a lecturer in a seminary school. He’s an accountant by profession and works with the Ekiti State Board of Internal Revenue. He is happily married and blessed with three children.
Diyan Kanyinsola: I am Kanyinsola from Peculiar Ministers. Thank you for honoring our invite Sir.
Pastor Olorunfemi: Thank you for having me on this platform.
Kanyinsola Diyan: It’s a great privilege.
Kanyinsola Diyan: Considering our interview topic, can you please explain to us the relationship between the Church and Government authorities?
Pastor Olorunfemi: Well, the relationship between the Church and the Government authority is the same as rulers and the ruled. Though, Jesus is the head of the Church under the rulership of the Holy Spirit, but there is a constituted authority under which the Church operates.
The Bible notes that every soul be subjected to this constituted authority as recorded in Romans 13:1 saying,
“Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God’s appointment.”
So, the church is under the regulations of the constituted authority. The constituted authorities do make law and guidelines from time to time for the operations of the church. The church is expected to follow the rules and regulations from the constituted authority.
Kanyinsola Diyan: You said that the constituted authority can make law and guidelines from time to time for the operation of the church. There was a time a bill wanted to be passed by the Federal Government of Nigeria to regulate the finances of the church. What is your take about this?
Pastor Olorunfemi: Personally, I don’t see anything wrong in making laws to regulate church finance. Ordinarily, church is like other organizations regulated by the government. Let us put sentiment apart, there is nothing to be hidden in the church. Though, one cannot be sure if the government is not targeting some religious leaders. If not for any ulterior motive, I support it for transparency purpose. But there was fear then for church income not to be subjected to taxes.
Kanyinsola Diyan: … For transparency purpose…
Pastor Olorunfemi: Yes, for transparency purpose. Church is not a secret society.
Kanyinsola Diyan: Do you think church income should be subjected to taxes?
Pastor Olorunfemi: The law is very clear about the income of the church. The incomes derived from the normal activities of the church are free from any tax. But if a church engages in business activities, the income from such business activities will be subjected to tax.
Kanyinsola Diyan: Since the church income isn’t subjected to tax, the church is therefore classified as a charitable organization. In the UK, the church is considered a charity, hence there’s evasion of tax. Is there a relationship between the Church and charity?
Pastor Olorunfemi: Yes, there is relationship between the church and charity. Church is a place of worship and a place to relate with people of different classes – highly placed people, well to do, and people of the low level. Caring is one of the responsibilities of the church. The caring is not limited to the members, but extended to the people outside the fold.
Pastor Olorunfemi: The same aspect of the law that exempted the church from payment of tax in Nigeria also exempted charitable organization from paying taxes.
Kanyinsola Diyan: In the course of the interview, you referenced Romans 13:1 where the scripture teaches us to be subject to the constituted authority.
Concerning the same sex marriage, depraved state of some countries that want to legalize gay marriages even in churches, knowing fully well that this is not God’s will. How should the Church deal with this?
Pastor Olorunfemi: Any law that is against the law of God, and contradictory to the words of God may not be obeyed by the church. Example of the Apostles in Acts 4:18-19,
“[So] they summoned them and imperatively instructed them not to converse in any way or teach at all in or about the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied to them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must decide (judge).”
Pastor Olorunfemi: The law that legalized same sex marriage is a clear rebellion to the words of God. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah just because of that act. The words of God must be protected by the true Church of Christ.
Kanyinsola Diyan: In conclusion, what will be your exhortation for the church towards constituted authority?
Pastor Olorunfemi: People of God, the church should be law abiding. Bible warns that we must not suffer like a law breaker. The Church must be a perfect example in obeying the law and order of the constituted authority. The Church must live exemplary life in perfect obedience. The Church must take her right position to control the spiritual which will surely have effect in the physical.
The Church must be ready to influence the policies of the constituted authority positively. And must be ready to stand for Jesus in the face of contradictory laws. May the Lord continue to uphold the Church to take her rightful position in the society.
Kanyinsola Diyan: Amen!!!!
Thank you so much for these insightful answers. Thank you for making out time for this interview.
We really do appreciate you Sir. I bring greetings from Peculiar Ministers.
Pastor Olorunfemi: Thank you for having me. God bless you!