Youtube has been abuzz over the last week over a shocking video which depicts Bishop David Oyedepo of Nigeria slapping a woman during a deliverance service (See “Part 1” below). Oyedepo is the pastor ofÂ Faith Tabernacle which boasts the largest sanctuary in the world at 50,000 seats. Forbes magazine has reported that his net worth is approximately $150 million. Needless to say, he is aÂ prominent figure in the Nigerian and International Christian landscape so when this video surfaced it spawned much debate about the limits of eccentric pastoral behavior.
In the video, the lady is on her knees and says, “I am a witch for Jesus.” Oyedepo replies, “Say what?” When she repeats herself he says, “You are a foul devil. Do you know who you are talking to? Foul devil!” Then raises his hand and slaps her across the face.
Some time after the initial episode, Pastor Oyedepo gave this commentary on the incident: “I slapped a witch here last year. How many remember? The witch came back in February to come back and apologize. To beg me to please forgive her…” He went on to prophecy to the throngs of people, “Can I tell you this? From now on, the things that were harassing you, you will now start harassing them!” to which the crowd roared in applause.Â (See “Part 2” below)
Eccentric behavior from the pulpit is nothing new. It is widely reported that legendary faith preacher Smith Wigglesworth would punch people he prayed for in a fit of exorcism. One Smith Wigglesworth biographer wrote:
Once he identified which part of the body was hurting, he would punch the patient in that area of the body. When asked why he hit the sick, he would reply â€œI don\’t hit people; I hit the devil the people just get in the way.â€ Through his ministry, people regained their hearing and sight, new limbs were created, cancerous growths disappeared and the demon possessed were delivered. He is also credited for raising twenty-three people from the dead.Â
Gospel Today asks the question, “What should the Body of Christ make of the eccentric behavior of some leaders in the Body of Christ? How far is too far? What guides can Scripture give us?” Speak up!
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Gospel Today in no way endorses the behavior depicted in this video and has written this post with sufficient detail that those who do NOT want to physically watch can still participate in the discussion. Our aim in publishing this post is to use this extreme example of eccentric behavior to help the Body of Christ have a healthy and Scripture-driven discussion about an important topic. That said, please let your words be such as edify the hearers (See Eph. 4:29, Col. 4:6).Â
Pastor David Oyedepo, Part 1
Pastor David Oyedepo,Â Part 2