Many commentaries have been published in print and on-line media following the wedding of the second son of Pastor W. F. Kumuyi and its immediate aftermath. The propriety and the doctrinal basis of the response from the church have been questioned and generally condemned and vilified.
Most commentators including notable church leaders apparently seem to agree on one point, that the couple was punished for violating Deeper Life tradition or doctrine, but not bible and kingdom doctrines…
The general opinion, in some cases, expressed, using very strong language, was that using makeup and wearing earrings or the particular wedding gown worn by the bride are wholly supported by the holy scriptures and should not in any righteous way incur the church’s displeasure, opprobrium and sanction. Some commentators went as far as tagging the church puritanical and outmoded and in addition accused her of portraying a damaging picture of Christianity.
Before we crucify the church, I think it is appropriate that we examine the scriptures like good Bereans and determine whether the church is on the right track or not. In the Bible, it is written “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array: but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works (1 Timothy 2: 9 – 10).” In other words, it is unbecoming of a woman professing godliness, that is, a woman who claims to be a Christian to put on gold, pearls or costly clothes. Wearing jewelry is the lifestyle of women generally, but this should not be the case with those who desire to please God and are interested in going to heaven.
Even under the Old Testament dispensation, it was never the perfect will of God that His people should decorate themselves with precious metals or other ornaments. When Jacob and his family were going to Bethel to worship as directed by God, they discarded and buried those things that were offensive to God like their idols and earrings (Genesis 35: 1 – 4). After the children of Israel made and worshipped the golden calf at Sinai, God commanded them to remove their jewelry: The scriptures noted, “So after they left Mount Sinai, the people of Israel no longer wore jewelry (Exodus 33: 6, Good News Bible, Todays English Version); therefore the people of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward (Exodus 33: 6, Revised Standard Version).”
More than a century later, during the time of Gideon, the Bible thought it necessary to explain that the golden earrings found with the children of Israel were spoils of war taken from Ishmaelites (Judges 8: 24). With these ornaments Gideon made an ephod, and the children of Israel worshipped it. Regrettably, the sin at Sinai pertaining to the making and worshipping the golden calf was again repeated. This confirms the sad truth that human beings will either idolize ornaments or mould idols with them. Decking oneself with jewelry is usually the product of haughtiness, pride, seduction or immoral inclination (Isaiah 3: 16 – 26). God is against the use of jewelry, because any one using jewelry is joining affinity with spiritual Ishmael and Babylon.
In the book of Revelation, two women were used as symbols, the first related to spiritual Israel (a woman clothed with the sun) and the second, spiritual Babylon (a woman decked with jewelry – the kingdom of Satan). Concerning Spiritual Israel, the bible said “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. . . . she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne (Revelation 12: 1 – 5).”
But concerning spiritual Babylon (kingdom of Satan), the Bible stated: “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornications: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH (Revelation 17: 3 – 5).” Observe that the first woman did not wear jewelry, but was clothed with the sun. God clothes Himself with light (Psalm 104: 2), which was the way He clothed Adam and Eve before the fall. When Moses came down from God’s presence at Mount Sinai, his face was shinning as light.
This is the beauty that God admires. It is not the beauty that results from using makeup and jewelry, the beauty that is carnal. It is the beauty of holiness (Psalm 110: 3). The second woman was decked with jewelry, and was called Babylon, the mother of harlots. It’s interesting to note that harlots always seek ways to enhance physical beauty, allurement and seduction. What God admires in a woman is holiness characterized by a meek and quiet spirit, not jewelry or makeup (1 Peter 3: 3, 4) and a Christian ought to have the mind of God (1 Corinthians 2: 16). It’s noteworthy that the only people the Bible described as using makeup were the murderous and adulterous Jezebel and backslidden Israel called a harlot (2 Kings 9: 30, Jeremiah 4: 30 and Ezekiel 23: 40).
The hallmarks of true religion are humility, simplicity, sobriety, modesty, self-denial and self-crucifixion. That was the lifestyle of Christ and the early disciples. Flamboyance, jamboree, jesting and wantonness reveal a lifestyle destitute of the Spirit of Christ. What we call church wedding and reception these days are programs characterized by the display of flamboyance, hypocrisy and pride. I suppose that the white gown and the veil are symbols for the virginity and spotlessness of the bride. Is it not an insult to the holiness of God and the desecration of the altar to wed a woman in white when she is no longer a virgin? Even if she is still a virgin, must she tell the world through the gown she is wearing? The groom wears a suit and continues to wear it after the wedding.
However, the bride spends a lot of money on the gown and cannot wear it again. What is the moral or economic justification for that? Is it not to satisfy the iniquitous desire to be like the world? Can she not wear a gown she can wear publicly after the wedding? Did God not warn His Children not to follow the world in its madness and folly (John 2: 15 – 17)? In receptions, the kind of dancing one sees makes one to shudder. The ladies sway, roll and rock their bottoms in seductive ways and yet call it worshipping God. Tufia. Self, not God is glorified the way food is served and people are invited to the high table and money is sprayed. The Holy Angels must be shedding tears.
When I read what some of these “ministers of the gospel” wrote I was highly disturbed. It made me to wonder where they were coming from. The steps taken by Deeper Life are wholly scriptural and the underpinning doctrine is bible-based. We ought to thank God for Pastor W. F. Kumuyi. Deeper Life has changed the religious terrain in Nigeria and by the Grace of God has been directly and indirectly a major force in restoring holiness to the body of Christ. No wonder Satan is fighting him so severely. I would just want to encourage him to persevere. Men of right spiritual understanding appreciate his work.
By James Okeudo
A Professor of Animal Science, Federal University of Technology, Owerri.