David Ibiyeomie, a Pentecostal pastor in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is the man in the eye of the storm. Ibiyeomie, in a two minute video, publicized by Sahara TV, is seen pouring venom on Daddy Freeze, an On-Air-Personality, who in recent years has gained reputation for criticizing Pastors. Ibiyeomie is quoted by Punch online as saying:
“I will never be alive and see anyone insult my father, you are not born, I will kill you, I will tear you into pieces. Insult me, I wouldn’t talk but insulting Oyedepo, I can’t be alive and you insult my father. The day Freeze insults Oyedepo, I will deal with him and arrest him. Who gave birth to you? Do you have a father? Show us his picture…”
It is obvious that Sahara TV intentionally quoted the pastor to drive home a simple point: a minister of the gospel should not be speaking like this; and they have succeeded in getting negative press to the pastor – if one were to consider the backlash that has been coming to the revered gentleman on social media since the video was published. While Ibiyeomie can come out to say that he was quoted out of context, the fact still remains that there is no context where a pastor should be found calling another man “a bastard” or condemning journalism; or exhibiting racial discrimination by calling some people “half caste”. He even went further to belittle the people of Somalia; as if they were not human beings. Ibiyeomie goofed badly and I would be returning to him before concluding this essay.
It was only when Daddy Freeze offered a response to David Ibiyeomie that the whole drama begin to take up some meaning and thus we begun to understand the context that Sahara TV denied everyone watching the video they published. A few days ago, David Oyedepo had published a tweet on his verified twitter handle that read:
“The only way to a fruitful marriage is total submission on the part of the wife. Until it is in place, every other thing she tries to do will be out of place. A woman who refuses to submit to her husband is disobeying God. As a woman, you might even be a minister of the gospel, and your husband is not; the Word of God still says to submit yourself to him. A submissive woman is precious in the sight of her husband – Ephesians 5:22.”
In short, the overall bishop of Otta was saying that if a marriage was to be fruitful, a woman must totally submit to her husband. Oyedepo referenced Ephesians 5:22 that reads: “…Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…” Freeze said that while Oyedepo was right in his admonition to women to submit to their husband, this injunction is given without consideration to the whole picture that Ephesians 5 was teaching on the subject of submission. Freeze said, and he is right, that there was a verse 21 before you could read verse 22. Verse 21 of that passage reads: “… submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ…” He then made the point that it is after couples have learnt to submit to each other, that a man can now begin to demand submission from his wife. Freeze said that the clamor by church people for wives to submit to their husbands, without regard to the responsibility of men in their homes, as demanded by Ephesians 5, has produced many a home where men have become tyrants in their houses. Freeze was saying in essence: no man can demand for a woman to submit to him who is not living uprightly before God. Freeze is right but at the same time Freeze is wrong, and I want to spend sometimes to shed some light on his errors.
First, Daddy Freeze would need to appreciate the fact that David Oyedepo was right in his statement: a Christian woman that would allow for Christ to reign in her home and enjoy his blessing must be totally submitted to her husband. This is the teaching of the scripture. Oyedepo, in spite of his heresies on the Prosperity Gospel, knows these truths because he has some orthodoxy in him that can be traced back to some old school Christianity that our nation had once known. There is however a generation today that are trying to redefine the place of women in the home and Daddy Freeze is one of their teachers. It is true that verse 21 comes before verse 22. But any careful Bible teacher will realize that the context of verse 15 to 21 of Ephesians 5 is totally different from verse 22 to 33. Modern Bibles even help readers to realize this division. The whole of Ephesians is a letter to a group of Christians in Ephesus. Therefore, rather than Paul writing to just one person, he is writing to a collective; he is writing to the church in Ephesus. In verse 15 to 21, Paul is admoniting Christians on how they ought to relate to each other. It is in this context he then ends his admonition with “submitting one to another”. Verse 22 is the beginning of an admonition to married persons in the church. And it is here we see the woman is to submit to her husband. It is also instructive that it is the woman that he admonished first; as if to say the success of your home is dependent on your submission to your husband.
Now Freeze explains that Oyedepo overlooked the context before 22. Incidentally, Freeze does the same thing. He overlooks the context after verse 22, which states unequivocally: “…so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (verse 24). The command to the wife is to submit in EVERYTHING. I believe everything is the same as “total” and Oyedepo is right in saying that the Christian woman should submit to her husband in totality.
Daddy Freeze also brings up the issue of women not submitting to men because the men are adulterous, not providing for their homes and rebellious. Freeze however overlooks a certain assumption in the writer’s mind: which is that the couples he was writing to were not unbelievers but Christian men and women. This presupposes the fact that when women will choose the men they wish to marry, they ought not to make choices in the flesh. They should not marry a man because he has a job, or a car, or he is wealthy. Christian women should marry Christian men, if they are going to have peace in their homes. A man who is committing adultery is not a Christian and most of the people who manifest these traits in marriage have been doing it long before they were married. Our sisters should first ascertain the fact that they themselves are believers and they must possess discernment to marry Christian men. In cases where the mistake has been made, the woman must bear her cross; while she trusts God in prayers.
Freeze brought up a last point. He said that there was one lady on Instagram who had a large following and was very wealthy. He said when this woman’s husband realized she had potential to make money, he resigned his job and became her camera man. The two of them are today enjoying the benefit of the woman’s success and wealth. Freeze said that most Nigerian men cannot do this; that they will be standing on “submit to me” and miss such opportunities.
My response to Freeze is simply this: the Bible commands Christians to obey it and to leave consequences to God. Financial prosperity is not proof that God is in something; if not, the very errors that we are condemning in David Oyedepo, where he gives the impressions that gain is godliness, is the very error Freeze is propagating too. God commands women to submit to their husbands. God commands men to love their wives. Every one of us will face God at judgement as regarding how well we kept his commandments. Women were not asked to submit to their husbands only when the husband loves them; neither are men asked to love their wives only when they submit to them. Everyone is expected to obey God and everyone will reap the fruit of their obedience in this life and in the life to come. The chief error I locate both in Daddy Freeze and even David Oyedepo is the tendency to just call down scriptures and their commandments on people, without paying attention to whether or not the people you are speaking to are Christians. Ephesians 5 was written to Christians. If the people reading it or preaching from it are not converted people, they will wrest the scripture for their own selfish ends.
Having made the point about Daddy Freeze’s errors, it is important we examine David Ibiyeomie’s words one more time. The man has received sufficient condemnation from Nigerians and I would not want to add to his woes. Suffice to say this: less than two years ago, a freelance journalist in Ibadan, Kemi Olunloyo, published some damaging stories on Ibiyeomie. Those stories concerned something around some alleged illicit relationships he had with some female Nigerian actress. Olunloyo had been given the story by an insider in Ibiyeomie church and she foolishly published them. One day, policemen stormed Ibadan all the way from Portharcourt and arrested Madam Kemi. She was driven all night to Rivers’ State; where she was slammed in detention. She would eventually endure an almost year long legal battle with her accusers. By the time she emerged from that ordeal, she had been thoroughly dealt with. The judge acquitted her but made it clear that she was not to talk about the matter to the press. This is the threat that Ibiyeomie issued to Daddy Freeze and ladies and gentlemen, this man has the financial powers to carry it out. Some Nigerian policemen are so compromised that chicken change can be thrown at them and they will gleefully persecute anyone that their sponsors send them to.
The other veiled threat was the threat to the life of Daddy Freeze. While Ibiyeomie’s words can be regarded as grandiloquent and bombastic grandstanding, they should not also be overlooked. Words take up a life of their own and a threat can very easily be carried out. I hope that beyond crying out on social media, Daddy Freeze will report this matter to law enforcement and the police will invite the pastor for talks.
© Deji Yesufu