#HallelujahChallenge: Criticism of Nigerian Pentecostals is because of past sins

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Nathaniel Bassey

The hate the #HallelujahChallenge gets seems to be unfair but understandable because of the shallow impact of religion in our society.

Gospel singer Nathaniel Bassey seems to have struck gold with his #HallelujahChallenge.

His Instagram Live daily prayer session which started at the beginning of June has continually attracted more people. Yesterday's session had 67,000 people tune in.

This success has been unprecedented in both gospel music and secular music in Nigeria. No singer has been able to tap into the potentials of streaming in this country like Nathaniel Bassey.


The popularity of the prayer session has led to #HallelujahChallenge and #olowogbogboro trending not only on Instagram but also on Twitter too.


The success of his live prayer session has raised a few eyebrows and attracted criticism in some quarters. With #HallelujahChallenge becoming a hot spot of sorts for celebrities to dump their comments, a few have perceived the prayer session with scepticism, a virtual cool spot for singers and actors to flaunt their PR-Christianity.


On Monday, June 12, 2017, media personality Joy Isi Bewaji wrote a lengthy piece on #HallelujahChallenge. The summary of her 'rant' is that Nigerian Christians love to dump all the country's problems on God and neglecting their duties as citizens of Nigeria.

ALSO READ: The Nathaniel Bassey guide to going viral

Over 100,000 Christians can gather at crusades and pray to God that Nigeria becomes better. However, when it comes to challenging the political class and push for change, armchair Christians are notoriously quiet. In the Bible, it is called the Acts of the Apostles and not the prayers of the Apostles. Prayer points are cooler than active citizenship.


This is a fair criticism of Christians in Nigeria (both Orthodox and Pentecostals) but to be fair all religious groups in Nigeria are guilty of this. We haven't seen atheists line up in front of the National Assembly and demand that our lawmakers slash their fat allowances. We haven't seen Muslims or Ifa worshipers demand that President Buhari addresses Nigerians from London.

Christians shouldn't be singled out for the lethargic and lazy attitude of Nigerians towards affairs of the nation. We are all in the same sinking boat.  

Online, there has been a growing weariness of Pentecostal Christianity and televangelists. Flashy pastors and their private jets are classed in the same group as corrupt politicians. Therefore, any product from the shiny halls of Pentecostalism is viewed as another mind control scheme.

As a standalone concept, #HallelujahChallenge is nothing more than a gospel singer inviting Christians to be a part of an online prayer session. The criticisms it has attracted is as a result of the inch-deep impact of Christianity in Nigeria.

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