Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Deceitful Victorious Pentecostal Assembly (VPA) Examined and Exposed

Victorious Pentecostal Assembly | London Biggest Church| Fastest Growing Church 

www.vpachurch.org

 I often come across religious cults, new religious movements and other groups on Saturday I had an exchange with an representative from this Church upon questioning this person he could not accurately give me the gospel as has been the case from many groups who have come to the UK from Nigeria to set up ministries in the UK many of whom have exploited people this group mentioned is no exception, this individual was handing out leaflets approached me and as he was giving out inviting people for healing and also to commit to decisionism, I did ask pressing questions about the nature of the group he belongs to and as the usual reaction he was evasive to answer any of the questions concerning his leader who this person admitted to me he knew nothing about him.

I asked him questions surrounding united with reguards to the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Roman Catholic Church in this he said it is not our place to criticism demonimations, I asked that there whilst incorrect with the figures the actual figure is over 200 demoninmations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

It is not surprising when this group is supported by Morris Cerullo
http://www.mcwe.com/mtl2014/alex-omokudu/

I said they cannot be all right in their teachings of the gospel, he they are all his brothers in Christ this really boils down to a persons lack of biblical understanding and education, many people who go to these places are Biblical illiterates, they have not concept or very little understanding.

I asked the question concerning Acts 17:11 who would be by today's standard critical, infact the essence of scripture it self comands us to use our critical faculties, there are many indecators of where scripture is abused to exploit many of the vulnerable in this church I have found time and time again how many actually do reject scripture and place man of utter most importance that what they claim to hold to themselves is extremely suspicious.

I asked him concerning how he sees this current Pope this person said he is "My brother in Christ" again if this person knew scripture he would not have made such comments, insted of giving me an honest aproach he was rather dishonest and when challenging these groups as to what they are doing in the UK he always place the race card, to take the focus of the questions and divert them into other area's.

Groups like Victorious Pentecostal Assembly must be avoided the biggest factor is on the leaflets this is a good indication when they make statements saying that God is using them to bring in healing, healing is not a problem as I do believe God does heal the exception that should be concerned is why are these groups insistent on making merchandise of peoples hopes and when God doesn't heal the blame is always placed on the doubter.

The UK law prohibits the use of language that they would make such claims called Consumer Protection Regulations Act this replaced the Fraudulent Mediums Act the issue is that this church does not apply Romans 13 in this regard but rather but not adhering to UK law they are disobeying God in this regard this advert for healing has no effect on those who wish to preach the gospel.

It is recently this same group have been up to there old tricks and their is nothing new under the sun.

What are the mean factors that is promoted concerning scriptural principles of the gospel?

The answer is they do not, no where in the leaflet the word repentance is used, the law and judgement, the scriptures are more so misrepresented, it does not teach that salvation is by faith alone, it does not teach a cristocentric view of scripture and omits what Hebrews 9 teaches by implying salvation is given through a prayer and then you recieve the blood after you pray for Gods forgiveness, 1st John 4:9-10 is not contextualised they omit vs 14, 15 and 16 from their quotation this then explains vs 9 and 10.

The Whole gospel is not given and conviction, regeneration and contrition is no where to be seen, in the leaflet it does not explain how one is to be saved they put salvation as something you receive that is dependent on you, by saying you need to make a decision today then misquoting Romans 10:9-10 the word pray is not used here and in the context of the pray they have omitted the word repentance from the text.

Besides the prayer is not biblical it is rooted in a formula, please see my study on the subject http://www.firstplumbline.net/html/sinnersprayer.html

They are not only promoting for the tolerance of idolatry, another Christ and false doctrines the scriptures in Matthew 7 teaches us to be on the watch for they have also been exposed as exploiting the sick and vulnerable of society.

The stories that I believe the accounts are accurate that this church has been guilty for finacially exploiting the hopes of the poor, week and vulnerable.

http://eretanseyi.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/miracle-healing-nigerian-pastor-lands.html

LONDON-BASED Nigerian clergy, Pastor Alex Omokudu is on the spotlight for allegedly selling items suspected to be Blackcurrant and olive oil as ‘miracle cure’ for cancer and HIV in his Victorious Pentecostal Assembly (VPA), Manchester, England.

According to reporters who investigated the matter, patrons of the cleric are irked because the substance, packaged in two bottles, were being sold for about N4,000 instead of their combined street value of about N1,500.

The development is coming against the background of a recent N6 million fine reportedly, imposed on the pastor’s television channel, Believe TV by the British industry regulator, Ofcom. The same channel had been reprimanded by Ofcom in 2011 for allegedly making claims regulators deemed capable of exploiting vulnerable viewers.

The church's website describes Omokudu as one that is uniquely called into the Christian ministry who possesses “an uncommon anointing for healing, miracles, extraordinary breakthroughs and deliverance.”

The site states that the clergy had once raised a dead Muslim woman back to life as well as another man who had died from HIV infection. No dates or locations are mentioned for the said miracles.

But the church has been defending its integrity. On its website is a disclaimer warning viewers of its television programmes. According to the site, though the testimonies of healings were made genuinely, viewers should always seek medical counsels on their ailments.

The text reads: “The Victorious Pentecostal Assembly (VPA) programmes on TV contain testimonies of true stories by people who have received divine healing through the ministry of VPA. They gave these voluntarily without any directive from VPA. We advise you to always seek your medical practitioner’s advice before making any decision based on these testimonies.”

Last month, a report in the Daily Mail stated that the claims of using the said olive oil and blackcurrant to cure terminal diseases is being investigated. According to the paper, under the UK's Cancer Act 1939, it is illegal for anyone to run any advertisement, including verbal claims, promoting products as treatments or cures for cancer. Trading standards officers have been told about the practice and they   have   promised   to investigate the case.

The report reads: “Cancer and HIV patients have been told to buy bottles of ordinary blackcurrant squash and olive oil for £14 by a church claiming the blessed goods are a 'miracle cure' for their illnesses. The Victorious Pentecostal Assembly (VPA) sells the over-inflated goods with the claim that once blessed by a pastor they can cure a host of serious health conditions.

Undercover reporters found that members of the VPA congregation in Manchester were told that if a terminally-ill person drank a mixture of the specially blessed litre of squash and 500ml bottle of olive oil, which were being sold at double their real value, their ailments would disappear.

A church leader who identified himself as Pastor Mbenga also claimed to have previously cured diabetes and a brain tumour using the concoction. He said the mixture would 'do what no man can do' through divine intervention and guaranteed the cancer would be cured. “God will take over with divine intervention and the cancer will disappear,” Pastor Mbenga told the reporters from Manchester Evening News.

The church’s founder, Pastor Alex Omokudu, who lives in a £1.8million mansion in Hornchurch, Essex, has also regularly appeared in television adverts claiming, “doctors do not have the answer - we have got the answer. We have got the answer to healing.” The products sell in several supermarkets for less than £6.

Now a cancer charity has warned the practice is deliberately targeting the vulnerable and could stop patients from seeking proper medical treatment. Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK said people should be wary of 'miracle cures' and consult the advice of professionals.

He said: “It is shocking that anyone could exploit people with cancer in this way. “We would encourage anyone affected by cancer to be cautious of any alternative therapies, especially those that claim to be "miracle cures." If a therapist encourages them to use an alternative treatment instead of conventional medicine prescribed by a qualified doctor, we would also advise caution.”

Dr. Michelle Harvie, research dietician at the Genesis Cancer Prevention South Manchester Trust, urged patients to always seek the advice of medical professionals.

She said: “When people are suffering from cancer they are often desperate and will seek out alternative or a miraculous cure when it is often the more mundane treatments will do them the most good. The problem is none of this is based on any real evidence, but sufferers are often being told what they want to hear rather than what is a medical fact.

“The sad fact is when someone is suffering from cancer, they can often be at their most vulnerable and they control, but it is really important they adhere to treatments planned by their doctors and lead a healthy lifestyle.”

The church opened in Manchester last year and is the first northern base of the VPA. It has three other churches in Hackney, Luton and Barking. The organisation has previously been fined by Ofcom for making similar claims on its television channel. Believe TV, which is available on Sky and via the internet. It has twice been blasted by the regulator for running promotional campaigns with testimonies from people claiming to have been cured of HIV, cancer and infertility.

The church may also be breaking the law, as any advertisement, including verbal claims, promoting products as treatments or cures for cancer is illegal under the Cancer Act 1939.
Pastor Mbenga however said he was not aware the church was breaking the law.

He said: “It is the word of God. It is in the scriptures that God can heal these illnesses and that is the message we are passing on to people.

“I wasn’t aware of that law. But we live in a free society and if this is what people believe then people should be free to believe in it and carry out their faith.

“We have seen divine intervention in the past where people have been healed of terrible diseases, and believe that God has the supernatural power to bring about miracles. This is what we believe and we are just trying to help people, trying to help them live a better life by giving them the power through God to make changes in their lives. We are not hurting anyone.”

VPA leaders have previously landed in trouble over claims of curing serious illnesses. The church, based in Barking, Essex, was founded in 2004 by Pastor Omokudu. his wife Patricia is listed as director of The Light Academy which runs the religious channel of Believe TV from the same address.

In the one of the channel's broadcast which fail foul of U.K's TV regulator in August 2011, it featured Pastor Omokudu sayig that people had been cured of serious illnesses by the church.

One woman said she had collapsed with “a tumour in my head.” A relative added that she had thrown away her cancer medication and purchased "blackcurrant and oil" from the church. And claimed that when she went to hospital for a scan, there was “no longer a problem.”

Another man told the audience he was given two years to live with a brain tumour. The man said he had come to VPA and had been cured with 'olive oil' – to which Pastor Omokudu responded: “We have got the answer to healing.”

The report concluded that “there was a material risk that susceptible members of the audience may be exploited by the material broadcast on Believe TV'. In February this year the channel was fined £25,000 by the regulator for another broadcast featuring Pastor Omokudu.”

The VPA website gives Omokudu’s background thus: “Pastor Alex Omokudu was born in Nigeria where he was also residing when God called him into ministry. He was born dumb, with a childhood that could barely be identified as normal or enjoyable; Pastor Alex struggled through to adulthood.

“He met with God when there seemed to be no way. His relative had suggested he sold
all of his belongings in order to raise some money to go to Germany where he would start a new life. He did so and also gave up his room where he stayed at no cost – an offer given to him by a very kind man. With the funds raised and his room now given up, he went to see his brother who claimed to have the ability to help him with his travel to Germany.

“Upon his arrival at his brother's, his brother immediately asked him about the money (two hundred thousand naira), which he had told Pastor Alex to bring along with him. Pastor Alex then told him that he had less than he had asked for as he could not raise the whole amount. His brother then mockingly took the money from him and sent him away, but Pastor Alex couldn't help but mention that he had no money to fund his return.

“His brother then gave him back a small fraction of the money which he had taken from him, to enable him fund transportation costs for his return to Lagos, Nigeria. Before sending Pastor Alex away, his brother did not cease to comment that the funds he had raised was just enough for the cost of his proposed travel to Germany. He also told him that he would require over four times the amount of money he had in his possession to fund the remaining costs of his travel. At this point, Pastor Alex was devastated, had no home to go back to as he had given away his room where he lived in Lagos.

were lost and got on what he described to be his “longest bus ride" back to Lagos where he had given up the room he lived in. On the bus he told God that it would be better if he died as all his hopes were lost.

“On his arrival in Lagos, he stopped at the gate of the building where his old room was and cried. He had bid farewell to everyone only a short while ago when he believed he was going to be on his way to Germany. He didn't know what he would say to them when he got into the building. As he stood there crying, two men who also lived in the building emerged to help him into the building after they had noticed him outside. He found that his room had been given away to someone else as they believed he had gone to Germany. It dawned on him that he had to start all over again.

“The thought of starting all over again was strenuous for him, the situation was surreal.

As he slept that night, the Holy Spirit was waking him up but he would not wake. Then the Holy Spirit slapped him on the face re-iterating that he woke up to read the book of Isaiah 61:1-3. On the same night he challenged God and that night he experienced an encounter with God and was given a vision. In the vision, God showed Pastor Alex a green plane he would use to go preaching the gospel all over the world, the plane was written "Victorious Pentecostal Assembly". From that day, he had more encounters with God and God showed him more things to come.”

Thus began his early ministry which specialised in, as the website stated: “Healing the Sick and Raising the Dead.”

The biography continues: “God sent Pastor Alex to the hospital; he did not know why but he obeyed God and went. When he arrived at the hospital, they would not allow him into the premises to pray for the sick. He was later allowed in to pray for the children only. He prayed for the sick children there and someone there told him that he was just where he was needed and then he knew why God had sent him there. Then he saw a very ill person who was dying and rose up his hands and said, “God, over to you”, and the person was well again.”

Hence, the minister began his cleric work around the city of Lagos “where he had always lived and was known as a common man who had not always been right with God... He obeyed God and remained in the city even though it bothered him what people might think of him. He believed that God would make a way.” His healing work in Lagos was a maze of eventful work and fortune. The website reports that he continued till one day when he got to a Muslim woman who had died. “He prayed for her and she woke up from the dead,” it tated.

“As the woman woke up, she was grateful to the God of Pastor Alex and gave her life to Christ. On another occasion, He sent Pastor Alex to a man who died of HIV. Pastor Alex prayed for him and God restored his life and he was alive again.”

“In the very beginning, God had caused Pastor Alex to have encounters with a man of God in his dreams on three separate occasions. He had never met or known the man before. In those dreams, the man of God was always sorting him out in the crowd and calling him by his name.

Pastor Alex later attended a crusade and there he saw that the ministering Pastor at the crusade was the man whom God had been showing him in his dreams, his name was Bishop Oyedepo. Bishop Oyedepo approached him and took his hand and spoke a lot about ‘more grace.’ Bishop Oyedepo later turned out to be one of the platforms set by God to support Pastor Alex in his journey to becoming a soldier of Christ.

“Pastor Alex began preaching the Gospel to many, giving them hope and healing the sick and oppressed. He would preach in public buses and people would come to him to pray for them. As God began to open up even more to him, he would see visions on the people he preached to on the bus and he would tell them what God showed him.

 http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchester-council-launches-probe-into-victorious-692766

Manchester council launches probe into Victorious Pentecostal Assembly church after M.E.N. reveals bogus 'cancer cure' claim

Council chiefs have launched a full probe into a church selling a ‘cancer cure’ made from blackcurrant squash and olive oil following an M.E.N. investigation.






INVESTIGATION: M.E.N. reporter Richard Wheatstone with the olive oil and squash which he was told would cure cancer
INVESTIGATION: M.E.N. reporter Richard Wheatstone with the olive oil and squash which he was told would cure cancer

Council chiefs have launched a full probe into a church selling a ‘cancer cure’ made from blackcurrant squash and olive oil following an M.E.N. investigation.
As reported yesterday, we found that within 15 minutes of entering the Victorious Pentecostal Assembly on Hyde Road, Gorton, we were offered a one litre bottle of the drink and a 500ml bottle of supermarket olive oil for £14. The church claimed that when the products were mixed together and blessed by a pastor it would cure the cancer of a family member.
The products retail in several supermarkets for less than £6.
Any advertisement, including verbal claims, promoting products as treatments or cures for cancer is illegal under the Cancer Act 1939.
Now Trading standards have launched a full investigation into the practice after being handed a dossier of evidence by the M.E.N.
Jim Battle, deputy leader of Manchester council, said: “We are grateful to the M.E.N. for their investigation. The allegations, which involve preying on vulnerable members of the public, are serious ones.
“Trading Standards officers will now be launching a full investigation of our own which will include examining material provided by the M.E.N. and we will take whatever action is appropriate.”
A church leader who identified himself as Pastor Mbenga also claimed to have previously cured diabetes and a brain tumour using the blackcurrant juice and oil. He said the mixture would ‘do what no man can do’ through divine intervention and guaranteed the cancer would be cured.
Cancer experts criticised the practice as targeting the greatest fears of cancer sufferers and potentially encouraging them to stop proper medical treatment.
The church, on Hyde Road, opened last year and is the first northern base of the VPA, which has three other churches in Hackney, Luton and Barking.
Church leaders have previously been rapped by Ofcom for claiming the treatment has healed cancer, HIV and infertility sufferers on religious television channel Believe TV – which is run by the wife of the church’s founder Alex Omokudu.
The broadcasts feature Pastor Omokudu, who lives in a £1.8m mansion in Hornchurch, Greater London, claiming, ‘doctors do not have the answer – we have got the answer. We have got the answer to healing’.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2185953/Church-slammed-selling-blackcurrant-cordial-olive-oil-drink-miracle-cure-cancer-HIV.html

Church slammed for selling blackcurrant cordial and olive oil drink as a 'miracle cure' for cancer and HIV

  • Victorious Pentecostal Assembly leaders promise the over-inflated goods, which have been blessed, can cure serious health conditions
  • Blackcurrent squash and olive oil sold for £14, double their real value
  • Church's founder, Pastor Alex Omokudu, lives in £1.8m home in Essex
  • Cancer charity warns vulnerable people are being exploited by practice
  • Church may be breaking the law by promising to 'cure' cancer
  • Pastor claims: 'We have got the answer to healing'


Divine inspiration: Pastor Mbenga, at VPA's Manchester branch, claims mixing olive oil and blackcurrent squash can cure cancer, HIV and diabetes
Divine inspiration: Pastor Mbenga, at VPA's Manchester branch, claims mixing olive oil and blackcurrent squash can cure cancer, HIV and diabetes

Cancer and HIV patients have been told to buy bottles of ordinary blackcurrent squash and olive oil for £14 by a church claiming the blessed goods are a 'miracle cure' for their illnesses.


The Victorious Pentecostal Assembly (VPA) sells the over-inflated goods with the claim that once blessed by a pastor they can cure a host of serious health conditions.

Undercover reporters found members of the VPA congregation in Manchester were told that if a terminally-ill person drank a mixture of the specially blessed litre of squash and 500ml bottle of olive oil, which were being sold at double their real value, their ailments would disappear.

A church leader who identified himself as Pastor Mbenga also claimed to have previously cured diabetes and a brain tumour using the concoction. 

He said the mixture would 'do what no man can do' through divine intervention and guaranteed the cancer would be cured.

'God will take over with divine intervention and the cancer will disappear,' Pastor Mbenga told the reporters from Manchester Evening News.

The church’s founder, Pastor Alex Omokudu, who lives in a £1.8million mansion in Hornchurch, Essex, has also regularly appeared in television adverts claiming, 'doctors do not have the answer - we have got the answer. We have got the answer to healing'.

The products sell in several supermarkets for less than £6. 

Now a cancer charity has warned the practice is deliberately targeting the vulnerable and could stop patients from seeking proper medical treatment.
Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK said people should be wary of 'miracle cures' and consult the advice of professionals.

He said: 'It is shocking that anyone could exploit people with cancer in this way.
'We would encourage anyone affected by cancer to be cautious of any alternative therapies, especially those that claim to be "miracle cures".

'If a therapist encourages them to use an alternative treatment instead of conventional medicine prescribed by a qualified doctor, we would also advise caution.'

Dr Michelle Harvie, research dietician at the Genesis Cancer Prevention Centre at University Hospital South Manchester Trust, urged patients to always seek the advice of medical professionals.

She said: 'When people are suffering from cancer they are often desperate and will seek out alternative or a miraculous cure when it is often the more mundane treatments will do them the most good.

'The problem is none of this is based on any real evidence, but sufferers are often being told what they want to hear rather than what is medical fact.

'The sad fact is when someone is suffering from cancer they can often be at their most vulnerable and they want to do something to take control, but it is really important they adhere to treatments planned by their doctors and lead a healthy lifestyle.'

Drink this: The Victorious Pentecostal Assembly claims the mixture of these ordinary supermarket goods, sold at double their real value, is a 'miracle cure'
Drink this: The Victorious Pentecostal Assembly claims the mixture of these ordinary supermarket goods, sold at double their real value, is a 'miracle cure'
The church opened in Manchester last year and is the first northern base of the VPA, which has three other churches in Hackney, Luton and Barking.
The organisation has previously been fined by Ofcom for making similar claims on its television channel.
Believe TV, which is available on Sky and via the internet, has twice been blasted by the regulator for running promotional campaigns with testimonies from people claiming to have been cured of HIV, cancer and infertility.
The church may also be breaking the law, as any advertisement, including verbal claims, promoting products as treatments or cures for cancer is illegal under the Cancer Act 1939.
Trading standards officers have also been told about the practice and promised to look over the case.


Pastor Mbenga however said he was not aware the church was breaking the law.
He said: 'It is the word of God, it is in the scriptures that God can heal these illnesses and that is the message we are passing on to people.
'I wasn’t aware of that law, but we live in a free society and if this is what people believe then people should be free to believe in it and carry out their faith.
'We have seen divine intervention in the past where people have been healed of terrible diseases and believe that God has the supernatural power to bring about miracles.
'This is what we believe and we are just trying to help people, trying to help them live a better life by giving them the power through God to make changes in their lives. We are not hurting anyone.'
Cure all: Leaders at the Victorious Pentecostal Assembly in Manchester claim the blessed mixture can 'do what no man can do' and guarantees people will be restored to good health

Cure all: Leaders at the Victorious Pentecostal Assembly in Manchester claim the blessed mixture can 'do what no man can do' and guarantees people will be restored to good health
Growing membership: The church opened in Manchester last year and is the first northern base of the VPA, which has three other churches in Hackney, Luton and Barking
Growing membership: The church opened in Manchester last year and is the first northern base of the VPA, which has three other churches in Hackney, Luton and Barking

'HEALING' CHURCH HAS PREVIOUSLY DEFENDED CLAIMS OF EXPLOITATION

Victorious Pentecostal Assembly leaders have previously landed in trouble over claims of curing serious illnesses.
The church, based in Barking, Essex, was founded in 2004 by Pastor Alex Omokudu.
His wife Patricia is a listed director of The Light Academy which runs religious channel Believe TV from the same address.
The channel has twice been blasted by TV regulator Ofcom for making claims which ‘exploited’ vulnerable viewers.
The channel was first rapped in August 2011 after a broadcast featuring Pastor Omokudu in which people claimed they had been cured of serious illnesses by the church.

One woman said she had collapsed with 'a tumour in my head'.
A relative added that she had thrown away her cancer medication and purchased "blackcurrant and oil" from the church.
When she then went to hospital for a scan, she claims there was 'no longer a problem'.
Another man told the audience he was given two years to live with a brain tumour.
The man said he had come to VPA and had been cured with 'olive oil' - to which Pastor Omokudu responded: 'We have got the answer to healing.'
The report concluded 'there was a material risk that susceptible members of the audience may be exploited by the material broadcast on Believe TV'.
In February this year the channel was fined £25,000 by the regulator for another broadcast featuring Pastor Omokudu.

'HEALING' CHURCH HAS PREVIOUSLY DEFENDED CLAIMS OF EXPLOITATION

Victorious Pentecostal Assembly leaders have previously landed in trouble over claims of curing serious illnesses.


The church, based in Barking, Essex, was founded in 2004 by Pastor Alex Omokudu.

His wife Patricia is a listed director of The Light Academy which runs religious channel Believe TV from the same address.

The channel has twice been blasted by TV regulator Ofcom for making claims which ‘exploited’ vulnerable viewers.
The channel was first rapped in August 2011 after a broadcast featuring Pastor Omokudu in which people claimed they had been cured of serious illnesses by the church.

One woman said she had collapsed with 'a tumour in my head'.
A relative added that she had thrown away her cancer medication and purchased "blackcurrant and oil" from the church.
When she then went to hospital for a scan, she claims there was 'no longer a problem'.
Another man told the audience he was given two years to live with a brain tumour.
The man said he had come to VPA and had been cured with 'olive oil' - to which Pastor Omokudu responded: 'We have got the answer to healing.'

The report concluded 'there was a material risk that susceptible members of the audience may be exploited by the material broadcast on Believe TV'.
In February this year the channel was fined £25,000 by the regulator for another broadcast featuring Pastor Omokudu.

http://yeyedesmell.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/miracles-for-sale-nigerian-pastor-in.html

MIRACLES FOR SALE : Nigerian pastor in trouble in UK ... UK Journalists blew lid over fake miracles ... Made money from ‘anointing oil’

LONDON-BASED Nigerian clergy, Pastor Alex Omokudu is on the spotlight for allegedly selling items suspected to be Blackcurrant and olive oil as ‘miracle cure’ for cancer and HIV in his Victorious Pentecostal Assembly (VPA), Manchester, England.
According to reporters who investigated the matter, patrons of the cleric are irked because the substance, packaged in two bottles, were being sold for about N4,000 instead of their combined street value of about N1,500.

The development is coming against the background of a recent N6 million fine reportedly, imposed on the pastor’s television channel, Believe TV by the British industry regulator, Ofcom. The same channel had been reprimanded by Ofcom in 2011 for allegedly making claims regulators deemed capable of exploiting vulnerable viewers.

The church’s website describes Omokudu as one that is uniquely called into the Christian ministry who possesses “an uncommon anointing for healing, miracles, extraordinary breakthroughs and deliverance.”

The site states that the clergy had once raised a dead Muslim woman back to life as well as another man who had died from HIV infection. No dates or locations are mentioned for the said miracles.
But the church has been defending its integrity. On its website is a disclaimer warning viewers of its television programmes. According to the site, though the testimonies of healings were made genuinely, viewers should always seek medical counsels on their ailments.

The text reads: “The Victorious Pentecostal Assembly (VPA) programmes on TV contain testimonies of true stories by people who have received divine healing through the ministry of VPA. They gave these voluntarily without any directive from VPA. We advise you to always seek your medical practitioner’s advice before making any decision based on these testimonies.”

Last month, a report in the Daily Mail stated that the claims of using the said olive oil and blackcurrant to cure terminal diseases is being investigated. According to the paper, under the UK’s Cancer Act 1939, it is illegal for anyone to run any advertisement, including verbal claims, promoting products as treatments or cures for cancer. Trading standards officers have been told about the practice and they   have   promised   to investigate the case.

The report reads: “Cancer and HIV patients have been told to buy bottles of ordinary blackcurrant squash and olive oil for £14 by a church claiming the blessed goods are a ‘miracle cure’ for their illnesses. The Victorious Pentecostal Assembly (VPA) sells the over-inflated goods with the claim that once blessed by a pastor they can cure a host of serious health conditions.

Undercover reporters found that members of the VPA congregation in Manchester were told that if a terminally-ill person drank a mixture of the specially blessed litre of squash and 500ml bottle of olive oil, which were being sold at double their real value, their ailments would disappear.

A church leader who identified himself as Pastor Mbenga also claimed to have previously cured diabetes and a brain tumour using the concoction. He said the mixture would ‘do what no man can do’ through divine intervention and guaranteed the cancer would be cured. “God will take over with divine intervention and the cancer will disappear,” Pastor Mbenga told the reporters from Manchester Evening News.

The church’s founder, Pastor Alex Omokudu, who lives in a £1.8million mansion in Hornchurch, Essex, has also regularly appeared in television adverts claiming, “doctors do not have the answer – we have got the answer. We have got the answer to healing.” The products sell in several supermarkets for less than £6.

Now a cancer charity has warned the practice is deliberately targeting the vulnerable and could stop patients from seeking proper medical treatment. Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK said people should be wary of ‘miracle cures’ and consult the advice of professionals.

He said: “It is shocking that anyone could exploit people with cancer in this way. “We would encourage anyone affected by cancer to be cautious of any alternative therapies, especially those that claim to be “miracle cures.” If a therapist encourages them to use an alternative treatment instead of conventional medicine prescribed by a qualified doctor, we would also advise caution.”

Dr. Michelle Harvie, research dietician at the Genesis Cancer Prevention South Manchester Trust, urged patients to always seek the advice of medical professionals.

She said: “When people are suffering from cancer they are often desperate and will seek out alternative or a miraculous cure when it is often the more mundane treatments will do them the most good. The problem is none of this is based on any real evidence, but sufferers are often being told what they want to hear rather than what is a medical fact.

“The sad fact is when someone is suffering from cancer, they can often be at their most vulnerable and they control, but it is really important they adhere to treatments planned by their doctors and lead a healthy lifestyle.” 

The church opened in Manchester last year and is the first northern base of the VPA. It has three other churches in Hackney, Luton and Barking. The organisation has previously been fined by Ofcom for making similar claims on its television channel. Believe TV, which is available on Sky and via the internet. It has twice been blasted by the regulator for running promotional campaigns with testimonies from people claiming to have been cured of HIV, cancer and infertility.

The church may also be breaking the law, as any advertisement, including verbal claims, promoting products as treatments or cures for cancer is illegal under the Cancer Act 1939.

Pastor Mbenga however said he was not aware the church was breaking the law.
He said: “It is the word of God. It is in the scriptures that God can heal these illnesses and that is the message we are passing on to people.

“I wasn’t aware of that law. But we live in a free society and if this is what people believe then people should be free to believe in it and carry out their faith.

“We have seen divine intervention in the past where people have been healed of terrible diseases, and believe that God has the supernatural power to bring about miracles. This is what we believe and we are just trying to help people, trying to help them live a better life by giving them the power through God to make changes in their lives. We are not hurting anyone.”

VPA leaders have previously landed in trouble over claims of curing serious illnesses. The church, based in Barking, Essex, was founded in 2004 by Pastor Omokudu. his wife Patricia is listed as director of The Light Academy which runs the religious channel of Believe TV from the same address.

In the one of the channel’s broadcast which fail foul of U.K’s TV regulator in August 2011, it featured Pastor Omokudu sayig that people had been cured of serious illnesses by the church.
One woman said she had collapsed with “a tumour in my head.” A relative added that she had thrown away her cancer medication and purchased “blackcurrant and oil” from the church. And claimed that when she went to hospital for a scan, there was “no longer a problem.”
Another man told the audience he was given two years to live with a brain tumour. The man said he had come to VPA and had been cured with ‘olive oil’ – to which Pastor Omokudu responded: “We have got the answer to healing.”

The report concluded that “there was a material risk that susceptible members of the audience may be exploited by the material broadcast on Believe TV’. In February this year the channel was fined £25,000 by the regulator for another broadcast featuring Pastor Omokudu.”

The VPA website gives Omokudu’s background thus: “Pastor Alex Omokudu was born in Nigeria where he was also residing when God called him into ministry. He was born dumb, with a childhood that could barely be identified as normal or enjoyable; Pastor Alex struggled through to adulthood.
“He met with God when there seemed to be no way. His relative had suggested he sold
all of his belongings in order to raise some money to go to Germany where he would start a new life. He did so and also gave up his room where he stayed at no cost – an offer given to him by a very kind man. With the funds raised and his room now given up, he went to see his brother who claimed to have the ability to help him with his travel to Germany.

“Upon his arrival at his brother’s, his brother immediately asked him about the money (two hundred thousand naira), which he had told Pastor Alex to bring along with him. Pastor Alex then told him that he had less than he had asked for as he could not raise the whole amount. His brother then mockingly took the money from him and sent him away, but Pastor Alex couldn’t help but mention that he had no money to fund his return.

“His brother then gave him back a small fraction of the money which he had taken from him, to enable him fund transportation costs for his return to Lagos, Nigeria. Before sending Pastor Alex away, his brother did not cease to comment that the funds he had raised was just enough for the cost of his proposed travel to Germany. He also told him that he would require over four times the amount of money he had in his possession to fund the remaining costs of his travel. At this point, Pastor Alex was devastated, had no home to go back to as he had given away his room where he lived in Lagos.

were lost and got on what he described to be his “longest bus ride” back to Lagos where he had given up the room he lived in. On the bus he told God that it would be better if he died as all his hopes were lost.

“On his arrival in Lagos, he stopped at the gate of the building where his old room was and cried. He had bid farewell to everyone only a short while ago when he believed he was going to be on his way to Germany. He didn’t know what he would say to them when he got into the building. As he stood there crying, two men who also lived in the building emerged to help him into the building after they had noticed him outside. He found that his room had been given away to someone else as they believed he had gone to Germany. It dawned on him that he had to start all over again.
“The thought of starting all over again was strenuous for him, the situation was surreal.

As he slept that night, the Holy Spirit was waking him up but he would not wake. Then the Holy Spirit slapped him on the face re-iterating that he woke up to read the book of Isaiah 61:1-3. On the same night he challenged God and that night he experienced an encounter with God and was given a vision. In the vision, God showed Pastor Alex a green plane he would use to go preaching the gospel all over the world, the plane was written “Victorious Pentecostal Assembly”. From that day, he had more encounters with God and God showed him more things to come.”

Thus began his early ministry which specialised in, as the website stated: “Healing the Sick and Raising the Dead.”

The biography continues: “God sent Pastor Alex to the hospital; he did not know why but he obeyed God and went. When he arrived at the hospital, they would not allow him into the premises to pray for the sick. He was later allowed in to pray for the children only. He prayed for the sick children there and someone there told him that he was just where he was needed and then he knew why God had sent him there. Then he saw a very ill person who was dying and rose up his hands and said, “God, over to you”, and the person was well again.”

Hence, the minister began his cleric work around the city of Lagos “where he had always lived and was known as a common man who had not always been right with God… He obeyed God and remained in the city even though it bothered him what people might think of him. He believed that God would make a way.” His healing work in Lagos was a maze of eventful work and fortune. The website reports that he continued till one day when he got to a Muslim woman who had died. “He prayed for her and she woke up from the dead,” it tated.

“As the woman woke up, she was grateful to the God of Pastor Alex and gave her life to Christ. On another occasion, He sent Pastor Alex to a man who died of HIV. Pastor Alex prayed for him and God restored his life and he was alive again.”

“In the very beginning, God had caused Pastor Alex to have encounters with a man of God in his dreams on three separate occasions. He had never met or known the man before. In those dreams, the man of God was always sorting him out in the crowd and calling him by his name.
Pastor Alex later attended a crusade and there he saw that the ministering Pastor at the crusade was the man whom God had been showing him in his dreams, his name was Bishop Oyedepo. Bishop Oyedepo approached him and took his hand and spoke a lot about ‘more grace.’ Bishop Oyedepo later turned out to be one of the platforms set by God to support Pastor Alex in his journey to becoming a soldier of Christ.

“Pastor Alex began preaching the Gospel to many, giving them hope and healing the sick and oppressed. He would preach in public buses and people would come to him to pray for them. As God began to open up even more to him, he would see visions on the people he preached to on the bus and he would tell them what God showed him. 

 
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/enforcement/broadcast-bulletins/obb188/obb188.pdf

Ofcom fine Believe TV over nonsense religious healing claims

believe TVOfcom have fined Light Academy Ltd £ 25,000 in respect of claims made by its Believe TV channel.
Ofcom decided that the programmes on Believe TV:
  • Paul Lewis Ministries, December 2010
  • Pastor Alex Omokudu Healing Ministry Testimonies, December 2010 - February 2011
  • Bishop Climate Irungu Ministries, January 2011
Breached rules:
  • Rule 2.1: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material .
     
  • Rule 4.6: Religious programmes must not improperly exploit any susceptibilities of the audience .
Ofcom considered only the breaches of Rules 2.1 and 4.6 to be so serious as to warrant consideration of a statutory sanction. In addition, Ofcom considered the Code Breaches to be repeated because they happened repeatedly over a period of several months.
Ofcom have previously highlighted a number of examples of broadcast material which had the potential for harm in breach of Rule 2.1, because some viewers with serious illnesses, especially more vulnerable ones, may not seek, or abandon existing, conventional medical treatment on the basis of what they have seen on Believe TV.
For example, Ofcom noted examples:
  • Paul Lewis, in the programmes Paul Lewis Ministries broadcast on 21 December 2010 and 22 December 2010, preaching directly to camera and providing 'healing' direct to individuals through the use of his 'Miracle Olive Oil Soap'; and
     
  • Bishop Climate Irungu, in the programmes Bishop Climate Irungu Ministries, broadcast on 4 January 2011, providing testimony of 'healing' direct to camera; and
     
  • 'testimonies' of congregation members (supported by statements by Pastor Alex Omokudu), which clearly encouraged viewers to believe that the healing or treatment of very serious illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and heart problems could be achieved exclusively through healing provided by being anointed with a product such as olive oil soap, Ribena or oil.
Ofcom also considered whether to revoke the licence for believe TV but decided that this would not be proportionate.
Above article from:
http://www.religiouswatch.com/rw0212.htm

Accounts  (also check out page 11 under 16 Related Party Disclosures)  Where the church pays his wife's company for TV advertising and Evangelism!

http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends26%5C0001116726_AC_20130331_E_C.PDF

Apparently the accounts for year ending March 2013 are overdue.  Very naughty indeed!

 




No comments: