Bishop Oyedepo’s UK Church Accused Of Exploitation By Popular UK Newspaper


This was published in a popular UK newspaper recently, in this report the UK branch of winners chapel was accused of exploitation.

A church run by a controversial multi-millionaire African preacher has been accused of ‘cynical exploitation’ after its British branch received £16.7 million in donations from followers who were told that God would give them riches in return.

Followers are ferried in double-decker shuttle buses to the church, handed slips inviting them to make debit card payments, and are even told obeying the ministry’s teachings will make them immune from illness.

Today’s Mail on Sunday revelations about the Winners’ Chapel movement have prompted the Charity Commission to review the charitable status of the church – one of the fastest-growing in the UK.

Winners’ Chapel is part of a worldwide empire of evangelical ministries run by Nigeria’s wealthiest preacher David Oyedepo, who has an estimated £93 million fortune, a fleet of private jets and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Dubbed ‘The Pastorpreneur’, he was accused earlier this year of slapping the face of a young woman he said was a witch. The assault case was struck out but is being appealed.

Branches of the church have sprung up in major UK cities in a huge recruitment drive centred on Mr Oyedepo’s ‘prosperity gospel’. This claims that congregants who make regular donations and pay tithes – a ten per cent levy on their income – will be rewarded financially by God.
Followers are urged to target vulnerable people such as the lonely, the sick, the homeless and the suicidal as potential candidates for conversion.

Last night, Labour MP Paul Flynn said Winners’ Chapel was cynically exploiting supporters. ‘They [Winners’ Chapel] are making clearly spurious claims and it seems to be a cynical exploitation of the gullible,’ he said.

Referring to the slapping incident, Mr Flynn added: ‘What is also alarming is the reported violence and the lack of respect for the status of women. It’s taking us back to a previous age of ignorance and prejudice that we all thought the church had escaped.’

This newspaper’s investigation can further disclose:
• Congregants are handed a payment slip requesting payments using cheque, cash or debit card when they enter London’s Winners’ Chapel.
• Donations to the ministry in England almost doubled from £2.21 million to £4.37 million between 2006 and 2010.
• Mr Oyedepo’s superchurch in Nigeria received £794,000 or 73 per cent of the charitable donations paid out by the British Winners’ Chapel between 2007 and 2010. This was despite claims in Africa that he is enriching himself at the expense of his devotees.
• The registered charity has spent £6.81 million on evangelism and ‘praise, worship and fellowship’.
• The church’s ‘Joseph Squad’ preaches in British prisons and has a weekly broadcast named ‘Liberation Hour’ on satellite and cable TV here.

In the past three years, Winners’ Chapel churches have been established in Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and Bradford, adding to those in London, Manchester, Dublin and Glasgow.

An undercover Mail on Sunday reporter attended Sunday services at Winners’ Chapel’s ‘London HQ’ in Dartford, Kent, which attracts 1,000 congregants – chiefly African and Caribbean immigrants. It is run like ‘a business conference’ by Mr Oyedepo’s son, David Oyedepo Jnr. Packed buses deliver singing worshippers from South-East London, Essex and Kent to the huge auditorium.

The reporter saw a payment slip being given to every person entering the church encouraging them to donate money by cheque or cash or to fill in a form with their debit card details. The slip said tithes should be paid separately using a ‘Kingdom Investment Booklet’ and the reporter was informed that payments could also be made by phone. A pastor told the worshippers: ‘You shall be financially promoted after this service in Jesus’s name if you are ready to honour the Lord therefore with all your givings, your tithes, your offerings, your Kingdom investment, your sacrifices.’

Congregants were told to fill in their slips and hold them above their heads while the donations were blessed.

The service was interspersed with testimonies. ‘I received a bill from the bank that I didn’t understand, so I prayed,’ said one congregant. ‘A few days later, the bank wrote to apologise for their mistake – Hallelujah!’ ‘Hallelujah,’ the audience shouted back.

Congregants were told they could gain favour by persuading others to follow Mr Oyedepo’s teachings. His son said: ‘Look around you. Someone is sick and already wishing he or she were dead, that is a fruit ripe to harvest. Someone is confounded and considering suicide as an option, that is another fruit that is ripe to harvest.

‘Someone else is lonely and wondering if there is any future for him, that is another fruit ripe to harvest.

‘Also there are many men and women, young and old that are homeless, these are fruits ripe to harvest.’
The reporter was taken, with 20 other new recruits, to a room where preachers gave sermons claiming acceptance of the Lord would prevent them ever being ill or suffering misfortune.

The Mail on Sunday has seen video footage of Mr Oyedepo striking a woman across the face and condemning her to hell after she said she was a ‘witch for Jesus’. He attacked her in a Winners’ Chapel superchurch, believed to be in Nigeria, in front of worshippers. A separate video shows him saying: ‘I slapped a witch here last year!’

In May, he was sued for £800,000 over the alleged assault. The case was struck out – a decision which is now reported to have been appealed.
The Winners’ Chapel movement, also known as the Living Faith Church, has hundreds of churches in Nigeria and across Africa, the Middle East, the UK and the US.

Mr Oyedepo has received fierce criticism in Africa. One Nigerian journalist accused him of ‘leading a growing list of pastorpreneurs – church founders exploiting the passion and emotion that Christianity commands to feather their nests’.

Catholic Cardinal Anthony Okogie criticised such preachers for placing materialism above Jesus’s message. He reportedly said: ‘They have been skinning the flock, taking out of the milk of the flock.’

Among Mr Oyedepo’s fleet of aircraft are said to be a Gulfstream 1 and Gulfstream 4 private jets. It is also claimed he and his wife, Faith, travel in expensive Jeeps flanked by convoys of siren-blaring vehicles. He is the senior pastor of Faith Tabernacle, a 50,000-seat auditorium in Lagos reputed to be the largest church in the world, and runs a publishing company that distributes books carrying his message across the world.

His other business interests span manufacturing, petrol stations, bakeries, water purification factories, recruitment, a university, restaurants, supermarkets and real estate. The latest addition is a commercial airline named Dominion Airlines.

A Charity Commission spokesman said: ‘The Charity Commission is currently assessing what, if any, regulatory role there is to play with regard to the complaints made against the World Mission Agency. It is important to clarify that this does not constitute an investigation at this stage.’

Winners’ Chapel administrator Tunde Disu declined to comment.

Source: Daily Mail

12 Comments

  • Build the body’ that’s christ instruction, instead what do we see, they’re building empires at d expense of gullible unsuspecting followers.

  • Hmmm people should beware!! Who knows maybe he is even working for the devil?? Leading as many people as ge can to hell!? Churches these days don’t even preach about Jesus and repentance again, all we hear is them quoting scriptures and relating it to wealth and prosperity while harassing their followers to part with all they have if not Jesus will not bless them and will punish them! Jesus is now secondary and used as a money making tool. Hmmm oh Jesus when will your comming be?? Haven’t we endured enough?

    • people should beware of how they talk, let God judge. You that knows the truth why not go out and preach the gospel of truth instead of criticizing someone else

  • U guys watch ur mouth! D bible is meant to be studied. If he’s preaching heresy, won’t u know ?? He preaches God’s word, u don’t have to love it or accept , afterall christ wasn’t accepted by His people…I am a living testimony to what God is doing thru bishop david oyedep

  • Have these reported verified the testimonies of the people in church? Is any member of the church complaining his exploited. If notable Ministers of God who are saddled with responsibility of warning the people have clearly shown respect for what God has helped Bishop Oyedepo to achieve in Nigeria, why do you think people will take your opinions seriously.

    I am a living witness of God’s faithfulness to me even after joining the Winners Chapel. I have been to Deeper Life, Apostolic Faith, Mountain of Fire, Latter Rain Assembly, Christ Apostolic Church, Anglican Communion etc. I have been a worshipper and even a leader in most of these ministries so I have a balance view of the church in Nigeria.

    Most of the people who throw stones at Ministers of God are never not believers themselves. You can do an investigation since you interested in investigating falsehood.

  • Let us all stay focussed on our pupose…. in achieving our goal..

    If some of u guys are given free ! million dollar today u will mess up ur life. Therefore, lets go earn wat we see in others and stop castigating

  • In the days of jesus christ they even call him common capinters son,they questioned if anything good can come out of nazereth. But be warned, touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm.

  • It is important for people to know that you have what you say. John the Baptist after annointing and announcing Jesus Christ as the the saviour, questionned the existence of Christ himself and guess what he was beheaded while Paul and silas saw themselves in a likewise manner, and glorified God, and there was an earthquake and the prison doors were opened. I ask myself what did Oyakhilme do to become great, what did Oyedepo do to become who he is? Lord, i key into the lives of these men of God, i choose to follow after what has given them results cos i want to be great and i want to affect my generation. You spoilers can continue to wallow in defeat and self pity, God has taken these men to where they are and no demon can stop them including you all. This is the same thing going on everywhere in the world, christians backbiting themselves, have you ever heard a muslim backbite their imam? Anyway, i usually dont make contribution in discussions like this but i guess its high time, we tell you haters to go to………. (whereever) we dont give a damn about what you say, people must be born again, true men of God must own jets, submarines, lincoln navigator name it so that the gospel of christ can reach the uttermost part of the earth. Peace out.

  • Lol…..whatever ple say we r in the end times and the love of many will wax cold. For those of u who are not believers except a man be born again he will not see the kingdom of God. And as long as u r a believer you must give ur tithes and offerings to grow the kingdom of God……whatever any pastor does God will judge them and that is not my wahala….my own is to do God,s will and prosper. So if u like look at reports like this and miss heaven na ur wahala be that..whatever they write Jesus Christ is and will continue to be lord forever…selah

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