Fri | Aug 17, 2018

'Expensive offering' - BMW and Honda Accord gifted to pastor and he is not giving them back despite appeals from the family

Published:Sunday | January 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
A BMW X5

A Corporate Area pastor who has been gifted two high-end vehicles by a grateful member of his flock says that he has no intention of giving them back despite pleas from the family of his church member for him to return them,

The family members say that the young man who gave the pastor the vehicles is now taking the bus and other forms of public transport, which he had never done before.

But head of the Walk by Faith Tabernacle Apostle Anthony McKenzie said that the church member gave him a Honda accord and a BMWX5 because "God instructed him to do this".

"You see when the gentleman gave me the car, I spoke to him and he said, he wants me to get them," McKenzie told The Sunday Gleaner.

"I went back to him three times to give him back and he said he doesn't want it because the Lord told him to give me it and he wants me to have it, so I said okay," added McKenzie.

But relatives of the church member are not accepting that their son and brother "was instructed by God" and they fear that he is being manipulated by "his shepherd".

"I don't know what is going on, but it (church) appears cultist," said the father of the generous church member.

"I am concerned because this seems quite unusual for an educated adult to give away one car and then give away another to the same pastor, and the pastor has the car driving," said the worried father, who asked not to be named.

He said he is troubled by the fact that his now 32-year-old son, who has been driving since the age of 18, is taking public transportation, and has, for the most part, distanced himself from other family members.

"I have had discussions with two senior pastors in the religious fraternity, and one of them got through to him (the pastor), and he maintained that he is not giving back the vehicles because they were given to him," said the father.

 

Not the first time

 

But McKenzie told The Sunday Gleaner that he has received similar gifts and he has given away cars on at least two occasions.

"This is not the first. It is more than one vehicle I get like that," said McKenzie, who has been an apostle for 15 years.

He said he uses the vehicles that were given to him for his personal use, as well as to do church-related activities such as dropping off other church members. He added that he has offered to transport the young man who gave him the cars, but he, generally, refuses.

"He said it is his vehicle, is him pay for it, so nobody can come to me or him," said McKenzie.

Pastor of the Freedom Evangelical Association Ministry Apostle Romeon Facey can understand the decision made by McKenzie to accept and keep the vehicles.

"Pastors can receive spiritual gifts of faith because Paul received gifts from the Philippian church and then promised them that God would supply all their needs according to his riches in glory because they met his need," said Facey.

"If this young man is convinced by God that this is a sacrificial gift that he is giving to the pastor or giving to the church, or giving to the man of God, then that's his conviction because there have been instances where people have given cars to people and God has blessed them in certain areas of their life," said Facey.

He argued that persons have been giving gifts such as houses and land to the church for years, and members of the clergy have accepted because they do not want to stand in the way of a person's personal conviction.

But Facey cautioned that there are those religious leaders who seek to exploit the vulnerable.

"If it is a case where the pastor is playing on the emotions of this person to exploit them, then that is sacrilege, and that goes against biblical understanding," said Facey.

Bishop Everton Thomas of the Emmanuel Apostolic Churches in Jamaica said he, too, is not entirely opposed to the pastor's decision to accept the cars if, indeed, the young man was instructed by God to give them away.

"I don't have a problem with it if it is really in keeping with the will of God, but sometimes, it may not be," he added.

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com