Legalism is not spirituality.

Legalism is not spirituality.

Some years back, my local parish announced in church that we would like to start having house fellowship services.

A couple came to the pastor after service to volunteer their house

We started the house fellowship service in their house the following Sunday.

The husband had worked with NITEL for years before he lost his job when NITEL was shut down.

The wife was a teacher.

They had both been married for twenty years, and they were still trusting God for a baby.

I was sent to their house to lead the House fellowship; I remember naming the House Fellowship Center “Salem, House of Peace.”

At first, only the family and I attended the fellowship. The man then threw a big party for his 50th birthday.

I was the one who was given the honour of officiating that day, and even though I was a youth “pastor” at the time, and the party was a social one in which alcoholic drinks and secular music were served recklessly, the power of the Holy Spirit moved mightily.

The Sunday after the party, the house fellowship was full.

Their neighbours and friends started attending, and things began to turn around for the family.

The husband got a container and began to sell cement at Lekki; the wife also got pregnant.

By this time, the fellowship had more than sixty members, and the church started looking to open another one in that area.

The church announced we would like to open another house fellowship in that area. The pastor used the family's turnaround testimony to push for this, and soon enough, another family volunteered their house to us.

The man of the house in this family was a taxi driver, and the wife was also a teacher.

They also wanted to have a baby.

They already had a twelve-year-old, but after that, they tried hard but couldn’t have another baby.

I was posted there to start the Saturday house fellowship

I named this one “Covenant” house, after the Ark of Covenant

Within a few weeks, this fellowship also started to thrive, and the couple made a lot of progress.

The man was given a car by the Lagos State government, and the wife also got pregnant.

We were fine until I got to church one Sunday, and the pastor summoned me to his office.

He said he had heard reports that the two couples were not legally married and had decided to move the fellowships to the houses of two properly married church members.


Some members have seen the progress the families were making, and they had gone to look for technical issues that would disqualify the two families from hosting the house fellowship.

I said No.

The pastor said a petition was written to the provincial headquarters, and that was the recommendation of the panel.

I said, “Wow,” but I stood my ground that the two house fellowships must stand.

During the service, the pastor announced it to the church. He overrode my objections and claimed it was a matter that the province had decided!

I went home and cried for hours.

I called the two families on the phone and apologised as I was a man under authority!

In the evening, I left my house and went to one of the two new addresses. The house was fine, but my spirit was unhappy.

I felt it was unfair to cheat people out of their blessings based on flaws that do not matter to God.

The two new fellowships flopped.

I take the blame for this as I didn’t invest as much into it as I ought to, but I learnt a vital lesson about religion at that time.

Joseph and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were not officially married when the angel came to tell her that she would become pregnant.

Aquinas and Priscilla were not “legally” married according to church tradition before they opened their home to the gospel, and God accepted them.

Why would the church encourage hypocrisy in the name of religion?

Some years later, I faced this same issue in the fellowship I am leading; a cohabiting couple offered to teach a class, and the backlash from some members of the fellowship was loud!

Legalism is not spirituality.