Pastor Sam Adeyemi, that mental health sermon tweet, and the “read it in context” crew


Pastor Sam Adeyemi was quoted while preaching a sermon on mental health and one particularly unfortunate slide from the tweets being shared online has caused a lot of kerfuffle.

The second I saw it, my heckles were raised, but I went to the Pastor’s Twitter page to read for myself. I read ALL the tweets preceding and following that one and I was still mad as heck.

So, here’s my thing: I don’t care for most Nigerian pastors. This is no secret. But I have come to learn to “gee dem shance”. They have their circus and I ain’t their monkey. Everybody’s happy. I felt the same way about Pastor (Daddy? Father? Landlord? Some title sha) Adeboye’s comments on the what constitutes ten yards of wife material. I thought “I know you ain’t talking to me. So carry on.”

Pastor Adeyemi is well within his rights to say whatever he wants to his congregation. My main problems with the tweets are two-fold: when your sermons leave the hallowed halls of building and you publish them on social media, you are now directing it to all. So if there is criticism, you (the congregation!) will need to buckle up and take it. This is one of the reasons I didn’t get mad at Commander Adeboye: someone RECORDED his sermon and pasted just that bit online. He didn’t share it; he wasn’t talking to us.

Second problem I have with Pastor Adeyemi’s message is the “Read the message in context” crew. Why must you all go so hard for a pastor? Is there a reason you feel he is above reproach? Why must you correct our thinking?

Well, I have read it in context and it is still bunkum and declares JUDGEMENT on mental health sufferers.

If he had written “The root cause of CANCER is Sin (Rom 6:23) and the foundational solution to CANCER is Salvation” – everyone would have lost their God given minds*, even given whatever tweets followed before and after. The good pastor is well out of his depths on this one.

And since we’re talking about context, that verse does little to prove his point, but what do I know? It’s not like I built a big house with other people’s money that I convinced them to give to me or anything so…#shrug.

To tie a lack of mental or physical health to sin is unhelpful and judgemental. So what about people who are not mental health/cancer/car accidents/blunt force trauma to the head/sickle cell anaemia sufferers? Are they not descendants of Adam too?

And no, salvation is not the foundational solution. Salvation is everlasting life in the afterlife on the right hand side of God. This earthly body of dust and sinew plays no part in salvation. Or at least, I hope not: it is my intention to partake of eternal calorie-free egusi when I finally meet Jesus.

Look, if you are of sound body and mind, then good for you. But to suggest that illness is somehow the person’s fault is unforgivable and not the message of hope that a pastor should offer.

And it is not a message that congregants should fight for. Context, content, carton or kuli kuli; it is not everything that a pastor says that is helpful.

It is perfectly fine to say a message could perhaps have been put better or indeed, not said at all, and still consider Pastor Adeyemi a fine preacher. One does not exclude the other.

If you wish to address mental illness, talk about coping with mental health and the power of prayer through the difficult times. Talk about strength for the carers of mental illness patients and the grace to care without resentment or ill will. Talk about seizing the moment and enjoying every breathing moment with loved ones.

If that message is too benign, talk about the fact that y’all can’t move to larger premises because you have given the proposed land over to the construction of a new state-of-the-art hospital. Talk about the fact that you’re doing that because you’re hoping good deeds will absolve you of Adamic sins. Wait, what was that? You’re gonna go ahead and build your mega-church because good deeds cannot absolve you of sin? You have already been saved by virtue of The Blood and by reason of faith? Because Ephesians 2:8?

Yeah, well, so have mental health patients who so believe. Every last one of them.


*If you DO NOT lose your mind over this, then you are the problem, not any pastor.

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  1. With the last paragragh, you have shown that you truly understand the menaing of Salvation better that most defender ——– “And no, salvation is not the foundational solution. Salvation is everlasting life in the afterlife on the right hand side of God. This earthly body of dust and sinew plays no part in salvation. Or at least, I hope not: it is my intention to partake of eternal calorie-free egusi when I finally meet Jesus”———Let them contune to be led by Hustlers abeg

  2. In that infamous tweet, he proffered the wrong cause and wrong solution to mental disorders. We know types of mental disorders and their causes as identified by the World Health Organisation. How did Sam Adeyemi arrive at his?

  3. This is the kind of teachings that make people go through church for hearings rather than hospitals. It is just unbelievable that such is still so much in the society.

    People will have cancer and go to church for healing instead of hospital. Pastor will not chase them to church. When it gets too late, they now rush to hospital.

    The problem in the naija society pass my own understanding but if religion was out of the picture, things would not be this bad and hopeless

  4. Well Rachel, u no say me I no get stomach for bullshit but let me clarify something here.

    1. I don’t attend his church but I consider him a sound teacher of the word.
    2. The context here and which is intended is that it is the “original sin” that is responsible for ALL of man’s misery and sicknesses – physical, mental and emotional. Which is why “Sin” had capital “s”. Not sins as in adultery or formication or the like…
    3. Contrary to some opinions, the word salvation in New Testament Greek actually means complete wholeness, spirit, soul and body and not just a reference to ‘going to heaven’. Again the specific reference is in the context. When someone was healed in the NT, it’s the same word that was used.

    • Dr Labi, ever since I read this tweet, I have done some research and not a bad word can be found about him. I agree that he is indeed a sound teacher of the Word. But I feel the following:

      1. See above.
      2. Then do not specify a certain illness or tie said illness to Original Sin
      3. Salvation – the original word or the latter word should not be used in connection with mental illness. It may help you deal with the suffering. It may even help your carers deal with their burden. But it is not a’solution’ to a corporal ailment. Especially when you do not make it clear that you are talking about an ancient Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic word/context.

      That said, again, I repeat: I agree with you. He is a sound preacher.

  5. Wow! My take , SIN ,the fallen nature of man is responsible for ailments,or imperfections in us today. Salvation which means SOZI…AMPLIFIED TRANSLATION says deliverance fro. Spiritual death+(after life thingy) deliverance from sickness and disease and deliverance from temporal evil. Ma bible talk am .
    However i chose to be live this is not an insensitive condemnation of people with mental illness that would be cruel and out of character for Pastor Adeyemi,He no be my pastor o but i think he is a sound teacher.

  6. I have shouted all day and gave up in the end. The problem I have is not with his teaching or his sermon. It is that blasted tweet. If we have to keep explaining a tweet and asking for context etc, then it is not a topic that should be tweeted about.

    We know people will misconstrue it. Many will use it as ammunition beat people with Mental health issues around the head. The number of times I have been told to take my son to a particular church, pray to a particular saint and our issues are not even that severe. I wonder if people think people who actually beleive in God as sitting on their behinds waiting to tbe told. And I am tired of being labelled an unwise unbeliever because I dared question the problem of the tweet and what it will allow to happen.

    • And that’s exactly my point, sis! So far, we have been asked for context, for the old Greek word for Salvation, for the difference between Original and Counterfeit sin.

      Ooooorrrr…it was just as ill advised tweet from an otherwise sound preacher.


    • I am sure we would have hailed him and said a few Halleluias if we were at the sermon. But we were not. Now we are told that we were waiting for preachers to fall, so we can find fault. And I do detest it when people who do know me start questioning my faith. Must everyone who disagrees with a pastor be an atheist or one with no faith?? Ah well. God knows those who seek him. May all who seek Him, find Him with clearly. With no room for misinterpretation and context issues.

  7. Guys, b4 your Egusi party. He was talking about sin as a noun not a verb. Other health issues stem from sin as a noun not our little secret sins. And don’t wait till the by and by to eat Egusi, salvation is also now and the by and by.

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