Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri The Northern Nigeria Writers are holding their national conference in Maiduguri, Borno State capital to elicit interest in the growth of literature and reading in the northern region. Chairman of the occasion and President, Nigerian Academic of Letters, Prof Olu Obafemi in his remarl said the Maiduguri conference was the 4th edition…
I got broiled in an argument recently. The issue centred on which is the true church of Christ on earth. It was triggered by a social media post on how Muslims have virtually taken over Europe, Britain in particular.
One view made some sound propositions on how to curb this ugly development. However, point seven of his proposals rankled.
Said he: “…I agree with its position that interdenominational squabbling will weaken Christianity further and make it easier for the Moslems to achieve their forebear’s (Uthman Dan Fodio) plan of dipping the Quran in the Atlantic…The singular best solution is for all of us as a body of Christ to return to the source where our separated brethren broke away from. That is the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Come back and ask questions as to whatever is not clear to you and receive the answers to your questions. I’m sure you would find that there is nothing you wish to know that is not already there. This will bring the unity we seek to counter the dipping of the Quran into the Atlantic.”
Methinks it is common knowledge that the Catholic Church, holy or not, fragmented because of intolerance of questions as regards obvious deviation from the Truth and Scriptures. I wonder why the new thought that they would now provide the answers they loathed to provide then, now that so much foul or clean water has passed under the bridge.
However, that has not solved the problem, as the church records more splits daily. That too is not the problem if we recognise that the bible forewarned about these developments and existence of wolves in sheep clothing. Even in the time of the early church, they were there; they will surely have their Pay Day in the lake of fire.
Our problem is seeing our church as the best and others as the worst. That generates suspicion and undue offences and defences that the enemy capitalises upon. The church of Christ is one body to which all denominations and members are parts. For instance, an Imo State indigene and an indigene of Sokoto are united to making Nigeria great. There is neither Catholic nor Pentecostal or whatever so-called in heaven. What are in heaven are Anthony Iwuoma and Kolade Adamu, and we will individually render account of how we squandered or put to good use God’s grace. This arrogance of being the first, only holy and true church is a fraud that will fail those who trust in it.
Fake pastors thrive because we give them credence by running after the empty barrels in search of spurious miracles instead of running after the God of miracles. The ONE TRUTH I know is that there is only ONE MIRACLE, which is, seeking first the kingdom of God and its righteousness. Whoever wants miracle without first identifying with God will be disappointed because of the transience of the garnished miracle received. You cannot put the cart before the horse and expect it to move.
The church of Christ, regardless of denomination, can work together in defence and propagation of the Faith if only our leaders and the led recognise that we are one and come down from haughty high horse that is limp, halting and effectively ineffectual.
Sincerely, I was thrilled by another view, which rightly identified the main concern as the threat, which Islamic religion poses to Christianity. The solutions are diverse but we miss the point when we begin to think that the Muslims are over running Christians because of the disunity in Christendom. By taking this position, we often imply that the Muslims are more united than the Christians. There are so many Muslim sects that are at daggers drawn with one another. Their point of convergence is that they are fanatical about their Allah. They also have learnt to defend their faith violently. The origin of this violence requires rigorous study. It may not be inherent, as we think but as a survival mechanism in the pristine world of religious intolerance and wars. Christians also have their own history of violence and intolerance. We may also have to look at political and economic dimension of Islamic evangelisation, which was routed in unquestioning feudalism fueled by multiple marriages, unrestrained population growth and with its consequence of almajirism. The Muslims gained high population and relevance in England through conscious population growth.
In the midst of all these, Christianity more or less, became a selfish undertaking of those who arrogate the understanding of God’s words only to themselves but are unable to dispense it freely. Christianity became virtually ephemeral to the extent that if you today throw a knockout in a pack full Church, the congregation and even the pastors will scatter. It becomes a puzzle to us Christians as to how we can get to heaven without dying.
How can we explain the situation where we Christians do more vigils, more crusades, more adoration and yet live with the fear overhang of another religion over running us? We give Satan so much potency and powers in our preaching and present God in meek and ever forgiving posture whilst capitalising on this mindset to wreak impunity on humanity. We really need to look at this issue much more holistically and begin to ask ourselves Christians – who are we really and how do we want to worship our Almighty God?
Simply put, our God is neither weak nor weakened but has turned His back on us because we have all not been Christians enough and, therefore, shorn of the potency of the gospel, thus allowing innocuous creatures to eat deep into our fibre.
Anyway, I wish more knowledgeable persons would make input. Is Catholic Church truly the first and only true church? Why is the Catholic Church so bent on celebrating the foibles in other denominations but ignores the monumental scandals in its household? Can the church of Christ really, ever be united to the point of submitting to the papal authority; is the pope the Antichrist?
These posers are without malice but that answers be provided to stem the tide of obduracy that can only lead to damnation. Saying the ‘singular best solution’ is for all Christian faithful to return to the ‘Holy’ Roman Catholic Church (in Nigeria?) is overly arrogant for all those similarly inclined to their beliefs, Catholics and non Catholics. No church had a right to claim perfection because there is yet no perfect church or man. That will happen only when Jesus Himself will perfect and present us to His father as a church without spot or wrinkle.
Pentecostal bashing or phobia smacks of jealousy and inferiority complex and there is need to look inwards and ask what really makes the Pentecostal or Protestant tick that despite all of its real and contrived flaws, it waxes stronger. Perhaps, that would help those who so wish to becoming the elusive church of their dreams that could make the ‘prodigals’ to return ‘home’. Otherwise, let God be the judge; the holier than thou attitude is hurting the Body.