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With 141 books published so far, Reverend Chris Christian is probably Nigeria’s most prolific author. With specialty in Christian literature, his aim is to break barriers and get many of his books to the international audience. He is gradually succeeding in this regard. A preacher of the gospel, he is famed for taking the Vow of Poverty, which entails he doesn’t own any property or have a personal bank account. He spoke to HENRY AKUBUIRO at the premises of The Locust Army International Ministry, Ajah, Lagos.
You are about Nigeria’s most prolific author. At the last count, you had written over a hundred books. Are you still champing at the bit?
I have done 141 books now, and I am getting ready another 7. I had a revelation on the need why the human mind should be enlightened. So, I am trying to make my personal effort on how I can impact Africa. That’s the motive behind the writing. It’s not really the number of books, but what the books will achieve. During the annual camping of my ministry at the Galilee Camping Ground at Ibughu, Umuchu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, I usually give out free books to people who cannot afford them. As I said, the aim is to enlighten the society.
It has been discovered that some of your books are sold twice or more the normal price by some buyers who retail them. Are you comfortable with that?
My motive is not making money. But what I don’t like is people taking it very cheap from me and selling it twice or more the intended price. During the last day of the annual camping at Ibughu, I usually do a bonanza, selling four books for 1,000 naira. You could see people buying many copies and reselling for 2,000 a copy afterwards. But I am happy they are reading.
How far has your books travelled? Do you think you have achieved your aim of writing these books?
The books are going places, but I have not really achieved my aim. That’s why I am still writing. I want the books to go into nations, but they are gradually going into nations. As you know, we haven’t started translating into other foreign languages like French, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, etcetera, so that other people who don’t understand English language can also read. That’s the next thing we want to do now. We are also thinking of recording the contents of the book into tapes so that those who don’t have time to read could listen to the recording. Meanwhile, many of the books are out of print. While I try to write and print more, some people are insisting that I should reprint the ones I have already published before. There are some I have reprinted up to three times, and they keep on getting exhausted. Sometimes when they ask me to reprint, I will say, ‘I can give you the licence to reprint’. But I have a duty to print new works. I don’t want to spend money on reprinting old works.
I hear it often that Nigerians don’t read. Are you sure Nigerians actually read these books you write?
Nigerians read actually. They are trying to develop reading culture gradually. You know, people have those they listen to. When I started writing, they were not reading. But I continued writing and explained why they should read, and, gradually, the culture changed. I have marketers who take my books outside, and people buy. Not everybody reads, but some have developed the habit of reading.
From your experience, what makes people read? Is it the price of the books or the contents of the books that attract readers?
Influence is number one, and price is second. When books are very expensive, many people cannot afford it. Let’s look at another matter that has been trending round the globe–the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the American President, Donald Trump. What’s your take on this?
If you calculate the time we are in now, it is a prophetic time. This particular millennium is the last. So, some of the things that are happening, according to the Bible, like in Mathew Chapter 24, are fulfilling the biblical prophecies. Jerusalem is at the centre of God’s prophetic agenda of God for this millennium. So, many things that are happening on earth, like what Trump did, are a replay of what have happened in the realm. From biblical interpretation –I am a preacher of the gospel –it is prophesied in the Bible that Jerusalem is going to be the city of the King of Kings.
But there is this fear that Trump’s action could precipitate Armageddon eventually. Are we close to Armageddon?
Armageddon itself is prophetic. It is the Third World War, which is unavoidable. But the Armageddon time is not now. There are some biblical events like rapture that should happen before Armageddon. There are other signs that haven’t taken place yet. I am thinking that God is pushing Trump in making the world recognise Jerusalem as the City of the King, which it is. Before Armageddon, there will be the antichrist and the falling of the son of man before Armageddon. Trump recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not what is going to stir Armageddon biblically. It doesn’t matter who says no, but will have His way.
The way it stands currently, Eastern Jerusalem is controlled by the Palestine, while the rest of Jerusalem is controlled by Israel. Don’t you think maintaining the status quo could guarantee peace in the region?
The peace you are talking about is pseudo. The person we are talking about who will come and build His temple in Jerusalem is the Prince of Peace. Now, if the Prince of Peace doesn’t have a place in the city of Peace, any other kind of peace is temporary. You don’t take something that belongs to somebody and say he should not cry because you want peace. Jerusalem, as the bible says, is the city of the Living God. All of us who have attachment to the life of the Hebrew will know that Jerusalem is the capital of everything that concerns us. So, if it is not reclaimed, then we are not there. The Arabs should also know that Isaac is the main son of Abraham, and, if it is by inheritance, they should give Isaac his place. I think the Christian world should support Trump and all that love the Word. If Jerusalem is not reclaimed, we have to wait.
There is an Islamic dome standing side by side with a Jewish Temple, and the Israeli intend to build a new temple at the same spot. Is that a step in the right direction?
If you look at a book of prophesy by an American author, the Dome of Rock is destined to collapse. The first temple (Temple of Solomon), and the second temple (that of Zerubbabel) were built at the same spot. Then, they brought the Dome of Rock there. Biblical Prophecy has already said that it is going to be replaced before the Millennium temple of the King of Kings at the same spot. The Tribulation Temple will still move the dome out.
Tithing has been a controversial topic in Nigeria in recent times. Some men of God have come under scathing attacks for insisting on tithes. What’s your take on this issue?
From biblical status, when God gave his people land –there are people called the Levites, who are not meant to work. They are meant to do the service of the temple. If you read the Bible, when land was being shared, nobody gave them any land. They didn’t have any inheritance. So, what they did was to eat from what those who farmed to produce, because, when you farm on God’s land, you give Him one-tenth of the produce that you must depend on to feed these Levites that don’t work. Some pastors –you can see them in the church here –are praying; they don’t have another work. As I am sitting here, I don’t have any other work. So, the people who are working are working so that they can pay one-tenth of their income to God to feed those who do the work of the temple. And from the chapter 28 of the book of Genesis, when Jacob swindled his brother Esau and wanted to run, and came to Bethel, he told God he would give one-tenth of what He had given. So, why are people complaining?
Are you affirming that every Christian who works must pay tithe?
They should not look at tithe as something they are paying to pastors. They should look at it as somebody using the land is paying one-tenth to the owner of the land. For instance, I have a Vow of Poverty. I am not married; I don’t have anything. So, somebody who is paying tithe in my church should not look at it as something he is giving me, but something he is giving to the owner of his life, maybe through me, for the service of the temple. When they look at tithe as something they are giving to a man of God, they will have problems. Sometimes, also, the way pastors give money a lot of priority and live flamboyant lifestyle is raising all these questions.
Yes, the way pastors live can generate these questions. I am not saying men of God are not blessed, but excessive flamboyance is not correct. Inasmuch as we should enjoy God’s blessing, people should be moderate, whether pastors or anybody.
The Bible says if we have cloth and meal we should be content. The issue of mammon and flamboyance has so much discouraged so many. Also, the way some pastors approach the issue of tithing is not correct. When you tell people to pay tithe, you only give them the instruction and read the bible; you should stop there and allow them to make choice what to do with what you have said. I am not against anybody owning private jet –if a man is worthy to have it –but people should not do what is not godly just because they want to have it.