Whatever a Christian does today can be categorized as being pro-Christ or anti-Christ. There is no neutral ground in this business. Our Lord Jesus Christ also classified everything into these two categories – wheat and tares, good and bad fruit, children of God and children of the devil, narrow and broad way, heaven and hell, those for him and those against him, the work of God and the work of the devil, etc. Many people who claim to be Christians today are actually anti-Christ in nature because ‘by their fruits we shall know them’ (Lk. 6:43-45). We cannot know them by their names, ordination, uniform, robes/cassocks, titles, positions, etc. but by their fruits. We are to know them by what they are doing for Jesus Christ or against him; what they are doing for the word of God (The Bible) or against it; what they are doing for evangelism or against it; what they are doing for prayers or against it; what they are doing for healing and deliverance or against it; what they are doing for The Great Commission or against it; what they are doing to believers or against them; what they are doing for the poor or against them; how they carry their personalities and positions; etc. We need to start looking at people beyond the surface and stop being worshippers of men (idol). We should be looking at and addressing people beyond the physical just as Jesus did to the Jews. The fear of man brings snare or bondage (Prov. 29:25). Jesus never feared anyone and we should not either. Only that posture will set the multitudes of people free from bondage.
Apostle John wrote it many years back that the spirit of anti-Christ is already in the world and operating. (I John2:18; 4:3). They can’t operate as anti-Christ from outside, that is why there are many of them in the Church today, even in that your church or cathedral. They are there to do the will of their father the devil just like those high priests of Jesus’ time. From the altar to the pews, there are men and women who are by their nature, speeches, actions, are opposed to The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone without the spirit of Christ is none of his ( ). These people hate and oppose evangelism, scriptural prayers, night vigils, healing and deliverance, the undiluted preaching/declaration of God’s word and attempts to live according to the scriptures. One cannot claim to be a Christian and at the same time hate what The Bible says or demands. True Christians don’t hate those who obey the scriptures.
Anyone who opposes The Bible and the children of God is for the devil. Jesus said “If you love me keep my commandments”. (John14:15,21; 15:10). Every true believer loves to do bible study, evangelism, prayer, sound preaching and practice of the scriptures. Jesus said ‘I came to fulfill (live out) the law (scriptures). (Matt. 5:17-19). If anyone claims to be a Christian and is not living out the scriptures as Jesus did, then that person’s stand is in doubt no matter who he/she is. The primary focus of any true believer is to fulfill The Great Commission. I wonder if those people who are opposed to Jesus will end up in heaven? What will they tell Jesus? Will they say ‘while in the world, we frustrated those fanatics, opposed their prayers, evangelism and threw out those who dared to heal or cast out devils. We refused to ordain all those from other tribes and tongues, banned worship in local languages and tribal churches. In short we aligned with Satan, hated the true believers and opposed every plan that will bring men to your heaven’. For sure they wouldn’t be greeted with “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”. (Matt. 25:14-23). Their reward shall be like what the man with one talent got. (vs. 24-30).
The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-21).
This was Jesus’ last command to all his followers, to take The Gospel of The Kingdom to the whole world. Preaching the gospel to all nations of the world will involve the use of local/tribal languages, even in Bible translations. The Old Testament was in Hebrew, while The New Testament was in Greek or Aramaic, how come we have Bible in English and other languages? In those days, evangelist used interpreters during their outreaches and the results were tremendous. They used interpreters because they wanted to get The Gospel to those people in their own language(s). God is the creator of languages and has specifically placed nations at various points on earth. (Acts 17:24-28; Gen. 11:6-9). For people to now oppose the use of local/tribal languages in the worship of God is demonic of the highest order. These people are anti-Christ.
One of the pillars of The Reformation was to provide the people the freedom to read and worship God in their own languages. When John Wycliffe (a theologian) saw that what the Roman Catholic priests were teaching and practicing were different from what was in the Roman Vulgate, he was the first to translate it into the English language for the people to differentiate truth from lies. Martin Luther used the period he was in hiding to produce the first German version of The New Testament. William Tyndale who ran from England to Germany for his life, translated the first English version of The new Testament and smuggled it back into England from there. Today, Tyndale Organization is still involved in the business of translating the scriptures into various languages of the world. That was how we got bibles in different languages, of which Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Efik, etc. are included. Nigerian Bible Society is still working hard in getting The Bible into other languages of the country. The College of Bishops should ask The Bishop of Lagos West diocese why he is against the establishment of tribal (Igbo) churches in Lagos contrary to what was handed over to us by The Church Fathers?
The Reformers, The Puritans and men like John Bunyan, John Huss, Martin Luther, Jerome of Prague, William Tyndale and many others were imprisoned, beheaded, burnt at the stake, excommunicated and tortured, because they wanted men like us to know the truth and freely worship God Almighty in our native tongues or languages. How can some men of today who are beneficiaries of this freedom of worship in native tongue, which was bought with the blood of the Saints begin to turn the wheel of The Reformation backwards? These people are not true Christians. They are not followers of Jesus Christ. They are agents of Satan (anti-Christ). They are tares and not wheat (Matt. 13:24-30). They are wolves in sheep skin (Matt. 7:15-20). They are enemies of the cross (Philip. 3:17-19). They are angels of light (2 Cor. 11:13-15). They are not for Jesus Christ but against him. If anyone knows them, please warn them because their end is destruction.
Before we begin to lie to ourselves at their gravesites, saying ‘they were great men used by God, whose life are worthy of emulation’. Every life that is opposed to The Gospel, freedom of worship and love among the brethren is not worth mentioning, not to talk of emulation. Anyone who emulates such life will follow them down to HELL FIRE. The Rich Man was fortunate to see Lazarus, but these people will not see the Lazarus they hated, marginalized, brutalized, maligned, opposed and even cast out of their congregations. Every true believer loves the brethren of all races, tribes and tongues. They love the work of Our Lord Jesus Christ and to spread The Gospel by all means, at all costs. (I Cor. 9:19-23). I hereby warn all true believers oppressed by any Satanic leadership to leave now. There will not be any excuse on the last day why you couldn’t do the work of your Savior Jesus Christ. Set up your own churches or worship centers and obey The Great Commission. Freedom of worship is guaranteed by The Nigerian Constitution. Choice of denomination and mode of worship (as The Spirit leads) are personal and are guaranteed also. Nobody but Jesus Christ has the key to the gates of heaven. We should look unto Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith and not on any human being or organization. (Heb. 12:1-3).
We must continue to translate The Bible into native tongues and establish tribal churches because they are part of The Great Commission. Not even the devil can stop us. But these men and women who are opposed to native churches and worship in tribal tongues should examine themselves whether they are still in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). Anyone who is opposed to native churches and worship is anti-Gospel, anti-The-Great-Commission, anti-The-Reformation and anti-Christ. One should not be seen to oppose his/her Lord Jesus Christ, whom he swore and was ordained to uphold. If this opposition is from outside (other religions) one would understand, but these enemies are from within. Jesus said ‘whosoever is not for us is against us’. (Matt. 12:30).
Native Churches In Foreign Land (Lagos State).
Should there be Igbo and other tribal churches (with priests/bishops) in Lagos State? The answer is YES. This is scriptural and historical. Before the time of Jesus Christ, the Jews were scattered all over the known world then. In those places, they had synagogues led by Jewish rabbis. There was no time the proselytes (converts) took over or began to lord themselves over those synagogues for the reason that they were built on their lands, rather they became part of the Jewish worship and worked along with them. After Jesus Christ’s death, The Early Church began to spread from some of these synagogues (or places of prayer). Paul’s missionary journeys began first with the Jewish communities and the synagogues. Even today, there are synagogues all over the world, managed by Jewish rabbis; Igbo churches cannot be different.
Here in Nigeria, Igbos are the most populous and the most travelled tribe. They do not discriminate in their investments as they have helped in developing every nook and cranny of this nation. They should not be taken as fools. Igbo communities who wish to establish their own ‘synagogues’ or places of worship, in their own native tongues and with their own priests should not be hindered because it is part of The Great Commission. The establishment of native churches is purely a matter of demography and statistics. There are no Hausa or Yoruba communities in The East and if they are there, let them build their native churches too; that is true Christianity. There is one Yoruba church at Onitsha, Anambra State. The Hausa Muslims in The East have their own mosques led by Hausa Imams. No Igbo convert has ever talked about taking over those mosques because they are located in Igbo land. Likewise in The West, Hausas have their own Imams leading their prayers and the Yoruba Muslims make no qualms about it. What we have in Lagos (Western) Dioceses is slavery; dog eat dog kind of, where Igbos cannot have their churches but can contribute their money. This is not Christianity but slavery. Every sensible Igbo person should pull out now.
Some years back, all the Igbo Churches like All Saints Yaba, St. Bartholomew Aguda, Bishop Tugwel Memorial Lagos and one Igbo Church at Ibadan, were all under the Eastern Dioceses. How, when and what led to their removal from their brothers across The Niger and being enslaved to the West must be revisited. These churches can still pull out from this terrible marriage of bondage and be reunited with their kit and kin across The Niger. Every bishop is supposed to treat every diocesan equally or else he is not a true apostle of Jesus Christ. Those overflowing robes of The Pharisees do not make one a true Christian. Bishop is not a mystic word or position as some make it to look like. Bishop is another word for pastor, which means a shepherd. They are supposed to walk in the footsteps of The Good Shepherd (Jesus Christ) but they neither care for the sheep nor lay down their lives for anything, may be for money. They are shepherding their pockets and fleecing the sheep. They are like the Pharisees of old.
This same group that is against Igbo Churches and their affiliation to The East has gone to far away USA to establish a missionary diocese called CANA. CANA is affiliated to Nigeria and when it failed to deliver, they went ahead and established another one called Diocese of The Trinity. This Diocese of The Trinity is headed by a Nigerian (Yoruba) and it is still affiliated to Nigeria. But there are no USA Episcopal churches in Nigeria, so why go to USA? Secondly, why not let Americans run CANA and Trinity Dioceses since they are located in their country? The gay issue may be their claim, but then we too can say that the maltreatment of Igbos in Lagos (The West) is enough reason for the Igbos to affiliate to their brothers across The Niger. This is a question The College of Bishops must answer or they will face some cracks in Church of Nigeria. We are not yet discussing the Yoruba priests and bishops in The North, which is not their land. Why are they there but would not allow Igbo priests/bishops on their lands? The solution to this problem is for all priests and bishops to return to their home States/Dioceses and leave Lagos Dioceses for the Lagosians alone. If Lagos Dioceses (or any other) are deficient, then they can advertise for immigrant workers/priests/bishops. Henceforth future priests and bishops of Lagos Dioceses must have birth certificates (not sworn affidavits) issued in Lagos Sate. Only this approach will bring peace in the Lagos area.
Igbo bishops should not play the ostrich on this issue because the rumbles will reverberate back home. Igbos should wake up and open their eyes. This game is not evangelism or Christianity; it is politics of control and domination, in the name of Christianity. They want to control all the Igbo Churches in Lagos, The West, The North, USA and anywhere in the world. Some people are bent on putting all the Igbos in a bottle and cork them up. There are more Igbos in Church of Nigeria today than any other tribe and yet they have no place in the body. The little they seem to have is being taken away from them. It is high time we called a spade, a spade. We should either worship together as brothers and sisters or we’ll go our separate ways. We cannot be enslaved in our own land. All we need is true Christianity and love among the brethren as was practiced by The Early Church or we are heading for balkanization of the body.
What Is True Christianity?
True Christianity is living just as Jesus Christ did. And nobody can live as Jesus did unless he is one with Christ in The Spirit. One cannot be one with Jesus Christ in The Spirit unless he is born again. (John 3:1-21). Nobody can share the bread of life which he has not tasted or give out the water of life which he has not drank from. One must first have heaven in himself before he can share it and take others with him. What we have today is unbelievers taking up jobs in the church rather than believers answering to a call into the ministry. Those (from the altar to the pews) who claim to be Christians are not. They are ignorant of the Jesus Christ they try to profess, like the seven sons of Sceva. (Acts. 19:11-17). How can somebody who claims to be called and anointed into the ministry, cannot even explain the simplest text or verse of The Bible? Their clueless sermons are read out like television news while their congregations fall asleep. Every true believer should be like Prophet Jeremiah in whom the word of God was like fire in his bones. If you don’t have it, you don’t have it. If you have the word, you can’t be quiet or cold. Many don’t have it and all they do is to antagonize those who seem to have the word of God burning in them like fire.
These blinds leading the blind should humble themselves and take the path of Nicodemus. They should go to Jesus by night and have the truth of The Kingdom explained to them; otherwise they can never see or understand The Kingdom of God. (John 3:1-21). They need to be born again and be filled with The Holy Spirit. This is not the case of ordination and promotion. One’s title(s), positions or ordination have nothing to do with this, because Christianity is spiritual and not physical. It is internal and not external. It is eternal and not temporary. Every true Christian loves fellow believers, no matter what tribe, tongue or race. Every true believer wants to serve his master Jesus Christ all the time, preaching the whole Word to the whole world. (I Cor. 2:1-5). Every true believer is dead to self but alive in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 2:20). No true believer plays politics with the lives and eternal destiny of men and women. We have departed from the path of our founding fathers. Where are the George Whitfield, Charles H. Spurgeon, John Bunyan, David Livingstone, William Wilberforce, John and Charles Wesley? I believe God will still raise men like them who will set the captives free from this bondage. When one looks at The Reformers and The Puritans, what they believed, preached, lived and died for, one cannot but say that the present Church lacks the salt. The Church is uninteresting, weak, powerless and apostate. No wonder the youths are abandoning their faith at an alarming rate. God will hold us responsible for whatever happens to our own generation. Spurgeon and Whitfield were men greatly used by God to bring revivals and re-awakening in England and USA, still they considered themselves as unworthy servants of their Lord Jesus Christ. But today, we have empty men who have not even converted a single soul, parading themselves in overflowing white/purple robes as demigods. What a shame.
I foresee another Reformation taking place in Church of Nigeria very soon. Men should turn or burn, convert or be consumed, repent or regret in hell. The sword of judgment is drawn as Moses and the sons of Levi did in the wilderness. I can hear the resounding question in the air “Who is on The Lord’s side”? (Exod. 32:25-28). There will be no escape for all the golden calf worshippers.
The Money And Political Game.
Let us stop running around the bush and stop deceiving ourselves; people are playing politics with the eternal souls of men and women, for the sake of money and power. If we are to go into the history of Nigeria briefly, Lagos was not part of Nigeria initially. When it later became part of Nigeria, it was not part of The Western Region. Lagos was a kind of Federal Capital Territory. Therefore, who then has right over Lagos? Most Lagosians are not Christians, they are mainly Muslims. Over 90% of priests and bishops in Lagos are from outside the area, with many coming to Lagos for the first time as priests or bishops. Most of the importations or immigration into Lagos are from two major States (Ondo and Ekiti). The attraction is based on the fact that Lagos seems to control over 50% of the money in circulation. They are after the money for themselves, reaping where they did not sow. Lagos was never part of The Western Region, neither was it part of Ondo nor Ekiti State, therefore why the grabbing and domination?
If priests and bishops could be translated from far distances like Ondo and Ekiti States to Lagos, why can’t Igbos with an overwhelming population (or even the majority) enjoy such opportunities? After all, the dioceses of Lagos run on Igbos’ finances. If their finances are good, why can’t their personalities? I need to be convinced that this isn’t another form of slavery inside The Church. The bishops and their priests are busy importing their brothers into Lagos as priests at the expense of the Igbos. One of them confessed to me that his father was a high priest in Ondo and a friend of the bishop. When he couldn’t find a job, his father approached the bishop on his behalf. That was how he became a priest in Lagos. This boy was posted to our Church and he didn’t know how The Bible looked like. Meanwhile there were born again Igbos, living in Lagos, burning with the desire to serve God and yet they were denied the opportunity. Who says this is not Satanic or devilish? I don’t know how Jesus will judge this case.
If Igbos must go back to their States if they intend to become priests, then why not return their money too? Not only the Igbos should leave Lagos but every non-Lagosian must also leave Lagos, back to their various home States. Let us leave Lagos for the Lagosians to manage. All non-Northerners in The North must vacate there also for equity to reign. It is pure slavery for Igbos to fund the dioceses and be cast out of the system. They should be part of the administration or they’ll take their money with them and fund their home dioceses. They should pull out of the system and even begin to establish branches of their home churches in Lagos, because freedom of worship and association are guaranteed by The Nigerian Constitution. Nobody will go to hell for doing that.
These alien invaders are after their own pockets and not the souls of men. They are in Lagos for the money and not to propagate The Gospel. They even want to hijack the whole Church of Nigeria to themselves. They have created schism and acrimony in the Body of Christ. They should follow the example of The Early Church (Acts 6:1-7), because God can’t be worshipped with murmuring hearts. Some years back, The Bishop of Lagos West distributed envelopes to churches under his jurisdiction to contribute money for the construction of a Cathedral at his home Owo Diocese. The priests were all running halter scatter to donate what would be acceptable to their lord bishop. What sort of extortion is this? Is that why he doesn’t want Igbo priests or bishops in his diocese, so that he can continue to extort from the poor, ignorant Igbo laity, to feather his nest at Owo? The College of Bishops should query him on this. This is double taxation and unbecoming of a bishop. Meanwhile, he doesn’t want Igbos to support their home dioceses or churches. Well, every Igbo person in Lagos has a choice to make, either to continue to be enslaved or be free forever. There is no place like home. When the fullness of time came, God raised Moses to lead Israelites out of Egypt. It is time to leave Egypt for the promise land. But those who love the tastes of onions, garlic, cucumber and watermelons of Egypt can remain behind.
We should know that one’s action, inaction or decision will face him/her at the judgment. Those who have joined hands to call us rebels because we stand for the truth and have refused to be slaves, are like Esau who sold his birthright for (one morsel of meat) a plate of lentils. (Gen. 25:34; Heb. 12:16,17). They should remember that when he sought for it, he could not find it, even though he did it with tears. For all those who support our position on the truth, we say thanks and may our God bless you richly. You are like Moses who chose to suffer affliction with the people of God than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a moment. He esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. (Heb. 11:24-27). There is a choice to be made between temporal and eternal things. (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Therefore, choose you this day who you will serve. (Josh 24:14-15).
Time has come when position, ordination, title, power, money and personal ego should no longer be placed above the eternal destiny of the people. Salvation of souls should be the primary focus of the Church and not building personal, physical empires. Tithes, offerings and construction of Cathedrals are not what Jesus Christ died for. He died so that sinners could go to heaven. We are to carry The Gospel (the good news) to those in darkness and not stand on the way of those willing to do it. We need biblical teachings on sin, salvation, faith, judgment, repentance, righteousness, holiness, Holy Spirit, evangelism, healing and deliverance, etc. and not fund raising extravaganza or Knighthood coronation. What has become of the Church’s Catechisms, morning prayers and Sunday evening services? Any true apostle of Jesus Christ gives himself continually to prayer and the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:4). Stop playing politics with the eternal destiny of the people. Stop playing politics with the Ministry of Jesus Christ. Every Christian should be able to serve in any position anywhere at anytime. There should not be masters and slaves in The Church. We will not subscribe to that arrangement. God bless all believers and lovers of Our Lord Jesus Christ. “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maranatha”. (I Cor. 16:22).
Eric Agunanne writes from United States of America
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