EXALT THE NAME OF JESUS, NOT YOUR’S!

EXALT THE NAME OF JESUS, NOT YOURS.

When a courageous preacher of the Gospel of Jesus commits a Sin and humbly admits his weakness and asks for Mercy, I am disposed to let it remain within the realm of his private life; what the State Law says is his business to sort out. But when a Preacher comes out to preach hate and Falsehood from his Office as a Preacher, it should no longer be allowed to remain his private affair. It should worry every decent person.

I opine in this pieces that hate Messages and weird ‘Actions in Churches be checked, opposed and stopped especially if they can be shown to be abusive and tend to promote hatred. I have formed this opinion because; it is obvious that all Christian Preachers do not pass through the same process of formation. Generally, about anyone goes through an Experience, takes a title, gathers followers, demonstrates Supernatural Power, gives Messages, and expects them lived out in society. I write with Nigeria in mind.

The Office of the Preacher of God’s Word:

I would like to see a Person preaching the Word of God from three perspectives:

  1. One whom the Lord has sent with a Specific Message. He is to deliver a definite Message, after which he may leave.
  2. One who feels driven to share a Personal Divine Encounter with others, and thereby encourage them to live out their Faith.
  3. He may be someone who intends, by a deliberate decision, to dedicate his whole life making efforts to fulfill the Command of the Lord, ‘Go make Disciples of all Nations (Matt. 28:19). He may properly belong to an institution.[1]

The Person of the Preacher:

The first Characteristic of the Preacher is the obvious fact that he is a Human Person: one like all others with the basic Faculties of Will, Intellect and Emotions. The immediate consequences of this fact are ‘the Man is weak; he is prone to Sin; and actually sins. Jesus is the only human being who did not commit any Sin, and his Mother was preserved from the stain of Sin because of the extraordinary Favour God showed her.

A Person’s weakness (in any form) does not varnish at the moment of his divine call. He becomes open to Grace, which enables him bring his natural inclinations (which are in themselves innocent) under control. That is why the working of Grace requires human cooperation. God does not burn a Person’s feeling for Hunger, Love, Respect, Sex, self-esteem or of Fear because he has called him. A Look through the Bible shows that heavenly anointed Leaders (Moses, Jacob, Abraham), Kings (Saul, David, Solomon) Prophets (Jeremiah, Hosea), Judges (Samson), Apostles (Judas Iscariot, Peter, Paul) all expressed human weaknesses even while God worked closely with them. Without attempting to judge them at all, I state, ‘Moses did not stop stammering because the Lord called him. God was with him, favoured him, worked through him, but he stammered to the end.’ God knows how to use the Instrument he has chosen.

Mistake, Arrogance and Falsehood:

God’s choice of his instrument has very little to do with its worthiness, it has everything to do with Grace (Rom. 9:11-13).

It is a Mistake for any Preacher to think that God chose him because he was already ‘on course’. It is arrogance to say you no longer have Weaknesses. It is Falsehood to over exaggerate his Connection with God.

Hate Messages, Weird Actions:

One of the biggest global Problems of our time is religious extremism. It is, at the moment, predominantly Islamic extremism, manifested in the emergence of deadly terrorist groups across the Globe and isolated violent crimes committed by Radical Muslim Faithful, all claiming to act out of Islamic Religious Believes. This is a consequence of hate Messages they get from Preachers.

While the Christian Church at this time, cannot be accused of organized terrorism stemming from hate preaching, she is, unfortunately, really not exempt. Hate preaching is becoming noticeable among Christian Preachers. The Situation in Nigeria is a clear Case. David Oyedepo a Nigerian Bishop, and Suleiman, a Nigerian Apostle have recently come under criticism for urging their Church Members to kill, during official Church Services.[2]  A Catholic Priest, Fr. Obimma, is recently reported to have made the shameful comparison that one Person from his Ibo tribe is equivalent to Five hundred Persons from another Nigerian Tribe.

Sometimes these attacks are turned towards fellow Christian Churches and range from subtle uncomplimentary remarks to outright condemnation of all believers who profess the faith under the Roof of these Churches. They are preached, taught and written in Published Books, as ‘inspired Messages’. Many Preachers have also promoted weird Messages, ranging from abuse of Persons, exploitation, self-glorification to Deceit and Theft.

Some have inflicted physical pain on others in the name of deliverance.  Someone has been burnt to death in a Church by his Nigerian Pastor.[3] Church members have been made to eat grass and Snakes; female Worshippers have been instructed to attend Church without underwear; People have been made to carry their Pastor on their Shoulders while he preaches, lie down while he walks on them, receive flogging for wrong doings, speak about private Family crisis in public worship and many other weird actions from Preachers who Fly Private Planes, make the covers of Business Magazines, have their Children in the best universities, move in Convoys of Security and get the best medical attention while their Church members rely on their Pictures for security and powerfully blessed Water for Healing. A person who ‘receives Jesus’ today, rather than radiate a new Joy of life, becomes seriously angry at almost every other person for not being ‘Holy enough’. Often, homes are broken when one Family member sees the Light. Divine Blessings have been so tightly tied to Money, that already poor people are made to pay heavily in order to attract Blessings.[4] Most of These Men struggle very hard to live exactly the way Jesus didn’t live. We must be careful, there will be consequences.

Consequences:

This deception, exploitation, and arrogance of exaggerated connectivity with God now irritate many people. Nigerians, notorious for religiosity are now speaking in many different tongues. Many have suggested Religion be either relegated to private life or eliminated, if possible. Preachers are now consistently coming under subtle verbal attacks; their faults are happily been overblown.  They may soon begin to fall Victim to physical hate-attacks. Most sadly, Religion is sharing in the blame for the backwardness of the Nation as a whole, and the mediocrity of many Nigerians. Many people now evaluate the economic Situation of Nigerian Christians against that of their General Overseers and pity them. ‘Blessed Pastors’ of ‘cursed Flock’. We must be careful.

Conclusion:   

While many mainstream Christian Churches regulate strictly ‘Who mounts the Pulpit (even though this does not exclude them from Challenges), Most Pentecostal Preachers are called in Visions, anointed in Dreams, wake up to preach in real life and are answerable only to themselves. Because of this Situation, i am comfortable if State Agents monitor the Messages that emanate from Preachers, and respond appropriately. Rev. King was prosecuted because his action led to death: if a Preacher says ‘kill him, cut his Head’. It is bad enough to be prosecuted. The excuse that ‘those who should speak are not speaking is, for me, not enough. Let Preachers learn the Humility of being the Human Beings that they are, not gods. Preachers must exalt the Name of the Lord Jesus, not theirs because the day, this exploited people get angry and rise up against the establishment, Church Leaders and Preachers will not be spared. The Catholic Church has been through it before.

If we, Preachers exalt the Name of Jesus, it will become his responsibility to manage his Church and our Land.

SHITYO, Isaac

 

[1]I have resisted the urge to fit General Overseers, Bishops, Prophets, Apostles, Evangelists, Deacons, Pastors, and their Spouses into those Classes thought out here, because I do not understand how this Titles are used everywhere.

[2] Apart from Video Clips of both Men circulating on Social Media, Abu Najakku, wrote ‘Bishop Oyedepo, Apostle Suleiman, this is way over the top’ in Daily Trust of 24 Jan. 2017.

[3] Rev. King has been sentenced to death by hanging, and is currently in Prison in Nigeria.

[4] We quarrel Politicians for living large on our Taxes, but judge the flamboyant life style of preachers as Blessings from God. Does God hate Politicians? Does he not bless them too? After all, both take from Commoners.

STAND NOT SHOW: TOR TIV V.

 

INTRODUCTION:

In November 2015, the paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, HRH. Alfred A. Torkula (IV) died. His death ended a 24 year reign that did not remain glorious all the way, but also threw the challenge immediately to the Tiv nation, to rise up as a national unit to an issue.

After one year, his Successor has been found. Now there are strong interests arising as to whether the Successor should swear his allegiance to the traditional ‘Swem’ or to the Christian Bible. Mr. Iorliam Shija has painstakingly dealt with this issue on his Facebook page. Here is what I think.

THREE SIDES TO THIS COIN:

The impression already created is that of a titanic struggle between Jesus Christ and Swem. Both poles have generated support. Here I propose a third perspective, and comment on the given two.

A). The Spine-side: I would like to submit immediately that the most important side to this coin is the spine-side. The Coin hardly ever falls on its spine, but when it does it is spectacular. The man who has accepted to be Tor Tiv knows the implication of his consent.  He should be free to decide, to what he would swear his allegiance. It will put weight on his conscience; he will live the rest of his life defending this choice, but that should be it. The rest of his life he will be taking hard decisions and standing by them.

B). The Swem-side: to those advocating the use of the Swem, I make this point; where we are at this time as a national People, is how far the Swem has brought us. It is obvious that there is no fear or awe of the Swem in the life of any average Tiv man. We have been harassed, intimidated, and killed as a national people on a significantly humiliating scale by people who actually gave reasons why they were doing it. This was done by foreigners, but Sons (within) have also risen to frightening heights of notoriety and have done harm, with no one to restrain them, some still do. I want to state, that I do not know the expected effect, impact, use or value of the Swem. Christian or Pagan, I, as an adult Tiv man, have not seen the Swem impact on our national life. Swem has not facilitated Peace in Tiv land; it has not boosted our fortunes; enhanced our national glory, honor or dignity. It has not even added any sense of honour to the Tor Tiv Stole which in the last years has shamefully come under dishonour and ‘desecration[1]’.

Those who argue that the Tor Tiv has to swear by the Swem must take the pains to enlighten the Tiv nation on the nature, character and role of the Swem in our national life. I do not agree that this use of Swem should be enforced, especially if the Tor opts for an inoffensive alternative. Continue reading “STAND NOT SHOW: TOR TIV V.”

WHEN EVIL RAISES ITS HEAD.

WHEN EVIL STANDS UP:

That there is evil in the world is not something debatable. But as soon as this theme comes up, the question also comes up with it; ‘What is evil?’ Augustine said ‘it is the absence of good’. For me that settles it. Any situation, act, person or thing that frustrates the joy of live and living, for me, is evil. So while death is natural, it is evil because of how it hits us, and so with sickness, hunger, hate, violence, privation, humiliation, helplessness, etc. These situations are evil; those who promote them are evil; the instruments with which they are executed are either evil in themselves or to the extent that they are used.

THE EFFECTS OF EVIL:

Evil multiplies itself and begets its kind. So when hate fills the heart, it begets violence and then harm and then death and then sorrow and so it sustains its vicious-cycle. Because of this, many people get suddenly disillusioned in life and take painful radical decisions. Some turn their backs on ‘the idea of God’ and walk alone.

HOLY PEOPLE ARE IMMUNED TO EVIL:

Is that true?

No, it’s not true. God is good and all His works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or evil (CCC 385). Sadly, everyone will look on evil and feel its bite in this world; even true worshippers of God. No one is immune.

In sacred Scripture, Friends of God, Anointed, Prophets, Saints, all cried out under the weight of evil. While some stopped short of abandoning their missions, some actually did. Think of what Prophet Jeremiah went through? Elijah the fiery Prophet become frustrated and prayed to die? Daniel, the friend of God was thrown into the den of Lions? Habakkuk the Prophet cried in frustration; Why Lord, he asked, do I have to look continually on evil?  Do you remember the end of Samson with Joy? The chosen race of Israel suffered much.

Do you remember how the Child Jesus was hunted from childhood and eventually killed at 33? Do you remember that almost all his Apostles fell at the hands of wicked people? Do you know that many early Christian believers were harassed, tortured and killed? Do you remember the end of Judas Iscariot with joy? They were all so close to the Lord of life, yet they saw and felt evil in different forms. Continue reading “WHEN EVIL RAISES ITS HEAD.”

SATAN RULES THE WORLD?

SATAN RULES THE WORLD?

INTRODUCTION:

Given the apparent prevalence of evil in the world, many people, even good Christian believers, have been frustrated to the sad conclusion; ‘Satan rules the world, this is his time’. But what does the verb, ‘rule’ mean?

Here I shall resist the temptation to veer off into grammatical details. I shall simply say a Ruler is that one who determines what happens in his particular territory. He is in charge. His Subjects answer to him. He says, and rightly expects it to be. A Ruler orders his kingdom.  Satan rules the world?

IT’S IN THE BIBLE:

We know that we come from God, but the whole world is in the hands of the evil one. (1 Jn. 5:19). This piece of write up appears in the Bible and I do not have issues with the credibility thereof.

I know of preachers who have dismissed this easily as one of the consequences of the malicious corruption of Sacred Scriptures over time. But I also know that this is taken so seriously among some other Christians that they would not participate in the social-political government of this world because this is the government of the evil one. Did John the disciple write that? Why did he do so? This is for experts to comment. I am writing on a very simple question of faith; who is in charge of this world? Why do you say so?  My position is just below.

Continue reading “SATAN RULES THE WORLD?”