MY GENERATION FAILED YOU
This article is directed to Bible-Believing-Practicing-Christians, especially the younger ones, in Nigeria (my country of birth). However, believers in other lands can learn from it and do a course correction.
We whine a lot: Why is God not answering our prayers? Why are we suffering so much? When shall we be freed from the clutches of the Islamists? When shall we have that revival? On and on we complain.
But we have failed to answer this fundamental question: How come our churches are packed to the brim on Sundays and yet there is so much evil in the country? In fact, evil seems to have increased as more and more church buildings sprang up on every street in the southern part of the country.
We revere our church leaders. In fact, we hold most of them in higher esteem than God. We dare not call our pastors and general overseers brothers. They must be addressed as Daddy GO or Daddy Pastor or Mummy for the women. Though most congregants know that their tithes and offerings would mostly be used to fund their church leader’s lavish lifestyles, they still give. We lap up their messages on prosperity because we want God to double the money in our bank accounts and or give us such jobs where we will corruptly enrich ourselves. Rather than read the Bible and see whether these teachings are true like the believers in Berea did, we accept the falsehoods dished out from the pulpits because they appeal to our fleshly desires. We love what we are hearing. False teachings do not require us to make lifestyle changes and or prick our consciences. Hypocritically, in the next breath, we ask WHY
DOES REVIVAL TARRY?
The Ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a long time—twenty years in all. During that time all Israel mourned because it seemed the lord had abandoned them. Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel,
“If you want to return to the LORD with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the LORD and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines” (1Sam 7:2-3, NLT).
It is incontrovertible: The state of churches in Nigeria is worse than what had obtained in the time of Samuel. Just as the Ark (representing God’s presence) was absent in Israel, so is the Holy Spirit absent in most churches. Israel had foreign gods and images of Ashtoreth while churches in Nigeria have GOs and pastors as gods. On Sundays, images of Mammon (prosperity messages) are lifted up in most pulpits while the congregations shout “Alleluia” and church members pat each other on the back and prophesy, “it is well.”
Churches in Nigeria should hear what the Spirit is saying to them today:
“If you want to return to God, REPENT of your idolatry. Stop worshipping mere men and women and worship only Me. Stop listening to sermons that elevate wealth over and above the CROSS. Do not live lavishly and do not fund the lavish lifestyles of others. Turn your hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of your faith, and Him alone obey. Only then will your prayers be answered.”
Can we do what the Israelites did when they were convicted?
So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the LORD. Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the LORD. They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the LORD … (1Sam 7:4-6, NLT).
- The Israelites REPENTED of their evil ways. Are we ready to REPENT?
- They stopped worshipping Baal and Ashtoreth. Are we ready to stop worshipping our church leaders?
- Are we ready to stop all forms of entertainment in our churches whether from the choir or the pulpit?
- Are we ready to insist that all pulpit messages be Christ-centered and that no other message emanate from our pulpits?
TESTIMONY OF GOD’S GOODNESS AND MERCY ON NIGERIA IN THE LAST 25 YEARS
I bear witness to God’s divine favor, goodness and mercy on Nigeria in the last 25 years.
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF JUNE 12, 1993
At an all night prayer meeting held in a house in Gbagada, Lagos, on June 11, 1993, the Spirit led us to cry out, “Neither Abiola Nor Tofa.” Unknown to those of us in Gbagada, a similar cry was taking place at the Foursquare Gospel Church, Yaba, Lagos. Christians under the aegis of the National Prayer Movement were having an all night prayer meeting in that church on that same date. Only the LORD knows in how many other places that night that God’s people cried out to Him. Mr. Abiola was the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) while Mr. Tofa was that of the National Republican Convention (NRC). Though both candidates were Moslems, the former came from the South while the later came from the North.
The presidential election was held the next day, June 12, 1993.
On June 13, 1993, during the Sunday worship service of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Yaba, a brother, Chris Itamunala, leading the congregational prayer concluded it with, “Neither Abiola Nor Tofa.” Shouts of “Amen” resounded throughout the auditorium.
A couple of days later, the Nigerian military government annulled the election just as the results were trickling in showing that Mr. Abiola was leading in the vote count.
Many Christians (including some of those who had prayed “Neither Abiola nor Tofa”) began to oppose the annulment saying that maybe it was God’s will for Mr. Abiola to be president. Some even joined in the ensuing street protests. I remember asking a brother if the same Christians would have protested had Mr. Tofa been leading in the vote count before the annulment. Of course he had no answer.
God, in answer to our prayer of “Neither Abiola Nor Tofa,” had annulled the election (it was not the military; the military was just the instrument) and appointed (again the military was just the instrument) Mr. Ernest Shonekan as the Head of an Interim National Government. Though Mr. Shonekan, a civilian, was from the South and would have organized elections in due time that would have restored true democracy to the country, he was stoutly opposed by many including Christians. That road not taken has cost Nigeria very dearly.
As howls of protests continued, many Nigerians (Christians included) called on Mr. Abacha (a military general) to remove Mr. Shonekan and give the mandate to Mr. Abiola. Mr. Abacha heard them loud and clear. He removed Mr. Shonekan and installed himself as president.
In all these events, God saw our hypocrisy. Christians had asked God for a favor. God had granted it and then we had turned around to oppose that which we had requested. What outcome did we expect when we had prayed, “Neither Abiola Nor Tofa”?
For a season, we all groaned under the jackboot of Mr. Abacha. Many were the night vigils and prayers as it dawned on both believers and non-believers that Mr. Abacha was going to transmute from military dictator to a civilian one. Any Nigerian who told you that he or she was not afraid during that period is a liar. And Mr. Abacha would have succeeded but for divine intervention. Had he not died, he would have been ruling Nigeria till date. And take it from me, you and I would not have done anything about it. Were we not the ones that rejected God when we turned our backs to His solution?
We cried out again. In His mercy, God relented. Both Mr. Abacha and Mr. Abiola were dead within a month of each other in 1997. Irrespective of how they died, no human being could have succeeded in eliminating them had God ruled otherwise.
CORRUPTION AND APOSTASY IN NIGERIAN CHURCHES
Rather than seek God’s face, we employed the arm of the flesh again. Many Christian leaders joined the military (serving and retired generals) in foisting Mr. Obasanjo (a former military dictator imprisoned by Mr. Abacha for treason) on Nigeria as president in 1999. The argument of some was that Mr. Obasanjo had become “born again” while in prison.
Soon after his inauguration, Christian leaders began to troop to Abuja, the Federal Capital of Nigeria ostensibly to hold prayer sessions in the presidential villa. Tales of corruption at the highest levels of government and the destruction of the legislature through imposition of Mr. Obasanjo’s candidates did not deter those Christian leaders from visiting and praying for the president. None called him out. They closed their eyes and ears to the evil emanating from the seat of power. For their prayers and silence, many of them gained favors and riches.
Those church leaders had so soon forgotten what God had done for Nigeria. Many believers rather than speak out compromised. They joined the big time pastors and general overseers in currying favors from the presidency and the state governors. During the banking crises, many of the bank chiefs implicated in fraud were said to be “born again,” some were even pastors. There was no outcry from believers. Many justified their silence by quoting the Scripture that says “judge not so that you will not be judged.” How can we call out those who were leading millions of believers astray with unbiblical doctrines and lavish lifestyles when our hearts were yearning for a place at the corruption table?
It is difficult to spot the difference between believers and non-believers in Nigeria today. Both groups have played active roles in the unprecedented looting of the country’s resources in the past 18 years.
Corrupt politicians (presidents, governors, ministers, commissioners, local govt chairmen, councillors, etc), corrupt public servants and even armed robbers come to church on Sundays to drop millions of naira as tithes and offerings! Some even pledge to erect new sanctuaries of worship. Shouts of “Alleluia” and “Praise the Lord” reverberate on such occasions as pastors and their congregations lift up their voices to pray for God to continue to “enlarge the coasts” of these generous givers.
The new normal in churches is to celebrate “quality souls” i.e., those rich and influential church attendees who can singlehandedly fund church programs, buy cars and even jets for general overseers and pastors. This state of anomie in most of our churches continues unabated. The richer you are, the more you are regarded as a Christian to emulate. Some of the richest pastors in the world are Nigerians. In 25 years, many church attendees have become poorer while their pastors and general overseers have seen quantum multiplication of their wealth. The emphasis in most churches is on tithes and offerings. Because the desire of most believers is to become rich, even those who had been faithful to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ prior to 1999 have fallen for Mammon’s message of get-rich-quick through “naming and claiming.”
My generation has led the younger ones (those between the age of 18 and 40 years) astray. It failed to bring them up in the love and fear of God. Many believers of my generation did not practice what they preached. Children are smart: they copy what their elders are doing and not what they tell them to do. Many believers in the age group between 18 and 40 years have turned out to be great imitators of their parents and church leaders; we have a young generation of selfish Christians who sincerely believe that the gospel of Christ is to be used to ask God for wealth. Hence, many now believe that all they have to do is type “amen” to a post claiming divine blessings by well known pastors, repost it, and they will receive instant blessings from God. But can we blame them? We fed them with faith-killing messages of greed and self-centredness. Most of them have never experienced God’s saving power because we did not feed them with Christ-centred messages (Repentance, the cross, holiness, sanctification, suffering in Christ, Christ’ second coming, etc).
TRAGEDY OF 2015
Mr. Buhari’s attempt to win the presidency in 2011 failed even though he had selected a vocal Pentecostal pastor as his running mate. Having surmised rightly that the Pentecostal pastor did not have a large following, he deftly picked a senior pastor of the largest Pentecostal church in Nigeria as his running mate in the 2015 presidential contest. Though a known Islamist, Mr. Buhari was welcomed in many supposedly Pentecostal churches. He was even in attendance in the 2015 thanksgiving service hosted by the Lagos State where the general overseer of the largest Pentecostal church in Nigeria presided.
Excerpts from this article (with pictures) from stargist.com (http://stargist.com/photos/photos-pastor-adeboye-buhari-osinbajo-amaechi-lagos-state-2015-thanksgiving-service/) says it all:
Pastor Adeboye of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, APC presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and his VP candidate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Rivers Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, joined Governor Fashola and his wife, Dame Abimbola Fashola yesterday at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja for the Lagos State Government 2015 Annual Thanksgiving Service.
Buhari in the service that was presided over by the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye said: “I am honoured to participate in this annual thanksgiving service. This year thanksgiving service brings together all Nigerians from states, Christians, Muslims and all religions in Lagos to thank the almighty God.”
Unsurprisingly, the above did not go unnoticed by other pastors and church leaders. Many of them began to rally and canvass for Mr. Buhari.
See this excerpt from Vanguard newspaper of March 08, 2015: 25,000 pastors and evangelists in the South-West are to hold a special prayer session for the APC candidate, Mr. Buhari, and his running mate Mr. Osinbajo on Tuesday at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. Bishop Kayode Williams said that ministers of God were coming together to “seek divine support for Mr Buhari and Mr Osinbajo.” Bishop Williams went on to explain that the event was organised to “disabuse the minds of Nigerians about the wrong impression being created about Buhari.” Together with his co-conveners, Rev Moses Iloh, Archbishop Magnus Atilade and Deacon Ayo Opadokun, they wanted to let people know that “Buhari is not a religious bigot.” Rather he is “an upright man and not anti-Christ as some people want to portray him.” This was their group consensus having followed Mr. Buhari’s career during his tenure in public office. Bishop Williams described the prayer session as a unique event and begged Nigerians not to “use religion to confuse people or to divide Nigerians.”
Mr. Buhari was elected president and sworn in on May 29, 2015. Christians had voted for him in large numbers.
DARKNESS IN THE LAND
Soon after, the country’s economy went into a tailspin. With many manufacturing and commercial enterprises closing their doors, unemployment soared. Foreign investors pulled out and the country’s currency devalued overnight by nearly 300%. From being Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria went into recession.
Christians are being killed all over the country, especially in the North. Fulani herdsmen armed with AK assault rifles are on rampage in Central and Southern parts of the country. Few dare resist them when they and their cattle invade farmlands. Many of those who dared have not lived to tell the tale. Kidnappings have become a growing industry and people travel on the highways at great risk.
General overseers and the flamboyant and more well known pastors with large followings are quiet. One has not heard from these notable Christian leaders, especially the 25,000 pastors, who barnstormed for Mr. Buhari using their church pulpits and sometimes encouraging their congregations to fast and pray for him. Everywhere is quiet.
How can they?
When people romance power, it is impossible for them to turn around to condemn it.
CHARGE TO THE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN OF NIGERIA
I am calling on the young generation of Bible-believing-practicing Christians to take charge now. Most of the church elders have sold out. Most of your parents have sold out. But, you don’t have to sell out. Though my generation failed itself and yours, you don’t have to fail your own and the one coming after you if the Lord’s coming tarries.
Please do not join those clamoring for violence and or preaching ethnic cleansing in the country. You cannot participate in such wicked venture and be guiltless. You are a follower of Christ first and foremost. Your ethnicity is secondary. Putting your ethnic identity first disqualifies you for the Kingdom. If truly you are a follower of Christ, your own father’s house and tribe will disown you when the chips are down:
“Your enemies will be right in your own household!” (Matt 10:36 NLT)
Do not allow anyone, no matter how highly placed to deceive you. It is only when you radically commit to the Lord Jesus Christ that you will understand. You will taste the goodness of God. He will be your God and the Holy Spirit will lead you even when you pass through the valley of the shadow of death.
God is ready to do a new thing in the country if those who are called by His Name shall repent, humble themselves, and seek His face.
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2Chron 7:14 NKJV).
You cannot be tied to compromised leaders (general overseers, archbishops, bishops, pastors, etc) and their churches and expect God to hear your prayers. The glory of the Lord has departed from most of the buildings and places we call churches.
Now hear God’s word to you who has been convicted:
“Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you” (2Cor 6:17, NKJV).
You have been convicted. But you are unwilling to make the sacrifice of leaving your very comfortable position in a compromised church. You are afraid. Whom will you rather obey? God or your pastor/GO?
LET US PRAY
- Repent of your own sin of compromise and unbelief.
- Confess the sins of your parents for not leading by example.
- Confess the sins of Christians, especially those of the leaders, since 1999 who forgot God and teamed up with His enemies.
- Pledge to do God’s will even if that means leaving your present church (do not pledge if you do not mean it).
- Plead the Blood of Jesus over yourself and your family.
NOW YOU ARE READY FOR WAR
We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments (2Cor 10:4 NLT).
Pray as you are led on the following:
- God to uproot those churches that have departed from the faith (i.e., churches preaching anything but Christ crucified and resurrected) in Nigeria.
- God to expose false pastors, prophets and leaders so that those held bondage in their congregations may be freed.
- God to nullify every counsel of human beings to those in power in Nigeria.
- God’s fear to envelope every seat of power in the country.
- God to manifest His power whenever and wherever Christians are targeted.
- God to open the eyes of backslidden brothers and sisters.
- God’s empowerment of those that will lead His churches in Nigeria from now till the end of the age.
Believe that God has heard your prayers.
I pray that God hears you and that He preserves you now and always in Jesus name. Amen.