PART TWO: Disunity Among Great Men

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” – 1 Corinthians 1: 10

Apostle Paul is one of the greatest First-century leaders of the Church that every genuine minister of the gospel in this 21st century needs to learn from. He was a unifier and bridge builder among brethren of the Church during his ministry. There was a time when there were divisions among members of the early Church. Some said they were for Apollos, while some said they were for Paul, some others said they were for Cephas and the rest said they were for Christ. When Paul a great man of wisdom heard about this, he quickly distances himself from it. He told the brethren that he was not the Christ that was crucified for them neither was the body of Christ divided.

 “For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” – 1 Corinthians 1: 11-17

Paul tried not to associate with those that were sowing seeds of disunity among the Churches neither was it ever recorded that he castigated other men of God. Paul was a man of vision whose focus was the spreading of the gospel around the nations of the earth. As great ministers of the gospel, our mission in the pulpit or Bible classes is to preach about Christ and the salvation he brought to mankind not preaching and naming other ministers of the gospel we think are false thereby, causing division in the household of God and thus, exposing the Church to publicly ridicule by unbelievers. It is time for all of us to change our ways.

Let us forget the pain of the past. The accusations, name calling and suspicion in the body of Christ benefit no one. Every minister of the gospel both home and abroad needs to come together and put the devil to shame. The kingdom of darkness does not want to see us together. I tell you the day our different Church head denominations would come together and pray with one voice in agreement, However huge the mountain maybe whether from the North, South, East and West or from the Sea, the Air, the Land and in any dark realm shall be made low.

Just imagine if great men of God like our daddy Enoch Adeboye, T.B. Joshua, Christ Oyakhilome, David Oyedepo, William Kumuyi, Lazarus Muoka, D.K. Olukoya and many other come together and pray to God in one voice. Boko Haram in Nigeria will be a thing of the past. The earth will become uncomfortable to the kingdom of darkness. All the principalities and dark powers holding the progress of the nation will be broken. The devil and his agent know all this that is why they don’t want to see us all together. Satan wants us to remain fragmented.

When Peter was arrested by King Herod the Bible said that the Church come together and prayed constantly to God for his freedom. The united prayers by the Church make God to personally send an Angel to free the Apostle in the prison cell. That’s the power of a united prayer; it provokes God to act quickly.

“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant[a] prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.” – Acts 12:5-10

Whether we like it or not we need each other strength to move the Church forward irrespective of how great we think we are in our calling. “We need to understand that everyone has an ability that no one else has and is indispensable in the world”. Each human being is a solution to a certain problem that needs to be solved, that’s why we should be very careful not to look down or speak ill of others.

Every pastor has a unique grace that the other pastor needs. There is a unique grace in Enoch Adeboye that T.B. Joshua needs to tap from likewise, there is something unique in T.B. Joshua that Enoch Adeboye needs to tap from. There is a unique grace in Christ Oyakhilome that David Oyedepo needs to tap from likewise, there is a unique grace in David Oyedepo’s ministry that Christ Oyakhilome needs to tap from. This same applies to Ayo Oritsejafor, William Kumuyi, and other great men of God. We all have something that the other need; one is so good with healings, the other in deliverances, the other in messages, in counseling, in managing people, the other in leadership, in giving, in the word of knowledge, in Prophecy and so on. Let’s do away with suspicion, strife, and competition; every one of us is important in our different fields.

And he gave some, apostles;  and some, prophets;  and some, evangelists;  and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:11-13kjv

I know every one of us is so great and we all know that greatness comes with some ego. Let’s do away with our ego and listen to the voice of God. Forgive the pain of the past and make the first move for reconciliation. Let us come with one heart and purpose to build the Church of Christ together with our different unique gifts.

I heard recently that there was a security report that uncovers a plot by another religious group back by some foreign powers to wipe-out Christianity out of Nigeria. They cited past and recent attacks on Christian related facilities in different part of the country including, the SCOAN guess house attack and the house on the Rock fire incident in their Abuja branch. However true the report maybe, the fact remains that if the different Church denominations stop speaking against each other, come together to speak with one voice and the pain of one is the pain of all. A million of such plans will not see the light of the day.

I am calling on past and present leadership of the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN) and other Christian groups. Let’s all come together and help set a course for the unity of the Church. It may not be of me to say, but I have that belief, that a day will come when Enoch Adeboye, Ayo Oritsejafor, Christ Oyakhilome, and other great men of God with T.B. Joshua in their midst. They all will be together planning out ways to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to not Just in the nation of Nigeria, but across the continent of the world. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

PART ONE: Disunity Among Great Men

“….upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Mathew 16:18b

Nigeria is one of those nations blessed by God with great Ministers of the gospel called with a unique impartation of God’s supernatural grace to preach the gospel to nations of the world with power. These great Men of God are so mightily used by God that their names being mention, send waves of confusion in the kingdom of darkness. So great they are, that their names are in symbolic to modern Pentecostalism, but then comes the bone of contention, some among them doubt the calling of their compatriot professing the same Faith of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ and this Satan has used to sow seeds of contentions amongst the heads of the different dominations of the Church.

Indeed Christ warned the church to beware of fake Prophets, Pastors and false teachers who are wolves within but in disguise, comes outwardly in sheep’s clothing. However, Christ Jesus gave the Church a clue on how to know these false teachers – “By their Fruits”.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.” – Mathew 7: 15-16

This means the outcome of their works which must be measured only by biblical standards ought to be used to determine their genuineness. The standards spelt out by the scripture did not say we should determine their callings by what we hear other people say about them or from what we heard and read in the news media, but according to the light of God’s word. As Christians, the Bible is our standard, not public opinion or how logical the issue is to our reason faculty because the human interpretation of truth is always limited when it comes to the things of the Spirit.

God works in mysterious ways, He does not need anyone permission to call whom He wants to call nor does he always need the role of another man of God to anoints whom He wants to anoints; God does as He wills. Therefore, we should always be careful with what we say and conclude about others because the future is a mystery. Irrespective of our great works of spreading the gospel, the crowd we control and the calibres of men/women that look up to us for mentorship, God is still far-far ahead of us in everything we have accomplished. There is no perfect one on earth, as humans, we can make wrong judgements; only God is infallible. That’s why as believers we should always try and go deeper to find the truth of everything, instead of just taking whatever our pastors or anyone tell us and the purest truth is always right there before us in the word of God, the Bible.

I once heard a popular man of God said in one of his Sunday sermons that the work of God is so complicated that a genuine man of God can sometimes not recognised another man of God. I was like, how is that possible, I discovered that even in the scripture, there were controversies among God’s brethren. Some persons in the early Church challenged Paul’s calling to be an Apostle. They went as far as attacking his credibility and spiritual qualification. They believe he was not called by God and not worthy of the respect he was getting. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian Church, he responded and counsels the believers not to be led astray by those causing strife in the Church. He wrote that even if what he was about to say sound unreasonable and foolish, he would say it anyway so that they would return to the true gospel.

“Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?” –  2 Corinthian 11: 22-29

In the passage of the scripture above, Paul listed out what he has gone through for the sake of the gospel. He gave those lists to proof his genuineness. He was trying to make them understand that if indeed he was not genuinely called by God, he could not have been able to go through all those challenges and does all those great works he had done to spread the gospel. He was able to stand firm in Faith even in the face of tribulation and hardship because God was involved in his ministry.

What can we believers learn from Paul’s letter? Before anyone must take a conclusive stand about another minister of the gospel or any person, he/she should take a time to go through that person’s antecedents, what they have gone through for the sake of the gospel and how resolute they are in the kingdom business even in the face of tribulation and attack.

For anyone out there to even think of start castigating Prophet T.B. Joshua and his ministry, why not take a look at his unwavering passion for the work of Christ even in the face of persecutions, intimidations and rejection. There is an online video of the Prophet- “Where Will T.B. Joshua Go Next؟؟؟.” There is a scene in that video of the Prophet being welcome to the nation of Botswana for a crusade. He said something to the cheerful crowd that caught my attention. He said, “I am here to do what I was born for, and I am living for, and I am going to die for.” It only takes a man of great passion and a strong vision for the work of Christ to make such declaration. Can one die for what he was not genuinely called for? It only takes a genuine purpose to live and die for something. And indeed, one can clearly see that the life and ministry of the Prophet is a testimony to that declaration. TO BE CONTINUE

IS CAN’S SYMPATHY GENUINE…? CAN’s Inequity Condolence between SCOAN and the Islamic Community

wpid-oritsejafor-sultan-300x200.jpgIn the month of September this year, two major sad incidences occurred to the world Islamic community which is the ‘crane crash and the stampede’ that both took place at Mecca and the Jamrat Complex (Stoning site) in Mina, respectively at Saudi Arabia; this led to the death and injuries of hundreds of pilgrims that went for this year Hajj in the Holy Land. Coincidentally, the same month last year, on September 12th a building collapsed at the premises of the Synagogue, Church of all nations (SCOAN) Lagos, Nigeria which led to the death of visiting SCOAN pilgrims who were mostly South African nationals.

During the period of the unfortunate incident that took place at the SCOAN, different nations, leaders, groups, and religious bodies from all around the globe sent condolence messages and others even had to visit the Prophet to sympathize with the SCOAN family on the tragic building collapse. But during this period, it is worthy to note that no single word of condolence was sent from the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) nor did any representative of the association pay a visit to sympathize with the head Pastor of the SCOAN, Prophet TB Joshua.

Yet it beats our imagination when it was gathered by the media that the leadership of the same CAN, headed by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, sent a condolence to sympathize with the Islamic community on the recent crane crash and stampede that occurred in Saudi Arabia. The truth is that, there is nothing wrong for the leadership of CAN to sympathize or send a condolence message to the Islamic community, because the Holy Bible as clearly instructed us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), irrespective of religion, race etc. However, the question is “why did the same CAN leadership choose not to extend their heart of sympathy to a fellow Christian ministry that professes Jesus Christ, but rather chose to sympathize with the Islamic nation, Saudi Arabia with a contrary doctrine/ faith?” Irrespective of the fact that SCOAN and CAN are situated in the same nation, Nigeria.

The truth of it is that, till date the CAN leadership has chosen to remain mute on the September 12th incident at SCOAN, neither condolence message nor representative of the body had been sent to the SCOAN and this makes one to wonder if the leadership of CAN is pleased or displeased about the SCOAN tragedy. It is said that actions speak louder than voice; their actions so far has brought about this question; what could an apex Christian body as CAN hold against its ‘Christian’ brother and other brethren who were in one way or the other affected by the last year, September 12th tragic incident?

Looking at the stands of the ministry of SCOAN, having alleged that the building collapsed as a result of terror attack, isn’t it wise for the CAN leadership to get involved in the matter since it’s a body that supposed to stand and protect the interest of the Christian community in Nigeria? And also, Since the SCOAN tragedy seems to reveal that the entire Christian community in Nigeria is under a great threat, isn’t it wise for the CAN to be interested in ensuring that what happened to the SCOAN shouldn’t repeat itself in any other ministry in Nigeria as a way of taking proactive measures?

Now, where is the love in the church of Christ? Is this the kind of love Christ preached when he was on earth? This is sheer hypocrisy! At this point, we would love those with independent minds and persons of good heart to judge this action of CAN. Let the good Christians, Muslims and those of other faith in the world judge this. Is this action from CAN godly or ungodly? May God unite His Church…Amen!

Was The Same Done To T.B. Joshua? ORITSEJAFOR, CAN SYMPATHISE WITH MUSLIM HAJJ VICTIMS

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Oritsejafor Sultan FROM LEFT: PRESIDENT; CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN), PASTOR AYO ORITSEJAFOR (L), WELCOMING Former VICE PRESIDENT NAMADI SAMBO TO A ROUNDTABLE MEETING WITH SPECIAL ADVISERS ON RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS FROM 36 STATES OF THE FEDERATION IN ABUJA ON (24/11/14). WITH THEM IS THE SULTAN OF SOKOTO, ALHAJI SA’AD ABUBAKAR 111.5889/24/11/2014/ISE/BJO/AIN/NAN

Glancing through online Nigerian news today, I came across a condolence message from the head of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, to the victims of the deadly stampede during the Hajj in Saudi Arabia that claimed well over 1,000 lives.

According to The Punch, CAN “commiserated with the Sultan of Sokoto and the leader of Nigerian Muslims, Sa’aid Abubakar lll, on the stampede tragedy during the ongoing Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, and expressed its sympathy to the deceased families and all Nigerian Muslims.

”What surprised me about this response was how it stood in such stark contrast to the attitude of CAN to the last major religious tragedy that happened on Nigerian shores – the collapse of a building within The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN). Just over 12 months ago, 115 Christians perished in the incident yet CAN remained silent, sending neither a message of condolence to the church’s founder T.B. Joshua nor the families of those affected. In contrast, I learned the Sultan of Sokoto sent his condolences to The SCOAN and T.B. Joshua when this occurred.

Why would CAN condole with their Muslim brethren but stay so loudly silent when tragedy struck one of their own? Is it because they have publicly distanced themselves from T.B. Joshua, proclaiming that he is not of God? Does that give them the right to disregard the countless thousands of Christians who flock to his church on a weekly basis from across the globe? What hypocrisy!

This little example gives further credence to the notion that CAN, especially under Ayo Oritsejafor, has become politicized. It exposes the reality that such messages of condolence seem to be given with a purely political agenda, not because of any genuine concern for those involved.

This sadly reminds me of the billion naira bribe allegedly collected by CAN pastors during last year’s elections in return for canvassing support for the then President Goodluck Jonathan. What of Oritsejafor’s private jet that was used for nefarious purposes in an attempt to smuggle arms from South Africa to Nigeria? When will CAN stop being known for political statements and associations and start being known for spreading Christ’s Gospel and uplifting the poor in society?

By Ikenna Obi – Nigerian living in USA