This article is long overdue and you may agree with some of the things I have to say and you may not. Truth is I just have to get this out of my head. I hope after you read this you get the point of the article.
Many people ask where the voice of the body of Christ is today. Where are the Christians in Nigeria? There are Christians in this nation and still, corruption and terror attacks seem to be increasing? Are the Christians not praying? Are they not raising their voices?
They are raising their voices. However, they are raising their voices over the wrong issues as they are raising their voices at themselves. The division in the Christian Church today not just in Nigeria is something else. We have the Catholics, the Protestants and the Pentecostals. Amongt the Catholics we have the regular Catholics and the Charismatic Catholics. Amongst the Protestants we have the Anglicans, the Methodist and the Baptists. Amongst the Pentecostals (deep sigh), do not even get me started on that one. Everyone carries the mentality that my pastor does it better than yours, therefore your Christianity is not as strong as mine is. I mean why is it so hard to accept that the next person who goes to another church is your Brother or Sister in Christ. Let me give an example.
I was brought up with a Pentecostal background. Back in my old Church, women were not supposed to put on earrings, wear trousers, use make up or any form of extensions or weaves as they were considered things of the world. One Sunday, I was at the Teenage Church and someone asked if it was OK to listen to Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary (That was the time they released their first collaboaration effort, Thank You). The youth leader who spoke said that Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary were heavily influenced by the world. She added that they looked and acted like unbelievers and therefore we shoudnt listen to their music. In my mind, I was like “You have to be kidding me”.
That is just an example of how divided the church is. Everyone gets a revelation from studying scripture and they run with that. They set up rules that people have to follow and if the other Christian sees things a little differently, they consider that person doomed. Some argue that Modern-day Christianity is based on the teachings of Paul rather than that of Jesus Christ. Some even feel Paul was the false prophet that Jesus warned the disciples about. Therefore, these Christians begin to condemn other Christians who teach based on the teachings of Paul. I listen to some Christians talk bad about another Christian and in my mind I am thinking if we serve the same Jesus. The body of Christ is divided with every part thinking they can function on their own.
Bearing all things in mind, I ask myself the question, who is a Christian?
Well, a Christian is someone who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ. In addition, we can say a Christian is someone who believes that Jesus is his or her only chance for salvation. Whether I believe in meat or not does not make me less of a Christian than the pope. A Christian is also someone who lives like Christ and that’s where the word came from (Acts 11:26)
It is good to be wise though because Jesus has told us that there will be false prophets who would come in his name but that is not a license to tear others down. There are thousands of blogs on the internet and the aim of these blogs is to tear down Christians. Did I add that fellow Christians run these blogs? I mean you meet someone and you tell the person you are a Christian that is not enough; the person would want to know the Church you attend, the doctrines you keep, the music you listen to and where you hang out. Is my love and belief in Jesus not enough? Is that not enough reason to love me as your own?
In 2006, I joined a Youth Ministry and I love my ministry. The reason is because we are a diverse bunch of crazy people with a love for Jesus Christ, We are located across Nigeria and we have Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals as members and when we come together to worship and to pray, we do it with one voice. When I walk into a meeting, I don’t care if the next guy beside me goes to a Church were his Pastor has a private jet or I don’t care if in my girl leading worship goes to a Church where they believe ladies should not wear pants. All I can think of is how much we all love Jesus and the amazing things we can do for Him on earth.
We are diverse. We are unique. We are different but we all love Jesus Christ. Let us spend time encouraging one another in the faith instead of pulling ourselves down. Let our pastors love themselves and not hate each other. Let them not badmouth other preachers at the pulpit and let them not see the next church as competition. It is only when we are united as one that we can do exploits. That is when we can take a stand against the injustice and corruption in our land. We have been lifeless for too long. We need to wake up.
Avalon says it best in this song called “We Will Stand”.
Here are the lyrics:
Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand
Why we pull away from each other so easily
Even though we’re all walking the same road
Yet we build dividing walls between
Our brothers and ourselves
But I don’t care what label you may wear
If you believe in Jesus, you belong with me
The bond we share is all I care to see
And we can change this world forever
If you will join with me
Join and sing, sing
You’re my brother, you’re my sister
So take me by the hand
Together we will work until He comes
There’s no foe that can defeat us
When we’re walking side by side
As long as there is love
We will stand
The day will come when we will be as one
And with a mighty voice together
We will proclaim that Jesus
Jesus is King
And it will echo through the earth
It will shake the nations
And the world will see
The time is here, the time is now
To take a stand, to make a vow
I won’t let go, you’re not alone
Now and forever, we’ll sing together
I cannot wait to hear your opinions.
By Harry Itie
Image from calvaryinglewood.org