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By Bolaji Akinyemi
Christianity is a general term, a description of all who have found the love of God through faith in Christ and are in productive personal relationship with Him. Individual believers without regard to denominations are Christians, down to their doctrinal ideology.
They may be Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Pentecostal, Sabbatharians, Spiritual Churches, etc.
The Church, however, is not any denomination aforementioned or not mentioned.
The understanding of the concept of the church is key to our exploit in politics. “I will build my church and the gate of hell shall not prevail against her”, Christ the Builder of the church not founder of denominations, had said.
For synergy, I will want us to accept in principle that no single denomination was founded by Christ and no church is founded by any one. Christ alone is the founder of THE CHURCH: local, national or universal.
This knowledge will help our bonding towards exploits in politics at all levels, be it at Local Government Areas, States, National level or at a global pedestal. Alliance building in the interest of Christ’s Kingdom as the reality of the end of age dawn on us is sacrosanct.
Unfortunately, our ignorance of this was exposed with the ongoing controversy that underlined the 5G technology and the global pandemic.
As Israel was a nation within a nation in Egypt, so is the church the nation of God in the world. The biggest nation, the church, scattered among nations couldn’t find her bond in Christ and speak as ONE body.
No voice was heard from the ground of truth and her pillars gave no strength. Voices of denominations were heard across the divide, but not once did the Church speak and so made no impact.
The word “church” is basically an assembly, which is from “ekk” and “kaleo” in Hebrew. The word “ekk” means to call, and “kaleo” out. When put together it will form the word “eklesia”, meaning the called out one.
Naturally, a calling must herald every assembly: wedding guests are assembled by the invitation of the couple and their families; adherents of Islam wait for a calling to gather in the Mosque; back in school days, jingling of the bell assembled us for school authority briefings.
Assembly Against Assembly
“Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together”.
Nothing depicts the state of our nation’s political parties like this verse of Scripture. PDP is crying one thing and APC another, bringing the pubic to confusion without addressing critical issues of nation building so much so that some doesn’t even know that political parties exist simply to provide structure for good governance.
Everyone that has heard the call of Christ is part of an assembly called the church. The strength of this body can be enormous when harnessed and deployed.
The challenge however is who will call the called (of Christ) out of their Ministries and denominational camps for the purpose of Christ’s Kingdom.
This is the vision of Apostolic Round Table, ART, where I serve as the CONVENER, merely as Kingdom crier calling out all who names the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to come together to further the Kingdom interest particularly through setting political agenda.
I may not have been as loud as many would expect, yes, but it’s all about the Body not a person.
I am of the Pentecostal stuck and since charity begins at home, it is only natural that the vision be submitted to the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria under the National leadership of Rev Dr Felix Omobude, our indefatigable President.
My ward under the PFN structure is Abule-Egba Chapter where I am “chaplained” by Pastor Steve Olaiya.
We may be respected with our two thousand membership, but of no relevance to greater Kingdom purpose except we humble ourselves, take our place in the body and keep rank.
Networking and alliance building are very critical in any political venture. It’s time for every denominations and ministries to align with any Bloc in Christian Association of Nigeria, closest to their doctrinal persuasion.
We are reaching out to credible Christian organisations and the hands of fellowship received from Congress of Northern Nigeria Christians presided over by respected first professor of education in Northern Nigeria, Professor Adamu Baikie; Centre for Righteous Living, CRIL; Likeminds, and several others that space will not permit me to mention. We are very open to synergize with other Faith based societies and organisations.
Diplomacy finds strength for negotiation in numbers. Even globally, we have the advantage but how well have we used it? Can we raise a body that will parallel the drifting United Nation and occupy till Christ come? Yes we could! Yes we should!
Christian Association of Nigeria with five blocks, each strong enough to cause political stir nationally hasn’t found the required support and steam. This may not be unconnected with the biases of leadership. Openness and consultations is therefore advised.
The build up to 2023 must start now, but with no one in mind till the structure is strongly built and a level playing field given to all putting themselves forward for public stewardship at all levels.
We must keep in mind the contrast provided when the church concept came up; “The gate of hell will not prevail”.
Hence, it is proper to understand that the purpose of the church is to serve as a resistance to the gate of hell.
Gate in the context of Jewish history, the background from which Jesus spoke, is the place of authority, a place where the Elders of a particular territory or jurisdiction meet to take decisions bordering on their domain.
So, the church was built by Christ to occupy the earth, resist the gate of hell and establish the gate of Heaven: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. We can’t be napping while hell is active!
We equally must understand the need to keep flipping tactics. The principle upon which the Nigerian church has carried on with political engagement has been rigid. One for all is the nature of the Kingdom battle, and it is sweet in victory.
David for Israel and Goliath for Philistines! All for one must not be our option in politics. The error of one must be dealt with. We can’t afford to go down with one who is drowning. We must rescue and rebuke.
The church is not a secret cult. The attitude of many is for us to be quiet about the wrong doings of our brethren in other not to rubbish the name of Christ whom God has already given a name that is above all names.
Of concern shouldn’t be Christ image, but our image through which Christ is seen. It is therefore pertinent that we align ourselves in leadership with Christ as Apostle Paul counselled, “be ye imitators of me as I imitate Christ”.
In this age of grace, we don’t have to kill our Achans like Israel did, but we must chastise them before Israel and to the knowledge of our opponents in political engagement to communicate that righteousness alone exalts nations. We must teach the world discipline and at the same time forgiveness.
At present we are terribly at the receiving end with many of our brethren smeared and our faith almost snared in national politics.
Take for example one from among us who was accused of loading dollars in the concrete hole of a building and evidence provided, and we kept quite. He is not the worst of men, but he is presently not the best of us.
Such among us must be brought out so as to make ready a church without spot or wrinkle. All individual Christians having one case or another with the EFCC and ICPC we need to review and take a position.
We can’t go into 2023 with unresolved character issues and hope to tilt the balance. This is not the time for objectivity to be seen from personal prism.
I will be writing monthly on persons giving our dove a dog’s name to get it hung so that they may be avoided in our front line in the battle come 2023. I seek no name. All for Christ and His Kingdom!
I remain yours in search of a better and greater Nigeria, in the interest of the King and his Kingdom.
Dr. Bolaji Akinyemi writes from Lagos, Nigeria.