Nigeria: Christianity Under Extinction In Nigeria-lausanne Congress, CAN, PFN
Written by Obinna Akukwe
Bishops, Pastors and Church leaders attending the Lousanne Congress 2013 holding at Wisdom Cathedral, Abuja has unanimously agreed that Christianity in Nigeria is under heavy attacks and assaults by ethnocentrism, militancy, homosexualism, materialism and worldliness. They warned that if the church failed to address these issues, they will lose their saltiness and the nation may go extinct. The conference attendees came short of calling the Nigerian church a disappointment in response to their how far they have carried on the mission of evangelization.
In his keynote address, the chairman of Nigeria-Lausanne Congress, Rev Prof Yusufu Turaki, averred that “the church has become a mission field for ravenous and ravaging pagan, secular and militant gospels…These gospels include the new age religions, cults and occultism. The second is the gospel of secularism, post modernism, humanism, autonomy and Godless democratic forces…the third being the gospel of militancy and revolutionary forces, Islam and homosexuality” He asked the church to determine whether it is triumphant or at the verge of defeat.
Prof Yusufu identified two types of missions “One driven by God and another driven by Satan” and he also identified two types of Gospels “ the gospel of salvation in Christ: the whole church taking the gospel to the whole world and the gospel of death in Satan, the whole pagan , secular and militant forces taking the gospel of the death to the whole world” Identifying the two types of mission fields, Prof Yusufu said that ” the unreached peoples groups: the pagan world; reached by the Christian gospel of Christ and the Christian groups; the Christian world reached by the pagan, secular and militant gospel of death in Satan”
Rev Prof Yusufu described the church as the centre piece of God’s foreign policy exemplified by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and asked Christian leaders to emulate the missionary pioneers who took after Abraham, the prophets and the apostles and brought the gospel to Africa. According to him, the missionary pioneers had the burden that one day Africans will embrace the gospel and that the growth of Christianity in Africa is the fruits of their labor.
Berating the lowered moral standards and attitude exhibited by the Nigerian Church, he asked whether “the church should embark upon expansion or preservation and what should be the strategies for expansion or preservation” explaining that it is obvious that the world is already converting the church and quenching the flow of the spirit.
Prof Yusufu condemned the prevalent rate of corruption in Nigeria and identified thirty six types of corruption in Nigeria which include” the demand and receipts of gifts as bribes before action is taken on normal duties; grafts; encouragements of Ghost Workers; tribalism; nepotism; favoritism; falsification of figures; willful delay of workers’ salaries to make extra amount in the bank” He also identified the four instruments of pagan, secularist and militant gospels which he called idols as ” revolution, nationalism, material prosperity and guaranteed security” and stated further that the four global civilizing forces include the quest for global advance in science and technology, global capitalist and market economy, global democratic system and global communications” ‘
He finally tasked the conferences to decide whether to change the message of the gospel, or change the method of dissemination or stick to the old pattern, a question the conferences are attempting to resolve. Prof Yusufu described Nigeria as being governed by ethnocentrism and primordial tribalism, regionalism, sectionalism and religious bigotry and asked Christians to rise above such sentiments if the nation will be evangelized.
Rev Gideon Para-Mallam , Chairman LOC of Lausanne Nigeria Congress 2013 while welcoming the participants explained that the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism (LCWE) first held in 1974 was hosted by Rev Billy Graham with other church leaders around the world under the theme’ let the earth hear his voice’ In 1989 Lausanne held in Manilla while the last Lausanne conference was in Cape Town South Africa in 2010. He stated that other African countries have held their Lausanne Congress and that Nigeria must lead in global evangelization. He asked the church to inculcate the three components of the gospel, actions, words and power and be real witnesses for Christ in honesty, not in hypocrisy.
In his address the National President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev Dr Felix Omobude wondered how a bribe taking Christian can transform the nation. He asked whether Christians are raising the types of leaders that can transform he nation. The National President of Christian Association of Nigeria( CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor condoled with the family of Solomon Lar, especially the widow, Prof Mrs Lar, who was to take a session during the conference, before the husband died. Oritsejafor represented by the President of Church of Christ in Nations, Rev. Dr. Soja Joseph Bewarang said that only a transformed church can transform the nation.
The prelate of Presbyterian Church, Rev Prof Mba Uka gave the closing remarks and thanked God for successful first day deliberations while the Director, National Issues of CAN and former Chaplain of State House Chapel, Rev Dr Williams Okoye, gave the opening speech, encouraging the participants to seek answers to the problems of Nigeria. The participants broke into issue groups to attempt to carve a way out towards the restoration of the church wallowing in worldliness in order to preserve the essence of the gospel.
Some participants and resource persons include Rev Prof Mba Uka , Rev Williams Okoye, Rt Rev Nemuel Baba, Rt Rev Dr CyrIL Okorocha, Rev Obinna Akukwe, Prof Mary Lar, General Martins Luther Agwai( rtd), Prof Jerry Gana, Prof Danny McCain, Rev Dr Felix Omobude, Rev Dr Soja Bewarang, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor,Rev Gideon-Para Mallam , Rt Rev Dr Nicholas Okoh among others.