Saturday, 28 February 2015

Word: God does not Rule Through The Ballot Box !!!


This article was originally scheduled for publication AFTER the forthcoming election in Nigeria. I did not want to be accused of influencing voters in a particular way. But upon further reflection, it became clear to me that I was actually trying to dodge the persecution that trails the path of anybody that dares to speak the truth. And at our present crossroads, the Church in Nigeria needs to hear the truth, however unpalatable. For the Church is in the danger of being used as a political tool by Christian leaders with ulterior motives. For reasons of objectivity and transparency, it is necessary for me to make the following disclosure.

(DISCLOSURE: I am a passive observer of the political process in Nigeria. I have absolutely no interest in ANY political party whatsoever. And I will NOT vote at the election because I live outside Nigeria at the moment.)
As a Christian, I believe that it is both sacrilegious and highly immoral for ANY MAN to use the name of the Lord, or God’s platform, to influence people to vote in a particular way that God Himself has not expressly commanded or revealed. All those involved in such things will give account for abuse of office when they stand in judgment.
Sadly, the leadership of the Church in Nigeria has shown open partisanship in the current election. And this partisanship is based on a tissue of lies and distortion of the Bible. On the basis of this falsehood, a large section of our Christian community is being led to vote for incumbent President Jonathan – simply because he is a Christian, and the other candidate, a Muslim. In the name of the Lord, voters are being urged NOT to give due consideration to merit or performance, but to vote PURELY on the basis of religion!
The foundation of this plot was laid about ten months ago by one Pastor Bosun Emmanuel (PBE) in a widely circulated audio message alerting the Church about a credible plan to Islamise Nigeria by registering the nation in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In the passionate message, he also raised a lot of crucial issues pertaining to the current state of the Church in the nation – how we have stopped raising disciples for Christ, how we have become focussed on the so-called ‘prosperity Gospel’, how we are neglecting the poor in our midst (particularly our persecuted brethren in the northern part of the country), how the nation is decaying because the Church is neglecting her responsibility, etc. The message was a stirring call to repentance, and it spread widely among the Christian community. Personally, I reproduced and distributed over 100 copies of the audio CDs both in Nigeria and outside the country.
 Beyond this noble aspect of the message, PBE also planted some insidious seeds of politics. He told us that President Jonathan was planted by God in Aso Rock for a divine purpose. He told us that APC is a party that has an Islamic agenda, and urged us to vote in Christians as our political leaders. He pointed to Turkey and similar nations that had become Islamised because the Christians in those nations were not watchful as Islam spread its tentacles across Europe and Africa. He concluded by warning us that Christianity will be wiped off in Nigeria if the Church did not urgently rise up to begin to check the rise of the Islamists and their agenda in our political development as a nation. It was a sobering message. And a lot of us believed him.

But with the benefit of hindsight, it is now clear that beyond the matters of faith he raised, PBE’s message was ALSO designed to turn the Church of Christ in Nigeria into a political association that can be centrally controlled. Controlled by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and its leader, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, whose virtue as an exemplary Christian leader he extolled very highly.
Building on the foundation of that crafty message, the Church is now being told that any Christian that votes for APC is ‘using his thumb to dig the grave of the Church in Nigeria’!!! And, like puppets, untold numbers of Christians have bought into this huge deception without thinking it through! They have been taught to shut their minds to the failings and corruption of the present administration, and vote them in again in a bid to preserve the Church in Nigeria! What a lie! What a grand scheme of deception!
NOBODY CAN DIG THE GRAVE OF THE CHURCH BY VOTING FOR A MUSLIM. The Church of God is first and foremost a spiritual entity, and thus it is indestructible by human agents. God DOES NOT need a Christian to be in political authority before His will can be advanced in any society. God does not rule through the ballot box! In His sovereignty, He can use ANYBODY (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, etc) to accomplish His will at any time, and at any place. God is indeed sovereign in the affairs of mankind.

Unwittingly, PBE also confirmed this in his message. He asked his audience, “Who is the best Head of State that Nigeria has ever had?” Many people mentioned Christian ex-Heads of State, but PBE disagreed. He said the best leader we have ever had is General Sani Abacha – a Muslim. He went on to tell us how God used Abacha to break a national curse over the leadership seat of the nation, and said that was the MOST significant event in the political destiny of Nigeria.
If that is true, let us ask ourselves some questions: Who engineered that event? Obviously, GOD. Who did He use as a tool of fulfilment? Abacha – a Muslim! Does this same God still not reign? Has He stopped using ANYBODY as He wills? PBE even pointed to his audience that General Gowon, a Christian, did great harm to the cause of Christ in Nigeria because He converted the Christian schools in Nigeria to secular, state schools.
So, brothers and sisters, furthering the cause of Christ in any society is not about the person in power – IT IS ALL ABOUT THE PERSON ON THE THRONE IN ETERNITY! And all He seeks are men and women that will obey Him on earth. God does not seek/need our political power or authority to achieve His purpose!
The reason that Christianity fell in Turkey (and similar places) was not because Islamic fundamentalists rose up in influence or power – it was because Christ DID NOT HAVE FAITHFUL DISCIPLES ON THE GROUND. Where faithful disciples exist, Islam CAN NEVER quench the eternal flame of the Gospel. Never, never ever!
The Gospel can ONLY be extinguished in any society by the One that lit the flame – Jesus Christ Himself. And please note this: Jesus can put off the flame of the Gospel in ANY society when His followers refuse to turn to Him with all their hearts. We see this most clearly in Revelation 2:5, “… repent …if not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” Those were the exact words of Jesus to the Church of Ephesus – I WILL REMOVE YOUR LAMPSTAND! It is only AFTER Christ has extinguished the flame of the Gospel in any environment that Islamists (or any agent that satan wants to use) can move in and completely take over. In such situations, ignorant people will think it is the political power (or brute force) of Islam (or whichever enemy) that gives them victory over the Church. This is blindness! It is actually God, though Christ Jesus, that is in FULL CONTROL.
Evidence of this abounds in the Scriptures. Jesus gave an evaluation of the seven Churches of Asia in the letters we read in Revelation 2 & 3. Of these seven, only two were without blemish. And one of these two, the Church in Pergamos, was actually located where ‘satan’s throne’ was! (Revelation 2:13). The Church of Christ flourished and triumphed right in satan’s headquarters! So, it is not about the location. And it is not about the spiritual/political authority in the land. It is about this: “Does Christ have true and faithful disciples on ground?”
The testimony of the early Church also confirms this truth. They operated under some of the most repressive, tyrannical and pagan rulers – yet they triumphed brilliantly. They took the Gospel all over the then known world (Acts 17:6). Persecution did not kill them, it re-fired them. Affliction did not douse their passion for Christ, it re-fuelled it. The power was within them – not in the political dispensation around them. And the Apostles did not train their converts to capture political power to ‘help’ the cause of Christ in their land. They were trained to focus on Jesus. And through them, Jesus shone in the darkness around them.
For Jesus Himself made it clear that His Kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). The coming of His Kingdom will NEVER be predicated on tricking people to vote for corrupt leaders – in His name! That is the deception of Christian leaders that are feasting sumptuously at the tables of corrupt politicians. That is why many are not surprised at the allegation that some pastors have been given a bribe of N6 billion/N7 billion to influence Christians to vote for the incumbent administration. The truth of this allegation may or may never see the light of day.
Friends, DO NOT BE DECEIVED. The man that is digging the grave of the Church in Nigeria is NOT the man that is, in all good conscience, exercising his civic right to vote for a candidate of his choice. Rather, the man that is digging the grave of the Church is the one that is not yielding Himself to love and serve Christ with all His might - spirit, soul, and body. The grave-digger is the man that is not making disciples of those around him. The man that is silent in the face of the corruption that seems to be swallowing the Church. Men like these are a million times more dangerous to the Christian faith than the brutal forces of Islamic fundamentalism.
I do not for a moment underrate the horrible danger posed by Islamic fundamentalism, but I reiterate that there is a more potent factor involved - we are walking in, and working for The Greater One that has absolute authority in the spiritual realm. Christians do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Our wrestling (and guaranteed victory) is over ALL POWERS in the heavenly realm – principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). When we stand on our assured victory in Christ in that realm, the events on earth will unfold ONLY according to God’s will. This is how Christians reign on earth.
But where are the overcomers that want to genuinely yield themselves totally to the Lord to be used by Him? This is the true dilemma of the Church in Nigeria. We have lost focus of the Owner of TRUE POWER, that is why we are chasing the shadow of political power.
Do not allow yourself to be used as a political tool by ANYBODY. Vote according to your conscience and conviction. Your primary allegiance is NOT to ANY MAN, or to ANY MAN OF GOD – it is to the Spirit of the Living God. Listen to Him. And vote ONLY according to your conscience. This is your liberty in Christ Jesus. Please use it wisely.

Thanks for reading, God bless.

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