You Are The Light of The World

Has Corruption Finally Swallowed the Church in Nigeria? 

By Church watch in Nigeria

During His most popular sermon, Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ described His followers as the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16).

In the darkness and obscurity of the world, followers of Jesus Christ are meant to SHINE the light of God so that this light may bring conviction on the world (John 3:19-21). And, hopefully, some may thereby come to repentance. This was God’s plan in sending Jesus Christ.

To live according to this divine plan, of being THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, the followers of Jesus Christ must take the following values seriously – TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, and PROBITY. Even in decent, secular societies that DESPISE God, these values are regarded as sacrosanct in public life. Therefore, Christians are called to A VERY HIGH STANDARD of life.

Sermon on the Mount

But for a few years now, the leadership of the Church in Nigeria (particularly the Pentecostal group) has been in a fierce, running battle with an agency of the government that is responsible for transparency and probity in financial matters.

Here are the words of the head of the agency: “In keeping other peoples’ money, you have to prepare account. That is why churches fought me so badly, took me to court as a person and then my office too. Mosques and orthodox churches freely complied, but those Pentecostal churches called me to ask questions. They said: ‘This church is church of God and we are accountable to God.”

These are the words of Mr Jim Obazee, the recently sacked Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC). I do not intend to hold brief for this gentleman as I do not know him, or the veracity of the allegations against him as a person. Those facts, true or false, are besides the fundamental issue here. I am looking at his office, not his person primarily. And this is my point: why is the Church, the light of the world, fighting tooth-and-nail to avoid transparency in its accounts – when this is a legal condition of its registration as a non-profit entity? Why is there a dire need for secrecy at-all-costs?

Jim Obazee, Ex-Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting
Council of Nigeria (FRC)

This issue of TRANSPARENCY is the CORE matter behind the retirement saga that has rocked the Christian community in the last few days. The ‘tenure of office’ aspect of that Legislative Act is just a side-matter. MONEY is the real issue! And it is NOT a new matter at all.

Apart from the legal challenge in court (which the church lost recently), the church leadership used its tremendous influence on ex-President Jonathan to suppress the implementation of that legislation. In fairness to President Jonathan, he was said to have been highly determined to give the FRC his backing on the transparency issue. But he buckled when he was promised the backing of the Christian machinery in the 2015 elections in return for suppressing the requirement for transparency in the accounts of the churches.

This deal is the real story behind the ‘VOICE OF GOD’ that told the Christian community in 2015 that President Jonathan is God’s anointed candidate for Aso Rock! Both the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) came out openly to urge Christians to vote for God’s anointed candidate. Gullible Christians fell immediately for the gimmick. And till today, many of them have not forgiven the current President Buhari for defeating ‘God’s candidate’! Even the defeat of President Jonathan was not enough to alert the deceived believers that God did NOT say what was attributed to Him by most of the Christian leaders. It was a deal. It was a romance between politics and religion. A romance between power and money. Christians were just the mere pawns.

Nigerian pastors who prophesied Jonathans victory in 2015 election.

Of course, the emergence of Pastor Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate upset that calculation somewhat. This led to a lot of ugly in-fighting among the Christian leaders. It was around the same time that we knew of the billions of Naira that President Jonathan gave our leaders to prosecute the election among Christians on his behalf. There are a lot of sordid details in all those shenanigans, but that is beyond the reference of this article.

President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo

Jim Obazee, betrayed by Jonathan, laid low during all that period, and recently re-launched his demand for accountability from churches in the wake of his recent victory at the court against the church’s challenge of the Edict. In the aftermath of his insistence to go ahead with implementing the Edict, heads have rolled. And Obazee’s head has rolled too. Today, many Christians are rejoicing that his anti-corruption crusade has crashed. And they are praising the Lord for the victory!

In the coming days, we may have a clearer view of why Obazee was sacked – within 1-2 days of Pastor Adeboye’s resignation as the GO of RCCG, Nigeria. Many are of the view that President Buhari became jittery when the highly revered Pastor Adeboye told his humongous assembly that the federal government was stifling the activities of the church, particularly RCCG. On the basis of this allegation against the government, he was reported to have told his parishioners to join politics en-masse. It was a signal. Realising that his party may lose millions of votes as a result of this blatant influence-peddling, President Buhari, acting as a typical politician, moved quickly to sack Obazee AND suspend the Edict immediately.

With this move, Christians have been pacified. And TRUTH HAS BEEN SACRIFICED. The fight against corruption, the drive for transparency in public life, has been dealt a huge blow. And IT IS A BIG SHAME that, for whatever reason, the church of Jesus Christ has been involved in this ignominy. Is this how to be a light of the world? Is this how to be the salt of the earth? Can you ever, ever imagine Jesus Christ or any of His disciples being involved in a mess like this? In an unholy romance with high-stake politics and politicking?

Hopefully, now that he has been fired, let us pray that Jim Obazee would have the courage to tell the world what has actually been happening on this issue of accountability in the church. Most Christians would be embarrassed at what will come out. And, hopefully, maybe the church leadership can also come out to let the whole world know why they are reluctant to account for the billions, nay trillions, of Naira that pass through their hands without anybody really knowing what comes in, and more importantly, HOW IT IS SPENT. It is this cheap flow of unaccounted money that is attracting many greedy men to church leadership.

The blunt truth is that a lot of our present crop of Christian leaders are NOT standing for Jesus Christ. They are NOT standing for the TRUTH of the Kingdom of God. They are building their personal empires. And they are using the poverty and ignorance of their gullible followers to feather their nests. These are the followers that are prepared to lay down their lives for the leaders that they have turned into idols – while the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ suffers in the nation.

Friend, if you TRULY want Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life, please OPEN YOUR EYES! Does the Church in Nigeria look anything like the church we read about in the Bible? Is there godly compassion for the poor? Is there humility? Is there love? Is there the true power of God that transforms nations? Is there an ardent pursue of holiness? Are we shining the LIGHT of God in Nigeria?

On your own part, please refuse to be a pawn on the politico-religious chess board of Nigeria. Jesus said His Kingdom is NOT of this world. Please, please seek that same Jesus Christ truly. He spoke about massive deception in the church in the Last Days, and urged His disciples to WATCH and PRAY. To WATCH means ‘OPEN YOUR EYES VERY WELL, DO NOT BE DECEIVED’. Please listen to Jesus, and recover your senses from the TRADO-GOSPEL that has become the staple spiritual diet in Nigeria. This TRADO-GOSPEL is completely different from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They may look alike, but they are NOT the same. Only the wise will know the difference.

“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, THEIR GOD IS THEIR BELLY, and they glory in their shame, WITH MINDS SET ON EARTHLY THINGS. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself”. (Philippians 3:18-21 (ESV).

Thanks for reading, God bless you.

Apart from what has been written here about Christian leaders, please also ask yourself if YOU are living as a LIGHT OF THE WORLD. In your transactions, does your life reflect those godly attributes of TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, and PROBITY?  Please let us all REPENT, and genuinely live for Jesus Christ. Christianity is NOT lip-service.

You Are The Light of The World You Are The Light of The World Reviewed by E.A Olatoye on January 11, 2017 Rating: 5

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