We failed to truthfully and morally put an end to a hostile situation as posited by Ed Silvoso; instead we became an interested biased judge. Yes, judges, by reason of their judgments take sides, but for them to be seen as impartial arbitrators their judgments must side with the side of truth, and by that they will have succeeded in being perceived and seen as peacemakers. That golden opportunity was missed and therefore the church was seen as a hostile body and must therefore reap hostility. It is a divine law that whatever is sown is what will be harvested. And doesn’t it agree with the injunction the Lord Jesus Christ gave us in Matthew chapter 7 verse 12 that “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”? If you sow love you will reap love, and in the same manner if you sow hostility you will reap hostility. This is a divine law and there is no way God can shut His eyes and ears or take away His hands from the fulfillment of His own laws. That is why the quest for peace is much more than prayers to God for peace, rather it should be worked for. The Bible says faith without works is dead. So praying for peace without working for peace is vain and dead; it becomes a mere exercise in futility. Christians in Nigeria are well known for praying for peace, but almost absent on the field of ensuring justice without which there cannot be peace.
Peace can only be achieved in an environment filled with love. Even if the environment is devoid of love nobility demands that certain nobles should create the refreshing atmosphere of love. Love is all about giving and there cannot be giving without sacrifice. The testimony of Christ bear eloquent truth to this and that’s why He could enjoin us in Matthew chapter 5 verses 42 to “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not away.” In not heeding this injunction from Christ the church joined President Jonathan in not acceding to the demand for ceding power to the north as they demanded on moral grounds, and in doing that both the President and the church failed the litmus test of sacrifice of which Christ enjoined in verse 41 of the Scripture above that “….whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” Nothing earthly is too big or too precious to be sacrificed as could be learnt from Abraham and Christ Himself, more so when you are under moral obligation to do so as in the case of the zoning dispute, which President Jonathan dishonoured without a blink of the eye.
Number two: Matthew chapter 5 verses 13 and 14 say, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world…..” This is an injunction for the church to be accountable for the uprightness or moral decline of the environment wherein there is a church; it is a call to ensure that the environment wherein there is a church is comfortable and empty of oppression against the residents in just the same manner salt makes food tasty and also preserves it from decay. This is the responsibility given the church, and as is commonly known if anyone abdicates responsibility they become irresponsible and if they become irresponsible they are called irresponsible, and if they are called irresponsible they lose all respect and if they lose all respect they become dishonourable and if they become dishonourable they become nonentity, and if they become nonentity they lose protection. That’s what Christ meant by saying if the salt loses its saltiness it becomes good for nothing, and because it has become good for nothing it will be cast out of its container, which is its protection, and then trampled upon by the soles of the shoes of men.
The level of corruption, moral decline and lawlessness in Nigeria is such that you could wonder if we have a church at all. But we have them in almost every street corner. What is happening is simply a case of abdication of responsibility by the church and that is why you hardly figure out in Nigeria the difference between the church and the world. The corruption, terror and lawlessness in Nigeria can be likened to the situation the nation of Israel found herself in as described in 2nd Chronicles chapter 15 verses 5 and 6 that, “And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity.” The reason God withdrew His hand of protection from them is found in verse 3 of the same chapter; it says, “Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.” They abandoned the laws and injunctions of God because either the priests who were supposed to teach them laws and ethics have abandoned their calling for mundane things or there were completely no teaching priests at all as suggested by the Scripture, and as a result God also abandoned them with the result being all manner of terror, such that whether at home or at work there was no peace. In the same manner the church in Nigeria abandoned Matthew chapters 5 to 7 in favour of chapters she feels are comfortable for her, she should therefore not be surprised at the terror threatening and ravaging her, which also suggests God has abandoned her.
The Nigerian church is loaded with sound teaching priests, more especially the Charismatic and Pentecostal wings, but what are they teaching? When was the last time they taught on the ills of corruption? When was the last time they taught their congregation the qualities of, and how to recognize godly leadership? When was the last time they taught their congregation the obligations of the church to the society? What is the level of teaching on the doctrine of holiness and righteousness? When was the last time congregants were reminded of the horrors of hell? Is their focus on discipling individuals or nations? Yes, it’s true that salvation is targeted at individuals but the overall aim is to impact and change nations, not in holding them in pews expecting miracles and “breakthroughs”, which of course will still be their natural rights and privileges as they pursue national transformation. The Great Commission Christ gave the church in Matthew chapter 28 verses 19 and 20 states: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations….. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you….”
The focus of the church should be on changing nations through teachings to live in genuine love and to observe accountability, honesty, integrity, righteousness, morality and discipline in all aspects of their national and private lives. In this way the nations will be conformed to the image of God and peace shall reign, but if the church abdicates this responsibility a gap will be created and nature abhors vacuum and, therefore all manner of things will strive to fill that vacuum. The church cannot afford to abdicate her responsibilities to Civil Society groups, for they don’t have the requisite anointing and reach to fill this wide, gaping gap. It’s not their calling, it’s the church’s calling. Ed Silvoso captures it this way when he wrote, “For this to take place, we need to understand that church is not a building; it is people actively invested all over the city, 24/7.” Yes, Christ has invested the church in nations to yield the dividends of national transformation for the overall good of all.
Among groups that will spring up in the desire to fill the wide, gaping gap are terrorists in the mould of Boko Haram, which claims it wants to install the rule of righteousness in Nigeria. Their spokesperson, Abu Qaqa told the Guardian of London recently that “It’s the secular state that is responsible for the woes we are seeing today. People should understand that we are not saying we have to rule Nigeria, but we have been motivated by the stark injustice in the land….. Poor people are tired of the injustice, people are crying for saviours and they know the messiahs are Boko Haram.”