Gathering Together as a Service on Sundays for Ceremony instead of Word Study; Right or Wrong?

Mr. Abiodun Jemilehun


Gathering Together as a Service on Sundays for Ceremony instead of Word Study; Right or Wrong?

The necessities of the modern world do not permit people to congregate for long hours to hear the word of God often like in the years past.

As Africa begins to modernise and develop, this reality will become more evident as it is already happening in the big cities where many people can only attend church services on Sundays. Let ministers of the Gospel pay attention to this trend. Instead of flogging people ceaselessly to attend unending programmes, let us make maximum use of the Sunday services for prayers and Bible study. Let’s reduce the ceremonies to the bearest minimum. We find no such thing in the Bible as the “Sunday celebration service” that is common in Nigeria today. Sunday is the Lord’s day, use it for the Lord in deed.

Teach people to pay good attention to their private Bible study and prayer life. Teach them how to feed themselves with the word of life.

This, in my opinion, is the way to raise people who can stand in the day of adversity.

We have for centuries viewed “gathering together” as a “service” on “Sundays” but is that really the mind of the Lord in the early Church? There is something appearing on the horizon in the Body where our understanding of “fellowship” (koinonia) becomes more that of “spiritual interaction between believers” that can and should be a part of our lives 24/7 365 days a year.

It is bondage to be held in the understanding that in order to experience such, we must gather on a certain day in a certain format.

The Lord wants us to more and more discover and walk in the understanding that we are not bound by traditional means of “gathering.” That we can have that same fellowship and even deeper fellowship right at our dining tables or in our living rooms any time.

The early Church was connected by the Holy Spirit and shared the communion of their common redemption in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. They had a shared life together in Spirit, substance and in practice that was not limited to any particular day of the week or a particular format for gathering.

Selah!

 

CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: WE BUILT THIS PLACE

Republished by: Izobofolo’ Blog


CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: WE BUILT THIS PLACE

  1.  A lecturer wanting sex or money to pass a student..

  2.  A policeman demanding money for bail.

  3.  A judge demanding money for judgement.

  4.  A public servant demanding money for a contract.

  5.  A voter demanding money for his/her vote.

  6.  A clergy demanding money for “blessings”.

  7.  A leader closing their eyes to corruption and nepotism.

  8.  A parent offering money for ward’s admission into school or paying for exam questions.

  9.  An unemployed has to buy an employment form to fill.

  10.  A society rewarding incompetence.

  11.  A society  closing its mind to murder.

  12.  A society shutting down common sense.

  13.  A society designed to allow the worst to emerge to the top, in many respects.

  14.  A society that worship centres outnumber educational schools and employment and goods providing factories but inhumanity and bad behaviour is the order of the day.

CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: WE BUILT THIS PLACE

15.  A society where the rich has no foundation,  neither scholarship nor an endowment fund to cater for the needy. 

  1.  A society where only the children of top placed individuals are offered appointment letters in choice establishments

  2.  A society that justifies all things in the name of politics, tribe, religion,ethnicity and individual benefit.

  3.  A society where an individual would use our commonwealth to open his private businesses and he’ll be given all the praises, the accolades, the traditional titles and the national honours.

  4.  A society that blackmails others for difference in thinking.

  5.  A society that with your degree and competence, absence of NYSC certificate disqualifies you but a Secondary School drop-out can reach anywhere.

  6.  A society where 70 yr olds still look for political appointment.

  7.  A Nation that we have all collectively built. One working towards oppressing the other. Where impunity is rife. Where our default thinking is on wailing or hailing, never a consideration of the issue.

  8.  A society with low or no expectations from their leaders. A society in conflict with itself. A society where thought is absent. That all issues are swept under the carpet depending on who holds the broom and where all things can be covered depending on where the umbrella tilts.

  9.  A society where seemingly educated people run away from speaking out in the face of evil so that they will be seen as saints.

  10.  A society where evil doers are glorified by men who pretend to be gentlemen.

  11.  A society  where men have no regards to the legacy they will leave behind.

  12.  A society where money is preferred to wisdom.

  13.  A society where the reformer is vilified and deformed.

  14.  A society where one man is richer than one region but still collects lucre from a State Governor.

Yes, you and I built this place.” SAD BUT TRUE, AND WE ARE THE ONCE TO CHANGE IT

MC OLUOMO AND THE BEAUTY OF THUGGERY IN NIGERIA?

By: Izobofolo’s Blog

MC OLUOMO AND THE BEAUTY OF THUGGERY IN NIGERIA?

MC Oluomo is the one trending online now. Oun l’omo tiwon soro e lowolowo. Owo meji l’oke f’enikan. O ya gbefun.

Give it to MC Oluomo. He succeeded at what he does best, that is, “thuggery”.

Children studying abroad, houses in upscale neighborhoods in Nigeria and America, beautiful women as wives, hobnob with creme-de-la-creme, who is who in the society, a popular socialite and all that.

Visit the hospital where he is obtaining treatment, you will see armed policemen on stand watching over him, politicians of great repute trooping in droves to register their solidarity and presence, he is getting first class treatment and everyone in attendance praying and hoping that MC Oluomo must not die.

Guess what? He is a citizen of United States of America and he is set to be flown to America in matter of few days to get first class treatment. Can you see yourself?

Who says thuggery as a profession doesn’t pay? Had I known, I wouldn’t have wasted all the years struggling to get an ordinary paper called degree that couldn’t get you anywhere in Nigeria unless you know someone in power.

Did I hear you say thuggery is a risky and deadly profession? Did you just say, do I know how many people lost their lives in thuggery? Didn’t you just say that the consequences of thuggery outweigh its benefits?

Come off these craps my friend. Life is a risk itself and in a jungle called life only the strongest survive. Death? Who is scared of death? Whether you like it or not, something is going to kill you if you are destined to be killed that way. Consequences? We will all be responsible for our actions and why is that your concerns? Result is the koko in my country called Nigeria. Who cares how you got it? Just show them you have it.

O Lord, how do I convince my children and unborn generation of children that education is the key to success in Nigeria where thugs are living large and holding sway?

I am a graduate from a reputable Nigerian University, much older than MC Oluomo and there is nothing I have materially that MC Oluomo doesn’t have. He even has more and he is well connected than I am. Forget certificate joor. Who certificates epp?

When I look at Nigeria situation and the future of our youths, the only thing that comes to my mind is; we have lost it as a nation and it is not going to get better.

MC Oluomo, a certified and licensed thug by “Tinubu Institute of Professional Thugs” is a celebrity and you are not. E f’oro le joor, ko ni meaning. Gbefun Oluomo.

God have mercy, I am beginning to talk like a thug now but it is rather too late for me now.

O ya gbefun! Soporowomi ni!! Oganla Tinubu, Jagaban Ilu Eko, ko somo na!!!

People with integrity who do things the right and legitimate ways are fast becoming limited editions (endangered specie).

Nigeria, where people celebrate men and women who have made it through dishonest means.

So so sad. Ogede n baje e lo pon.

A CASE FOR ANOTHER REFORMATION- PART 3

By: Dr. Abiodun Jemilohun


A CASE FOR ANOTHER REFORMATION- PART 3

There are four critical questions the Reformers sought to answer in order to restore the Church to the pattern laid down by the apostles of Christ. These include:

  1. How is a person saved?

  2. Where does religious authority lie?

  3. What is the church? and

  4. What is the essence of Christian living?

We shall from now on approach this treatise in line with these questions in order to bring clarity to the present chaos. We have to, again’ state here as we did in the past that the issues we shall be discussing do not apply to all the ministries and ministers of the Gospel so as not to fall into the error of overgeneralization. There are several ministers of the Gospel in Nigeria who are above board in these issues in their service to God. However, the pervasiveness of the problems is the subject of concern.

  1. How is a person saved?

In response to the critical question of salvation, justification or righteousness, the Reformers responded by siding with the Bible that salvation, justification or righteousness is obtained by grace through faith in Christ alone. They asserted that good works do not make man good, but a good man (righteous man) must of a necessity do good works.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 3:24)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph 2:8-9)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Rom 1:16-17)

It is to the work of salvation of mankind that four of the five popular slogans of the Reformation called the “five Solas” were directly related.

i. Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone). This implies that the scripture must always come over and above human authority or tradition.

ii. Sola Fide (faith alone). That is, faith takes precedence over works.

iii. Sola Gratia (grace alone). Grace over merit

iv. Solus Christus (Christ alone). Christ is the only mediator between God and man.

v. Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God alone). All the glory must be to God and not to man.

The second to the fifth Solas have since been weaved together to clearly portray the foundation upon which our salvation rests:

“Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to the glory of God alone.”

The medieval Church taught that righteousness before God is attained by both faith in Christ and good works. In addition to faith in Christ, the individual has to maintain good works and pay penance for sins committed. The doctrine of penance stipulates that the Christian should confess his sins to the priest who would then grant him absolution (pardon) after repentance. Not only that, the individual may need to inflict physical punishment in form of fasting, flagellation, and pseudo-crucifixion on himself as a sign of remorse in order to get God’s forgiveness. To reduce the severity of the penance the penitent needs to undergo, the doctrine of indulgence was introduced. This involves the performance of good works in replacement of penance. The doctrine of indulgence was eventually commercialized and interpreted to mean that monetary payments could be made to the Church for the release of the souls of relatives who are being held in purgatory for the temporal consequences of their sins into heaven. In other words, salvation could be procured for dead relatives with money by the living.

Why was the indulgence commercialized? We have stated earlier in the treatise on tithing that it was the Roman Church that introduced tithing to the Church. This was initially in form of agricultural produce like it was under the Mosaic Law but was eventually monetized in order to fund the elaborate priestly hierarchical order and the numerous building projects of the medieval Church. The commercialization of the indulgence became inevitable as large sums of money were needed to prosecute the crusades (holy wars) and the building of the medieval cathedrals.

In order to cajole more people to pay indulgence, Johann Tetzel, the Grand Commissioner for indulgences in Germany was reported to have overstretched the Church’s position on the doctrine and became known for the couplet:

“As soon as the gold in the casket rings

The rescued soul to heaven springs”

We see today that the Pentecostal movement has come in full circle to the same position of the medieval Roman Church that righteousness is obtained by both faith in Christ and good works. Although they may not say this explicitly, this inference could be easily made from several of their teachings and practices. For example, the Pentecostals teach that whoever does not pay tithe is a robber who is under God’s curse. We know that no robber or divinely cursed person can make heaven. So, we see that the Pentecostals are essentially teaching that we cannot be saved without good works. It should trouble any Christian who knows the truth that the salvation of mankind is now being tied to payment of tithe. How is this different from payment of indulgence? How is this different from the concept of procurement of salvation with money?

We know that all the attendant benefits of the life in Christ are freely given as the Bible says. The Pentecostals explicitly teach that to obtain the blessings of God one has to give money to Him. This comes in various forms: tithe, seed-faith offering, 24-hour miracle offering, first-fruit, firstborn redemption offering etc. We shall deal extensively with this concept in a later discourse (this has been done in the “Anatomy of the prosperity gospel”).

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom 8:32)

We know how the Pentecostals began to lay undue emphasis on tithing despite that the Roman Catholic Church no longer places much emphasis on it. They have also introduced various schemes of collecting money from their members in order to prosecute their own pet projects that are mostly not related to the core message of the Gospel.

Contrary to the teaching of the Bible that salvation and answers to prayers are obtained on the merit of Christ who is the only mediator between God and man, the Roman Church teaches that apart from Christ the mediator, there is the mediatrix in the person of the Virgin Mary and a retinue of canonized saints who the Christian can petition to pray on his behalf to God. They teach that the believer can obtain favor from God through the accumulated merits and virtues of these saints.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1Ti 2:5-6)

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Act 4:12)

We see this concept of secondary intermediaries between God and the Christian in the Pentecostal circle in the form of founders and leaders of denominations by whose names members of respective denominations now petition God.

In addition to the doctrine of penance and indulgence, there was the use of holy objects like the cross, the images of Jesus and Mary and holy relics (relics of dead saints) in prayer, worship and for protection as the case may be. The holy relics were eventually commercialized and became an important source of revenue. It is disheartening that practices that are similar to these have also become entrenched in the Pentecostal/Charismatic circle. The use of anointing oil, holy water, holy mantles (holy handkerchiefs) in prayer has been elevated to idolatrous level. Some now use pictures of their leaders for protection. These objects, together with other objects like olive oil and prayer shawl from the holy land, the water and sand of river Jordan etc. have also been commercialized.

To be continued………………….

RELIGION: A CASE FOR ANOTHER REFORMATION- PART 1

A CASE FOR ANOTHER REFORMATION- PART 2

A CASE FOR ANOTHER REFORMATION- PART 2

By: Dr. Abiodun Jemilohun


A CASE FOR ANOTHER REFORMATION- PART 2

In the first three centuries of Christianity, the bishops of Rome were essentially obscured figures, many of who suffered martyrdom. By the fourth century AD, after Constantine became the Roman Emperor and declared Christianity legal, the Roman bishops began to attain supremacy over the other Patriarchs in the empire.

Although the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, defined at the First Vatican Council (1870), says Jesus Christ established the papacy with apostle Peter as the first pope, an objective survey of Church history says otherwise. Church history shows that the concept of papal primacy over the whole Church was established slowly over a long period of time. It was Leo I who became the bishop of Rome in AD 440 that provided a theoretical backing for the doctrine of apostolic succession of the Roman papacy which he supported by the words of Jesus in Matt. 16: 13-19; Luke 22: 31-32; and John 21: 15-17, though he obviously took these Bible verses out of context. The doctrine states that Peter was the first Roman Catholic pope and all the other popes in succession derived their authority from him as the representative of Christ and the head of the Church on earth. So, technically Loe I was the first pope of Roman Catholicism in the real sense of the word.

While the official language of the Empire was Latin, the Eastern region of the Empire that was previously governed by the Greeks retained the Greek language as their lingua franca. Hence, there was a natural language division of the empire/Church to the Latin (Western) and Greek (Eastern) divisions but the Church was one.

In the course of time, the Roman bishops (popes) continued to gain power and became the ecclesiastical head of the Western Church. By the fact that Constantinople was then the seat of power, the Patriarch of Constantinople also became more powerful leading to a battle for supremacy between him and the Roman Patriarch (the pope). The struggle for supremacy in doctrinal and political influence between the two Patriarchs continued until the 11th century AD (1054) when the Western and Eastern Churches officially split. This is called the Great Schism or the East-West Schism. The Western Church consisted of Churches in Western Europe and a few in Eastern Europe with the Roman pope as the head. This is the Roman Catholic Church. The Eastern Church consisted of the Greek Church, all the Churches in Asia, the Orthodox Churches in Eastern Europe and North Africa. This is the Eastern Orthodox Church. This was the beginning of denominationalism.

The Eastern Orthodox Church has remained largely one, apart from the oriental Churches led by the Patriarch of Alexandria that differentiated themselves because of differences in Christology. It also has many of the unscriptural doctrines and practices of the Western Church and remains unreformed since it did not participate in the Reformation.

As Western Europe was neglected by the Roman Emperors who resided in Constantinople, the pope became the de facto political leader of the region since nature abhors vacuum. Thence, the doctrine of the inerrancy of the Pope became more established. Different unscriptural traditions, doctrines, and practices were established by successive popes because they could not be questioned. These continued for a thousand years when Martin Luther came on the scene to paste his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church outlining the erroneous teachings and practices of the Western Church in relation to indulgence. This action technically marked the second schism in the Church leading to the three major branches of Christianity we have today: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. So, in a way, the myriad of Church denominations as we see them today are mainly the offspring of the Roman Catholic Church.

About 400 years after Protestantism began, the Pentecostal movement that emphasizes baptism with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongue broke out on the Azusa street from 1906 to 1915. Some other movements such as the abundant life movement, the word of faith, manifest sons of God, dominionism etc. have occurred within the Pentecostal circle since its inception that helped shape it to its current state.

Due to the unregulated nature of Pentecostalism, certain vices which are similar to the pre-reformation problems of the medieval Church such as disregard for sound biblical exegesis, authoritarianism, avarice, administrative opacity and lack of regard for social justice crept in which are now spreading to the general body of Christ. Although these problems are present globally, they seem to be more pronounced in the Nigerian/African Church.

To be continued…………..

RELIGION: A CASE FOR ANOTHER REFORMATION- PART 1