There is a small but vocal circle of Nigerians who do not believe that their country needs more of the quickening touch of the divine to help turn things around for the prostrate land. They look all over the place and spotting what they see as a sea of churches, they conclude that Nigeria would be better off without a ‘surfeit’ of ecclesiastical industry. They refer to patently disturbing reports of abominable conduct in the church and return the verdict that the trouble with Nigeria isn’t its politics or economy; it is the church which encourages a craving for materialist prosperity. They argue that the church and its leaders no longer aim at addressing the soul as their Lord Jesus Christ taught. Today, they say, the church is master at pandering to carnal needs. So they want less of sacerdotal activity and more of agnostic enterprise.
Well, this contrasts with the position of a famous French historian and writer as he also studied the role of the Church in the United States of America when that country was struggling with the challenges that came after a war.
The famous French writer, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited the United States of America in the first half of the 19th century and returned with reports of how great America had become not too long after it had emerged from its war of Independence and passed through the teething problems of nation-building. His extensive tour led him to probe the source of this eminence. When Tocqueville had undertaken an arduous search, he wrote: “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich higher learning and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic congress and her matchless constitution and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America did I understand the secret of her genius and power”.
Tocqueville attributed the prosperity of the nascent American State to the fact that its leaders instituted a national policy that encouraged the churches of the day to pray to God on behalf of “kings and… all that are in authority” as enjoined in the Holy Bible (1 Tim. 2:2). As far as he was concerned it was obedience to that divine order coupled with diligent work that brought down God’s blessings both on the American people and on the land. Indeed the concluding part of the text we quoted says such intercessions will lead to “a quiet and peaceable life” adding that “this is good and acceptable in the sight of God” (verse 3).
Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi, founder and General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry (DCLM) is in the same class as Tocqueville. He believes that the absence of Jesus Christ in the citizen’s life in Nigeria is responsible for the problems assaulting us, the same way that lack is the source of all of the world’s problems at the moment. The point, he argues, is not to have less of Jesus’ message of tolerance, righteousness, Biblical holiness, love for fellow man (even if he is your enemy), abstemious lifestyle, focus on Heaven etc. Outlawing Jesus amounts to outlawing peace and order. Man’s duty is to admit Him and allow Him full reign.
Kumuyi has maintained a diligent outworking of this faith in the power of the gospel to change the fortunes of society if sincerely embraced. He has embarked on a back-breaking crusade nationwide. It has taken the Deeper Life Bible Church leader to far-flung areas including such so called no-go states as Plateau, Bauchi, Adamawa and Gombe. He was in those places only last week even in the midst of deadly outbursts of violence.
The locomotive of the gospel message is not expected to halt on account of challenges if you are to be true to your calling as a child of God waving the Flag of the Great Commission: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world Amen.” (Matthew 28:19,20).
The gospel is especially needed now in Nigeria where we are confronted with a myriad of economic and political issues along with numerous security concerns in the form of armed robberies, kidnapping, communal violence, urban unrest, ethnic upheavals and centrifugal clamouring. The position of many is that the genuine acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with its emphasis on holiness and heavenly focus and not on worldly materialism would naturally abolish the spirit that creates the template for destructive traits and anti-social conduct. There is a driving force behind such attitudes that can only be tamed and defeated by the infinitely greater Christ Spirit. This is the missing link in our system, according to Pastor Kumuyi.
According to Pastor Kumuyi, God is designing crusades to effect deep changes not only in the life of the individual but also to transform the society. He says: “We want you to believe in God, that He can conquer any challenge; that is the most significant aspect of our crusade… to remind the people that no matter how bad it may be for individuals, state and nation, God can still turn things around and can move things forward.”
Nigerians must not because of some failed clerics and their ministries run a cynic’s script on the Church of Christ. Nor must we pooh-pooh the gospel as impotent. There are still a faithful few loyal to the creed of holiness as displayed in the Early Church in the First Century after Christ’s departure.
This is the reason thousands still troop out to listen to Kumuyi’s message of salvation. They get saved by God after true contrition. They get purged of sinful inclination, leading them to abandon anti-God habits like prostitution, armed robbery, pipeline vandalism, stealing of government funds, promiscuity, exam malpractices, kidnapping, sharp practices, conjugal infidelity, Epicurean lifestyle, among others.
- Ojewale lives in Ota, Ogun State.