Any church not under CAN is engaging in rebellion —Popoola
Apostle Sunday Popoola is the set man and President, Word Communication Ministries, Ibadan, Oyo State. In this interview with BAYO ALADE and SEYI SOKOYA, he speaks on challenges facing Christianity, security concerns across the nation and how peace can be restored.
People are beginning to accuse many church leaders over their silence on the security challenges in the country. Do you think church leaders are in a dilemma?
We are all concerned because we know and we see what is happening, especially with the fact that church members are being affected too. Some have been kidnapped, money taken from them for ransom making them to run into debt. Some have been killed, business and social activities of many people have been paralysed. We are indeed concerned, but we don’t want to just talk, because talk it is cheap. What the nation needs is solution and it is not that we are completely silent. Some of us do speak out about this evil and the need for those in charge of security to do their jobs. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to see any pragmatic action. People have said so many things and when you see that the talks are not working, maybe that is why some people have stopped talking, but we will do something about it. We have always asked for various kinds of things, but it is time we asked God on what He wants us to do. I believe that God has a strategy and wisdom on how the problems of this nation can be solved. I think we have to go back to the Bible. We need to ask God why He allowed these problems. I believe that God is beginning to speak. God has given us His mind about what to do, then we speak one word and the nation sees the effect immediately.
You claimed that unity is the way-out, but it seems many church leaders prefer to do their things in their own different ways. Can’t there be a synergy among the church leaders to tackle these problems?
A lot of things have been done, but more things still need to be done and we are definitely working on that. God has brought us under one umbrella; we are under the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The nation recognises the association and I believe heaven recognises it too. Any Christian or denomination that says it doesn’t recognise CAN is just deceiving himself or herself. So, our president has been speaking about the situation. Though it may seem quiet now, we are seeking the face of God for a divine strategy. All these will be done as we receive divine direction and I believe that these are all in the mind of the president (of CAN). He and key leaders are praying to God as well as coming up with a plan as God will give us direction. I want to use this medium to appeal to all Christians across denominations that we should all unite and take instructions from our president, Reverend Supo Ayokunle. Whatever CAN says is our position.
Do you think the leadership of CAN is up to the task?
I believe that they are up to the task. The power of the leader is deep. A leader won’t be able to do much if he doesn’t get enough support from people. The general doesn’t fight the battle alone, he leads the army in the battle. The CAN president has never kept quiet on important national issues, especially on the issue of insecurity and lack of fairness and all Christians should follow that. There are lots of works going on, but more still need to be done. The only way CAN can be more effective as the umbrella body of Christian churches in Nigeria is that we need to strengthen the unity of the body, we need to engage the media more to rally Christians together; we should call for more national prayers and speak the mind of Christians. Also, churches must know that we have to empower CAN. It is a pity that some people lack spiritual understanding. Joining CAN is voluntary. The body cannot force anyone. But if we look critically at the word of God, Jesus prayed and commanded that we should be one and if we have created an avenue wherein we can all speak with one voice, then it is rebellion on the side of any church to say it doesn’t belong to CAN and people don’t realise the seriousness of the spiritual implication of those things. God is not happy with it; he said we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves. No church organisation can be aloof and when you are aloof. I want to use this medium to tell all churches that they must find their place and function in CAN because this is the only organisation we have.
The proliferation of churches seems to have resulted in an embarrassment to Christianity following the many ungodly acts happening in the vineyard. What do you think can be done to address this?
There should not be misconception about the fact that CAN is the umbrella body of all Christians, but under CAN, the Christians bodies are divided into five different arms and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) is just one of the arms of CAN, so, we all belong to CAN. It is time for the executives of CAN to come up with a committee from all its five arms. They should come up with a guiding principle that should stipulate that any church that is not recommended by CAN should not be registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission and such church should not be recognised by the government. So, this would empower CAN and help the government for proper control. I think this is the only way we can checkmate abuses and excesses in the vineyard.
What is your message for the nation and its leaders, especially at this perilous time?
The blessing of God can make a nation rich. We have defined ‘The blessing’ is a singular word; it is the benevolent power of God bestowed in a person and the Bible says that “blessing makes rich and doesn’t add sorrow to it.” If a nation doesn’t have the blessing of God, there would be many sorrows and how does a nation come into the blessing is bestowed based on covenant with God. That is when you decide to only follow God. The Bible says that the nation that forgets God shall be cast to hell. Nigerians are being tormented, farms are being destroyed, people are hungry, many children don’t have access to education. Those that graduated do not have jobs, the economy is collapsing. It seems the nation is forgetting God. God is a righteous God. Any nation that has no justice, equity and fair play is forgetting God. As a nation, it seems we are attracting the curse instead of the blessing of God when innocent lives are being destroyed. This is where we hear billions being stolen and the perpetrators are in public offices; this is injustice. People commit crimes and they go free. God is not happy with all these. However, if we want to attract the blessings of God and see our economy and social life grow, and also to have peace restored and witness development of infrastructure, we must enter into a covenant with God. Equality and unity must reign; every tribe should strive for self-development. Recently, the government was fighting people that called for revolution and when this kind of situation continues in a nation, you will have a long fight for revolution. So, there is no point slamming people who are calling for revolution in the prison, let us look for the reason that is pushing them to be calling for such.