The National Legal Adviser to the Foursquare Gospel Church of Nigeria, Reverend Solomon Wada doubles as the senior pastor and zonal superintendent of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Oluwalogbon Zone, Apata in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. In this interview with KUNLE ODEREMI, he gives reasons why the biblical scenario of Berachah is imperative for Nigerians, in the face of hard choices facing them, as well as issues in the body of Christ in the country. Excerpts:
Why is it difficult for Christian bodies like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) to rein those prophets, ministers, pastors regarded as non-conformists to the basic doctrine of the Christian faith, and who are believed to be polluting the air?
As a lawyer, I am aware that under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended, every citizen has the right to enjoy the twin freedom of worship and association. These sacred rights can only be restrained or denied anyone under certain conditions or circumstances. It’s trite to note that no pastor in Nigeria is immune from criminal prosecution. Therefore, pastors who are wolves in sheep clothing shall not be spared when their action runs against the law. Such pastors are not difficult to identify as their fruits shall surely expose their antics. Painfully, many vulnerable persons continued to be scammed by these fellows. It is better to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness rather than looking out for miracles from any quarters. The wolves always hide under the cover of God’s anointed to exploit the ignorant.
Unfortunately, there is little or nothing the respected organisations such as CAN and PFN can do to stamp out these fraudsters. Like every genuine servant of God, the tricksters are armed with a copy of the Holy Bible, speaks in diverse tongues if not more that Paul, holds a big bottle of anointing oil, sometimes clothed in immaculate white apparel and may even bear flamboyant titles they may have simply conferred on themselves.
Generally, every Christian is supposed to be guided by the unique code of conduct wholly premised on the Holy Scriptures. The earthly lifestyle of Jesus Christ as exemplified in the gospel books should be our compass. The simply question we must continue to ask ourselves is “what would Jesus do” under this condition? We are expected to be filled with Holy Spirit every time. I sympathize with the leadership of our faith in Nigeria. Even when they are convinced that a particular preacher is preaching heresy real time, there is nothing they can do to stop him as long as he is not infringing on the laws of the land. Both CAN and PFN lack statutory powers to clamp down on recalcitrant “ministers”. It’s no longer news that many of the so called “ministers” are constantly becoming guest of security agencies.
It’s a sordid reality that some of the so called “Prophets” are being persecuted for alleged ritual killings, armed robbery, Advance Fee Fraud (alias 419), rape and other heinous crimes. My advice for them is to repent genuinely and turn a new leaf before it’s too late. Recall that even in the early church, the apostles were confronted by the plague of false brethren but they were dealt with summarily by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is still undertaking cleansing of the Church.
You could imagine if Sister Leah Sharibu was a disciple of one of these modern days’ fair weather ministers. She could have denied Christ immediately and walked away a free girl. But because of her solid background in Christ, she preferred to remain in the lion’s den. Like Paul, she chose eternal life over earthly advantage. She has become a model of the Christian faith in and outside the shores of Nigeria. She freely traded her freedom for her faith. She did not behave like Judas Iscariot, who sold the master for some pieces of coins which he never spent. I commend her ECWA background. It shows the quality of discipleship she was exposed to even at such a tender age. She has become a great challenge to the modern time believers. Rather that the regular prosperity messages of this generation, Leah was fully exposed to the teaching of the raw word of God. She understood that living for Christ entails enduring hazards and persecutions. She must have been thought the necessity of laying ones life Christ, if need be.
From your own understanding of the situation in the last few months, do you think the government is doing enough towards securing her release, against the backdrop of threat and deadline by her captors to kill her?
The government is under a big burden to rescue Leah at all cost. No reason would be good enough for her to be held back. Do you know that the security of life and property remains the main obligation of government. Although the government says it’s trying its best to rescue the innocent girl, it’s now obvious that such best is not producing the needed result. While we are appreciating the efforts of our gallant officers on line of duty, we are imploring the Federal Government not to allow Leah to die in captivity. The government can do more.
Only recently, a nurse working with the Red Cross was killed by the same Leah’s abductors. Nigerians are praying for the safe return of sister Leah Sharibu. Christians are praying that the almighty God shall touch the hearts of her abductors to release her unconditionally. That she should not deny faith no matter her experience. The God that brought out Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego from the fury furnace shall bring Leah Sharibu out unhurt. The same God that delivered Daniel from the lion’s den shall not abandon Leah. He that saved Paul and Silas from prison shall surely rescue Leah. We are appealing to her captors not to shed her blood.
You have concluded the Berachah programme of your Church for 2018. What is the annual event all about?
We are celebrated Berachah Praise Night 3 on October 26, 2018. It was a unique program initiated under the leadership of the Holy Ghost three years ago. Berachah is the culmination of series of events as recorded in 2Chronicles chapter 20. The scripture recorded the account of high level conspiracy against Judah and Jerusalem. The episode clearly reveals the wickedness of the hearts of men. When Israel was entering into the Promised Land, the Lord entreated them not to fight the nations of Ammon and Moab on account that there were descendants of Lot, the nephew of Abraham. In deference to God, they spared the nations of Ammon and Moab. Thereafter, the two nations conspired with the people of Mount Seir to annihilate Judah and Jerusalem for no just cause. Jehoshaphat the king of Judah was alarmed whereupon he turned unto God for intervention. The King and everyone in Israel embarked on fasting and prayer; seeking the face of God.
The Lord heard their prayers and assured them that he had taken over the battle. The king was encouraged by the news that God himself shall fight their battle. When God decide to take over ones battle, victory is assured. The God of battle swiftly ambushed the conspirators. The army of Ammon and Moab turned their weapons against the army of Mount Seir. Thereafter, they turned their weapons against themselves until the entire armies of the two nations were destroyed.
Indeed, none of them escaped the wrought of God. When Israel approached the war front, they discovered that the conspirators were all dead. For three good days, they were engaged in carrying the spoil of war. On the fourth day, they gathered at Valley of Berachah where they praised, worshipped and offered thanks unto God, 2Chronicles 20: 26. What we are currently doing is a replica of Berachah celebration. The event is meant to appreciate God for all his mercies from January till date.
It’s our belief that worship, praise and thanksgiving are all that God desires from us.
In other words, there is a connection between the programme organised by your church and the multifaceted challenges facing Nigeria?
Absolutely! Could you imagine how the children of Israel and their King humbled themselves before God in holy supplication? The Lord was so pleased with them that he took over their battle immediately. If only Nigeria and her leaders can abandon their pride and go before God in humility and seek divine intervention for the multitude of problems confronting the nation, the same God that took over the battle of Israel shall attend to us. If God decide to take over the battle of any nation, the people shall be comforted.
God’s promise is that if the people that are called by his name shall humble themselves and call upon him in prayers, he shall hear them. It’s our prayer that every person conspiring against Nigeria shall surely be defeated. None of the conspirators shall escape God’s judgment. We shall recover all that the enemies have taken away from our land. Righteousness is the key word for national healing. The Bible says that righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach. In similar vein, we need to continue to pray for our gallant security agencies for the huge sacrifices they are making for the stability of Nigeria.
A nation like America, which has devoted a day in a year for thanksgiving, cannot stop enjoying the goodness of God. Sometimes, we are tempted to say that there no point thanking God in a country such as ours? Rather than seeing reasons to worship God, Satan in all his wickedness keep reminding us of what God is yet to do for us. For instance, he will remind us of the car we are yet to buy, the admission which has been proving difficult, the job opportunity that is only comparable to proverbial Carmel passing through the eye of a needle, the visa that has become stalemated, the building project that is still uncompleted, the contract that did not scale through, the marriage proposal that failed to materialize etc.
Amazingly, he would not remind you about several attempts he made to waste your life, the magnitude of problem he imposed on your family and the persistent attack he had sustained on your health. But for God that sustained us, we could have been swallowed by Satan before now. We have avalanche of reasons to thank God. We have nothing to offer God for his goodness and mercy except our thanksgiving. Like the children of Israel, we have decided to assemble in our valley of Beracah to say thank you to God.
When we practise to worship God for the little we have received, there is an assurance that more shall be given to us. That was the character of David in all his afflictions. There are two set of worshippers: those that will only worship God whenever their prayers have been answered and those who will worship him all the times; and in whatever circumstances. The Bible enjoined us to worship God in all situations. Imagine the children of Israel expressing their gratitude to God even when the wall of Jericho was still standing. What about the Levites who were blowing trumpets in worship even when they could still see the three conspirators positioned to launch a violent attack? The wall of Jericho was not brought down by any instrument of battle but by mere trumpets. Gideon only needed three hundred men to defeat the formidable army of the Midianites. If God is in any battle, our efforts become secondary.