OUR COLLECTIVE FAILURE MAKES DIVORCE AN OPTION IN MARRIAGE!!
I first titled this write up Divorce and Disobedience but a brother retitled it as above and prefer his title.
As a result of the recent happening in church, As I continue to read the impute from believers and I am wandering if we are running into another fire created by the devil as a result of our accommodation of sin. At the moment, many believers are beating the drums of divorce as if that is the solution to the problem of spousal abuse. Divorce is the end of the matter but the trouble really is caused by the beginning of the matter. Spousal abuse in the church is a result of the failure of the church just like divorce is the result of the failure of the church. Divorce is not an escape route for peace but at some point it becomes a necessary EVIL. Should we embrace this evil or find how to avoid the evil? Divorce is evil just like spousal abuse is wicked and criminal. I have heard some say many have remained in an abusive relationship because of the stigma. Who am I to disagree, but no stigma should push you to death. I have friends and mentors who are divorced that I have tremendous respect for and I will invite them to any program any day. I will also listen to their counsel if I have to. We must always examine what led to a divorce before we take our decisions.
God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16); this I want to stress and you cannot change that scripture and He also does not like spousal battery. It is therefore a thin line and His will must prevail. Imagine there is a snake on the grass. Jumping does not help one to avoid the snake. This is because if one jumps, one will still come down and if not directly on the snake’s head. It is better to run backwards rather than jump. It looks like the church wants to jump in this matter instead of running back. When I say run back, I mean run back to where we missed it instead of looking for the short cut. God hates divorce but one must not die in an abusive relationship. To some people, because of persistent spousal brutality, we should start negotiating our divorce before we get married thus starting a new era of spiritual disobedience in the church. Divorce should not be an exciting discussion. It should not be the first alley of exit in a marital challenge. It should be the last resort as the result is often sad, bitter and it could last for generations for the children and the couple.
It appears the next step for the church in the face of our present challenge is that some people will begin to get excited as we start to celebrate a new exit plan called divorce. Like I have already said, divorce is evil, just like spousal abuse and battery are evil. We must not die before our time due to our involvement in an abusive relationship. However the African church cannot become like the West where divorce is negotiated while the marriage is being consummated and we call it pre-nuptial agreement. That should never be a direction to go in the church.
How did the church get to where we are? To answer this, let’s go back in church history. The church never had many of these troubles in the 70s/80s. How many Christians in the 70s and 80s will abuse their spouses and how many were divorced? Were we not getting married? Many non-Christians were divorcing, but it was not common with the Christians. What did the Christians of that generation get right that we have lost in this generation? What we see today is the result of a failing church. There are many reasons why God stressed unequal yoke in the scripture. This we have overlooked and tagged ‘old school’. There are many people in churches today who are not Christians but may be able to speak the language of Christians that is the initial step to spousal abuse and divorce. The next thing is that someone will declare me judgmental. The is a statement coined by the devil to grant us the excuse to remain unrepentant. I am used to that by now. So, we have people who are neck deep in all that God hates but they are in the churches. They are often accommodated by the church leadership mostly due to their financial capability. These people end up marrying and then tragedy strikes via physical, mental and technical battery. They are usually difficult to entreat because they do not listen to anyone. The journey to the marriage itself is sometimes loaded with iniquitous intrigues. This is the generation where our people drink alcohol and get drunk and ask us to show them the place in the bible where it is said that alcohol consumption is forbidden. Just after the Sunday morning service they hurry home so as not to miss the latest episode of big brother Nija and excitedly contribute in the votes, yet we are all Christians. We dabble into occultism as we are introduced to pagan practices through our village elders. We spend the Saturdays and weekends waist winding, butt twerking and bust gyrating at the parties and we say ‘although’ we are Christians, we have right to be happy. With these sad demonic maneuvers, we still stand convinced that we are Christians. Some of our brothers take it a notch further by acquiring girl friends in the churches (pastors not excluded).
It is sad to note that over 60% (not too sure of this statistics) of people in our churches today, are not Christians. Unequal yoke has become paramount in our days. How many people still think about the mind of God before we get married. We are in an era where marriages are fixed by men and women of God in the name of, she is the pastor’s daughter and pastor does not want an ‘anyhow’ brother to marry her so he arranged her marriage with brother so and so. This we do because we do not want them to leave our churches.
Whenever I am opportune to discuss with believers who are going through marital storms, I often ask, how did you start? Their answer might not bring answers to the present challenge but it often helps those who are yet to get in. There were days when we had to pray for about six months before approaching a sister for her hand in marriage. Thereafter, the sister will pray for another three months before giving you an answer. This is after the sister has sought counsel from the leaders of the assembly. That was when we counted the cost. You may call it old school but it worked and gave us peace in our homes. We hardly count the cost in an item that is easily returnable. Since we are beginning to see marriage as an easily returnable item via divorce, why bother to count the cost. What prevails in our marriages now adays has little or no God in it, therefore, what is our expectation? It is going to be spousal abuse and eventual divorce. Instead of repenting and tracing where we lost it, the next solution is to get a cheap exit and that cheap exit is divorce. Marriage is a serious business and a serious affair. It has never been for kids and for the Christians, it is a place where unequal yoke is a tragedy waiting to happen. Many in our churches today are not different from the non-Christians and as a result there are no longer spiritual rules for marital engagement. We have decided to copy the non-believers and sadly, we are reaping the fruits therefrom. Obedience no longer exists in the church as we are trying to re-write God’s rule. Perhaps God has given us up to our reprobate minds. Rom 1:28 and the result is that we are doing things that are not convenient. We neither obey the leaders nor obey God, perhaps because many of the leaders do not also obey God.
To many that have been thrown into the bitter sea of divorce, may the Lord grant you peace and for the children in such relationships, may the Lord bring them peace and direction. For those that have lost their lives as a result of this evil of the brutality of spouses, may the Lord bring comfort to the families. And if you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help fast. If you also have an opportunity to counsel anyone in an abusive relationship, please see it as a privilege and do all within your power to ensure that it does not lead to a fatality. The excuses for not intervening are usually very hard to swallow as you had an opportunity to stand in the gap but you threw it away.
Pastor Nosa Idahosa
All Citizens Church Calgary
OUR COLLECTIVE FAILURE MAKES DIVORCE AN OPTION IN MARRIAGE!!
WHO IS THE GOVERNMENT?
Pastor Nosa Idahosa
In the lyrics of the song of a famous musician; “The man in the mirror”. He wrote;
I’m gonna make a change
For once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could’ve been any clearer
If they wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
So, who is the government? When I worked in the Oil and Gas environment in Delta State of Nigeria, there was one fellow called government. Anyhow, there was nothing government about this person except the name itself. He never commanded any authority, neither did the people look to him for anything but we knew his name was government.
As you travel around Africa, you come across very corrupt governments. In fact, corruption is so endemic in Africa that you almost think the various governments are competing to outperform one another on the corruption scale. (Apology to a very few that are trying to make a difference). Then, you hear the citizens of the various countries complaining against the governments. And the most popular statement is; ‘the government is corrupt’.
Who in Africa is called ‘government’ who is so corrupt? Indeed, it is so true that the system is mired in corruption, which is reflected in the reality that the continent appears to be going nowhere or perhaps even regressing with echoes of its colonized past repeating itself. For instance, a contract to construct a road is awarded multiple times in different years for thousands of dollars and the road is still never constructed or completed. The governors of certain States in Nigeria for instance, only ruled for eight years but have retirement benefits that are almost equal to the budget of some other states. While civil servants who perhaps worked for over 25 years are entitled to peanuts which are many times not paid. This retirement benefits, the governors fixed for themselves with the help of aids and cronies in the state houses of assembly. It is an open secret that the Nigerian legislators are the highest paid in the world, in a country where the minimum monthly wage is about 50 US dollars.
As a kid, I thought that ‘security vote’ was an allowance for the governors and presidents, until I found my way to the Western world where I found out that it still needs to be accounted for. And that they are funds available to leaders in case of an emergency so that legislative bottleneck is skipped. In Nigeria, it appears the governors just keep it as part of their monthly allowance and they do not have to be accounted for. If I dedicate this blog entirely to the corrupt practices of African leaders, I am sure I will have more than enough to make sufficient paragraphs.
However, one thing we have failed to realize is that the governors and presidents are chosen from amongst us and that the daily practices of stealing and malpractices are what we promote or upgrade into the higher stages when we become governors. For instance, it is close to pure foolishness to think that you will walk into an office in Nigeria to get something done and someone will not expect to be bribed, especially at the government offices.
In 2019, I went into the passport office in Abuja to renew my Nigeria passport and I requested for a certain number of pages. The cost of this passports was written all over the internet in black and white but the officials quoted a different price to me and it was higher than that stated on the internet. When I hesitated and mentioned to them that it was not the advertised cost, I was at the verge of been left to attend to others when I quickly ‘respected myself’ and paid their demanded cost.
Corruption in Nigeria is institutionalized and it could be on an individual or corporate basis but it has become a part of the culture such that if you do not practice it, you are looked upon as strange. For instance, a friend asked an artisan to do a job for him and the artisan swindled him of about a million Naira. When my friend found out, the swindler said ‘Oga, na where man dey work, na there him dey chop’. In other words, I simply took my dues.
The authorities in Nigeria privatized electricity like it is done in many climes of the world. However, that of Nigeria swiftly became a monopoly, riddled with thievery and corruption. So, homes are given bills in Nigeria when they are not even connected to the grid, you may apply for electricity meter and you are told that the meters are free just like bail is free in the police stations, that is if you can wait. If you do not want to wait, you may have to pay some exorbitant amount for the meters. Those who choose to wait, will wait in vain and in darkness as no meters will be supplied because in Nigeria THE PATIENT DOG EATS NO BONE.
The parents aid their children to buy question papers for high school examinations and teachers are bribed to look away when the students are cheating or they even aid the students to answer the questions. The students have even gone ‘high tech’ by using cell phones to receive answers to question during the examinations. All these, paid for by their parents.
If you are voted into or get a government position, your friends, well-wishers and kinsmen, expect to obtain favors and money from you. You are therefore invited to fund-raising ceremonies and made the chief donor. God help you if your donation is not substantial. Also, if you are a member of a church or mosque, you are automatically made the chairman of the building committee. This is because the people expect to profit from the largesse of thievery which you are expected to engage in. And if you do not meet their expectation, you are viewed as a failure. So, in order not to ‘fail’, you have to steal.
So, as the Police official is corrupt, the teacher is corrupt. As the road safety official is corrupt, the local government official is corrupt. As the lecturer is corrupt, the students are corrupt. As the bricklayer is corrupt, the painter is corrupt. As the house maid is corrupt, the driver is corrupt, As the father is corrupt, the mother is corrupt. As the school principal or Vice Chancellor is corrupt, the trader is corrupt. As the doctor is corrupt, the patient is corrupt. So, we are in a society where corruption is the culture and from that society our leaders are elected.
At the end of it all, we all blame the government without looking at the man in the mirror. The man we give the job or we vote for in the elections is from our society of teachers, local government officials, policemen, etc. We therefore should not expect a non-corrupt government to emanate from a corrupt society.
Who exactly is this corrupt person? He looks like a phantom character, but he is not because, you see him or her always as you look at the mirror. So, if you are so eager to see the person who is corrupt, please go to the mirror.
As we approach 2023 and the elections are drawing near, check yourself. For every bribe you take to vote for a candidate, you are the man in the mirror and you are the government. For every loaf of bread you give, so you could be voted for, you are the man in the mirror and therefore the government. You will therefore quickly find out that
WE ARE ALL THE GOVERNMENT.
When I woke up yesterday, I saw many say “Happy Independence” celebrations to Nigeria. I wanted to say same, but the words got stuck on my tongue. I wanted to write same, but my fingers could not move on the keyboard. Truly, my tongue froze and my fingers ceased. I am too much of a realist to be drawn into idealism.
Despite all this, however, few in Europe see the relevance of the Protestant Reformers’ theological and spiritual vision for today. Many dismiss their doctrinal and ecclesial agenda as a mask for furthering the political and economic interests of power-hungry royalty (or, unintentionally, of zealous peasants).
Others blame the Reformation for leading Europe into divisive wars and struggles with disastrous and abiding social consequences. Most Europeans view the Reformers’ beliefs as intolerant, passé, and petty.
With few exceptions, Europe’s churches more or less agree. To advance ecumenical relationships with Catholics, the EKD will officially commemorate the anniversary as a Christusfest (festival of Christ) rather than celebrate it with the label “Reformation.”
There’s little cause for celebration anyway, as most churches have long abandoned—or, at least, significantly revised—the Reformation’s core doctrines: sola Scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, and soli Deo gloria. While the Roman Catholic church still officially rejects Scripture alone, European Protestant church leaders and university theology faculty now place the authority of human reason, the claims of higher criticism, and individual conscience over Scripture. Grace alone is of little consequence in an age when ministers minimize sin and maximize humanity’s inherent goodness and free will.
It appears Erasmus won the debate with Luther over the bondage of the will after all. Faith alone and Christ alone have been replaced by the supposedly humbler positions of “We don’t know” and “Many paths lead to God.” And soli Deo gloria is the forgotten sola, known in Germany today only through the SDG inscribed under Johann Sebastian Bach’s compositions.
Even the bulk of Europe’s evangelicals and free churches (i.e., those without ties to the state) see little use for the theology of the Reformation.
Ministers have largely traded the Reformers’ emphasis on the Christ-centered preaching of the Word for theater performances and moralistic guidelines, and the Protestant doctrine of the priesthood of all believers has warped into therapeutic individualism. Our prayer is that the same great God who sparked the Reformation 500 years ago would renew post-Christian German-speaking Europe, as well as many other regions around the globe.
In the twenty-first century church, the crave for fame and celebrity statuses has pushed many ministers to hunt for miracles or things that will make them popular. The drive for the miraculous and the spectacular has opened the pathway to deception and magic in churches. It is not therefore unusual in our days to see church ministers playing tricks or acting in the theatre of the absurd just to attract a crowd.
On March 7th 2020, The Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper published a story about one Mrs. Bose Olasunkanmi who was employed by some pastors to perform acts that resembled miracles. This was a woman who had a medical challenge that the church should have sought to help, but instead, they took advantage of her disability for profiteering and merchandising! The woman was eventually arrested by members of the Nigeria Police Intelligence Response Team. The story told by the woman indicated that the pastors used to pay her to feign so-called miracles in order to deceive their audience. They would later relocate her to another unsuspecting audience to repeat the same act. The spectators are therefore fooled into believing that the fake healing taking place was as a result of the preacher’s prayer. For her service, she is remunerated by the pastors.
About a month ago, there were lots of videos circulating on social media of a certain preacher from Northern Edo state of Nigeria who claimed that Angels were distributing money through “alerts” into people’s accounts. As soon as I watched the video, I knew that it was another case of fake miracles, and one of the deceptions going on in the church today. More so as there is no scripture passage that aligns with such act. This was simply an instance of human manipulations to extort money from the gullible. It is a very condemnable act being put up by men that we expect to be above board since they are supposed to be the representatives of the almighty God on earth. Sadly, a few weeks after, another church minister went exactly the same way using the play book of the previous minister. It is a lie to describe fellows who play such unwholesome tricks as “men of God.” It is enough to classify them rightly as tricksters and criminals and who should be treated as such. To me, they ought to be arrested and sent to jail as I don’t see how they can biblically prove or justifying the claims they are making.
The Pertinent Question
The pertinent question remains how do we stop these kinds of deception festering in the church? Some have advocated for government regulations, just as an African country like Rwanda has already adopted. However, I have never subscribed to such step, as I’m of the opinion that the state may be infringing on the rights of the worshippers because their freedom of choice and worship may be disrupted and hampered.
Moreover, it is only when the swindled considers himself or herself swindled and seeks for help, that the intervention of the government or anyone for that matter is needed. Where someone believes that they are actually contributing to the spiritual development of God’s work, one may be stomping on their religious rights and beliefs by intervening. At this point the government actually lacks the locus standi to intervene. Some may blame the gullibility of the audience and sadly, I agree with them. Nevertheless, the only reason why I think a so-called church minister, who swindles the unsuspecting congregation should be arrested is that they are saying what is not true and practicing deception.
The Way Out
I’m of the view that the religious bodies that regulate religious organizations and their activities should come out with statements strongly condemning such acts so as not to create room for a blanket insult of the church and a poor reputation of its integrity. In addition, one also expects the church leaders or elders to come out with appropriate statements rebuking such errant behaviours. The issue here is that when the church elders and leaders keep quiet, complicity is inadvertently or patently implied. Concerning the above-reported incidents, I think I have only heard one minister mentioning the ‘Angel and money’ story in passing during a sermon and condemning it. Others may have done same but I did not hear them.
Where the Danger Lies!
The effect of deceptive acts by people within its fold is terribly injurious to the church. If regulatory authorities such as Nigeria’s CAN and PFN refuse to speak out, they lay credence to insinuations that the church is complicit or is incapable of regulating itself. As a result, it is to forestall this kind of deception which is designed to ultimately defraud the people, that certain countries like Rwanda have decided to regulate the activities of the church. Nevertheless, whereas such regulations ultimately become an overkill and hamper the church’s objectives, but unfortunately, it appears the church has called for it. By allowing the government to regulate its activities, the church will give room to people who either has a negative agenda for the church or have poor knowledge about spiritual matters to dictate how the church should be run.
The adverse effects of government control on the church are enormous. For instance, how are we going to preach the gospel to people like “Mrs. Sunkanmi” who was not just the sport for the deception, but the first object of deception herself? How will she ever trust the church or its agents? We must realize that we are experiencing a paradigm shift in the culture and activities of the world. The world has shrunken considerably such that information now flows round in seconds. People now are able to obtain information and analyze it very swiftly in. We may be able to fool the baby Boomers and some of the Gen. Xs, but let us realize that the Gen.Ys and Gen. Zs are far smarter than to be put in the deception bucket! They will kick the pail and walk away and the effect on the church will not be positive.
I know that the church is marching on and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it and that is sure. We may not lose all of them, but we sure will lose a number of them and we will make people very resistant to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Am I through this kind of talk thus holding brief for the church? Far from it! I feel I am too minuscule to do that.
Surely There is an End
The church is Jesus’ Bride and He will cleanse it while those who want to introduce filth into her will only have themselves to blame. Ultimately, if these deceptive and magic-working preachers do not repent of their mess, they will have God to face. Yes, they may have turned some people back from the kingdom, but I remember that Jesus said (in Matt. 18:6b) that: “it will be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea”.
Anyone cannot therefore mess up the gospel and play tricks in God’s house and assume they will go free. If I may ask, where are some of the ministries we knew about four or five decades ago? Many ministries we saw yesterday and that we’re seeing today, will not survive the second generation. They will die within a short period after the demise of their founders.
And to those who are holding the flags right, please continue doing the right things. You may not get the crowd but those you get will join you to shine as stars on the last day.
Hold forth, brethren!
Your fellow soldier,
Pastor Nosa K, Idahosa,
All Citizens Church, Calgary
The Bible mentioned God using serpents to discipline the children of Israel in the wilderness for their ingratitude. He also brought a solution via the bronze serpent. (Numbers 21). That is how this will be. He will bring a solution very soon.
Having said that, in a world where the hatred for God and disobedience have reached an unprecedented height, I think God needed to tell us that He is still God. We have gone into high class blasphemy. To hate God now calls for celebration. Roms 1:27-29 is fully displayed in our time.
Now what suddenly happened to all the pride of the nations that believed that we had the world under control. We thought that everything was in our hands and hence God was irrelevant. Where is the nation that boasted to write its own version of the bible? Where are the nations that have threatened to eliminate God from their system? Why have we not been able to get a vaccine in spite of our so called technology? To further prove God’s point, the virus does not discriminate. It deals with the old and the young, the poor and the rich, the high and the low, the intelligent and the dumb. Sounds so much the way God operates.
The church has not helped matters. We have abandoned God and gone our ways. We have allowed the god of mammon to dictate the pace in church. Hypocrisy is the order of the day in our churches and the people justify it with absurd scriptures. We have turned the church to political turfs where we support and defend the pastors like politicians. Men of God are finding it comfortable to live in untold immorality. This includes sexual immorality. Things that were unheard of have since become the norm in our places of worship. Why will God be pleased?
He had the ability to hide us from this scourge even if it was the devil doing it but why did He choose to leave us and have us go through this?
This calls for worldwide repentance. There will be a few repentance but many will still not repent. Revelation 16:9-11 tells us that in spite of the terror that was unleashed by the angels, the people still did not repent. However, this will pass and the solution will come. I call on the world to look on to the Lord and live. It is time to cry for mercy.
This is not Armageddon. It is not even the beginning of it but just a show to the world of what the end might look like.
CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA AND PENTECOSTAL FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA- What is Our Strategy for Evangelism?