By Masara Kim, Jos

Enough has been said about the shootings in St. Philips Catholic Church in Anambra State.

Perhaps what is now left is for the church universal to pick up its pieces and move on.

Too many lives of innocent Bible believing souls have been lost in different parts of the world from similar violent attacks.

From the anti-Christian crusades in the Middle-East, to the One-World movements in the West; from the Islamist and humanist extremists’ campaigns in parts of Europe and the West African region to mention a few…

There is no gainsaying the fact that enough losses have been recorded and probably still are being recorded by the church.

The Bible already forewarned against these occurrences thousands of years ago. As a matter of fact, the church has suffered violence right from the days of the Prophets who foretold the birth of Christ.

Therefore, wailing over the lives lost in the Ozubulu incident, as unfortunate as it seems might not change things. Christian martyrs are in fact seeds for Gospel expansion. 

The Church must soldier on no matter the obstacles. In doing so however, total care has to be taken. This is to avoid dining with the devil and somehow expecting that he would change from his evil self.

It is true that the biggest suspect in the crisis, “Bishop” whom the Church had already named a Saint, Aloysius has denied all allegations against him.

But while it was simply unreasonable and perhaps premature to draw any conclusions on his involvement in the conflict, his disclaimer which comes with legal threats is just not good enough.

The stories and evidences of the Bishop’s involvement in Church and community development are overwhelming. He has built different multimillion naira cathedrals including the St. Philips Church.

Singlehandedly Building Churches

He has single-handedly tarred roads measuring kilometers. That is in addition to numerous other donations he has made to different families, individuals, groups and organizations.

From the records, his personal contributions to the church and the community he lives in can simply be measured in billions.

In fact he seems to have had a culture of celebrating his birthdays with one form of philanthropic project or the other.

Now if he is that rich as to take up the responsibilities of the government in his community, how comes he has never been listed among the top 100 richest men in Nigeria?

There is indeed no smoke without fire. He might not necessarily be into drug related business but whatever it is that he is into, no one can really vouch for his legitimacy in business.

Unfortunately, both the church and the government have joyously loosed itself in heightened sense of receptiveness to his entire humanitarian work without concern.

Deep Spiritual Need

This young man could be in a situation of deep spiritual want. Rather than being won over to the light however, he is busy winning the church over to himself. Same is the situation with many churches across Africa and perhaps the world at large. Self-control is one of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit.

That however seems lacking in today’s church when it comes to financial cravings, a good sign that the Holy Spirit is nonexistent in it.

That perhaps explains why the church can only hide its fears in ceaseless spiritual consultations in the face of physical attacks.

Church behind its problems.

Ordinarily, one should expect that just by the mention of a word as Christ did, every principality would bow. But that is only possible when the Holy Spirit is alive and active.

Thus, we pray and never end it let alone to execute any actions in line with the answers or instructions we must have received in the course of the two-way communication – prayer.

The church today seems to celebrate edifices more than spirituality, positions more than righteousness and offerings more than obedience to the word of God.

No wonder, it can’t possibly rebuke wrong doing let alone to concern itself with where or how members get the wealth they lavish on its programs.

Chairman of the Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOUWICAN), David Kadzai recently expressed anger at this and it did so for a very good reason.

People are dying and need salvation but the emphasis is on something else. In the end, no gain is made spiritually and no gain physically.

We would still be attacked and killed as people who genuinely serve the lord. After all, those against the church don’t know the difference between a genuine and a pretentious Christian.

Rearrange priorities

The idea here is for the church to rearrange its priorities and adhere strictly to its mandate of making disciples. This is the great commission that it exists for. Making disciples here means grooming people in the way of God and preparing them for heaven.

A disciple in simple terms means someone who learns at the feet of another and seeks to pattern his life after the person teaching him. It is a combination of practical coaching in terms of skills impartation and exemplary guidance.

The church in this regard is called to set the pace as light and salt – direct the lives of the people through proper lifestyles and teachings.

The values of the church in other words should be seen to be influencing the world around it and not the other way round.

Unfortunately, what we see today is people of the world somewhat influencing the church. The church is the one being coached and most often than not, transformed by the world it is called to affect.

That is why it is difficult to turn down any gift just as it is difficult to maintain independence and authority in executing decisions with regards to the lives of members. Accepting gifts is no problem but it shouldn’t blur the vision of the church with regards to its goals.

Obedience the bible says is better than sacrifice. If an individual brings a gift to the church, knowing such is being done in the name of God, the only fair thing the church would do for him is to not just pray for him but draw him closer to God in order that his investment wouldn’t be a waste.

In drawing such a one to God, the church must be ready to sacrifice what it is benefitting from the person in question by letting out the necessary sanctions or rebuke when they err.

Truth of course is hardly compatible with power. But knowing it is done in the interest of the person receiving it and in the interest of salvation, man’s access-point to heaven, made available by God through love in Christ, it should never be compromised.

Asking the difficult question and rejecting any gifts or offerings where in doubt is one sure way to stay in charge spiritually and in line with its call.

And unless the church retains its independence and sense of authority, it would perhaps always end up going cap in hand begging for people to stay around it and be of support.

And where such comes to play, people can continue doing the wrong things as long as they have something the church wants, and in the end, the great commission would have been violated.