Why I Blame Pastor Adeboye For The Continued Ban on Church Services in Parts of Nigeria
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Sometimes, silence is not golden. That is why I find the continued silence of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian church of God (RCCG) quite disturbing in the face of the elongated closure of the church in Lagos, Ogun and other parts of the country.
Of course I am aware that the ban affects all religious gatherings, but in this article I am going to focus on the church became that is my primary constituency.
Pastor Adeboye is not just an ordinary man of God, he is an elder statesman and wields influence far beyond the realms pf religion. Many people have described him as the Billy Graham of Nigeria because of his towering image and reputation as a religious figure. And they are not wrong, because he is well respected and differed to as a father and mentor by other leading church founders and pastors. His voice also commands respect even among businessmen and politicians. View pictures in App save up to 80% data. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
But despite his accomplishments in the religious sector and beyond, Pastor Adeboye is well known for his modesty and unassuming disposition; and you will rarely find him speaking against any government action or policy, no matter how unpopular, rather he would always lead his congregation to pray for the leaders.
Every times Government at any level gives a directive; Pastor Adeboye will make sure to obey. And since early March when government announced a lock down of all activities to check the spread of coronavirus Pastor Adeboye and RCCG have complied strictly. All RCCG parishes have been under lock since then, Sunday and midweek services have been cancelled. Services only hold online and on broadcast platforms, same for many churches. View pictures in App save up to 80% data. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
Of course, the decision to close the churches and other places of worship was not a popular one, a number of pastors didn’t like the idea, because according to them, it negates the integrity of the church as a place where people get healings and deliverances. pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, Founder of Believers’ Love World popularly known as Christ Embassy is one of the pastor that criticized the decision. Pastor Chris lambasted the pastors that.
He said such leaders were not true Christians as they did not ask the government for time to pray and consult with their congregation. But still, all churches, including Christ Embassy went along with the plan because they understood the need of the time, and they trusted government to reverse the order as soon as possible. View pictures in App save up to 80% data. View pictures in App save up to 80% data. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
However, in the last three to four weeks as government began to embark on phased reopening of the economy, the church seem to have been carefully relegated to the background especially in Lagos and Ogun and a number of other States as well as Abuja. This is without prejudice to the role the church as a place where people find succor and solution to social problems.
Regardless of what many people may think, the church is an essential part of human life, especially Christians. The church keeps people grounded and eases the burden of life by providing a bedrock of faith and answers to humanity’s deepest worries. The role of the modern church is indispensable because it feels a void only the church can. View pictures in App save up to 80% data. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
This is why keeping the church locked for too long is bad not just for the Christians but also for the wellbeing of the society. Some have argued that the church is not the building that the people are the church and therefore service can be held online and other media platforms. If course they are right. But online service cannot take the place of physical meetings. More so, we must also take into cognizance the millions of Christians in rural locations who don’t have access to internet or satellite TV.
And that is why church leaders like Daddy GO cannot afford to stay quiet any longer. I am of the opinion that if someone like Daddy GO speaks up, the weight if his voice will bring some pressure to bear in the authority and they will fast-forward the opening of the church. View pictures in App save up to 80% data. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
If the government is confident enough to open the markets, howbeit for a limited time, without worries that they would flout the social distancing rule, then the logic for keeping the church closed is not justifiable. As far as I know, the church in Nigeria is one of the most organized sectors in the country. It is one place that social distancing can be achieved faster and more easily than the markets.
The truth is that if the clergymen continue to show ”understanding: with government and go along with the closure, then they may not have a congregational worship for a long time, because some government doesn’t seem to understand the importance of faith. View pictures in App save up to 80% data. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
Like someone said recently, the church cannot be treated as a subordinate to other social and economic interest. So just like we cannot keep businesses or the markets closed for longer than necessary, keeping the worship centers closed for long has implications too. Because just like we need physical food for the body we also need spiritual food to edify the spirit and not everyone has access to internet.