BEING TEXT OF SPEECH DELIVERED BY PASTOR ‘TUNDE BAKARE ON THE OCCASION OF THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF YABA BAPTIST CHURCH ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2012.
I joined this train thirty-eight years ago in a very supernatural manner on September 24, 1974 and was baptized by immersion here in our baptistry by late Rev. Emmanuel A. Alabi of blessed memory. I attended our discipleship programme Baptist Training Union (B.T.U.) and by God’s grace kept on growing in the faith till I served as the Youth Pastor in 1980 during the era of our Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. James Olawaiye, also of blessed memory.
It was from here I enrolled at the University of Lagos in 1977 and graduated in 1980. It is impossible to forget the meaningful contributions of certain individuals within the Christian Fellowship of Yaba Baptist Church such as late Bro. Julius Ajayi and Bro. Taiwo Kehinde, now in the U.S., to my university education, not to mention the unique role of my own uncle and auntie – the Adeyoyins – who opened their home to me during my law school year in 1980/81. I am forever grateful to God Almighty who, in His infinite mercies, had ordained before time began that Yaba Baptist Church would be the cradle of my conversion to Christianity. Whenever the history of my life is written, Yaba Baptist Church will be written in gold. Thank you so much for your magnanimity.
My beautiful wife of twenty-eight years and mother of our five wonderful children is here with me, and so are leaders and members of our ministry. For us, this is homecoming.
Now, to the assignment allotted to me by the organisers of our 70th anniversary, namely the anniversary lecture titled:
1. EVIL HAS GONE GLOBAL
Almost everywhere on planet earth, the systems of men are failing to either facilitate development in the third world or sustain it in the first as evident in the economic crises in Europe with Spain, Greece and Portugal on the brink; the political shakings among Arab nations from Libya to Syria; the societal decay in America manifesting in insecurity and moral tumble; and the seemingly insurmountable problem of governmental dysfunction, disease, hunger and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. It is axiomatic to state, without fear of contradiction, that as it was at the beginning of creation when God said, “Let there be light”, so it is in the present: the successful reconstruction of the social, economic and political landscape of the nations of the earth must be preceded by the manifestation of light through the carriers of the glory of God. These carriers of the light of His glory must permeate the seven mountains of society: Arts and Entertainment, Media, Education, Family, Religion, Business and Government with the light that they carry.
Now, to the lecture proper.
2. GOD AND GOVERNMENT
There are three major institutions created by God: (i) The Family (ii) Government (iii) The Church. In the wisdom of God, the family institution supplies the human resources for both government and the church. Consequently, everyone in the church or government is an ambassador of his or her family for good or evil — that is, individuals in the church and government can only display their family values and ideals.
From Genesis to Revelation the Bible contains a plethora of scriptures that settle the matter of God and government. In Isaiah 33:22, all the arms of government are vested in God:
For the LORD is our Judge, The LORD is our Lawgiver, The LORD is our King; He will save us. (NKJV)
In the New Testament, Ephesians 4:1-6 states that the same God who controls the three arms of government is the Father of all, and He is in us and through us all:
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (NKJV)
Not only that, Isaiah 9 also spells out that the government is upon the shoulders of Jesus Christ:
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6 & 7; NKJV)
Please note the difference between a child and a son:
Ecclesiastes 10:16 & 17 (NKJV):
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, And your princes feast in the morning! 17Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, And your princes feast at the proper time– For strength and not for drunkenness!
Besides all these, Jesus Christ paid the absolute price for good governance when He died on the cross to redeem us all and that which was lost:
Psalm 22:1–2 (NKJV):
1 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? 2O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent.
Psalm 22:16–21 (NKJV):
16 For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; 17 I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. 18 They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. 19 But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! 20 Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. 21 Save Me from the lion’s mouth And from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me.
What was the answer given to the question in Psalm 22:1: ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani!’
Psalm 22:27-31 (NKJV)
27 All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD’s, And He rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive. 30 A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, 31 They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this.
The Book of Daniel states that God rules in the affairs of men and gives rulership to whoever He wills, even the basest of men.
Daniel 4:13–17 (NKJV):
13 “I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 He cried aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, And the birds from its branches.15Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, Bound with a band of iron and bronze, In the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, And let him graze with the beasts On the grass of the earth. 16 Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times pass over him. 17 ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’
Daniel 4:34–37 (NKJV):
34 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?” 36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
In addition to all these points, the Book of Romans – which I consider the Magna Carta of our Christian Liberty – labels those in government as ministers of God and also stipulates that there is a gift of government given by the Holy Spirit:
Romans 12:3-8 (KJV):
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Romans 13:1-7 (NKJV):
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
Now we know it was the Holy Spirit in Joseph, David and Daniel that made them icons of good governance and exemplary leadership gifts to their respective generations.
Genesis 41:37-43 (NKJV):
37 So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, “Bow the knee!” So he set him over all the land of Egypt.
I Samuel 16:11-13 (NKJV):
11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
Daniel 5:8-12 (NKJV):
8 Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished. 10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father–your father the king–made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.12Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”
Part of Joseph’s role was to teach the senators of Egypt wisdom:
Psalm 105:16-22 (KJV):
16 Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread. 17He sent a man before them, [even] Joseph, [who] was sold for a servant: 18Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: 19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him. 20 The king sent and loosed him; [even] the ruler of the people, and let him go free. 21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: 22 To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.
Need I say more? The main reason Christians are not involved in politics as they should be is the fear of contamination. Daniel showed that you can have contact without contamination and Joseph showed that you can be in Egypt without Egypt being in you. Besides, while the Heroes of Faith in the Bible used their faith to subdue kingdoms, we use ours for material acquisition, forgetting that the nations of the earth are our inheritance as kings and priests of our God, and their thrones and dominions are for us to take and display the flag of the kingdom of God on top of them all.
Psalm 2:7 & 8 (NKJV):
7 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
Colossians 1:12-18 (NKJV):
12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Hebrews 11:32-39 (NKJV):
32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,
Romans 5:17 (NKJV):
For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Revelation 1:1-6 (NKJV):
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants–things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. 4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Only the ignorant would limit or exclude the participation of Christians in politics. Such men and women quote out of context the testimony of Jesus before Pilate when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
John 18:33-38 (NKJV):
33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.
If such ignorant people read the whole counsel of God, they will understand that it does not make sense for God to send the whole church to the whole world to pray and preach “Thy kingdom come” if He has no intention of influencing and taking over the entirety of the kingdoms of the earth, beginning from now till He comes.
Romans 1:1-5 (NKJV):
1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,
Revelation 10:1-7 (NKJV):
1 I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.” 5 The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven 6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, 7 but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
Revelation 11:15 & 16 (NKJV):
15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,
In concluding this first segment on God and government, I would like to encourage as many as are led by the Spirit of God to participate in partisan politics to gird their loins and reclaim the land from the despicable ravages of corruption, kleptocracy and violence. We are not to fold our arms in the face of massive oppression and shut our mouths while the ungodly execute their evil schemes in the corridors of power — that would be sinful silence.
Ecclesiastes 4:1-3 (NKJV):
1 Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, But they have no comforter– On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter. 2 Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, More than the living who are still alive. 3 Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, Who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 5:8 & 9 (NKJV):
8 If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them. 9 Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field.
Psalm 12:5 (NKJV):
“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, Now I will arise,” says the LORD; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”
Exodus 2:24 & 25 (NKJV):
24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.
Exodus 3:7-10 (NKJV):
7 And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
Proverbs 22:22 & 23 (NKJV):
22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the LORD will plead their cause, And plunder the soul of those who plunder them.
Proverbs 29:2 (NKJV):
2When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
Ladies and gentlemen, the gospel is not just about evangelism; it is also about being salt, light and leaven throughout the whole culture. God came to reconcile not just our souls but everything to Himself. Jesus came not just to win souls but to seek and save that which was lost – to recover the lost dominion.
As Plato said,
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
GOD FORBID. The grip of corruption on the planet earth can only be broken by the manifestation of the sons of God.
Romans 8:18-22 (KJV):
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Remember: ONLY TRANSFORMED PEOPLE CAN TRANSFORM NATIONS.
Segment II: Questions Demanding Biblical Answers
Should Christians be involved in partisan politics? It seems that the answer to this question has already been made plain within the first segment of this lecture, but to show the aggravation and degradation caused by our non-involvement posture, let us consider the participation of non-Christians in partisan politics. Unlike many Christians who have separated the secular from the spiritual and confused separation with isolation, forgetting that God who is Spirit created the physical world and the Word became flesh and lived among us so that we can come to the understanding that God does not make such distinctions, Muslims do not make separation of state from religion their agenda. In fact, they fuse them together because, in reality, no one can truly separate Faith from Family and Finances from Freedom.
In this regard, Muslims seem to have been wiser. A study of Nigerian and even North African history will reveal the fact that political dominance has been a core element in major moves to propagate Islam. From the Kanem-Borno empire in 1068 AD to the Borno empire that subsequently succeeded it in 1380 AD and from the Hausa City States which emerged from around 1000 AD to the middle belt state of Nupe, the advent of Islam was accompanied by political revolution and restructuring in the Islamic order. Islamic traders often targeted kings and converted them to Islam because they realized that once they could get the throne, they could capture the city. History has it that Tunisia in North Africa was a Christian nation which produced the likes of St. Augustine, the historically acclaimed theologian. However, at some point in history, schism or division arose in the Tunisian church over such issues as forms of worship. Hence, instead of consolidating the Christian presence in the polity, the church was divided. Christianity was later swept away by desert Arabs who were unified by the teachings of Prophet Mohammed. This is a classic case of church politics preventing the establishment of the kingdom through Christians’ involvement in national politics. It is not surprising, therefore, that Jesus said that the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of the kingdom.
The point being made here is that, all things, including and especially the political, are to be brought under subjection to the obedience of Christ, and just as Christ ascended and descended, permeating every sphere so that He can fill all in all, we cannot bring a world that we fail to participate in under subjection to Christ’s obedience.
1. Relevant Historical Examples
History has a record of men and women who stepped out of the four walls of the church into society to create change in the political landscape. First we see the biblical Joseph and Daniel who stood tall for God as political administrators in foreign lands. Their experience should be an encouragement for New Testament believers because just like we who are citizens of a Holy nation within an earthly nation, they were strangers in foreign lands. They were appointed by monarchs who embodied the sovereignty of the respective foreign lands, Egypt and Babylon. In our case, there are no longer monarchs in the order of Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar but sovereignty now resides in the people and the people confer part of that sovereignty on individual leaders through elective processes. Therefore, as Christians, we can distinguish ourselves to the point of being chosen by God through the people to serve in political offices.
However, it is almost safe to state that, while many people have no problems with Christians in politics, their grouse is with pastors actively participating in partisan politics. Such people fail to realize that Daniel was a prophet, that David was a shepherd, taking care of his father’s sheep before he was called to shepherd a nation, that Samuel was a prophet who also governed Israel, and that Melchizedek was both King of Salem and Priest of the Most High God. Revelation 1:6 also states that Jesus
“has made us kings and priests to His God and Father” (NKJV).
It is this revelation that has spurred several Christian men and women who have stood out and shone as light in the political terrain. Some of these believers were or are pastors and ministers. Yet, like Melchizedek, these individuals participated in politics from the pulpit. It is interesting to note that there have been Baptist pastors and Baptist leaders in active partisan politics, including the following:
Martin Luther King Jr., the renowned American civil rights activist was a Baptist minister.
[li]William H. Gray – former Congressman and minister. [/li]
[li]Jesse Jackson – Presidential candidate, civil rights activist and Baptist minister. [/li]
[li]Pat Robertson – Republican supporter, former United States presidential nomination candidate, and former Baptist pastor. [/li]
[li]President Jimmy Carter – The Sunday School teacher who became Governor of Georgia and subsequently the President of the United States. He also later wrote a powerful book titled Religion and Politics Can Mix. [/li]
[li]Anglican Priests Walter Lini and John Bani governed their nation the Republic of Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, as Prime Minister and President respectively; Abraham Kuyper, a Dutch Reformed Church Minister, was Prime Minister of Netherlands between 1901 and 1905. The list goes on and on.[/li]
[h4]2. THE NATURE OF THE KINGDOM[/h4]
As the topic suggests, God’s intention through the involvement of the carriers of the light of His glory in national politics is the advancement of His kingdom. It is imperative that we define the nature of God’s kingdom and bring it into the context of national politics especially in our nation Nigeria.
The word ‘kingdom’ comes from two words, king and domain. The kingdom of God simply means God’s supreme and powerful rule. God’s agenda is to establish His supreme and powerful rule, not just in every sphere of human endeavour, but in society as an organized state such that He will have societies modelled after His template. This is the mandate for kingdom citizens. The kingdom of God and the citizens of that kingdom are marked by the following attributes:
[li]i. The kingdom cannot be shaken: In the midst of social, economic, and political upheavals, true citizens of the kingdom of God are unshakeable, hence, have the capacity to hold society together. [/li]
[li]ii. It is not meat and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, hence, religion cannot advance the kingdom. [/li]
[li]iii. It is advanced forcefully by its citizens whose minds are made up and whose creed is “no retreat, no rethink, no surrender”. [/li]
[li]iv. The kingdom does not debate or cut deals; it is advanced by uncompromising nonconformists for whom Christ is all in all. [/li]
[li]v. The kingdom will cut and grind into powder every impostor; it is advanced by the Zion church and will damage and break every city that is not built on the foundation of justice. [/li]
[li]vi. By implication, it will swallow up other kingdoms. [/li]
[li]vii. It will fill all the earth. [/li]
[li]viii. It is not beneath any other kingdom; it is above other kingdoms. [/li]
[h4]3. Society as an Organized State Modelled According to THE Kingdom of God[/h4]
When this kingdom permeates the political atmosphere, it shakes the foundation of injustice and leaves behind an equitable and just society modelled after its template. The following are some of the features of a society as an organized state modelled according to the blueprint of the kingdom of God:
[li]i. By nature, leadership in such a society is structured to provide solutions to complaints, problems and burdens. [/li]
[li]ii. Therefore leadership position is given to men and women who are wise, understanding and knowledgeable. In other words, the brightest and the fittest are given leadership responsibilities. [/li]
[li]iii. However, the form of government is representative as every sub-national entity elects representatives by a transparent electoral process to produce a pattern of representative consensus such that God’s choice meets with the choice of the people. [/li]
[li]iv. The law and court system are impartial and unprejudiced. [/li]
[li]v. It has a process of appeal and the judges know that God is the ultimate judge, hence His fear guides their judgement. [/li]
[li]vi. The law is comprehensive and deals with matters of justice no matter how big or small. [/li]
[li]vii. Leaders under such a system are just, ruling in the fear of God, not following the whims and caprices of political parties. [/li]
[li]viii. The economic system is run on the principle that recognizes that the profit of the land is for all such that even the king is supplied from the field (Ecclesiastes 5:9; NKJV). [/li]
[li]ix. It is furthermore guided by the principle of just and equitable distribution of resources where the resources of each region are used for the development of that region while each region contributes to the national purse. [/li]
[li]x. Finally, it runs on the principle of debt cancellation to prevent an indefinite debt burden. [/li]
[h4]4. The Nigerian State Against the Backdrop of God’s Template [/h4]
Let us examine the extent to which Nigeria, a country whose population is between 40% and 50% Christian, models this template.
We must realize that when complaints are not attended to, they develop into problems and when problems are not solved, they become burdens. Nigeria has seen the evolution of national burdens from complaints that leadership has failed to attend to. Take, for instance, the issue of violence. It is sheer hypocrisy to attempt to separate violence from corruption. The Bible categorically associates these twin devils. When those entrusted with the sacred duty of managing public funds loot the treasury in personal aggrandizement and flaunt ill-gotten wealth as lonely islands of prosperity in a vast ocean of poverty, we need not wonder why armed robbery in the south, kidnappings in the south-east, and terrorism in the north, would be the result,
[li] 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted the earth (Genesis 6:11-12, NKJV). [/li]
When many of these crises were in their budding stage, the government, in many cases, merely set up committees whose reports were never implemented. Nigeria is a nation where the groaning of the poor and oppressed, being not speedily attended to, has developed into serious national burdens threatening the foundation of our national existence.
The next logical question would then be, what quality of leadership have we had as a nation, at least since the return to civil rule – wise, understanding and knowledgeable leaders or self-serving, incompetent impostors? What leadership wisdom would leave 70% of the population below poverty line while the leadership feeds fat from looting the treasury? What leadership wisdom would play games with the vital question of succession and would leave as its legacy a destabilized political terrain under the headship of an invalid president brought in through a questionable electoral process that would leave the nation in disarray for months thereby creating a power vacuum that became a power hijack? What wisdom would corner three trillion naira in an unprecedented fuel subsidy scam, fail to admit connivance and prosecute offenders, and go ahead to subject the citizens to an excruciating economic regime under the guise of a transformation agenda? I must point out here that whereas God has a template for national transformation, Satan has one, too. While God produces change from within that leads to change without, Satan merely transforms himself to an angel of light while what is within is as corrupt as ever; it is a white sepulcher kind of transformation. That kind of transformation cannot produce God’s kingdom in national politics.
Again, the next logical question would be, what is the nature of the electoral process that brought about the kind of leadership we have had since 1999? Since the return to civil rule in Nigeria, most election results have been contested in the courts. While a good number were upturned, some were retained through very controversial judicial processes such as the one which accompanied the 2011 elections in which a ruling by the President of the Court of Appeal for the electoral body to subject ballot papers to forensic test was not only ignored but led to the unconstitutional removal of the judge who gave the ruling and his replacement by another who gave a contrary ruling on the same issue. We need to ask ourselves: Do we as a nation truly have leadership by representative consensus where God’s choice meets man’s choice? Wherever, God’s choice has been amended to suit man’s choice, the result has been unpalatable, as seen in God’s description of the kind of king Israel would have when they rejected Him and asked for a king like other nations (See I Samuel 8). Does the spirit of ill will which is being meted out to this government by the people not speak volumes as to the quality of representation?
Having already made allusion to the powerlessness of the law and the proceeding of perverse judgments from the courts, it suffices one to state that the constitutional foundation upon which the nation is currently governed is based on falsehood as “we the people” have not sat down to agree on how we will be governed, neither has this government shown any commitment to lasting constitutionalism.
The inequity in the Nigerian economy is glaring for all to see, with the leaders feeding themselves fat on security votes that are not accounted for and with the lopsided economic structure characterized by a mono-product economy that puts a strain on one region while resources in other regions are not fully utilized; more so, we have been a lazy nation that cannot refine its crude or process its raw materials because of the cluelessness and insincerity of government.
One can go on and on to highlight how the Nigerian state deviates from the God state in various spheres of societal existence from health to education where the statistics are dismal with a life expectancy of forty-seven years, with hospitals that are not good enough to serve the political class who must go abroad to attend to their medical needs, a worrisome education sector with an over 60% failure rate in public examinations which puts the nation’s future at a disadvantage, and so on.
[h4]5.The Nigerian State: A Verdict on the Nigerian Church[/h4]
We need to ask ourselves salient questions: Are these events occurring because we do not have Christians in national politics? Are some of the looters in government and their counterparts in the private sector – the corporate cowboys – not members of churches? Do they not get front rows in churches? Are they not deacons and elders in churches? Are the priests – the GOs, the Bishops, the Reverends, Pastors, or whatever label they go by – living up to their responsibilities as watchmen to warn the princes, or are they feeding fat from the loot and giving them prayer cover as prayer contractors? To be more succinct, since the return to civil rule in 1999 which amounts to thirteen years, we have spent ten years of those thirteen under the leadership of presidents who claim to be Christians and who have had the backing of the church in Nigeria and around whose corridors church leaders have hobnobbed. Yet the nation is in such a despicable state. It was Martin Luther who, responding to such hypocrisy in his day, once said,
[li] “I’d rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian”. [/li]
This is the verdict on the church in Nigeria. When the kingdom advances with the emergence of the true church, the compromised church which cannot heal a dying nation will not stand, it will be sifted and blown away as the impostor that it is.
[h4]6.The Way Forward[/h4]
What, then, is the way forward? The true church must emerge! In the midst of corruption and decay, gross darkness taking over the soul of the nation, there has never been a better time to shine as light. The church must come out of church politics and step into national politics. Rather than bring politics to church, let believers take church to politics. But the church that must take church to politics must not be the Sinai church that is bound by religion or the compromised church that is bound by greed and corruption because these will be blown away with the shaking that is coming. It calls for the Zion church that leans on grace, a new breed without greed and a radical opposition to corruption. Church leadership must wash itself clean from the crookedness that is in the polity and must commit itself to feeding the flock and strategically equipping and positioning them for kingdom advance in every sphere of influence, including and especially the political sphere.
The Church must become the mouthpiece of God speaking out to unblock the minds of the people, restore voices to the voiceless, defreeze social mobility and restore sovereignty to the people. It is why The Latter Rain Assembly is strongly connected to the destiny of this nation and why we do what many others would not do; it is what led to the formation of Save Nigeria Group. It is what led us to march the streets of Abuja and Lagos when the seat of power was unconstitutionally hijacked; it is what took us to Freedom Square at Ojota for five days in January to resist the plundering of our people by a corrupt and clueless government; it is what made us join men of like minds, though of different creeds, in the bid to rescue our nation from the hands of oppressors – rulers who hate her, disguising as leaders; it is what made me accept the invitation to be running mate to General Muhammadu Buhari on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change; it is why I am committed to this cause, because, like Jesus, for this cause was I born and to this end came I into the world — that Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed and Nigeria will be great again!
So from this same place where I saw the light, I make this passionate appeal to the church in Nigeria. Let the true church arise and line up with the move of God to bring about change in our nation.
Happy anniversary; God bless you and God bless Nigeria.