One of the most humbling experiences of the Nigerian church in the past few months is the story of Father Mbaka.
Rev. Fr. Ejike C. Mbaka is an outspoken Enugu based Catholic Priest, who runs a ministry called Adoration Ministry. He is renowned for miracles, signs and wonders that regularly accompany his ministry.
In the Months leading to the Presidential Elections, one could hardly find a single word positively spoken about Rev. Mbaka. Everyone who had any form of access to the public media, did all they could to castigate this humble servant of the Lord.
During my inquiry I found a YouTube speech that Rev. Mbaka gave at his Enugu Adoration Center. During this speech he spoke his mind quite candidly and uncompromisingly, about the upcoming Presidential Elections as well as the leading candidates.
I must admit he came across quite harsh and I am not sure I would have expressed my thoughts in quite the same way. However, if one separates the chaff from the wheat, it becomes clear that this is a man of truth, sincerity and forthrightness.
I gathered the few Nigerians that I could find around me, to assist with the inquiry. I was particularly interested to interrogate leaders from the eastern part of the country. To my surprise I found that almost everyone tried to distance himself or herself from him. Again, I found myself alone in agreeing with what this man had to say, especially when trying to defend the core message of truth and boldness that he gave to Nigerians.
I noted a very disturbing trend in the way our society responded to Father Mbaka’s outburst. It was disturbing because, irrespective of what he said or how he said it, the fact remains that he is still a citizen of the country and he has the right to express his opinion, even when we disagree. We must respect that fact. What I found was great disrespect in how people treated him. Our society must learn to tolerate differing opinions, especially when we are not quite in agreement.
Yet, a much more alarming fact that we have to consider as a society is that THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO ARE MAD AT YOU FOR SPEAKING THE TRUTH ARE THOSE WHO ARE LIVING A LIE.
If an overwhelming majority of our society repeals the truth, fights the truth and disdains the speaker of the truth. That only means one thing to me, that our society has fallen so low that we are now more comfortable with lies, deception and lip services than we are with the truth.
Even more disturbing was the fact that it was the so-called born-again and Pentecostal Pastors, who were the ones that criticized the Revered Father the most. I mean those who by virtue of calling are supposed to be the light to society, are now so much immersed in the darkness of the land, that they now resist any form of light and illumination.
Remember the only people who are mad at you for speaking the truth, are those who are living a lie.
In the words of George Orwell
“the further a society drifts from truth, the more it would hate those that speak it”
Once again it is impossible not to note that God is trying to get the attention of the Nigerian Church. He speaks to us in diverse ways and manners. The question is “Is anyone listening?”
Hebrews 1:1 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.”
It used to be that when I got saved in Nigeria in the eighties, the so called born again Christians will normally view the main stream churches like the Catholic Church, Anglican and other Protestant Churches as unspiritual to say the least. But in the last few decades, things have declined so much for the Nigerian church. There has been so much decadence, vices, corruption, dissipation, decay, excesses, in the evangelical circles, that for God to speak to a nation, he now has to go back to that part of the church which we used to despise.
Even today, I often hear some brothers and sisters refer to the Catholics as not born again and unsaved. Some even say they are not Christians at all. I don’t know about you, but if what I am seeing in the Nigerian church is anything to go by, it has now become an indictment that there might be more upright people in the so called main stream churches, compared to our Pentecostal and evangelical churches.
Some say they pray to Mary, but some of us evangelicals now pray to mammon.
Some say they wear cassock, but we now wear designer robes and dresses
Some say they light candles, but we sell anointing oil
Some say they burn incense, but we pour ‘ribena’ on each other and call it blood of Jesus.
Some say they pray with chaplets, but we now pray witchcraft prayers on our enemies to fall and die.
For any vice that we the evangelical Christians accuse the Catholic Church, the evangelical church in my country has done equally as bad or worse.
In the words of Jonathan Swift:
“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
The point I am trying to make is that if we are going to be looking for reasons why we ought not to respect other people, we would find them aplenty. But the other side would also find enough reasons and arguments to despise us. So brothers and sisters since we are building one nation and going to the same heaven. It is pointless to concentrate on each others vices and failures. Let’s rather focus on our pluses, those things that unite us as Christians and as compatriots.
Let us realize that no one has a monopoly to God. We the evangelicals don’t own the keys to heaven, neither do the main stream churches. We are all servants who received grace and mercy, we should rather be thankful not just for our salvation, but that we have people like us who believe in the same God, howbeit with their uniqueness. Our God is a God of diversity, tolerance and abundant grace.
We are all products of his grace and generosity. It is not our prerogative to judge or condemn others who are likewise saved by grace.
Do we really have the moral ground to determine who is and is not a Christian? Are we really given the authority to determine other people’s salvation or otherwise? I thought we are all supposed to work out our salvation with fear and trembling? (Phil 2:12) “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools” – Martin Luther King Jr.
My question is, can the remnant church hear the cry from heaven?
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.
What God had permitted to happen through Rev. Mbaka, is one of the diverse manners through which God is trying to tell the Nigerian church “wake up, you’re missing it, I couldn’t find someone in your midst”. Can anyone of us see the handwriting on the wall?
When God’s Prophet Balaam became so engulfed in the affairs of this world that he could no longer hear the voice of the Almighty, God resolved to speak through his donkey. (Numbers 22:28)
God can use anyone, even that which we despise!!!
Like I had earlier said, in the Eighties, it was the born again Christians that accused the Catholic Church of moral decadence. Today however, what a shame to realize that the Catholic Church which is probably the biggest single church in Nigeria, decided to suspend their membership in the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) because of the moral failure, of the Pentecostal leadership of the organization.
In a letter, dated September 24, 2012 and signed by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBNC). We see the reason why the Catholics suspended their membership. “CAN is being dragged into partisan politics thereby compromising the ability to play its true role as conscience of the nation and the voice of the voiceless.”
It used to be that in the Eighties and Nineties, members of the mainland churches: Catholics, Methodist, Anglicans, and Baptist left their denominations in droves, in search for a deeper spiritual experience. Today unfortunately, we are in a reverse mode of that. A lot of my friends and relatives are now moving back to their main stream churches from the Pentecostal assemblies. Hello everyone, does that tell you anything?
In my opinion, the Nigerian church needs to openly admit her failings and humble herself in repentance and brokenness, for God to forgive us and heal our land.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 1chr. 7:14
I hope the Nigerian church is hearing the call of the spirit, it is no more time for pride and arrogance.
Now is the time for humbling ourselves in repentance,
Now is the time to turn from our wicked ways,
Now is the time to seek God’s face,
Now is the time to pray,
Now is the time to ask for forgiveness,
Now is the time to ask God to heal our land,
Now is the time to begin to hear from heaven again.
“A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it.” – David Stevens.
Thank you very much Rev. Fr. Ejike C. Mbaka.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja.