Pastors Kumuyi, Oritsejafor, Adeboye and T.B. Joshua have given divergent admonitions to Nigerian Christians on how to respond to the menace and genocide of the religious sect called Boko Haram. I have carefully reviewed the views of these eminent and other men of God in Nigeria from authentic sources in Nigeria before expressing my view.
Pastor Oritsejafor is the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). He admonished Christians to defend themselves against the attacks of Boko Haram members to save their lives and properties since the Nigerian government has failed in that regard. Pastor E.A. Adeboye is the General Overseer of the biggest Pentecostal church in Nigeria. Pastor Adeboye agreed with the advice of Pastor Oritsejafor. Evangelist Uma Ukpai, a very renowned minister of the gospel and Bishop Mike Okonkwo, former President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria concurred with the idea of self-defense.
Pastor W.F. Kumuyi is the General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry. He publicly rejected the idea of self-defense. He advised Christians not to defend themselves or retaliate against the members of Boko Haram but to pray to God to touch the hearts of the members of the Boko Haram so that they will refrain from killing Christians. His solution was that a national conference should be called so that all stakeholders can deliberate on the problems confronting us as a nation and to find solutions to them.
Pastor T.B. Joshua, quoting from the Book of Daniel 3:16 advised Christians not to defend themselves against Boko Haram and to look up to God to defend them.
The division in the Body of Christ in Nigeria is very evident from the divergent views of the most influential men of God on how Christians in Nigeria ought to respond to the evils of Boko Haram. Surely, a house divided against itself cannot stand. I therefore encourage these men of God, in the name of the Lord, to work together in the interest of the Nigerian Church. When we get to heaven, there will be no Deeper life Christian Church or Redeemed Christian Church of God or any other denomination. There will be one bridegroom and one bride-the church. The advice of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor appeared to be the position of the church in Nigeria on the issue because of his position in the Body of Christ in Nigeria. The advice of Pastor Kumuyi appeared to be the” dissenting opinion” of the church on the issue. Pastor Kumuyi has a history of not relating with other men of God. In fact, when I was schooling in the University of Benin, the members of Deeper Life would not attend programs organized by other denominations because they claimed that they did not want to be contaminated. When the leaders of CAN and PFN were deliberating on how to respond to the menace of Boko Haram, it was obvious that Pastor Kumuyi was not there. If Pastor Kumuyi was at the meeting, he could have persuaded other Christian leaders not to issue a joint statement that Christians should embark on self defense in the future against Boko Haram. I do not know if he was invited or not to the said meeting. I do know that Bishop Okonkwo said many years ago that Pastor Kumuyi was not attending programs organized by other Pentecostal churches in Nigeria when the latter invited other churches to attend his own program on one occasion. I respectfully plead with Pastor Kumuyi to try his best to bridge the gap in the Body of Christ in Nigeria and encourage members of his church to interact with other Christians.
Anyway back to the subject of the various admonitions of these Christian leaders to the Body of Christ in Nigeria on Boko Haram, I respectfully think that they are all wrong. Self-defense in the face of attacks from members of Boko Haram will lead to a free-for-all fight, anarchy, maiming, genocide and possible civil war. I however concede that in some instances, Christians may embark on self defense or the defense of others. Such instances include when an armed robber breaks into the home of a Christian man and want to rape his wife and daughter in that home or kill the man of the house or where assassins want to kill a Christian or where kidnappers want to kidnap a Christian.
Pastor Kumuyi’s advice that Christians should not retaliate is sound and scriptural. He is also correct on his position that Christians should not embark on self defense in the peculiar situation of Boko Haram. He will not be correct if he is advocating that Christians should never embark on self defense in all situations. Unfortunately, his advice did not address what Christians are to do to save themselves from Boko Haram. If Pastor Kumuyi is advocating a do-nothing view, I am unable to agree with him because most Christians will eventually be killed by Boko Haram once the latter realizes that the former is looking for martyrdom. Christianity may be wiped out from Nigeria in the process like in Egypt and Libya.
Pastor T.B. Joshua may not be respected in Nigeria because a prophet is not honored by his own people but he is very popular outside Nigeria for his mesmerizing miracles and very accurate and specific prophecies. His ability to work miracles is not in dispute but some Christians believe his power is not from God. I express no opinion on the source of his power because I do not know. Anyway, T.B. Joshua believes that Christians should not defend themselves but allow God to defend them. He cited the three Hebrew men who told king Nebuchadnezzar that they would not defend themselves but would look up to God to defend them. God is not expecting us to ask him to fix a problem that we can fix by ourselves. I cannot tell God to help me brush my teeth when I wake up in the morning or wash my clothes or mown my lawns because I have the ability to do those things. On the other hand, if I am diagnosed with an incurable disease, I have to look up to God to cure me because I cannot help myself in that situation. In the case of the three Hebrew men, they were completely helpless because they had been captured by the wicked king. The situation of the Nigerian Christian is totally different. All Christians in Nigeria have not been captured and imprisoned by Boko Haram and waiting to be killed. The advice of T.B. Joshua is therefore not useful.
Since I have rejected the various admonitions of the most influential and popular men of God on the issue at stake, I respectfully and humbly offer this advice to Christians who are exposed or may be exposed to attacks from Boko Haram’s sect-“flee, flee and flee”. Jesus said in Mathew 10:23, “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes”. Jesus avoided the religious leaders who were planning to kill him before his appointed time. Christians, who can escape, but nevertheless allow themselves to be killed prematurely, are not martyrs and will not receive the martyrs’ crown when they get to heaven. My advice is that Christians who are exposed or may be exposed to the attacks of Boko Haram; and especially Christians in the North of Nigeria should relocate to the South, at least on a temporary basis, until the ineffective Nigerian government is able to tackle the menace of Boko Haram in the North. I rest my case.
The renowned men of God on doubt said their individual opinions based on their different perceptions of the bible. The bible is one book no man no matter highly placed in the things of God, can claim mastery of. It is a book of revelations and one can only know to the extent of revelations one has received from God. Based on this, I will say that their individual opinions does not in any show mean that Christianity is divided. Though there are different denominations in the Christiandom, yet there are things that bind us together and these tenents of Christianity are found in all demoninations. It is one fold, one shephard.
This is what the word of God is saying