The evil bow down before the good; And the wicked, at the gates of the righteous.” (Proverbs 14:19)
Screaming at the top of his voice, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “The church must be reminded that it is the conscience of the state.” For a nation like Nigeria, the idea that the church should remain apathetic or, at best, remain silent in the wake of the disastrous tyranny of political leadership being unleashed on millions of people is sickening to the ears and at complete loggerheads with the Bible. Historically, tyrants have always leveraged on this faulty ideology that the church must stand as a distinct entity from politics. William Federer calls this, “the separation concept.” And in any society where evil must thrive, heartless political elites, plus their collaborators in the church, would always advocate for a separation between the church and politics.
This was exactly the path that the Nazis took that plunged millions of innocent Germans to their early graves. But since the days of Biblical prophets like Samuel, Elijah, and Jeremiah, among others, God’s prophets had always been a “thorn in the flesh” of wicked monarchs. At a particular time, Ahab called Elijah his enemy (1 Kings 22:8). In fact, some of these wicked leaders in the Bible, among whom was Ahab, would dread every meeting or encounter with a true prophet of God. Up until our generation, it had never happened that prophets or servants of God would be caught in a public fraternity with corrupt political elites. It is an aberration that is totally abhorrent to the almighty God, one that should never be justified by anyone except idol worshippers, men and women who worship men above God.
When a genuine prophet of God speaks in Biblical times, and a political leader queries or counters him, that leader has signed the warrant for his judgement. As it was with God’s true prophets in the Bible, so should it be for God’s true leaders in the body of Christ in our days. Why should there be coziness between the kind of destiny vandalisers like the Nigerian political class and any true servant of God in Nigeria?
Gilbert Chesterton once said, “Coziness between church and state is good for the state, but bad for the church.”
Sadly, truth and compromise have now met at a three way junction — and for the most part, truth has been sacrificed on the altar of compromise. Rather than leaders in the body of Christ rising up with one voice of truth to defend righteousness, justice, equity, and the integrity of God’s word in the politics of Nigeria, many have either taken to the back seats saying, “the church should not be part of politics or governance of a nation”, let us just keep praying for Nigeria, or some have chosen to diplomatically align with the same oppressors that their church members are coming to the places of worship to pray against. This is a generational dilemma.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was truly right when he said, “To be silent is to speak.” In one of his books, William Federer summarised the sinister tactic of the Nazis in shutting down the German church. He said and I quote, “Like many politicians, Hitler at first pretended to be sympathetic to Christianity to get elected, duping naive ministers with placating rhetoric. Once in power, he dispenses with pretense and revealed his nazified social Darwinism and hostility towards Christianity.”
In a more detailed manner, Dr Erwin Lutzer wrote that Hitler rode on the support of many church leaders in Germany to become the Fuhrer, only for him to repay their benevolence and support with an avouched determination to stamp every vestige of conservative Christianity out of Germany. And as soon as this was achieved, every remaining moral obstacle against his evil Nazi agenda collapsed, effortlessly.
Really, Aristotle was right when he said, “Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society.”
Nigeria has suffered so much in the hands of looters, killers, cankerworms, and scavengers — all of whom still exist at all levels of the socio-political and religious fabric of our nation. But what makes the matter more worrisome and probably “hopeless” is the growing loss of influence and reputation of the church, rising spates of large scale business-centric churches that are capturing the minds of millions of people, and the worsening spate of false teachings, ably enabled by the staggering degree of our apathy and compromise. Nations rarely die instantly. They often die gradually and progressively. But when the descent of a nation into doom is not restrained in the place of prayer and in the spirit of unity by the church, and apathy and tolerance become the norm, the descent becomes guaranteed.
Humanly speaking, I have lost all hope because Nigeria as is presently composed is humanly irredeemable. Spiritually speaking, I haven’t lost any hope. But the Nigerian church must come back to God. Our prayers and prophecies seem to be failing because we have failed to reset, re-prioritise, and recalibrate.
Dr Lilian Yeoman once said, “If I pray about anything and I don’t get an answer, then I know that there must be a change. Since God does not change, I know that the change must come from me.”
If after praying about a nation for sixty-three years, things have become much worse, shouldn’t we start to look inwards? Shouldn’t we start to ask ourselves very honest questions? Shouldn’t we start to check our priorities, practices, and doctrines? Shouldn’t we humble ourselves, repent, and go back to God. It is called, “root cause analysis” in process engineering. The principle here is this, “You cannot improve a process you have not investigated.” And the scripture is so sacrosanct, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalms 66:18)
I firmly believe that if the church in Nigeria would wake up, seat up, clean up, and unite from the very top of church leadership to the bottom, power would return to the church. We would approach God with the integrity of heart. Competition for who has the largest congregation and auditorium would cease or reduce drastically. Occultism in the church would reduce, significantly. Greed and covetousness will reduce, drastically. Love will grow, and because faith works by Love (Galatians 5:6), our faith in the place of prayer would trigger the supernatural power of God to align Nigeria with the plan of God, which could either be the trigger of a bloodless breakup of the nation or the emergence of a bloodless revolution that will bring down the current evil establishment and usher in the David and his mighty men that would repair the broken walls of our dear nation. Make Nigeria great again
Ayo Akerele, a leadership and system development strategist, and minister of the word, writes from Canada and can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.