The Church In Political And Social Development
IN early times of Christianity, the relationship between states and church was tragic, induced with brutal recriminations, rivalry and suspicion under Roman Empire; however, with time, it improved to cooperation on contentious issues of divinity and temporal authority. Though the church is important in character formulation, it has lost divine voice against societal vices. This stench like an open sore is reminding us of our failings despite the proliferation of churches with beautiful cathedrals that lack spirituality; moral decay has eaten so deep that the church co-exists with evil.
Corruption and immorality entrenched, indecency and prosperity replaced redemptive gospel. Our women dress to reveal anatomic features before a compromised church that states “what you put on don’t defile you but your heart”; the danger to this unspiritual development is glaring.
Acknowledging sycophants as slippery venoms that derail leadership Okowa admonished all “not to bow or kneel for him” because he is human. The church in fulfilling the Lord’s Prayer “Your will be done on earth as it’s in heaven” must be spiritually stable in salvaging its people. The prevalence of societal ills is the result of disobedience of laws and values by people enmeshed in materialistic greed and avarice.
We bear witness to Christ when the church becomes a moral voice against societal ills, Christians to fulfil their obligations must stand by truth through exemplary living and be fearless in illuminating spiritual values. A Christian cannot serve two masters in Mammon and God, a church that sees wealth, as a means to an end needs rebirth. Government’s programmes need protection and appreciation, the church considering its divine functions is a platform for rebirth and making government to succeed. The vices of prostitution, armed robbery, baby factories, et cetera despite the presence of the church questions our humanity.
The clergy are so contaminated that they have abdicated their responsibilities in pursuit of vanities; we have churches without spirituality and dehydrated membership, we have abandoned things which we should have done and done those things which we ought not to, turning the church into a market which Jesus opposed in Jerusalem. Through compromise, the church has become a filth where all manner of characters worship God in pretence, ill gotten wealth is accommodated, the more money the clergy receives in gifts, tithes and offerings, the more important the giver becomes. The admonition of “God loves a cheerful giver” is manipulated for greed and avarice hunting the church. There are deep divisions, factions and recriminations within the church, hypocrites whom Jesus condemned are adorable characters that occupy front seats and acquire Christian titles, giving wrong impression that ill gotten wealth are yardsticks to eternal life.
Many by hook or crook strived to be rich to get public adoration. This has encouraged immorality; patriotism at its lowest ebb as we cling to clannish, ethnic and parochial interests in place of God. The clergy in unholy alliance fall to these ills in striving for promotion and juicy postings to parishes. This acrimonious method is not without support of the laity, who sometimes writes petitions against clergies whom they feel don’t fit into their strange lifestyle, they discredit and make them fall and humiliated. Unfortunately, each side invoke God’s name in this demonic and materialistic attainment. Christians must dethrone this tyranny of flesh. The years of military rule, civil war had entrenched corruption that devaluated our humanity, Nigerians have developed casual cynicism and contempt for honesty, lawlessness is rewarded with prayers from a compromised church. Can we exonerate the clergy and laity from this stench as Baal prophets, Pharisees, Sadducees and Sanhedrin’s? Nigerians desires spiritual direction that partners government in repositioning our social ills, a church with a voice against societal ills that speaks fearlessly. A church that is heard rebuking evil, that forgives and sustains Christian values regardless of dangers.
Government efforts in tackling economic and political woes need church participation because a spirit filled church is a wealthy nation, the church need partnership in Okowa’s SMART agenda to curb unemployment, because both are to entrench a better society where peace, justice reigns and poverty reduced.
Has the church achieved Christ desires? Has the church tackled corruption within its ranks and vices eating menacingly into its spiritual growth? The church must not be compromised on sectional, partisan, ethnic and tribal considerations in its moral and spiritual duties. Jesus stated the relationship between church and government, he enjoined the church to pray for those in authority, pay tax and not attach material greed to vanities. Jesus severed himself from discriminatory norms and explained genuine spiritual wealth in “widow’s mite”.
•Prince Abugo is the Special Assistant to Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Social ocacy.