Contemporary challenges confronting the Church in 21st Century – Part 3
Weakening Power of Miracles: There is so much noise in the church and among Tele-Evangelists today. But in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the weakness of the Church leaders was exposed. USA alone lost more than 600,000 persons to the pandemic. The churches were shut down for a while, all over the world. This is a shame. Miracles are supernatural power of God manifest through faithful prophets, apostles and ministers through which they accomplish actions, which normal science, natural laws and medicine cannot. Moses, Elijah. Elisha, Peter and Paul, among others, were miracle workers. The billionaire preachers on Television suddenly became irrelevant. In the same way, the wave of insecurity in Nigeria has defied spiritual solution by the Church. We must all repent and return to God to restore the glory of the Church for the protection of children of God and their families, communities and the nation at large.
• Unpreparedness for Heaven: The church’s mission is to save souls of people from possible hellfire and make them saved citizens of Heaven. Jesus’ Incarnation and death on the cross is solely to save mankind through His atoning sacrifice. The gospel is simple. John 3: 16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. The commission given to us by the Lord Jesus is straightforward: “Go to all Nations and preach the gospel, teaching and baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Mathew 28:19). Anything other than this is non-essential. Prosperity theology, which distracts from the way of the Cross and encourages blind faith for end of material comfort and health, is cheap grace. The teaching that Christian is saved once and for all, when he accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, and that no matter his sinful lifestyle afterwards, he will be saved; is a doctrine from the pit of hell. Many Christians do not know Jesus of Christianity because they do not carry His cross nor obey His commandments, nor lived the way he lived. Our liturgy, ceremonials, church plants, synod gatherings and general modus operandi must align with the primary objective of gospel of salvation. Our treasures should be laid in Heaven and not on earth.
The above ten major and subsidiary points would suffice to set us thinking on how better we can fix our church and societies in line with the ideals of Christian gospel, spirituality and evangelistic impact. These have implications for the future survival and growth of the church. May God help and use us all to make positive contributions to our dear Church and as we do, may God bless and reward us all, both here and in Heaven. Amen.
(Outline of Lecture delivered by Rt. Rev. Prof. Dapo F. Asaju (Bishop Theologian), at the Annual Conference of Chancellors and Registrars of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), held at Basilica of Grace, Gudu, Abuja on 4th August 2021)