Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Dr. John C. Whitcomb, Coauthor of The Genesis Flood, Passes Away

One of the founding fathers of the Creation Science movement, Dr John Whitcomb returned back home February 5. He was aged 95. We re-post here an obituary written by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2020/02/05/dr-john-whitcomb-passes-away/
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Dr. John Whitcomb with his wife Norma and friend Dr. Tim LaHaye+


Dr. John Whitcomb, his wife Norma, and Dr. Tim LaHaye visited the Ark Encounter on its opening day in 2016.

In a Facebook post from Whitcomb Ministries, Inc., it was announced this morning that theologian Dr. John Whitcomb, the co-author of The Genesis Flood and a giant in the modern creation movement, “entered into heavenly glory last night in his sleep.” He was 95 years old. While we grieve the loss of this great man, we’re thankful that he is reaping his heavenly reward for his faithful service to his Maker here on earth.

Dr. Whitcomb greatly impacted my life. During my final year of university studies in 1974, I first obtained a copy of his book The Genesis Flood (co-authored with the late Dr. Henry Morris). This book, along with others I had gotten, gave me biblical and scientific answers to those who attacked the record of the flood in Genesis.

This was one of the first books we sold in the ministry that began in our home in Australia in 1977 that eventually became the Answers in Genesis organization that now impacts tens of millions of people a year around the world. It was a book I showed my father, and he was so thrilled to see answers to the objections so many people in the church raised against taking the flood account literally.

There’s no doubt The Genesis Flood has been significantly used by the Lord as part of the foundation of the modern biblical creation movement. This movement is a worldwide one, and I believe it is having a major impact in helping bring a new and very needed Reformation to call the church back to the authority of God’s Word, beginning in Genesis.

I have met numerous people around the world, including pastors, teachers, professors, and others, who told me that it was The Genesis Flood that saved them from the liberal teaching that was undermining God’s Word in Genesis at their seminary, Christian college, or Bible college. I believe such examples are more than we could ever imagine.

I never thought I would one day meet Dr. Whitcomb but was so thrilled to meet this great man of God after we moved to the United States. I do believe he is one of the greatest theologians this world has seen, and we will so miss him. It was so exciting to have Dr. Whitcomb at the dedication of the land for the Creation Museum in 2000. He prayed a dedication prayer that day, and the Lord has greatly blessed this teaching attraction. Dr. Whitcomb also participated in the opening of the Creation Museum in 2007, and the dedication of the land for the Ark Encounter in 2014.
Dr. John Whitcomb Placing Stone+

In 2016, when we opened the Ark Encounter, Dr. Whitcomb, who had agreed to be on the board of directors for this evangelistic attraction, along with the board members of Answers in Genesis, laid one of the stones of the 12-stones memorial in a ceremony before thousands of people. As I said at the time, the Ark was “our 12 stones, to stand as a memorial to remind generations of the truth of God’s Word and the gospel.”

One of our board members shared,
What a giant of the faith. One of the kindest men I ever met. He was an excellent speaker as well. I heard him speak at several churches, maybe 10 – 15 years ago. He will be missed.
Dr. Whitcomb’s legacy lives on through the ministries of Answers in Genesis, the Ark Encounter, and the Creation Museum, impacting millions and millions of people, directly and indirectly, each year. I can honestly say that we at Answers in Genesis stand on the shoulders of great men like Dr. Whitcomb.
I pray God will raise up others to stand on our shoulders now, as this legacy continues to grow and impact the church and culture.
People will look back on this time in history, and just as we think about greats like Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, George Whitfield, and others, they will talk about Dr. Whitcomb. Truly, one of the greats the Lord raised up for a specific time in history for a great purpose to shine the light of God’s Word brightly. He will never be forgotten.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

BOKO HARAM CAVES IN TO LEAH


The news (assumed true) that Leah Sharibu gave birth to a son for a BH commander on Saturday 25th January, was of course heart-dampening. On the surface.

In reality, it is a confirmation of God’s wisdom in working out His divine unsearchable purposes, even in the midst of the worst of tragedies.

The abduction of a young girl by people, nay vicious beasts, with minds warped by sadist indoctrination is great tragedy indeed.  The worst could be expected.

Serial rape followed by butchering is a regular feature in the perverse world of these heartless savages.  Who can lightly forget the rampage at the Federal College of Education Zaria in 2002;  not to mention the dozens of similar incidents, more recently, in villages and hamlets virtually all over the federation ?

That an abducted girl should refuse freedom with her colleagues from the custody of such evil gang is undoubtedly tantamount to courting trouble.  And when the ground for such refusal is based on her religious conviction – the very fundamental issue pushing the abductors to their beastly actions in the first place  – then she must be asking for serious trouble indeed.  Yet, that was what Leah chose. She would not deny her Lord, come rain, come fire! (Rev. 2:13)

It is therefore a miracle and testimony to the wisdom and goodness of God amidst a terrible tragic situation that Leah’s story is taking the current dimensions.  Of course the main reason she was kept alive and treated like a golden goose initially was the humongous ransom Boko Haram hoped to get on her.  A report said the demand was in the region of 100 billion naira!  

When that expectation failed to yield positive dividends, in the resulting tantrums, a frustrated Boko Haram first shot dead two captive moslem girls who were deemed to have apostatised in agreeing to work for the Red Cross; and simultaneously  pronounced a worse fate for Leah: she would become a slave - a sabbiya or sex slave.  As the terrorists explained, it was now “lawful” for them to "do whatever” they wanted with her. For many of us, that was the saddest period in the entire saga.

So, the latest report, is therefore yet a cause for thanksgiving. How?

Despite her reported undiminished commitment to her Lord and Saviour (as reported by some former co-captives), and even when it was clear she wasn’t going to bring in the hoped for huge resources to further the Islamists’ evil agenda, Leah still found sufficient grace in the eyes of the abductors  to be given as a wife to no doubt one of their most competent young men. Looks like the case of Dinah and the young rapist, Shechem!

With a son for a top commander, the commercial value of Leah to BH has plummeted – would you ask someone to come ransom your own “wife” from your custody?  [Not that we consider the supposed marriage as being valid].  And of course, she now qualifies for the best comfort and protection Boko Haram can provide.  At the end of the day, by God’s great wisdom and mercy amidst a very unpalatable situation, we now we have not just a spirit-filled Christian lady residing in enemy territory like the Ark of the LORD, there is a potential Moses being nursed among them, as well as a Commander whose heart is being flooded by Christ’s goodness and witness daily.  Certainly, this story is only just unfolding.

We urge the grieving Church to please cheer up, and watch how these things would further develop as the LORD shows forth His manifold wisdom and counsel even these dying moments of the end time. In the meantime, we must continue to advocate, ever more vigorously , that the Federal government rise for the release of the only girl left behind to Islamic abductors, after finding resources and political will to negotiate and secure the release of 106 other moslem girls (and a boy) in the same cohort!

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“Leah was told to say some Islamic incantations before she would be allowed onto the truck. But she refused. She said, ‘I will never say it because I am not a Muslim.’ They became angry and told her if she wouldn’t denounce Christ, she would remain with them. Still, Leah refused. We watched Leah being left alone with the other members. We kept crying and waving at her ’til the truck vanished.”
https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/one-year-later-leah-sharibu-remains-in-boko-haram-captivity/


When her classmates were released, Leah was able to pass on a message to her mother: 
“My mother, you should not be disturbed. I know it is not easy missing me, but I want to assure you that I am fine where I am. My God, whom we have been praying to with you, is showing Himself mighty in my trying moment. I know your words to me during our morning devotions: that God is very close to people in pain. I am witnessing this now. I am confident that one day I shall see your face again. If not here, then there at the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  https://www.opendoors.org.hk/en/2019/09/31331/




Friday, January 24, 2020

CAN FINALLY WAKES UP: PRESIDENT ADDRESSES FIERY WORLD CONFERENCE 23RD JANUARY 2020

It's gratifying to note that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has finally woken from her stupor, and apparent morbid fear of Islamists and their grand patron, Major General Mohammadu Buhari.
Highlights of the speech personally delivered by the CAN President himself (unlike the one few days earlier through an official) unequivocally include:
CLEAR IDENTIFICATION OF PREVIOUSLY-CONSIDERED UNMENTIONABLE TABOOS.  CLEARLY CALLING A SPADE BY ITS PROPER NAME! SAMPLES:
  • Although their [Islamists] atrocities did not begin today, .... the attacks being witnessed under the current administration are unprecedented."

  • "The Fulani herdsmen were in Aghatu land in Benue State and other predominantly Christian communities; killing and maiming their victims. .......and to add salt to the injury, it was the Federal Government that was justifying the killings of the citizens by accusing some governors of making laws against open grazing. They claimed that the killings were not genocide against Christians but farmers-herders’ clash.

  • President Muhammadu Buhari has not ceased telling us that the criminals are coming from Libya, as though Nigeria shares borders with Libya. As if that were not enough, the Miyetti Allah the Fulani herdsmen have claimed responsibility for the killings and justifying their actions. ......The Federal Government has never deemed it fit to call them to order, but instead insisted that the herdsmen are stakeholders in the country!

  • It is reprehensible and saddening that each time the government comes out to claim the defeat of the insurgency, more killings of our people are committed. In the light of the current developments and the circumstantial facts surrounding the prevailing upsurge of attacks against the church, it will be difficult for us to believe that the Federal Government under the present administration is not colluding with the insurgents to exterminate Christians in Nigeria, bearing in mind the very questionable leadership of the security sector that has been skewed towards a religion and region!

CAN ASKED SOME DIRECT QUESTIONS FROM THE FG:

  • What is the essence of SIM card registration if the authorities cannot use it to track down these killers who rely on phones as a mean of communication to do their criminalities?

  • Can the government tell us what they did since Rev. Andimì cried out to them for help?

AS WELL AS MADE SPECIFIC CLEAR DEMANDS.  SOME OF WHICH INCLUDE:
  • The President should overhaul the security council with a view of bringing in new heads of all the security agencies and the para-military which no religion or part of the country will dominate.

  • The Federal government should either label the Miyetti Allah Fulani Association a terrorist organisation as being regarded in the terror index.
  • The Federal Government should order the arrest of the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Groups in who are sponsoring and perpetuating the crime of Nigeria and prosecute them for all the killings in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, and Taraba states, among others.
  • The Federal Government should publish names of all kingpins of the terrorists who are in detention and those who are being prosecuted.
  • The Federal Government should stop releasing the so-called repented terrorists since they are reportedly joining their colleagues in the forest to unleash terror on the land.
  • The Federal Government should reverse the recent controversial Police promotion with a view to balancing religious and ethnic divides in the country.

CAN THAT HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN SHY TO EVEN AS MUCH AS AGREE THERE IS PERSECUTION AGAINST CHRISTIANS, NOW BOLDLY AND CLEARLY CALLS FOR EXTERNAL INTERVENTION:
  • We are almost losing hope in the government’s ability to protect Nigerians especially Christians who have become endangered species under its watch. We once again call on the International Community and the developed world like the US, the UK, Germany, Israel and others to please come to our aid of Nigeria, especially, the Nigerian Church so that we might not be eliminated one by one.

AND FOR A BIG CHANGE, CALLED FOR ALL CHRISTIANS TO GO ON PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION ON A SPECIFIED DATE (SUNDAY 2ND FEBRUARY) ALL OVER THE FEDERATION, AFTER A 3 DAY PRAYER AND FASTING
  • The CAN Leadership has declared Friday, 31st January to 2nd February 2020 as days for Special Fasting and Prayer for Nigeria in all churches, home and abroad, for the gruesome killing of innocent Nigerians to stop and for our government to develop the capacity to overcome the criminals troubling the nation. Sunday 2nd February 2020 is declared a Special Prayer Walk by Christians in all the States of the Federation in the form of a procession to be led by States CAN Chairmen in their CAN Secretariats and pastors of churches in all churches in Nigeria.
  • Churches should process round their area, pray for God’s permanent intervention and help from all over the world so that all of us might not be consumed one by one. It appears our government is completely overwhelmed.

Clearly, these are momentous times for the Church.  All Christians must key in to these struggles to free Nigeria into fulfilling her God-ordained glorious destiny for the endtimes.
Praise the LORD!
The Full Speech is reproduced below:
TEXT OF A SPEECH OF THE PRESIDENT, CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN), HIS EMINENCE, DR SAMSON AYOKUNLE AT THE WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE ON 23 JANUARY, 2020 AT THE NATIONAL CHRISTIAN CENTRE, ABUJA.
Gentlemen of the Press.
Let me call for a minute silence in honour of all those killed by the Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers in the country.
“If you have ever lost a loved one, then you know exactly how it feels but if you have not, then you cannot possibly imagine it.”
― Lemony Snicket
You are all aware of the gruesome murder of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev. Lawan Andimi, by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, because he refused to be converted to Islam. Although, the group initially demanded for the sum of N50m and, when against all odds, the ransom was ready, they asked for €2m. It was in the process that they reached out to our people in Adamawa State to notify them that since the gentleman had refused to be converted to Islam, they had decided to behead him. And that was what they did. In the same state, just last Sunday, a clergyman, Rev Denis Bagauri was murdered by unknown gunmen in his residence at Mayo Belwa of Adamawa State, all because he was a Christian.
You are also aware of the beheading of 11 Christians by Islamic State in West Africa on Christmas Day of 2019 in Maiduguri including a bride to be.
Few days ago, four seminarians of the Good Shepherd Catholic Seminary in Kakau, were kidnapped along Kaduna-Abuja Road and we have not heard anything about them.
In Kaduna State, the most recent happenings were those of 35 people killed and abduction of 58 persons when bandits raided 10 communities in the Chikun and Birnin Gwari Local Government areas on January 13, 2020. These criminals are everywhere operating with impunity and they have been stopping commercial and private vehicles asking them to come down and telling them to say what their religion is.
Whoever claims to be a Christian is either killed on the spot or abducted and a demand for a ransom issued. Police, Army officers, and even judges are not exempted. This is reprehensible, unacceptable and unprecedented since Nigeria came into being. Christians have become endangered species in their own country!
Nigeria is under a siege orchestrated by the murderous blood-thirsty and criminally- minded Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani terrorist herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers who are all armed to the teeth, dressed in army uniforms, and gradually overwhelming our security agencies. They have been going around invading predominantly Christian villages and towns, killing and maiming our youths and elders, men and women; raping our women and daughters, decapitating children and disemboweling pregnant women, and subjecting people to coldblooded murder.
Although their atrocities did not begin today, it increased with the advent of democracy, which gave birth to the Sharia Law in some Northern states, an outright violation of the 1999 Constitution. However, the attacks being witnessed under the current administration are unprecedented. Today, the killers are unleashing terror on selected Christian communities, while sometimes our security agencies appear to be looking elsewhere. It is usually after the evil has been done that our soldiers and policemen invade the communities and in many instances, the victims are locked up, while the criminals are left untouched.
From 1980-2019, the Stephanos Foundation’s record shows a total of 1,785 attacks in 32 states of the country. This led to the death of not less than 28, 878 innocent people. In 121 Muslim-riots in 19 states, the death of 9, 451 lives were. Also, Boko Haram militant groups were responsible for 701 attacks that claimed 12,812 lives in 15 states. Again, 963 attacks from Fulani Militant groups in 32 states were responsible for 6,615 deaths.
The hoodlums have been in Southern Kaduna for years, where hundreds have been killed including a highly placed traditional ruler. And up till today, no one has been brought to book. Instead, it was those who cried out that were subjected to state harassment. A few suspects arrested were later freed to continue with their atrocities.
The Fulani herdsmen were in Aghatu land in Benue State and other predominantly Christian communities; killing and maiming their victims. Mass burials have become the order of the day and to add salt to the injury, it was the Federal Government that was justifying the killings of the citizens by accusing some governors of making laws against open grazing. They claimed that the killings were not genocide against Christians but farmers-herders’ clash.
President Muhammadu Buhari has not ceased telling us that the criminals are coming from Libya, as though Nigeria shares borders with Libya. As if that were not enough, the Miyetti Allah the Fulani herdsmen have claimed responsibility for the killings and justifying their actions. In other instances, they disown the killers, telling us that there are other herdsmen who are not their members but who also register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The Federal Government has never deemed it fit to call them to order, but instead insisted that the herdsmen are stakeholders in the country! This emboldens them and their members who are always attacking predominantly Christian communities in Plateau, Adamawa, Taraba and few states in the South like Enugu. As usual, none of these attackers has been brought to justice to end their atrocities with impunity.
These terrorists have not hidden their goal to Islamize Nigeria and that is what they have in common with the Fulani herdsmen. They have turned the North-East geo-political zone, especially, Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe, into killing fields. One of the cardinal programmes of this government is to put to an end the menace of insecurity and terrorism, but that has not been done.
Although the government often claims to have defeated the terrorists, what we are seeing on a daily basis contradicts that claim. Hundreds of our members, including Leah Sharibu and over 120 Chibok girls are still in the custody of these terrorists and the government has not succeeded in releasing them.
We are not disputing the fact that some Muslims have been killed. However, we boldly state here that their primary targets are Christians. The only exceptions are those who are being killed by the bandits in the North-western states like Zamfara and Katsina. In the words of Carrie Jones, “Losing people you love affects you. It is buried inside of you and becomes this big, deep hole of ache. It doesn’t magically go away, even when you stop officially mourning.”
It is reprehensible and saddening that each time the government comes out to claim the defeat of the insurgency, more killings of our people are committed. In the light of the current developments and the circumstantial facts surrounding the prevailing upsurge of attacks against the church, it will be difficult for us to believe that the Federal Government under the present administration is not colluding with the insurgents to exterminate Christians in Nigeria, bearing in mind the very questionable leadership of the security sector that has been skewed towards a religion and region! Is that lop-sidedness not a cover-up for the operation of the insurgency? If not, why couldn’t the well-equipped security agents of Nigeria get Rev Andimi out of the captivity of his killers who held him captive for two weeks?
Please permit me to ask the Federal government the following questions:
• What is the essence of SIM card registration if the authorities cannot use it to track down these killers who rely on phones as a mean of communication to do their criminalities?
• What has become of Intelligence gathering of our security agencies?
• Is this government and the security agencies still claiming that the war against these criminals been won despite all the killings?
• Is the government sincere in fighting these terrorists or merely paying lip service to the war against the insurgency?
• Is there any hope that our security is guaranteed under this government?
• Can the government tell us what they did since Rev. Andimì cried out to them for help?
• If the security agencies claim the terrorists are operating outside the country, why is it possible for these hoodlums to invade the country, kill, maim, burn and kidnap without any convincing checks on the part of the security agencies?
• Since the government and its apologists are claiming the killings have no religious undertones, why are the terrorists and herdsmen targeting the predominantly Christian communities and Christian leaders?
• If the security agencies are not living up to the expectations of the government, why hasn’t it overhauled them with a view of injecting new visionaries into the security system?
As long as the government continues to live in denial and fail to face reality, these criminals will not stop their criminalities. We are almost losing hope in the government’s ability to protect Nigerians especially Christians who have become endangered species under its watch. We once again call on the International Community and the developed world like the US, the UK, Germany, Israel and others to please come to our aid of Nigeria, especially, the Nigerian Church so that we might not be eliminated one by one.
OUR DEMANDS:
• The President should overhaul the security council with a view of bringing in new heads of all the security agencies and the para-military which no religion or part of the country will dominate.
• The Federal government should either label the Miyetti Allah Fulani Association a terrorist organisation as being regarded in the terror index.
• The Federal Government should order the arrest of the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Groups in who are sponsoring and perpetuating the crime of Nigeria and prosecute them for all the killings in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, and Taraba states, among others.
• The Federal Government should publish names of all kingpins of the terrorists who are in detention and those who are being prosecuted.
• The Federal Government should stop releasing the so-called repented terrorists since they are reportedly joining their colleagues in the forest to unleash terror on the land.
• The Federal Government should reverse the recent controversial Police promotion with a view to balancing religious and ethnic divides in the country.
• The Federal Government should stop sending delegations to all Islamic international organisations and let our Muslim counterparts be doing so as we are doing in all international Christian religious organisations.
• The Federal Government should stop discriminating against our female Youth corps who refuse to wear the NYSC trousers for religious reasons since they allow their Muslim counterparts to wear hijab.
• The victims of the consistent attacks should be assessed and adequately compensated. The victims in various IDPs be provided with adequate security and enough resources for continual survival.
• It is painful and a betrayal to note that the government gives more attention to so-called repentant terrorists than the victims of their evil with the claim that they are being reinstated and rehabilitated, even into the Nigerian Army. This is a major contradiction.
OUR DECISIONS
The CAN Leadership has declared Friday, 31st January to 2nd February 2020 as days for Special Fasting and Prayer for Nigeria in all churches, home and abroad, for the gruesome killing of innocent Nigerians to stop and for our government to develop the capacity to overcome the criminals troubling the nation. Sunday 2nd February 2020 is declared a Special Prayer Walk by Christians in all the States of the Federation in the form of a procession to be led by States CAN Chairmen in their CAN Secretariats and pastors of churches in all churches in Nigeria.
Churches should process round their area, pray for God’s permanent intervention and help from all over the world so that all of us might not be consumed one by one. It appears our government is completely overwhelmed.
The Brutality of Nigerians is happening unabated daily.
All Bloc Leaders, Zonal and States Chairmen, Leaders of Denominations and all Christians and concerned Nigerians should support and come out en-mass for the program.
The Church is matching on and the gate of hell shall not prevail against it!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

CAN replies Sultan of Sokoto, says monarch got it wrong on Christians

CAN replies Sultan of Sokoto, says monarch got it wrong on Christians 

11 hours ago 11074 views by  Eromosele Ebhomele -

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) replies Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, over alleged persecution of some religious faithful, especially in the north - CAN names some states in the northern part of Nigeria that have experienced attacks on Christians and their property confiscated - 

The Christian body describes Sultan Abubakar's comment as an insult when victims of such attacks are known The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, got his comment wrong on the alleged persecution of some Nigerians based on their religion, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has claimed. 

Leadership reports that CAN made its position known through a statement by Evangelist Kwamkur Samuel, its national director. The body said it respects Sultan Abubakar, but that there was need to respond to his reaction on the issue of alleged attacks on Christians. “It was painful reading from the media the sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar saying that there was no case of Christian persecution in the country where Christians are being killed on daily basis and their landed property confiscated. 

“It would have been better if the sultan had remained quiet the way he did when those killings were taking place," CAN said.

 The association argued that hundreds of citizens of the country have been killed by herdsmen in the southern part of Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Adamwa and Taraba and that the areas mostly affected are those with Christian populations. "It is an insult and insensitivity for anyone to be claiming that the unprecedented persecution which victims are well known did not occur," CAN said.

 Legit.ng earlier reported that Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar had faulted the claim of CAN that Christians were being persecuted in the country. 

Speaking at the closing ceremony of 77th annual Islamic vacation course (IVC) organised by the Muslim Society of Nigeria (MSSN) at Bayero University, Kano, Abubakar had said: “If such persecution really exist, such is supposed to be tabled at the Interfaith Forum where Muslims and Christians leaders meet periodically to discuss issues that would promote harmonious coexistence between the two religions." 
Read more: https://www.legit.ng/1288337-can-replies-sultan-sokoto-monarch-wrong-christians.html?utm_source=mailfire&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=16

Friday, December 13, 2019

DEMONIZING CHURCH DENOMINATIONS: CALL FOR CAUTION!


Denominations are like scaffoldings needed to build the Body of Christ
Picture credit: Internet (SWNS.com / rossparry.co.uk)













With the numerous myopic excesses of even established godly Church denominations, not to talk of unprintable practices in numerous one-branch “international” brands operated by charismatic all-in-all G.O.s, it is understandable that “denominational Christianity” has come under much castigation from diverse quarters in recent times.   However, caution needs to be exercised that such legitimate frustration is not carried to unhelpful extremes.  With present trends in the country, the “non-denominational” movement stands the risk of becoming another denomination on its own: a bitter anti-denominations denomination that ironically sees nothing good at all in denominations!  At the same time, undue demonization can drive godly denominations struggling with unavoidable end-time challenges into further isolation, thus compounding the problem at hand.

 Lines of Demarcation, very thin

Perhaps we should start by stating the obvious, that the denominations of today were the independent “non-denominationals” of yesterday.  In fact the only difference between denominational and non-denominational congregations is in their sizes, and perhaps ages.  But for some notable exceptions, a new upcoming Church-based ministry touts itself as non-denominational, drawing participants from different existing Church denominations.  When membership burgeons and stabilizes somewhat, it goes on to define her own set of liturgy, formal structures, and doctrines. And pronto, another denomination has been born!

The root cause of the problem with denominations, especially in these end times, can be gleaned when we put them into two broad categories: the ungodly and the godly.

The first category would comprise of the numerous “churches” established obviously as commercial (“419”) enterprises with very little spirituality at all.  Also in the same category, but with heavy spiritual flavour, are the occult or cult centres masquerading as “churches.”  Unfortunately, multitudes find these centres irresistible, ensnared by charismatic sweet talks that soothe emotional aches; or raw manifestations of “power” that promise speedy reliefs from various spiritual - cum socio-economic  burdens  the world is currently inundated with. 

In the second category are godly institutions, some with decades of sacrificial and fruitful services, who increasingly feel compelled to take extra-ordinary, even if questionable, measures to protect the flock from the poachers in the first category. Many times, these “desperate” responses only provide fuel for elements in the ungodly category to further thrive, leading to an ever-worsening vicious cycle! 

The major end result of this unsavoury situation is increasing incapacitation of the Body of Christ from fulfilling Her primary calling of being Salt and Light in society.  In particular, the umbrella body for Christianity in Nigeria, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has become practically helpless in defining her role in the polity, or charting any purposeful course of actions anymore -  what with the abounding centrifugal forces and inherent divided loyalties! Consequently, the Islamists continue to ride roughshod over the entire nation, with hardly a whimper from the Church.  For instance, that young heroine of our faith, Leah Sharibu continues to languish in jihadist captivity, even to the present time, without that being a major point on Christian agenda in Nigeria any more. 

God’s Scaffolding for building the Church

One beautiful story frequently rehashed is the tour of heaven and hell reportedly given to John Wesley. Wesley was shocked to find that while several Methodists were in hell, none was found in heaven!  And the explanation he was given, as the story goes, was that all the saints in heaven identify simply as members of the Church, and not as members of the denominations they associated with while on earth.  However, the “whole truth” in this story is that while there are indeed no needs for denominations in heaven, they are very much needed here on earth!  That is precisely why the Lord raised them up and works through them.  In a paradigm promoted by many Bible teachers, including Fuchsia Prickett, denominations are God’s scaffolding for building the one glorious Church.  After the Building is complete, the scaffolding would have completed its assignment and must be discarded. But not before - that would probably not happen till just before the Rapture!

It is a simple fact of history that specialized uniquely identified Units under a central Command are God’s way of working through the ages.  In the “church” in the wilderness, the tribes were instructed to pitch around the one Tabernacle each “by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house” (Numbers 2:2).  At the promised land, whether in the matter of searching out the land (Numbers 13:2), going out into battles to possess the inheritance (Judges 1:1-3), or in national projects such as the re-building of the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3), the major moves were conducted through clearly identified tribes, clans, and families. Regular services in the Temple also followed the same pattern, in courses, based on families and clearly defined Units (1 Chronicles 23:6, 2 Chronicles 8:14, Luke 1:5,8)

The benefits of such a model are self-evident.  It provides the extra motivation to get the job done; and affords sweet celebrations and sense of achievement thereafter.  It is the spirit behind such statements from the Apostle Paul as: “inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office” (Rom. 11:13), or ”provoking others to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). It is what gives meaning to the concept of “healthy competition”!  Denominations provide ideal opportunities and logistics for training, development, discipline, monitoring, and evaluation of the individual. They are also uniquely invaluable in times of personal challenges and losses.

In a nutshell, it is simply impractical, unrealistic, and unfruitful for one to claim to be engaged in building the universal Church without contributing to the local Church.  Even in the cases of the few individuals called to direct ministry to the universal Church (whether in evangelism like recently departed beloved Reinhard Bonke; or in prayer – as in Nigeria Prays; or teaching – as in Bro Gbile Akanni); they are known to actively liaise with the local Church and denominations.  And of course, they invariably have their own local church arms for training, financing, and other functions previously highlighted. 

The expectation or suggestion that the body of Christ should operate as an undifferentiated homogeneous monolithic entity is not only unrealistic and unhelpful, it is also unscriptural (1 Cor. 12:12-20).  Modern management experts can surely write tomes on why specialized diverse organs all working harmoniously under a central command, provides a formidable resilient overall body.  Suffice to note here that the Internet arose from the need to have a resilient communication framework (that can keep key infrastructure and communication going in the event of sabotage, war, and natural calamities). And the result is the TCP/IP protocol that allows new paths to be spontaneously available in the event of collapse in one pathway.  Simply put, putting all one’s eggs in a single basket is not a very smart idea, and it makes for increased vulnerability. Our diversity, if scripturally harnessed, is a major source of strength and resilience for the Church, not something to lament!

An Illustrative Example: Spiritual Activities at Police Formations

This author can personally recall discussions with several well-meaning and respected Christians who passionately believe that the fundamental (and perhaps the only) problem with the Church in today’s Nigeria is simply denominationalism!  The unwholesome fruits resulting from this kind of stop-the-denominations-by-all-means outcry are real, even if sometimes subtle.  We think one very appropriate illustration of this has to do with spiritual activities on Police formations in the country.

By way of background, it should be mentioned that the Police Force touts itself as a people-friendly organization. Indeed, its uniqueness and strength as a security outfit is rooted in its ability to win confidence and cooperation of the general public.  It is therefore not surprising to find the Force promoting outfits such as the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), or overtly reaching out to religious entities. To this end, the Police provides at her major units, physical spaces for the PCRC as well as for Christian and Moslem chapels.  It is understood that intelligence, propaganda, and human relations aside, the spiritual values of these chapels are unquantifiable. 

By the efforts of some hardworking Christian folks no doubt, Christians actually have two spaces allocated in principle for catholic and protestant ministries. But walk into these formations, while shouts of Allahu Akbar consistently rent the air at least three times a day from mosques operating seemingly seamlessly, only few units can boast of functional Christian prayer altars. The long and short of the story is that while the Police chaplaincy would gladly welcome Church denominations coming to erect befitting chapels within her formations, such are not welcome to operate units of their ministries in those chapels. Now, this could have been perfectly okay if the chaplaincy could muster members of the Police force to spearhead consistent spiritual activities at these facilities. Alas, this is hardly ever the case!  Incredibly, the chaplaincy hopes that after putting up the structure, the denominations should also assist in manning them under the authority of the Police Chaplaincy.  This idea, justified with an explanation of not wanting to promote denominationalism, is simply unworkable.  Indeed, it only shows that the chaplaincy itself is on its way to becoming a formal “denomination” on its own!  At the end of the day, the unappreciated “civilian denomination” might simply opt to plant a branch of her own somewhere outside the Police formation (if the neighbourhood is considered strategic and conducive enough) leaving the Islamic altar as the sole and supreme operator within!

Thus, we can see how the gross misunderstanding of the place of “denominations” is crippling the Church and robbing it of its natural advantages over other competing ideologies in this important institution.  In reality, encouraging ministries to develop and operate facilities approved by the Police authority into centres of worship, intercession, and discipleship according to their peculiar denominational tradition is the exact equivalence of the Concession culture that is widely practiced in most government institutions in Nigeria – including the Police Force.  (Afterall Police Canteens are not all operated by police officers, to cite an obvious trivial example).  Of course the Police Fellowship, would have prime access to the chapel facilities, but two or three willing “denominations” could also be registered to maximize the use of the facilities on shared basis.  Sad to note that in several formations, the plots allocated for Christian chapels (necessarily located in some rather obscure corners) serve conveniently as the dump yard! 

Some Suggested General Solutions

The same ugly story of advantages turning into disadvantages as a result of poor understanding of the roles of denominations can be repeated in other sectors and public institutions in Nigeria – for example on Institutions of Higher Learning in the nation.  God forbid the moslems or traditionalists should have our number and resources!  There can be no harm even if every dozen Christian students on Campus decide to meet for regular prayers and study of the Word as is convenient for them.  The big deal is harnessing such various fellowships via periodic Kingdom-centred meetings hosted on a central platform.  They can further be encouraged to share physical facilities to further facilitate stronger bonding. For example, the early Church met as numerous resilient small “koinonia groups”, from house to house; yet they also participated regularly in central meetings held in the Temple.  (The Temple by the way, was a massive complex that took 46 years to complete (John 2:20) and various denominations /sects take part in servicing the altar therein.)  With such operations, the early Christians succeeded in turning their world right side up!

What is needed is a working model, and a central body committed to implementing it.  Invariably, this is the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). To function effectively and harness the great opportunities present within Church denominations, the CAN urgently needs two key changes: a slight restructuring, and more realistic funding by her components to allow for effective operations.

At the present time, there are several Church groups that have blatantly refused to subscribe to the authorities of the CAN or support her operations.  Yet these continue to enjoy larger-than-life status and influence as major Christian organizations in the country.  The CAN certainly should device means to redress this and make her endorsement and membership a sought-after commodity by those who would want to be taken as serious Christian stakeholders in Nigeria.  On the other hand, several other Christian organizations which are willing to contribute invaluable services and finances for a virile CAN are currently cut off from membership simply because they are not Church-based.  In as much as the letter “C” in CAN stands for “Christians” and not “Churches,” organizations like the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship, Intercessors for Nigeria, CAPRO (missionaries), the Preacher (teaching) to mention just a few, ought to be given opportunity to contribute to the operations of a virile CAN as full members. For instance, they could be accommodated in a new Bloc to be incorporated into the CAN structure.

Finally, with or without the CAN, godly inter-denominational activities should be celebrated and endorsed by all Kingdom-minded Christians. In our 2007 article celebrating the annual inter-denominational Holy Ghost Congress hosted by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, we pointed out that traditionalists (think of FESTAC) or Moslems (through the annual Hajj) desperately wished such an event would be to celebrate their own gods and values!  Incidentally, the 22nd straight edition of the Holy Ghost Congress is currently ongoing, while a similar interdenominational event with international participation, Shiloh, organized by the Living Faith Church, successfully held a week ago.

Conclusions

The many flaws visible in denominations do not invalidate their scriptural role in building the Church of God and moving forward Kingdom agenda. We should not forget that sometimes, the spirit of unhealthy competition and rivalry within the same denomination is even worse than that between different denominations!  Conflicts and separatism are inevitable end time phenomena that should be carefully and prayerfully addressed rather than used as justification to throw away a potent tool.

The strength of the position advocated in this article lies mainly in the central coordinating Body.  In the real sense, this is the Holy Spirit, Who is very much alive and well on the planet at this time.  And He is well able to deal with malignant cancerous tissues who would not abide under His central control. As bad and as threatening as things look, the Church is not in any mortal danger (Mathew 16:18).  The call here is for individual elements in the sleeping Church to arise and respond to whatever strategies the Living LORD will be inspiring them with.  This article is our own contribution in that wise, and we humbly put it forward for the consideration of members of the Body of Christ in Nigeria.

Shalom.

Joshua Ojo
Redemption Camp, 13th December, 2019

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Last Hours of the Last Days - By Daymond Duck -

 ahttps://www.raptureready.com/2019/11/17/last-hours-last-days-daymond-duck/
 
The world has been in the last days since Peter preached his sermon on the first Pentecost following the ascension of Jesus (Acts 2:17), and current events seem to indicate that it is now down to the last hours of the last days.
 
First, in early Nov. 2019, Pres. Trump notified the UN that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris Climate Change agreement.
 
Pres. Trump said the agreement was less about changing the climate and more about redistributing the wealth of the U.S. (In addition to that, in my opinion, Climate Change is also a scam and a scare tactic to bring in a world government).
 
America's withdrawal will go into effect in one year.
 
Second, Qatar gives the PA and Hamas 30 million dollars a month, but Qatar recently told the PA and Hamas that Qatar will probably stop giving them the money at the end of 2019.
 
This will come on top of the massive cuts Pres. Trump has made, and it will increase the pressure on the PA and Hamas to accept the economic benefits of Pres. Trump's "Deal of the Century" and make a peace treaty more likely.
 
Third, Israel's two main parties are in a standoff on creating a new government, but there is one thing that both agree on: Israel should annex the Jordan Valley and declare Israeli sovereignty over it.
 
This will cause the Fig Tree (Israel) to put on leaves (grow; Matt. 24:32).
 
Fourth, Israel will be wealthy in the latter years and latter days (Ezek. 38:11-12).
 
Large deposits of oil and natural gas have been discovered off the coast of Israel.
 
It has taken a while, but Israel has finally started pumping, processing and selling product from one of those large deposits.
 
Pres. Trump has convinced the EU to stop buying their oil and natural gas from Russia and to start buying it from Israel, and that has Vladimir Putin upset.
 
This will hurt Russia financially and make Israel richer.
 
On top of this, an international oil company called Energean recently announced that they had greatly underestimated the amount of oil and natural gas that they have discovered off the coast of Israel.
 
According to a business-oriented newspaper in Israel called Calcalist, Israel's currency is now the strongest currency in the world.
 
Imagine that: Israel has gone from a wasteland in 1948 to the strongest currency in the world (should I add with cattle and goods, silver and gold).
 
Fifth, according to several Scriptures, all of the Jews will return to the Promised Land when Messiah comes (I think this refers to the Second Coming; Matt. 24:21).
 
Several prominent rabbis have signed a document saying that all of the Jews on earth are commanded by Scripture (a mitzvah) to return to the Promised Land.
 
One rabbi said, "It is clear that we are quickly approaching a watershed point in Jewish history when everything concerning the Jewish people will change."
 
I don't know how the Jews will respond, but I suspect that most secular or non-religious Jews will ignore this command, but some religious Jews will take it seriously and soon start making preparations to move to the Promised Land.
 
Sixth, the Jews have already built a railroad, they are now building hotels and restaurants, and they just voted to build a cable car to move 3,000 visitors per hour to the Wailing Wall below the Temple Mount.
 
3,000 visitors per hour is 30,000 visitors in a 10-hour day, and that doesn't include the visitors that will arrive by vehicles, buses, etc.
 
Opponents will try to stop it, but it is clear that Israel is preparing to accommodate multitudes of visitors to the Temple Mount (and likely to a rebuilt Temple).
 
Seventh, on Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center Towers in New York. Pres. Bush could have pointed out that Islam divides the world into two parts: The Domain of the Faithful (Muslims) and the Domain of Those that Islam is at War With (all non-Muslims), but Pres. Bush chose to appease Islam, refer to Islam as a religion of peace, etc., because he didn't want to alienate all Muslims.
 
Pres. Obama followed by removing terms like "Islamic terrorists," "jihad," etc., from military training manuals; and he ordered the State Dept., Intelligence agencies and the FBI not to use those terms.
 
Dogs are considered to be unclean animals in Islam; and Pres. Trump said Al-Baghdadi died like a dog, like a coward, whimpering and crying.
 
Instead of trying to appease Islam, Pres. Trump called it like it is.
 
The man that murdered people, raped women, and enslaved women and children died like the unclean animal that he was.
 
It is an understatement to say that Pres. Trump is not the most tactful person on earth, but his language was more truthful than Bush or Obama; and it is important to face up to what some Muslims want to do (establish a global Islamic caliphate).
 
Eighth, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons because Iran wants to establish an Islamic caliphate.
 
Iran has stepped up her enrichment of nuclear materials and could have enough nuclear material to produce a bomb in two to three months (one year at the most).
 
It is important to have someone (even if he lacks tact) in the White House that knows what a dog is when he sees one because Iran calls the U.S. the great Satan, and time is running out on this issue.
 
By the way, it was recently reported that the U.S. and Russia are both building up their forces in Syria.
 
The Battle of Gog and Magog appears to be getting close.
 
Ninth, it is my opinion that world leaders will form ten regions or ten trading blocks of nations and eventually merge them into ten political blocks of nations with a leader over each one that will become the Ten kings, horns, toes, etc.
 
The EU and USMCA are examples of regional trading blocks.
 
A regional group of nations called the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN regional group) has just concluded a treaty with China and five other nations that covers one-third of the trade on earth.
 
Understand that ten kings or ten horns will rise, and then the eleventh or little horn (the Antichrist) will rise.
 
God can speed this up or slow it down as he sees fit.
 
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck