Monday, September 30, 2019

CHESS CHRISTIANS IN HIGHER EDUCATION SPIRITUAL SUMMIT HOLDS OCTOBER 10-12

The 5th edition of the Summit for Christians in Nigeria’s Tertiary Institutions holds  Thursday October 10 -  Saturday October 12 at the Redemption Camp.  It is a highly recommended meeting, convened by the distinguished Christian educator, Mrs Adun Akinyemiju.  A copy of the official invite with the required details, is pasted below.

Please be the guest of Church Arise! at this meeting, highly relevant for our times and clime.

Joshua Ojo
=======================================================================

30th September, 2019.

Beloved,
SUMMIT FOR CHRISTIANS IN HIGHER EDUCATION 

We bring you greetings and blessings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We write to invite you to the fifth edition of the Summit for Christians in Nigeria’s Tertiary Institutions called CHRISTIANS IN HIGHER EDUCATION SPIRITUAL SUMMIT (CHESS).
The theme of the Summit is: SEE JESUS LIFTED
The overall aim of this Summit is to stir up the fire of revival among Christian Academic and non-academic staff as well as Students in tertiary institutions, leading to total transformation of our campuses and ultimately, our nation Nigeria.
The 3-day Summit is open to all Christians in higher institutions in Nigeria. These include: Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors, Registrars, Provosts, Lecturers, Student Union Leaders, and Student Fellowship Coordinators among others.
 Our specific objectives are to:
·                Promote increased cooperation among Christians, various denominations and Fellowships on Campuses.
·                Build capacity to effectively work together to impact campuses with the Light of God and Work of service.
·                Challenge Christian students to be strong in standing for their faith and serving as mentors and role models to other students on campuses
·                Restore the hunger for God’s kingdom values as we demand for fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to empower us for greater end-time harvest.
·                Propel Christian Universities to run effectively and raise disciples for the Kingdom of God

Details of the Summit are as follows:
Date: 10th -12th October, 2019.
Venue: Redemption Camp, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ogun State.
God is depending on you to spread the word, pray and plan to attend this Summit

For further inquiry, please contact us by mail; chesummit@gmail.com, click REGISTER  OR call Olajide on 08142312824 to register.

Attached is the E-flier for the programme.

Thank you.

Adun Akinyemiju (Mrs.)
Chairperson, ACSI Nigeria,
Convener CHESS

Monday, September 23, 2019

WHO IS AFRAID OF VICE PRESIDENT YEMI OSINBAJO? - Dele Momodu

  A bold, incisive and indepth article by Dele Momodu in his weekly column in the This Day newspaper (here).  We say Amen to his concluding prayers that the Almighty God show Himself mighty in Nigeria and cause His will to be revealed and done in the country.
This article needs to be shared widely to keep Nigerians alert to the cheap deep machinations of agents of darkness and confusion.
------------------------------------------------------------

BY DELE MOMODU (Email: Dele.momody@thisdaylive.com)

Fellow Nigerians, please allow me to quickly apologise for not concluding the series I started last week on the importance of celebrity journalism, the basis of my Fellowship at The African Studies Centre, University of Oxford. The reason for this change of plan must be pretty obvious, and predictable. A subject of pressing, and urgent, importance, and necessity, has presented itself. And it has to do with the systematic and instalmental, harassment, intimidation, degradation and denudation of our dear beloved Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. He is being shorn of most of his statutory and constitutional powers with veiled and unsubstantiated insinuations that he has not been following due process when he clearly has been doing a stickler for such due process. Such inferences are at best rich when one considers that we are talking about a Presidency in which the President is famed for delegating powers and trying not to engage as demonstrated by the much publicised stripping of his constitutional powers in favour of a Chief of Staff who has no constitutional or statutory governmental authority. The contradiction and irony are stark and makes a mockery of what is being done. The situation is aptly captured by the Yorubas when they say, “ejo l’owo ninu” (the snake has hands in its stomach)! There is certainly more to the recent events than meets the eye!

Let the dramatis personae deny there is nothing of such and claim this is only a figment of our fertile imagination, or even call it a false alarm, or whatever nomenclature catches their fancy. However, no matter the denials, what is unfolding, before our very eyes is more than a storm in a teacup. It is a stuff of a multi-billion-dollar box office thriller and the suspenseful drama and twists would make Alfred Hitchcock green with envy. Not even Samuel Beckett could have scripted this sort of absurdist drama.

We can now start from the beginning, if you like, call it genesis. A cerebral technocrat, thoroughbred professional, a teacher who is an accomplished Professor of Law for that matter, and a preacher of values and morals as a Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God to boot, Yemi Osinbajo, was selected by retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari as Vice Presidential candidate sometime in 2014. The selection was applauded by many onlookers as a counterbalance to a Presidential candidate who was accused, and being pummelled, for not possessing the minimum educational requirement for the job applied, and also as a reassurance to those who regarded the APC candidate as a Muslim fundamentalist. Beyond religion, Osinbajo also represented a much younger segment of our society who saw Buhari as being too old, too conservative, too out of tune with modern trends and much more. Osinbajo was thus a seemingly perfect choice, and those of us who were Buharists, once upon a time, rejoiced and dreamt of a new Nigeria, clothed in tranquillity and unity. How wrong we were. Little did we realise that this was not a one-part story but one of which we were only seeing the prequel, without the benefit that there would be a sequel and possibly even a serialisation! We foolishly thought that this was a story that could not have a Part 2.

Please, let’s move forward, slowly and steadily. Osinbajo soon threw himself into his assignment and campaigned much more than any deputy would be expected to do. It was a forerunner of what we wished for and hoped would occur when eventually their team won the election. He crisscrossed Nigeria and navigated his ways across the seas, to far flung places, preaching the gospel of Saint Buhari and the good news of his imminent kingdom. Osinbajo is not just a lawyer and preacher, he is an orator, and he sold his boss to the world at a premium. They won the 2015 Presidential election and we were mostly thankful to God that we had succeeded in getting rid of the profligate and pernicious PDP behemoth, after 16 years.

The duo was elected and President Buhari made it clear that he had put his trust and faith in his able lieutenant and Vice President, Professor Osinbajo. He quickly made him the head of his economic team, and Osinbajo did the rest. He quietly and unassumingly took charge without seeking to upstage his boss, the President. He was a deputy who knew his place and although a little-known cabal at the time was hurling brickbats at him behind the scene, he handled all with his unusual equanimity and charm. I am sure that his famed tolerance and rectitude comes from the fantastic combination of lawyer, teacher and priest.

Man proposes but God disposes. Like all mortals, especially at that advance age, President Buhari took Ill. The sickness was so massive and scary that we nearly had another Umaru Yar’Adua situation on our hands. It will be recalled that Yar’Adua was the penultimate President before Buhari, and he had died in office, in 2010, before the expiration of his first term. His Vice President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, had to complete that term before seeking and winning his own full term. Had anything happened to Buhari then, God forbid, Pastor Professor Osinbajo, constitutionally, would have stepped in, gingerly, to claim power as President and Commander-in-Chief. But, God so loved Buhari, and as he acknowledged himself, the prayers of Nigerians, and their intercession, intervened on his behalf, and healed him greatly. 

It was during that interlude in governance that mutual mistrust and distrust which had been germinating for some time began to spring to the surface. Some members of the President’s inner caucus who were not used to taking orders from anyone suddenly found themselves reporting to one man with what they called “avuncular attitude”. They were angry and livid, but according to James Hadley Chase in his book titled, “The Vulture is a Patient Bird” they waited quietly. Osinbajo took decisions that they considered inimical to their interests, but they kept their arms akimbo knowing that their time would come, and they would bare their fangs. Their ire and fury were greatly stoked by the success and popularity that Osinbajo was attracting, without realising that the ultimate beneficiary was a government which had previously been seen as slow, inept and incapable.

Slowly, but surely, the fake news started spreading, clandestinely, that he wanted Buhari dead. The conspiracy theory was rife, but subdued. Osinbajo’s cardinal sin was committed and his fate probably sealed the day he summarily sacked the Director General of the Department of State Security, Lawan Daura, after the invasion of the National Assembly by hooded and gun-toting secret agents. Osinbajo had denied approving such dare-devilry by the executive against the legislature and till this day no one has owned up to what nearly became a coup against the legislative tier of government. Daura was seen as a sacred cow with friends in the ruling cabal, but Osinbajo by a masterstroke had him smitten and the head of one of the gargoyles had been severed by one deft blow! He would not be forgiven and plot after plot were conceived but could not be carried out before the election as Osinbajo was the Joker in the pack, the face of the Buhari Presidency!

Permit me to interject that Osinbajo actually brought stability to the nation by reaching out to every nook and cranny, cementing bonds of friendship across party lines. He visited the Niger-Delta and was able to put a stop to the militancy that was once again threatening to engulf that region of our country. In doing so he improved our economic fortunes by ensuring an increase in production of our main income earner, crude oil. In addition, he brought greater positive image to the Buhari government. Many silently prayed Buhari would give him more responsibilities, and a freer hand to handle the complexities of Nigeria. Again, we were wrong. Any respite for Osinbajo was actually simply for the purpose of navigating the electoral quagmire that the Buhari Presidency had found itself in.

Going back to our narrative, mercifully, Buhari returned after a miraculous rejuvenation. If his mind had been poisoned against his deputy, his straight poker face betrayed nothing. They continued to work harmoniously, at least, in public. As noted, Osinbajo became even more visible, and voluble, as their second term election drew nearer. Osinbajo became their star actor and harbinger of Tradermoni, a popular moniker for feverish distribution of cash in strategic locations, such as markets and similar trading places, for the emancipation of impoverished majority, which traducers suggested was nothing more than an act preparatory to buying votes. Osinbajo took all the savage attacks for Buhari in his stride. He calmly and eloquently defused and debunked all the sordid allegations of incompetence, inability and incapability levelled at his principal. His energy was extraordinary. He did house to house, and door to door campaigns. He made town hall meetings popular and the people trooped out to see and discuss the nation with him.  The use of the hustings as the primary focus of the politician to rabble rouse and appeal to voters became a less favourable option as Osinbajo demonstrated that it was important to feel the pulse of the people by personal engagement. He even cheated death on two occasions the second being in Kogi State, after his chopper spectacularly crashed in a haze of dust, but thankfully, not in a burst of flames and everyone onboard survived without as much as a scratch. It was obvious that this was an anointed man of God and that God was with him and his house.

Elections came and APC candidate Buhari was declared victorious. I congratulated them, as normal Democrats would. When there were compelling reasons to do so shortly afterwards, I admonished the APC by adding the proviso that the Party should not over-rejoice but offer an olive branch to the supposed losers.

In a succinct letter I penned to Professor Osinbajo, I took time to explain how to restore sanity to the polity. My letter was misconstrued and instantly rebuffed as an attempt to divide the “one indivisible Presidency…”  I was brutally attacked by some people in the office of the Vice President, but I understood their predicament. They were jittery about how the hawks would view my innocuous intervention and genuine intentions. I read panic in their response to me. But I knew today will come, eventually, like it has. 

I’m a good student of Nigeria’s political history and trajectory. I’m familiar with the African mythology that witches don’t forgive. What is worse, witches don’t spare anyone, they eat and devour their own children, when in need of flesh. Osinbajo is the latest victim in the vicious cycle of power games in our country. He is being stripped of the last vestiges of relevance and importance, as typified by how the appurtenances of his relatively powerful office have been whittled down and almost totally degraded. His enemies are working overtime and overdrive by spreading spiteful rumours about one of the finest gentlemen in government. He may not be perfect, but Prof is a good man who loves his job and respects his boss, without doubt.

There are already speculations that all the theatre and spectacle that we are witnessing is a prelude to a more devastating attack. The aim is to try and make his position so tenuous untenable that he is forced to resign. If he does not bite the bullet or fall on his sword, my understanding is that he will be pushed. My candid advice and word of caution to the President is that he should resist such temptation. He should not listen to those who do not have any patriotic bone in their body. They are selfish, fearful and also weak. In Osinbajo they see their nemesis. He is everything that they are not. He has achieved outstanding and amazing success in every sphere that he has touched. He is a teacher of international renown and repute, a foremost legal mind, a pastor of great intellect, compassion and suasion. Worse still for them, he has come to their turf and shone as bright as the stars of the constellation to become a consummate politician.   

If this game that we are all witnessing is all about who becomes what in 2023, it is complete balderdash. The reason I say so is very simple. Only God gives fortune and power. And only God can take it. No matter how hard man may try, he can never be God, he can only play God. With time such actor will see that he is nothing more than that thespian who must quit the stage at some time or the other. On the other hand, the consecrated vicegerent of God can never be too much honoured and adored. At my age, I have known and met enough men and women of power. Many of them are alive and must be wondering what the fuss was all about in those years gone by. APC has butchered some of its finest people. Do they need more to prove their virility? They should spare Nigeria this endless charade.

Let it be on record that I pleaded.

May God’s will be done.

Monday, September 2, 2019

CAN president, Adeboye, others ask Buhari to scrap Ruga (Punch Newspaper Report)


We paste below the Report from the Punch newspaper, with the above headline.
 
We are excited at how the Holy Spirit is moving to rid our nation of the Fulani herdsmen heinous rampages all over the land.  This long-awaited Statement indicates the timing is now; and we at Church Arise! earnestly look forward to this snowballing to ushering in the new righteous nation Nigeria the LORD has promised the Christian fathers who prayed, toiled and laboured in this land decades ago.

Strangely, many usual vocal advocates for Christian activism seem not to be particularly excited about these developments.  Eerie resemblance to military officers not wanting the Boko Haram conflict to end. Not helpful at all!

======================================================================

Published September 1, 2019
Kindly Share This Story

CAN president, Dr. Samson Ayokunle; President Muhammadu Buhari
…demand Miyetti Allah’s ban at security summit
•FG budgets N12bn for controversial scheme

MUDIAGA AFFE, ADELANI ADEPEGBA, OKECHUKWU NNODIM and TUNDE AJAJA

 =======================================================================

The President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr Supo Ayokunle, as well as top members of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and  other Christian bodies, including the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on Saturday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to “completely scrap” the suspended Rural Grazing Area scheme, popularly known as Ruga.

This was disclosed at the Church leaders stakeholders’ summit, themed, ‘RUGA: The church’s response in the 21st century,’ which held at the ShepherdHill Baptist Church, in Lagos on Saturday.
Other church leaders present at the summit included the President of the Christian Council of Nigeria, Most Rev Benebo Fubara-Manuel; President of the Organisation of African Instituted Churches, Dr Napo Emuchey; Vice-President of CAN, Rev Caleb Ahima, and the acting General Secretary, CAN, Mr Joseph Daramola.

However, the President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Rev Felix Omobude; the Presiding Bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, Dr David Oyedepo; and the President, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, were billed to attend the summit, according to the programme of the event, but they were absent.

But the spokesperson for CAN, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, said all the blocs of the Christian body were represented at the meeting.

Reacting to observations that Omobude was not in attendance, Oladeji said the cleric was out of the country.

He added, “Though he could not make it to the meeting because he is out of the country, he sent a representative. All the blocs making up CAN were fully represented at the meeting and they all endorsed the decisions and resolutions.”

Speaking at the summit, which centred on insecurity in the country, the CAN president said the association’s involvement in the debate was needed as CAN, which is the umbrella body for all Christians in the country, could not fold its arms when the church was “hurting very badly at the hands of Fulani herdsmen.”

A one-minute silence was observed at the event in honour of Rev Fr David Tank, who was ambushed and brutally killed by bandits at Kufai Amadu in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State on August 29.

The slain cleric, who was set ablaze in his vehicle, was said to be on his way to Takum for a peace meeting with his fellow clergymen on how to resolve the lingering Tiv/Jukun crisis.
Many Nigerians have been killed as a result of clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the past months and years.

In its report for 2018, Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organisation, said communal conflict between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in the Middle Belt intensified in 2018 and that at least 1,600 persons were killed while about 300,000 persons were displaced.

The Federal Government, in finding a solution to the clashes, designed the Ruga scheme to settle the Fulani and their cattle on acquired land across states of the federation.

The scheme however attracted severe criticism, forcing the Federal Government to “suspend” the scheme on July 3, 2019, even though some states in the North, like Zamfara and Kano, decided to continue with its implementation.

Presidential aide on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, had tweeted, “The Federal Government after consultations with stakeholders has suspended the RUGA Settlement Project, for now, Kebbi State Governor disclosed that after a meeting with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.”

But speaking at the stakeholders’ summit on Saturday, Ayokunle while commending the President for suspending the Ruga scheme, said, “We believe Ruga was just an unnecessary impediment in the wheel of the nation’s progress. We urge President Muhammadu Buhari that he must summon courage to go further by scrapping it completely.”

CAN asks Buhari to scrap Ruga, ban Miyetti Allah

In his earlier special address on the theme, Ayokunle said the association took painstaking approach to set up a committee to dig deep into the issue of Ruga before coming up with recommendations.
He added, “Anything that smacks of mutual suspicion should be avoided in the interest of national unity. The Federal Government should immediately disarm and prosecute the Fulani herdsmen terrorists that have been recorded as one of the deadliest terrorists groups in the world.

“The group of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association which openly supported the activities of the murderous Fulani herdsmen be identified and banned immediately.

“President Buhari should suspend his membership and patronage of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association until he leaves office to reduce tension.”

Ayokunle, who also spoke with journalists shortly after the meeting, stated that insecurity in the country had become an embarrassment.

He said, “Enough is enough about insecurity in the country. It is totally embarrassing and people are having sleepless nights over it. There is no free movement anymore. Even military officers can no longer travel without heavy military escort; it is as bad as that. It is happening on a daily basis, it is no longer propaganda, neither is it political opposition talks.

“Our relatives are constantly being kidnapped and we are being compelled to look for money to pay ransoms. There are no other persons we can call upon than the government because that is why they are there. They should be able to mop up the guns which these criminals are using to threaten others and also arrest them.”

Ayokunle said it was clear that there were facts about Ruga which the government had not cleared or refuted.

For instance, he pointed out, “Large expanse of land will be delineated and taken from indigenous people in all the 774 local government areas for use by Fulani herdsmen. The Federal Government will deep its hand into the commonwealth of the nation to develop this programme for the interest of just one out of the 250 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria contrary to the provisions of the constitution.

“As perceived, these settlements will over time metamorphose into politico-religious entities within host communities, thereby reconfiguring the political, religious and cultural status of the environment. This is capable of becoming a landmine for future crisis that will be to the advantage of the settlers. The situations in Plateau and Southern Kaduna are very instructive.

“The Ruga programme is a contradiction to the modern-day livestock production system that centres on ranching and feedlots.”

The CAN president also said investigations had shown that there was no nexus between Ruga and the National Livestock Transformation Programme that was being pursued by the Federal Government.

 “What we see is a surreptitious insertion and speedy implementation of selfishly concocted programme into a robust and holistically articulated national livestock transformation programme approved by the National Economic Council,” he added.

Ayokunle said CAN would present its recommendations and advice to the Federal Government for consideration.

He added, “We are going to send our position to the Federal Government in black and white because we know that we are part and parcel of this nation and it is our own duty also to help government as the few of them in government cannot know everything. So, they should be prepared to listen.

“We have consulted experts, so government should be very brave in listening and meditating over recommendations coming from us because we are closer to the market people more than them and we are the ones that their policies have direct impact on. So, when they (government) think they are helping us and we are feeling pains through this help, anyone in government should be wise enough to think twice before continuing with such a policy.

“We are convinced that Nigeria can operate a rancour-free agro-allied business where all stakeholders can contribute to the transformation of agriculture for the needed food sustenance of the nation and job creation, rather than the present situation where agriculture has become an avenue for cheap death for Nigerian citizens.”

Adeboye speaks on Ruga

Meanwhile, Adeboye, who urged the stakeholders to listen with anointed ears to his rather proverbial address at the event. He said he would relay an encounter he had with a close, mathematician friend of his, whom he said advised Christians to reduce or stop the consumption of beef.

He said, “Please, do not quote me, quote my friend. Listen with anointed ears. I have a friend who is a mathematician and he is very funny. My mathematician friend told me a story that a cattle rearer kills your brother and your brother’s blood spilled on the grass and the cow eats from the grass, directly or indirectly, you are also participating in the killing of that your brother.

“Someone cannot be killing your brother and you are eating his cow meat. My friend said if you begin to allow them to rear cow at your backyard, very soon, they will send you out of your house. My friend also said that even the scientists have said that red meat is not good for our health and we are buying cow meat, why can’t we eat fish which has been confirmed to be the best for us. My friend said if we stop eating cow meat for a while, the man who sells it will come and renegotiate the terms.”

When contacted on the call for the scrapping of Ruga by CAN and other church leaders, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, re-directed one of our correspondents to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

“We now have a Minister of Information. Please, can you speak to him?” he said.

Meanwhile, efforts to get the response of the minister were not successful as he did not answer his calls neither did he reply the text message sent to his phone as of press time.

Meanwhile, a top source at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has told one of our correspondents in Abuja on Friday that the Ruga settlement initiative was now being managed by the presidency and is no longer under the full control of the ministry.

FG budgets N12bn for controversial scheme – Report

In another development, SUNDAY PUNCH investigations revealed that the Federal Government planned to spend N12.11bn for the establishment of eight Ruga settlements in each of the eleven frontline states in the federation, including Adamawa, Benue, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara.

A document by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, ‘Intervention for resolving farmers-herders clashes in Nigeria through establishment of Ruga model settlement, which was sighted by one of our correspondents, indicated that the Federal Executive Council had approved the funds in the 2018 before Ruga scheme suffered setback.

However, a source at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development told one of our correspondents that the proposed budget of N12.117bn had been released to enable the Federal Government to end the clashes swiftly through the implementation of the project.

The immediate past Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate) to the President, Senator Ita Enang, had disclosed that N2.258bn was provided for the implementation of the Ruga programme in the 2019 budget.

Meanwhile, before the 2019 budget for the scheme was unveiled, the source in the ministry alleged that the Ministry of Interior, under the former minister, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), had proposed that operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps would provide security in each of the 88 Ruga settlements.

The source said, “The former minister proposed a sum of N1bn to provide security at the Ruga settlements. The money was released to the ministry before the controversies around the project started.”

Copyright PUNCH.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Is it too late for Josh Harris? - Bryan Fischer

In the article below, Bryan Fischer revisits the standard denunciation of apostates in the classical Eternal Security doctrine, as people who never had genuine salvation to begin with.  He pointed out that teaching that Christians who are currently on fire for the LORD might indeed not be genuinely converted and might sometime in the future be shown for who they "truly are", is likely to promote more of "eternal insecurity" in people than the "eternal security" it purports to promote! Josh Harris who recently categorically denounced his faith in the Lord Jesus is the reference point here.
====================================

August 15, 2019

Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at "Focal Point"
Host of "Focal Point" on American Family Radio, 1:05 pm CT, M-F www.afr.net

Josh Harris of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" has quite publicly and unreservedly renounced his faith. "I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus," he writes on Instagram. "The popular phrase for this is 'deconstruction,' the biblical phrase is 'falling away.' By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian." (Emphasis added.)

This naturally raises questions in the mind of every sincere Christian observer. Was he ever a true Christian? If he was, how could he so flatly repudiate his faith? And where does all this leave him with regard to his eternal destiny?

There will be those reading this who are firmly in the "once-saved, always-saved" camp, which believes it is impossible to forfeit one's salvation. Someone may look like a genuine believer for a long time, but if he ever falls away, it will simply demonstrate he was never a Christian to begin with.

I grew up with this view, and believed it until I finished my training in the biblical languages at Dallas Theological Seminary, which paradoxically still stands firmly in the always-saved camp. I still have many friends, including pastors, who believe the always-saved view, and I have no interest in starting a quarrel with them or anyone else. I respect them, and my disagreement with them on this issue is not personal but biblical.

There is a flaw in the always-saved view that I'm not sure its advocates recognize. They look at the always-saved view as a matter of eternal security. But, if people can look like the real thing for decades and then be exposed as inauthentic, how can any of us know for sure we're not one of them, and just haven't lived long enough for our inauthenticity to be revealed? The traditional view might actually create eternal insecurity.

Their explanation for Josh Harris is that he was never truly converted in the first place. It might have looked that way while he was writing his book on dating, it might have looked that way while he was successfully pastoring congregations (and fooling them the whole time), but his faith was counterfeit.

For myself, I see no reason to doubt the authenticity of Harris' Christian faith. He seems to fit the profile found in Hebrews of those who were genuinely converted, who genuinely walked with Christ for a long time, and who then got pulled away from Christ by the world, the flesh, and the devil. This is a very precarious place to be, if the writer of Hebrews is to be believed.

"It is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, to restore them again to repentance" (Hebrews 6:4-6).

In 10:32, "enlightened" refers to salvation, "tasted" refers to a genuine experience of something, as Christ "taste[d] death for everyone" in 2:9, and "restore...again to repentance" means they once were repentant.

How does someone get to where Josh Harris is today after beginning as he did? The writer warns us that we must be careful to pay close attention to the Word, "lest we drift away from it" (Hebrews 2:3). It's not deliberate at first, just an almost imperceptible drift from the shore. But if we do not become aware of the drift, and right the boat, we can soon find ourselves carried by the tides a long way from home.

Eventually the "drift" becomes willful and defiant. We will not find our way to shore even when we still can. "If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of fire that will consume the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26-27).

God has given us the precious gift of free will, and does not revoke that gift when we come to faith in him. Our free will can be used to continue to trust in God for our salvation and everything else, or it can be used to turn our back on him and the salvation we once knew. The choice is ours.

Some believe the tailgate is up on the back of the pickup, others believe it is down. Either way, the point is to ride as close to the cab as we can.

What does all this mean for Josh Harris? He may, without even being fully aware of it, have put himself at risk of eternal separation from God. "It is a fearful thing," says Hebrews, "to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31.)

The apostle warned us that dangerous apostates would arise even from the leadership of the church. "I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock, and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30).

Is it too late for Josh Harris? It might be.

Let's pray that he has not in fact gone too far to be reeled back into shore. And let's pray that we ourselves will notice the slightest drift from God in our own lives and correct course immediately. The consequences of not doing so are too dreadful to contemplate.

© Bryan Fischer

VIDEO: Prophecy Update End-Time News Headlines (From Olive Tree Ministries)

VIDEO: Prophecy Update End-Time News Headlines

Enjoy this very short video that looks at current news headlines that tie to the Bible and to Bible prophecy. Access at the link below or above . . . . . 
View Short Video »

Friday, August 9, 2019

COZA RAPE SAGA: HYPERGRACE DOCTRINE IS THE VEILED VILLAIN


Very credibly, soberly put together, Busola Dakolo, wife of popular artiste and mother of three opened up on how Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, Senior Pastor at the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) on two occasions within one week forcefully had carnal knowledge of her while she was a teenage member of that church.  It would appear that Fatoyinbo and his circle of friends had dared Timi Dakolo and his wife to come out clear on non-specific cryptic allegations which Timi had been making on some social media.  The Dakolos took the challenge and what resulted was a two-hour interview with media personality Chude Jideonwo. The video has since gone viral on several platforms.

Initially, there was no response from Fatoyinbo or COZA, but surrogates fiercely shot down Mrs Dakolo using unprintable names.  This only heated the polity the more, with many sympathizers spontaneously arising to her defence.  The climax was a mass protest led by some media personalities to COZA demanding the matter be investigated.  At this juncture, Fatoyinbo announced that he had been advised by his mentors to step down for a while, possibly to let things cool down.

Meanwhile the heat was turned full blast on the Dakolos.  After an initial gestapo-style arrest by the Police was thwarted, the police came out frontally with a warrant inviting the couple to come answer charges of defamation against Fatoyinbo!  The invitation letter bore the full detailed address of the Dakolos and was made public.  The security implication was obvious and alarming.  At the same time, the Police  apparently ignored  the initial letter of complaint the Dakolos had officially filed against Fatoyinbo.  

More heat for the Dakolos as outspoken and nationally respected Femi Fani Kayode (even while disclosing that his wife attends COZA), poured bitter vitriols on Mrs Dakolo, denouncing her as “accuser of the brethren.”    At the same time, two notable members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) paid a solidarity visit to COZA, where they were quoted as saying: "We are in support of your pastor. We stand by him and this church … the gate of hell shall not prevail against this church."  

The national body of CAN had previously demonstrated considerable vacillation on the matter, first arguing that the issue, though condemnable if true, does not concern the CAN since COZA does not subscribe to CAN membership.  Later, CAN reasoned that since both the accused and the accuser are Christians, both are automatically members of the CAN and the matter will be investigated and settled  by CAN “as a family issue”.  However, following the public outrage that trailed the solidarity visit to COZA, the national body of CAN through one of her Directors, hurriedly dissociated itself from the visit and eventually concurred that an official police investigation would be the appropriate line of action.

Church Arise! considers it shameful and incredible that ordinarily reasonable people will summarily denounce a credible victim rather than support a call for an impartial investigation. Or at worst, a quiet private settlement of the matter.  

Truth of the matter is that CA! is not at all surprise at the allegation.  And we believe that were it not for the popular personalities involved, the matter would probably not have caught the attention of a public whose conscience has become deadened to the  myriads of incidents of sexual molestations now at an epidemic level in our society. 

Even with Mr Fatoyinbo, there were other allegations of rape, showing that the case with Busola Dakolo was not a one-off event.  But for us, the most revealing of the stories was that by the lady, simply known as Ese Walter, who insisted her extensive sexual affairs with Fatoyinbo were largely consensual acts between two adults.  She however clearly narrated how she was lured into the affair by Mr Fatoyinbo. Ese has since deleted her Blog. But a copy can be found here: https://www.informationng.com/2013/08/my-affair-with-pastor-biodun-fatoyinbo-of-coza-ese-walter.html
 
Our interest in this case, is to draw attention to a statement by the said Ese.  She said after getting through the initial shock of her respected Pastor luring her into sex and the affairs became regular, she at a point asked Fatoyinbo how he could be at peace with their relationship, while at the same time continuing to passionately preach against the very act.  In her actual words:
“At some point, I got really confused about what Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and I were doing that I had to ask how he handles it. I will never forget what he said to me. He said and I quote, “I will teach you a level of grace that you don’t understand.” 

Yes, it all boils down to “grace” or actually more accurately, hypergrace - a meaningless coinage that attempts to hype the already superlative concept of Grace!

On her blog, Ese recorded her response to this offer of more ‘indepth teaching:’
“My mind couldn’t fathom that somehow grace was enough covering for not just fornication on my path, adultery on his path and the many lies that was bound to follow what we were doing that was clearly abominable….. I had no intention of understanding a grace that would permit me to go on doing things that were wrong..” 

This indeed is the elephant in the room, which everybody is pretending not to see!  This whole case is all about the hypergrace doctrine of the Once-Saved-Always-Saved crowd.  The statement attributed to Fatoyinbo is indeed a standard cliché that has been repeated over and over by several hypergrace teachers in various climes. According to the standard teaching in hypergrace, catching the deeper meaning of grace supposedly enables one to commit any sin with impunity.  The movement insists (contrary to scriptures, e,g. 1 Jhn 5:16-17) that all sins are equal; and while for some their besetting sin might be gossip, or prayelessness for instance, for others, it might be a proclivity to sexually abuse minors and others under their trust.  And all the sins, no matter the category, have been pre-forgiven, so the sinner, provided he/she is sufficiently instructed in the message of “grace,” might as well continue in sin and watch grace abound to take care of the sin!

The critical fallacy of the grace-turned-lasciviousness hypergrace doctrine is that while the “magnitude” of sins might indeed not make any difference with the LORD, the “quality” of sin does.  Any sin, no matter how “trivial” that is deliberately committed by a Christian, is an affront to the Almighty, and is tantamount to “mocking God.”  Galatians 6:7 however assures that God’s goodness cannot be mocked, and people who persist in such type of sins might sooner or later find themselves in the very dangerous position that none can “renew them again unto repentance”  (Heb. 6:6). Anyone who cannot repent is done for and clearly hell-bound!

Our position in this write-up is that there are really two victims in this trending rape saga.  Pastor Fatoyinbo is as much a victim just as Busola is!  And the real villain, the teaching of hypergrace, quietly manages to keep itself out of the fray, waiting for the next set of victims.

This position is eloquently illustrated by the testimony of an old friend of Pastor Fatoyinbo. Fellow cult member with him at the University of Ilorin, Rev Dapo Daramola  is now a clergy as well as the Head of Media and Communications at the Methodist Church.  He gave a sober description of Fatoyinbo’s gradual descent from a fire-brand irreproachable lover of Christ to a man who could now be credibly accused of being a serial rapist.

Referring to himself and Fatoyinbo, Rev. Daramola quipped:
“Did we give our lives to Jesus genuinely? Yes, we did. Did we face challenges that tested our faith? Yes, we did. Was Abiodun Fatoyinbo starting a church because he wanted money? No, because the parents were well to do; in fact, his father till he died was a chieftain of the PDP and was even given an honour by our church. It wasn’t money. I have always been Orthodox in Christ. I know when he started; I know how many times we did 40 and 70 days of prayer and fasting. We were serious Christians. …We didn’t start up like bread and butter Christians. We knew that we were vulnerable to other fraternities who couldn’t do anything to us because they knew that we were Black Axe, but because we were now alone, there was no shield. …Black Axe was not going to fight on our behalf or defend us, so we, more or less, risked our lives to serve God. We knew where we were coming from.”

Hitting the nail on the head, Rev Daramola delved into an area no member of the Hypergrace family wants to hear:
“Can a man fall into temptation as he grows in faith? Yes! It’s very much possible…..For you to be a Christian, it means you must recognize that you have certain challenges which need to be deliberately worked upon. We take grace for granted, we misuse grace for liberty and for unending license to misbehave. It was self-indulging…..For me, it is self-indulgence, something that you know you ought to deal with but you refused to deal with it because you feel that grace will be sufficient” https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/07/more-damning-allegations-against-coza-pastor-how-fatoyinbo-got-it-wrong-former-school-mate/

He closed with an advice for his former friend:
“I believe God is using this process to talk to him on something and I think it’s beyond all of these things we are even looking at. I think if he does a proper soul-searching, he will come to terms with what it is”.

In our opinion, instead of arguing endlessly about whether Fatoyinbo raped then teenage girl Busola and others or not; he or any of the pastors in the hypergrace movement, should rather be challenged to come out to publicly denounce rapists as slaves of sin (John 8:34).  Would they publicly agree that people who having lost control of themselves are secretly indulging in actions they themselves are ashamed to own up to are children of darkness (Eph 5:11-12)?  And consequently are hell-bound except they repent (Eph. 5:5)?  

Of course, doing that will exactly throw the axe at the very root of their central defining doctrine!  This is precisely why CA! has devoted several regular editions and a special edition to alert the Body of Christ of this menace that is currently wrecking unimaginable havoc, corrupting our youths in particular. 

Denominational doctrines may indeed differ.  But all Christians ought to be able to agree on the answer to this simple and urgent question: Should a sexual predator be admonished to repent of his deed and seek help to prevent further acts?  Or should he be encouraged to continue in his “weakness” assured that even future episodes are already pre-forgiven him of God?  It is a sign of the end times that the Church cannot boldly ask such a straightforward question.  Nor dare address the open denunciation of repentance by many so-called men of God who preach that repenting from sin and confessing such is indeed the ultimate sin which should never be contemplated? Ouch!

One good thing that could come out of this sordid and sad story is the Church in Nigeria paying attention to the damning and destructive influence of the hypergrace doctrine and addressing it squarely once and for all.  Please see our detailed writeup on the Hypergrace doctrine here.