Tuesday, April 7, 2015 11:44 am
By Timi Orokoya Telemi
I have been following events and news on politics in this country for quite a while. Those of us who have been around for some times will not be surprised to see some dirty and bitter scenes that Nigerian politics is noted for. Like a change of scenes in the Nollywood world and change of lessons in schools, the story changed and the table turned when respected God’s generals got into the scene unscripted and started acting out of script! Lord have mercy! I was furious when I was writing this, yet I needed to allow a bit of calm and sense in my reactions.
Initially I didn’t want to talk but I was grieved to the marrows when I read recently on the internet about a supposed ministers’ prayer meeting, aimed at interceeding for Nigeria, but which turned to a political meeting of campaign and endorsement for certain candidates. Let me ask every minister: What are you doing, touching what you are not supposed to touch until it destroys what you are supposed to touch? It is an error for any called and serious minded minister to get involved in the dirty and stinking politics of this country, politics of bitterness, crime, corruption, injustice deceit, denial and death. Our apostolic calling is now suffering in the hands of our political ambitions. Some of us have exchanged our collars for dollars, that is a story for another day. Governmental romance and influence have robbed us of pentecostal values. Hah! Iranse Eledumare! (God’s servants).
Since the beginning of my ministry over three decades ago as an Apostle of Justice and Peace, I have been speaking through my music to affect lives positively, drawing the attention of any government in power to issues affecting or challenging the peaceful and meaningful existence of the people. The current state of the nation and the news flying across the globe about our dear country warrant that my medium and devices should not be limited to just my music, hence this writing to tell everyone concerned to redress before the judgment of God begins.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Christians cannot get involved in politics. No. It is done and practiced with dignity in other advanced countries where people do not practise politics with the bitterness and mess involved in Nigerians’ politics. Yet, anywhere in the world, politics should be a no go area for vineyards laborers, if in actual fact they are called. Jesus Christ called us shepherds and gave specific assignments to feed His sheep, but we have abandoned the sheep and they have gone astray. The sheep have scattered for lack of shepherds, looking for greener pastures. In the process, they are eating what they are not supposed to eat and have fallen sick, some couldn’t survive it, others became victims of dangerous animals.
Let us agree God has revealed some things to any of us about this country, at this period of tensions and controversies, I think such revelations have to be handled carefully with wisdom. The gift of God without wisdom is dangerous and a big risk to such messagers or prophets. Every prophesy or power of revelations must be to the glory of God, if you are lousy or noicy about it, that means you want publicity for yourself and the ministry and you will eventually take the glory. However, the Bible tells us the danger of that in Psalm 42:8. Yes, more people will come to our churches because worshippers have become lovers of lies in their dangerous desires for miracles, they are never conscious of the truth that the light of God will never shine on them, Isaiah 60:1. The light of God cannot be present where His glory is stolen.
Let me let us into some facts and dangers we probably don’t know or ignored about our active involvements in the business of politics in this country.
1. As responsible parents, we are not to allow divisions among our children, knowing that we have become spiritual parents to the flocks, who show more respects to us than their biological parents. Our political ambitions and endorsement for a particular candidate is against what Jesus our master sent us. We have selfishly divided the church and ended up losing them to the world because some of them may decide not to attend any church because of the wounds and negative impressions from their former churches.
2. In our lack of focus and confused state, we are misleading our followers by our political beliefs and not spiritual beliefs or scriptural understandings. Politics is now freely discussed in the church and campaigns for parties are done carelessly without decency.
3. Our members no longer trust or believe in our sound and powerful sermons because we have made them to believe we are like most politicians who know nothing but false living.
4. Our spiritual inspirations are now replaced with political aspirations; we no longer receive from heaven. John 3:27. Party leaders now influence our sermons, which are now devoid of truth and salt. The salt of the world has now become the sources of bitterness, divisions and troubles in a nation we are sent to with the word of peace, saying my peace I give you not as world giveth. John. 14:27
You can really imagine, some of us claimed God has revealed to us the next president and we were feeding the people with conflicting revelations about one office which the Constitution and even the Bible give to only one person. If we desire a thing in our hearts, must we lie and bring in God as the source? By the time our prophecies fail, shame will set in and we will be looking for cover up. By extension, other lies will be imported! Anywhere God has not sent us, His anointing and protections will never cover us, because we will end up making mistakes such as lying and cutting corners. God told Abraham not to go down to Egypt but he disobeyed and went, he ended up lying that Sarah was his sister and not wife. Whatever He tells us to do is what we are supposed to do not what we feel or desire.
Some of our pastors are richer and more influential than the politicians. What else do we want? We are wearing a crown higher and greater than any president in the world, our desires and craze for money and vain popularity have deprived us of our crown of glory. We keep establishing churches; branches spring up daily, yet crime rate is still alarming. Why? The answer is simply that we have forsaken the truth and our core assignments to feed His sheep and raise disciples. We now raise billionaires who will catch the next available flight to escape in times of crisis, leaving only the disciples to face the turbulent periods. The passion of Jesus for the perishing souls had been pushed aside and replaced with passion for materialism.
The house we live and the location, our cars, cell phones, wrist watches and designer wears and shoes now form 95 per cent of our sermons. We no longer share the pain and grief of Jesus Christ concerning the souls, as some of them may perish without knowing how much Jesus loves them. Matthew 9:35-38
Worse still, no wonder bible scholars, right from the seminaries, they will start nursing the idea to become like the flamboyant ones among us. We shall always continue to produce our likes. I learnt some of us now resume in government offices while some follow politicians to campaign rallies and meetings, telling them what God has not spoken. Some ministers even organised themselves, saying they are Presidential Prayer Team. Where is such ministry in the bible? Clever people, non of such team is set up to safe the Chibok girls and put an end to Boko Haram insurgency. That one no get bag? Ha! 419 on the pulpit?
Those of us in the south are in jubilation, acquiring wealth forgetting to send help to our brethren in the north who are dying daily. O my God, I weep for endtime ministers, we all have queries to answer before God if we don’t repent now. No more open or indoor revivals, fire of evangelism has been quenched and the smoke has disappeared into thin air. We are more concerned with the tithes and offerings of members than the salvation of their souls, spending hours in raising money with so many untrue and manufactured stories, thricks and gimmicks to cajole our congregation to drop money and even borrow. Have you heard some of us command their members to surrender their valuables like cars, houses and bank account balances before or in order to be blessed. Hunm! This is another story for other days. Some of us are worse than herbalists, so fetish and traditional. Ritualists are many among us.
How many prayer crusades have we put together to bring back the Chibok girls? Is it because they are not our biological children? Jehosaphat raised choirs in the bible to win battles they never fought, how many of such approaches have we applied to overcome terrible and challenging situations in Nigeria? In those bible eras, prophets are respected because of the ways they packaged themselves, they were consulted and they did things with dignity and fear of God not who they were but who God his. Look at dignity and integrity in the way Elisha handled the case of Naaman, the Syrian army general, in 2 Kings 5. God used Elisha to heal him without receiving any material gains. Some of us are in the show of power, forgetting that all power belongs to God.
In Matthew 9:35-38 Jesus spoke about the harvest that is ripe and requires laborers. Because we the laborers have engaged ourselves in vocations rather than what He has called us to do, the harvest has now over ripen and become rotten. The rotten harvest produced the Boko Haram, armed robbers, political thugs and all the criminals in our societies today. How long are we going to fold our arms and watch things going from bad to worse? What is our business endorsing a candidate, are we God? Our role is to intercede and direct everyone to seek the face of the Lord for divine interventions and His perfect will.
Let me ask this question, what happens if the candidate we endorsed and campaigned for on the altar eventually loses the election? How do you manage the shame and bring back members you have lost to wrong and wasteful adventure? If the aftermath of the elections turned violent, don’t you think your ministry and members are in danger? The church building and valuables can go up in flame. Some of us don’t know we are justices of peace but now we have almost lost that status to greed for material things and vain glory. The society now sees some of us as prophets and agents of confusion and discord.
We have now resorted to lambasting ourselves, employing dirty languages to address ourselves on the pages of dailies and Internet. . Instead of we raising army of God against Satan, we are now fighting ourselves, Christ is wounded in the house of friends. Instead of being the church in a troubled world, it is now the reverse, the world in the troubled church. Lord have mercy.
I am not a saint, I am one of you for we are all guilty without exception. In my submission, let us withdraw and come together to seek the face of God for the redemption of our country. If you have taken money from any political party, you are selling the souls Jesus Christ has purchased with His precious blood. Return the money and ask for forgiveness if you don’t want what happened to Judas Iscariot repeat itself in your life. Matthew 27:3-10. This is my submission. Let us repent and be ready to die for the sake of the gospel. In love I write.
– Timi Orokoya Telemi, is the Pastor, Praise Generation Assembly; President, Telemi Gospel Music and National President, Gospel Musicians’ Association of Nigeria.