Opinion: Misdirection in the contemporary African Church

by Nimi Princewill

The ‘practice’ of Christianity in Africa, is gradually on the verge of a wild goose chase. The more impressive the proliferation of churches (the credibility of which cannot be truly ascertained), the higher the population of indecisive religious tourists, who continuously fall victims of marketing hype! The second coming of Christ as detailed in the Bible is bound to happen only “when the Gospel has been preached to the WHOLE earth as a witness”. Why then is the first instinct of an African Pastor focused solely on erecting his core congregational base within the modernised towns and cities where the gospel has been and is still being preached? The other churches are not doing it right? Or perhaps, evangelising primarily in the rural areas where poverty and idol worship is largely obtainable would not yield much financial patronage.

We just witness a recycling of church members from one denomination to another. The Pentecostal folks snatch the members of their colleagues next door, while the Methodist and Baptist denominations, rip-off what they can from the Catholic! (at least I’ve attended a church where a major prayer point was for other churches within the town to bow to theirs!). Christians “winning the souls” of other Christians! Unnecessary and unhealthy competition among churches in Africa. It was never written of Apostle Paul aiming to win over Peter’s congregation, or Matthew prevailing over Luke despite their different scriptural accounts. If each of these Apostles were keen on enforcing their individual philosophies or erecting personal empires with the gospel as opposed to the other, who would have reached the unbelievers?

How many Muslims and Atheists can the average African church claim to have converted, as compared to the number of Christians they’ve won over from other churches? (with their fancy choirs & lavish buildings). How many of the BIG and revered churches (with giant net worth & audacious faith) are spreading to the Middle East and other volatile areas like North Korea for evangelism? Little or none right? With such humongous amount of faith they preach! But why I ask? For fear of persecution? Oh! They’ve got families they love and care for, so it’s practically unwise to die for the gospel at this time.

It’s more comfortable to preach about the great exploits of Apostles who died for the sake of the gospel, but when confronted with the same feat in real life, they rather not tread the same path (after all, wisdom is profitable to them that have it!). Some Pastors surround themselves with bodyguards or a substantial amount of protocol teams. For what exactly? To protect themselves from people? Or shield themselves from any impending form of persecution? The target of the gospel in Africa, now reverses from the originally intended evangelical spread of the gospel across borders to the building of magnificent empires, otherwise nicknamed “building God a house”. Every church now wants to build God a house! (God is everywhere after all, so He’s big enough to live in all of them!). God doesn’t need a house! Even if He needed one, your architectural design doesn’t qualify! He needs you to dust off the materialism, and evangelise the world!

If African churches can convert the vast resources invested in building and sustaining large congregations, into carrying out evangelical trips across villages (where voodoo is mostly practiced), and to nations that forbid Christianity (without fear of persecution, which is originally the main idea), we would be halfway towards receiving the second coming of Christ!

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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