NOW UPON A TIME – PART 1
Every generation has its peculiar challenges and trends. After Adam fell in the Garden of Eden, every human being that ever lived or that will ever live on mother earth must contend with what quintessential gospel preacher, Rev. Silas Yako, calls ‘generational devils’ who infiltrate and try to corrupt Gods goodness and purpose for every generation. This implies that every generation has a devil to conquer. Little wonder, Rev. Col. (Dr.) S.K Bargo’s admonition which I cited in my book, ‘Luring Trends’ comes in handy; “God reveals His wisdom generationally” (Dickson, 2021: xv). Thus, the wisdom of God and the power of God are fundamental to conquering the ‘generational devils’ ravaging our children, the Church, society, and the world.
The ‘generational devils’ of this 21st century are complicated. Complicated not because the devil has become more ferocious than he was in history or because of the absence of right or wrong, evil or good. It is complicated because this generation is making relative of Christian’s standard of measurement- the BIBLE. Ironically, the infallible truth in the Bible is being distorted by both the preachers of the Bible and practitioners when it relates to practicing biblical truth. For example, some practices that the Bible calls sin are what our Society (sometimes, even the Church) preaches against, but are guilty of the same in practice. Here are some of such practices: The truth which used to be absolute is now relative, i.e. truth is now determined by the individual preacher or Christians, not the Bible. Once upon a time when the Bible speaks in the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ all Christians responded ‘Amen’, but today (“Now upon a time”), experience has it that Christians now question Biblical positions on life, morality, and value systems, especially biblical teachings that expose and speak against the works of the flesh as written in Gal. 5:19-21 (Tree of Life version). 19 “Now the deeds of the flesh are clear: sexual immorality, impurity, indecency, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hostility, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, just as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.” The practices of these things in any form are unacceptable by the biblical truth- irrespective of who is practicing them. Though ‘Now upon a time” these vices seem entertained and celebrated in some Christian gatherings. Let us frown at and speak against these vices as negating biblical standards of Christian living. How can we entertain the practices that the Bible condemns and still professes to be Christians?
Another twist in the “Now upon a time” is the praxis of dressing. Dressing that used to be seen and addressed as nakedness / immoral is now colorfully termed ‘fashion’ or ‘trendy’ or ‘looking sexy’. A former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Eme Ekaette, Chairperson of the Nigerian Senate Committee on Women and Youth, once said that “no responsible society should fold its arms while its institutions, put in place to perpetuate the nation are taken over by forces promoting unbridled freedom.” She went further to say “those who want to parade the streets naked in the name of modern fashion can do so in marketplaces, public squares, and perhaps on the beaches, but the state and civil society owe a responsibility to civilized behavior to protect institutions such as schools, churches/mosque and government buildings from disoriented models of new fashion. If we must be sincere, naked women are among the remote causes of the alarming breakdown of public morality and the general moral fiber of our contemporary society.” Professor Michael Asuzu of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, concurs and adds “women who dress to reveal flesh wish to make this simple statement, ‘I am available- take me, if you like what you are seeing.” (Daily Sun; Feb. 13, 2008, pg. 16). Trust me when I tell you, we must intentionally address the issue of dressing in our Churches. Body-revealing dresses by ladies and boxer-revealing dresses by men invite us to question the content of the minds. Remember that a wo/man’s mind reveals who s/he is (Prov. 23:7), so does a wo/man’s fruit (action) reveal her/his mind (Mt. 7:16). So, though nobody knows your mind, your fruit as expressed in deeds/actions and behavior, reveal your mind.
One more twist in the ‘Now upon a time’ is integrity. A mentor, Dr. James Zasha told me a story of how in his undergraduate days at Ahmadu Bello University (A.B.U) Zaria, the newspaper vendors will bring their newspapers on campus in the morning and leave them at the paper stands with some money (change) and go back home. Students and lecturers, he said, will go to the stand, pick the paper of their choice and leave their payments at the designated newspaper stand (remember that the vendor is not present). At the end of the day, the vendor returns pick money left as payment and his ‘unsold’ papers. Distinguish ladies and gentlemen, can that happen in our universities today (be it a secular or religious university) or seminary, or even inside religious worship centers? I agree with your answers. Integrity in words and deeds is a potent message of Christianity.
In conclusion, every one of us must conquer the ‘generational devil’ of “Now upon a time” by getting back to the Word (Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 4:20- 27). We must also discipline ourselves to believe and live by God’s Word. It was the ECWA president, Rev. (Dr.) Stephen Panya Baba observed that “a lot of Christians Study the word but either don’t believe in it or don’t want to live by it.” Until the Bible determines our values, reasoning, relationships, and ‘culture’, we may end up sustaining the religiosity of Christianity without breathing the life that Christianity gives to society.
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