For once in a long while, the church told itself some home truth on Monday when Rev. (Dr) Ola Ayankeye, Deputy President (Academics), Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS), Ogbomoso, Oyo State, attributed the challenges in the country to the failure of churches to preach undiluted gospel and tell the nation’s leadership the truth.
Ayankeye said this at a news conference heralding the 2019 NBTS Ministers’ Conference.
The ministers’ conference, with the theme “Guard the Gospel”, is expected to commence on Sept. 9, at the seminary in Ogbomoso. No fewer than 5,000 ministers from across the world and denominations are expected at the conference.
Ayankeye attributed the security challenges rocking the nation to failure of the church to reach out to unbelievers and speak truth to the ruling clas.
“The seminary has recognised the problem of washing down the gospel. The Bible says the gospel is God’s power unto salvation.
“You know when people don’t understand God, they behave anyhow. So to “Guard the Gospel” here is talking about getting yourself equipped, understand, apply, teach and lead the gospel.
“If you do that, others will see you and learn from you in a way that they will want to live their lives to ensure transformation of the society.
“By that, all the problems we are facing will be reduced drastically,” he said.
The cleric affirmed that recklessness on the part of the leaders and the followership was because many Nigerians were not spiritually grounded, stressing the need for the nation’s leaders to work with the church to restore its fortunes.
While noting that the gospel was central to the transformation of the lives of Nigerians, he said that the ministers’ conference is aimed at recharging church ministers to live up to their roles of guiding the nation’s leaders aright.
Ayankeye debunked insinuations that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) was involved in partisan politics, saying that the association was only playing its role as a stakeholder in the nation’s project.
“When we say partisan politics, has CAN ever planned to take over Aso Rock? No. The fact that the one who is wrong is not from my tribe doesn’t make me an enemy of that person.
“So, because the person speaking does not belong to us, therefore, he is partisan. But if he is speaking what I want to hear, he is not practising partisan politics. Is that what we are saying?
“Objectivity should be allowed in our polity so that whatever anybody says should be considered rather than the person saying it. We should value issues rather than personality.
“CAN should continue to be what it is. To be CAN does not mean it should not speak about what is going on in the country. If CAN does not speak, then, it is not playing its expected role,” he said.
The cleric added that this year’s conference would focus more on equipping the ministers, stressing that adequate security had been provided to ensure a smooth event.
Rev. (Dr) Gabriel Olaniyan, the Deputy President (Advancement) and Rev. (Dr) Dele Oluwole, the Registrar, pointed to the huge funds expended on purchasing ammunition to combat insecurity as evidence of poor leadership.
They noted that the nation’s security challenges would be minimal if government, over the years, had invested hugely on people’s welfare through provision of social and physical infrastructure.
Among those expected at the conference are the CAN President, Rev. (Dr) Samson Ayokunle, Chairman, Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), Rev. Olumide Kehinde, NBC Vice-President (Ministerial), Rev. Dickson Madoghwe and NBTS President, Rev. Emiola Nihinlola.