Some years ago, while observing my NYSC in Ilorin, the kwara state capital, I was invited to a certain church for a sunday service. Back then, I was actively involved with NCCF (Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship) as the state Bible Study co-ordinator or “Rabbi” as I was fondly called and as corpers, we didn’t hold our own church service or felllowship till about 2pm or so on sundays. This gave us the room to attend any church service in the morning.
“COZA” hmmmm……” sounded a little different and somewhat unique for the name of a church” I thought and so I attended. The venue was somewhere around Fate / Tanke road, on the way towards University of Ilorin. I got there and found out that COZA was an acronym for Commonwealth of Zion Assembly. After the praise and worship session, it was time for the word of God and a young dynamic pastor emerged on the altar and preached with so much wisdom, annointing and insight. Wow! This was just awesome! ” I thought to myself. No wonder the upcoming church then, and the pastor were making so much waves in Ilorin…….and I also got to find out the pastors name. He was Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.
Now if you know anything about the spiritual relevance of Kwara state in the body of Christ, you will know that its no little feat to start and grow a church there if God did not call you because Kwara is like the “Jerusalem” of sorts for major christian ministries in Nigeria like Rhema Bible Church, living Faith church etc. Most major christian ministries either started from there or the men of God who started them came from there so you have to be “really” called of God to successfully start a church there.
Well, I had a nice time at the service at COZA on that particular sunday and afterwords I relocated to Lagos after concluding my youth service in Ilorin. That was my first encounter with Pastor Biodun and his ministry. As the years rolled by, I learnt about the progress and dynamic growth of the church which was now in Abuja and I wasn’t surprised.
Now in the past few days, the media has been replete and awash with stories and controversies here and there about Pastor Fatoyinbo and a former member of his church. I’m really not gonna bother with the details of the controversy ‘cos that’s not my aim here. Neither am I going to castigate or criticize any of the parties involved because I’m not a judge. What I will do however is to share my opinion and register my displeasure on the attitude of christians who ought to know better than to castigate and criticize someone just because of stories of alleged infidelity flying here and there. This has really been a pain in my mind and please permit me to voice out my unreserved emotions about this. Again, remember as you read this that my aim is not to determine the authenticity, veracity or otherwise of the controversy because quite frankly, I’m not even qualified to do that and I believe NOBODY is. So, if you logged on to this blog hoping to read juicy details of the controversy, then you will be very very disappointed.
I wasn’t going to talk about this initially but as the days went by, it hurt me and I was baffled at the sheer display of callous ignorance by not just people, but by christians who have constituted spiritual kangaroo courts everywhere and are judging a matter which they ordinarily should leave for God.
This was my initial response to the whole saga………..
…but owing to my disappointment as to the way church folks in particular are handling this, I now feel the need to air my full opinion. Like I said to someone, for me, this whole issue isn’t really about Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo or COZA but its about how the church and Christians can defend what we believe and preach. My pastor said last sunday that its only in the christian kingdom that an army shoots its wounded soldiers. That’s exactly what is going on here. Christians seem to even be the ones doing more of the condemnation and castigation and this reminds me of what happened to Jesus himself. It was the same people he healed and blessed that shouted “crucify him, crucify him!!!”.
My personal policy in life is NEVER to condemn anyone whether guilty or not. I’m even more careful when it comes to men of God and believe me, its not just because the bible says “touch not my anointed servants and do my prophets no harm”. Its just because of three simple reasons:
1. I believe that I am not God to judge.
2. I believe that no body is perfect
3. I also believe that I might not be better than the accused so who am I to judge.
I was personally pained when I saw the reactions and responses of people who I assumed and thought were christians when this matter arose. Christians everywhere were making mockery and jest of the situation with derogatory pictures and comments on BBM, facebook and other social media. I’m particularly sick of bloggers writing trash about what they have no clue about and “cashing in” on this to reach maximum hits on their blog. For them, they are merely “exposing the devil” but for me, they are shouting “crucify him!”. Was that really supposed to be our response? Have we finished dealing with our own personal lives, challenges and problems for us now to become judges in another mans life? Do we really think that the best response to an accusation is for us to declare that the accused is guilty based on our own wicked hearts?
I personally believe that this whole issue has been blown out of proportions simply because a Pastor is involved. Its “okay” for a christian to sin and we overlook it but when it involves a pastor, we immediately bring out the noose and become emergency hang men, ready to carry out an execution. We become the judge and jury at the same time. People have asked me why hasn’t Pastor Biodun come out to openly deny the allegation and my response was that’s its not necessary. No matter how much you try to cover a lie, one day, the truth will emerge if it is a lie. Remember the story in Acts 5:25-40 where Peter and the apostles were accused by the senate of preaching and were about to be condemned but a wise scholar among the council called Gamaliel had enough sense to tell the accusers to let the matter be because if their gospel was authentic, then there would be nothing they could do to stop it but if they were fake, then it will just be a matter of time for them to be exposed. Besides, no matter how hard you try to defend yourself from an accusation, people will still believe what they want to believe anyway, so why bother. God is the defender of his kingdom and He will defend it. He said so Himself “…upon this rock I would build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it….”
So instead of trying to find out whether he is guilty or not, I’d rather channel all that energy to run my own personal race as a christian because on the judgment day, “everybody go answer him papa name”.
Like I said earlier, for me, its not just about Pastor Biodun and COZA. Its about the entire body of Christ. When it comes to the church, people just have a way of carrying a matter on their head as though they are spiritual lawyers and prosecutors. Another popular ministry in lagos is currently under attack by a CD in circulation which is bent on “exposing” the church. I was somewhere over the weekend and a hawker mounted speakers in an open place and he was playing the CD so loud so everyone would hear, and trust ignorant christians, they were all coming to buy the CD. I asked myself “why are we christians like this?” I’d rather buy a CD that will teach me about the word of God and improve my spiritual life than buy a CD that allegedly “exposes” a church and fills my heart with nothing but resentment. The truth however is, if they did it to Jesus, then we can and should expect such too.
Thank God though for Christians who have enough spiritual sense to support their own. Thank God for christians who believe that God is the only judge. Thank God for fellow believers who have decided not to allow their minds to be polluted despite all the condemnation,castigation and controversy. I have a couple of them on my BBM ………..
I came across lots of responses as I sought to know the level of spiritual maturity among people, especially people who may have never heard of Pastor Fatoyinbo and COZA and I must say that this one has got to be my favourite response………………..and thank God for this response from someone who should know all about criticism, castigation and condemnation because he too has been there………….
So my fellow Christians, let’s stop shooting our own soldiers. Let’s stop killing our wounded. Rather, let’s focus on what God has called us to do, and that is to draw all men unto Him. In the end, I believe that just like the case of Joseph, what the devil intended for evil will work out for good.
Also, I,ve got a lot to say about the Governor Suntai of Taraba state as well as other topical issues too, so make it a date.
Thats all for now guys. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to stay tuned for more. Remember, “Every man will have his day”
Johnson Madichie is a social blogger based in Lagos, Nigeria and affects the world from there.
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