The Retired Archbishop of Province 1 of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion and Bishop of Lagos, The Most Revd Ephraim Ademowo has said Bishopric is not compensation in any form but for those who truly deserve it and who are spiritual.
Ademowo made the statement in a video interview by Advent Cable News Network published on its online platform on March 28 monitored by Church Times Nigeria.
He said he was happy that the Church of Nigeria has now made it a law that retiring bishops would no longer have a say in the person who succeeds them stressing that he had no apology for saying bishopric is not compensation.
It will be recalled that the Diocese of Lagos was thrown into a succession debacle a few years ago when the current Bishop of the diocese was to take over from Archbishop Ademowo.
He however said his successor, The Rt Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye has done so well in office describing him as a great achiever. “My successor has done more than myself. The man is soaring like an eagle. But for people to feel that you want to be a bishop and you are a non-performer, it is better for God not to allow you than for you to come and retrogress.”
He said If somebody is a priest and he is not facing his work, he will end up in frustration. “The wife of the priest must also know that. The wife of the bishop of Lagos is a professor but never arrogant. She is out for the population of the kingdom of heaven. She and her husband are like Priscilla and Acquilla.”
While describing the Diocese of Lagos as a reference point for churches in the communion, he said further that “the bishop is highly spiritual. He does a lot of fasting. Fasting and praying through. There was a time he fasted for 90 days. Bishops must be prophets. Rather than saying we want our sons to be our bishop. Now that they will choose when the bishop retiring is not there, it will help a lot.
“People should buckle up and work. The bishopric is not compensation, I don’t hold anybody any apology for saying that. We must get people that are highly spiritual to do this work so that the kingdom of God will be populated.”
The retired Archbishop used the opportunity of the interview which appeared to have been conducted last year but was published or possibly republished on March 28, to express his mind about the immoral way some priests lobby for positions and for things.
He said “We must go back to the practices of the early church and do sincere worship. Bishop Kale never thought he could become a bishop when they picked him from Oyo. If people know who they are serving, God will assign to them what is due to them.
“There is a priest in the cathedral. I did not see him for many days when I was bishop. I was told he went to UI for his Masters’ programme. I then recalled that I was the one who gave him permission to go. I learnt that his car was always breaking down on the road. I had to make arrangements to get him a new car along with other priests. He could not have come to tell me he needed a car. But I sensed he needed one and we gave him.
“There was a time a highly placed Nigerian asked for what I wanted as a birthday gift. I told him he should buy a car for a priest that I know needed it. There are several people that God has used us to show the love of God. It is time to go back to Practical Christianity. Enough of theories. People are suffering and you are not ready to assist. That is not good. If you do things that will make people curse you, the curses will come to pass.”
He said it is immoral for any priest to begin to lobby for position pointing out he never did that when he was in the ministry.
Recalling the several places he served, he said, “Coming to Lagos does not mean that all is rosy. There are areas that are just like villages too outside Lagos. It is not a good thing for one to leave where God wants you to be and lobbying for where God does not want you to be.”
Ademowo who was also Dean of Church of Nigeria noted that lay people out of genuine concern also make priests misbehave. He recalled he never encouraged such when he was in ministry.
“Those lay people, if they read their Bible, they will know what they are doing is wrong. I had spent 9 years when Pa Falope the then Bishop of Ilesha Diocese was retiring. Lay people took it upon themselves that I should have been made a Canon. I got to know about this when I was in the house of a Royal father. In fact, the royal father was going to make a case for me. I said It is not right.
“Whenever people are preferred in the diocese then, members would come and say my preferment too would come o!, I never said amen to such prayers. I just walk away.”
Ademowo said when he was Bishop of Lagos Diocese, he encouraged a lot of biblical teachings noting that emphasis on money in some parishes is becoming worrisome.
“You go to some churches they can take collection more than seven times. Whereas if you teach people, they will know what to do rather than the service becoming something else. I always love to worship online with All souls Lekki because their service is highly spiritual.
“If you give people the spiritual milk you don’t have to be preaching money. During the lockdown, some churches got more money because they taught their people well. We can’t be busy chasing after shadows. It will not help us. When I go for a service nobody needs to tell me to give because the teaching had been done.”
Ademowo on Gay issue and the West
Commenting on the gay issue in the western world he said, “Homosexuality is a misnomer. The Nigerian church that is not with them in that regard is for Biblical orthodoxy. We bow to biblical scrutiny. It is a misnomer. I don’t know how you can ask two males to come to church and you join them together. It is abnormal. There is no going back on our stand on the issue. We are holding to the biblical principles.”
He recalled that “as far back as 1990, we were visiting the diocese of Michigan. Someone was greeting me. The person dressed like a she but the voice was a He. We greeted and then moved to one side and asked who is the person. I was told he went to change his gender to a she. I was taken aback. It is madness. We have taken our own stand and there is no going back. I used to say it in the House of Bishops before I retired, that if we change our posture on the gay issue our members will stone us. It is not negotiable. It is not debatable.”
He opined that the West is not ready to repent. “They are not ready for now. They are just playing along with the government. We even have some churches that have been sold to pub houses, many have been closed down. You can’t see the evangelicals in the US talking this nonsense. The Episcopal Church and the Church of England are the ones derailing. They talk of our mother-father in heaven and all sorts of things. It is sacrilegious.”
Story by Gbenga Osinaike