Home News Anglican bishop tackles false teachers @diocese’s Synod, asks Christians to fight the fight of faith

Anglican bishop tackles false teachers @diocese’s Synod, asks Christians to fight the fight of faith

by Church Times

The Bishop of Lagos West Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt Rev Olusola Odedeji has called on believers who have an understanding of the Bible to stop the activities of false teachers by fighting the good fight of faith.

He made the call at the opening ceremony of the first session of the 9th Synod of the diocese with the theme “Fight the good fight of faith”The ceremony took place on Friday, May 17 at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church, Ikeja, Lagos. It attracted close to 300 priests, about 200 laities from the diocese, and a good number of dignitaries.

The special guests at the event include representatives of the Lagos Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu; the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin and former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs Adejoke Adefulire-Orelope.Others at the event were retired priests and bishops from other dioceses.

Odedeji spent a great deal of time talking about the perversive influence of false teachers and the grave implications of living a life of sin.He noted that many Christians have become victims of the erroneous teachings of false teachers.

While declaring that they are enemies of the faith, he said, “Whether we are interested or not, the fight is on. Satan who is the enemy of God is also your enemy. The world is hostile to your faith and God’s kingdom. If we are in any other kind of fight apart from the fight of faith, we are in a wrong fight.”

Bishop Odedeji

Precious faith

 

The faith of the believer according to him is of great value and should be guided by all means.  “The devil desires to steal from us. There are enemies of faith in this fight of faith which we are instructed to fight. If there are no enemies there will be no need to fight.

“When we lose the battle to sin, we lose the battle of life. Consequently, we must be ready to fight every day. If you have anything of value you will do everything to protect, preserve, and guard it against the onslaught of robbers who will want to steal it at all costs. Our faith is a precious commodity that the devil desires to steal from us”

Not material acquisition

He emphasised that the fight is not about acquiring material things like houses and cars but it is the fight for faith to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord and eschew every form of wickedness.

While regretting that charlatans, robbers, and liars have found their way to the pulpit he said, “Many who love the Lord have grown cold. We must contend for the faith and hold unto eternal life.”

Alluding to Apostle Paul’s instruction to Timothy, Odedeji said, “When Paul urged Timothy to fight the good fight of faith. The issue of false teachers was of great concern. He took steps to confront these teachings. The concern of Paul was to provide Timothy with essential instructions for leading the church in his absence. He had to give him clear instructions on how to deal with the issue of false teachers.”

Ephesus was like Lagos

Bishop Odedeji informed that as at the time Paul wrote to Timothy, “Ephesus was a bobbling Roman metropolis. It was like Lagos, Abuja, and other few states in Nigeria where whatever is being sold will get customers. As a result of the increasing commercial activities in this place, many of the people became wealthy. Some placed their trust in their wealth. Paul had to tell Timothy to tell the believers not to rely on uncertain riches.”

Ephesus cult of Artemis

Another thing about Ephesus according to Odedeji was that it was host to the fertility cult of Artemis and it had wonderful infrastructure. “It was because of the pervasive pagan tradition in Ephesus that also made Paul warn Timothy to fight the good fight of faith.”

Though the Christian faith thrived in Ephesus, the Anglican Bishop said there was a pronounced persecution of Christians in Ephesus. “The church faced internal and external opposition.

” That made Paul admonish Timothy to correct the teachings of false teachers.  There was a problem with worship in the Ephesian church.  Paul had to prescribe some duties for ministers and he gave instructions on their roles in his letter.”

Odedeji observed that throughout the letter to Paul to Timothy he kept referring to false teachers. He also talked about the consequences of the love of money. He warned Timothy that there is no relationship between godliness and material things. He emphasised the Christian character”

Paul’s instruction

On Paul’s instruction to fight the good fight of faith in ITim6v12, Odedeji said, “It means fighting for God’s kingdom instead of an earthly kingdom. It means to contend for the faith and persevere against opposition. This means man has a definite part in his redemption.

“In Paul’s admonition, the good fight suggests the fight is a good one. There may be a fight of faith that is bad. Any fight that the holy spirit is not part of is not a good fight. When the motivation is for self, it will be about self and self alone.”

A new realm

The Anglican cleric emphasised that fighting the good fight will usher the believer into a new realm. “The fight will usher you into a greater benefit. No battle is fought successfully without a goal. A believer should set his affection on things above.

‘Paul served churches that did not appreciate him. But he was always loving and kind in his dealings with them.”

Odedeji maintained that anybody fighting the good faith of faith should understand that the fight is personal.

“Every army must fight alone. The help of man is useless. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

“It is an individual race. We must contend for the faith. Christians are called to defend the gospel. Believers must put on the full armour of God to fight. Only fighters are.´Overcomers”

No need for physical weapons

He however warned that on no account should believers engage in physical fight. “The fight is spiritual It does not require a physical weapon.

“Our enemies are spiritual wickedness in high places. Unfortunately, some teachings water down redemption and make it look like an assumption. These doctrines are dangerous. Many are being carried away with diverse doctrines.”

He urged believers to be wary of the “Doctrine of, it does not matter what we do, we will make heaven because of the price Jesus has paid.”

He described such message as ungodly adding, “The church has not recovered from covid. Many are lazy they don’t have any drive again. The pleasure of the world could be enticing and hard to resist. But we should give it up for the price of the high calling of God. Having the right understanding is the key to glorious living on earth.”

Lagos governor

In his speech, the governor of Lagos State, Mr Sanwoolu says his government is fulfilling scriptures by serving the people of Lagos. He however gave God the credit for the progress made in the state.

Mrs Abimbola Salu-Hundeyin delivered Sanwoolu’s message which reads in part, “You will agree with me that God is helping us, and with the prayers of the faithful in carrying out the THEMES PLUS Agenda.

“We as a government are fulfilling the scriptures because the THEMES PLUS Developmental AGENDA is an all-encompassing Care and Comfort Agenda for the citizens’ welfare and better living for all.”

Sanwoolu itemised some of the notable achievements of his government while giving God glory. “Lagos State today is the State of Excellence because HIS Excellency Our Father in Heaven has made it so”

 

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