INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK, BUILDING AN ENDURING NATION – THE PLACE FOR CHRISTIANS
Pro. 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. – NIV
Matt 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – NKJV
The church is the only hope of this world and our nation. It is not one of the many hopes. Other than an option; it remains the priority. Therefore, the prerogative is on everyone that identifies with it to take Christianity not just as an affiliation but as a faith and a lifestyle.
Time and again, political, moral, philosophical and management principles have failed to solve some of our many problems. Hence the world is struggling for survival and stability. It is high time TRUE Christians took their place and provide direction for change.
Ps 46:1b… In all manner of troubles, God shows his speedy mercy and power in defending his. (GBN)
Christian missions led to the founding of the first schools that provided Western education to Nigerians.
The church also played a formidable role in fighting colonialism, slavery, and apartheid in Africa. The church contributed indirectly in producing elites who challenged white domination in both the Christian church and political system and led the nationalist struggle for independence.
It contributed to the trans-nationalization of Christianity, via the resistance of Africans to the lack of opportunity to lead in the Christian church, a factor that stimulated the development of African Initiated Churches or what is termed indigenous churches, which has changed the face of contemporary Christianity.
According to Otayek (2005), “trans-nationalization of religion is also a matter of institutions, commercial; networks, material civilization, and symbols.”
In a study of the production and distribution of Pentecostal movies in Nigeria by Asonzeh Ukah, who explores how globalization is imagined, he rightly observes that “in Nigeria, religion sells. It is a commodity in the sense that it can be exchanged for money. Religion is not simply a commodity that sells well; it is a catalyst in the marketing of other commodities”.
The movie ‘Amazing Grace’ tells the story of William Wilberforce’s role as a member of the British Parliament to outlaw slavery. He was and is a tremendous example of an individual Christian taking his responsibility to a decaying and dark world seriously.
The Editor, Marvin Olasky wrote in an old edition of WORLD Magazine: “Wilberforce emphasized teaching about Christianity but not imposing it. He wrote that Christians should “boldly assert the cause of Christ in an age when so many who bear the name of Christian are ashamed of Him. Let them be active, useful, and generous toward others. Let them show moderation and self-denial themselves. Let them be ashamed of idleness …”
Wilberforce realized that as a Christian, he had a responsibility to the world. And the world is a better place because of it! Wilberforce is just one of the thousands of examples of Christians throughout the centuries who built hospitals, established schools, and fought social injustice.
In our modern time and present climes, we also have a responsibility to a dark and decaying nation (a part of our world). It is a responsibility of participation, preservation, and proclamation.
We recognized the role of some Christian leaders like Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa how he helped routed out the apartheid regime. If our present Christian leaders will join forces, the Nigerian Christians have all it takes to change the face of our polity.
Transformational leadership in Africa can be realized when the citizenry is proactive and live the values of truth, unity, integrity, and patriotism.
The Christian has a great role to play in national progress. Christians are the light of the world and must imbibe the values of the word of God and not be deceived by people who are mostly driven by greed and other parochial interest.
However, the church can provide direction if she deals with the Weaknesses, Ignorance, Indiscipline, Lukewarmness, and Leadership challenges eating deep into her fabric.
In other words, the church must stand for UPRIGHTNESS, INTEGRITY, and PRACTICAL HOLY LIVING, for she is the only one that can correct the present ills in society.
The church must become what God expects her to be. What are the things that God expects of His church?
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” NKJV Matt. 5:13-14
The church should be; the light of the world, the salt of the earth, and a city set on the hill.
On March 19, 2007, Steve Weaver opined on the issue of salt and light: “We are the light of the world! We must, therefore “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness,” to “walk as children of light,” and “shine as lights in the world.” Jesus illustrates our calling by stating that “a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
In the ancient world, in the daytime as one traveled, he could see a distant city on a hill whose stone walls reflected the light of the sun. At night, the same cities would be visible from a distance by the burning lamps in the homes which shone light out of their windows. A city on a hill could not be hidden and neither can a genuine Christian!”
“But Jesus brings this section to a close with a final illustration. Unlike salt which cannot lose its saltiness and a city on a hill that cannot be hidden, a lamp can be hidden. But it is utterly foolish to do so. Here Jesus drives his message home.
“Don’t hide who you are. Don’t fail to be salt and light in the world. Lamps would be placed on a lampstand (a strategically placed shelf high enough to provide light for the room). The word translated “basket” (NKJV and ESV) or “bushel” (KJV) refers to a measure of the grain of about eight quarts.
“This was a common utensil in a first century home. Jesus says you wouldn’t take that basket and place it over your lamp. It is unthinkable for a Christian not to be salt and light in the world. It is a dereliction of duty.”
Excerpt from the book: Building an enduring nation: get your copy follow this link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0981492YH/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Building+an+enduring+nation%3A+The+challenge+for+Christians&qid=1624981159&s=books&sr=1-2-fkmr1