Bishop Theologian and former Vice-Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Prof. Dapo Asaju has responded to the now-viral article by Mr. Femi Adesina where his name was mentioned.
The article, titled, This Kumuyi is different, was published on Friday, November 6 on Adesina’s Facebook page,
In the article, Adesina, Spokesman of President Mohammadu Buhari, supposedly interpreted Asaju’s advice to the founder of Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor Williams Kumuyi to synergise with other church leaders to tackle Nigeria’s problem to mean a call for insurrection.
But Prof Asaju at a breakfast prayer meeting at the Abeokuta hilltop residence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday, November 6 wondered why his position was criticised by Adesina.
He recalled also that Pastor Kumuyi had also responded to his address which was given at the launch of a book with the title, Kumuyi: Defender of the Faith
Asaju who gave a keynote address at the book launch had urged Pastor Kumuyi to synergise with other church leaders to find a lasting solution to the problem of insecurity and other matters plaguing the country.
Kumuyi had responded to the challenge through an article published in various newspapers and online platforms describing Asaju as a patriot.
He however said in the article that the job of the pastor is to keep praying for those in authority. He also itemised the various spiritual interventions in the lives of people by the Deeper Life Bible Church.
Asaju: We must speak truth to power
But Prof Asaju stated at the breakfast meeting that he still does not agree with Pastor Kumuyi on the need to just pray. According to him, “prophets in the Bible did not only pray; they took action”.
Taking his message from Prov 21v1-4, Asaju stated, “In dealing with the affairs of this country, many people have prayed. The heart of man is what matters. Our ability to say the truth also matters.”
He said further, “After my keynote address at Pastor Kumuyi’s book launch, Baba Kumuyi himself replied to me through an article published in five newspapers stating the position of Deeper Life in response to my challenge.
“And his argument is that the secular people will mind the secular and then the spiritual people will concentrate on their church. But I don’t agree with that because the prophets we have in the Bible crossed that boundary.
“They were not just critical. They were there to show the way and to guide the rulers of their days. God is relevant in our democracy. That is what I was trying to tell them to do. And the Presidency spoke yesterday through Femi Adesina trying to criticise my position for challenging the church to play its role.”
The university don said in a later chat with Church Times that “Mr. Adesina had no business interfering in an advice between ministers in their duties to the nation.”
He said he was taken aback when Adesina linked his call to insurrection and Endsars. “Nowhere did I encourage riot or insurrection. Adesina manipulated my message to instigate government against me.”Asaju said.
Adesina manipulated theology
He said further that Mr. Adesina manipulated theology by quoting Isaiah’s prophecy about the gentleness of Jesus the messiah when he argued that Kumuyi was a different pastor for not openly criticizing the government.
He insisted that the Church had prayed enough stressing that “We need to continue to pray but must go beyond prayer and strategize because the hearts of the people we are dealing with are corrupted. That is why I focus on the nature of the heart today. Prophet Samuel was going to choose a king looking from the outward man but God was looking at the heart.
“We need people whose hearts are after the almighty God. The Bible tells us when the righteous are in power, the people rejoice. We have no choice but to speak truth to power. We do not have a pattern of docility and compromise in the Christian faith.
“Amos confronted the system. Jesus challenged the Pharisees, he was very clear about sin. He took a whip and flogged people in the temple. He called the Pharisees whited sepulcher. John called the people he preached to brood of vipers.
“We don’t have a theology that tolerates sin. We can’t agree with the theology that says we can’t speak when people go wrong. I want to encourage us. We have been praying but the impact is not there. Faith without work is dead. We need to raise people who will be able to stand and we back them up. We need to develop an agenda to save this country.”
The church should be an alternative to a failed state
He noted that there are no longer committed leaders around. He recalled that many of the leaders in the post-independence era in Africa including Chief Obafemi Awolowo were Christians..
“ These people made a great impact during their time. Many of them have long gone. When General Gowon goes, When Obasanjo goes, where are the other leaders that we can boast of. ”he lamented.
According to him, The church should be an alternative to the failure of the state.
He added, “If we are comfortable here people in other parts of the country are not comfortable. We are one community. You touch one, you touch all. We need to show empathy by speaking up. We can’t afford to keep quiet.
“Let’s go for the heart. The heart of a king is in the hands of the Lord. The Lord can convert the hearts of the terrorists. He can convert the hearts of our leaders. God did it for Pharoah. He did it for Nebuchandnezer. It’s time for us to begin to develop Christian leadership.”