Bothered about the development in the Church in Nigeria, a group of concerned preachers under the aegis of Council for Christ, held a one-day Synod on Thursday December 7, 2023.
Below is the communique at the end of the one-day deliberation.
Venue: Agape Generation International Church: 14, Ugbeji Aki Street, Maryland, Lagos
|Dr. James Akanbi
|God’s Mercy Revival Ministries (GOMERM)
|Pst. Oluleke Akinola
|Upper Room Baptist Church
|Apst Abraham Ikhielea
|Gospel Flame Worship Assembly
|Dr. Olukayode Oyedepo
|The Miners Place
|Pst. Laide Odusote
|Integrity Worship Centre
|Bishop Abraham Olaleye
|The Pentecostal Congregation
|Pst. Taiye Olayemi
|Ever Increasing Anointing Ministry International
|Pst. Olumide Olugbenle
|The Father’s House, Rehoboth International Christian Centre
|Dr. Femi Aribisala
|Healing Wings Chapel of Faith
|Bishop Taiwo Ajose
|Bishop Ajose Ministries International (BAM)
|Rev. Bode Orekoya
|Christ Image Assembly
|Rev. Toyin Kehinde
|Agape Generation International Church
|Dr. Sam Oyemade
|Bearers of Light World Missions Outreach
|Bro. Gbenga Osinaike
- The Synod is following in line with past epochal meetings of Church fathers starting from The Jerusalem Council as recorded in Acts 15. It is also known as the Apostolic Council which took place in Jerusalem around 48–50 AD.
- The meeting was held as a result of the contention on the issue of circumcision among Gentile believers in Christ.
- It was decided at the council after a rigorous search of the scriptures that Gentile converts to Christianity were not obligated to keep most of the rules prescribed to the Jews by the Mosaic Law, such as Jewish dietary laws and other specific rituals, including the rules concerning circumcision of males.
- The council did, however, retain the prohibitions on eating blood, meat containing blood, and meat of animals that were strangled, and on fornication and idolatry.
- After the first council, there have been several other council meetings at different times in the history of the church. The last of such major council meetings took place in 1910. It was to chart a way forward for the church.
- It is following in this direction that a council meeting was held to chart a way forward for the Church in Nigeria
- The Church determines what happens in the larger society. It is the church that regulates society.
- But the Church needs cleaning that can only be done by the Church. Everywhere we turn in Nigeria, we find the same dimension of decline in religion and faith.
- Synod specifically met to discuss the Christian faith vis-a-vis our nation. There are lots of issues bordering on the integrity of the Nigerian church.
- The reason for the decline is traced to what is being preached in the Nigerian church.
- Many church leaders don’t seem to have a clear understanding of the import of the Old Testament and the New Testament vis-a-vis their application.
- This has led to the materialistic and fatalistic gospel that draws people away from the finished work of Christ.
- There is a clear distinction between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
- The Old is the shadow of the New Covenant. The old is written on stone. The New Covenant is written in the heart of men. The Old is a physical representation of what happens to us in the New.
- The Old Covenant is a parochial kind of institution between God and a group of people, the Israelites. It is a covenant of mercy. Mercy covers sin but does not take away sin.
- The New is a covenant of grace. God’s purpose is to bring man to a relationship with Him and also to empower man to fulfil His laws. This became a reality at the death and resurrection of Jesus.
- The Bible from Genesis to Revelation is about Jesus. Jesus is concealed in the Old Testament. He is revealed in the New Testament.
- The Old Covenant is about man’s attempt to reach God. The New Testament is God coming down to reach man with his love.
- There were Bible characters who lived the New Testament life in the Old Covenant era. David is a classic case. And some people live out the Old Covenant in the New Covenant era just as we are seeing today.
- It is possible to live the Old in the New Covenant era. But this should not be. It should be discouraged. It is trampling on the grace of God.
- The purpose of the law is to reveal the weakness of man. We never know it all.
- The subject of God’s will and our will is critical to this understanding. God created man as a free moral agent and left us with a will to choose
- It is the free will of man that makes man want to be independent of God. Trying to be independent of God is a sin.
- When a man is saved, the issue of his will is addressed. It is no longer my will but His will be done.
- We can’t do without Jesus. The whole essence of the New Covenant is that the issue of sin is addressed in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
- Man is empowered by the Holy Spirit to live for God and Him alone.
- What man lost in the Garden of Eden was not a material blessing. What man lost was his relationship with God. The blessing is spiritual.
- Despite the fall of man, it was still possible to do exploits and attempt to build a tower that would reach heaven.
- The capacity of man to multiply and make progress on earth was not taken away by God. But man lost fellowship with God.
- Abraham’s blessing is not material. Abraham was already rich in cattle before the covenant between him and God.
- The more man tries to fulfil the law, the more man fails.
- John the Baptist was described as the greatest among those born of men. But Jesus also says that the least in the kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist.
- It shows John the Baptist put a closure to the Old Testament era.
- All characters in the Old Testament exist not as templates for us to follow. We can only learn from them.
- There is an interconnection of Freewill,
- Choice and Predestination.
- In the New Testament, Jesus led captivity captive and gave gifts to men. He gave some apostles, some teachers, some prophets, some evangelists for the perfecting of the saints
- The Prophet in the New Testament is different in operation from the prophet in the Old Testament
- The New Testament prophet must be a teacher of God’s word. It is not just the ability to see a vision that makes one a prophet. It is the ability to reveal Jesus.
- A prophet should talk about what Christ has done. The spirit of the prophecy is the testimony of Christ.
- Visions and revelations by the prophet should be for the perfecting of the saints. Any vision that has nothing to do with Christ is heretic.
- There is only one high priest under the New Covenant. He is the person of Jesus. He is the only one we should connect to. Everybody in the kingdom has the same status. We are all priests. But some people have been called to specific offices.
- Synod agreed that everything centres on Christ.
- A diligent study of the word and discretionary use of Bible commentaries is important. Some of the Bible translations were done by individuals. But NKJV was worked on by over 1000 scholars.
- Preachers of the gospel must ask, what message am I preaching? Is the message about Christ or human wisdom and trying to meet the material needs of the people?
- We need to reevaluate the dominion mandate given to man. Man did not lose dominion in the Garden of Eden. What man lost was his relationship with God.
- We cannot use the New Testament technology to fix the Old Covenant. The blessings talked about in the New Testament are eternal and are not material blessings.
- In the Old Testament emphasis is on physical blessings. The promised land was physical. But in the new, we are promised eternity with God
- We must ask ourselves, are we using God to meet the needs of people or training people to have fellowship with God?
- We need to revisit the epistles. What did the apostles teach? All that Christians need are found in Christ. The preacher should preach Christ and Him alone.
- When people are taught Christ, every other area of their lives will glorify God. They will do their work diligently not because they want promotion but because that is their lifestyle.
- Preachers should teach their congregation how to live quality Christian life as exemplified in the pages of the New Testament.
- Christ must be the reason for all we do and nothing else. If this is applied to all our teachings, and people live with this understanding they will work in love and live for God rather than living for themselves.
- We can’t use material gain to authenticate the gospel.
- The gospel is about the soul of man. It is not about wealth and health. That however does not mean God does not care for our health and our financial well-being.
- The gospel is strictly Jesus coming to save the lost and bring them to a relationship with God.