Church leaders under the aegis of Apostles and Prophets Global Mission have observed that pastors who are obsessed with praying against human enemies are not obeying Christ.
The pastors made the submission on Wednesday, March 15 in Lagos during a round table discussion on some doctrinal issues bedeviling the present-day Church.
The group led by Bishop Abraham Olaleye had stirred discussion on Jesus’ statement that believers are to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them.
Jesus is the balance we need
They observed that Jesus’ admonition is being ignored by many pastors who have penchant for some Old Testament scriptures without placing those scriptures in the context of the finished work of Christ.
The mission also observed that some preachers of the gospel have canonised their personal experiences and have misinterpreted the scriptures to satisfy their personal agenda.
To attain balance on any doctrinal issue the pastors agreed in the course of the discussion that it is important for believers to always go back to Jesus when issues of doctrines are at stake.
“That is the only way we can get a balance and complete picture of these doctrinal issues,” said Bishop Olaleye
Between Jesus and the Prophet
Bishop Olaleye who anchored the discussion said, “I tried to do a study on Jesus’ messages and I found that he made some very profound comparison between what the prophets said about certain doctrinal issues and his own position on those issues.
Olaleye said,” In Matt 5v43, 44, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Before then he had mentioned a couple of things that were said by those of old and also had to give his own unique perspective which negate what was said under the old covenant.
Anybody reading Jesus’ final statements on those issues according to Olaleye should find peace in them. “He is the one who has the final say. And he is the one to follow, not Moses and the prophets.”
Read also: Seven evils plaguing the church:https://churchtimesnigeria.net/seven-evils-plaguing-the-church-bishop-olaleye/
Christians should bless and not curse
After several analyses of Jesus’ position on enemies and a look at other scriptures, there was a consensus that it is not biblical to pray against enemies rather the Christian should bless.
The preponderance of believers who curse in the place of prayer was linked to inadequate knowledge of what Jesus came to do.
It was also noted that many church goers don’t have the discipline of studying the Bible by themselves. They only listen to what their pastors tell them and act accordingly.
Earlier in the discussion, the pastors made attempts to interpret what Jesus meant when he said he had come to fulfill the law not to abrogate it.
It was interpreted to mean that Jesus’ coming, is a fulfillment of the law.
“He has come to fulfill the law. Essentially he was talking about fulfilling the requirement of the law. He became a curse for us so we might have redemption” said one of the pastors.
God wants all to be saved
On why it is anti-Christ to pray against enemies, the pastors noted that Christ died for everybody. Since he died for everybody, he wants everybody to be saved and we are not the ones to determine the destiny of people by our anti-enemy prayers.
Olaleye said, “Many of us were once enemies of the cross before we got saved. If somebody had prayed that we die, would it have been possible for us to come to Christ? Paul the Apostle for instance was like modern-day Boko Haram.
“If Stephen, the first martyr had prayed that Paul be killed, perhaps nobody would hear about Paul today because he was the one who supervised Stephen’s death.
“But rather than pray death for his assailants Stephen interceded for them. He prayed that God should not lay the charge on them. It was after he was killed that Paul came to know Jesus on his way to Damascus,”
While observing that many church leaders are obsessed with enemy-focused prayers, Olaleye said, “The church won’t make any meaningful progress if we devote all our energy praying against human enemies when the Bible makes it clear that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world.”
The meeting had in attendance the General Secretary of South West chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Rev Toyin Kehinde, The Deputy Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the PFN, Pastor Leke Akinnola, Pastor Bode Orekoya of Christ Image Church, Pastor Mrs. Gbemi Olaleye, Pastor Sam Oyemade and a host of other pastors.
We know in part
At the close of the meeting, Rev Kehinde noted that “We all know in part” He added however that the more the church pursues the truth the better for it. “We have a big task to begin a gradual reorientation of our people towards going back to the Bible and obeying its precept. It’s a hard task, but it is not something that can be done with the help of the holy spirit.”
He also took time to dissuade Christians from being agitated about the political situation in the country. “The disciples of Jesus at a point were like us. They were concerned about when the kingdom will be restored to Israel.
“By that, they were talking about the political kingdom because at that time Israel was being ruled by the Romans. But Jesus told them it is not for them to know that but that they will receive power and preach the gospel.”
Rev Kehinde explained that the church has played its own role in praying and voting at the last election and it should not be unduly agitated about the trend of things but rather should focus on the task of evangelism.
“Since we have done our part, we should find rest and focus on the assignment of spreading the good news. At God’s appointed time, he will make everything beautiful,” he said.