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Father's Day

Where are the fathers? : An exegesis on fatherhood

by Church Times

By Moses Oludele

“For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”
– (1 Corinthians 4: 15)

” I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee…”
– The Prodigal Son ( Luke15:18)

INTRODUCTION

I wish all fathers a happy Father’s Day including myself. This particular day is coming at a time when the very concept of fatherhood is now in abeyance both in the church and in the nation, and needs a total reevaluation and, even, revalidation.
This brief remark is my own input on the subject which I will revisit much more deeply and particularly at a later date.

WHAT IS FATHERHOOD?

The concept of fatherhood is fast losing its importance and meaning in our climes. What does it mean to be a father? Who are the fathers? Any need for fathers?

Fatherhood is one of those concepts very difficult to define directly except by inference. You can’t really tell or define what it is but you can tell what it is not. You don’t know what a father is but you know what it is when you lose one.

For a long time, I didn’t know why the Bible has a lot to say about “the fatherless” why God takes so much pity for the fatherless and why there are several warnings in the Bible against the oppression of the fatherless.

Why was God so concerned about the fatherless? I didn’t know. Now I know. A father is like your right hand or leg. No, the father is like your eyes. You take them for granted until you lose them. Then you know their values. I should know.

I lost my earthly father when I was 11 and in Primary Four. ( Well, I didn’t lose him because we shall meet again on Resurrection Morning) From that day I began a struggle that encompasses both spiritual, physical, financial, emotional etc dimensions. Until I met Christ and knew God as Father. That struggle continues today but for a different reason and much more for prophetic destiny.

I always tell people, there are battles, struggles etc that a father shields you from. Whether he is a Christian or not is immaterial. If he is your father nothing can pass to you to harm you without first going through him. He is a shield, a bulwark, a protector.

Because you are a branch of his tree and you must first climb the tree to reach the branch. Did you get it?

That is why I always warn people, never fight with your father. Even if he is a stark illiterate and irreligious; a father is a father. And nothing will replace him in your life.

The ancient Yorubas were right when they called the father the ” mirror” – _Iya_ni wura_ _baba _ni_dingi_( Mother is gold, the father is the mirror)

It is through him you first have your first ideas about life and how the world works. He shapes your first formations of worldviews. Your father should be your best friend, all things being equal. I read somewhere where Wole Soyinka said that his father was his friend ( FATHERS OF THE FAMOUS, Sun Newspaper reports)

That is how it should be. Your father must be your friend to attain your full destiny in life. Every major curse that I have traced in people’s lives or organisations, nations or Church can be traced to fatherhood or its absence. You need to pity a child who has no father, whose father is not there. He is at the mercy of everyone. He is a city without a wall.

The prodigal son realized this much later. As long as he was at home he never realized the value of his father. Until he was in a strange land. His problem was not the great famine that arose, the lack of friends or even the lack of proper financial management.

His problem is simply one: estrangement from his father. He left his father, his source in life, his best friend… That was the root of his problem, that was why he failed. That was why he ended up on the same level as swine and pigs. Every tragedy begins with this.

FATHERHOOD: THE MISSING LINK

I wrote an article years ago on Facebook which went viral but is now lost. The title is NIGERIA: A FATHERLESS NATION.
Do you know the primary curse afflicting Nigeria today? It is only one. It was a foundational curse. It is one word: Fatherhood. Nigeria is a nation without Father from the very beginning.

Do you want to disprove me? Here is the test.

Ask any American who is the father of their nation, he will tell you almost without thinking. And the others will agree with him. He is George Washington. Sure there were others equally great but he towered above all. No question about that.

Ask any Jew the father of modern Israel and he would tell you it is David Ben- Gurion. And all would agree.
Ask a Ghanian and he would mention Kwame Nkrumah. Ask a Tanzanian and he would tell you it is Julius Nyerere. Ask a South African and he would mention Nelson Mandela and no one would dispute it.

Now come to Nigeria, the giant of all. Who is the father of Nigeria? No one can answer that question. No historian can answer it. No single person can fit that bill.

Washington won an election without campaigning, Nyerere won in Tanzanian; Nkrumah won in Ghana, Ben – Gurion won several times in Israel, and Mandela won straight from prison. That is the proof of their fatherhood. You don’t compete with a father; everyone gives place to a father.

None of our own won a pan- Nigerian election except among their own tribes. So really no one could be called the Father of Nigeria. Thus in the convenient Nigerian fashion of obfuscation, we have invented a dubious term “founding fathers” – unknown in the national historiography of any nation and true tenets of scientific historicism.

When a child has several fathers it is a proof that the child is a bastard. Perhaps that is why Nigeria behaves like a bastard in the comity of nations.

Chinua Achebe has shown in his small book THE TROUBLE WITH NIGERIA, that those African heroes ( Nyerere, Nkrumah etc) were far greater and towered above our heroes even ideologically and in terms of commitment.

In short, Nigeria has no Father.

That is the basic curse of Nigeria. Most of the people we call “founding fathers” are not as great as we have been made to believe. They are not even fathers but ethnic jingoists and champions, tribal czars, religious fanatics, etc. Most of the problems we are now going through they laid the foundation for them.

If I have my way I will remove all of them from our currency notes, they don’t deserve that honour. We have given them more than they deserved. If you are looking for heroes go into the realms of religion, you will find real heroes there. Joseph Babalola, Iwene Tansi, Moses Orimolade, Mallam Aminu Kano ( religion and politics), Abubakar Gumi etc.

These are the selfless ones who gave all for the masses. Unfortunately, these are not the ones we choose to follow or make as role models but the ” founding fathers” who were incriminated in Corruption Probes, and who laid a wobbly foundation that could not even survive a decade before we were plunged into Civil War.

Nigeria: a nation without Father.

I am talking about fatherhood. Nothing will make up for it and nothing will compensate for its lack.
Today even if we want to go back to a reference point where is that reference point in Nigeria? Because we have never really had a government worth the name. We have no leadership in Nigeria. If Obasanjo, Babangida, Jonathan or our latest nemesis, Buhari is what you are calling leaders then you missed a lesson in English Language.

We are in trouble.

Did you read Rockefeller’s Scenarios Report? Nigeria is now expected to collapse, financial and governmental collapse by 2027. At the rate we are going and with the level of indebtedness going on and the maladministration of the last years Nigeria may experience a governmental collapse latest by 2027.

Don’t laugh at that.

If we don’t have a serious government by 2023 and Buhari is succeeded by another old man and Know- Nothing like we have been having since the beginning of this Democratic Dispensation, then that scenarios report may occur. Already the government is losing hold in some parts of the North and a governor is begging for a state of emergency to be declared in his state because he can no longer handle the bandits. So 2027 may even be far off.

That is the curse of fatherhood.

If I put all Nigerian past rulers to the test perhaps only Gowon may scale through as someone who came closer to possessing the heart of fatherhood.
That is why we are in a mess.

A CHURCH IN NEED OF FATHERS

The Nigerian Church is now going through a crisis of a comprehensive dimension because of one word: Fatherhood. There are no more fathers in the church.

Most of what we have in the Nigerian Church now are denominational czars, promoters of personal kingdoms, senior brothers, instructors, title holders, errand boys of politicians, agents of Caesars etc.

How many weeks now have churches been shut? Because of coronavirus? Think again. So it is only the shutting of churches that will stop Corona? In the same period, markets have been opened, crowded as ever. Industries have been opened.

Even Naira Marley, that agent of hell now spreading pollution among our youths, could chatter a plane and travel to Abuja to perform to a crowd and fly back without anyone stopping him at a time when an inter-state travel ban was still on and protocols are being observed.

No officials saw him until there was outrage on social media. This camel was able to pass through the eye of the needle and no consequences will happen.

In the same period, Sabiu Yusuf, the President’s relative and Secretary was able to travel to Lagos from Abuja and ( even Britain, it is alleged) not for the state business but for personal business.

Yet, churches that have the capacity for self-regulation and order and control are being told to remain closed and under lock and key.

A musician can hold a concert with crowds but an evangelist cannot hold a crusade and a pastor cannot organize a church service, in the same nation.

But this is not the tragedy in itself.

The real tragedy is that the very people spreading this bullshit and encouraging and advising pastors and Christians to stay at home and comply with these Antichrist directives are pastors themselves. These are the self-proclaimed fathers, pretenders to the throne of Pontifex Maximus, mostly to be found in that largely- discredited association, CAN, which an insider told me is now the Clergy Association of Nigeria; a very appropriate term. “You are the church”, ” The church cannot be locked”, “There was no church building in the early church…” – these are the foolish illogical simplistic trash, hogwash, and balderdash being spread by people who needed to go back to school to learn Logic properly.

Great, if you believe that congregational worship is unnecessary why then did you build church cathedrals? Are you telling me that you are wasters? To solicit money from people to build churches when you know that they are also better off at home?

Did you see what I have been saying?

The Nigerian Church suffers from theological poverty. It is now clear it is more than that. It also includes poverty of intellection and Logic.
If the little antichrists are swaying church leaders with their poor logic and fumbling policies what will happen when the Master Genius, the Antichrist himself appears?

” Till I come,  give attendance to reading…”

“Brethren be ye not children in understanding, in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.”

Where are the fathers? Wisdom is a characteristic of Fatherhood. He has been there before or has known someone there. Experience is another characteristic of a father.
We now need them all.

Children are looking up for guidance to people they thought are their fathers without knowing they are not fathers at all. It is in times of crisis you know a leader or father. It was when the prodigal son entered trouble in a strange land that he knew he has a father and he must look for him. Will the Nigerian Church return to her fatherhood, her source?

What does Crowther’s life teach us? Michael Iwene Tansi and Joseph Babalola lived around the same period, were born within a few months of each other and died within 5 years of each other. The one a catholic, the other a Protestant. But their lives agree to teach us something: Self- denial, renunciation of the world to the greater Glory of God.

How well have we learnt this lesson? The church is now enmeshed in moral corruption and thus lost its moral authority. Therefore she cannot exercise spiritual authority. CAN is being ridiculed in newspapers not for promoting Christ or the Gospel of the Cross but for collecting bribes from politicians; its leadership is being called to question for corruption, embezzlement of Association funds through over-invoicing, fraud etc.

That is how far and wide the Nigerian Church has moved from her moorings.

“Look to Abraham your father for I called him alone and blessed him and increased him.”

Where are the fathers? If there is one thing missing today in the nation and the church it is the absence of Fathers.
No role models.
No examples.
No reference point…
And you wonder why your children are going after Naira Marley, drugs, etc?
Nature abhors a vacuum. If there are no genuine heroes to provide leadership or guidance there would be a counterfeit to supply the need.
Find a true father today, or someone who has been playing that role in your life and bless him this week.
The only Commandment that carries the promise of reward is to honour your father and mother so that you can live long. It is true.
Honour a father today.
I will create another day, in fact, a week, to honour mothers too.

Happy Father’s Day to you all.

©️ Moses Oludele Idowu
June 21, 2020
All Rights Reserved.

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