Fathers in faith, the internet and emerging world reality
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Tim 2v15”
The reality of the present times is that people are learning stuffs they would not have learnt a few years ago. The internet is churning out information at the speed of a light and the world seem to be in a race to catch up with this body of information.
So, if a man must man the pulpit, he must be ready to contend with this truth. He must also contend with the fact that there are people in his congregation who go online almost immediately to verify his claims whenever he preaches.
Bible portions can no longer be quoted wrongly. Church doctrines have to be taught intelligently more than ever before. And must be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. The preacher must not display any form of ignorance or arrogance because right in his audience are people who have imbibed all kinds of information and doctrines, who possibly know more than him.
It thus becomes a crime to be ignorant in this season. Yet, it is impossible to know all things. But then, it is expected that if we are teaching the Bible we must horn our skill while depending largely on the Holy Spirit to guide us to all truth. We must study hard like Paul admonished Timothy; and explore our sphere so well that we will not be put to shame and the word of God will not be ridiculed.
If you talk tithe, be sure that you have scriptures to back your position and be ready to explain controversial scriptures on same issue so you won’t look stupid before your listeners. If you talk grace, you are expected to be knowledgeable in the subject. You can’t afford to fool your listeners with tales by moonlight. If your message is on eschatology be sure you’re versed in that area.
Your congregation may nod their heads, but that may not be an indication they are following you. The nodding could as well be a sign that they still respect you while you dish out falsehood and convoluted lies in the name of preaching the gospel. They may not leave your church immediately out of respect for you, but then they would have quietly imbibed all sorts that make them have a different world view from yours. By the time they eventually wriggle their way out of your control, they become uncontrollable.
Church in grave danger
Indeed, the church is in grave danger. And the danger is that many are exposed to both the good and the bad information on the internet. Some church leaders are already feeling the pinch of the new era and are trying to fall in line whether rightly or wrongly. Some are just adamant. They would not want to renege on their long held belief; even when it is now obvious that such belief has no foundation in the Bible.
The lesson for the new age is that we must now begin to look again at our teachings and begin to ask questions with the aim of knowing the truth. Our enquiry should be an informed one to verify what we churned out with glee in time pass. This applies primarily to fathers in faith because they seem to hold the destiny of millions of people.
Of a truth many have been deceived for too long by the very fathers they trusted. Certain messages for instance crept into the church scene in the late seventies and such messages have held people down for decades.
Today, reality is calling. Some of the fathers in faith are realizing this and making a detour. But then in the process of making a turn around there is that danger of falling into yet another doctrinal ditch. The challenge then is: In what ways can we best handle the emerging trend in the church world.
No new truth
First, we must understand that there are no new truth. The truth is one and same. It has not changed and it has not grown. When Jesus made that famous statement in John 14v6 that he is the way, the truth and the life; he was making an eternal statement that would defy centuries of falsehood. What has happened is that man keeps running away from the truth only to come back to the truth. And that is what is happening now.
For long many church leaders have deviated from the truth. They have deviated from the teachings of Jesus. They have deviated from what the apostles taught in the name of progressive revelation. Falsehood has been served to many congregation from many pulpits for too long. Those who seem to be questioning these falsehoods are looked at with disdain and dubbed heretic.
On the other hand, it is hard to believe the purveyors of this “truth”; as they themselves are saddled with all kinds of contradictions. It is either their antecedent makes it hard for people to believe them or that the truth they seem to know is being presented in a rather uncouth way. The implication is that the ordinary church goer is lost and perhaps sandwiched between an old order of falsehood by some fathers in faith and a new order of truth in the garb of arrogance by the emerging church leaders. So who is speaking the truth in this dispensation? How do we know our fathers in faith are still in line? These are issues the average believer must contend with in this age.
But the person searching for the truth must first be true to himself. Before now, the position is that of the church person looking unto the pastor for guidance and direction. But the present reality is that the church person must first sincerely ask if indeed he wants to know the truth. And the way to know the truth is to search the scriptures for in them we have life.
Unlike before now when people take pastors’ words as gospel truth, the present reality calls us to be Berean in our relationship with Christ and indeed in the way we accept what the fathers in faith say.
Talking about the truth; can we begin to ask ourselves certain questions? For instance is the gospel a unity or does it have several layers. Is there anything like prosperity gospel for instance? Is God a transactional God or a relationship God?
Some church fathers have preached prosperity so well in the past to the point of insinuating that if you don’t have money, you are not living the God kind of prosperity. Some have also preached so well that God is a God of give and take.
They tell you the way to prosperity is to give God x amount of money. People are beginning to ask questions on this gospel of prosperity. They are questioning the kind of services we hold in our churches. They are questioning the demands of their pastors and asking questions on how funds are being deployed in the church.
Fathers in faith: Will they take a second look at the Bible?
The reality is that many are having newer understanding of God which is different from what they have been taught for decades. This understanding may appear queer, but then that is the reality facing us. The challenge is now at the doorstep of fathers in faith who control large congregation and indeed leaders of smaller congregations scattered around the country. Since their followers take their word for the gospel, will they be courageous to take a second look at the scriptures again and humbly learn from others? Will they tell the truth about money even if their account will be depleted? Will they be courageous to tell the truth at the risk of their ego? Will they be humble enough to begin to look at the Bible once again and rethink what they have taught for decades?
The starting point is to ask how we came about some of our services and for what purpose are those services. We should be sincere enough to ask our fathers why we insist on thanksgiving service for instance: the money or we sincerely want the people to thank God. We must take a second look at the Acts of the Apostles. How did the apostles respond to the issue of money? How did they preach the gospel? How did they relate with one another? What is behind our church growth drive? Why rate pastors on the basis of their financial status? These questions can go on and on.
Read also: political nature of the church: https://www.churchtimesnigeria.net/political-church-leke-alder/
Beyond the questions however, every church leader and indeed fathers in faith must begin to evaluate his activities and check them along with what is revealed in the word. Certainly in the coming days, there will be some shaking in the church. It has started already. The old order of falsehood will collapse albeit in a subtle unsuspecting way. The resultant effect will be empty pews in some assemblies on one end and an army of people who are poised to preach the undiluted word of God on the other end. But then Church of God will march on. The gates of hell will definitely not prevail against it.