I can wake up today and decide to announce to everyone that I had a personal encounter with Christ and have been commanded to denounce my strong belief in African Traditional Religion and I have become born again and I am starting a ministry to propagate the Gospel of the Lord. Then a couple of quick things will cascade.
- It will make loud news. “Agba Jalingo Finds Christ, Set To Commence Evangelical Ministry.” And those types of headlines. I don’t need any other thing to start. Just by saying, “I had an encounter” is enough calling.
- I will start the ministry and just give it a trendy name.
- I will change my dressing. I think I have a bit of sense and some contacts that I can draw from to get a cozy meeting place, so I can begin to create the rhymes and make the shouts and draw the youths. Kind of, “God is the reason for the season”, or “You cannot go to bed a blunder and wake up a wonder.” And garnish it with “someone give out some shout to the Looooord.” And the people of God will say, Hallelujah!
- Music plays from the background and I begin to tell you what God has sent me to tell you. I babble in a few tongues. I can tell you anything I like at this point. As far as I add that it is the Lord who told me what I am saying, many people will believe me. They don’t need any verification. It is a demonstration of faithlessness to try to verify. I will tell them that if they question what I have told them, then they don’t have faith. They are doubting God and his servant and the miracle will elude them.
- How dare you doubt a man that was delivered from the firm grip of demonic African deities and washed by the blood through a personal encounter with God? A man delivered from the pit of hell and given a divine commission to go into the world and win souls for the Kingdom? Doubt not and touch not the Lord’s anointed. I will need to know the scriptures, and I do. I sing very well in church with the choir. I have some oratory. I am present and social media savvy. I will take my congregation on a roller coaster. I can do it. I know what to tell them. I know what they want to hear. I know how to find the quotations in the Bible and build their faith in my pulpit and altar.
- I will surely draw a pile of youths in their numbers to the ‘house of God.’ I think I have the capacity to quickly draw a few hundred together and grow that figure rapidly. I will target their wallets and they will fund their own numerical growth for my ministry and make me RICH in no time. They will do all that because I told them God said they should. If they don’t, they are doubting God, not me. If they don’t donate, they will never become rich. If they don’t support the ministry, God won’t support their young lives. Many again, will believe me because it is the Lord who told me to tell them so. I will just keep using the name of the Lord and my deliverance testimony and all things will be possible to extract from the congregation.
- It is not as easy as I have painted it here but it is happening all around us. Con men and women all over the place merchandising God’s name and we are told that if we ask them for verification, we are doubting God. They have become God. Because people want to be accepted by society, because people want to be seen or perceived as loyal and obedient members of certain social circles and stratification, because people have been manacled by centuries of fear that asking some questions amounts to doubting God, people are also expected not to say their own truth but believe only what society holds as true or has come to accept as self-evident.
- But for society to make progress, we cannot all be conformists. Do not resent those who ask the questions you are warned not to ask. Those who do that have actually helped to shape new thinking in most advanced societies. Society should and must accept the non-conformists and support their guts to ask “The Forbidden Questions.”
Citizen Agba Jalingo is the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and a rights activist, a Cross Riverian, and writes from Lagos.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.