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» » » » » » » » » » » » » » » COPING WITH COMPLEXITIES IN THE CHURCH CHAPTER FIVE





VARIATIONS IN HEAVEN I


Harvest
The Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), the Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S), the Christ Apostolic Church, The Church of the Lord (Aladura) and many others usually have several ‘Harvest’ and that is called in Yoruba, Ajodun or Ikore. I am certain that the CCC and the C&S have a way of collecting and sharing fruits or even selling it in an auction manner. I belonged to an order that does not practice that. Is it wrong to observe such? Is that Biblical?

Feasts
Feasts and merriment are not forbidden in the Bible. They are allowed and commanded in the Old Testament. And they are not eradicated in the New Testament. We may want to say that some ordinances in the Old Testament are nullified in the New Testament. Apostle Paul said we can eat anything sanctified by fasting and prayer. In the Old Testament we cannot eat some animals.

The New Testament does not Destroy the Old Testament
The New Testament does not destroy the Old Testament but perfects it; the New Testament does not reject the Old but accepts it and explains it; The New does not overrule the Old but the New fulfils the Old. Jesus said He didn’t come to destroy the Prophets but to fulfill them.  It is that knowledge that makes the tithe paying to stand. After all, it is emphasized in the Old Testament not in the New.

Unclean and clean animals
God is not a confused God. He will not say that He hates something yesterday and then say that He likes it today. He is the same fyorevermore. He said some animals should not be eaten because they are unclean. Then he asked Peter to kill and eat from the unclean animals? O that is deeper. My God, the Lord our God, the El Berit is never a confused God whose laws can now be broken because we are in the New Testament.
Faith is the freedom not to break the law but to fulfil it
The New Testament didn’t nullify the law against eating unclean things. Apostle Paul didn’t encourage eating unclean things either. Apostle Paul wrote, “ Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils (1Cor. 10:21).” So we cannot eat from Idols’ tables. But we can eat from that same table if we have faith that the table is not of or for any idol and idols are actually nothing. That faith is the liberty. That liberty is the freedom but it must not cause the weak –that does not have such faith to stumble. So Paul said, in 1 Cor 10:25  “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake.”
The Apostle also wrote:
Rom 14:14  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
Rom 14:15  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Rom 14:23  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Nothing is unclean in itself because all that God created was good. The uncleanness was an alteration and cleansing can be done, correction can be done.
That faith is the thing that the New Testament uses to perfect the Old Testament. We cannot eat unclean things. Everything that created was good. But man altered the goodness when he sinned and it affected the whole world such that some animals became clean and some unclean. The fruit of that tree has good and evil –doubles and counters. But by faith, old things have passed away. All things, in Christ, have become new, as renewed and fresh as the original one God created. Without that faith that nothing is unclean in itself originally we cannot eat unclean animals.

Act 10:14  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
Act 10:15  And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
Apostle Peter needed to understand that if everything has become new then God has cleansed the unclean things. Without faith we cannot please Him. So, even the freedom to eat anything that we think the New Testament brings is not in violation of the law against unclean things. It is just that the unclean things can now be made clean by faith and prayer –faith that the New Testament in Christ’s body and blood, death and burial, resurrection and ascension, is a correction of every error and alteration and imperfections in the Old Testament rather than eradication of the laws and ordinances.
Tithe and annual feasts

Deut. 14:22  Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
Deut. 14:23  And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
Deut. 14:24  And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
Deut. 14:25  Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
Deut. 14:26  And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
Deut. 14:27  And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
Deut. 14:28  At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
Deut. 14:29  And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

The anti-tithe can stand on this to say tithe is for the ones who are needy and the Levites. But tithe is not our focus. In this text, we can see what the Harvest observers have to stand with. If we take Malachi Chapter three and tithe then we may not need to reject this or condemn brethren who observe this.
A brother of mine, Ezekiel Ogunleye, asked me if it is not being rebellious to say that the CCC and C&S have not become unchristian because of harvest or feast. How could I judge? We cannot rebel. No, we must not. But if we have decided to see and accept our fellow Christians in their doctrine that does not in any way violate any of the TEN COMMANDMENTS or any of the two Golden Rules of Christ and that is not in any way unholy then we are not rebels. We just wanted to cope.

Togetherness
I belonged to the fold, Christ Cares Evangelical Mission (CCEM) traceable to Gospel Faith Mission International (GOFAMINT) which is traceable to the CAC. Now, the more we part and move from the centre that holds us the more likely we pick different things or drop different things. But can we all still relate as brothers and sisters in Christ. Can we really be one, together in Christ?

UJCF
When I was an undergraduate I joined the GSF in Unilag. There are the BSF, CACYOF, RCF, DLCF, SOVEREIGN ARMY, LVCU, WINNERS, FACF, COVENANT CHILD, CCC, C&S and many more. But we are one body in Christ. Komolafe Michael came from C&S and Gbenga Babatola came from CAC and Dele Afolabi is from CAC (?) and I came from CCEM. We were in the same room. We all followed me to GSF. After we joined GSF which from home, I already knew much about, we found that C&S was worshipping opposite us. Michael decided to stay with GSF since it is all about Jesus. Denominations didn’t matter. He enjoyed Jesus. Brother Gbenga later found CACYOF but he also stayed.
Crossing to year 2013, that New Year eve, a group of us would walk some distance to get to GOFAMINT but Pastor Ibunkun Oluwa Samuel would worship at the Chapel of Christ our light. He enjoyed Jesus there. In Unilag, we learnt that we were first students before we were members of any fellowship. And as a member of any fellowship we learnt, virtually all fellowships got that understanding that we were first Christ-ians before we were of any fellowship. So, it was not difficult for us to enjoy God’s power working in the UJCF.
The University Joint Christian Fellowship gave us a sense of family. Some of the Presidents of the different fellowships were friends and course mates. Executives of UJCF are always from different fellowships. And we really always enjoyed Jesus. If it had not been that jointure, when the Devil tried to cancel fellowshipping or to choke us in session 2014/2015 we would not have emerged victorious. We gathered together and prayed together, for days, early in the morning or in the evening. And Christ prevailed for us.

Leaders
How many of the leaders are friends? The egoism of some ‘right-and-truly-biblical’ ones will not help togetherness but will create criticisms and condemnations and divisions. Aren’t these happening? God bless humble leaders. I do know, certainly, that Bishop David Oyedepo and Pastor Enoch Adeboye are friends –they do relate. One will not speak ill of the other. And in fact, one will not speak ill of several others. They admitted that no leader can have the whole sheep of God.

National Prayer and Fasting Day
Let CAN declare a National Prayer and Fasting day to pray for the country and the Church. I refuse to see that many leaders would not comply, not because that non-compliance isn’t a possibility but because non-compliance is not my expectation as I am sure it is not God’s expectation. And all denominations shall comply, I believe that. I know that. See what great wonders will happen in Nigeria and in the Church. I can see it and fast will it be. And all, even those that say that Jehovah Witness is what they are rather than Christians, I say boldly, will participate in the prayer for the nation and for the Church. And of course, the brother of Isaac will take a day, for himself, whether in rivalry or in sincerity of patriotism. He has the right to pray for the country.

We are one
The C-CEMites, the Redeemers, the Deeper Lifers, the Apostolic, the Gofamint, the whatchamacallit are all traceable to one source if honest records or historians are found as the Bible that records true connection to Babel tower, to Noah and to Adam. All we need to know is that we are traceable to the Church at Jerusalem that became known at Pentecost.

Knowledge is not bad
Knowledge is not bad. No! In fact we read that the people of God perish because of lack of knowledge. There is nothing like “I Too Know” in Christianity or in the Bible. No! No one at any time in human history had exhausted knowledge and revelations that are treasured in the Bible. The Teacher, the Comforter is always teaching us. The only thing that we may have to battle with is appropriateness in application of the knowledge that we have at any given time. That is WISDOM. It is not that we do not have wisdom –right application of knowledge. But we do allow sentiment to override our knowledge. That is, we do not want the teacher to tell us new things or to explain new things to us if it will show us how we have been wrong in the past. We want to stick to what we have known. That will not make us unchristian. But it is also that we want others to join us, not to leave us but to come to agree with us on the same spot. It annoys us to see some people doing what we are not doing without anything to cause them to regret. Those who have made oath with poverty strongly feel angered at those who wish or want to get rich. They feel dangerously angry when the rich-minded are now ‘doing’ to getting rich. While many are proud of the Pastor who has a private Jet many are irritated, angry, bitter and hostile towards such. They are bitter in their mind, speech and actions. On whose side am I? I am on God’s side. And what He has directed me to write is how to cope not who is right. Coping is not the same as indulgence or overlooking. I shared on face book, a previous chapter in which I cited Tithe as one of the complex issues. Someone just quickly and emphatically quoted a scripture as a comment. And the person commented, “X verse YZ settles it all.” I didn’t disagree with the person. I knew he didn’t follow the link. So, I just told him that the rightness or wrongness of anyone’s vantage is not the focus. Unrestrained freedom, absolute freedom, to let everyone do as he or she likes is not the coping we are talking about. To cope, we are not to accept sin as normal. God forbid that we do such. When Jesus said that The Father and The Son and the Holy Spirit are one and then prayed that God will make the disciples one He simply admitted that those disciples of His have differences but God should help them to cope still as brothers and one in Christ. O from that above, it is obvious I am from the TRINITY clan! Proudly, I am.

Coping
Ego is in every human. We suppress it or we live it to the fullest. This book is not about who is right or who is wrong. We are not even given the power to judge. To discipline is not the same as to judge though. Priscilla and Aquila weren’t going to judge Apollos. The learned and eloquent Apollo was not going refuse learning. Are we teachable? Well, if we know it, that we have not known it, we will be teachable. This book is about how to cope with the complexities. We cannot eradicate them. If we try to, we will cause more to be. How do we cope with complexities in the church as a fold or as a denomination or as a Church of Christ? First, we need to treat the realities and inevitabilities of differences. If we get used to that we can get closer to coping…

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