Years ago, I was a zealous Christian without tact or wisdom.
I was in my penultimate year in High School.
I published my first “gospel” tracts – created content and made photocopies.
Guess the key message of my tracts?
“Any lady wearing earrings and trousers will be banished to eternal damnation.”
Like a happy labourer in the Lord’s vineyard, I accosted ladies in school and my neighbourhood with tracts, warning them of the impending wrath of the Lord.
My beliefs in such doctrines and stances were so strong that I battled intense dislike in my heart towards anyone using those things I preached against.
I struggled to keep female friends that used earrings or dressed in trousers. I could not see the love of Christ in them, even if they were burning for the Lord.
To me, they were a bunch of hypocrites that would one day burn in hell.
How I wish you can understand the height of my foolishness? I was a priggish judge.
Well, as much as the background for my Christian faith fuels this, it created a lot of tension in the Nigerian church. Today, it still does fan flames of rejection and hot debates.
Growing up, I had always wondered why a body meant to be an abode of love is so divided against itself.
I battled with these things for years until my third year in university. I had an encounter with the HolySpirit that changed my life. I hit a gusher, and the Father’s love consumed my heart. From that time, I could see people the way God sees them.
Today, I get irritated when I see the church argue about petty things like dressing, makeup, and jewelry.
I still favour the side of the aisle that leans toward moderation. Perhaps we should ask why Christians indecently dressed can comfortably sit in our pews for months without a change of heart (That’s a topic for another day).
The point here is there are weightier matters.
So, let’s backtrack a little and look at how the church is habitually late at almost everything.
In the 1930s, when the television industry took off, it was notoriously tagged as the devil’s toolbox.
In the early 1990s, when the Internet popped up, and the world went online, the church said it was a conspiracy theory, and it’s bringing the world together before the Antichrist.
In the 2000s, when the era of social media ushered in Facebook and Twitter, and yet again, the church balked.
Are you surprised that we are just enrolling for Social Media 101?
Before the pandemic-initiated lockdown, some churches knew next to nothing on how to leverage social media networks.
And then 5G showed up.
I am not surprised that we have called a naming ceremony for it.
Why are we skeptical about embracing new technologies? The more we hesitate, the more we lag behind in our capacity to penetrate markets and platforms for Christ.
Carey Nieuwhof, founding pastor of Connexus Church, sums it up well: “The gap between how quickly you change and how quickly things change around you is irrelevance […] Too many church leaders are perfectly equipped to reach a world that no longer exists.”
So, what’s wrong about a church that’s viciously divided about a LADY’S outfit?
To be honest, that’s not where we should be.
Are we confronting our perpetual prayerlessness and an unquenchable appetite for vainglory?
We should be talking and preparing on how to address Babylonian theories that promote concepts of relativism that knock off standards and absolutes.
We should be ready to give answers when we get questions from youths that are tinkering with unimaginable kinds of sexual perversion.
It will be unfortunate to be without concrete answers when the time finally comes.
Those questions will come first from children at family altars (if you have one), and they will challenge everything you have taught them about faith and Christ.
Silencing them won’t be enough. Only answers will do.
Church, are you ready for the weightier matters?