Why is much priority given to church attendance?

Written by Elijah Fabule

God made man in a way that he craves for something superior to him to worship. Every man has this zeal to worship something whether an idol or infinitesimal being. We have seen from the book Genesis that the knowledge of God was passed down from one generation to another except for few who had direct contact with God; Abraham and Moses.

Fast forward to the time God chose the Israelites as a nation to prove Himself to humanity and through whom the Savior of humanity would come to the earth to save humanity from their sin and restore the man and God spiritual bond. God revealed himself to Moses as the man he would use to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. It should be noted that Moses was a man who shunned oppression, slavery and injustice, so it was not difficult for God to choose him as the best man to champion this course of freedom.

Having being led out of Egypt, the Israelis were given several laws through Moses, their leader, to keep their bond with God who shielded them out of Egypt. The laws given were over 613 according to the book of Leviticus and it was impossible for them to keep all the laws. God in his infinite mercy, allowed for different offerings to be given for their unfaithfulness in keeping all the laws.

On getting out of Egypt towards Canaan land God promised their forefather, Abraham, God made sure to give Moses details, from the least to the greatest on how to build a tabernacle where God’s presence would rest permanently. The tabernacle was a sacred place where God chose to meet His people, the Israelites, during the 40 years they wandered in the desert under Moses’ leadership. It was the place where the leaders and people came together to worship and offer sacrifices. The essence of the tabernacle was for God to be closer to his people, the Israelites.

God’s presence rested on the tabernacle and all the people gathered at the tabernacle to meet God and worship Him there. The tabernacle was a means to an end and not an end in itself. The actual plan of God was to relate with individual mankind personally. Hence he said; ” For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; ’’ I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.’’

The future God talked about making a new covenant with His people was established when Jesus died for mankind and offered himself as a propitiation for sins at the heavenly tabernacle. Prior this time, Jesus had a conversation with a particular woman of Samaria in John 4: 19 the woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.  20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Jesus made a crucial statement in the above passage of the scripture in accordance with God’s will as regards dwelling in the spirit of mankind for easier fellowship. Jesus remained the door through which this plan would be achieved. That is, in his death and sacrifice. Those who must worship God must do it through the spirit and truth. The truth and Spirit here symbolizes Jesus Christ. In the original Greek translation of John 4:24, the Greek word for “and” is translated “that is”. When replaced with “that is”, we see that the word “spirit” is used to qualify the word “truth”. Hence, we have a better explanation for the verse; “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and (that is) in truth.” Jesus Christ is the truth as stated by him in John 14:6 that “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

The death of Jesus has opened the way for all to fellowship with God in the spirit and truth. Every Individual who believes in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for sin has, in him, the spirit of God; hence, there is no need to be assembled at a particular place before he can fellowship with God as the case was during the period of the tabernacle in the old testament. By default, such man has met all the requirements as in the tabernacle of Moses for God to dwell in him permanently. He is a carrier of God’s presence and in this he should rejoice that his God is with him at all times irrespective of location for fellowship and intimacy. We are in the era of the new covenant established by the blood of Jesus Christ shed at the heavenly tabernacle once and for all for humanity. Howbeit, it’s a good thing when believers assembly at a place for fellowship. As the proverbs that says; ‘’Iron sharpens Iron”, each individual carries God’s presence in him and the synergy can also fast track their spiritual growth.

Elijah Fabule

What does Freedom mean to me as a Christian?

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1 (KJV).

This is a question that many Christians have failed to answer, or cannot properly explain. And because we have no clear answer to what exactly freedom means to us, we often do not realize it when we infringe on the liberty of others around us.

In this situation, our relationships with colleagues, family and friends are being affected in one way or the other.

Churches seem to be springing up everyday, and with each comes a doctrine different from the other. I have often heard Christians and atheists ask the question. “why are christians not united? Why are they not organized?” My answer is that from the book of Romans through to 1 Peter, we have the word of God that we are all blessed with different gifts, and we are admonished to use this gifts to bless the name of the Lord. However, today, it seems the man who casts out demons in God’s name is doing so by his power, and is better or more important than the other man who admonishes or teaches the word of God (Romans 12:3-8).

If we must worship God in spirit, in truth and in liberty, then we don’t have to be judgmental of other worshipers because, in judging others we sometimes take it up another notch without even knowing it. Pastors stand on their pulpits to condemn fellow pastors, members take the fight to their neighbors who are members of other churches, and yet we ask ourselves why we are not united.

In Romans 12:6 the scripture tells us that each one is blessed with a different gift, according to the grace given to us. In other words, we all work towards the same goal, but with different levels of grace. This is a clear pointer that we should all work with God according to his grace in our lives, not as directed or commanded by a pastor or church authorities. And certainly not because of what is in vogue (waving of handkerchief, swallowing copious amount of anointing oil, etc).  When we are able to key into this freedom to work according to the inspiration, direction and grace of God, then can we better walk with God, fellow christians and the society at large.

However, we are advised not to be “carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.…” Hebrews 13:9.

All around us in the society today, we have a lot of laws and policies by our governments limiting our freedom as Christians. There are legislations on when to worship, how to worship, who to accept into the church, who to help as a church, etc., and because he wants to avoid being a victim of the State, the faith of the Christian believer is continually influenced by the “laws of the land”, instead of the Scriptures. In a controversial move by a State Governor in Nigeria, preachers within the state are to be issued renewable licenses, while visiting preachers are issued permits before being part of any church-related activity. Although this Bill also affects muslims, it is an example of what christians and people of other faiths face in different regions of the world.

That being the case, a house divided against itself cannot stand such attacks. Our unity as Christians in Africa will come from the recognition of the liberty we have to worship God according to his direction and grace. It is the grace of God that produces the freedom we enjoy today in Christ, and such freedom should not be denied others. Rather, that freedom should be the foundation of our unity, the driving force of the Christian movement in Africa, and the fragrance of our oneness in Christ.

When Christians are able to understand what freedom means to them, only then can they shine as the light of the world, respecting others regardless of faith, culture or ideology. This creates a tolerant spiritual environment that enables peaceful coexistence of any people, without hate or discrimination.

Emeka Ezeugo

Chukwuemeka Ezeugo

Welcome to African Christians for Liberty.

Welcome to African Christians for Liberty. Founded in 2015, the organization aims to promote peace within the continent through the advocacy of freedom and tolerance, and has largely maintained an online presence. As part of our outreach efforts, we were able to organize the first African Christians For Liberty Conference the same year at the Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria, with over seventy (70) participants in attendance. Special thanks to the Libertarian Christian Institute  and Students For Liberty for their encouragement and support.

For a continent that suffers from constant conflicts arising from perceived inequality, injustice, intolerance and of course, lack of freedom, there is a need for Christians who believe in the principle of liberty as the key to achieving tolerance and peace to educate themselves and others on the importance of freedom, and also promote same.

To make this possible, African Christians For Liberty will work with partners, both faith-based and otherwise, to encourage the pursuit of happiness and peace in Africa. We are also open to working with local and international entities and  individuals who are committed to the cause of a peaceful Africa, and a decrease in conflicts arising from intolerance and the absence of basic human rights.

If you are a writer and would like to get published here, feel free to send a copy of your articles to cgezeugo@gmail.com. Your articles should not be more than 1000 words, and should be in Word format. Such works should address issues that promote the objectives of the organization, which include the advocacy of freedom, tolerance and peace.

As we are encouraged to follow peace with all men in Hebrews 12:14, we should not fail to recognize that people are free to make decisions that are best for them, and they deserve respect for their life-choices as rational beings.

Emeka Ezeugo

Chukwuemeka Ezeugo