The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Plateau chapter, has decried the lack of unity among Christians, and declared that the travails of the faithful would only worsen if the Church remained divided.
“The Church today is faced with a lot of problems, but the major one is lack of unity. The challenges are massive; we can only tackle them if we are united and speak with one voice,” Soja Bewarang, its Chairman, said on Tuesday.
Mr Bewarang spoke at the 2017 Unity Service and Prayer, organised for Christians in the Central Senatorial Zone of the state, and held in Bokkos.
The service, an annual event held in the three senatorial zones of Plateau, is targeted at bringing all Christians together to encourage them to pray for peace, progress and tranquility.
The CAN chairman emphasised the need for a united Church, stressing that such unity would please the Lord and make Him open the windows of blessings to the faithful.
He said that Christians, as the body of Christ, must be united and focused so as to collectively achieve the principal goal of serving their creator.
“If Christians are not united, it means that they cannot approach one another in love and can never be good witnesses for Christ.
“We may belong to different denominations and Churches, but we all belong to the Lord and
must love one another to form a perfect bond of unity so that the enemy will not take advantage of our disunity and cause more havoc.
“We must put aside our biases, prejudices and differences and dwell more on the things
that unite us for the common mission. This is a bold step we must take collectively, because it is indeed a step in the right direction,” he said.
Mr Bewarang said that there was nothing as tragic as a Church divided; adding that the tragedy was even more disastrous if the cause of the division was self-inflicted.
He urged Christians to be alert to the devices of Satan whose first step was usually to distract the Church from its profound mission by planting seeds of internal discord.
The chairman traced the division in the Church to the “general workings of human corruption that had often distracted and broke the peace of societies”.
Quoting the scriptures, he pointed out that wars and fighting were products of human lust that spring from ignorance, error, unbelief, prejudice, pride, passion, selfishness and carnality.
He regretted that divisions had become entrenched in the Church with efforts to unite the folk getting more difficult by the day.
On Christians’ involvement in partisan politics, Bewarang rejected suggestions that politics was a dirty terrain that good Christians must avoid.
“Politics simply means the ‘science of government’”, government inevitably has profound consequences for those who are governed. It is unthinkable that the Christian voice should not be heard in the political arena.
“There are other people, who believe that Christians in responsible positions can do great good and that political power should not be allowed to be a monopoly of those who might abuse it. I agree with such people.
“A good Christian politician can persuade his fellow citizens to raise their standards. Wilberforce abolished slave trade; Shaftesbury and his friends prevented child labor. Both groups acted as Christian politicians on Christian principles,” Mr Bewarang said.
He said that CAN was motivating Plateau Christians to be agents of change by scrutinizing the activities of the various stakeholders in politics.
Mr Bewarang, who regretted the endemic corruption permeating all sectors of the nation, lamented that the fear of God was no longer in the hearts of many Nigerians.
“The situation is bad, but we should be hopeful as Christians; we must trust God that things will take a positive shape. We must continue to condemn violence and encourage peaceful coexistence,” he said.
The CAN chairman commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts toward fighting corruption and reviving the agriculture and solid minerals sectors, but said that the efforts were being thwarted by persistent attacks on rural communities.
“Farming and mining are carried out in the fields. The fields have been dangerous with persistent attacks by gunmen. Government must strive to end the attacks to restore hope to the populace,” he said.
He also spoke on the Plateau Local Government elections slated for Feb. 17, 2018, and declared that the Church would not tolerate money politics, smear campaigns, denominational and tribal politics.
“Such vices have robbed us of credible leaders in the past and must be discarded. We shall encourage Plateau residents to choose leaders on merit regardless of party, tribe, religion and denomination,” he said.
Dignitaries at the service included Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong, his deputy, Prof. Soni Tyoden, former Plateau Governor, Joshua Dariye, members of the national and state assemblies, religious and traditional leaders.