The Bishop of Sapele Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Blessing Erifeta has given reason why there are more problems in the Church today than there are in secular organizations around the world.
Bishop Erifeta gave the reason on Saturday in his remarks at the fiftieth birthday and twentieth year in the ordained ministry celebration and book presentation of Venerable Eugene Uchechukwu Nwangwu Owunnamanam.
Taking his key address from the Bible book of Hebrews 5:4, the Diocesan said the Church, as a body of Christ, has made a lot of mistakes and come across so many mistakes in recent times.
Distinguishing between how the leaders of secular organizations are raised and how the leaders of churches are raised, Bishop Erifeta decried that so much philosophy of the world has been brought to bear in the Church.
He said people have misconstrued the church for the secular world, stressing “that is why we are having more internal problems in the church than outside the church”.
“We have made a lot of mistakes. We have come across so many blunders. We are all guilty of what is happening in the Church of God all over the world. In the secular world, people are raised and trained for particular vocations or professions.
“People have misconstrued the church for the secular world, bringing the way leaders are raised in the secular world into the Church. We brought the idea of leadership in the outside world inside the church instead. That is why we are having more internal problems in the church than outside the church,” Erifeta said.
Speaking on the standard the Church should emulate, and highlighting the Bible book of Numbers 16, the Bishop said the Bible is the standard that no one can change.
“There is a standard we cannot change. The Bible is the standard for the church. You cannot use secular ideas to run the church. You cannot use secular ideas to raise leaders for the church. If we are to recruit manpower for the church, the persons have to be called by God,” he said.
Distinguishing between self-calling, political calling and religious calling, Bishop Erifeta said, “We live in an era where people pretend to be called by God”.
He, however, explained self-calling is when an individual asked to follow God by themselves; political calling is a calling of people who are kin to playing politics in the church, and religious calling as people who believe there is God, but their religiosity has no bearing with that of Christ.
Bishop Erifeta, who said he is a privileged ecclesiast and not that he merited the position he is occupying, said if God had not given him the privilege, he had no right to the position.
“I am a privileged ecclesiast. Not that I merit where I am. If God has not given me the privilege I have no right. That should be the mindset of everyone who call themselves Christians. If you don’t see it from that light you will be projecting your personal ideas and think where you are is by your power, that if nobody listens to you, nothing can happen.
“We must avoid taking the honour unto ourselves. If the system says this is what we should do, and we do otherwise, we are taking the honour due for. If the church says this is what we should do and we go contrary, we are taking honour due to God,” he said.
Erifeta said people who have gone against God ordained way of raising leaders for the Church have done so at the expense of their lives and that of their followers.
“Those who have done it all went down and God will not change the pattern. Hebrew is reminding us of a standard that cannot be changed. If God does not give you, there is nothing you can do. If you force your way in, God will force you out,” he said.
Rev. Dr. James Irikefe presented the book, Why do the righteous suffer, written by Ven. Owunnamanam, the Vicar of St. Jude’s Anglican Church, Jeddo, Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State.
Rev. Dr. Amos Obi, who delivered a lecture at the occasion, commended Owunnamanam, and said the author has fulfilled the saying that “if you want to live forever, plant a tree, write a book or build a house”.
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