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Proliferation of churches? We don’t even have enough, says Rev. Erumaka

Posted by By Enyeribe Ejiogu on 2005/01/28 | Views: 2378 |

Proliferation of churches? We don’t even have enough, says Rev. Erumaka


There is a whole lot more to Rev. Humphrey Erumaka than his drop-dead good looks. For one thing, he can be brutally frank.

There is a whole lot more to Rev. Humphrey Erumaka than his drop-dead good looks. For one thing, he can be brutally frank.

Speaking with Daily Sun recently, he decisively told people who have been condemning the growth in the number of churches in Nigeria to shut up, saying that what is being seen is not a "proliferation," but the spread of churches. For all such people who would rather see and hear "evil" in the spread of churches, Erumaka wants them to look at the enormous good which the church has been doing in Nigeria. In obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, he says that the Church has shown itself to be the "salt of the nation", by providing succour to people who otherwise would have committed suicide in the face of the harsh economic situation in Nigeria and the other vicissitudes of life.

Against the overwhelming evidence of decay in various facets of Nigerian life, Rev. Erumaka who is the General Overseer of Wordbase Assembly, a pentecostal church located in Okota, Lagos, is resolutely positive in his confession concerning the nation. As a clear demonstration of this, he bought a special number plate inscribed with the word "positive" in bold capital letters.
The reverend gentleman, who describes himself as "a preacher of the Word of God", has been using his background as a journalist to good effect in his ministry, which he says is to "share the deep revelations of the word of God, from the pulpit, through tapes and books.”

Background
From the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, where he trained as a journalist, majoring in Sub-Editing and Advanced Writing, Rev. Erumaka had a short stint in the profession. At one time, he edited the Nigerian Epistle, a Christian newspaper published in Aba, Abia State. From there, he got called into full time ministry, in 1988. What were his antecedents?

"I got born-again in 1979. I was in secondary school at the time. I was born in a Christian home. My parents were members of the Assemblies of God. I grew up a good boy. But when we now had opportunity to go to school (boarding school), I found that there were certain things I had the freedom to veer into. That made me to know that I needed to have a personal encounter with the Lord.

“At one of the Scripture Union meetings, I walked in there and the atmosphere was very condusive. I came under conviction and gave my life to Christ. Since them I have been a committed Christian."

I have been vice-president of CASOR, an acronym for Christ Ambassadors Students Out Reach, which is an evangelism group within the Assemblies of God denomination. I am also the president of "Campus Operations", which enables me to go to Universities to teach the Word and organize crusades. It is also my way of fighting cultism in the schools. Just recently, I went to University of Calabar to attend a program they had. I have been in most of the universities in the country."

The pulpit and journalism
As most Christians know, God begins early to direct His people who let Him guide them through the journey which life is. This perhaps explains why Erumaka is very ecstatic about the preparation for ministry, which he got from training as a journalist.

"My Journalism training is helping me very, very well. It doesn’t take time for people to know that about me. There are some messages I preach which I have to prepare for by going to the Daily Times and Champion newspaper libraries to do extensive research. In most cases, such messages require secular statistics. For the message, A City without A Foundation, I had to do extensive research to prepare for it.

In this message, I took a historical look at the Nigerian economy right from the first time crude oil was discovered in Nigeria, at Oloibiri in Rivers State till date. I traced the history, the number of barrels exported, and how much was earned from the sales. Of course, in doing that I touched on the political leadership. So a lot of my messages have high research input. Besides, you cannot separate a man from some things he had passed through in life. I personally feel that the exposure God gives to you or some of the things He allows you to pass through positively or negatively, is part of your ministerial chemistry when you become a preacher."
Leadership problem

Take a roll call of nations that have made substantial progress, you find that each one of them has had good leaders. Erumaka feels very strongly that Nigeria’s problem is leadership.

"The first time I travelled outside this country was in 1996. I was in HongKong and China. I subsequently travelled to Europe and the United States. I saw how things were well organized. And I was always asked myself whether these are the same places that our leaders come to on holidays. Some of their children school there.

“Naturally, I felt that the organized way of life in these places had something to do with their "European" origins. But the agitation got stronger when I went to South Africa. I still saw a high level of organisation. You see the same thing when you go to Cote d’Ivoire. If you go to Ghana, you will feel sick in your stomach because of the lack of organisation in Nigeria. Our greatest problem here is the lack of order. Things are not in order. Everyday, you see this in the chaotic traffic situation. It is most unfortunate that orderliness has not registered in our psyche. The Nigerian man or woman does not seem to fall into order.

“If we can have one man who will minus greed in leadership in this country, we will prosper. We are blessed. We are rich. Imagine the huge amounts of money that we are hearing were spent on COJA and CHOGM. And even the kind of fantastic cars that were imported for these events. One week after these conventions, jamborees and gatherings, ask of those cars. You will find that they have gone into the thin air. And nobody can account for them. When the government has to host a similar major event you can be sure that another batch of cars will be bought. Of course, at outrageous costs.
Full gospel
Rev Erumaka holds the firm belief that the Christian leadership has not given the people the full gospel. The unfortunate effect of this is that there seems to be a parochial knowledge of the scriptures.
"In the 70s, the focus was just heaven. So most Christians became heavenly conscious and earthly useless. When that became an extreme, another extreme came. And that extreme from the 80s projected the message that you need prosperity here, first. That is also getting to an extreme, whereby most people who come to church, are there for what they will get from God. Even the consciousness of going to heaven is also not being emphasized. Now you do find people who just go to church because they want what they will get. This brings out another dimension: ‘Oh, the reason you have not gotten what you are looking for is because you need deliverance.’ The emphasis on deliverance comes. Then another person comes and says: ‘why you have not gotten what you want is because of the way you dress.’ The concept thus shifts to dressing and all that. And nobody bothers to tell you, the Christian, that one bad political decision can affect what you get. If the political system is wrong, the economy will be wrong. If the economy is wrong, then you will need a quantum of prayers and deliverance to get what you would have gotten on merit.”
An average American today is not praying for electricity and water. In fact, he is not praying for so many things that we pray for here. The simple reason is that the political system has taken care of that. I need to make a general appeal to ministers of God to preach the full gospel to their congregations. We need to raise men of integrity in churches to fit into these political positions and other sectors of our national life because the gospel has come to give man a holistic approach to the issues of life.
Spread of churches
Erumaka is incensed by the idle talk of a lot of very ignorant people about the spread of churches. Hear him.

"A lot of people talk about churches all over the place, saying that they are not seeing the impact which the church has been able to make. When they talk about proliferation of churches, I want to say that I consider the word "proliferation" inimical. Rather, what we have is spread of churches.

Proliferation implies a random duplication. The truth of the matter is that each church that is coming up has specific vision and a defined mission. But in the eye of the world, it looks like proliferation. They may not be able to differentiate between the churches. I know that in Lagos and some other parts of the world, there are churches that look like hip-hop churches. I want to also tell you that those churches fulfil their purpose. Their unique atmosphere allows them to serve as gateways for the unsaved to come in and hear the gospel of salvation. Now, when their spirits get deeper with God, they will start looking for a more serious place where they will get closer to God. Naturally, you will see them move from there to other churches which emphasize a deeper insight to the word of God. One other thing, which is very important but has been largely overlooked, is the fact that without all these churches, the rate of suicide in Nigeria would have been very high. The church has been able to sustain hope. Most of the time, anybody that committed suicide did upon wrong assumption. Look at the case of the jailer in the Acts of the Apostles, as recorded by the Bible, who drew a sword to kill himself when he wrongly thought that Paul and Silas, prisoners in his care, had escaped. As the Bible confirms Paul calmed him down, assuring him that none of the prisoners had escaped. The end result is that the man was won for Christ.

Oftentimes, people have committed suicide because they feel everything has finished. But the church tells you that as far as you are alive, God has not finished with you. Without the churches in this country, the suicide rate would have been higher than Russia, where the people over time were turned away from God by the defunct communist government.”

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.