Moses Ademola Popoola is General Pastor, Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church Worldwide and Senior Resident Pastor (English Chapel) C&S Movement Church, Ilorin district Headquarters, Kwara State. He says hatred, not religion fueling insecurity in Nigeria and urges the church to encourage the government to embrace community policing to curb insecurity in the nation
What do you think should be the role of the church in nation-building?
Some time ago, someone wrote a book entitled: “God is a Democrat.” In other words, God is a God of government, orderliness, authority. These are hierarchies in heaven. What God does in heaven is also transferred here on earth. So, there’s a need for God in our government so that there’ll be order, security, all these in the relationship among men. Thus, the church was established by God to be His eyes, His direct representatives here on earth. So, what is not found in the kingdom of God ought not to be here. The church is to help the government to rule properly with God’s intention and build human relationship and trust. So, when I hear people say the church is not supposed to be in politics, I ask them, who then is supposed to be in there? So, the church is supposed to be like a supervising ministry and help society to provide succour. The church is both spiritual and physical and that’s why the church provides some social amenities to take care of the people. It determines who rules the nation and policies of the government. The church has been trying its best but we also know that churches have not been able to fulfil their mandate to the ultimate because of some bad elements. However, the church has tried to produce some people and should still try to involve itself in government.
Insecurity has been a major challenge in the country, what do you think the church can do to assist the government?
It’s the people that form the church, not just the building. It’s just that we’re not sincere in this country. Those people killing here and there are no angels. They are human beings living among us. The role here is to continue to teach people on the need to have brotherly love. The major problem with insecurity in this country is all about hatred. It’s not about religion. The last time I heard about the killing was at a burial where you find people of every faith and religion and somebody attacked the people. So, the church would continue to teach on why we need to love ourselves and show security consciousness. The need for community policing is what the church should promote and encourage the government to do. A popular saying is that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. There’s a high rate of unemployment and poverty and the government is not doing anything to address these. People are really suffering and we are still arguing about N30,000 minimum wage in this century with a high cost of living, feeding, house rent, among others. The government should be more serious on the issue of security. Righteousness exalts a nation, so the church should be able to speak the truth to the government. A bad leader would continue his bad treatment when the church is not talking. It’s a matter of time; God will change every bad leader. The poor are crying now, the rich will cry one day. The rich should take care of the poor or else, they’ll soon cry.
Some are of the opinion that clerics of today are better off than those of the olden day. How will you react to this?
The Bible has made it so clear, it says in the last days, many will shift away from the truth. There are three types of people working in the household of God. Those that God actually called to work, there are people who circumstance forced to being in the household of God. For instance, if a man owns a jet, is that why I must own one? Why engaging in rituals to succeed? God blesses anybody He wants to bless. You can’t go about comparing yourself with others. I think the Nigerian government contributed to what we are seeing in the church. When there were jobs and the economy was good, there fewer churches. When things started to fall apart, Nigerians started to pray. I’m not sure there’s any nation that prays as we do. It becomes open heaven for the emergency clerics as people want their lives to get better. People want to hear prosperity, blessings, riches and sometimes they put pressure on those clerics to misbehave. But I don’t want the whole world to think Nigerian pastors are so bad. We are not the worst. It’s all over the world. It’s the devil. It’s the belly. It’s the pressure of society. In Nigeria, we’re beginning to lose family values. In the olden days, you think of what your family would say if you misbehave as a pastor before you even think about it. But today, if you don’t bring in money, they ask you to look for another job. Those who kill or do rituals, are they not exposed every day? If they think they are doing that to be anything, God will never allow anyone to share His glory. Except they repent, they will all meet their Waterloo.
What’s your reaction to some negative comments about white garment churches?
I’ve heard people saying it is when they criticise us that they can make it in life or popular, without necessarily knowing the church itself. You’ll be surprised that those criticising had never attended any white garment church. When you ask them questions, they said they heard it. The Bible says find out about everything before you talk about it. We wear white because it is a priestly garment. We saw by revelation and we also read in the Bible that in heaven, all would be dressed in white. So, we decided to pick white as our garment because we want to be in heaven. When people, either Christian, Muslim or traditionalist die, they are buried in white apparels. Does that make them fetish? We adorn white as a symbol of purity, holiness. Also, wearing a white garment makes us all be at the same level before God. You can’t differentiate senator from cleaner wearing white. When they say we don’t wear shoes, the ultimate thing here is salvation. Wearing shoes doesn’t mean you’re saved and the other man is not saved. It’s in the scripture that when God called Moses, He said remove your shoes because you’re standing on holy ground. With that, it’s taken that we can also remove our shoes. Our fathers in the Lord also told us that we remove our shoes when we want to enter our houses sometimes. They say why did that become a sin. All these do not carry any demonic representation in the least instance. It’s a sign of respect for God. If you do all these or not, it does not mean you don’t respect God. For Aladura and white garment churches, doing all these is a sign of respect for God.
How would you rate the performance of Nigerian leaders?
I was preaching one day and I said there are three types of people. White, black and Nigerians. Everything that has worked with either white or black people has never worked with Nigerians. Our leaders travel to other countries of the world, yet they do not change for the better. We fought tooth and nail to end apartheid in South Africa. We were in Egypt, Tanzania, you now ask yourself what’s wrong with us. The foundation was faulty. It’s either the system didn’t train our leaders well or they decided to go their own way. Also, Nigerian leadership is selfish, self-centred. They are more concerned about themselves and their immediate family members.
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