It is fast becoming common knowledge within the Christian circle in Nigeria that evangelism comes with an unprecedented level of ease lately. This is because most Nigerians swiftly declare with unsettling confidence that they are born-again nowadays. They know the end of evangelism already; and they are willing to save the evangelist the stress of preaching the means to them; hence, they humour the schizophrenic by them calling him the bridegroom just to have their way. And who will argue they are not who they claim to be? Does even the Holy Book not say “if you confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, …thou shalt be saved?” Expectedly this is starting to make many evangelizing Christians wonder if there is actually a need to preach to the gospel in Nigeria again as it seems the nation is now littered with many ‘born-again’ Christians.
And unsurprisingly, being born-again in the above manner is not limited to frustrated Nigerians who claim to be born-again just to ward off disturbance from preachers alone. Some of the people who wield the most influence and power in the nation are equally born-again as claim they are. It doesn’t matter if it’s solely by confession. And not by heart and in deeds. They are BORN-AGAIN; it is all that counts. Anyway, they are not without traits specific to them. By their fruits – their deeds, their characters – we know them. Suffer me to introduce to you some of the traits of two of the most influential class of born-again people in Nigeria.
You guessed I will start with them, right? Well, you guessed correctly. But tell me which other class of born-again Nigerians would I rather begin with? Anyway, don’t judge them wrongly in your mind yet – even if you do, what will it change? Nothing. Have they not been recipients of lexical massacres countless times to no avail? It’s a demonstration of their traits – recalcitrance. Little wonder the wheel of the Nigerian vehicle does not yield to development-oriented turning – they’ve passed to it their undesirable character. Born-again political leaders demonstrate truly fascinating ability-turn-characters. One of those is great acting. Tell me, are you not often bedazzled when a born-again Nigerian politician mount the campaign podium with spine-chilling confidence, armed with cunningly-devised promises, to pull the wool over innocent electorates’ eyes? Their acting qualities are truly second to none – I often wonder why our talented politicians are yet to land lead roles from the Nigeria Film Corporation. I mean why waste such great talents seated with the unyielding wheel of this nation and steering it in the wrong direction? An interesting thing: they would at the end of their truthfully embellished campaign manifestos declare that by a grace they are yet to receive from a God they believe blesses them as they blaspheme His holy name, they will make good on their promises. As a citizen, I have for long believed that if only the nation was replete with more born-again politicians, this nation would be closer to development – I mean, do you not see how close we are as a nation to attaining an unprecedented height of growth with just a few of them at the helm of the country’s affairs?
See, Nigeria’s born-again politician has more development-oriented traits than I can state in this article. Among them is their reverence for worship – the reason why they go to church occasionally. They honour the day of the Lord once in a while to worship their ‘father in heaven’ – while concurrently worshiping their Godfathers here on earth. Well, we are not oblivious of the fact that their ostentatious act of worship is just to give their profession of Christianity the needed backing. Who claims to be born-again without going to Church, even if it is occasionally, anyway? And this they do after wining and dining at unhallowed gatherings characterized by profligacy. On the days they choose to worship in church, they would put on costly embroidered attires; bearing a Bible not read in months on one hand and fat envelopes harboring huge sums – tithe, and offerings from the proceeds of loots – on their second hand to pay the equally ‘born-again’ minister, who will not hesitate to heap upon them praises and wet them with showers of prayers. Such intriguing traits they exhibit. Like I have earlier stated, their traits can’t be exhausted in a single piece.
MINISTERS OF GOD.
It is true that if you seek to influence and unwavering followership in Nigeria, becoming a religious leader – in especial a pastor – would accord you a painless ride to achieving this end. But, you have to first be born-again – it is non-negotiable. Your words will carry light weight if people realize you are not born-again. You won’t want to jeopardize your goal before achieving it, will you? But let me warn you. The fame and influence you desire won’t come in a day; nevertheless, they will so long you toe the line of other born-again ministers, who have made it before you. You will no doubt find achieving your goal easy when you demonstrate such traits as staging all sort of mouthwatering miracles; opulently displaying wealth while your church members are impoverished; giving self-inspired predictive prophecies on national issues and hoping they come to pass; and dodging the payment of tax while constantly reminding the congregation to bring their tithes to your storehouse for blessings.
Also, you must not forget to spend quality time with young ladies in your church to impact them with anointing and grace. But don’t force them. Forcing the grace upon them might attract punishment under the law. You must treat your relationship with the opposite sex with care. It could make or mar you as a young born-again minister. Besides who among them would reject spending quality time with her graceful spiritual father? Few or none. Oh, lest I forget, perhaps the most important trait of influence-seeking born-again ministers is the ability to befriend conspicuously corrupt politicians. Be aware that becoming their friend is not enough though, you must use all platforms possible to campaign for them and sway sentiments in their favour. Their triumph in the elections is crucial; it will determine the level of influence you will wield in the coming years. Remember, no need to admonish him to change his ways. Nigerians love dishonest, religious candidates – and that’s all that matters.
To conclude, let me remind you that Nigeria, the spiritual Giant of Africa, is still a land flowing with milk and honey but plagued – pardon me, I meant to write blessed – with pious men – purported servants of God and leaders of the people they despise – who sacrifice her wealth on the altar of corruption. True is it that Nigeria is a nation where religion wields such a great deal of influence, so it is no surprise that it is now fashionable for her citizens to identify themselves with a particular religion – with Christianity, by declaring they are born-again. A truly religious nation in deeds we are. And with no shadow of a doubt, with the level of religious practices in the nation, scarcely will the number of atheists in the nation reach a figure a primary one student would be unable to accurately recite – how godly a nation we are! The gods – yes, the gods, not God – must be pleased with our piety.
*in this article, to be ‘born-again’ is to claim to follow Christ without true conversion and moral uprightness.