FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, September 19, 2021
usa_akoji@yahoo.com
New York, USA
A WORD FOR NIGERIAN ACADEMIC AND CLERGY COMMUNITIES - PART 2

Continued from Part 1

B) THE CHRISTIAN CLERICS.

must as a preamble state that this piece takes exclusive account of a section of the Christian ecclesia. The reason is simple. I am a stakeholder in Christianity, and I can only credibly comment on Christianity, not on other religions in which my knowledge is limited as an outsider.

The ensuing squabble between who is fake or real in the ecclesiastical realm is easy to decipher. Supernatural miracles and authoritative execution of the priestly office has never been the metric that measures and validate a genuine or a fake clergy. There are three fundamental and biblical distinguishing characteristics that can help to separate between the counterfeit and the genuine; these are: Character, Charity, and Humility.

Genuine Character, Charity and Humility are not induced by denominational affiliation, and they cannot be faked with spiritualized cliche; instead, they are acquired through genuine encounter with Christ, the perfect pattern for the Christian priestly office. Christ did not excessively ascribe to himself, the kind of oppressive self-importance and arrogance that has become pervasive among contemporary Pentecostals – particularly, amongst our modern generation of young clerics.

The Christian priesthood is not about self, or who the cleric associates with in ministry; it is not the miracles, the eloquence, the dress codes, or the authoritarian demonstration of leadership. In effect, the priesthood is not a social media contest or conquest. The priesthood is about Character, Charity, and Humility. Regrettably, Character, Charity, and Humility amongst the many modern clerics have gone extinct as acrobatics and social media choreographed demonstrations have replaced them.

Perilously and in the most surreptitious manner, spiritual discrimination and segregation have subtly swept through the modern Christian clergy community. In their disposition towards others, some modern clergies, whom I know, tend to form a coterie, and ascribe to themselves, the statuses of the all-knowing, never wrong, and all-righteous. They view their narrow, but limited theology as the ultimate. They believe that their theology is superior to all others, and therefore, they are quick to launch barrage of attacks on the theological views of others. Even when they don't voice out, the energy they emit speaks loudly of the critical negative attitudes towards those whom they perceive as less spiritual. When they choose to voice out, they are swift to show that what they think they know spiritually, is superior to those of all others. Still, where simple Character, Charity, and Humility are called for, they are nowhere to be found. They are too important, too spiritual, too anointed, too knowledgeable, and too holy to descend from the self-constructed pride stratospheres to meet those they secretly despise or regard as unfit to be part of their spiritual cliques. Unknown to them, they have become the judge even as they are guilty of pride, and stealthy discrimination in the body of Christ.

To further display their preconceived preponderance towards fellow Christians whom they perceive as less spiritual, or whom they don’t view as valuable contributors to their causes, these modern pastors treat such Christians with utter disdain. For example, I have observed that some of these modern pastors are quick to display the photographs of popular pastors on their social media walls to wish them birthday or anniversary salutations. I have also observed that they are quick to selectively wish members within their manufactured cliques, birthday and anniversary wishes, but they are often too anointed, too righteous, and too important to put up a congratulatory or birthday wishes to those they consider less anointed or less righteous as themselves. These modern pastors believe they have a reputation to protect so that, if they feel the need to discriminate, despise and belittle others, or if they feel the need to associate with popular clergies, whom they have never met to enhance or preserve their so-called personal reputations, they are mechanically prepared to do all the aforementioned. Alas, none of these behaviors are Christ-like. I call these behaviors conceited religious politics, which is lacking in Character, Charity, and Humility.

The holy scriptures, in 1 John 4:20 contends that:

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”

Listen, pastor: it is utterly absurd to claim to love and celebrate famous pastors and politician who may call themselves Christians, but deliberately underrate fellow believers or clergies around you because in your own estimation, their anointing is not up to par with yours, or because they do not support your causes or bow to worship you. How can you claim to love and celebrate famous pastors publicly on your social media space, but despise those around you? Repent, Pastor – that is pride, religious politics, and discrimination. You love to be noticed, celebrated, and respected by all, but you discriminate and spurn brethren who are around you.

The golden rule stated in Luke 6:31 is – “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”

Remember, Jesus Christ is the ultimate pattern for the pastorate. Any pastor or clique of pastors, who reflect examples that are not rooted in the pattern of Jesus Christ are operating a problematic and counterfeit pastoral office.

Don’t forget, Charity, Character and Humility are the principal Christ-like traits which every Christian and especially clergies are expected to radiate in their daily interactions with others.

Continued from Part 1

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