The Serving Overseer, the Citadel Global Community Church, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, yesterday, bemoaned the state of the Church in contemporary time.
Bakare’s lamentation came amidst growing concerns over the moral state of men of the pulpit. Delivering a lecture titled ‘The Role of the Contemporary Church in Nation-Building: Pessimism, Optimism or Activism?’ at the 50th anniversary lecture of the Shepherdhill Baptist Church, Obanikoro, Lagos, Bakare said the Church had gone full circle in relation to its mandate as the holy nation.
Bakare stated that the Church, an institution saddled with the responsibility to shine as light in a dark world, is itself saddled with persecution, compromise, mixture, and corruption, doctrinal divides, scandalous allegations of rapists on rampage and perverts on pulpits and impractical optimism masquerading as faith and grace.
He added that the excess baggage bedeviling the Church seemed to have incapacitated the Church as it confronts a dying nation. Bakare further said it was needless to say that a sick Church cannot bring healing to a dying nation.
Bakare noted that the Church began with optimistic fervour, but would later be engulfed by pessimism under heavy persecution. The vice presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) in the 2011 general election also said pessimism led to compromise and a loss of identity until restoration commenced through activism, placing scripture once again at the centre and running on the operating system of the Holy Spirit and His diverse gifts and workings. He stated that wherever the Church has rediscovered its identity and lived up to it, progress had been the outcome.
According to Bakare, “The Church of the 21st century exists in the context of unfavourable social, economic and political landscapes of nations, especially in sub-Saharan African countries like Nigeria.
We can all recite the litany of woes that characterize our national life – from the potholes we all deftly navigated on our way here today, to the unpredictable tyrant formerly known as NEPA; from the 13.5 million out-of-school children to our recent christening as the poverty capital of the world.
Bakare further said when these negatives become the focus, the nation-builder could get drowned in a paralyzing flood of pessimism and get further incapacitated.
He added that to attain full recovery and to fulfil its nation-building mandate, the Church must draw inspiration from portraits of nation-builders, men and women of like passions, drawn from the quintessential book of nation-building, the Holy Bible.
Bakare added: “They emerged in difficult circumstances, fluctuating between the extremes of optimism and pessimism, as well as the occasional stints of activism, to redefine the trajectories of their times and climes. What they accomplished is no different from what we are now being asked to accomplish.”
Bakare however outlined what he termed three essential thrusts of a nation-building church, namely: visionary leadership, strategic positioning, and visionary institutions.