A Letter to the Church

A Letter to the Church.

You might wonder why I chose the public domain to share this letter with you. Please know that I haven’t done this to undermine you but instead done this to ensure that as many of your members are able to read or access it. You and I know that you are not restricted by size, location, colour, creed, denomination and culture to name a few. As such I’m hoping that as many of your members will have the opportunity to read this note.

But why you, and not some government agency? You, the Church are the image and symbol of marriage that is applied in scriptures between Christ and the body of believers. Christ sacrificially and lovingly chose you to be His bride (Ephesians 5:25-27). In fact Paul uses the above passage to encourage husbands to love their wives just as He loved the Church by laying down His life for her.

According to Ephesians 5:25-27, Christ gave Himself for you, sanctified you so that He might present you to Himself in splendour; without spot or wrinkle and as a result, you are now reconciled with Him. If Christ did all of these for you, I would have thought that you would do the same for the marriages of your members and the family at large. I know that you don’t mean any harm as after all you are only striving to ensure that at the Second Coming of your Bridegroom, you will be united with Him at last and the official “wedding ceremony” will take place (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:1-2).

However, your actions are in a great deal harming and defrauding the marriage institution which God created. For He said in Gen 2:24 that the two shall become one flesh and in Mark 10:9 Christ told us that what God has joined together, let no man separate. I would have therefore expected you to be playing a reconciliatory role more than any other group, expected you and your members to be conducting yourselves in a way that will be strengthening the marriage institution and making families and society more stable.

But these days, if we are not reading that your members are being charged for fraud, we will be reading that they are backstabbing each other, beating their wives, cheating on their spouses and embracing the sin of homosexuality to the point of making those who practice it leaders of their congregation. We are constantly bombarded with news that your members are divorcing their wives/husbands, forsaking the faith they once knew and as such, some of your children are now found in prisons, nightclubs or they are so bruised and battered that they’ve lost their enthusiasm for life.

Don’t for once think that I consider you perfect as I don’t. But hasn’t your groom already paid the price for you to embrace His holiness, righteousness and grace and therefore you are empowered to do His will. But instead of maintaining your position in Him, you’ve redefined morality in your own way and in a way that appeals to the world but not God’s way.

After your groom left the earth, your power was so potent as seen amongst the early Christians to the point that Ananias and Sapphira could not get away with their lie and hypocrisy without facing the immediate consequence of their actions (Acts 5:1-11). But now you are so lukewarm and devoid of the Groom’s power that your members and leaders can be desecrating the altar, maltreating their wives, husband, children, defrauding others and calling black, white without any remorse and they assume seats right on the altar or close to it.

I understand the ethos of inclusion and the need to avoid being labelled as judgmental, insensitive, intolerant and unloving. But I’m concerned that in the bid to promote the agenda of inclusion, equality, diversity, fairness and so-called ‘grace’, you are watering down the core ingredients which are the basis of the sound foundation that God laid down for your members’ marriages, families and society at large.

You don’t want your members’ attendance rate to dwindle nor do you want the offering portfolio to diminish and as a result, you have left discipline and accountability out of your practices. Understandably you want to win so many and have as many of your members ready to present to the Groom when He returns. But did you notice that He didn’t say that He was coming back for a lying, cheating, covenant-breaking, perverse Church. He’s coming back for one that is spotless and without wrinkle.

No loving parent will refrain from disciplining their children because love and discipline go together. You are the custodian of your members until Christ returns but you desist from correcting them in love. I see your eagerness when your members propose marriage to each other. You are quick to join them together but when problems arise, I see how you respond and if you show any interest, you quickly lose this as soon as one or both couples tell you to mind your business. You don’t want to be misconstrued as taking sides and so you leave them to it or take a side depending on which spouse serves your purpose.

The breakdown of their relationship does not stop you from giving them lead positions and ordaining them as Bishops, Elders, Pastors when 1 Timothy 3 clearly clarifies the qualities that an elder must possess. I’m not suggesting that you banish your members to a life of eternal condemnation if they’ve once made a mistake, repented and changed. But I am talking about when they are struggling to live the way God instructs them to and they are refusing to put in the work required and insisting they are right, yet you turn a blind eye. You say that all humans are after all work in progress and are ultimately answerable to God and not to you.

You who join people together in holy matrimony are the same one who encourages them to divorce by the negative things you do and the positive things you are not doing. You are content with your members speaking to each other when you congregate and serving in the name of the Lord even if they don’t speak to, or serve their spouses or children at home. You forget that charity begins from home and God is not just looking at your work for Him but at how you look after the things that He’s committed into your hands. You used to demonstrate accountability but you have relegated this to a thing of the past and to the early church alone. You are afraid that your members will see through your hypocrisy.

It’s too messy telling a member of yours to sit down from his/her ministerial office for a few months to sort out his/her personal/family problems because you know that some of your highly regarded leaders are not measuring up to the standard expected. And so you encourage public activities over their personal lives. Did you not know that the most important part of a person’s life is not what they display in public but what they say and do in private?

You profusely promise your members, life of prosperity and abundance over a godly lifestyle, leading by example and demonstrating accountability. Even though you have members everywhere and in every continent and therefore your members can choose to join any congregation that they wish. But don’t they move around from one denomination to another depending on which appeals more to their wants and needs. You are happy for your members to relocate themselves without any consideration for doing what’s right and the will of God.

Whenever a new member joins any of your parishes, you don’t bother asking them important questions about their past for fear of losing them. After all you are all one body. You don’t care whether they hurt other parts of your body knowingly or unknowing before they parted ways. What goes around comes around and therefore in no time, they will hurt a member at their new location or you might hurt them and off they go again. Some of your parishes even encourage the members of another parish to hop and leave so that they can increase their numbers forgetting that they are representing the same kingdom and a kingdom that is divided against itself will not last.

Lastly, I am really concerned for the next generation, the children and the vulnerable, as it appears that the model you are leaving for them is not much to go by. I am not sure of how far you are willing to go or how much you are willing to pay for your overflowing, but lifeless meetings. Your pews are overcrowded with confused, unrepentant, empty and unhappy faces of people/children whose lives have been torn apart, betrayed and demoralised by your actions.

As I round up my letter to you, I hope you will prayerfully consider the things that I have highlighted. I’m not under any illusion that you will agree with everything that I’ve written but I’m sort of hoping that you will reflect and take some responsibility for some of the issues that are present in marriages and families today. I’m also hoping that you will seek God’s help for sound scriptural and practical ways to resolve some of these issues.

Yours lovingly

Comfort-Bola Ogundeji

Disclaimer: Please note that in referring to the Church, the writer has not aimed this letter at any particular church or denomination but the Church –Ecclesia (the body of believers of which she’s a part)