Making Christian arguments should go beyond just being emotional

A lot of us Christians seem to just talk or argue from emotions when making a defense of our faith, which is good, but sometimes, a little bit of facts will help our arguments. We are obviously in an era when one will have to rely on a great dose of wits even as a Christian, just to win a single soul, or advance a case for Christ. It’s like this generation of unbelievers are so knowledgeable and not just ‘blindly’ stuck in their worldly ways, but they have a lot of ‘convincing facts’ to support the things they do. It’s like a facts-based generation and any Christian who attempts to witness to this generation must aside being sentimental, equally have his/her facts well laid out, such that it makes sense.

It’s like Christianity no longer makes sense to a lot of folks out there…unless we present very convincing facts. However, many a Christian will not even research just a little into the things s/he is for or against…and then falls short when an argument erupts with an unbeliever. Of course, it’s the Holy Spirit that convicts, which is the ultimate truth, but isn’t there a reason why God gave us brains too? I fear if we do not know our Bible so well, and get as much additional knowledge as possible, we will soon lose out and be ineffective in our missions because gone are the days when we were witnessing to “illiterates”.

Our tasks in recent times (in this generation) have become bigger and while we are at it being “emotionally” sentimental and discrediting our exalted faith with total disregard for basic professionalism and Christian ethics (given all the many scandalous acts or antics of our men of God), the world we must win is strategically studying, effectively planning and “falsely and enticingly dividing our word of truth”. It’s not just sentiments that will win us the battle in an era where the tables are turning and paganism (in all its forms and vices) is taking foothold and is being exalted above all that is comprehensible to the Christian mind.

I feel when you study and you know, you have a firmer grounding and cannot be easily swayed, but that’s the Christian’s problem today, because we are only looking to the “pulpit” for the very least Christian knowledge. We would rather spend our time championing our Pastors rather than studying the word for ourselves. Because our focus is only on our Pastors, we have become the kind of Christians that could be easily misled or deceived by our Pastors without even realizing it.

Perhaps, it is high time we move beyond just being over emotional as Christians anytime our faith comes into question. There is a lot at stake and being just emotional may not cut it; it’s important for a Christian to be well studied and seek knowledge so as not to fall short.

Some may rightly argue on the basis of 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 that wits doesn’t bring any man to the kingdom and it is only the Holy Spirit that truly draws a man unto Christ by His own power. The argument is also rightly made that men may begin to trust in their methods for “reaching” and “winning” souls, when in fact, all it takes is God’s own Spirit, working through a man, studied or not.

“and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Those are very good points or arguments to make. However, the thrust of this post is not to promote intellectual cunningness. I still believe though that in our day and time and just like the very learned Paul, our ministries are and will be more effectual when we are well studied, with not only knowledge from the Bible. I do not in anyway want to push the Holy Spirit to the background and assume that it is man himself who wins a soul.

But, I still think Paul was very effective in his ministry also to a large extent because of his high learning…judging from 1 Cor 9:22. I can boldly say he didn’t use illiteracy to witness to the gurus of knowledge, neither did he just go manifesting the Holy Spirit to the learned and just winning them like that. There are accounts of he using intellectual battling (plus the help of the Holy Spirit) in winning “strong learned hearts who try to defy all truths”.

Hence, there’s always a methodology we must use…Jesus had his methodology and didn’t just go manifesting Holy Spirit anyhow to win souls, I guess. Paul had his. Peter had his. Yet still, we must understand the balance, that not all will be won by mere intellectual discourse; some will have to be “only by prayer and fasting” like in Mark 9:29.

Happy Easter! Christ is risen, a victor from the dark domain and lives forever with His saints to reign! May Christ’s death and resurrection bring us wholeness and victory in every area of our lives!

©Mark Gadogbe, 2021

Cover image credit: https://instagram.com/heirloomartco?igshid=yqm8l2oosikm

Take a stand against rape and all other sexual violations

Here in our side of the world, we have demonized everything sexual so much that it blinds us to real issues on the subject. Sadly, this apparent demonization makes it all the more difficult for people to be openly expressive about their sexuality and prevents open discussions on sexual abuse issues, especially rape. Quite sadly, innocent victims who try to speak out about their abuses rather get labelled, or their situation made light of.

Very frankly, there is a general kind of hypocrisy here in our side of the world, of everybody behaving like saints who have never had sex before, talk less of ever being abused sexually or ever coming close to being violated. Our “outwardly religious but inwardly sinful” nature will never allow us to openly make a stand against sexual violence. And that is how we allow it to even take root right in our Churches (the house of God) and yet pretend it is not happening.

Sometimes, it is difficult to place a hand on the real causes of rape especially. However, there is some positive feeling that, perhaps the culture of over sexualization of women which has seen almost every man growing up to see women as sexual objects (for the most part) to be dominated and to be used at will for their satisfaction, could be a major contributory factor. Trust me, even in today’s developed world, if a man and woman should be involved in a sexual abuse issue like rape, the man will simply have the upper hand and one wouldn’t be surprised if no blame at all is given to the man and made to walk free. The man’s power or ability to coerce a woman to have his way with her will be totally overlooked and it will surely be the usual rhetoric of it is the woman who doesn’t know how to keep her legs closed or her breasts covered enough, or doesn’t know how to carry herself modestly enough to avoid being raped, etc.

Yes, women are beautiful and many times could be objects of sexual desire, but that shouldn’t mean that it is okay for men to find women worth raping. Of course, any man would find a woman with all the right curves in the right places very attractive, appealing and desirable, but that obviously must not give any man a justification for birthing the slightest thought of rape.

Sexual objectification of women, as we see even in so many works of art, may contribute somehow to the culture of rape but it still is not okay. Let us not forget that women desire or lust after men too, but we rarely see them always going about raping men all over the place.

Obviously, the argument is not that women must absolutely be believed and to not hold any blame in a sexual abuse case (because men get abused too), but there just shouldn’t be any systemic bias towards men, and women must be given a voice to speak out against their abusers and demand justice. It is also important that the wheel of justice does not continue to grind slowly for female victims of sexual abuse, as it appears to be the case. Justice delayed could be justice denied.

We certainly need more public outrage, support and demand for justice in the fight against rape, like in the recent rape and murder of the young Nigerian student Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, right in a church where she felt was a safe haven to go and study in. The growing silence of us as a people only gives room for sexual abuse cases to keep growing and for the offenders to even feel free to walk about in society and continue to perpetuate more evil. We must all continue to lend our voice to the fight against sexual abuses because just one day, it could be any of us or our family members falling victims.

Maybe it is easy for me to relate with this rape and sexual abuse thing because someone very close to me almost got raped by a Pastor she held in high esteem and trusted as a brother and friend. Such traumatising experience is one that lives with victims their whole life and only God knows the damage it creates on various aspects of their life.

Maybe that is why a big part of my problem with rape and all other forms of sexual abuse is mostly with the Church, who I expect to take some lead in the fight against sexual abuses, but somehow they seem to play a laid back role and rarely add their voice against this social canker. But that’s not surprising because hardly would you find any Church on the surface of this earth that has not somehow tried to shelve issues of sexual abuse right in the Church under the carpet. If the Churches are constantly seen to be practicing and encouraging sexual abuse, how would they then have the moral right and confidence to come out and speak boldly against the practice?

It’s a really tough world out there for women to get justice for sexual abuses because this male dominated systems or support structures (including the Church) seem only interested in preying on women. The best we see them do is offering women a platform to hear them out but that’s where it seems to end; meanwhile what is of more essence to the victims and the public is real action or justice beyond just being heard. It’s really important for our justice systems and social support structures to be seen to be working effectively.

Perhaps the real work starts with all of us playing our part in creating a safe society for all and really taking a stand against sexual violence. May we not be seen to rather encourage it by either being silent or shielding offenders because they might be our Pastors, employers, family members, friends, and what have you. A victim somewhere is perhaps depending on us. We can all be the voice of the voiceless.

#SayNoToRape #NoToSexualViolence

Kindly share your opinion with us, for together, we can all become a strong voice in creating a safe world for all.

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©Mark Gadogbe (2020)

Fearing the Devil more than trusting in God’s Power

The Devil’s desire is for God’s people to constantly live in fear of him and to keep the blessings of God in their life locked up and hidden so nobody can see that God is indeed a good God that blesses His Children with both spiritual and material wealth. Somehow, we have been conditioned to believe that all worldly blessings and any display of it is connected with the Devil and God is connected with only spiritual blessings.

But we must forever declare the goodness of the Lord in our lives. We must keep projecting the blessings of God in our lives and our unwavering faith in His ability to protect and save from every wiles of the enemy.

We, today’s Christians (especially in Africa), are too consumed by the fear of the Devil and that some “evil” is constantly after our lives that we keep hiding God’s glory in our life. How else then will the world know that the God we serve is a good God and one that really saves? Why should we be saved and still be in constant fear of our “family demons”? How will the world believe in the power of God and his ability to lavishly bless His children if we have nothing to show to the world.

When the Devil and his agents are busily showing forth their “sakawa” or blood monies and ill-gotten “blessings” with which they constantly lure many, we the people of God are constantly being myopic in our minds and keep hiding God’s blessings in our lives because we solidly believe letting the world see the things God has blessed us with attracts bad omen or puts us on the radar of the Devil.

Somehow, we Christians tend to believe more in the Devil’s ability to hurt us than in God’s ability to save us. We hide our marriages, our children, our businesses, our riches, our successes, etc., in fear of the “demons in our families” killing us when they see how blessed we are. Our fear of “African witches” overshadows our faith and belief in God’s saving power.

Oh, how I used to think worldly people are more blessed than Christians because all the Christians I saw around me kept acting so poor yet claiming God holds all the riches in the world. I could never see the “riches in Christ Jesus” they preach about materialize or evident in their lives as many downplayed the physical earthly riches aspect and made it more of a spiritual concept.

Why are we always “rich” in spirit and never physically? I have always wondered.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

Church Bully & Pastor Protection Program

There is a particular stereotype whenever any scandal or issue involving a Pastor and a member of a Church creeps up in many of our churches throughout the world. That stereotype is that the pastor is always right and the member’s only motive is to destroy.

The entire Christendom switches into a “Pastor Protection” default: the Pastor is the saint who’s above reproach and the member an agent of the devil who’s allowing himself or herself to be used to destroy or cause division within the body of Christ.

Well, it appears God has favorites who are always the “men of God” and He cares nothing about His sheep, who must always be put down, shamed and suffer Church abuses in silence. Perhaps, that’s surely no intention of God and He actually sanctions no such unfair treatments within the body of Christ.

It’s sad that we see scandals being committed by the people we hold out and place confidence in as “men of God” everyday and we continue to rather protect them and not call them out. Many times, we the victims are rather forced into a culture of silence or take “let God fight my battle for me” stances and bottle up our pains at the expense of protecting the reputations of these abusive men of God and never realizing that the only thing that achieves is the liberty and emboldenment it gives them to abuse or prey on other innocent and unsuspecting lives.

If you have ever come close to being sexually abused or violated as a woman by a man of God who you see as a father figure or hold in high esteem, you would never love the experience or the psychological damage it leaves with you for the rest of your life, yet alone wish a fellow woman or sister to shelve her torment and not call out a sex offender who doubles as a man of God.

Me as a man can never even forget the traumatizing experience of someone very close to me who came near to being raped or violated by a “Pastor friend of the family” who she looks up to as a brother or father figure, such that I boil inside anytime I hear his name come up, let alone imagine the mental state of the person who actually survived the ordeal. Too many times it keeps coming into my mind and I keep telling myself, I don’t know how long I can keep this Pastor person’s identity protected, even though he actually didn’t succeed in the act (or so I have been told) and would surely one day blow his cover if I should actually hear of any similar act by him. Only God knows how many people his so called “moment of weakness” actually prevailed against or whether it actually was a one-time unsuccessful stunt; nobody knows, but the mind never forgets these things.

So, yes, I can never trust any human being, even a man of God as a “Saint”; and I resent it when people just jump to the defence of men of God caught in scandals and outrightly label their accusers as agents of division. You think God doesn’t love the victim as much as the alleged offender? Why must anybody’s word against a man of God be shot down even before it even leaves their mouth as if these leaders of our Churches can never perpetrate any evil?

Perhaps Busola Dakolo’s claims against the Senior Pastor of COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo, may be untrue; but I sure agree with her words that God has no favorites. We are all God’s Children and stand equal before His saving grace. He loves us all the same and must give us all equal hearing. The Church must not teach us otherwise! These are surely dangerous times when you expect Church leadership to show good morals and not play cover ups that makes God look unfair and unjust.

We preach equality before the laws of the land but never before Christ. Unless the Church wants to tell us it is an Animal Farm where “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. The fact that we would even want Pastors’ images or reputation protected in the church irrespective of the wrongs they actually perpetrate or are accused of is even sickening.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019