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The time has come for christian leaders and church members to have a family dialogue on the forthcoming presidential election. It is time to know that the church is not contesting in this election, and so we should not be the losers.

The spate of acerbic headlines from Newspapers and Online Journals and Blogs call for a lot of concern. “Pastors collected N6 billion”, “Jonathan divides Nigerian Pastors”, “I will open the gates of hell…” The headlines are followed by rebuttals, accusations and counter-accusations.

It started very early in the day with torrents of conflicting prophecies from various seers and “men of God”. Some claimed Jonathan will win, others insist he will lose. Some said the winner will not be sworn in, while yet others see fire and brimstone ahead. Some insist they are speaking by the Spirit of the Lord, others say  they perceived. Brethren, is Christ divided?

So it is that some are for Jonathan, others are for Buhari: which ordinarily should not cause rancor, except that each block is beginning to make it sound that they have the franchise for ‘christian’ votes. The Church stands the risk loosing in an election in which it is not a contestant, if urgent steps are not taken to tame the confusion. Already, many a Pastors’ credibility is at stake – either by way of being accused of “filthy lucre”, or of being labelled a false prophet. I do hope that the fragile organic unity of the church is not equally under threat, as various dignitaries line up behind their preferred candidates.

Time to agree on some ground rules:

The Church cannot afford to be partisan.

Joshua was on the verge of taking Jericho and got a visitation from the Lord. “And Joshua looked up and saw The Angel of The Lord.  Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?  And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.” The Angel Lord took no sides, except with the Host of The LORD’s army.

The officers of the Church, in their official capacities, cannot afford to be PDP or APC. They must take a stand for the interest of their flock.

The Church must not partake in blood-money.

Judas took 30 pieces of sliver to betray Jesus. He did not spend it. It is disheartening that rumours are flying around about a certain N6 billion. We can only, in the words of Pastor E A Adeboye: “humbly request that if there be any pastor or pastors who collected such money, they should please return such as quickly as possible before the fire of the Almighty consumes you.”

Every Pastor and GO must be able to say, like Prophet Samuel, “Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith?” (I Samuel 12:3).

The Church must pursue interests rather than persons.

Focusing on any particular candidate may be a misguided adventure. “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?” (Job 7:17). Instead of persons, the Church should pursue an agenda that lines up her interests, and make dispassionate information available as to where each candidate stands on these issues to her members

Let every candidate canvass, and tell us how they will protect the right of every individual to practice his religion or non-religion wherever he chooses to reside. Let them tell us how they will ensure that the sword of justice is not blunt, how they will protect the weak and the vulnerable. It is up to us to agree on the list of issues that are dear to us…

The Church must affirm the freedom of members to vote according to their conscience.

Knowing fully well that there are members of all parties in the church, and indeed that no party is made exclusively of saints or sinners, the Church should teach the members to vote according to their consciences. Hopefully, these consciences have been renewed by the Word of God. Whereas Church leaders have a right to have their own choices, in the interest of peace in the Body and to protect the Church from collateral damage, they should not seek to impose their choice on the congregation, or use the platform of the commonwealth of God’s people to promote any partisan interest.

There is a lot of wisdom in the ministers who have refrained from prophesying one way or the other on this election. At the end of the day, what are those prophecies achieving right now but dissensions? Is there a candidate who will step down because a “Man of God” predicted he will lose the election? None. Why cast your pearls before the pigs? If a prophet has a word for a politician, I think the time has come to contact the politician directly instead of broadcasting such messages on the mass media.

The Church must pray and believe that God’s will will prevail.

The arm of flesh will surely fail. Now I have no doubt that there are men God has intimated about the direction we are facing. Nevertheless, the wrath of man will not work the righteousness of God. We are still paying for Sarah’s “assistance” to Abraham to sire a heir. Rebekah’s contrivance to rig the blessing for Jacob was a costly gamble. We need to believe that “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.”(Pro 16:33).

We can only pray effective prayers when we come without pre-concieved opinions. God said,  “Cyrus, you are my anointed even though  thou hast not known me” (Isaiah 45:1-4). On the other hand, backsliden, blind and shackled Samson killed more Philistines at the end of his life than he did when he was free, seeing and “holy”.  Church, we need to let go and let God; and let peace and honour return to His Body.