September 14, 2011
An update from Dr. Philip Tachin (MAR '04, PhD '09).
The Challenge of the Gospel in our time
'Every day as we wake up, believers in Christ are forced to see the urgent need for effective Gospel proclamation. The growing tide of crime all over the world is a thing of grave concern. This crime is physical but it has its spiritual dimensions too. It is a war of the principalities against the reign of Christ. These principalities, through their agents, seek to bring a reign of terror upon God’s people and other innocent ones. I am compelled to say that in our time, and indeed in Nigeria, these agents of the forces of darkness identify with the Islamic cause.'
On Friday morning [August 26th], it was sad news all over the world as a suicide bomber bombed the UN office in Abuja with at least 20 casualties and over 50 injured [Read the New York Times article]. Immediately, Boko Haram, which is an Islamic sect made claim to it. The Police Force Headquarters was bombed this year and several places have been rendered a 'no go' area by the Islamic sect.
That same day, I was driving back to Jos with my wife from Makurdi where we attended a function. When we arrived at Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa state, both sides of the dual highway that runs through the city were blocked by Muslim youths, because they were in worship. Some of them were falling face down right on the highway and all travelers in cars of about 100 from both ends were just stuck. All motorists had to wait for hours, turn back, or find some other access roads. I found one with my wife which was terribly rough and bumpy. We didn’t know where it would lead but we had no choice but to follow it. It took us rather deep into Islamic-occupied territories, and we were asking the Lord to come in an unusual way to see us through this city. We managed to hit the other end as we asked some of them to show us where we could link to the other side of Jos road. It took some courage to ask them for directions.
In a number of cities in Northern Nigeria, during Friday when Muslims worship and on Sundays when Christians worship, certain streets are blocked for several hours until after worship. However, I have not witnessed Christians blocking federal highways that run through the city, and nobody worships right on the road! Having gone through this, I was asking myself: 'is this the kind of life that we want to live so that we make our faith and practice a stumbling block to other people’s freedom? What is gratifying in causing other people misery?' Then it also dawned on me that the only response to the situation we find in the world today is effective preaching of the Gospel of the love of Jesus, no matter how painful.
It may be tempting to take the Jonah-style towards religious terrorists, but our Lord tells us that we can overcome evil by love or good (Rom. 12:14-21). No matter how painful the situation might be, we can only be different from them if we listen to God and are willing to apply what he tells us to do. Therefore, let us not be afraid but courageously proclaim the Gospel of redemption to them because there is NO OTHER NAME by which people can be saved EXCEPT the name of JESUS CHRIST (Acts 4:12). We have no right to compromise this, but we say this in love and peace. Let us therefore support our faithful world leaders that are truly working hard for a safer world through our prayers and Gospel because true transformation is found only in Christ who through the Holy Spirit changes the hearts of evil to hearts of righteousness. God bless you all!
To read a previous update from work that Dr. Tachin is doing, click here.