Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Bayelsa’s deputy governor has charged the Church to redefine its end-time messages by focusing more on salvation rather than on prosperity and prophecy.
He gave the charge on Thursday in Yenagoa while hosting the bishop of Western Izon Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Victor Okporu, who visited him.
The deputy governor stressed the need for Christians to live the life of sacrifice as exemplified by Jesus Christ in order to build a virile Church.
His charge is contained in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi.
Ewhrudjakpo noted that while the Church, as the body of Christ, was doing well in some respects; its current efforts had not yielded the much-desired result in terms of saving souls.
He stressed that it was necessary for the clergy to shift focus from prosperity and emphasise more on salvation, which was the main thrust of the gospel of Christ.
The deputy governor noted that luring people with promises of easy fortune to fill up the Church was different from true conversion which leads to salvation.
He added that it was vain to erect large church buildings without firmly establishing worshippers in Christ through relevant doctrines.
Ewhrudjakpo enjoined the Anglican, Catholic, and other orthodox churches particularly to break even in Ijaw land by preaching the gospel to enhance their acceptability.
This, he added, would raise the spirituality of the people through the belief in Jesus Christ.
“The Church, for me, is doing well. But there is still much to be done in terms of what the Church is preaching today.
“In my opinion, what the Church is doing is not commensurate with what we are getting in return in terms of dividends.
“With the expansion of the Church, can we say that we are getting the same results the 72 disciples appointed by Christ achieved in their time?
“Have we been able to make converts, or we are just bringing people to church?
“There is a difference between conversion, and bringing people to church. I really believe that we need to do more than we are currently doing because the Bible has been expounded more than it used to be.
“I really want to interrogate us: do we really need to change our strategy? Or is it that the message we are giving out is not in line with the reality of our time?
“Is it because we have overemphasised prosperity over salvation? Is that the point? If that is the case, can we recalibrate the content of our message?’’ he queried.
Responding to the diocese’s appeal for support, the deputy governor assured that government would carefully consider its requests with a view to giving assistance within available resources.
Earlier, Bishop Okporu lauded the development strides of the present administration and its commitment to promoting the work of God.
According to the bishop, the young Western Izon Diocese which cuts across two local government areas in Bayelsa and four in Delta has been grappling with a lot of teething challenges.
He appealed to government to support on-going efforts by the diocese to acquire land for its Cathedral, and procurement of a vehicle.
Okporu was accompanied by the Chairman, Central Planning Committee of the Western Ijaw Diocesan Second Synod, Sir Preye Enisuoh.
The bishop also appealed to the state government to support and attend the synod billed to hold at St Barnabas Anglican Church, Sagbama later this year.