Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Recent Visit to Nigeria

My trip to Nigeria was for the purpose of preaching at the Reformed Bible and Theological Conference hosted by the Reformed Tabernacle of Port Harcourt, a church pastored by Dr Aniekan Ekpo. Added to this event was the matriculation and convocation of students at their seminary and college. I then ministered on Sunday during their church service.

The smiling  face of Dr Aniekan Ekpo
As I was driven from the airport in Port Harcourt on my arrival on Tuesday, 12 November, I saw for the first time how pervasive the "Nigerian religious junk" that I have written about on this blog was in Nigeria itself. [If you missed that post, click here]. Between the airport and the church, a 30 to 45 minutes drive, I saw no less than one hundred billboards, banners, etc., of charismatic churches and ministries offering breakthroughs and deliverances from all kinds of temporal afflictions. It was very depressing. I thought, "Is this what they are trying to bring to Zambia? God forbid!”

Posters promising salvation, healing, examination and business success,
deliverance, pregnancy, financial breakthrough, etc.
On the day the conference was starting Dr Ekpo and I went with two other speakers for a live radio broadcast on Radio Nigeria. This was meant to publicise the conference and make clear what the Reformed Baptists are all about in doctrine and practice. It was mainly in Pidgin English!

The conference began on Wednesday 13th and ended on Friday 15th November. The attendance was slightly below one hundred at peak periods, including the speakers. Dr Ekpo said that three hundred people registered. The theme of the conference was "The Covenant of Grace for eternal salvation." Apart from Dr Ekpo and myself, there were seven other speakers.

Group photo of those attending the conference
My three messages were on the Covenant of Redemption. After my first message, I was told that a pastor stood up in anguish, audibly saying to himself many times over, "I've been feeding poison to God's people from my pulpit." I'm not sure what I said that would have resulted in this because all I did was to introduce the Covenant of Redemption from Titus 1:2.

"Yours truly" preaching during one of the sessions
As I said earlier, Saturday was the day for the matriculation and convocation of students in the seminary and college. Three of us spoke at this event, which saw about 30 students either matriculate or graduate with a diploma or a bachelors' degree. It was a very colourful event, with all the students bringing their friends and relatives to witness the occasion. Many of the students are from extreme charismatic backgrounds as you would expect in Nigeria and have now seen the errors from which they have been saved. Dr Ekpo seeks to maintain the highest possible level of education in this institution. It is affiliated to the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

Seminary and College matriculation and convocation
In the light of the pervasive charismania in Nigeria, I found all this very refreshing. I ended each day with joy in my heart as I reflected on what I had been hearing from the various speakers each day. Since all the other speakers were from within Nigeria, it meant that the seed of the Reformed Faith was present in this country. What was now necessary was for more and more pulpits to perennially proclaim this message loud enough for the nation to hear. The mercy drops must become a flood and thus bring the true gospel to the lengths and breadths of the land.

Dr Ekpo giving a children's talk during the worship service on Sunday
On Sunday, I preached and then spent more time with the congregation and the leaders, telling them about the progress of the Reformed movement at Kabwata Baptist Church in particular and in Zambia generally. This was meant to encourage them to press on against all odds. I emphasised the need to keep the Bible before everyone's eyes and to maintain unity as the movement grows.

A group photo after the afternoon Sunday School hour
I still cannot believe what I saw as we drove from my hotel room to the meeting place each day. All that I have been warning about on this blog was more pervasive than I would have ever imagined. The “Nigerian religious junk” is bad enough outside Nigeria. We need to pray for these brethren who have to look at this spiritual garbage in their surroundings literally every day that God will help them to keep their heads and remain faithful to the true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

  1. This is very encouraging. I am thrilled that the Reformed movement has been birthed and is growing in Nigeria. Makes me that much more excited about returning home. I desire to one day go back and join my brothers and sisters on the battlefield.