(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
“…God’s standards cannot be adjusted for anybody… no Christian, whether Bishop, Clergy or Laity has the licence to alter the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
This is the submission of the Most Rev. Emmanuel Egbunu, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lokoja and Bishop of Lokoja Anglican Diocese at the Consecration service of the three newly elected Bishops- Chukwuma Oparah for Owerri Diocese, Jezerel Vandeh for Zaki-Biam Diocese and Godfrey Ekpenisi for Ika Diocese, which was held at St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral Church, Kubwa. The Bishop observed that many men of God today repackage the gospel for selfish reasons and instead of preaching about the crucified Christ, paint Jesus as the magician, who satisfies man’s covetousness and who pats people on their backs when they repent with only their lips. He therefore charged the new Bishops to guard the gospel and keep safe that which has been entrusted to them.
Speaking on the topic, “Proclaiming Christ faithfully,” Archbishop Egbunu noted that some have lost the essence of the gospel and their faith in the name of sophistication. He opined that the greatest threat to the Church is the truth that Christians are being persecuted for; explaining that the Church and the society continue to fight with hostility anyone or Church that proclaims the true gospel of Christ faithfully. Hence, he admonished all present to not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, and never be ashamed to proclaim Christ and Him crucified. He charged the new Bishops to proclaim Christ without apology and see themselves as under the watch of heaven.
He quoted copiously from the Scriptures, using Bible concordance to further explain his message and point out that Christ crucified is heaven’s only solution for man’s hopeless situation. He said that the calling of God is a call of grace for a fallen man, therefore no man should boast. Archbishop Egbunu urged the new Bishops to note that they did not choose God, but He chose them and so, they should not allow the position to get to their heads. He stated that the position of the Bishop is prone to arrogance and dangerous assumptions, because Bishops can easily redefine what is good and what is wrong and cannot easily be called to order. Thus, he said that Christ crucified should be a preacher’s greatest devotion and the unchanging foundation of the gospel.
The highpoints of the service was the consecration of the new Bishops who took oaths denouncing cultism and homosexuality; and the laying on of hands on the new Bishops by the Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh together with the other Bishops of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion. The Primate while presenting to the new Bishops their staff of office charged them to be shepherds and not wolves to the flock of Christ.
Present at the consecration service were many notable dignitaries of the Anglican Church including the Deputy Governor of Imo State, His Excellency Prince Eze Madumere; the Chancellor of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Odein Ajumogobia SAN; the Registrar of Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Barr. Abraham Yisa and other legal luminaries. The House of Clergy and Laity, including the delegates of the just concluded 2018 Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) were fully represented, as well as family, friends and well-wishers from the Dioceses of Owerri, Zaki-Biam and Ika.