Only religious leaders can stop crises – Okose
By Theresa Onwughalu ( 08056361634 )
Wednesday February 22, 2012

•Bishop Okose

National President, United Global Churches Association of Nations (UGCAN), Bishop Jacob Okose, has observed that religious crises can only be resolved by leaders of various religions. Okose said this during the association’s get together, which held recently at its National Secretariat, Grace Evangel Mission, Okota, Lagos.

According to him all the crises experienced in the Northern part of the country caused by Boko Haram or religious fanatics, was unnecessary. In this interview, the cleric also spoke on the role of UGCAN and same sex marriage.

Religious crisis
It is unfortunate it is happening in Nigeria. I have worked with mixed religious organizations in different parts of Africa, where they even have large Moslem population. In one city in East Africa, I worked among people where 98 per cent were Muslims. They themselves asked me what was happening in my country. Why are Christians and Muslims always fighting and killing each other? Here, we are one another’s keeper, both Muslims and Christians I think there is a kind of madness of extremism that has crept into this country. And it is only the top religious leaders of all of these various religions would be able to bring this to an end if they take practical steps to curb the radicalism. If it is of benefit to these religions, I think they can help the government to stamp out this carnage.

The role of UGCAN
This organization, founded by the late Archbishop Abraham Oyeniran, is over 30 years old. One of the things it does is to take the place of advocacy. For example in Lagos State, we have written a couple of letters to the government on certain issues, which were acted on silently. We appreciate that.

Creating jobs for pastors
UGCAN’s vision is to unite Christians, ministries and denominations in order to harness their potentials to carry out the great commission of Jesus Christ to the immediate communities and nations. It is made up of pastors of churches that believe in Jesus Christ irrespective of their denominations. UGCAN does not create jobs for pastors but we encourage them to do something, which is biblical. Paul the Apostle was a tent maker. He said: ‘I work with this my hands and also I preach the gospel freely.’ So, time comes when a pastor may find the need to work with his hands to make some income and also shepherd the church depending on the economic situation of the local assembly. This will help one to continue with the ministry without giving up because you are able to provide for your family. We also give training that enables them to identify what they can do. One can only succeed when one has passion for what one is doing. What they are doing is also providing a kind of service to their communities.

Same sex marriage
In the western world, people do not base their decision primarily on what God says. They look at psychology, individual freedom of choice and whatever one wants to be, that is what you become. But we have also seen how this has corrupted the total moral fibre of the western world. I believe this is an anti-social tendency. It is against civilization, humanity and the word of God. Can children come out of gay marriage to populate the earth? When God created the woman, he made her functional to be able to co-habit with a man but He didn’t ask men to start behaving the way some are doing now. Even dogs know the right way to do things. Why should man seek alternative way of doing things? The Bible is against it and we in UGCAN are not in support of it.

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