“Go ye therefore and teach all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen”. Matthew 28:19-20. This is the great commission. Every Christian or student of Christian religious knowledge or Sunday school should know this or must have come across it. I quoted that scripture for a reason. As you read, you would understand why.

I used to live with a friend at Olodi-Apapa in Lagos a couple of years ago and every morning when I wake up to prepare for work, I hear people from different angles preaching through megaphones. As I step out towards the bus stop, I meet more of these preachers. From one junction to the other, they preach the gospel.screaming so you can hear them properly. Then there is that one waiting at the bus stop to continue from where his colleagues stopped, this time on the bus. If you live in Lagos, you must have at least experienced this once. I must admit though that sometimes I just want to have a silent ride to the office with no disturbance. Come on, I got home the previous day by 11pm, woke up by 4am. I still need to recover whatever sleep the canker called Lagos traffic must have stolen from me. Before you look at me as a sinner, haven’t you at some point felt like that too?

My major issue isn’t really about the preaching. It is what and how they preach. Most of these preachers have their messages filled with condemnation, garnished with tales of hell fire, the wrath of God, gnashing of teeth, guilt, everlasting suffering, making God look like a powerful creator whose only desire is to wait for the last day, which is His opportunity to punish mankind forever. They sound so judgmental sometimes I wonder. From my window I can hear him screaming: “you are listening to me and you are a fornicator. You are in another man’s house. YOU WILL DIE AND GO TO HELL!!!!!!!”. Hian!!!?? So you now have an idea of who would go to hell? hmmmn!!!! My friend’s wife once told me about how one of these preachers, after praying in the bus and gaining their attention, spoilt it all by beginning his sermon with: “Most of you ladies in this bus are wearing trousers. It is a sin and you will all go to hell for committing this sin”. She said that immediately he said that, most of them hissed and started discussing and totally ignored him. That is a congregation lost, if I can say so. But who are you to judge and condemn another man anyway? Can you sincerely say that you are living a more righteous life than the next man? Who is even righteous? Then there is this emphasis on fornication and adultery like these two are the top 2 sins on the ‘sin rankings’. If you fornicate and I lie, we have both sinned, haven’t we?

What happened to the love of God shown to us all through Jesus Christ? Was this how Jesus made the sinners feel? Why do you think I would or should accept your belief based on fear? Oh, I should just accept Jesus so that I won’t go to hell. I do not think that Jesus came to die so that we would escape hell fire. That to me defeats the essence of His death and resurrection. Trust me, if you come to preach to me like that today, I would not even pay attention. You would totally lose me. In the bible, Matthew, Mark and Luke had accounts of parting words from Jesus as He was going to ascend to heaven. You will only find the word “damnation” in Mark’s account. In Luke, you’ll see the words:”repentance and remission of sins”. Matthew’s account is here for us to read and see for ourselves. You can preach but please remember that the fact that you preach the word doesn’t guarantee you a place in heaven. We live by grace. Our race is an individual one. God alone has the right to judge a man’s life. Remember that Tuface song that ends with: “you no holy pass my broda?” Only God know who Holy pass o my people. God bless.