“To be Silent is to be Complicit”

By Akin Ojumu

Some read my soliloquies about the state of the Christian Church and go, “Akin, tone it down, let these pastors be. It’s God that called them, and it’s to God they must give an answer for their conduct. Just leave them to God to deal with. All that’s required of you is to pray for them. It’s more important to pray for them than calling them out.” 

I suspect some of these feedbacks come from a good place. And I get it. People are reluctant to rock the boat. Challenging leaders, especially faith leaders, is sacrilegious and a culturally no-go area for many, even though the same folks consider it fair game to attack and lob criticisms at political leaders for their numerous indiscretions.

However, these are not sentiments to which I subscribe. This live and let live attitude is a gross trivialization of the existential war in which the Church of God finds itself. Such a thinking vastly underestimates the seriousness of the situation that confronts the Ecclesia. Having such a mindset about the precarious condition of the Church is, in my opinion, outright reckless. The “don’t rattle the cage” and "let’s go along to get along" philosophy of some is totally untenable for me as a Bible-Believing Christian. And it should be so for all Believers too.

By nature, I detest confrontation and loathe contention. So, believe me when I say that I derive no joy in calling out elders and I do not get my kicks from confronting someone far advanced than me in the number of years in the Christian faith. Affording respect to elders is how I was raised and giving honor to whom it’s due is an attribute I value. 

Nonetheless, for me, when it comes to the defense of the truth of the Gospel, sentiments have no place. In matters of eternal destiny, I set aside all sensibilities. I cannot help but speak out against the siege laid against the foundation of my belief. And I’m compelled to stand up against the falsehood that’s decimating the Christian faith.

“Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, an unashamed workman who accurately handles the Word of Truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).

If it’s shameful to mishandle the Word of Truth, it must be equally shameful to defend those who fail to handle the Word of Truth accurately. It’s a Christian duty to denounce erroneous doctrines. Christians have been called to take a stand against all forms of deception.

It's no disrespect or an egregious sin to point out the false teachings of a Christian leader. The LORD will not rain fire and brimstone down from heaven on anyone who rebukes a man of God who corrupts the Word of God.

In Galatians 2:11-21, Paul, a relatively new convert to Christianity, and who by all accounts was much younger in age, confronted Peter to his face. This was the biggest man of God of the time – the supreme leader of the nascent faith, someone who walked and talked with Jesus Himself – being called a hypocrite and a pretender by a Johnny-come-lately proselyte.

“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.” (Galatians 2:11-13).

The Greek word translated “opposed” or “withhold” in Galatians 2:11 is the word “Antisthemi.” In classic Greek literature, Antisthemi is used to describe a violent and bloody clash. What Paul is telling us in this Bible text is that he had a loud acrimonious quarrel with Peter. The two men engaged in a contentious argument over Peter’s hypocrisy. When Paul saw that Peter’s conduct was not in step with the truth of the Gospel, he did not hesitate to call him out, and he did so loudly and publicly. 

Yet, the outcome of that fierce encounter was an admonished leader who accepted his shortcomings and turned from his crooked ways. Peter did not look down on Paul as a wet behind the ears Believer. He did not pull spiritual rank or play the “touch not my anointed” card. Peter, who was the foremost leader of the Christian faith, accepted he was wrong, and he repented of his error.

To let error have a free rein is to be complicit in evil. Allowing spiritual corruption to run wild is to partake in other men’s sins. While I’d like nothing more than to stay quietly in my own lane and mind my own freaking business, doing so will be a violation of my confession of faith and a disservice to the cause of my fellow Christians. 

The Church is festooned with a robe of heretic doctrines, I cannot afford to stay silent. I will not be a partaker of other men’s sins. I choose to join the resistance against error.


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