RIGHT OF REPLY
The time has come for all true ministers of the gospel and pious Christians of all denominations to rise up and express displeasure over the contempt and public ridicule one Femi Aribisala has subjected Apostle Paul and the scriptures to, on pages of newspapers. It should be pointed out to Aribisala and any other Christian that our call to enlist into the Lord’s armies does not include a mandate to vet the Bible. To assume such responsibility is to play God. This is mischievous, condemnable and unacceptable.
It is absurd and has no scriptural backing. What Aribisala is doing is reminiscent of an event in heaven which led to an ignoble expulsion of Lucifer (devil) and about one third of the angels in haven who joined him (Lucifer) to dare God. If I were Aribisala, I will capitalize on the unlimited mercy of God and retract and retrace my steps and humble myself as some major characters in the Bible like David, Ahab , to mention but a few, did. But if Aribisala finds satisfaction in giving us a bastardised version of the Bible, I wish him goodluck. But the Bible warns, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”Heb. 10:31 (Believers, beware!
I enjoin all Christians not to lament but to rejoice in the sense that Bible prophecies are being fulfilled. Scriptures say in 2nd Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrines, but according to their own desires …” While this is happening, we are told in the book of Hebrews 13:19,”Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines …”.
The mandate of every Christian is to win souls but how can Aribisala win souls when he is telling the whole world that some portions of the Bible are insertions of men. Jesus called all Christians to continue the work of the kingdom from where He and His disciples/apostles stopped but He is the source of our strength and powers. Luke 4:18 makes it clear, “the spirit of the Lords is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent me to heal the broken hearted. To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. To set all liberty those who are oppressed”. Who is Aribisala working for? It couldn’t be for Christ because he was not called to re-write the Bible. God views seriously an attempt by anybody to mislead His people. Let’s consider the words of Jesus in this regard; “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a milestone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea”. (Mark 9:42).
To raise doubt on any part of the Bible is to denounce the scripture. And if this is the view of Aribisala, he should, as a matter of urgency, consider the timeless advice of prophet Elijah in the book of First Kings 18:21, “… for how long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if Baal, follow him!”. This is the path of honour Aribisala should consider. While still pondering on what has become of this respected man of God, I discovered that Aribisala is a victim of Apostle Peter’s advice (some will say warning) on Apostle Paul’s writings. Said Peter. “…there are some difficult things in his (Paul) writings which ignorant and unstable people explain falsely, as they do with other passages of the scripture, to their own destruction”. (2nd Peter 3:15,16). We need to seek God if we lack understanding especially in Paul’s writings as advised by Apostle Peter.
For the benefit of the reading public, let’s devote some time here to prove the authenticity of the Bible which Bro. Aribisala appears to be contesting. It is the author of a book that makes the difference. The Bible contains the infallible words of God. About 45 authors of different occupations and professions write the Bible through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “For prophecy never came by the will of man but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2nd Peter 1:21). This is corroborated in 2nd Timothy 3:16. “All scripture is inspired by God is useful for teaching the truth …” Many of the authors of the Bible lived apart and never met each other, yet there is perfect harmony among the books they wrote in the Bible. This explains the indisputable fact that they all had the same source of inspiration – God.
The Bible is the channel of communication between man and God after the process of direct communication was marred by sin at the4 Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:10). The scripture says: “The Lord never does anything without revealing His plan to His servants’ (Amos 3:7, 1st Samuel 3:10-13).
Let me make it clear to Bro Aribisala and his admirers, if he has any, that God does not need the approval of man to authenticate the Bible. Evidences of its credibility abound in the Bible. For example, before the Babylonian Kingdom reached its peak, God foretold its fall in the Bible. The name of the man who will command the army against this kingdom was prophesied 150 years before his birth. The man was Cyrus. Again, the birth of Jesus Christ by a virgin, the small town and region where He was to be born, and His mission on earth were prophesied many years in advance. In Acts 9:16, the tribulations and suffering Paul went through after his conversion were foretold beforehand. It is worthy of note that out of the 27 books in the New Testament, Apostle Paul alone wrote 14. According to Aribisala, Paul’s writings in those 14 books are not the words of god but personal to him. This is heart-breaking. According to veteran theologians, Paul was a self-sponsored minister and, perhaps, the most travelled missionary. He brought into the Ministry of the Gospel unbroken record of fearlessness, commitment and self-denial. During his conversion, God told Ananias, “Go; for he (Paul) is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear my name before Gentiles, Kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him many things he must suffer for my name’s sake” Acts 9:15, 16). This is clear enough but Aribisala has contrary view. He is alone. Even Satan the devil, a murderer, liar and father all lies and the accuser of the Brethren for once abandoned what he is known for and publicly acknowledged Apostle Paul as a true servant of God. Speaking through those possessed with demons and evil spirits, Satan cleared Paul, “Jesus I know and Paul I know but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). Satan was responding to those who were mimicking Paul by using the name of Jesus to cast our demons. Paul was a gallant soldier of Christ till the end. He joined the club of martyrs of Jesus around A.D.67 when he was beheaded. By this, he fulfilled the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”.
This is the same Paul, Aribisala is humiliating by calling him (Paul) a fake Christ, a liar, an impersonator, describing his writing as fake. Or is he referring to another Paul? If Apostle Paul and his writings are fake, as “researched” by Aribisala, it is none of his business because it was God who called Paul and qualified him to be a Minister of the gospel. I don’t know if Aribisala has a congregation, if he does, one wonders where he is leading the flock through these distortions of Bible facts. And what will be bequeath to the next generation of Christians? By these sacrilegious writings, Bro. Aribisala has damaged his reputation in Christendom and borrowing the words of Henry Fielding (1707 – 1954), “to damage one’s reputation is another form of suicide”.
Every believer who truly desires to be harvested into God’s kingdom should remain focused and not be distracted and bamboozled by these unsubstantiated theologies of Aribisala. After all, the right to talk, they say, does not include the right to be taken seriously. It is clearer now more than ever before that Christianity is a religion of absolute peace. This, Aribisala has exploited and grossly abused. But we need to remind ourselves that God’s judgement is coming.
J.E. Idhugwe a pastor, is of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Benin-City. His reaction here is personal, not that of his church. He can be reached on 08094024905.