REVEREND Oladimeji (Ladi) Thompson is the founder/Senior Pastor of Lagos-based Living Waters Unlimited Church and the international co-ordinator of Macedonian Initiative, a non-government, non-denominational organization established to provide succour for Christians persecuted because of their belief in Jesus. He is also a security consultant. In this interview, Thompson says unless a deliberate collaboration between the government, the Church and the Mosque was put in place to rid the nation of corruption, there is not much hope for Nigeria. Excerpts…..
What’s the essence of Christmas?
The celebration of Christmas without a revelation of Christmas is always counter- productive. If you have a revelation of Christmas, you will realize that when you celebrate somebody’s birthday, you don’t celebrate according to where or how he was born. So if you are going to celebrate Jesus, you must take note of His status. He is the King of kings; He’s the Lord of lords. Nobody sees him now and somebody needs to tell you to bow. And that’s the capacity in which He’s to be celebrated. As the King of kings, He’s a liberator.
If people are sick and they are yet to be healed, people are in sorrow and yet to be comforted, there’s no meaningful celebration of Christmas. A lot of people don’t know that in the Bible, there’s what we call another gospel, another Jesus and another spirit. That’s why in Galatians 3:1, Apostle Paul said: “Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?” And he began to warn them against preaching another Jesus.
A lot of Nigerians are not aware that there’s another Jesus created by Satan to look like the original. So when you are not able to differentiate between the celebrant Jesus Christ and another Jesus, you end up with another spirit and another gospel. Let me give you proof of another Jesus. Find out the time of the year when unwanted pregnancies increase; when bloodshed due to robbery increases; when disappointments increases; when STDs and HIV increase; when envies, jealousies and strife increase. It will coincide with the celebration of Christmas. It is actually not the celebration of Christmas. What you are seeing actually is the budget of another Jesus.
What I’m trying to point out is that it is dangerous. Many people die, many get infected with venereal diseases, many get drunk with free alcohol at the same period and end up either disabled or dead. Is that the celebration of Jesus Christ? A lot of young boys borrow guns and go into armed robbery because they can’t go to the village with nothing to show. Pressure is on them and so they go into crime.
I am a follower of persons like Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first African bishop. I believe the Church should be the light of the world. And once we vacate the role we are supposed to play, the salt can no longer be salt, the light can no longer shine and there will be perpetuation of poverty and shame. If we do our job right, we may end up saving somebody’s life at Christmas. Most people are in debt in January. If you celebrate the genuine Jesus properly, you will be in credit in January.
Does that mean that the celebration of Christmas on December 25 amounts to nothing?
The Bible says some men esteem one day above others, some esteem one day to be equal. What the Bible says is that the one who esteems one day above others, as long as he esteems it to the Lord, it is acceptable. The one that does not esteem that day, as long as the situation is also unto the Lord, there’s no cause for alarm. Believe me, if you want to celebrate Christmas on January 1, as long as we are going to glorify Jesus Christ, let us esteem the Lord together with you.
Does it mean that December 25 is irrelevant?
No! It’s not irrelevant. What I’m saying is this; Romans 14:5 says one man esteems one day above another, another esteems everyday alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regards the day regards it unto the Lord, and he that regards not the day unto the Lord, does not regard it. So what it is saying is this, it is good to celebrate December 25 if you choose that it is December 25, which a lot of people will show you historically may not be very accurate. But it is irrelevant that it is not historically accurate. What matters is that you esteem the day to worship God and esteem Jesus Christ. Once you are doing that, God likes it. But what God is also saying is that He will now find some people who say ‘no we don’t like December 25′. Let that man not despise the person who likes December 25. Do whatever you like but let the honor be to God. Let us enjoy Christmas, let us celebrate it but be careful so that you don’t end up celebrating the wrong Jesus.
A lot of children learn gluttony at Christmas. You will see a child at Christmas, he has eaten and eaten and his belly is full. We are not meant to be teaching children gluttony at Christmas. The fact that we are celebrating Jesus Christ alone tells you that we need to instruct them how to grow up well. It’s a season of peace, joy, love and fellowship.
This is ABC of the faith. We should enjoy, but don’t let the enjoyment turn into lasciviousness, let it not end in HIV. We have to separate another Jesus from Jesus Christ. For instance, if Benson & Hedges is doing a Christmas party, it’s Christmas party. Because the tobacco company has done research and they found out that if you don’t smoke till you are about 20, you are not likely to smoke again throughout your life. So in this kind of season, they usually will organize a big party and they will give out free cigarettes; why? To lure young people to smoke for the first time. So, when a tobacco company, for instance, say they are celebrating Christmas with the celebrant the genuine Jesus, when tobacco kills globally more than car accidents every year, it is an irony. But we don’t seem to understand that in this country.
You were saying something like, if a certain generation of Nigerians don’t die, Nigeria won’t live….
God puts a woman inside a girl and He puts a man inside a boy. And when the condition arises, He will bring the woman out of the girl. So a nation like Nigeria, when we first started, God put a champion inside the nation. Now, you may have potentials; for instance, you might have the pawpaw tree or orange tree. If you plant the orange tree properly, there will be harvest. The harvest will be good. Nigeria is such a blessed country that at one time somebody calculated that every Nigerian citizen could be a millionaire if the resources of Nigeria were properly managed.
But people have been so beaten that imagination has been killed. About 20 years ago, I went to see my brother in America. I saw his gardener driving a Mercedes Benz in which he put his tools. I was laughing that this gardener had gone to rent a Benz and my brother looked at me and said that was his car. This was 20 years ago.
I was surprised that a gardener had a Mercedes Benz and my brother said if we went to his house, he had a swimming pool. So when you look at Nigeria today, look at the potentials of what we can have, look at the sentence of life put on certain generations. Now let me start with those generations. In my generation, we saw a lot of things in Nigeria; that was when the naira was almost equal to one pound; we saw the change of currency. When we were in the university, they will serve you almost a whole chicken on Sunday. This was a generation that saw wealth. But we have forgotten that there are many younger generations right now and do you know how many Nigerians, Ghanaians and young Africans are crossing deserts to escape to Europe everyday?
If you look at the make up of Nigeria today, because of lack of wisdom and lack of counsel, Nigeria is about the past, not about the future. The last confab was dominated by old people. All the people who filled there to discuss the future, less than five per cent of them represent the future.
I was in secondary school when Olusegun Obasanjo was military leader of this country and I was so encouraged when he spoke about leaders of tomorrow. We now looked and we discovered that our children are almost average children and yet they are still leaders of tomorrow. The painful part of it is this; today, you cannot run any good economy or any nation properly using old ideas. I feel sorry for youths in Nigeria when people talk about agriculture or going back to the farm. The person who’s talking will never allow his own child to go back to the farm.
Already there’s a negative connotation to going back to the farm in the society. You mean there’s such a lack of wisdom and the leaders don’t know that you have to give esteem to a profession and give dignity of labor. Now this is a terrible thing. Two states in Nigeria can feed Africa using modern technology of farming. A lot of foreign companies have gotten into Nigeria already and they’ve gone into states where it seemed that nothing had grown there before and they are turning up bumper harvest now.
Why are you telling our young men to go back to farm when you can engage technology and use two states in Nigeria to feed Africa—not Nigeria—with surplus just by thinking. Instead, we are telling these young men who are thinking of going into music, sports, they are not even interested in education anymore or trying to feed the country. You see in the news recently many young men kidnapping young girls and using them for rituals. Haven’t you seen what they call devaluation of human worth? The devaluation is going on, on a daily basis.
Until the leadership of the country and the Church realize that we must be about the future, not the past, we are wasting everybody’s time. Zukkerberg came to Nigeria; they should have locked him down here. Uber has given about 5,000 jobs in Lagos State alone. The owner of Uber doesn’t own one car. They created a program. You call Uber on your phone, he arrives. You don’t give him any money because the account is linked to your bank account. He picks you, drops you, you rate his driving and the journey, the money is deducted from your account to the Uber account. From the Uber account at the month end, they pay the owner of the car directly and pay the young man directly. Do you know how many jobs they created like that?
This is the digital age. When it comes to job creation, if you lack wisdom, you are just going to punish the children for nothing. Zukkerberg who started Facebook came to Nigeria and they let him go with a handshake. They should have tied him down and ask him what do we do for job creation? If you are to buy medicine in America, most likely the person on the phone who is going to arrange the drug is from India. They’ve outsourced all those jobs. So you can go to India now and you will see a hallful of over 5,000 people just with phones. They are working on orders around the world. You will not know, except from their accent, that they are from India.
Until a generation that is enlightened, I can tell you that within six months, we can bring a naira to one dollar like Buhari promised. It’s possible. But what it takes is what is called repentance, paradigm shift. If we can effect that in Church leadership and political leadership, you will watch your children buy their first car at age 17, brand new car.
At this time of the year, everybody starts looking on to prophets on how the year is going to go. Let me give you a secret. From the day the star of Jesus arose, that star announced a change in the configuration of the spiritual realm and that change is this, no longer do you look for the future of anything in any other place, the future of mankind is in the star of Jesus Christ. What God created originally was now restored. If you want to know what your future is, and somebody says let me look at your future, it’s a lie, he’s a satanist. From God’s original packaging, the future of anything is inside that thing. That’s why the future of a seed is inside the seed. You can’t be a pawpaw seed and become a mango tree.
A future that is not inside you cannot come out. So, when you meet anybody who has good spiritual understanding and he looks at you and says let us pray and tells you point blank that this is where you are going but you have a choice to make. We have filled the seats with mumbo jumbo here. Satan always has his own list of what is going to happen in 2017. I always laugh at the quotations I read in newspapers that come from the list that Satan releases. Do you know Satan also has a budget? What is the most common item on the list that Satan releases every year? People are going to die in 2017. Does Jesus deal in death? Any prophecy you see where the major prophecies come from people are going to die, what they did was that in the realm of the spirit, they accessed Satan’s budget for 2017. This is elementary Christian faith.
Nigeria is a great nation. We have a great future ahead of us. The Bible says to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose. Anybody who wants to understand the thing of the spirit must be ready to understand seasons and purposes. For instance, cross-over every year, some people think that by praying for one hour in church will determine what will happen in the new year. God will just be laughing at you. If you plant cocoa, it takes three to five years for the first harvest of cocoa.
Let us say cocoa is a good thing that you have planted in your life and maybe you planted that seed of righteousness five years ago in 2011 or 2012, it means that no matter what anybody says, in 2017, you are going to harvest for the first time what God has been nurturing for you. But the harvest period for that particular blessing is five years in the realm of the spirit and every season after that, you are going to keep harvesting from that thing you did many years ago.
In every new year, there are three things that will always happen. The harvest of many years that have been planted before whose time of harvest happens to be that new year, those ones are there. If you don’t pay attention to them, you will never really understand why the year is going like that. Two, there are some things you are going to do in that new year, the harvest is going to come in that year. Tomato takes weeks to bring harvest. These are the spiritual principles. These are spiritual dimensions. These are the things that you have to understand when you become a believer so that you can take care of your family properly so that your own life too will bring forth its fruit in its own season.
The only things that also happen that nobody can change are the things that God has ordained before the creation of the world for a particular season and a particular time.
Do you think anything good can come out of Christians joining politics?
The word politics means to contend. What politics is in the modern era is what Saul was in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, to establish the will of God, they will attack them, you will fight them back, God will help you to kill them. Now to make sure there’s no more violence in the world, God ensured that things become civilized to the point that instead of fighting for resources, you use your vote to determine how resources will go. So, what voting does really is to tell you how the money will be spent, who gets what and where it goes. That’s the real meaning of politics. Politics translates your belief into action. That’s why in a state where you declare Shar’ia, politics has interpreted your faith into action for you. When Europeans came, they came with this version of Christian faith that thought that politics is so dirty so don’t go there. Now, what you are saying is that ‘leadership is very dirty, son don’t go there’.
When you give up leadership and it goes to the wrong persons, why are you blaming anybody if they do what is in their mind? This is the challenge of Nigeria right now. If you have a tree of corruption, corruption is not a crime in Nigeria, it’s a culture. If you have an evil tree, do you kill that evil tree by cutting the leaf or by removing the root?
In the level of leadership in the Church, we have the insight to know where the problem really comes from. If we want to play to the gallery, we will be doing PRO job by giving out bags of rice and taking photographs with people. Is that where the problem is? You need to have a deep understanding of what the real problem is. A culture is a result of a program. The major force that determines a program in a nation is the religious leadership. If we leave the programming, then we distribute things and show everybody what we’ve done, Jesus Christ is watching.
Let’s call a spade a spade. All these public relations churches are doing all over the place is to divert attention away from where the real problem is. There’s a conspiracy between the Church, the Mosque and politics to loot the nation. Offering has hugely dropped in most churches and mosques. Everybody now finds out that the whole of Nigeria is run on corruption money.
Let me tell you point blank, people are saying they want corruption back and the people who are leading the chorus are the religious leaders.
So how are we going to talk to journalists that we should sacrifice? We are all believers.
Infant mortality rate in Nigeria is second highest. Boko Haram has been suppressed to a point now; they are going to blossom again. It will be like a joke when they start expanding again if corruption does not go. If corruption does not go, if you have relatives and friends in Ghana, start talking to them because that may be your best bet. When we first raised the alarm about Islamism, ‘Boko Haram is coming, bombs are coming’, even the places we went to, they said it couldn’t be as bad as that. I met a bishop who was preaching prosperity and I told him he was not supposed to be preaching prosperity. He met me in Abuja and said he had cars and money but he could not leave his house to go to the bank to collect his money. And he could not eat the cars in the garage.
There’s one pastor I spoke with in Jos, he’s in London now. We had a meeting in parliament and he said ‘when I first met Pastor Ladi, I hated him’. He said when I came to Jos I told them that bloodshed was coming and at that time there was no sign of bloodshed. He said he just thought ‘what nonsense is this man coming to say here now’. The next year was when the bloodshed started. The next year I came back with aid, assistance and counsel. One bishop told me, ‘give us guns’. I had to tell him that the people planning against you have planned for over 35 years. ‘You can’t plan in 15 minutes’. They didn’t listen. They killed two Muslims. The traditional press took up the case. What we are up against, may God help us.