By Banji Ojewale
It wasn’t fulfilling for Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu and father of modern India, to read the Bible and be challenged by Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.
The Lord’s lofty teachings touched him, as he believed they seemed to surpass his own faith’s call on man to a lifetime of exalted moral values. But Gandhi held that merely mouthing these principles was disingenuous, if it ended in the mind.
The outworking of the precepts of religion by its votaries must confer on it drive, dignity and distinction. He wrote in his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, ”…morality is the basis of things and that truth is the substance of all morality…A virtue achieves its potential only in its application and it ceases to have any use if it serves no purpose in daily life.”
What he meant was that spiritual edicts should be “lived in one’s daily life,” not held in captivity within.
So, one Sunday morning, according to an account, Gandhi went to a church in Calcutta, the city of Mother Teresa, seeking to know more about the Jesus Whose teachings he found irresistible.
When he made his way to enter, he “was stopped at the door by the ushers…(and) told he was not welcome, nor would he be permitted to attend this particular church as it was for high-caste Indians and whites only.”
But this truth lover was neither high caste nor white.Rejected by insular Christianity, the Indian went back into his Hinduism, never again to take a second look at the Church or allow Christ’s doctrines to move him.
Later, he declared: “I’d be a Christian if it were not for the Christians.” These ‘followers’ of the Jesus he met in the Gospels had not leapt out of the Scriptures, when their Lord Himself had long left the four walls of the synagogue for the unwalled, unroofed, unreserved and unrestricted grounds of the globe and was beckoning to those who believe in Him to do likewise.
The urgency of God’s message to distressed humanity is such that Christianity can no longer afford to be islandish or provincial. It can’t claim its doors are open only to acknowledged (regular) members.
It can’t present its message or voice for “high-caste” and “whites” only. It must make expansive room for the Mahatma Gandhis of society. The contracted and bigoted Christendom of the Dark Ages that saw monks and nuns fleeing society severely limited the spread of the knowledge of God and His love for fallen man.
He desired (still does) to deliver him. But how would man reach Him if those saddled with leading the people to Him saw them as lepers to be abhorred? God needed a broader platform than the confines of a Church to reveal His willingness to heal helpless humanity.
No matter the flamboyant voluminous-ness of the mega-churches we are building today, God won’t still be satisfied if we keep the ‘non-whites’ and ‘non-high-caste away’.
The cutthroat competitive craze for gigantic churches we see today is what a Ghanaian churchman once described as the ‘cathedralization’ of religion without a bigger and genuine quest for the salvation of the lost.
It is insipid, introverted and indulgent Christianity unsuitable for this end-time close to the final harvest of souls for Heaven.And one clergyman acutely sensitive to the need to unhinge evangelism for the benefit of all mankind is Pastor William FolorunsoKumuyi, General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry.
Lately, through his monthly Global Crusade interventions, he is now able to reach many more millions of people on the planet than secluded Christianity and its ornate buildings ever did. It’s an all-comers affair, the same way Jesus several centuries before him did it. Kumuyi’s non-sectarian strategy attracts high yields, with throngs and multitudes worldwide who never had access to the church grounds accepting the Gospel and receiving hope. They give their lives to Christ as the first step into a new lease of life.
They become citizens useful at three levels: family, community and nation. This is the spiritual entry point into more rewarding adventures according to God Himself: learn first to please God by obeying His laws and He in return will be moved to please you by granting your petitions.
The Deeper Life Bible Church leader has often brought down denominational barriers by accommodating those outside his congregation to be part of his crusades. Back in 1985 during the great Deeper Life crusade at the National Stadium in Lagos, Nigeria’s former capital, Kumuyi sought the services of the legendary comedian, Baba Sala, whose real name was Moses Olaiya. Close to 10,000 souls came into the Kingdom of God at the event. It was unprecedented.
The crusades of the current decade are recording no less transcendent miracles. A Muslim man at one of the gatherings had an eye contact with Kumuyi and was convicted of his spiritual bereavement.
He instantly gave his life to Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. A young man given to ‘Colorado’ drug addiction was delivered from the destructive habit as he heard and accepted the Salvation message.
On the second day of the Lagos Global Crusade in December 2021 an eye-popping miracle entered the record book in the distant land of Istanbul, Turkey, Europe. A child with one defective leg had the limb grow out to be at par with the other. And in February at the Jalingo Global Crusade in Taraba State in northeast of Nigeria, there was the testimony from Ghana of a man who was overpowered by the Spirit of God as he brought charms to the online crusade ground.
The spell items were neutralized by fire, leading him to surrender to Jesus after accepting the plea for the redemption of his soul.
This month Pastor Kumuyi is on the road again. His Global Crusade train is making a stopover in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa in Nigeria’s oil-rich south-south, from March 24 to March 29. He isn’t making any changes to the winning strategy at the programme.
He is teaching what he has always taught Nigerians and the entire world: God’s omnipotent hands to offer salvation, help, comfort and deliverance from any form of torment including poverty, insecurity, political instability and economic depression are for all who humbly and penitently come to Him, your denomination notwithstanding. He is teaching that the world has come a long way from the days when insular Christianity lost Mahatma Gandhi.
***Banji, a journalist, wrote from Ota, Ogun State