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Between e-Bible and printed version, which one is Holy, which is not?

                         

OLUDARE MAYOWA
BY OLUDARE MAYOWA

 

Nigeria is a peculiar nation when it comes to religion; many preachers in the country are ‘holier than the Pope’ and would always want to prove that at any given opportunity through some of their demands on their followers.

I recently viewed footage of a man preaching to a congregation consisting mainly of Nigerians in the United States (US) and was asking them to bring out their Bible and demonstrating the gesture by lifting his own printed Bible into the air.

The majority of people in the congregation had no printed version, but many have their iPad, Phones and other e-version of the Bible to show the preacher.

In response to the congregation’s display of the e-Bible, the preacher simply raise his printed version up and told the congregation that ‘this is the Holy Bible,’ lifting up his iPhone and said; “this is iPhone and not Bible.’

At first, the congregation were confused about what he meant, but following his further explanations, he was able to convince some of them that despite the fact that their iPhone and tablets contain Bible passages, the real Bible is the printed one. ‘Your iPhone is not a Holy Bible, this is the Holy Bible,’ lifting up the printed version.

These are some of the extremism preachers of Nigerian descent propagate around the globe in a bid to be seen as more holy and righteous than the rest of the world.

Such preachers are still living in the ancient days without understanding the changes in the world of technology and its impact on enhancing knowledge across the spectrum.

With an iPhone or any android, Christians now have access to multiple versions of the Bible at a fingertip without carrying multiple concordances in search of the scripture.

Many preachers’ teaching has been enriched as a result of their access to various versions of the Bible and the explanatory notes they can find on the internet on many subjects of the Bible.

But the Pharisees are trying to draw back the progress of the church with their conservative interpretation of what a Holy Bible should be and not be.

“The contents of the Bible in print are not Superior or Holier to the contents of the Bible on phone or iPad. Printed Bible may be desirable to avoid distractions that come with other Apps on phones, iPad and other devices,” this was how my spouse put it while we were discussing it at home recently.

And I like the way the District Overseer of Sabo Foursquare Gospel Church; Rev Albert Aina put it in his recent presentation at the just concluded International Conference for Ministers and Leaders (ICML) at Ajebo Foursquare Camp.

The electronic devices have various versions of the Bible that you cannot have access to with the printed version at a go.

Aina said what preachers who are conversing about the rejection of e-Bible should do is to enlightening their congregation on how to balance the two versions and ensure that their use of electronics would not cause distraction during worship service.

In fact in most churches today, many congregants no longer come to the worship service with their Bible as often time passages are displayed on the screen for everyone to read.

READ ALSO: UK Govt says a person who recently travelled to Nigeria has been diagnosed with Monkeypox

Are we going to say that such practice is not holy or aligns with the scripture?

Going by the teaching of those who want people to do away with the e-Bible, the church should all go back to the days of parchment, the scroll and the stone age, when the scripture was scribbled on stones and parchment.

After all, in the ancient days, scripture are read in the Temple or Synagogue from the scrolls and parchment since the printing technology was not yet invented back then.

My counsel to church leaders is to focus on those issues that will edify the church rather than issues that will divide and cause them to doubt their faith in the word of God.

The man-made doctrine and interpretations of the scripture are often informed by selfish purposes and limited knowledge of the teaching in the scripture.

Thank God today, the misinterpretation of the scripture by the Deeper Life Ministry, which has led many astray, destinies truncated and life retarded are now giving way to new understanding by their leaders.

There are many in the church today who are the advocates of conservative doctrine such as wearing trousers by women is forbidden, none covering of head while praying by female as sinful and living a luxurious lifestyle will prevent someone from making heaven and many more.

The church should rather focus on teaching people how to live a holy life, pleasing to God.

How to be relevant in their society, impacting their generation through mentorship, social services and becoming a blessing to their communities. They teach them to be able to ‘set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.’

There are many Christians today who go about with the garb of holiness, but their lives represent something in a direction opposite of what they project.

The only way to demonstrate their spirituality is by forcing on those who they are called to lead the yoke of doctrine that does not edifying. They are quick to label some act that does not align with their perception of holiness. They are first to condemn an act, which ordinarily they envy but cannot attain at such time.

A very senior pastor once condemned some of his colleagues who ride SUVs and expensive vehicles, claiming such luxury will deprive them of eternal glory.

But as soon as he was posted to a church with sufficient resources and the congregation decided to buy him a befitting vehicle, it was then that he quickly wane himself of such doctrine of ‘poverty is a visa to heaven.’

They are the same people who will tell their congregation that if they fail to shout the name of Jesus three times, God will not answer their prayers.

They are the same people who prey on their members in the name of deliverance ministry when the Bible already told us that ‘we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.’

What is more important to God is the salvation of souls, right living and lives dedicated to serving God and humanity. Let leaders in the church begin to change the narrative to enable the church to grow and impact this generation sufficiently and effectively…shalom!

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