(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
“The gospel is the good news, but there is also the alternative, when the good news is spurned and rejected – the bad news.”
This is the submission of the Most Rev. Emmanuel Egbunu, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lokoja and the Bishop of Lokoja Anglican Diocese at the reading of his Bishop’s charge delivered to the Second Session of the Eighth Synod of Lokoja diocese, which took place at All Saints Anglican Church, Ajaokuta, Kogi State. According to him, the gospel is the world’s only hope and therefore, the Church must preach it, and man must receive and believe it to be saved. Archbishop Egbunu stated that the gospel begins with the incredible news of God’s love for fallen humanity and not divine condemnation; explaining that this reveals the value that God places on mankind.
Speaking on the theme for the Synod, “The Gospel and our Eternal Destination,” Archbishop Egbunu pointed out that the clearest gospel message is that God loves man, therefore He sent His Son so that anyone who believes in Him will not suffer eternal damnation, but enjoy eternal life. He noted that life is meaningless without the love of God that redeems man, and frees him from the consequences of the fall. He however, stressed that this love, which is revealed in the sacrifice Christ paid on the cross, must be accepted for there to be redemption. He said that man must make a positive response – faith and repentance to God’s offer for salvation for there to be a regeneration or renewal of body, soul and spirit.
Quoting profusely from the Bible, the Bishop of Lokoja Anglican Diocese explained the meaning and essence of the gospel; further describing the two available eternal destinations – heaven and hell. He described heaven as the destination of the righteous, a place of unending joy and a place to enjoy God’s presence forever; and hell as a place of torment and eternal separation from God. Thus, Archbishop Egbunu urged all to make the right choice, emphasizing that although man has the freedom of choice, the consequences of any choice man makes is irreversible.
On issues of Kogi State, the Cleric expressed dismay at the attacks being carried out by herdsmen, stating that it is disturbing that “these attacks are executed with military precision, against unsuspecting villagers, with hardly any firm challenge by the government, both state and national.” Therefore, he called on the government to take a more decisive stance and put an end to these attacks that affects not just individuals, but also the agricultural sector. Archbishop Egbunu also expressed concern about the devaluation of educational certificates obtained in Nigeria and Kogi State in particular, applauding the initiatives of the present administration to reposition education in Kogi State to its once enviable standard.