Christians The Most Persecuted Group In Contemporary World – Bishop Adekunle

“From time immemorial, Christians have been persecuted from ages; there have been government policies that are anti Christianity and forms of persecution that the church passed through under the Roman government – Nero and other Emperors up to date under despotic rulers in many countries that are anti Christianity.” The Bishop of Egba Anglican Diocese, the Rt Rev. Emmanuel Adekunle made this remark at the third session of the 12th synod held at the Bishop’s court Onikolobo, Abeokuta, Ogun state. He said as far back as the beginning the century Christianity had grown so much in size and in strength that it had to be either eradicated or accepted, adding that it is not surprising that many government policies in Islamic countries are anti Christian, they discriminate against Christians and hampered their freedom of worship, and persecute Muslim converts to Christianity. Not only this, Bishop Adekunle said the government has effectively restricted Christians from government, diplomatic, military and educated positions, as there had been increasing discrimination in the private sector with no access to the state controlled media. He said the policy of quota system in Nigeria in the areas of employment, appointment and distribution of offices, promotion award of contracts, allocations of subsidized goods (fertilizer, petroleum products etc) for distribution has been turned to be weapon of discrimination against Christians in the hands of the Muslims. He traced Christian persecution to both the Jews and idolaters and atheistic governments from Roman Empire to USSR and North Korea. He opined that at the inception of Christianity in Nigeria particularly in Egba land, the missionaries were subjected to serious persecution and resulted to war in 1876. The Bishop said that was the infliction of persecution on the Christian missionaries by the traditional religion worshippers in Abeokuta and destruction of churches and mission stations which resulted in the relocation of European missionaries to Lagos. He also noted the history of individual Christian denominations suffering persecution in the hands of other Christians under the charge of heresy during the sixteenth century protestant reformation. Coming back home in Nigeria the cleric said Christians especially in the Northern part of the country have suffered severe Muslim attacks in bombing and arson in the hands of militant Islamic sect (Boko Haram) launching incessant attacks on Christians residing there. He said the Boko Haram sect has splintered into factions of various extremism, some of which have professed ties to regional Al – Qaeda franchises. Bishop Adekunle said he agrees with Pope Benedict XVI that Christians are the most persecuted group in contemporary world hence large numbers of Christians are persecuted. He said in Nigeria persecution of Christians became prominent when the Federal government made the careless promulgation of non religious education under the cover of secularity of the society and the surreptitious entrance of other religions into the schools and also the entrenchment of quota systems into the sharing of national resources and as a recruitment formula in federal establishments. The Anglican Bishop of Egba said many terrible persecutions are denial of Churches land to build structures for worship and denial of freedom of worship in the northern part of Nigeria, including series of attacks on churches, incessant killings and bombings of churches all in the name of religious intolerance of people of other faith in respect of Christianity. He called on Christians to rely on the help, strength and saving power of Jesus Christ during persecution because according to him, God promises relief to believers and vengeance on those by whom they are persecuted when the Lord appears with his angels. He encouraged Christians that in all things they should give thanks to the Lord adding that persecution is conceived as one of the factors that facilitate church growth and perseverance because Christians have always faced persecution. The Rt Rev Emmanuel Adekunle said Christians should take comfort from Paul’s words, that the suffering of these last days are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed. He admonished that Christians should endure to the end, for they shall be saved. According to him perseverance wins the crown through free grace and shall wear it. Concluding, Bishop Adekunle said in this hard and trying times, Christians should stand with Moses in his profession, who refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. The theme of the third session of the 12 synod of Egba Anglican Diocese this year is, “YOU WILL BE ARRESTED, PERSECUTED AND PUT TO DEATH… Matt 24:9.”