The Nigerian lady who made the new longest global cooking record in terms of duration a few weeks ago enjoyed solidarity from various quarters (comedians, social media influencers, politicians, and her local church). As a believer, I rejoiced and was happy that a sister in Christ had won something big. The solidarity her church gave to her made me assume she was saved. However, I visited her social media page and saw images that made me question her salvation. Her appearance and fashion style do not match the Christ I assumed was within her.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world;
Howbeit, we must be concerned with the benchmark with which her church used to give her such solidarity. At least, I am sure she will not be the first member who has recently missed service. Is it usual to give such solidarity to their members who missed service in such a manner? Was the church showing support for populism or genuine concern for a member?
If the solidarity is due to the latter reason, we must ask what defines membership of a local assembly in this age and time. Ordinarily, new birth and the fruits of the same are non-negotiable requirements for membership.
The remnant of the breath of God in an unregenerated man can achieve so much. For this reason, we must not allow the achievement of men to blur the lines of morality and faith.
I am an academic and a researcher, and I must submit that some great minds I admire are yet to be saved. Notable among them is a British Professor at Cambridge University who will never say amen to my usual God bless you, sir, anytime he renders me great assistance. But nevertheless, this has always kept me from learning from him.
The challenge that I wish the gen z pastors and churches must take on is taking the biblical position on the issue of membership. Technology has not changed the unregenerated nature of man in any way.
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
The men here just wanted the miracles and not Jesus. So, in this equation, is someone in love with church affiliation without the fruits, or did the church want to associate without the cost?
Many years ago, I was in a meeting where a gospel musician introduced a man of God as his pastor. When it was the turn of the man of God to minister, he issued a disclaimer that the gospel musician was not his member. The man of God said only the musician’s wife was his member. In terms of fame, the man of God was not famously compared to the musician. The man of God digressed and began to speak about the issue of membership and how it must be taken seriously in the body.
It is important we take the issue of membership seriously in the body of Christ in Nigeria. Jesus associated with sinners, but he did not call them his disciples. His post-resurrection appearance was meant for only his disciples.