By Ezekiel A. Akinyerni
I thank God for your faith and love. Your labor of love is being felt in most every part of the world. You are a blessed people, and I am jealous of you. I wish Nigeria could become so blessed, that from us the word of the Lord would sound out too, even beyond our national boundaries.
Most of you have been keen in supporting the gospel in Nigeria for many years and some are still supporting. Some believe Nigeria ought to be self-supporting now and American brethren should divert their support to other needy areas of the world. Under normal circumstances this is the ideal thing. Personally I have great desire to see Nigerian churches become self-supporting and supporting the gospel in other lands. It bothers me that this has not been possible.
I have been praying most of the time on this matter. Now, I have come to see that the circumstances in Nigeria do not favor that faithful American brethren should stop supporting the work in Nigeria now, Following are some of my reasons:
1. I have observed that nearly all congregations especially in the urban areas are made up of mainly young people, most of them, students, apprentices, petty traders and artisans who are struggling to live under the pressure of economic crunch in this country.
2. Digressive American brethren do make the situation harder for the Nigerian brethren who are trying to be faithful. Many of the preachers who are upholding the truth are facing very tough times in mobilizing the brethren towards becoming self-supporting, because the American liberal brethren came around with plenty of dollars to promote their social gospel. The sad thing about it is that many of those who take their support do so, not knowing they are dealing with the digressives. And once the dollar is involved it becomes difficult for many to turn back, though we show them the difference.
3. The American digressives have established preacher training schools in the East and in the North. They have not succeeded in the West. Every year they turn out unsound preachers and send them into the field with support. Congregations which have no regular preachers often fall prey. And these are the people we should be teaching and mobilizing towards becoming self-supporting. Beloved, shall we under the circumstances conclude that you stop your support of the Nigerian work and leave Nigerian preachers who are faithful alone to do battle with the American digressives? I assure you that none of the digressives can stand where a sound faithful preacher is, but they just have all the means to go before us and spoil the land with corrupt seed before we reach there. Even where we have planted the good seed, they enter with little or no resistance and plant their corrupt seed with their money power.
1. If you have been supporting any faithful and sound preacher before, please do not stop the support now unless you are unable. Continue to send him good materials written by sound men among you. Write to encourage him occasionally and insist that he report his work to you regularly if he is interested in your fellowship with him.
2. Encourage those who are recognized for their knowledge, zeal and ability to engage in the work of training faithful men who may be interested in preaching. This is necessary in view of the increase in the number of congregations having no regular preachers. Many of these congregations are being preyed upon and corrupted by the digressives.
3. Encourage those who are preaching now with no support, but who have refused support from the liberals because of their conviction. We have more of such West of the Niger where brethren have been exposed to sound teaching from the beginning.
4. I appeal to you not to ignore this letter, but consider it prayerfully in view of all you have sacrificed and are still sacrificing. I know you cannot stop the digressives, but you can do much to check their menace and thereby save some.
5. If you will, discuss this matter with reputable men among you who are maintaining regular, if not daily, contacts with the faithful Christians in Nigeria. Among them are the following: Leslie Diestelkamp, 1730 W. Galena Blvd. No. 102W, Aurora, IL 60506; Wayne L. Payne, P.O. Box 194, Phil Campbell, AL 35581; Lowell Blasingame, Pine Bluff, AR; Billy W. Moore, 205 N. Fulton, Butler, MO 64730.
6. I can also furnish you with more information on request. Thank you for reading my long letter. The Lord bless you in your decision. Remember me in your prayers.
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 14, p. 422
July 19, 1990