The Work in Nigeria

By Cecil Willis

Most of what I know about the Lords Work in Nigeria has come through others. I have been led to believe that there are more Christians in Nigeria than in any other country of the world than our own USA. Various men have done pioneering work in different sections of Nigeria.

Leslie Diestelkamp and other faithful men went to a section of Nigeria that had not been evangelized and baptized hundreds; perhaps even thousands. Many of those churches are now being threatened by an invasion of liberals. Yet we are constantly being charged by some of the liberal brethren with doing no pioneering work of our own, but merely invading foreign works after they have pioneered there.

Well, the exact reverse is now occurring in the Lagos area of Nigeria. Already I have received several letters from faithful brethren in Nigeria who tell of the recent invasion of faithful churches by liberals. Reuel Lemmons recently charged that those of us who contend for the independency of congregations and who oppose sponsoring church structures are operating what he called “A Butcher Shop,” and charged that we were virtually destroying the evangelistic work that had been done by others. He said that some of the native Philippine preachers probably think that the Herald of Truth and sponsoring churches are “pagan gods” that they ought no longer to worship.

In Nigeria (Lagos area) we have the liberal brethren moving in mass into areas that were pioneered by faithful brethren. They are the ones having to acquaint the native preachers and churches with the “pagan gods” of Herald of Truth and sponsoring churches. In fact, one liberal preacher already has widely distributed a series of outlines and charts advocating the liberal position, as well as lectured the brethren on the merits of liberalism. I wonder, Brother Lemmons, if the liberal brethren in Nigeria, might now be operating “The Butcher Shop.” Wonder why some of the zealous liberal brethren, like Brother Jimmy Lovell who wrote me a chiding letter, do not now write these liberal brethren some halt and desist letters, like they have written to me and others regarding Philippine work?

Preachers “For Sale”

The same false charges are being made against faithful Nigerian brethren as are being made against faithful Philippine brethren. Some of the faithful Nigerian preachers have been supported by faithful churches directly for at least twelve or fifteen years. Yet Bill Nicks, in the June 27, 1972 issue of Firm Foundation charges that the faithful preachers are being led to oppose sponsoring churches, by the offer of money. Nicks said: “With promise of direct support, a few preachers have been led to believe this is the only method of supporting preachers and have allied themselves with a faction bent on destroying the Bible training schools and benevolence expressed through the hospital. Thank God these are in the minority.”

Some of Brother Lemmons fellow-liberal brethren recently have been on him for approving in foreign lands what he disapproves here. For instance, he affects to be so strongly opposed to church supported colleges in the USA, but promotes several of them by publishing propaganda articles in the Firm Foundation from such church supported colleges overseas. Is Brother, Lemmons in favor of Church of Christ hospitals in the USA? If so, let him say so. But you notice he will carry an article castigating faithful brethren in Nigeria who oppose the Church of Christ Hospital there. I wish Brother Lemmons would tell us explicitly whether he opposes or endorses the Church of Christ Hospital concept. If we could extract any statement at all from him regarding Church of Christ Hospitals, we just might find Brother Lemmons aligned with that -“faction” about which Brother Nicks so lovingly spoke. Brother Nicks thanks God for Nigerian Christian Hospital. If “Christian Hospitals” supported by churches are such a good thing in Nigeria, it would appear that Brother Lemmons and the Firm Foundation would be seeking to promote such in the USA.

A recent article from a Nigerian preacher published in Truth Magazine reveals the denominational structure that the liberals, have formulated in order to try to prevent men like Leslie Diestelkamp, Sewell Hall, James Finney, Aude McKee, James Gay, Paul Earnhart, George Pennock, Wayne Payne and others from re-entering Nigeria. Meanwhile, they hope to be able to swallow up for liberalism all the pioneering work done by those faithful brethren.

A letter just recently received from a faithful Nigerian preacher tells that “these dividing elements are still strong in Nigerian churches. It is very sad indeed. And shortly a Bible School of Preaching sponsored by American churches and controlled by one local American Elders is going to begin in Lagos. Soon a company of their, preachers are going to visit Nigeria … Error is gaining momentum here. . . .”

Now let those who have written so much about us injecting the issues into foreign works write as vehemently to these liberal brethren as they have to us to object to what they are doing now in the Lagos area. Do you think they will do so? I think not! It all depends on whose ox is being gored as to whether they protest or not.

I have said it before, but I say it again: If I were one of the foreign liberal preachers and the liberal American brethren continually state that those liberal preachers could be bought by American dollars, I would resent the charge and the implication in the strongest way possible. It certainly does not speak well of the work that the liberal American brethren have done when they insinuate that their preachers are available to anyone who will wave an American dollar before them.

The stories of the liberals do not quite mesh. They tell the faithful brethren overseas that the “Antis” have about died out in the USA in one breath, and in the next they cry about the fact that we are buying all their preachers. Wonder where a dying out group would get the money to buy their “For Sale” preachers?

I freely admit that money is on the side of the liberals. They have more of it and use it m’ many unscriptural ways. If a preacher is “For Sale,” I can tell him now that it would be in his financial interest to go with the liberals. And if they are “For Sale,” the liberals are perfectly welcome to them, one and all! A “For Sale” preacher could never benefit the Cause of Christ, whether here, in the Philippines, in Nigeria, or anywhere else.

October 5, 1972