I didn’t become a Christian by choice. My parents made that choice for me immediately I was transferred from the foetal biosphere into the earth. The story isn’t different from 90 percent of Christians from the Southern part of Nigeria. What the heck, same can be said of our Muslim brethren in the North. Let’s face it, if I were born in Sokoto state, I would most likely have been a Muslim with a name that sounds like Adamu Adamu or Abdullahi Suleiman instead of Oluoma Chinenye John. If my friend, Garba Mohammed from Niger State were born in Orlu, Imo state, his name could have been Chibuike Thomas Ogike most likely. A number of us became Christians and Muslims by forces and circumstances beyond us. As a Christian, I see it as grace, I’m very grateful that choice was made for me, grace found me.
Now I’m all grown and can decide a lot of things for myself. I’ve seen people become Christians by choice and others Muslims by choice. I have chosen to remain a Christian. This is why I gotta answer this question : WHY AM I STILL A CHRISTIAN ANYWAY?
1. Is it because miracles happen in Christianity? Definitely no. Miracles aren’t the exclusive privilege of Christians. Other religions experience it too. What I do know is that some rogue Christian ministers have perfected the art of using both real and fake miracles to collect docile followership for themselves. There is also the infantile narrowing of the concept of miracle. Thousands of people get cured from life threatening diseases by doctors, that’s a miracle made by possible by same God that makes one take place in a church when a minister prays and lays hand on the sick. Doctors can only treat, God heals. Why should I focus only on miracles in the church? If I did I would be limiting God and make science take God’s glory. Science is under God. A minister makes a cripple to walk, I will shout alleluia and give praise to God. I shouldn’t forget that doctors have prevented millions from getting crippled through polio vaccine. That’s a miracle that deserves celebration and glory to God
2. Is it because of signs and wonders? I should be cheap to think so. Moses split the sea and the people of Israel crossed the red sea. Today, the people of Israel cross bigger seas and more times without Moses holding up a rod to split the sea. The modern Israel has won many battles with weapons Moses would admire. This is still wonders. Moses prayed and manna fell down from skies, that was legit sign and wonder. Today, however, the wonder is that Israel transformed a desert into an oasis of life where variety of foods grow all year round. If those that ate manna were to see what there cousins and relatives eat today in Israel, they would blush with envy. It’s same God that has made it possible but through science. Other religions have their own tales of signs and wonders too.
3. Is it because of wealth and prosperity? Jeez, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and host of other countries that has Islam as official religion reek in wealth. Even in Nigeria TGE richest dude isn’t a Christian. Wealth and financial prosperity are enjoyed by Christians but not exclusively. There is no proof that one’s faith guarantees wealth and prosperity. Unbelievers too enjoy wealth. I don’t have to be a Christian to be wealthy and prosperous.
4. is it Immunity from the viccissitudes of life? Some Christians have been told that their cases are different, that they are selectively spared from whatever plagues other human beings. This certainly isn’t true. In fact, sometimes to be a good Christian is to suffer more than others. When a plane crashes, it doesn’t select only non Christians for death. Poverty doesn’t affect only non Christians. Delay in marriage, marital issues, childlessness, joblessness, sickness, death etc do not spare Christians. Those who have been spared so far aren’t only Christians. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be praying for divine grace against them. “Deliver us from all evil” is part of the prayer Jesus Christ taught us. “Us” in that magnificent prayer seems to be wider than some Christians would think. It includes others.
5. Is it because of majestic churches and buildings? No way. Other religions have got theirs as equally majestic.
Why, then am I still a Christian? I am still a Christian because
1: I needed a savior to pay a debt I couldn’t pay. 1Pet 1:18. I was ransomed. I need this savior to lead me to eternal life.
2. I am still a Christian because it challenges me to become the best a human being can be. It pulls me out of the prison of carnal nature to be free to live by grace. 1Cor 15:10 says I AM WHAT I AM BY GRACE. it’s grace that enables me to be non violent in the midst of provocation, grace makes me return blessing for curses and insults, grace makes me so selfless as to give one coat out of only 2 I have to someone who doesn’t have. Grace makes me love my enemies and pray for them. Grace makes me restrain from pillaging public funds, grace makes me treat my housemaid like my own daughter. Grace makes me live peaceably with different people, grace makes me faithful to my spouse. Grace makes me bear difficult times without bitterness, grace makes me forgive. By grace I use public funds for public good. Grace restrains me from stealing, killing, looting and other social vices that cause others pain. 2Cor 13:13 says MAY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE LOVE OF GOD AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BE WITH YOU. Jn 1:16 says FROM HIS FULLNESS WE HAVE RECEIVED GRACE UPON GRACE. Grace will lead me to stand by his right hand as sheep on the last judgement bc by same grace I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, calm the anxious, visit the sick, shelter the homeless. This is what serving Jesus Christ compels me to do and enables me also to do.
3: I am still a Christian because of the eternal values it invokes in me. Phil 3:7-8 says ONCE I FOUND CHRIST I RECKONED AS NOTHING ALL MY ASSETS. The person of Christ Jesus fulfils me so much that I’m no longer pulled by the feverish craving for material things with it’s attendant worries, fears, anxieties and restless sadness. I’m not moved by the advert for more. I just seen the Lord and let everything else fall in place.
This is why I’m still a Christian. It has to be or else there’s absolutely nothing unique or special about being a Christian.
By Fr. Oluoma Chinenye John
Rev. Fr. Oluoma Chinenye John is a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Nigeria. He is a great and anointed Man of God who is dedicated to liberating men and women from the shackles of the Enemy. He is a mentor who has a passion to see young men and women rise to their God given potentials.