One of my regular habits is to watch the Eric Metaxas show on YouTube, because I find the content valuable. I recently watched him interviewing Larry Taunton and Bishop Jwan Zhumbes (see here). Metaxas regularly interviews those on the (imho) the right side of the culture wars, often despised conservative leaning voices, but invariably with something to say that is worth taking note of.
I first came across Eric Metaxas a few years ago when I picked up and read his book: “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich”, which I thought was excellent and in a strange way pertinent to the interview that followed. Jwan Zhumbes is a Nigerian bishop and his friend, Larry Taunton is a US Pastor and cultural commentator with an understanding of the situation surrounding and issues pertaining to Bishop Jwan’s situation, which is the point of what follows.
As those who follow my writings, especially on Facebook, one of my big interests and concerns is the persecuted church. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Nigeria and watching the interview was heart wrenching as Larry and Bishop Jwan explained the suffering inflicted and deprivations and murder caused by the likes of Hausa-Fulani Islamic militant herdsmen and groups like Boko Haram. While not wanting to attack Islam, it is notable both groups are inspired by a more radical form of Islam, suggesting that while there are many peacable Muslims, Islam is NOT a religion of peace.
The situations described were indeed tragic but also of concern is what is happening is hardly ever covered by the mainstream media and as for the Nigerian authorities, while not condoning these atrocities, do little to prevent them or bring the perpetrators to task. Concerning the victims, they are usually poor and disempowered (while there is a right to bear arms, these are unaffordable, especially compared with their attackers who are funded by the likes of the Saudis) but often full of faith. Ironically, in other parts of Nigeria, the church is properous and unaffected by these troubles, and include rich pastors who subscribe to prosperity teaching.
What particularly impressed me was the dedication of the Bishop and some of the pastors serving those affected (in what is a small section of a large country), who were prepared to sacrifice and suffer with the very people they were helping as shepherds of the flock. Often they do so with pitiful remuneration, a far cry from that of “prosperity gospel” teachers. It should be noted that there are other reports, some I refer to in my Facebook page, corroborating some of the disturbing points raised in this interview, and not only in Nigeria but in neighbouring African countries too and further afield.
It was notable that theologically the Nigerian church is often conservative leaning, for example opposing the creeping in acceptance of homosexuality in western churches and to the insidious racism that somehow portrays them as unenlightened because of their race and practically disowned by the very church folk who might otherwise had supported them but for these views.
I could elaborate but if you want examples I suggest watch the clip. I was moved and disturbed by what I saw and reminded that the Bishop and his flock are part of the same body that I belong to. I feel there is a need not only to publicise what is happening but for Christians everywhere to stand with their persecuted brethren.