Oscar Amaechina, head of the Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network based in Abuja, Nigeria, discusses why Christian unity is essential under these difficult circumstances.
In an op-ed for the Christian Post, Amaechina said that Christianity has been subjected to one of the most severe periods of persecution in modern history. He said that, although the severity of persecution varies, covert "intimidation, harassment, and suppression" of Christians are plain to see when one pays careful attention.
He then stated that Christ's goal is for Christians across the world to be as one Body serving God and mankind, as Jesus himself taught in John 17:21. But in discussing the significance of Christian unity, he began by identifying the factors that create division in churches.
The differences that build walls
According to Amaechina, the Body of Christ has been steadily divided by "denominationalism, racism, ethnicism, and other ideologies."
He confessed that even in Nigeria, ethnic groupings exist inside the same denominational local assembly. As per his observation, some worshipers seem to be more at ease connecting to and engaging in activities with members of their own ethnic group.
"Denominational barriers have built walls that have caused so much division that many have started asking if Christ is divided," he pointed out. "These denominational frictions and divisions are so egregious that some churches are now known as 'living' and 'dead' churches."
Geopolitical factors also play a big role. Following an assault on northern Christians, Amaechina observed that the southern Christians carried on as if nothing had occurred. He provided an example of this by telling the story of a pastor he met in southern Nigeria while discussing evangelistic methods in the country at the time.
The pastor promised to support Amaechina's network of missionaries, but he cautioned them to avoid traveling to the northern part of the country. Apparently, he believes that "the Gospel of Christ is not for the northerners."
"If a custodian of the Gospel could say this, what do we expect from members of the Pews?" remarked Amaechina.
Unity shouldn't be passive, but active
The Nigerian evangelist emphasized that the unity that Christians should want among fellow believers "should not be passive, but active."
Far from being free of tension and disagreement among various Christian organizations, he spoke more about churches working together to preserve unity by demonstrating concern for the well-being of fellow believers around the world, speaking respectfully in one language on true Christian teachings, and carrying one another's crosses.
He also said something about "Spirit of one accord," which has the potential to provide significant protection. He stated that it is about standing together with a common goal in order for Christians to be able to fight the devil and deliver the Gospel to the unbelievers in their midst. He asserts that the time has come for the ideology that considers only "one denomination, one race, or one ethnic group superior over the other" be purged from the global body of Christ.
"We stand the chance of experiencing a reawakening and mighty global revival if all Christians should come together in one spirit and one accord and uphold one another in prayers and Intercessions," he proclaimed.
The author of "Mystery of the Cross Revealed" went on to say that the" indivisible unity of Christians" throughout the world is also a defensive strategy against all of the devil's attacks.
He underscored that if all Christians are "partakers of the Spirit of Christ," it follows that they must all remain firm in the same Spirit.
"When one Christian is murdered in Africa, the entire global Christian community should feel the pain. The Persecution of an American Christian baker should give all Christians a new reason to pray. When a preacher on the streets of Europe is arrested, Christians all over the world should feel chained. If we want to see the hand of God in our dark times, we must come together and strive to maintain the unity of God's Kingdom," he concluded.