Priests lack right to send sinners away from church – Archbishop Ibezim
By Praise Necherem
The Archbishop Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger, and Bishop of Awka diocese, Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Alexander Chibuzo Ibezim has cautioned priests against chasing sinners away from the church for any reason. He said only God has the prerogative to determine who was his and heaven-bound.
Ibezim spoke during the inauguration of three parishes in the diocese, St Stephen’s Anglican Church Parish Awka, Our Saviour’s Anglican Church Parish Awka and St Barnabas Anglican Church Parish, Nimo. He, however, warned Christians to be wary of their actions and inactions in the church to avoid the wrath of God, stressing that the church was not a social club where one behaved anyhow one liked.
He said, “Nobody should be chased away from the church of God for any reason as only God has that prerogative to determine who is His and heaven bound or who isn’t and hell bound, but not men.
“Our duty is to bring people to God through Jesus Christ. We should not discriminate and pass judgment over actions and inactions of others in our churches, but to pray for them always for God’s mercy and love.
“Our duty is to evangelize and feed the people with the words of God. Our churches should not be seen as social clubs, but a place of worship, a dwelling place for God, so that when people come, they receive healing, salvation and solution to their problems. The church should be a place to receive hope.
‘’There are many unbelievers inside the churches, nobody would chase anybody away from the Church of Christ, even when the person is a drunk. Let him come to receive salvation in the church.
“You may see a member of the choir who came to church from his or her sex mate’s house and yet joined others to sing in the choir, it’s not our right to stop the person from singing to God, but, God Himself who judges on the last day as He would separate the chaff from the grains.
‘’We should be focused on evangelism and spreading the good news of the gospel to enable them repent and embrace God’s mercy in line with the message of salvation. Our churches are places of worship and not a social club.”
The archbishop appealed to the parishioners to understand their church workers and tolerate them by correcting them with love for the progress and development of their parishes and communities. He warned Christians to stop discriminating and being judgmental, adding that the duties of Christians is to evangelize in its all ramifications and draw people to God with hope for salvation and nothing else.