Nigerian archbishop calls on Christians to evangelize, not complain about Islamization

A Catholic leader in Nigeria is urging Christians to rise up and evangelize instead of complaining about alleged Islamization of the country, saying everybody has the right to preach their religious belief to other people.

Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Nigeria walks through Saint Peter's Square as he arrives for a meeting in the Synod Hall in the Vatican. March 09, 2013 | REUTESR / Dylan Martinez

During his homily at a Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish on July 2, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, urged the faithful to "Christianize" Nigeria. He said nobody is planning to Islamize the country, and noted that Islamization is not possible unless the people embrace it, All Africa relayed.

"So let nobody deceive you, I don't think there is anybody who has plan to Islamise Nigeria, but even if they do, they have every right to do so ... They have every right to do so provided they also know that I have the right to Christianise the whole of Nigeria," Cardinal Onaiyekan told his audience on Sunday. "The answer is not in complaining and crying; stand up like a man and Christianise Nigeria."

In addition, Onaiyekan warned against getting distracted with material possessions while attempting to evangelize. The cardinal said Christians should preach their faith without compromise, saying those who are not ready to lose material things for Christ are not worthy to be called Christians.

Drawing inspiration from Matthew 10:37-42, Onaiyekan said a person who loves the world more than Christ is not worthy of the Lord's kingdom. He also highlighted the importance of persecution, saying it was necessary to propel the apostles into planting and expanding the Christian church after Jesus died on the cross.

Meanwhile, Christian Solidarity Worldwide's head in Nigeria, Rev. Yunusa Nmadu, decried the authorities' inaction at the persecution of Christians at the hands of the Fulani herdsmen. He told Christian Today that the militants' "ethno-religious cleansing" in Kaduna, Benue, Nassawara, Plateau, and other states had been going on since 2010.

Rev. Nmadu added that until now, no one has been persecuted for these attacks on Christians, and the violence has already displaced thousands of people. He is now calling on Christians all over the world to pray that God will grant them courage to face the difficulties in their country every day.

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