Pastor Poju Oyemade, the Senior Pastor of Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos, is of the notion that culture is destroying the growth of Christianity in Africa.
Read his lengthy post below;”Why what God has placed in the heart of the younger generation is necessary. This probably is my most sensitive and delicate write up so far, I have thought about this for years. There is a cultural issue in this nation that may be detrimental to real progress in advancing the kingdom of God.
I will start by telling the story of a conversation that was found in the black box of a plane that had crashed killing all passengers and crew members on a commercial flight in South Korea. On examining the black box to find out the reason for the crash they discovered the last-minute conversation between the pilot and the co-pilot which showed that the co-pilot actually knew what the problem was as the senior pilot struggled with the plane but he didn’t voice it out until it was too late and the plane eventually crashed.
This finding led them to believe that the cultural upbringing of the co-pilot which was a Korean thing which is to defer to one who is more elderly even when you know what is right had caused the crash. The co-pilot even though he knew what the problem was kept quiet out of respect and that cost over a hundred people the lives. It could simply have been averted if he spoke up telling the senior pilot his opinion. This cultural mindset is prevalent in Africa and this leads the younger generation to remain silent on issues they know in their heart but refuse to speak up in deference to the older. In many cases when the younger ones eventually speak, it is with anger and bitterness, a voice that reveals a feeling of being oppressed for too long and that disrespectful voice lands them on the other side of extremity making them ineffective.
Elihu had this problem with Job’s friends as they counseled him. He listened for a while, refused to speak up because of this cultural issue until he realized he was going to jeopardize his position in God and God was going to look elsewhere for a man with the courage to voice the revelation within him. Listen to his words in Job 32:6-10 (KJV) “And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid and durst not shew you mine opinion. I said Days should speak, and the multitude of years should teach wisdom.But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding……….therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.” He later spoke about the consequence of keeping quiet in Job 32:17-22 saying His Maker will take him out. Elihu actually meant death for in silence you have denied your purpose on the earth. “I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion. For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer. Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.” God places His revelation in two generations in different ways and it is when those two generations “see each other” for as in water face answereth unto face so does the heart of a man answereth to the other. Proverbs 27:19 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.
For there to be a trans-generational blessing not only must the heart of the children turn to their fathers the heart of the fathers must turn towards their children.
Malachi 4:6 “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
God places something unique in each generation and it will take the linking of hands for real progress to be made. The old men will dream dreams and the younger will see visions. This type of relationship will have no iota of disrespect for the elderly but it is just the way God has established it.
As a child grows he or she begins to acquire knowledge beyond what he learned at home and after something can contribute to a conversation and advance the opinion in a family. To keep silent when you know better is disservice even to the elderly.
You make them take positions that may be totally out of tune with what is really going on because you whom God placed around them to give balance was silent and kept feeding the tendency in them that the younger generation know nothing and even after 20 years are still listeners with no voice nor contribution.
Voicing out your opinion should not be done in a disrespectful way and shouldn’t be done in an attack mode but as a regular practice so that it becomes part of the culture.
Giving voice to your revelation doesn’t always have to be in speech but more in action. It is in pursuing the path God has laid down for you that may be slightly different from the approach of the previous generation but you are doing it not out of rebellion but honoring the truth within.
This opinion doesn’t have to be at variance but contributing to the development of a thought, refining what went before. If you are always at variance then you are operating in the flesh.
The way God has designed it is as a generation gets old the younger generation should take them by the hand and drive the agenda. The younger once relied on their insights then the time comes for the older not to be discarded nor shamed but to be held by the hand and shown by the younger the next positioning and glean from their wisdom as the younger drive the agenda.
John 21:18 (KJV)
“18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”
It is when the younger do not understand that a change has occurred in the realm of the spirit and they should run with the baton that problems begin to break out. That generation as Elihu said becomes a wasted generation.
The younger generation must know that when you keep quiet and just tow the line because you don’t want to rock the boat you are doing a great disservice to the older generation.
The voice they need to create the balance is in you and you have shut them out of it. This silence is predominantly an African thing and not a biblical concept nor even something rooted in Judaism from where emerged Christianity. Most of the time it is in hypocrisy with a lot of back talks.
Hear what Paul said about mutual benefit.
Romans 1:11-12 (KJV)
“For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”
Photo Credit: Pastor Poju