A judicial system within the Nigerian church

While inaugurating a judicial panel for the church under his watch last Sunday, Pastor Poju Oyemade provided as background for his action the system that Moses the Lawgiver had implemented thousands of years ago, following the advice of his father-in-law, Jethro. The perceptive old man had come visiting his son-in-law and his family, whom he had not seen in a while when he observed that he had not instituted a sustainable judicial system in his administration of the emerging nation of Israel. He knew Moses was going to self-destruct the way he was handling things, so he advised him to devolve some of his powers to adjudicate over matters affecting the people to others. He advised him to set up a robust system that would more effectively see to dispute and conflict resolution.

Moses heeded his advice and set up a system that, having been tweaked here and there, over time, but remaining the same at its core thrust, has become the foundation for many judicial systems in the world today.

For some inexplicable reason, when the church formally began, following the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the apostles and leaders did not immediately inaugurate a system like Moses had done for Israel. So with growth of the church those early years came the inevitable. Conflicts and dispute began to take up available space and would have completed their natural course if the leaders of the church had not quickly gone back to the template Moses had provided all discerning administrators many years before. With some modifications here and there, they put in place an effective judicial system manned by capable hands. In no time conflicts and disputes were masterfully handled.

Unfortunately, but again for some inexplicable reason, Moses formula was jettisoned as the church grew beyond Jerusalem and expanded into other parts of the world, especially in the church at Corinth, where disputes and conflicts ran riotous until Paul sent his rebuke through his letter, part of which Pastor Poju quoted during the inauguration last Sunday.

He made the point that to minimise the rise of conflicts and disputes, an elaborate judicial system based on the principles of justice, equity and fairness must be established in the church. But I wished he addressed this matter of consistency and sticking with models and systems that have always effectively addressed conflicts over the years. What are those inexplicable reasons for which men jettison time-tested, value-based and sustainable practices for those practices, which inevitably drown men in conflicts and crisis?

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