Enoch Adeboye, general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), says the Bible has nothing against “children of God” defending themselves against attacks.
His statement comes weeks after gunmen attacked St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state and killed 40 people, while scores of persons were left injured.
The federal government had said the attack was carried out by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), although this claim was refuted by Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti, who called it mere speculation.
Recently, Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, had also asked residents to defend themselves against bandits, while asking the commissioner of police in the state to begin the process of providing licences for residents to carry arms.
The Zamfara governor’s position has elicited varied reactions, including from Lucky Irabor, chief of defence staff, who said the directive was not the right step to take.
Speaking on Friday during his sermon at the Holy Ghost service, Adeboye said though safety is of the Lord, the Bible isn’t against Christians defending themselves against harm.
“Safety is of the Lord and nobody dies until their time comes,” he said.
“I don’t want to say much, because I know whatever I say, some people may want to twist it. But I’ve searched the Bible from cover to cover and there is nowhere in the Bible where God said a child of God cannot defend himself.
“If you find the place, let me know. He said, ‘if they slap you on the right cheek, turn the left’. If they now slap the left, what did he say? When God is silent, do you know the meaning of that? It simply means, over to you.
“Every enemy of the church, as long as my Father is still on the throne, as long as Jesus lives, as long as His name is the consuming fire, if they don’t repent, the fire of God will consume them.
“I’m not talking to everybody o; I’m only talking to my children.”
Speaking on the importance of members physically attending the church convention scheduled for August, he also made a reference to a post that had gone viral on social media platforms, claiming that insurgents have directed that churches be shut for three months.
Describing the claim as the work of “jokers”, Adeboye said those who are children of God do not follow such directives, whether they are true or false.
“Oh, but some jokers said churches should not open for three months. Who is your commander? God or Boko Haram? Let the devil try any nonsense, From now on, it is going to be fire for fire,” he said.