Global Consequences

Culture, Missions, The Gospel

Oil HandsOver the past five years, my life has been increasingly intertwined with the nation of Nigeria. Each year I spend more time in Nigeria and continue to build deeper relationships with people who have become some of my closest friends. I am thankful for the work God is doing through us in Nigeria and I pray He will continue to bless our efforts.

One of the things that I’ve learned more about while keeping a keen eye on Nigeria is the global consequences of decisions that are made at a national/federal level in each country. I have a vested interest in the value of the US Dollar in Nigeria, so I watch the exchange rate on a regular basis. Over the past two months the US Dollar to Nigerian Naira exchange rate has fluctuated significantly, and it has raised great concern in my heart for my friends — my brothers and sisters in Christ — in Nigeria.

As the United States has become more energy independent, there has been a significant pull-back from the purchase of crude oil from other nations. One of the nations that has been hit the hardest is Nigeria. While previously importing tens of millions of barrels of oil from Nigeria each month, the US is no longer importing any (Read – Needle on Zero: Nigeria’s Economy Tanking as US Oil Exports Dry Up). As a result, in the US we have seen some dramatic reductions in fuel costs while the Nigerian economy suffers more and more. This is, of course, how a free market works, and I’m not opposed to it. However, my personal philosophy of economics and political principles are challenged when I have to look the consequences in the face and see it all first hand.

I pray regularly for the prosperity of Nigeria (Jeremiah 29:7), but recognize that with a collapsing economy that is 70% dependent on crude oil exports and is depleted another 10% by corruption, true financial prosperity is a far reach from their current status. Currently, Nigeria is 24th in the global economy in terms of GDP. How will that change over the next 10 years? As the largest nation in Africa containing one of the 10th largest cities in the world (Lagos), Nigeria has a booming population with tremendous resources and potential. How will it be utilized?

Far more serious than the economic poverty in Nigeria is its spiritual poverty. Of the 10 richest “pastors” in the world, 6 of them are in Nigeria! Some of these men have a net worth of over $125 million while the majority of the nation lives on the equivalent of less than $2 per day. One of the positive outcomes in my mind that could come from financial collapse is the exposing of these charlatans. How long will men be able to justify their lavish lifestyles with private jets and designer suites while some people will literally starve to death?

This is a prime harvest field for true gospel labors. While Nigeria is bombarded with a false gospel, it is our time to infiltrate the enemy’s territory with the pure, unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ. Many people will continue looking for answers, and when their false religious systems fail and the false promises of prosperity pimps never come true, where will they turn? May God be pleased to raise up His church in Nigeria to preach the truth. May He be pleased to continue to strengthen our efforts to train men for gospel ministry who can plant faithful, biblical churches all throughout the nation. And may God be pleased to receive glory from all that happens in Nigeria. What nations and corrupt politicians intend for evil, surely God intends it all for good.

(By: Nick Kennicott)

A Nigerian Perspective on Kidnapping and Boko Haram

Missions, News

Several people have asked me about my thoughts on the ongoing issues in Nigeria and the search for the girls who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram. I am pleased that attention has been drawn to this horrific group who has been operating in Nigeria for several years now, however I am sad it has come about this way.

My friend Olamide Bode Falase lives in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria has written a thoughtful piece on his perspective of the entire situation that I thought was worth sharing. I hope you will take the time to read what he has written and pray for those who are daily held in captivity by false religion and all that it results in. Islam finds itself at home in corrupt societies, so Nigeria is an easy target.


I have largely stayed away from commenting on the kidnap saga that is currently the buzz in Nigeria, due mainly to the fact that there have been conflicting details regarding the whole episode and a lot of controversy has generated due to the sketchiness of the information which until recently came in trickles.

It had also become clear that we as a people were beginning to lose our sense of shock, not only at the brazen violence inflicted on Nigerians by the Boko Haram sect, but also at the total inability of the government to arrest the situation and stopping it from assuming the dangerous dimension that it has now taken. I guess this is borne out of the fact that week after week of news of bombings, killings and kidnappings had begun to take its toll on all of us and we were all beginning to accept it as normal.

As shameful as that may sound, it pretty much sums up our “collective response” to the happenings in the North due to Boko Haram, until now.

It is however not my intention to “psychoanalyze” Nigerians or presume to speak for over 160 million people. My desire is to examine the issues on hand, not only as a Nigerian, but especially as a Christian who lives in a Nigerian context.

So then, what do I, as a Christian, make of all of this?

God is Sovereign (Psalm 115:3; Daniel 4:35 NASB):

God is SovereignWell, what did you expect?

This is my basic starting point and it is at the heart of all that helps me to make sense of everything.

But what has that got to do with Boko Haram?

God, the Scriptures say, “HAS MADE EVERYTHING FOR ITS PURPOSE, EVEN THE WICKED FOR THE DAY OF TROUBLE.” – Proverbs 16:4 This clearly shows that God is in fact in control of the situation, as troubling and out of control it may seem, and that Boko Haram, with all its murderous rage, will not (because it cannot) take one life more than has been decreed by God. The truth about God’s sovereignty also means Boko Haram’s days are numbered. That there will be an end to all this. Despite the gross evil perpetrated by this group or its seeming invincibility, despite all the cache of weapons the group may claim to possess (or in fact possess) and despite all its intention to establish its agenda through bloodletting and wanton killings, it will pass from the scene at the appointed time. “YET A LITTLE WHILE AND THE WICKED MAN WILL BE NO MORE; AND YOU WILL LOOK CAREFULLY FOR HIS PLACE AND HE WILL NOT BE THERE.” – Psalm 37:10

God is Just (Deuteronomy 32:3-4 NASB):


A caller on a call-in program I was listening to on the local radio station, expressed very cautious optimism about the latest news by the DSS (Directorate of State Security) on the capture of those behind the Nyanya bombings. He said something to the effect that, “I hope they don’t go ahead and release them after they have publicly paraded them”. Now that may sound a bit far fetched, but one thing is clear; Nigerians do not exactly have great confidence in our Justice system. I can imagine the frustrations of those who have lost loved ones since this insurgency began, either at the hands of Boko Haram or at the hands of the authorities, in the case of mistaken identity. I can also imagine the frustration of those who have hoped for speedy justice against the killers of their relatives but instead have to endure the very slow grind of the “wheels of justice” in our nation. All this coming together makes one wonder whether these murderers will ever face justice. Well, as a Christian, I am comforted by the fact that God is not only sovereign, God is also just. The Scriptures affirm, in 2 Chronicles 19:7 “NOW THEN, LET THE FEAR OF THE LORD BE UPON YOU. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU DO, FOR THERE IS NO INJUSTICE WITH THE LORD OUR GOD, OR PARTIALITY OR TAKING BRIBES.” I therefore know that not one of the perpetrators nor their collaborators, will escape God’s righteous judgment. It is rumored that these terrorists have support from people in government and this means some of them may escape justice. But as a Christian I rest in the knowledge that NO ONE will escape what they justly deserve from God. “ASSUREDLY, THE EVIL MAN WILL NOT GO UNPUNISHED…” –Proverbs 11:21

God is good (Psalm 100:5, 145:9 NASB):

God is Good

In January of 1971, Idi Amin, the then commander of the Ugandan Army overthrew the government of his boss, Milton Obote in a military coup; about 8 years later, between 300,000 to 500,000 Ugandans had been killed, murdered at the hands of their own government. In April 1975, the Communist Party of Kampuchea, led by Saloth Sar (later known as Pol Pot) came to power in Cambodia; in just 4 years of his rule, an estimated 1 to 3 million of his own people lost their lives due to the policies of his government. Need I speak about Adolf Hitler, who saw to the annihilation of nearly 6 million Jews within a period or 4 years or Josef Stalin who also murdered many of his countrymen. All these murders were carried out by governments that were “ordained by God” for the purpose safeguarding their citizens. (Romans 13: 1-7) As humans, our starting point in nearly every calamity is that we are recipients of what we do not deserve and that if God was truly good, He should not have let this or that evil befall us.  We have become so used to God’s mercy, so used to being spared the consequences of our individual and collective rebellion such that whenever the Lord sees it fit to refrain his hand and allow us reap the fruit of our actions, we are quick to point the finger at the Divine. In spite of how deserving we are of a government akin to the ones described above, in spite of how utterly devoid of the fear of God our rulers have proved to be, the Lord has been pleased to spare us the pain of being led by a murderous government. God is indeed good. Furthermore, God has spared this nation from the calamities that a government unprepared to fight terrorism could impose on its people. “OH GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR HE IS GOOD, FOR HIS LOVINGKINDNESS IS EVERLASTING.”- Psalm 107:1

 Governments are ordained by God (Romans 13:1-7 NASB):

governmentNot only does the Bible make this very startling assertion, it goes on ahead to state exactly what purpose any government is ordained by God for. In verse 4 of Romans 13 it says, “…FOR IT IS A MINISTER OF GOD, AN AVENGER WHO BRINGS WRATH ON THE ONE WHO PRACTICES EVIL.” The Bible also does not state any further task for governments beyond this task of punishing the practitioners of evil and thus, by implication, commending those who are law abiding. This singularity of purpose is also clearly implied in verse 6 of Romans 13, “FOR BECAUSE OF THIS YOU ALSO PAY TAXES, FOR RULERS ARE SERVANTS OF GOD; DEVOTING THEMSELVES TO THIS VERY THING.” It is therefore amusing to see governments attempting to do everything except the singular purpose for which it exists, while it fails woefully at its reason for being, “punishing evil doers”. I am therefore often amazed when I read or listen to people attempting to “sell” administration after administration as successful on the basis of its “economic policies.” Imagine commending a government for staying out of what it has no business doing in the first place and ignoring the ONE THING for which the Lord God Almighty ordained it. Of course this means that men who are in authority and yet fail at their duty will be judged by the righteous Judge.

 Governments fail because they are peopled by men who at their very core are rebellious against God (Romans 1:18-32, Romans 3:9-16 NASB):

failedThere is no other reason why governments fail apart from the fact that there is no fear of God in the hearts of those who govern. While I don’t believe that a person must be “a Christian” to rule a local government, a state or the nation; I believe that a fundamental criterion of some modicum of morality is required for anyone to successfully rule a nation. Now, the bible does not give the qualifications required for holding political office the same way it does for those who would seek to either lead a family or shepherd God’s people (I guess the reason is that the mandate for rulers is quite simple – punish evil doers); that is why I am not particularly interested in where a man comes from or what he professes as his faith as long as he has a track record of making morally sound decisions and he has enough fear of God in him to confront evil.

As a Christian, I speak against all this (Ephesians 5:11-12 NASB):

Light shining through Especially against the lack of will on the part of government to confront evil, not because I think they will listen, but as a witness against them so that they have no excuse. I have nothing to say to the Boko Haram sect, because the Boko Haram sect has been appointed for destruction; and the instrument of God, with the duty to bring about that destruction is the government (Romans 13:4). So, if government does not rise to its responsibility, as a Christian, I have the duty to point it to its complacency as a witness against it.

(By: Nick Kennicott)

Nigeria Bound

Ministry, Missions

I am writing from the Frankfurt, Germany airport on my way to Nigeria. This is my 4th trip to Nigeria, but a very different trip in many ways. If you would like to pray for us, I will share a few details:

  • The first leg of my trip begins in Lagos, the southern port city and former capital of Nigeria. Lagos is the 10th largest city in the world. I will be meeting with the only 2 Reformed Baptist Pastors I know of in Nigeria. They have not met each other, so I really look forward to not only meeting them myself, but introducing them to one another. Nigeria is heavily dominated by charismatic teaching, the prosperity gospel, and various cults in addition to about 50% of the country being Muslim. These men have a very difficult time with Reformed doctrine in Nigeria, so I hope I am able to encourage them in their work.
  • From Lagos I will travel to Egbe, which is South-Central Nigeria. This is the city I spend the majority of my time in each year. In the past I have preached at a pastor’s conference, but have been dissatisfied with the long term fruitfulness of the conference approach. Last year I decided it was time to start a more long-term training program for men who are considering pastoral ministry. Thankfully, Ephesus Church has raised a significant amount of money along with several other sister churches, and we have received tremendous support from the Reformed Baptist Seminary and were able to put together a 3 year training program very similar to a seminary education in the United States. This year we begin the Institute for Pastoral and Theological Training (IPTT) in Egbe, Nigeria. Each year I will teach a week-long intensive course, and provide the resources necessary for a year’s worth of classes (books, lectures, assignments). We are hand selecting 10 men who will interview for the program and begin classes next week. I will be delivering 24 lectures on the Doctrine of God.
  • I praise God that 4 members of Ephesus Church will be coming at the end of this week to join me. They will be working on various projects in support of the ministry we partner with in Egbe, primarily focused on agricultural and educational work. Please pray for Josh, Tris, Melissa, and Jessie.
  • At the end of the trip I will be in Abuja for a few days. Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria. We will have several meeting with denominational leaders and well as government officials. Nigeria is one of the most politically and religiously corrupt countries in the world, so wisdom and discernment are vey important in our interactions.

Overall, I will be gone for 3 weeks, which includes 2 Sundays out of the pulpit at Ephesus Church. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the nations and pray that God would be glorified through our efforts. As I am able, I will post blog updates if you are interested in our efforts. Thank you for your prayers.

(By: Nick Kennicott)