By Kolade Segun-Okeowo
Never in the history of The Church in Nigeria has it come under heavy media war as it is currently going through in recent times. Of course the media war will not break the Church (Recall Jesus said “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail”) but to say the church is not shaken is a lie! Not with the negative exploits of young men like Daddy Freeze and co.
Reports of dropped tithes and offering, low turnout at programmes, turning of deaf ears to pastoral/doctrinal instructions, dual loyalty to the church and fetishism and many other rebellious attitudes of Christians are not unrelated to the media attacks on the church.
Where did all these began ?
The impact of the entertainment world climaxed with the advent of the Nollywood in the late 1980s and early 1990s when home videos became the order of the day. It started by being reeled out in trickles as pioneered by the likes of Kenneth Nnebue and Alade Aromire. It gave way gradually to tens and eventually snowballed into hundreds until Nigeria became the world largest producer of home videos.
Gradually, the movie industry became a major opinion moulder and influence on the psyche of the Nigerian audience. Films were produced that ridiculed the church and exposed many “atrocities” going on underneath. The thespian world of moviemaking subjected the church to undue criticisms and mockery. The church became an object of fun and theme of every other home video.
Other films that did not mention the church provided the fetish world as a better alternative to the church. Domestic, financial and social problems when considered as themes in home videos got solutions through fetish means.
The fetish world was presented by the movie industry as an alternative to the church! This naturally sank into the minds of the millions of the addicted audience of the Nigerian movie industry, leading to an upsurge of fetishism, vodooism and return to hitherto jettisoned traditional beliefs and values.
Sex and violence were sold cheaply in movies. One day, I sat with a film marketer in Idumota; Lagos acclaimed centre of home videos discussing movies. He told me point blank that if I want my films to sell, I should add bits of sex and violence. Such depravity !
Children born at the advent of the movie industry boom are in their late twenties and early thirties now. They grew up to meet a badly dented image of the church. Even when they go to church, their minds is warped up and completely blinded by the up sided and disrespected image of the church they have been used to since they were born.
This is the generation that now makes advanced mockery of the church; turning the Church and Christian values into objects of every comedy and jokes. This is the generation that questions everything the church has taught. This is the generation that speaks down at revered men of God and call them names.
Don’t blame them, since they were born, all that they’ve been seeing and brainwashed about the church is what they are now regurgitating !
This is sad ! So who is to blame?
Yes, don’t look at me with that “sanctified” gaze !
As the devil bombarded the church through the movie/TV profession, there was too feeble resistance. The needed response from the church in form of gospel movies was rather too feeble. Many men of GOD didn’t see the place and need for drama in the war, so the enemy had a field day feeding the minds of the young ones with junks.
Instead of seeing the devil at work in the ungodly contents being released by the Nigerian film industry and proffering solutions via clean and unadulterated home videos/contents, the church simply continued its old method of crusades and revivals. Unfortunately, the battle ground had shifted from crusade grounds right into the living rooms.
Instead of supporting drama groups and gospel moviemakers to churn out hundreds of correct films to balance the media brainwashing war, some men of God even went to extent of disdaining the young gospel film makers around them, insisting they must come up the altar to adorn the collar if they must do God’s work!
This was the undoing! Several promising Gospel filmmakers quitted!
While they were busy doing this, the devil was busy feasting on their own children via African Magic. Only the likes of Mike Bamiloye and a few others managed to survive the harsh hostile attitude of the church to drama ministers: the ones sent by God ahead of the media battle against the church to neutralize the impacts but unfortunately smoldered by the very institution it was sent to protect.
Now that the bubble is burst, the media war that started three decades ago is producing fruits massively. The church is now at the receiving end. Unfortunately, the damage has been done! The battle ground has shifted again.
The television is no longer in vogue and would soon become moribund. In a few years to come, television sets would become objects of decoration and archival materials in homes.
I am eagerly looking forward to the day my teenage grandchildren and great grandchildren will point to a box and ask me “Grandpa, what is this” and I will respond “That is a television” You know why, that generation won’t need the television sets !
The internet is the new battle ground !
Is the church going to lose the battle of the internet the way it lost that of the television.
Let the clergy answer !