Jeremiah Gado Addresses Christian/Muslim Tensions in His Home Country
Jeremiah Gado says the ongoing tension between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria is an opportunity for believers to demonstrate the love of Jesus and how different Christianity is from Islam.
Gado, a native of Nigeria who graduated from CIU Seminary & School of Ministry in 1993, was elected president of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in April. He comes to the key position of the large Nigerian-based denomination at a time when attacks from Muslims against Christians are increasing in West Africa, and some Christians talk of retaliation.
But in an email interview from Jos, Nigeria, Gado said that while some Muslims kill in the name of Allah, retaliation and revenge are not an option for Christians.
“Christians die for their faith that others may live and be given the chance to receive Jesus,” Gado said.
Gado also refers to the tensions as a sign that the gospel is making inroads into regions that are heavily populated by Muslims.
“As the churches of Christ storm into Satan’s kingdom, the tension is to be expected,” Gado said. “I urge believers to fast and pray that God would use the tension to open the eyes of those who are truly seeking Him.”
At the same time, Gado says it is his responsibility to alert members of ECWA churches to protect themselves by speaking up for the rule of law and getting involved in public policy at the national, state and community levels.
“The price honest men pay for keeping quiet is the rule of the wicked,” Gado said. “For too long Christians in Nigeria have been silent and passive.”
Gado’s return to Nigeria comes after living in the United States for 20 years. He and his wife Grace have five children. At least one of them, Samkon, who was born in Nigeria, plans to return to his home country in the future.
Samkon, a 2001 high school graduate of Ben Lippen, CIU's Christian school, played in the National Football League for over five years. He is now studying to be a surgeon at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and wants to use his medical skills in Nigeria. He admits that fear plays on his mind when he thinks about returning to his home country, but he is encouraged by his father.
“My father is in a position of scrutiny,” Samkon Gado said. “He is a lightning rod for negative attention from the Muslims. But he is not controlled by fear. That reminds me that if God has called you to something, there is no need to walk in fear.”