The decline of the charismatic revival in Igbo land
Pastor Anselm Madubuko of Revival Assembly once said that man is the killer of any revival. In a sense, he was right. The revival in Igbo land began to wane, when men began to lose their passion and sensitivity for God and began to scramble for positions and recognition.
The frequent splits among Igbo land revivalists did not augur well for the continuation of the revival. Where there is rancour and acrimony, the Holy Spirit is silenced and rendered inoperable. “By the mid-1970s, the ecumenical impulses of the revival, which were influencing emerging churches, had begun to give way to schismatic tendencies. The need for institutional norms resulted in conflicts, as leaders of Riches of Christ in 1975, and the following year, Nweke and Nwodika left to form Jesus the Way Ministry, after allegations of sexual misdemeanor and authoritarianism against Mba, the General Overseer. Over the next year and a half, Jesus the Way grew rapidly, as many Riches of Christ congregations joined them and other churches were planted. Conflicts also arose among the leadership of Save the Lost and for a time, Okeke left to pursue an independent evangelistic ministry. Paul Nwachukwu admits that the independence and egalitarian spirit of the Igbos affected the revival in the 1970s, in that it created the problem of loyalty and submission to a centralised authority.
When intrigues reared up their heads among the revivalists, they introduced a competitive spirit into an initiative that hitherto was bound by ecumenism.
There were cases of allegations of immorality by some ministers. Sin stifles and destroys anointing. There were allegations of immoral living levelled against Edozie Mba. Aside immoral living, some of the leaders had frosty relationships in their marriages that affected their credibility to lead the flock of God.
Unwholesome doctrine and teachings were another cause for the decline of the revival in Igbo land. When Edozie Mba turned Sabbatharian, he lost followers. He was a man, who commanded the respect of his peers, because he was a fiery speaker with great anointing. But once he veered off into strange doctrine, he broke ranks with his comrades.
The prosperity gospel diverted the focus of ministers in that it exposed them to lifestyles that numbed their desire for sacrificial living and passion for God. When men cease to be humble and forget their benign origin, God is lukewarm towards them and belittles them before the world.
When some of the early revivalists, such as Stephen Okafor, Joshua Uhiara, and Felix Okafor migrated overseas in pursuit of higher education, their lieutenants who took over lacked their aggressive, fiery spirit necessary to continue the revival and to build up on the legacy they had left behind.
Bureaucratisation and the ageing process do have a telling effect on any move of God. The tempo of revivals tended to wane with time. As a ministry increases in number and begins to have organisational structures and policies, bureaucracy gradually sets in and slows down the tempo and pace.
Rev. (Dr.) O. Ezekiel is of the view that the decline of the Charismatic revival is due to the expiration of a dispensation. In his view, God moves in times and seasons. The wind of His Spirit blows, when we least expect it, and ceases, when He chooses to. All we have to do is pray and wait for the next season. He thinks that the next move of God will be a revival of the knowledge of God, and not of signs and wonders.
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