By Ofonime Honesty

A very gifted Preacher of the gospel.
A talented singer, too. His solemn rendition of the ‘Hallelujah’ song in one of his albums of yore remains evergreen. He is one of my all time favourites when it comes to evangelism on Radio.
He later left Catholicism for Pentecostalism, transforming from a priest in cassock to a suit-donning General Overseer.

I have never stopped listening to him on Radio. And I cannot stop listening to this firebrand Priest of the Almighty. Pastor Patrick Henry Edet is an oracle.

However, something is gradually giving him away as one who is yet to get over his exit from the Catholic Church. He wastes no opportunity to mention how he was hated by the Catholic authorities.

According to him, his gifts of “prophecy and miracles” elicited hate and envy from colleagues. He keeps alleging that the Catholic authorities stifled and haunted him.

Sir, your sojourn in the Catholic Church may have been bumpy, but for the sake of emulating Jesus Christ, I suggest that you let go of the past. Or, better still, keep such statements away from the Pulpit and Radio.

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You divided opinions in the fold. Many in the Catholic fold were in support of your modus operandi while others in fold revolted. It is on record that many Catholics left the church to join your new Ministry. Your generalization of the “hate” issue is therefore not a fair assumption.

Well, assuming without conceding to your claim, I wish to stress that no one has ever been loved by everyone. Even Christ was not loved by everyone. Friends envied him, disciples betrayed him, rulers of the world hated Him, even his family and hometown despised Him. In His birthplace, Bethlehem, his kith and kin are still waiting for a Messiah to crash-land from the skies; they do not believe that their son, Jesus, is the Messiah. His kindred are not even Christians.

On the issue of hate, Christ had this to say to His followers: “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. John 15:18, NLT”

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Permit me to add few more quotes from the Scriptures.
Luke 6:27-28 says: “…love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also.”

Romans 12:14 says: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

We are witnesses to sordid religious conflicts in Nigeria. Already there is an existing acrimony between some Catholics and members of your Church. Tension exists between the two Churches. I am seeing a crisis being kindled with words. I may not be a Prophet, however, caution must be applied. Yes, caution! Members of both churches have a role to play in dousing the tension. We first belonged to humanity, before religion separated us. Let’s not trade our humanity for religion.

May this tension not snowball into a conflagration.

Peace be still!

(Ofonime Honesty writes from Ibom Plaza in Uyo.)