Opening Session Of The 2020 Convention Of The Scripture Union
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE OPENING SESSION OF THE 2020 CONVENTION OF THE SCRIPTURE UNION, NIGERIA ON SATURDAY, 29TH AUGUST 2020
It really is a special pleasure to join you today in this 2020 Convention. I specially thank the leadership of the Scripture Union Nigeria for this very kind invitation. Let me specially salute our National Chairman, Prof. Madu Iwe, who is also Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State.
The Local Organizing Committee of this convention of the Scripture Union deserves our commendation for the hard work and innovation that holding this conference virtually has entailed. As you can see, they have surmounted every technical difficulty to make sure that from practically anywhere in Nigeria and in the world, we can participate in this very important convention. Very well done indeed.
I was intrigued by the theme of the conference “The Ancient Paths” because of its great relevance to where we are in the faith today and where we ought to be. Prophet Jeremiah wrote as follows:
“Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16)
There is no question in my mind what the ancient path is, and the good way is also clear. Jesus says, “I am the way” (just to paraphrase John 14:6). So, it is very clear that the good way is the way. So, walking in the good way, is simply living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When I was in school (secondary school) and you had high moral standards, you were called ‘an SU’ (the abbreviation for Scripture Union). Just as the disciples in Antioch were nicknamed Christians because everyone saw Christ in them so it was then that young men and women who were born again then were named after this organization, the Scripture Union.
So, those called SUs were people who shared the gospel with others and sought to win souls for Christ, they were often mocked but they didn’t ever seem to care. They were not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ even though it sounded like foolishness to many, they suffered persecution from fellow students and even school authorities.
They were clearly different from other people. They spoke differently. In their preaching, you heard about the death and resurrection of Christ, of salvation not by works but by Grace alone, of godly sorrow and repentance.
Those called SUs then were witnesses of the gospel and its power to transform lives. They took every opportunity to share the gospel; they went everyday fishing for souls; they prayed that the Lord would save souls through them. Many spent years praying for salvation for the souls of friends and loved ones who were not saved. And signs and wonders followed as they preached the word.
The gospel preached in its simplicity brought many to repentance, salvation, and transformed lives. They showed that Christianity is not a religion. That it is actually only about the saving grace of Jesus Christ; that Jesus Christ came to make a different plan for us. And that those who believe in the sacrifice that he made on the cross, where all of our sins were laid upon him, will be saved. And that those who believe will be saved by grace.
Today it is difficult to find men and women who are described as Christians by virtue of their behavior as the SUs in those days were described just by virtue of their behavior.
This is because of the gospel that people are hearing today. The gospel that made people answer the altar call is a different gospel that is being preached today.
A gospel that says that if you are in search of wealth, a husband, a wife, or promotion, give your life to Christ. Those saved by this type of message did not repent. They do not become fishers of men but of things, they came with a promise of prosperity for themselves, so it is rare to see them evangelizing.
The message they heard is incapable of transforming them because it is the wisdom of man not the wisdom of God. The message has no power because it is not the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, according to the scriptures in Romans 1:16.
The world seems very comfortable with itself but the way the gospel is preached today, it appears that we are not comfortable with ourselves. The gospel is a transforming word. The ancient path is very clear, we must go back to the preaching of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It may sound unglamorous or perceived as foolishness, but it is the power of God unto salvation. It has saved many, and it will continue to save millions. It is the only power that exists that can transform lives.
So, I will like to say to all of us today, that the work that we have today is very clear. It is the work of going back to the ancient times. Going back to the way, the truth and the life. It is time for us to do what it is that we have been called to do. To preach the gospel of love and of salvation.
I want to commend again, all of the organizers of this convention, and I want to say that we must continue to do the work and we must continue as hard as possible. I am so excited to see that the Scripture Union is growing from strength to strength.
It is now my very special pleasure to declare open this convention 2020.
God bless you and thank you very much.