THE General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Enock Adeboye, has said that he never asked Christians to buy guns for self-defence.
But he renewed his call on Nigerian Christians to defend themselves against attackers.
The cleric advised that Christians can acquire less dangerous weapons for self-defence when they come under attack.
Adeboye, who spoke in a sermon on Sunday, was responding to reactions that trailed an earlier message in which he asked Christians to defend themselves against frequent attacks on churches in Nigeria.
In the earlier message on Friday at his church’s Holy Ghost Service, Adeboye said God did not stop Christians from engaging in self-defence when under attack.
“I don’t want to say much because I know whatever I say, some people may want to twist it. But I’ve searched the Bible from cover to cover, and there is nowhere in the Bible where God said a child of God could not defend himself.
“If you find the place, let me know. If they slap you on the right cheek, turn the left. If they now slap the left, what did He say? When God is silent, do you know the meaning of that? It simply means over to you.
“Every enemy of the church, as long as my Father is still on the throne, as long as Jesus lives, as long as His name is the consuming fire, if they don’t repent, the fire of God will consume them.
“I’m not talking to everybody; I’m only talking to my children,” he said in the earlier message.
But in his latest sermon on Sunday, the pastor said he did not ask Christians to buy guns.
In the message titled ‘Meant for the top’, he said: “I never asked Christians to buy guns. You didn’t hear that from me.
“Moving with God, Samson never fought with guns. He fought with the jawbone of an ass. Don’t go and buy guns. They won’t give you permission. But you don’t need permission to buy a jawbone of a cow.”
He said the best way to teach children self-defence was to get a jawbone of a cow and show them how to use it.
“Don’t buy guns. You don’t have to kill anybody. We want to make sure that unwanted visitors don’t come to our churches.”
But it is unclear how the churches will confront gunmen who use sophisticated weapons.
Adeboye’s message came 29 days after gunmen, which the Nigerian government said were members of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP), attacked St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, killing dozens and injuring many.
Following increasing insecurity in Nigeria, especially the North-West region, Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle called on residents of the state to arm themselves for self-defence. He also asked the state police command to issue gun licences to those who are willing and able to defend themselves.
But the Nigerian government, through the Army, frowned at the call.
In late June, five United States (US) Senators implored the President Joe Biden administration to redesignate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern over recurrent attacks on churches in the country.
Senators Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio, Mike Braun, James M. Inhofe and Tom Cotton made the call in a letter addressed to Secretary of the US Department of State Anthony Blinken.