[PHOTO] ‘Why I Dress Like Muslim Despite Being A Pastor,’ – Pastor Alabi
Pastor Nureni Alabi is one that cannot be missing in a Christian gathering due to his appearance as a Muslim Scholar. Having spent years as a Muslim before his encounter with Christ under Decross Gospel Mission founded by Evang. Ebenezer Obey, the passionate missionary tells his story in this exclusive interview withChinyere Abiaziem. Excerpts:
Can you talk more about who Pastor Nureni Alabi is?
I am the first child (son) of my father, Late Alhaji Lasisi Oyebanji Alabi; a former Treasurer in the old Western Region of Nigeria at Ibadan Municipal Council, Mapo. My mother was Late Alhaja Sariyu Alabi. I was born on a Tuesday, 19th April 1947 at Ile Alajiki Compound, Oke Oluokun in the ancient city of Ibadan. I attended St. David’s Primary School, Kudeti, Ibadan, Baptist Boys’ High School, Iwo, Ago Iwoye Secondary School,
Molusi College Ijebu Igbo and went to Yaba College of Technology where I obtained OND/HND in Mechanical Engineering. After my conversion I attended the West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS) from 2001 to 2004 and 2007 to 2009 for B.A. in Theology) and M.A. in Intercultural Studies respectively. Meanwhile, I was ordained in 2003 as a Pastor in Decross Gospel Ministries, where I personally assist the General Overseer, Evang. Obey on crusades and branches.
Please take note that, though I attended Christian missionary schools at elementary and secondary schools, I did not know Jesus. Probably because I was coming from a Muslim family but one thing was very clear these schools were the best in their community as at the time of my entrance and I know my father who happened to have graduated from Ibadan Grammar School wanted the best for me and other children. I am sure he must have been glad for me to have left the schools, especially my secondary school without any sign of conversion. In fact, after my Higher School Certificate (HSC) at Molusi College, Ijebu Igbo, I took up a teaching appointment at Ago Iwoye Secondary School where Bible Knowledge was added to my assignment to teach when the former teacher left. This is because I had a good grade in Bible Knowledge at WASC. Yet I did not know Jesus Christ.
Can you recall your journey of conversion?
I am from a predominantly Muslim family. My father was an Alhaji and my mother was an Alhaja. Before my conversion, I sent my wife to Mecca, who is now a Deaconess by the special grace of God. It may also interest you that all my children completed their Qur’anic education. At a particular stage in my life, I was seriously searching for God. I started learning Arabic so as to be able to read and understand Qur’an. All attempt made to engage my Imams failed because they felt that I won’t come to them again after my knowledge of Qur’an. When I changed accommodation I decided to have a new Imam but my spirit refused me. I heard a voice saying ‘you are yet to know me’. One day I was invited to Decross Gospel Mission on a Tuesday Service, 14th February 1995, where I heard the voice again saying ‘I am here’. This voice came when the altar call was made and I willingly came out to give my life to Christ as demanded. Since then I have followed Jesus through the mentoring of the General Overseer, Evang. Prof. Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi, Rev. JB. Odofin, Pastor Robert Adeagbo, the Registrar of Decross Institute of Ministries. I also had occasion to go on missions to various fields and attended conferences on the mission. This development helped me in my assignment on crusades. I must mention that my conversion caused a lot of reactions from my father and other family members who insisted I must renounce my new faith. However, God Almighty saw me through this turbulent period of my life. When it was exactly one year after my conversion, my wife followed me to the church and was also saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. Thereafter, all my children got saved in their individual institution of higher learning. Today my entire nucleus family is saved to the glory of God.
You still dress like a Muslim, despite being a Pastor?
Yes. I dress like a Muslim, though I am a Pastor so as to express my love for my brothers and sisters in Islam. The way I dress has nothing to do with my salvation. As long as you dress modestly you have not committed any sin. God looks at your heart as you relate to Him and not your dress. Christianity is a relationship and not a religion. Jesus said, whoever wants to worship God must worship Him in Spirit and in truth according to John chapter 4 verses 23 to 24.
You have authored some expository books based on the two religions-Christianity and Islam. Can you expatiate on the books and have you been able to achieve your purpose with the books?
Talking about the books I have authored, I must let you understand God was the author of these books. This is because He has always directed me on what to write when to write and also supplies materials to use etc. First of the books is ‘Jesus of the Holy Qur’an’. This book was my thesis at West Africa Theological Seminary for my B.A. (Theology). It was at this seminary I studied Qur’an and some part of Hadith (The sayings and character of Muhammed). In summary, what I did not know as a Muslim was exposed to me and I was strengthened in serving the Lord. Some of the truths I studied in the Qur’an are: a. Jesus is the Word of God (Sura 3:45); b. Jesus is the Spirit of God (Sura 4:171); c. Jesus is the Messiah (Sura 3:45); d. Jesus was born of a virgin (Sura 3:47); e. Jesus is a Sign and Mercy to the world (Sura 19:21; 2: 253); f. Jesus is a Miracle Worker (Sura 3: 49); g. Jesus ascended into heaven (Sura 3: 55); h. Jesus is the only Prophet that is pure and sinless and i. The return of Jesus is to come and deliver Judgment (Sura 43: 61).
These facts have never been presented to the world openly by clerics of Islam. The most critical one is the return of Jesus to the world for final Judgment as confirmed by Qur’an. This is known as ‘RAPTURE’ which the Christians are seriously waiting for. Only our Lord Jesus promised His followers mansions which He has gone to prepare for them. (Jn. 14: 1-6; Rev. 22: 12 -14). If anybody claims to know Jesus and does not accept Him as his or her Lord and Saviour, he or she has no place in paradise. There is no other time to confess Him and be saved than now.
The second book entitled ‘The Second Coming of Jesus According to Qur’an and Hadith’, gives a detailed account of how the Qur’an and the Hadith explain Jesus’ second coming, but badly distorted. However, the facts remain that all Muslims are also waiting for Jesus especially for Judgment day. The big question is how do you think He will judge those who do not follow Him, accepting Him as their Lord and Saviour?
‘The Islam That Christian Must Know’ is my third book and it gives the detailed practices of Islam with Jihad as its focus on both Qur’an and Hadith. The command can be found in the following passages of the Qur’an: Sura 8:12 – 17, 60. Sura 9: 5, 14. Sura 47: 4.
The point is, no one comes to the knowledge which we profess to worship through Jesus Christ and believes in the shedding of unbelievers will earn him or her paradise. This is the biggest lie and deceit of the devil. The book is written to alert as many as are really planning to be in Paradise to quickly make a paradigm shift to Jesus which is the only way, the truth and the life- John chapter 14 verse 6.
I can say to a much extent the books have helped both Muslims and Christians to know what the Qur’an and Hadith have in common with the Bible and many have given testimonies to being led to Christ.
Is Heaven for Christians alone? What if I am A Muslim or from any other faith but believe that Jesus is the Son of God, won’t I still make heaven?
It is only our Lord Jesus who said in John chapter 14 verses 1 to 4, that: ‘’ In my father’s house there are many mansions, If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you.” This promise is for the Christians only- that is those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. However, if any Muslim receives Jesus by confessing Christ as his or her Lord and Saviour, he or she is saved. After all, the sinner on the right hand of Jesus on the Cross was saved at the last hour as narrated in Luke Chapter 23 verses 39 to 43. But you cannot serve two masters. If you believe Jesus is the Son of God you must also take your cross and follow Him.
A Bishop recently said, Muslims are better than Christians on the premise that Christians discriminate, do not show love, even among one another and are denominationally biased. What is your view on this assertion?
The comment of the Bishop is personal. Probably he was referring to ‘wolves that are in sheep’s clothing’. As for genuine Christians, our righteousness and sanctification is progressive until the last day of Judgment. There is no way a Muslim can be better in the kingdom of Heaven. However, we know that majority of today’s believers have seriously derailed from the doctrine of Christianity preached and demonstrated by the apostles of old. But we should remember the ‘parable of the ‘Wheat and the Tares’ that explains the end of both. While the wheat will be harvested, the tares will be burnt by fire as seen in Matthew chapter 13 verses 24 to 30.
How much satisfied are you with the Christians and Churches of today?
There is no way any Christian who has the love of Christ for this nation can be happy with the present state of the church and Christians. No more fear of God. Sins are being committed with impunity. The only answer is to go back to God corporately, in our family and individual closet. May the Almighty God save us with His mercy in Jesus name. Amen.
Again some have argued that Christians are the problems of Nigeria. What is your take on this?
Yes, Christians or churches can be a major problem of our nation, Nigeria, in only one perspective. This is by allowing the ‘world’ that is lust of the flesh to take over the church. How we arrived at this junction in the history of the church is very embarrassing, ridiculous, and strange and totally demands immediate turning back to God our Maker for restitution and repentance. There is need for aggressive intercession for this nation. God says, ‘’If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.’’
Away from the church, it would be four years by the 14th of next month, when the Chibok girls were abducted in Borno State, as if that is not enough anguish, another school girls were recently taken away in Dapchi, Yobe State; do you doubt it is an evidence of a “failed government”, as some Nigerians and observers have alleged?
It is not only the missing Dapchi girls which the government has already apologised for. What of the massacre of human beings with impunity? What of other areas of Nigerians’ lives that are being destroyed daily? We only hear or read some in the media, how about many that are not reported? I repeat that we need to go back to God as a matter of urgency.
What is the way forward for Nigeria especially as we are looking forward to another year of election?
The way forward remains to make a U-turn, this time, back to God to choose our leaders at all levels for us. If we make any attempt to do this God will surely answer us and there will be joy again in this nation.