NOTE: I got back from Nigeria a couple of days ago. As usual our website and even this List were under attack while I was away. It is the most amazing thing. The attacks almost always coincide with my trips away. Thankyou to those of you who prayed and also sent encouragement to my poor embattled wife. Everything is fixed now - but I thank you for the patience and kindness that the vast majority of you displayed. My Nigeria trip was certainly an eye-opener, as you will see from my report below: NIGERIA and "PROSPERITY" -by Andrew Strom. How do I begin to describe Nigeria? Firstly, by honoring a truly beautiful people who will dance and sing and shout "Hallelujah" at the drop of a hat - and whose brilliant smiles never fail to light up the night. Nigerian roads are another story. They are a kind of intricately synchronized apocalypse that never quite happens. Ancient beat-up taxi-vans roar down the highways, avoiding elephant- size potholes and weaving in and out of traffic at will. You feel inches from a dozen collisions yet emerge astonishingly unscathed. Horns toot, goats bleat, people run across in front of cars, giant diesel emissions seem to blot out half the Atlantic seaboard, and yet somehow the great crunch never arrives. It is another of Nigeria's many miracles that I am still struggling to comprehend. We spent our first week outreaching amongst the Ijebu people in the villages of Southern Nigeria. This is a somewhat "forgotten" region and has some of the worst poverty and oppression in the land. Witchcraft and Islam still have significant strongholds. But the people seemed to receive the gospel gladly. And of course, healings and deliverances were common in most places. I was amazed at the young Christian workers. They would put up with any hardship - walking for miles, sleeping on hard earthen floors with no food and little water, to see the gospel spread to another village. If we had more young warriors like them in America, I'm sure we could see the nation won back to God in a heartbeat. The "PROSPERITY" MESSAGE And now, the disturbing part. To say the prosperity/ Hyper-faith message is "ingrained" in Nigerian Christianity is to grossly understate things. It is the "orthodoxy" of the land. Indeed, if you speak to even mature believers questioning it, they will look at you with the most uncomprehending blankness. It's not that they strongly disagree. It's just that they have never even considered the possibility that there may be an opposing viewpoint. -Which is quite scary, because Nigeria is home to some of the largest churches in the world. All through Lagos you see billboards advertising "power", 'favor', and miracles. Churches are called things like "Winner's Chapel" and "Success Arena". There is an absolute obsession with this stuff. It is like TBN on steroids. I spent much of my time in the leaders' conferences pointing out that this message is the exact opposite of the cross. -That the cross brings us to death, brokenness and repentance before "resurrection" - whereas this "power and success" gospel actually bypasses the cross in many ways. -It is all about going "up" - instead of down onto our faces before a holy God. It is the very opposite of true Revival preaching - or the preaching of the apostles. Sin becomes a secondary issue - compared with "what I can get out of it". Happiness becomes more important than holiness. Despite some blank looks, some headway was made in preaching these things. But honestly - they need a lot more of it. There is still a great hunger and openness to the truths of God in places like Nigeria. But they have been immersed in poisonous distortions from the West for so long. A lot of this is OUR fault. We are broadcasting our cheap, selfish "what can I get out of it?" gospel to the whole earth. Only in a place like Nigeria does it become obvious what we are doing to the Christianity of the world. We are poisoning God's Revivals and spreading error on a mass scale. What is God to do with you, America? Will He stand by forever and let us soil the garments of His bride worldwide? One thing that the leaders can clearly see in Nigeria when you talk to them about it, is the need for a sweeping Revival of Righteousness in the land. This is a key point of agreement. Despite years of miracles and power, and despite all the millions who now name Christ, they freely admit that in Nigeria sin and corruption remain dominant. In fact, Nigeria is ranked as one of the top 20 most corrupt nations in the world - including it's "Christian" areas. That's what happens when you place all your emphasis on power and miracles, yet so little on REPENTANCE. But Nigeria has a lot of good things in place - which make it ripe for such a move of Righteousness. -They are given to a lot more PRAYER than in the West, they are a lot more spiritually HUNGRY than Western Christians, and they value powerful preaching by the Holy Spirit. I truly feel Nigeria is ripe for Revival. But somewhere she must find PROPHETS OF REPENTANCE. In fact, if it is one nation that needs "John the Baptists" at this moment it is Nigeria - even more so than the USA, I feel. May God raise up such preachers in that land before it is too late. What is needed is TRAINING and TEACHING - more than anything else. It really makes you wonder about a lot of other Revival nations as well. What is the exact impact that our sick Western doctrines are having in these places? And just how much harm are we actually doing to these Revivals? -Scary thoughts. All in all, an eye-opening and powerful trip. Thankyou so much for your prayers, my friends. God bless you all. Andrew Strom.