By Joseph Bade Daramola Esq., CAN’s National Secretary
The attention of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has been drawn to an ungodly, wicked, insensitive and deliberately provocative advertisement of the Sterling Bank comparing the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to ‘Agege Bread’ amidst the Easter celebration.
In case the management of the Sterling Bank is not aware, the resurrection of Jesus witnesses to the immense power of God Himself. To believe in the resurrection is to believe in God. If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, then He has power to raise the dead. If He does not have such power, He is not worthy of our faith and worship. Only He who created life can resurrect it after death, only He can reverse the mystery that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting and gain the victory over the grave (1 Corinthians 15:54–55). In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death.
In the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, God put our punishment on Christ so that we could be justified before Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). The resurrection of Jesus confirms that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice for sin on the cross and gives us access to a right relationship with Him.
The empty tomb shows the supremacy of Jesus. Go to the grave of any other religious founder and his carcasses are still there being worshipped, but where Jesus was buried, it is boldly written; “He is no longer here, He has risen”! That is what we are celebrating at Easter and for Sterling Bank to compare it with a loaf of bread is blasphemous and insensitive to the religion embraced by billions of people globally. The advertisement was provocative but we will refuse to be provoked simply not only because it is not in our character, but it came from an uninformed mind of neither of the two leading religions in the country.
In the words of Pastor Adrian Rogers, “The resurrection is not merely important to the historic Christian faith; without it, there would be no Christianity. It is the singular doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions.”
The purported apology did not come from a penitent heart. How can someone in his right mind describe the risen Christ as a loaf of bread. That is insulting, ridiculous and a mockery of Jesus Christ. We advised Christians to be wary of the banks and other financial institutions they are patronising.
We learnt that the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has reportedly intervened in the matter with a view to impose some sanctions against Sterling Bank. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is waiting for the decision of the organisation.
However, in the interim, we call for the immediate removal of the Chief Executive of Sterling Bank; Mr. Abubakar Suleiman with his Management whose actions have clearly shown their hostility and hatred for the Christian faith.
We call on all Christians not to take the law into their hands in seeking redress, but to let the relevant authorities handle the matter.