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Promoting peace, religious harmony

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Promoting peace, religious harmony

Title: Is the Kingdom of God for a Particular
Religion?
Author: Femi Takuro
Publisher: PRESSWORKS NIG. LTD
Year of Publication: 2017
Pages: 66
Reviewer: Tony Okuyeme

Femi Takuro’s undertaking to write this book undoubtedly shows his commitment to not only interrogate the burning issue of religious extremism, but significantly underscores the fact that no religion – ancient or modern – encourages the killing of human beings for whatever reason, but promotes peace.
Takuro is the Senior Pastor of Praiseheights Christian assembly, Lagos, with many years of ministration in God’s vineyard. He has deep passion for intercession, mentoring, counseling and good neighbourliness.
In “Is The Kingdom of God for a Particular Religion?”, the author examines the concept and doctrines of the various religions, their doctrinal similarities, and striking differences. The 66-page book, divided into 13 chapters, references and profile, is a timely intervention against the backdrop of increasing cases of religious extremism, intolerance and terrorism.
Chapter, which is the introduction, looks at religious intolerance which has led to the killings and destruction of monumental proportion that has almost brought governments across the world to their knees.

The author notes, “For ages, mankind has been embroiled and enmeshed in innumerable wars and persecution because of self-righteousness, lust for power, unbridled arrogance and religious intolerance.”
Indeed, prior to now, it was the Jihadist and the Crusaders against the ‘unbelievers’. Today, there are the Taliban, Al-Qaida, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Boko Haram, among others against both the orthodox Muslims and Christians.
“Everyone wants to show that his or her religious belief is superior and should be the accepted norm.”

So, Is the Kingdom of God for a Particular Religion? The essence of this book, the author notes, is to ascertain whether the propagation of the message of the kingdom of God or the salvation of mankind is the exclusive preserve of a particular religion or sect or for the whole mankind. And if not, what is the raison d’etre of the prevailing arrogance and intolerance and what actions can be taking, individually and collectively, to ensure and encourage peaceful cohabitation with one another.”
In Chapters 2, the authors explains the concept of the kingdom of God, which he notes, is spiritual, the acknowledgement of the sovereignty and rulership of the Creator of the Universe – the Almighty God in the lives and affairs of mankind and the belief that it is only those who live in accordance with His divine laws and statutes that will abide with Him eternally. It is neither political nor materialistic but a manifestation of the authority and the power of God in the lives of true believers who will be beneficiaries and inhabitants of God’s kingdom in the end of their earthly sojourn. The author also enumerated qualification for the kingdom of God, which, he emphasised, is not dependent on the individual’s academic or intellectual achievements or social status. The qualification include, being truly born again; with Christ-like attitude, that is honest, humble, forgiving, loving, compassionate and kind, among others; faithful and obedient to God’s word.

True worship, as the author, also notes, is beyond ceremonial actions, activities and outward display of piety. “It is all encompassing and must be sincere and genuine from deep reverence for the Almighty God and the creator of human kind… Every Kingdom bound candidate must shun sinful ways. Repentance from sin is not sufficient but total abstinence from sin after repentance is a sine qua non to access the Kingdom of God.”
Chapter 3 examines the essence of the teaching of some major religions of the world, vis-à-vis their relevance to the Kingdom of God. These religion – Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, as well as Shintoism, Confucianism, Taoism, like the predominantly local religions, which are of African origin such as Sango, Ifa, Olokun, Ovia, Amadioha, Gunki, and many others, also believe in the supreme God which is called different names in their various languages.
Similarities in doctrines, is the focus of chapter 4. Here, the author looks at the similarities in the various religions, notably, concept and name of God; spiritual knowledge of God; morals; peaceful coexistence; Holy book; salvation and afterlife.

Regardless of these seeming similarities, there are some striking differences which are often the basis of serious contention among the adherents of the different religions.
However, the emphasis here is focus on the similarities and not the differences.
Takuro notes, “a careful examination and understanding of the fundamental nature and basis of the doctrines of these major religions show that regardless of the different concepts of these religions, the similarities should breed unity, tolerance and love, and there should not be any reason for destruction of properties, lives, maiming and hostility if truly we believe in the same God regardless of the difference.”

He also noted that people should unite for their belief in one God, and that the “choice and responsibility of discerning the right and true path to heaven/paradiseis a matter of choice which should not be by force, coercion, terrorism, or threat of annihilation or death but by love and committed show of compassion and encouragement. The final decision rests on an individual.”

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