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The debate has been on for a long time on the Church of God celebrating St. Valentine’s day that has come to be known as Lovers day. Supporters of the move believe that it has Christian origin, it is about Love and so it has to be recognized. While those who oppose the idea believe that though it could have Christian origin but it is worldly and the content is not dictated by the Bible. The views are as different as they are strong. Elifeonline speaks with a cross section of Africans on what they think of the creeping of the event into the Church. Excerpts from different responses from Africans across Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia and South Africa.
| I don’t celebrate Valentine. Its not Godly. As Christians, we need to celebrate the love of Christ. We don’t celebrate Valentine in church and we have no programmes to commemorate that day. We celebrate the love of Christ in God always. No friend will give his life for his friend but Jesus did. “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends- John 15:13- Let us celebrate Christ love. Always. So be it !
* Bishop Bassey Inyang,
I think the church is really in a dilemma of trying to be contemporarily relevant and we dont seem to know this.Why should the church always want to turn a worldly/idolatory (Christmas/Valentine) event to organise programme.
This Valentine falls on Sundays and I heard that some churches are making it big by wearing red colours and even having red decorations. I wish those churches would do something like couples day or seminar for singles without the paraphernalia of Valentine day. It is even worse when Valentine does not even fall on a Sunday. Has the church taken enough interest to preach about the love of God which is the pure agape love and teach on how this love can translate to loving ourselves? May God help the church to rediscover the reason for her existence.
Many new generational churches are deeply involved in this because they have a large followership of youth. These youth now goes out to entirely something different from the practice of God-kind of love. The day we church leaders realise that it is dangerous to pattern our program or service after the world system, the better for us.
Bishop Olusola Ore,
PFN Chairman, Lagos state.
| I do not see love as a one day celebration. I see love as everyday thing of life. Where husband should be able to show his sincere and true love and the wife also reciprocating. Celebration of love should be extended to churches but that of Valentine’s day sounds Idol. We should not idolized love in churches where love is show through colour of clothes you wear and taking your partners out once in a year is fake. We should celebrate love everyday. I know a couple in my former Parish who wears the same types of clothes for 365days, yet divorced at the end. Love is inner thing that can not fade but when it becomes colour, it can fade.
* Babatunde Adetoro,
| I cant imagine us celebrating Valentine day or whatever in Church. That we should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers settles it. Must we go hand in hand with world? Friend to the world is enmity unto God. I personally will not join in celebrating Valentine. What happens to the heroes of faith like John, Peter, Paul? Are we to worship them then? Love to me should be a daily thing and not the idolatrous way of celebrating immoralities on Feb 14.
Francis Eniola Omole.
| In my opinion, the church should not treat Val’s day as special but should preach love always. Even amongst couples, that shouldn’t be the only day special to show love but it should be always. Even if it should be celebrated in church, it shouldn’t be to the extent of the church dressing up in red, decorating in red and white and so on. Yes we should as a church be cognizant of what is happening in the world, but we should relate to it in a positive Christ-like way. God will show us the way the truth and the light.
* Olubunmi Omikorede Olusegun.
Teacher. Kola-Alagbado, Lagos.
Valentine Day is given unnecessary attention because the church has lost the focus and essence of love. Haven given little attention to reality, trivia pursuit in the name of valentine celebration now seems honorable. The difference between valentine and God driven love is that one is temporal the other permanent. One is like chasing shadow, the other is real life mode. We don’t do things because it’s popular. We do it because it’s godly. And godliness is not driven by emotion.
* Tim Olonade,
El Rehoboth Ministry, Jos Nigeria.
| Valentine day can be celebrated in Church amongst married couples only. They can organize a special dinner for them. The church can further celebrate valentine by showing love to their neighbours. Helping the homeless by feeding them and preaching the gospel. Visiting the sick. I agree, it is not in the Bible. So is Christmas celebration. The only thing Christ said we should do in remembrance of Him is the Lord’s Supper and the Great Commission. I think we just need to use wisdom in all things. Not to encourage the young ones to celebrate it carnal. Fornication is a sin so it should be for married couples.
* Omobolanle Lonfidipe
I think a balance should be struck. The truth is whether we encourage the celebration of Valentine in Churches or not,most Church goers will go on dates, receive and exchange gifts and join in the celebration in various ways. What some churches do and which I agree with is to teach its members (by organising programmes on Feb 14th) the true meaning of love and the greatest Love of all, which is the Love of God. Some churches even organise their valentine progs in the evening, to stop their youth from going out on sinful dates.
However, this is no reason to encourage members to celebrate this day, as there is no biblical backing of Valentine’s day and every day should be marked with showing love in every way possible. Most of the programmes organised by churches on this day are variety loaded, aside talks on relationship, questions and answers on the right way to handle relationships, the Love of God, etc. This is to encourage people to spend this day in the house of God, rather than in ungoldly places or doing ungoldly things. I think this is the best way to handle the situation, rather than pretend the day doesn’t exist.
* Toyin Oyedeji,
Lecturer, Lead City University, Ibadan.
Valentine day celebration is one of the best ways to celebrate a romantic moment with ones love. I highly encourage celebrating it ion the church. The scripture support it. The highest order of all things to be love (1st Corinthians 13 vs 13). More so, the scripture has made us know that God Himself is love which means we must encourage and ensure strong love even among one another in Christendom (1st John 4:8,16).
Valentine day should not be seen as the name of its originator itself (St.Valentine) What the church should consider most is without love amongst the brethren, the church can never grow or be unite in preaching the gospel. God is love.
* Olori Agarau,
Thank you for giving this opportunity to contribute to this. I strongly believe that Valentine should be celebrated in Church. God is Love. Valentine connotes Love. There are lots of ways of doing this that will promote love the more in Church for example: the youth can host a dinner at church for couples of all ages, complete with performances by youth. Choose a few of the couples in the Church who have been married the longest asking them to share their experiences. How they got engaged, how God has worked in their marriages, and advice for younger couples. The church can also be engaged in a study of what God says about love in the Bible. Once again I say thank you.
* Matthew Olaniyan,
Deputy Director (ICT),
Center for Management Development, Abuja .
Val celebrations in churches or everywhere is a good idea as far as it is celebrated in a matured way, ost especially the couples and those preparing to get marry. Let us show the world love still exist not on vals day only. Everyday we show love to the widows, to teach our young ones how to love not sex. Some people are against val celebrations in churches because it has been construed as another period of sleeping together especially among the youth, which is wrong. Val means showing care and neighbourliness.
* Abiodun Adegboro,
Its not advisable to celebrate the so called Valentine in the church because its a worldly celebration. If people celebrate Jesus Christ the way they celebrate Valentine, it could have been better. But Valentine must not be encouraged in the Church.
* Ogunsakin Olayemi Smart,
teacher, Abule ijoko, Ifo LG, Ogun State.
Valentines day should not be celebrated by Christians because its not a biblical. The celebration of it features lawlessness and immorality especially which do not edify Christ .
According to history, Valentine has been celebrated to honour the old saint Valentine (late) who was said to be very kind, generous & lovable. When St Valentine died, Feb 14 was set aside to honour him and it was dedicated as a lover’s day in which people show love to each other by exchanging gifts. But is the valentine we are celebrating today in line with the original plan? The meaning has been bastardize, many pple (especially the young generation) see it as a day to express their feelings and emotions in a manner of sexual lottery. Its not surprising to see a huge turn out in hotels, recreation gardens and cinemas on that day. Valentine has become a day when proposals are made, innocent young girls are disvirgined and sometimes marriage vows are broken.
Should we then say that Valentine celebration should be introduced in the church? You might say ‘yes’ in order to show love, but the fact is, there should not be any special day for you to express and show love to others. Teenagers & youths should be well informed about the atrocities that are been performed on the said valentine days, many destinies have been destroyed & many dreams shattered all because of few hours of enjoyment, youths have illicit sex, even the married ones are not left out.
* Tayo-Daramola Omobolanle
|In my opinion, the Church should not be involved into what and how Valentine’s day is celebrated. This is because the celebration has become a thing of the World. There are different dimensions attached to sexuality of people in the society nowadays. The gay people, lesbianism, same sex marriages etc. are problems facing the Church of today. The Church in some continents have different meanings as to what love is and who to share it with. The Church should only continue to encourage and use available opportunities to preach the true love which incidentally is not what is been professed on the Valentine’s day.
Finally, I will advise the Church to continue with her evangelism mission towards the people and continue to help the widows and the poor in achieving her role in the society rather than embellishing herself in a war she is unlikely to win.
* Yomi Fowode,
It will be so disheartening, if the Church of today celebrate Valentine love more than the Love of Christ. If we are talking about celebrating people, l think, celebrating the God in people should be more pivotal than celebrating mere mortal. Don’t get me wrong, we can appreciate what people are doing, but not to the extent of exalting men above God. The Church at this time should watch it and do all not to lose focus and follow after the lust of the eyes, that of the flesh and the pride of life.
What do we see on Valentine ‘s day today, we see people engaging in all manner of sinful acts in the name of showing love. But in the beginning, it was not so. I think there is no true love anywhere outside God. While I don’t condemn those who celebrate Valentine day, at the same time, l stand by the point that whatever any mortal being does to help others today, should only serve as a motivation and inspiration for others to do more and not to make another god out of them.
* Pastor Isaac Olujobi –
PINNACLE OF FAITH INT’L, Suleja – Abuja.
Thanks for this privilege sir. I believe that the celebration of Valentine’s Day in some churches is a sad reminder of how the world has moved into the church, and how the church has become more like the world.
No church with a solid child evangelism department and an active youth development programme would use Valentine’s Day celebration as a way to celebrate love. Unfortunately many churches have no solid Bible study programme and many Pastors are not sufficiently grounded in sound Christian doctrine to be able to provide a barometer for living to all groups in the church, including the young people.
Churches bereft of ideas surrender to the world in so many ways – commercialism instead of holiness, positive confession instead of faith, prayers of fear instead of prayers of faith, instinctive boldness instead of submission to the Holy Spirit. The spirit of Valentine as celebrated today is the spirit of debauchery, unguarded and promiscuous sex, and celebration of fornication, adultery and ‘free sex’ . All these are evils the church should preach against. We must never be seen to be associated with such celebration of the devil’s agenda.
* Pastor Godwin E Morka,
Public Servant, Abuja.
I believe that Valentine’s Day should be celebrated in Church, with the exclusion of the worldly ways of celebrating it. I think ministers should use this medium to explain why God is Love. 1 Corinthians 13, explains a lot about the kind of love we need to have towards one another.
What’s the point to spending thousands of Naira over celebrating love in churches, when we would not even pay close attention and help the less privileged in churches.
What is the point of husband and wife coming to church all dressed up in white and red, when they have just finished WW III at home. Ministers of God should use the importance of preaching love and ways you can show it, with this knowledge, love would automatically flow into broken homes, mend relationships, and help us be a better brother and sister’s keeper.
* Lola Ojo-Otele,
Student, Medical Imaging School,
Providence, Rhode Island. US.
Thank you for the opportunity to air my views on this issue of Valentine celebration in churches. Answering your questions. I like to shear with u the little story i read about St Valentine and I hope u post for people to read and learn. Flowers, candy, red hearts and romance. That’s what Valentine’s day is all about, right? Well, maybe not. The origin of this holiday for the expression of love really isn’t romantic at all — at least not in the traditional sense. Father Frank O’Gara of Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, tells the real story of the man behind the holiday — St. Valentine. “He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that particular time,” Father O’Gara explains. ” He also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.” “I think we must bear in mind that it was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived,” says Father O’Gara. “Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together. And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. But obviously the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for their life and that it was to be encouraged. And so it immediately presented the problem to the Christian church of what to do about this.” “The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict.” Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison. “One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.” In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.” “What Valentine means to me as a priest,” explains Father O’Gara, “is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life upon the line for what you believe. And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that — even to the point of death.” Valentine’s martyrdom has not gone unnoticed by the general public. In fact, Whitefriars Street Church is one of three churches that claim to house the remains of Valentine. Today, many people make the pilgrimage to the church to honor the courage and memory of this Christian saint. “Valentine has come to be known as the patron saint of lovers. Before you enter into a Christian marriage you want some sense of God in your life — some great need of God in your life. And we know, particularly in the modern world, many people are meeting God through his Son, Jesus Christ.” “If Valentine were here today, he would say to married couples that there comes a time where you’re going to have to suffer. It’s not going to be easy to maintain your commitment and your vows in marriage. Don’t be surprised if the ‘gushing’ love that you have for someone changes to something less “gushing” but maybe much more mature. And the question is, is that young person ready for that?” “So on the day of the marriage they have to take that into context,” Father O’Gara says. “Love — human love and sexuality is wonderful, and blessed by God — but also the shadow of the cross. That’s what Valentine means to me.”
I hope with this little story I have been able to answer your question as to why Valentine’s day should be celebrated in the church. Thanks!
* Durojaiye Abimbola,
Yes , I think Valentine should be celebrated in churches. If the church doesn’t celebrate love on Vals day, the world will teach us and our kids their own kind of love, which goes along with sex, heart breaks, etc. Let’s not forget that the church would focus on the Agape love, which is the greatest form of love. We are in this world but not of this World, that’s why there’s a way we behave in the kingdom. We can get Radical for Christ while celebrating Val in church. It’s all about Agape love.
* Ogbedobor Modupe Oluwaseyi,
Valentine is now in the church with the main excuse that it was a Catholic priest who was the originator of the day. I really wished this is not part of the church but it is not so.
I have observed something that is a bit worrying. Some churches are now organizing Valentine events in their churches, just to stop their youth from going to other sinful events in town. The fear is that failure to keep them busy in church that day means freedom to explore the world, with the resultant consequences like date rape, pregnancy, abortion, etc.
This actually shows how the standard of Christianity has fallen, to the extent that some churches can no longer trust their youth singles to control themselves. Clearly, something is wrong with the body of Christ now. So in as much as I have a problem with this event being part of the church, it looks like, it is a lesser of two evils.
So if it is going to be celebrated in the church, then the concept must be defined to fit clearly in the standards of holiness. We have no business doing some of the things that the worldly people are doing, which eventually promotes lust in the hearts of the youth. This calls for the leading of the spirit, to organize spirit fill events in churches. If we are going to have Valentine in the church, then we must not cause people to spend money to buy new red and white clothes just for a day’s event.
* Eben Asare-Boafo,
|The celebration of Val’s day should be encouraged in church because of its positive effects. In life generally, the motive of doing something is very important. Therefore, people should have the positive motive of its celebration in the church. The people should first and foremost understand d motive of celebrating Valentines’ day in church so as to help prepare their minds for positive change. I will encourage that church of nowadays should celebrate it so as to reflect on God’s constant love for mankind John 3:16. And that there is no greater love in this world than accepting God’s love.
* ADEWARA JUMOKE F.,
Oro, Kwara State.
|Both Christmas and Valentine days have idolatrous roots and were initially banned by the church. Subsequent generations consider such celebrations as a consciousness and public awareness of the faith they profess. There is no doubt all sorts of abuse and commercialisation have been put into all these events. The truth still remains ‘ For God So Love The World That He Gave His Only Begotten Son, That Whosoever Believe Shall Not Perish, But Have Everlasting Life. Let’s celebrate this love in Christmas and Valentine days.
* Michael Adunade,
Christ Covenant family and Prophetic Church,
Isheri, Magodo, Lagos.
Valentine day should be encouraged in our churches with this few points of mine
1.Because it is a unique opportunity to honor the One who first loved us by offering to others God’s love–as recorded in the Bible John 3:16. Without the love of God where would we be?
2. It is the commandment of God according to 1john 1:1-5 so we must show it to everybody. If we as Christians don’t celebrate this day in our churches, the outsiders will celebrate and 90% of the people you will see there will be our Christian brothers and sisters. Why the hypocrisy? Hence these men of God dim it fit to organise this program in the church to learn of about love in Godly way which can benefit both the married and the single.
Hon Daniel Adebola Adewara
The original reasons for the celebration is good, however, like many other celebrations, many people are using the opportunity to carry out many sinful acts. Valentine should not be stopped, but educate our youth on the true reason for its celebration. They don’t need to commit sin to enjoy any festive season.
* Ibitayo Oguntayo,
| I honestly don’t believe that Valentine should be part of the strange doctrines that have, over the years, crept into the way we practise out religion. As a Christian, I know that God asks us to love one another. That love is not time bound. It is an endless reality that projects out humanity and which also binds us together. Setting aside a special day to show love to few persons or even to our suitcases is a no for me. If we want to join the bandwagon Effect, let’s do for the mere reason that it has become a fad.
* Yomi Odunuga,
|Like many of the World’s major celebrations, St.Valentines Day is an annual observance with its roots entrenched firmly in pagan beliefs and custom. The World Book “Encyclopedia tells us regarding Valentine’s Day; as a customer connected with the day….. probably come from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia ,which took place every February 15th. The festival honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and pan, the god of nature” (1973,vol.20,page 204.) For the people of ancient Rome, the festival of Lupercalia was an annual ritual believed to ward off evil spirits and increase fertility. Lupercalia also known as Februato, from which comes the month of February was popular among many of the new converts to the fast raising Catholic church. From the perspective above, Valentine’s Day Celebrations should not be encouraged in churches, according to the Book of Deuteronomy 12:29-32″ When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to disposses…do not inquire after their gods,saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise. You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods… whatever I command you,be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it “. Though the then practices of Lupercalia have been repackaged and dressed up in the form of Valentine’s Day Celebrations.
* Olamide Modupeola Grillo-Giwa,
| The craze about Vals day is devilish. The youth see it as a period to indulge is all forms of immorality. The religious circles have embraced it, setting love teachings and seminars. Well for the fact that something has been on for a long time that doesn’t make it truth.
I hear it is called lovers day. Is it in the bible? The bible should be our standard.
The church should not delve into what God did not ask it to do. The world is becoming churchy and the church becoming worldly. Whatever would not give life, whatever is not breathed, whatever is not in the Word, I do not subscribe or agree to it.
* Apostle Ugochukwu,
| There are so many secular practices that have crept into the church. One of such is Valentine.
Valentine and all that comes with it are said to be idolatrous, because of its history. However people are beginning to “Christianise” it.
Coming to the church, am going to be ministering to at least a congregation of not less than five hundred on Sunday. Rather than allow our youth to go out experimenting LOVE, SEX and it’s related matters, bring them together, talk with them in their own language. Let them ask you questions and answer them correctly.
Whether we like it or not, the world is already in the church. All pastors have to deal with it wisely. Even the dance in the church is no longer different from the street dance.
My advice to pastors is do all your best to let your members know the difference.
* Pastor Brenda Ademoroti,
Sex and Relationship Advisers.
Val celebration should be allowed in the church because of the Youth to be able to hear from the pastor the biblical meaning/way of showing Love of God. If not, majority will not be in the church, get worldly orientation about it from unbelievers which will derail them from truth.
* Ajayi Olubunmi,
The hallmark of Christianity is love and no day is complete for Christians without love. We are supposed to show love on daily basis to all and sundry.Valentine day in itself is not wrong but the practise and the orientation is what’s wrong. People choose Val partners’ and indulge in sexual activities all in the name of celebrating Valentine.This is wrong!
When Christians choose to do the right thing on that day then its still in line with biblical injunctions.If churches plan programs to educate or evangelize people on that too its not out of place. What will amount to sin will be what we do that day and our intentions behind any program we out organize that day.
Co-founder Watershed Christian Ministry.
| Coincidentally the val celebration falls on a Sunday this year. The pastor can use this medium to preach true love to the congregation. But what happens when it falls on other week days is another ball game. In all totality, val should not be brought into the church. We are at liberty to organize a parallel program that will engage our youths so that they will not go the way of the world for that period. Love should be celebrated every day. Jesus did not set a day aside to tell us of his love for us. The Love Jesus demonstrated for us is by giving his life for our life not in wanton celebration of fornication and adultery, and inordinate affections in the name of love. Love doesn’t have any other color but giving. I have been caught in the web when I was younger so I know what I am talking about. This my view anyway.
* Pastor Kenny Onipede,