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Rufus Okikiolaolu Olubiyi Ositelu

African Instituted Churches

Diversities, Growth, Gifts, Spirituality
and Ecumenical Understanding
of Mrican Initiated Churches

Rufus Okikiolaolu Olubiyi Osltelu

African Instituted Churches

Beitrage zur Missionswissenschaft und
Interkulturellen Theologie

berausgegeben von

Theo Sundermeier und Dieter Becker

Band 18

Gedruckt mit Unterstiitzung
der Deutschen Gesellschaft flir Missionswissenschaft (DGM)

Die Deutsche Bibliothek - CIP-Einheitsaufnahme

Ositelu, Rufus Okikiolaolu Olubiyi:

African Instituted Churches: Diversities, Growth, Gifts, Spirituality and Ecumenical
Understanding of African Initiated Churches / Rufus Okikiolaolu Olubiyi Ositelu. -
Hamburg : LIT, 2002
(Beitrage zur Missionswissenschaft und interkulturellen Theologie ; 18)
ISBN 3-8258-6087-6

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"To Him
Who loves us and has freed us
from our sins by His blood,
and has made us to be
a kingdom and priests
to serve
His God and Father-
to Him be glory and power
for ever and ever! Amen. "
(Rev. 1:5-6; NIV)

to my parents, they are -
"the pride oftheir children. "
(Proverbs 17:6; NIV)

to my wife-
"She is worthfar more than rubies. "
(Proverbs 31: 10; NIV)

to my children, they are -
"like olive shoots"
around my table.
(Psalm 128:3; NIV)

I Introduction 13
11 God in African Belief 17
III Christianity and Islam in Africa 21
IV Christianity in Modem Africa 29
V African Independent Church Movements 37
VI African Instituted Churches Healing Ministry 43
VII Criticism of African Instituted Churches 49
VIII AICs Contributions to the World Church 61
IX Aladura Church Movement 67
X The AICs in the Diaspora 71
XI Organization of African Instituted Churches 79
XII All Africa Conference of Churches 83
XIII Other African Churches 85
XIV The Revival of 1930 115
XV An African Prophet of God -
Iosiah Olunowo Ositelu 119
XVI An African InitiatedlInstituted Church -
The Church of The Lord (Aladura) 127
XVII The Tabieorar Festival 137
XVIII The Church's Constitution 163
XIX Divine Appointments of New Primates 171
XX Organisation of the Church 175
XXI Expansion of the Church 185
XXII Doctrine and Practices 189
XXIII Summary 199
XXIV Article of Faith 203
XXV CL(A) in the Press 205
XXVI Conclusion 213
Bibliography 215
Notes 227


The author and the publisher are grateful to all those who contributed in one way
or the other to the success of this project.

A special grateful expression of indebtedness must be made to my personal

assistant Pastor Kayode Ayodele, who with his customary diligence and
cheerfulness typed most part of the whole work.

I am grateful to all my colleagues, 'brothers' and 'sisters' in Europe, Africa and

America who have in one way or the other contributed to this study.

I am very grateful to Professor Or. Theo Sundermeier who took time off his busy
schedule to write the Foreword. I also want to thank Benjamin Simon for sharing
his views and experience on this subject with me.

I am extremely grateful to my wife Barbara and my children, especially

Alexander who helped in typing part of the manuscript. I appreciated all the
support that I received from them.

Above all, I am eternally grateful to God for seeing me through from the
beginning to the end of this work. May His name be glorified in my life for ever
more. Amen.


"You have dialogs with the Jews, with the Muslims, and many other groups, but
there is no contact to the African churches here" so recently a church colleague
complained on a synod in The Netherlands. The same complaint could be made
in Germany. Africans, Christians from Asia and Africa at all, are scarcely to be
found in our services and congregations. Koreans, and Japanese as well, organize
themselves in their own congregations if they live together in larger
communities, as they do in the Rhineland. Till now, we have hardly noticed that
also in our country homeless African Christians are joining in independent
congregations, live their faith in vivid services and are missionarily active. Some
of these congregations are re-establishments in Germany, some of them are
subsidiaries of African Independent Churches. In Africa there are such so-called
independent churches primarily since the turn to the 20 th century. Within the
thirties these churches remarkably boomed. Today they are some of the most
quickly increasing churches. There is a continuing debate how to evaluate them,
both in ethnologic-religious presentations and in those written from
missiological standpoint~
They have been judged as syncretistic sects by which the "heathendom" returns
into Christianity; they have been considered as separation churches which have
emerged for reasons of power and greed, or as places of refuge, as a replacement
of the place where people feel at home and which is threatened by modem times.
On the other hand they have been considered as regressive social movements
fighting against the modem age or, vice versa, as integration movements,
knowing how to connect old traditions with the modem age; in turn, others
deemed them resistance movements, political independence movements with a
religious look, training and anticipating the fight for independence against
colonialism. As a matter of course, in the southern Africa they have been
assessed as anti-apartheid movements.
In their own self conception, however, they were and they are churches which
have been called into being by God in order to bring an African Christianity to
the Africans in which they can live and express their faith with the aid of their
own cultural traditions and without being impeded by strange demands from
overseas. God wants to give the Africans live, "live in fullness", Jesus says (John
10,11). They want to impart the truth of this word.
Since August 1998 Dr. Rufus Okikiolaolu Olubiyi Ositelu has been the Primate
of one of the biggest independent churches of Africa. It has more than 4 million
members (for comparison: the biggest protestant church of Germany, the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hannover has 3.24 million members). For many
years Dr. Ositelu (he has done a doctorate in Computer Science and recently also
in Theology) lived nearby Frankfurt. Here, as a layman being employed in a

computer company he brought Africans together who in Africa already had
belonged to his church. But he also offered a spiritual home to those Africans
who were threatened to spiritually collapse in the religiously so inaccessible and
cold Gennany. As its name Aladura says, his church is a church of prayer. In
prayer it has its centre; the spiritual strength for the sanguine and enthusiastic
services comes from it, for healings and for the praise in a community, which
feels competent to live and pass on the light of the Gospel. His congregations in
Germany, in the USA, in Great Britain and France are increasing congregations.
German and other European congregations could learn a lot from them. But we
will have to go a long way yet till we are ready to learn from "strangers", also if
they are "the faith's comrades", as Paul calls the co-Christians (Gal. 6.10).
There are many researches and publications about the Aladura churches. It is
good that there is a book now from the pen of a member, even the Primate of this
church. It gives us insight into its history and its extension, its organisation, its
self-conception and its faith. It could become the bridge between the members of
his church and our congregations in Europe by arousing our understanding of an
African expression of Christian faith, by stimulating our readiness to learn, and
by encouraging the parishioners to approach each other, to invite each other to
jointly celebrate the festival of faith for which the Lord of the Church invites all
of us. I wish the book a good distribution.

Prof. Dr. Theo Sundermeier

Chairman of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fUr Missionswissenschaft
(Chainnan of the Gennan Missiology Society)


This work is designed to give a continuous presentation of material, which has

been delivered in lectures or published piecemeal in written articles or academic
journals over many years.

My first book on this subject - "African Indigenous Churches", and the

questions asked by students and lecturers of the Department of Religion of
different Universities and higher Institutions namely - University of
FrankfurtlMain, Germany; University of Leeds, England; Mission Academy at
the University of Hamburg, Germany; Oxford University, England; University
of Heidelberg, Germany; just to mention a few, motivated me to present this
comprehensive study on African Instituted or Initiated Churches (AICs).
My second book on this subject does not present an exhaustive coverage of all
the African Initiated Churches, but it does discuss the major ones. This volume,
which grew out of discussions with students at Symposia, Seminars and
Conferences at various universities in Europe, has taken about ten years to write.

One ofthe striking features of the changed demography of world Christianity has
been the emergence and growth of the African Instituted Churches (AICs).

This book is therefore provided for those who desire to study the African
initiatives in Christianity. The book is intended to serve as a valuable material to
teachers and students of African InstitutedlInitiated Churches.

It is hoped that the book will provide the reader with a good basis for better
understanding of the African concept of religion, and the history and
development of the African initiatives in Christianity.

For the academic reader, there are references to opposing viewpoints. Yet the
book is written in a style that is readily accessible to the general reader.
Adding to the value of this volume are the expanded outline of the life of the
Church of the Lord (Aladura); a background to the time of the Founder - Late
Dr. Josiah Ositelu; historical considerations; and the revival of the early 20 th
century. A helpful bibliography is included.

For better understanding of the subject, Chapters sixteen through twenty-two

have been devoted to one of the foremost and well organised African Instituted

This book is presented to the reader with the hope that it will lead them to a
deeper knowledge of the relationship between the African traditional concept of
religion and the African initiatives in Christianity.

The customs, culture and traditions of the Africans or any other peoples of the
world are to serve as beautiful compliments to the Christian faith and belief, and
not diametrical opposed to it. This book also describes the difficulties facing the
"old mission churches" and their failures.

It is the intention of the writer of this book to present only the facts to the reader
and to allow the reader of the book to reach hislher own conclusion. The
footnotes and selected bibliography are intended to direct the attention of those
who require specialised knowledge to where they may find it.

Salvation is by grace through faith. Christians are ambassadors for Christ Jesus
and are commissioned to preach the Gospel to every creature. It is the
proclamation of the mighty, redeeming, transforming grace of God, which offers
eternal life and eternal glory to all who believe in Jesus Christ as their personal
Saviour, King and Redeemer.

Religion which is generally defined as the belief in the existence of a
supernatural ruling power, the creator and controller of the universe can
therefore well be understood in terms of beliefs, ceremonies, rituals and religious

Religion is a dynamic process in every society. It is a dynamic institution, which

continues to develop additional meaning to its fundamental meaning with
growing experience of man. This makes it difficult to give an adequate definition
of religion. I therefore believe that it will serve the purpose of this study to
mention in brief the situation in Africa before the arrival of the Christian and
Moslem missionaries on the continent, which was followed by the establishment
of modern African Instituted (Initiated) Churches (AICs).

Religion in Africa covers every aspect of life and helps the Africans to cope with
all its changes. Traditional African religion had long been denounced by many
non-African writers to be unsystematic, barbaric and of no value. Such a bias
approach which was due to their preconceptions about Africa, their superiority
complex, self-exaltation and their attempt to justify the European presence and
mission in Africa is fallacious, confusing, very arrogant and absurd.

According to Joseph A. Komonchak, Mary Collins and Dermot A. Lane - editors

of The New Dictionary a/Theology, Gill and Macmillan, 1990, Dublin, Michael
Glazier, Inc., 1987, p 862-863:

"Recognition of religions other than one's own has existed from the beginning of the
great world civilisations. The foreign religion was usually reduced to allegory,
euhemerism, or some natural cause. The study of the world religions begins when one
observes with seriousness religious pluralism; the study has foundation when religious
experiences and expressions are made intelligible to those outside the tradition; the
study flourishes when significant meaning is grasped by the outsider. The passage
from observation to intelligibility and finally to meaning rests upon the assumption that
one can ultimately come to understand the religious experiences of another from the
perspective of that person.,,1

No religion has ever before existed in a cultural vacuum. None of the religions of
this world ever existed in a cultural vacuum. Hinduism, J ainism, Buddhism,
Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam,

1 Cenkner, W., Religions, in: The New Dictionary of Theology. Ed. By Joseph A. Komonchak, J., Coli ins, M.,
Lane, D. A., Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 1990, p 862-863.

and Sikhism, just to mention the major ones, they all came into being in a
cultural existence.
For example, Hinduism came into being among the Hindus of India. Hinduism
gave birth to three religious factions: Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
Confucianism and Taoism came into being among the Chinese of China.
Shintoism came into being among the Japanese of Japan. Zoroastrianism came
into being among the Babylonians of Babylon (modem Iraq and Iran). Both
Judaism and Christianity came into being among the Jews of Israel. Islam came
into being among the Arabs of the Middle East.

According to Rev. James M. Freeman, Preface in: Manners ,and Customs o/the
Bible, New York: Nelson and Philips, 1972:

"Though the Bible is adapted to all nations, it is in many respects an Oriental book. It
represents the modes of thought and the peculiar customs of a people who, in their
habits, widely differ from us (i.e. the western world). One who lived among them for
many years has graphically said: 'Modes, customs, usages, all that you can set down to
the score of the national, the social, or the conventional, are precisely as different from
yours as the east is different from the west. They sit when you stand; they lie when you
sit; they do to the head what you do to the feet. .. .' The Oriental customs of today are,
mainly, the same as of those of ancient times.,,2

While this fact must be remembered in the interpretation of some New

Testament passages, it is nevertheless true that many ancient customs still exist
in their primitive integrity. Some of these Oriental customs can also be found
among some of the African customs (e.g. religion of names, bride chosen by
parents, shoes taken off, and so on and so fort).

According to Norman L. Geisler and Paul D. Feinberg in, Introduction to

Philosophy - A Christian Perspective, Michigan, Baker Book House 1980,
p 361-371:

"Christian ethics recognises these cultural differences and does not demand that one
gives up his own culture in order to keep God's commands ... The Christian ethic is
anchored ultimately and firmly in the unchanging nature of a God of perfect love and
justice... The Christian view of ethics has a superior source (God), a superior
manifestation (Jesus Christ), as well as superior declaration (the Bible), and superior
motivation (love ofChrist).,,3

2Freeman, J. M" Preface, in: Manners and Customs of the Bible, Logos International. Plainfield, New Jersey,
1972, p 5-6.

3Geisler N. L. and Feinberg P. D., in: Introduction to Philosophy - A Christian Perspective, Baker Book House,
Michigan 1980, p 361-371.

As Christians, we cannot accept any theory of truth, which results in either
relativism or agnosticism. The Bible clearly declares that man can know the
truth, and will be held responsible for such knowledge.
There are many ways to conceive God. From Christian point of view, God is an
infinitely powerful and good Creator and Sustainer of the world. He created man
with free choice and has allowed evil for a good purpose, that is, to ultimately
defeat it and to achieve the greater good.
As Christians, we should believe that if we keep the rules God has given as our
duty, then God will bring about the greatest good in the long run (Ecclesiastes

Every religion has always been practised within the cultural context of the
believers. Same way, Africans should feel free to practice Christianity within
their cultural context as long as such practices agree with the teachings of the
Holy Bible. "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3: 17 NKJV).

Some Western writers and a surprising number of African ones have been
responsible for an unbalanced representation of the history of Christianity in its
African transformation. They often promote it by making it the basis of the
nationalist cause. I have in this study put forward my own view that the African,
as the agent of religious adaptation, has played a far more critical role than his
missionary counterpart whose role as historical transmitter has too often been
exaggerated. It is generally accepted today that Western missionaries for their
part squeezed Christianity into a conformist pattern that was largely in accord
with the imperialist tradition, paying more attention to introduce the Western
culture than to introduce Christ to the African population.
The historical roots of the preponderance of African agents over the Western
missionary are firm and clear. By this factor, it is possible to explain the apparent
failure of missions between 1480 and 1785, and the corresponding success in the
period between about 1785 and 1885.
The process of interpretation through which Christianity has been successively
submitted, proceed from its Judaic and then Hellenistic transformations to its
contemporary Western incarnation, and which has now attained the high-water
mark of its African career. This process, as we can see, is not a fixed and
exclusive series of episodes long concluded but a dynamic process.
I have in this study also mentioned how the African Initiated Churches (AICs)
have tremendously influenced Christianity on the continent and in the world at
I have also gathered information from different sources including living
witnesses in order to make them available to anyone who seeks truth and
"It is our duty to proceed from what is near to what is distant, from what is known to
that which is less known, to gather the traditions from those who have reported them,
to correct them as much as possible and to leave the rest as it is, in order to make our
work help anyone who seeks truth and loves wisdom." - AI-Biruni (937-1050).

God,. in the African conception, is the Supreme Being, the eternal Creator of all
the gods, men and the universe. He is transcendent and immanent which makes
Him absolutely unique and different from other gods by having a special name
like - Unkulunkulu (Zulu), Onyame (Akan), Leve (Mende), Olodumare
(Yoruba), Nyinyi (Bamum), etc., but no generic name as in the case of other gods
which have generic names in addition to their specific names like Orisa
(Yoruba) or Obosom (Akan). In brackets are the people (nations) to whom God
is known by the special names mentioned above. African traditional religion is
one of the religious heritage of mankind which can be traced to their origin and
specifically be qualified with the name of the society in question, such as Mende
religion, Kpelle religion, Akan religion, Yoruba religion (West Africa); Galla
religion, Turu religion, Kikuyu religion (East Africa); Lunda religion, Tonga
religion, Shoma religion, Zulu religion (South Africa); Latuka religion, Nubians
religion (North Africa); etc.

According to G. M. Ogutu in, "Religion and Societal Harmony in Africa: The

Case/or Dialogue" in Dialogue and Alliance 2/4 (1988-89): p 25:

"The continent of Africa is renowned for her diverse terrain, fauna and flora as well as
her ethnicities, cultures and religions. In this pluralistic setting the question of dialogue
between differing peoples is crucial.,,4

There are a large number of societies in Africa, which differ from each other, but
the traditional African knowledge of God is unique. In spite of all differences in
the African societies, they all express their knowledge of God in proverbs,
sayings, myths, songs, prayers and religious ceremonies. They also believe that
God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. This fact is fully acknowledged
in the African expression of God, such as, the Origin and Giver of Life, the
Owner of life, the Owner of this day, the King with unique and incomparable
majesty, He who alone can speak and accomplish His words without any failure,
He who is perfect, the Discerner of hearts, the Disposer of all things, He who
executes judgement in silence, the King who never dies, the Invisible King, the
pure King, He who is without blemish, the Great King, the Greatest of the great,

4Ogutu G. M .• Religion and Societal Harmony in Africa: The Case for Dialogue. in: Dialogue and Alliance 2/4.
1988·1989. P 25.

the Eternal One, He who endures forever, the King of kings, the I am that I am,
the Almighty God, etc. From Africans' understanding and expression of God,
one can see that religion occupies every aspect of their life and means everything
to them.

There are many ways through which Africans approach or worship God.
Worship to them means an expression of their dependence on a power superior
to all creations. In traditional African religion, God, the Almighty, created all
deities, gods and goddesses. Temples and shrines are built for these deities to
worship God through them by making offers and sacrifices to the spirits who
they believe are acting as intermediates, and that God, the creator of all, is the
End Receiver of all sacrifices to the deities. In this respect, Africans believe that
God is approachable and therefore prefer to pray, send petition, thank Him and
offer sacrifices to Him through the intermediaries, which are believed to be
representing Him on earth.
Due to the above reason and the fact that Africans believe that God is
omnipresent (i.e. God is everywhere), they therefore see no reason to confine
Him to a shrine or a temple. The above is the reason why no temple or shrine is
specially built for God in traditional African religion.

Examples of some of the deities or intermediaries in traditional African religion

are god of iron and war, the river goddess, the god of rain, the god of sun, the
god of thunder, the god of pregnancy, the god of cruelty, the smallpox deity, the
god of cure, the god of the dead, the goddess of protection, etc. It is not the
intention of this study to expatiate on how and with what the rituals are
performed but to point out that these rituals are performed by priests whose main
duties are to act as ritual elders and specialists, to pass messages from their
communities to the divinities and spirits, to receive messages from them and
finally pass on the messages received, to their communities. For example,
Yoruba traditional priests receive a three years training and graduate also as
physicians. Some priests, most especially the Babalawos (Yoruba), sometimes
referred to as medical practitioner, purifiers, predictors, Ifa-Priests (!fa is the
Yoruba god of divination), etc. consult their oracles, which are connected with
divination and generally accepted to be the mouthpieces of divinities and spirit.

Due to the vast number of different societies or tribes, which are over a thousand
on the continent, Africans therefore have different names for their deities and
different methods of worshipping their deities, divinities and spirits. Among the
most common offerings to them are, cooked meat, sheabutter, Kola-nuts,
alligator-pepper, snails, palm-oil, palm-wine, dog, maize, bananas, eggs,
pounded yam, male-goat, sugar-cane, fish, white-cloth, hens, salt, roasted-
plantain, etc. The Africans believe that God is the Source of all Power and that
the divinities will be powerless if they don't make reference to God, from whom
they derive their power. We can now conclude that the divinities cannot exist
indepenclehtly according to traditional African religion because they were
created by God to fulfil specific immediate objects of worship.

The traditional religion of the African has been affected by the incursions of
mission Christianity and Islam, which invaded the continent with their attendant
cultures. It is difficult to say exactly when the two religions first made their
contacts with the continent. It is neither the scope nor the intention of this study
to expatiate further on traditional African religion or deal with many facets of
Christianity and Islam in Africa.

In Africa, there are at present three main religions, namely African Traditional
Religion (ATR), Christianity and Islam. Other minority religions can be found as
well, such as Judaism, Hinduism, Bahaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.
Out of the three main religions, ATR has had roots in Africa since times
immemorial. Christianity for example, came to all continents of the world
through missionary endeavours, which started from Jerusalem. According to the
Apostle Paul, after having a discussion with the apostles in Jerusalem:

" ... I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as
Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an
apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.
James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand
of fellowship when they recognized the frace given to me. They agreed that we should
go to the Gentiles and they to the Jews."

First, Christianity arose as a movement within the Jewish community in the land
of Israel. Its Founder was a Jew, and so were His disciples, who in the years
following His departure from them proclaimed only to the Jews the good news,
which He entrusted unto them. 6
Secondly, Christianity arose in southwestern Asia, among people whose
vernacular was Aramaic. But its foundation documents came down to us in
Greek, the language in which they were originally written.
Apostle Paul was a Jew by birth and upbringing:

"circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a
Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee,,7

He spread the gospel of Christ in the Gentile world from Syria to Italy, among
other countries, during the thirty years or so which after his conversion to
Christianity about A.D. 33. 8
Christianity and Islam have found a fertile ground in Africa. According to
Barrett's 1980 statistics, 44.2 percent of the African people profess to be
Christians while 41,2 percent are Muslims. 9
The number of Christians has in Africa, in the last decade, increased
tremendously. This has led to many riots by Islam fanatics, who want to force

s Galatians 2:7-9; NIV.

6 Matthew 28·16-20· Acts 2·141· 5·38-39· 8·1
7 Philippians 3:5; Niv. . ,. , ..
8Bruce, F.I'., PAUL: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, (Michigan: The Paternoster Press Ltd., 1977), P 17.
9Barrett, David, 8., World Christian Encyclopaedia: A Comparative Study of Churches and Religion in the
Modern World, AD 1900-2000, (Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1982), p 782.

the Sharia on their people in order to debar them from changing to the Christian
Faith, especially in the African most populous country: Nigeria.

As early as the eighth century, Islam was spreading across the Sahara along the
trade routes. For the first eleven centuries, the pace of its expansion was slow,
but during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it began to gather momentum.
The early traders were functioning as missionaries. In the beginning, the ruling
classes and city dwellers were mainly adopting the Islamic ·faith. Ironically,
Islam has expanded faster during the century, and to some considerable degree,
as a result of Western colonialism. This was because the colonial masters were
having superiority complex as regards their religious, social and cultural values.
The relationship between Christians and Muslims in today's Africa is the real
challenge facing the continent. There are variations from country to country
concerning this subject. For example, the situation in Nigeria has grown from
bad to worse.
In southern Nigeria there is much tolerance and acceptance of people's right to
have and practise their own religion without any hindrance whatsoever. The
situation in northern Nigeria is quite different. It is in northern Nigeria that
Nigerians, especially the federal government and states governments, have to
face the greatest challenges for solving the problems of their multi-religious
Almost all the religious riots that took place in Nigeria in the last twenty years,
took place in the northern part of the country. An exception was the one riot
which took place in Ibadan; when Muslims erected a mosque close to a chapel
and then decided that the cross, which had been there for years before the
mosque was erected, was too close to their mosque and then tried to destroy it.
One other reason for these constant clashes in the major cities in the northern
part of the country (e.g.: Kano, Kaduna, Ilorin, los, Sokoto, etc.) is that religion
has become a strong weapon in the political struggle for power in Nigeria.
Christians and Muslims in Nigeria must realize that Nigeria is a secular state and
will continue to be a multireligious country.

Interfaith Dialogue

I intend in this discussion to limit myself to sub-Saharan Africa and to Nigeria in

particular. This is because Nigeria is a good example of an African country
where the adherents of the three religions - African Traditional Religion (ATR),
the Islamic religion and Christianity - live together and face common plights
such as diseases, poverty, war, political struggles, etc. Nigeria for example, has
been experiencing two types of interreligious dialogue, namely, informal and
formal dialogue.
The informal dialogue has existed and continues to exist within the extended
family in their various communities.
The formal dialogue was helped into being by the Obasanjo government. Today,
the federal government has helped to facilitate an inter-faith council where the
leaders and representatives of both religions. are working together on common
projects for the good of the whole nation. This is a positive step in the right
direction and should serve as an example for other African countries with similar
In recent years, dialogue meetings, which were sponsored and organized, among
other groups, by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Project for
Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA), etc., have frequently been
held in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. In September 1989, an interfaith
consultation was held at the University of Malawi, Zomba, co-sponsored and
organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World
Federation (LWF), with the theme "Encounter of Religions in Africa". The
editors of the publication that came out as a result of this consultation expressed
their joy thus:

"It was an ecumenical experience. For three institutions to collaborate was a salutary
ecumenical experience. To have persons of other faiths as it was a healthy ecumenical
experience. We all were enriched, and new relationships were forged for which we are
most grateful.,,1Q

The situation as regards the actors (the members of the Interfaith Council), is
more or less the same as it was then in Zomba, Malawi. But for the followers of
both the Christian and Islamic faith the situation on the ground has not changed
for the better. As a matter of fact, the situation is worse off.
Recently and precisely twenty-two days after the mayhem of October 14, 2001
the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kano branch on Thursday,
November 1,2001 declared 600 Christians still missing and confirmed the death
of 350 members of the association. The Muslim leadership has always been
blaming this attack of Muslims on Christians as the work of Islamic religious
fundamentalists (Islamic fanatics). II
As if this was not enough and barely 21 days after the Kano riot, Islamic fanatics
in their bid to prevent a planned crusade by the German Evangelist Reinhard
Bonke, killed 2 Christians and burned 20 churches in Oshogbo, Oshun State,
Nigeria, during their rampage. 12

Early African Christian Connections

10 Encounter of Religion in African Cultures (Geneva: LWF, 1991), pv.

11 PUNCH Newspaper, Friday, November 9,2001, Back-page.
12 VANGUARD Newspaper, Friday, November 30, 2001, Front-page.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, after Christ was born, his parents - for the
safety of the child now being hunted down by Herod, the district governor of the
Romans - had to flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). That in effect is the first
tradition connecting the African continent with the Christian history. Towards
the end of the life ofJesus, the African theme emerges again.

According to the oldest known document of the New Testament, the Gospel of
Mark, being largely the eyewitness account of the Apostle Peter reports that on
Jesus way to Golgotha (the place of Crucifixion), they met a man called Simon
from Cyrenia (a Roman province in Libya), whom they compelled to carry the
cross behind Jesus.

The Gospel of Mark adds that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus
(Mark 15 :21). Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome mentions
Rufus along with others, including Priscilla and Aquilla. Rufus is merely singled
out as being "chosen in the Lord", a phrase that may be interpreted as been given
to Christian service (Romans 16:3-16). It would appear that Rufus belonged to
the growing Gentile Church which the Apostle Paul was actively nurturing, a
point of some significance for Africa which was then about to become one of the
most important outposts of the wider mission to the Gentile world. Both from the
fact of the centralised administration of the empire under Rome and from the
personal contribution of individual Africans, the early Church struck firm roots
on African soil.

There is need to treat African Christianity as a legitimate tributary of the general

stream of Christian history. The North African Church of the early centuries, the
Coptic Church of Egypt as well as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church should all be
seen as manifestations of the on-going history of Christianity on the continent.

Christianity was first established on the continent during the era of the Apostles
through Egypt and down the Nile to Sudan and Ethiopia. Christianity later
flourished along the coast of North Africa chiefly Carthage and Cyrenaica (now
known as Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco) between 180 A.D and 430 A.D.
The Churches established in these countries then were latinised (Roman-
influenced); they drew their members mostly from the middle class Roman and
Greek colonists. Only later, in the second half of the third century, did
Christianity spread beyond Roman, Greek and Jewish circles to reach the rural
populations. The early Christian mission failed to associate with the Berber
people unless they became Roman oriented. Unlike now, the early Christianity
mission also failed to translate the scripture into Berber language. Christianity
was then superficially introduced to the Berbers. The Churches along the coast

with features which were imposed from outside consequently did not become
truly African.

Signs of these establishments can still be found today in Ethiopia, Egypt and
Sudan where Christianity then remained both as a universal Faith and as an
indigenous religion unlike in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The Coptic
of Ethiopia (Ethiopian Orthodox Church) became truly African. This can be seen
today more in the true African characteristics of the Ethiopia Orthodox Church
with features which have not been imposed from outside but evolved over many
centuries. The emergency of Islam in the seventh century and its rapid extension
throughout North Africa, neaily wiped out all signs of early Christian Churches
in the northern part of the continent leaving a little sign of the Coptic Church in
Egypt, presently with Christians population of about three per cent. Only the
Coptic Church of Ethiopia (Ethiopian Orthodox Church) was able to resist the
Islamic incursion by retreating into the Ethiopia Highland, thereby retaining its
position as the main religious force in the country. The Berbers of the North
Africa accepted Islam and simply because of its acceptance of the African
culture and its association with the Berbers.

Tertullian, one of the early Christian fathers, was born in North Africa in
160 AD. He was a lawyer by training, by disposition a rigorist and by natural
endowment a writer. He witnessed and recorded the persecution of many
Christians during his time. He is regarded as the father of Latin Christianity in
the sense of having created a Latin vocabulary for Christian theology, and was
the first to formulate and coin the term "Trinity".
Augustine, another prominent early Christian father, was born in North Africa in
354 AD and died there in 430 AD. He managed to help the Church recover some
of its lost prestige among local people and gave the African Church an authority,
which profoundly influenced Papal and conciliar pronouncements on faith and
. doctrine.

The attempt to firmly establish the Church in North Africa suffered major
setbacks, and it was in a much-weakened form that it was swept away by the
rising tide of Islam in the seventh century. The Muslim armies quickly spread
over Egypt and other parts of North Africa to which they gave the name
"Maghrib", an Arabic word meaning: "The West". This attack of Muslim armies
and the Western influence on Christianity, caused the Christian remnants to be
easily mopped up or squeezed into submissiveness. During the persecutions of
the eighth and ninth centuries, churches were destroyed and orders issued which
made many Christians to embrace Islam. For example, in 744 AD about
24,000 Christians turned to Islam on the promise of the governor to exempt them
from taxes imposed on all other Christians.
From the foregoing, we can therefore conclude that Africa is not only the home
of traditional religion but also the home of Christianity and Islam with which
contact and change (reformation) itself is a tradition. Furthermore, we can say
that Christianity in Africa is so old that it can rightly be described as an
indigenous, African and traditional religion.

However, the ancient Coptic Churches of Africa failed to make a conscious

missionary expansion, which as a result made their spread limited to the areas
where they were established.

According to recorded history, colonial Christianity made its second appearance

through the Roman Catholic Portuguese priests along the coasts of West Africa
at the beginning of the fifteenth century. The last incursion of Christianity -
Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, etc. - on the continent started
towards the end of the eighteenth century largely along the coasts. The Christian
faith has since then spread to the interior.

Both the Islamic and Christian religion has enormously contributed to the
weakening effect, which the traditional African religions now have on the
Africans. The two religions later became the religions of the enlightened and also
fashionable. Many Africans seek to belong to one of these two religions for it
was fashionable then.

As mentioned earlier, Christianity came accompanied by Western culture and

colonialism. The Christian missionaries, through the Church Schools seized the
opportunity to work on the minds of many Africans from their childhood thus,
brain-washing them. They also indoctrinated many young Africans to condemn
and decry almost everything African as worthless and lack of purpose. The result
of which made educated young Africans to loose interest gradually in the
traditional African religion. This further resulted in the decline of shrines and
temples for worshipping spirits and divinities.
Concerning West Africa, we may conveniently divide the Christian age broadly
into three periods. The first period, from the disappearance of the Church in
North Africa to about the fifteenth century. The second period we may date from
about 1450 to 1750, when Christianity was transported to West Africa, mostly as
a sterilised European institution, which became an appendage of the colonial and
imperial powers, unable to generate an independent confidence in its own
message, and suffering the side-effects of sudden changes in the trading fortunes
of the forts. The third and much more successful period of the Church in Africa
began in the second-half of the eighteenth century, and continued through much
of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

There had been earlier contacts of Christianity in Africa and in Nigeria in
particular in trickles as far back as the 15 th century by the Portuguese
missionaries. And by the late 1830s a member of freed slaves who had traced
their roots to Y oruba cities and towns like Abeokuta, etc. were returning home.
But it was in 1842 that Christian stations began to be established. I3
For references see: J. F. Ade-Ajayi, Christian Missions in Nigeria 1841-1891,
London, Longmans, 1965; E. A. Ayandele, The Missionary Impact on Modern
Nigeria, London, Longmans, 1966; Michael Crowther, The Story of Nigeria,
London, Faber and Faber, 1976, p 111-119.

13 Ade-Ajayi, J. F., in: Christian Missions in Nigeria 1841-1891, Longmans, London, 1965; Ayandele, E. A., in:
The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria, Longmans, London, 1966; Crowther, M., in: The Story of Nigeria,
Faber and Faber, London, 1976, p 11 1-119.

The Christian Church entered Africa in the apostolic age. The two popular
centres Alexandria in Egypt and Carthage in what is modern Tunisia. The
Church grew fast and was very strong until. the Arab invasion of the seventh
century, which eventually and tragically destabilised the Church. Efforts from
the Middle Ages through Portuguese and later French missionaries, on the West
Africa coast from Guinea to Angola and up the East Coast from Mozambique to
Mombassa, yielded initially, considerable successes. The greatest success was
achieved in the Congo.
On the whole, however, it was a total missionary failure. This was so, because
the missionary methods used were themselves defective b()th in the character and
attitude taken towards the people to be evangelised and towards what was being
brought to them. Internal problems among the Christians (the converted and the
converter) also led to migration, which made it easy for Islam to later around 700
A.D. overrun Christianity in North Africa (a.k.a. Latin Africa). All these
problems facing the North African Church then resulted in the decline of
Christianity in Latin Africa.
According to Rev. Gideon Oshitelu, the Head of Department of Religious
Studies at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in his book, Expansion of
CHRISTIANITY in West Africa, Ibadan, Oputoru Books, 2002, p3-7:

"Decian persecution brought problems to the North African Church just as it did to the
Alexandrian Churches. In this event as well as in the Diocletian persecution many were
prepared to die, but others lapsed. In Carthage there was a split in the Church, some
being RIGORISTS and others the LAXISTS. This had to do with the whole question
of what to do with apostates. For part of the period of persecution, Cyprian (200-256
A.D.) the Bishop of Carthage himself had gone into hiding and from his place of
refuge had written letters to dampen the enthusiasm of would-be martyrs ... The effect
of the Diocletian persecution was devastating. The first edict arrived in mid-April 303
1) The Clergy were ordered to hand-over their scriptures and sacred books.
2) Churches were destroyed and property confiscated.
3) In some cases they were required to sacrifice as well.
4) Christian worship was forbidden.
In proconsular Africa, several clergy complied thus becoming Traditores ... Some
Christians accepted martyrdom rather than become Traditores. In Numidia there was
panic as Christians fled into the mountains south of Cirta ... And as the Church was in
disarray owing to internal quarrels, the Church was not able to provide a unified force
against her enemies the Vandals, hence the Church was easily overrun. Law and order
broke down and although Rome reconquared Latin Africa in 523 A.D. order could not
be restored before the Muslim came in.
By 647 A.D. the Moslems had overcome the Greco-Roman ruling class who were the
Christian group. The Berber largely Donatists resisted but in 703 A.D. they went en-
bloc to Islam and helped the Islamic invasions of Spain and France. The Greco-Roman

section migrated but there were Christians in Latin Africa till the coming of the
Crusaders in the Eleventh Century when Islam regained strength and determined not to
tolerate Christianity anymore.
Christianity thus declined very rapidly in Latin Africa. The Berbers were
individualistic and independent. They seem to have remained non-Christian ... It could
even be said that their original religion had never changed. Tha Carthagianian Baal
was substituted for the original High God. The Baal in turn became the Saturn of the
Romans, Saturn became lehovah and lehovah was easily turned into Allah ... Keshina
their charismatic leader found it easy to ask them to go over to Islam, Islam being more
tolerant and apt to be a syncretistic book in all and made itself agreeable." 14

The Church's second great opportunity in Africa came and went and there was
almost nothing to show for it. Africa then remained a land still un-evangelised, a
continent in darkness because effectively it had not been offered the light. 15

Christianity in the Nineteenth Century in Africa

Christianity in the modem sense, however, entered Africa in the nineteenth

century. Specifically in Nigeria, the foreign missionaries started coming in 1842.
The Anglican Church through the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and the
Methodist Church through the Wesleyan Missionary Society (WMS), entered
first in 1842.
The Presbyterian Church, by the United Succession Church of Scotland and the
Scottish Missionary Society (SMS), came in 1846.
The Baptist Church through the Southern Baptist Convention of America came
in 1850.
The Roman Catholic Church through the Vicariate Apostolic of the Coast of
Benin entered in 1860.
The Qua Iboe Church through a Northern Ireland inter-denominational mission,
arrived in Eastern Nigeria in 1877.
The Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) under R. Bingham came in 1893 while the
Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa (from the Netherlands), arrived in the
Tiv area of Nigeria in 1911.
The Seventh Day Adventist Mission from the United States of America (U.S.A)
came in 1914 while the Salvation Army Church entered in 1920.

These missions made reasonable and considerable impact on the society and
paved the way for the later successes of the Church on the African continent and
particularly in Nigeria.

14 Oshitelu, Gideon, Expansion of CHRISTIANITY in West Africa, Jbadan, Oputoru Books, 2002, p3-7.
15 Hasting, Adrian, Church and Mission in Modern Africa, (Fordham University Press, 1966), p 59.

But the approach by the foreign missions was largely negative. The general
tendency by them was to condemn anything African and to paint anything
African as dark, bad and of no value.
The missionaries had no respect for the African's way oflife, religion or culture.
This illustration of a Capuchin Missionary in the Congo will serve as an example
of the negative attitudes of the Western Missionaries towards the Africans:

"On my way, I found numbers of idols which I threw into the fire. The owner of these
idols ... seemed very annoyed. To calm him down by humiliating him, I let him know
that ifhe persisted in anger, I should see that he himself is burnt with the idols.,,16

It is this negative attitude that characterised the missionary work of the western
missionaries. It was evangelism that had no regard for the peoples' culture and
tradition. They were too arrogantly convinced of the enormous superiority of the
western culture and tradition, and came with this superiority complex, probably
unconsciously, as bearers not only of the Christian Gospel, but also of western
culture and tradition.

The assumption that the early Western Missionaries contributed to the

undermining of the African culture is a case in point here. On their arrival on the
African soil, they believed that they had to disparage the peoples' culture and
tradition before planting Christianity.
The first assumption of these early missionaries was that everything African was
heathen, superstitious and barbaric.
According to Adrian Hastings, the western missionaries admitted little, if any,
culture of value in Africa, just as many had denied that it really had any religion
other than fearful superstitions. 17
It was this feeling of superiority which crystallized in the social situations of
"masters" and "servants", that was very much pronounced in the Churches
. established by the early Western Missionaries. .
In consequence of this cultural imperialism, African men were not considered to
be true Christians if they did not wear coat, tie and trousers and were not sons of
God if they did not take the name Jack, Robinson, Jones, Stone or Smith. In
short, conversion to Christianity meant rejecting traditional forms of dressing,
authority, custom, culture, marriage, medicine, etc. 18

Therefore, one should not be surprised that the Christianity imbibed by the
Africans from these Western Missionaries was veneer, that is superficial, and in
most cases hypocritical.

16 Ibid, P 58 ..
17 Ibid, P 37.
\8 More, Basil, ed., Black Theology, (London, 1973), Editor's Preface, pviii.

This weakness and other reasons led to the birth of the African Initiated

Though the Bible is adapted to all nations, it has in many respects an Oriental
culture. It represents the modes of thought and the peculiar customs of a people
who, in their habits, widely differ from other parts of the world. 19
The point here is that Christianity cannot exist and has never existed in a
vacuum. Christ Jesus, in all His teachings, used concepts, symbols and imageries
that were familiar to His hearers.
Jesus Christ, God the Son (one of the personalities of God - the Holy Trinity),
came among men to redeem mankind. He became human, man with culture, took
a cultural name, spoke local languages and received cultural education. He did
not become an African, an Asian, an Egyptian or a Roman, but a very
identifiable Jew.

No religion ever before has existed in a cultural vacuum. None of the religions of
this world ever existed in a cultural vacuum.
According to Dr. Rufus Ositelu:

"Every religion has always been practised within the cultural context of the believers.
Same way, people should feel free to practise Christianity within their own cultural
context as long as the practice agrees with the teachings of the Holy Bible. 'Now the
Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.' (2 Cor. 3: 17;
The Africans, especially the African Initiated Churches (AICs), should not be
apologetic of having a culture, which respects the elders and accord much more respect
to a Supreme Being (Almighty Jehovah).,,2o


That Christianity is growing more quickly in Africa than anywhere else is due
particularly to the African Initiatives in Christianity (AICs) and their relatives,
the indigenous Pentecostal churches in many parts of the world.
The most serious phenomenon of Christianity in modem Africa is the growth of
independent churches which are broken off from mission Churches and from one
another. However, there are some churches, which have been established by
Africans without any trace of breakaway from a mission Church but through the
inspiration and call of God. This is actually the scope of this study, and it is the

19 Ositelu, R .• Observance And Practices of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) in the light of the Old Testament
And New Testament; (Ogere: Grace Enterprises. 2000). p 8.
20 Ibid. plO.

intention of this writer to expatiate on this by citing an example of a modern
African Instituted Church (Ale). But, before then, let us examine the origination
and growth of the African initiated churches. These churches are Pentecostal and
charismatic in nature.

Few years ago, such indigenous churches are estimated to be something around
eight thousand with the suspicion that it might have exceeded ten thousand at the
end of the twentieth century. Most of indigenous churches originate from the
Protestant, Anglican and Lutheran Church background, with very few of them
originating from the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches. As of present,
estimated figures show that about forty to sixty percent of Christians in Africa
belong to these indigenous churches.

There are several reasons responsible for their proliferation and continuous
growth. However, some of the main reasons include the fact that the European
missionaries brought and propagated divided Christianity in the form of different
denominations and their brand of Christianity. Moreover, Africans were forced
to seek local independence due to missionary brand of Christianity.

Furthermore, Africans were forced to seek local independence due to missionary

paternalism and over-domination. This can further be explained in the person of
Archbishop Milingo whose case was some years ago referred to as a test case for
Africa in many African news media. He was accused of affecting curse through
his healing powers and therefore under the control of evil spirits this, the Roman
Catholic Archbishop ofLusaka, Zambia quickly denied.

The Archbishop has pronounced himself not to be a witch doctor but admitted
that he has been travelling the world on missions of exorcism, casting out
demons and putting out his hands (laying of hands), to effect faith healing cures .
. We can therefore conclude that he was performing Church - approved juju
(voodoo) or miracles as a tradition, which is much closer to the African Initiated
Churches (AICs) in contrast to the worship tradition of the mission churches,
which is simply dull to many Africans.

Archbishop Milingo, in his book: "Demarcations, Lusaka, 1981", which went

under the Vatican examination, writes:

"There are many who are today labelled charismatic - who are today under
persecution, suspension and condemnation. Africa feels so small before Europe
because Europe is an elder brother whose superiority, it is claimed, is based on the
order of nature. The inferiority complex, which haunts Africa, is a perpetual
huiniliation, which has come about by the historical colonialism in politics, economics
and religion. Till today, Africa is still judged through the colours of other people's

glasses. My own mother grew up in her African tradition and never had the ambition to
be a European. Neither did she feel she was missing something. To convince me that I
can only be a full Christian when I shall be well brought up in European civilisation
and culture is to force me to change my nature. If God made a mistake by creating me
an African, it is not yet evident. I personally have no ambition to form a separate
African Church. I love the Church as an African, and I express my love for her through
what I am and what I have as an African. Historically, an African is a German, a
Belgian, an Englishman, a Frenchman, etc. The Church should not continue the same
trend of mental and spiritual colonialism.,,21

Celibacy and Polygamy

The controversy that trails the missing Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo
as reported in the PUNCH Newspaper of Tuesday, August 14,2001, page eleven
is an example of the double standards of the Western Missionaries in their
relationship with the Africans. In Europe and particularly in Germany, it is
common knowledge that some Roman Catholic priests have children with
women. From time to time, they do publicly demonstrate on the streets of the
European capitals, pleading to the Vatican to allow them to live openly with the
mothers of their children.
It looks as if anything goes as long as it is done discretely.
Same applies to the question of monogamy and polygamy. Some European
Christians have their government recognised one wife but one or more
At conferences of interdenominational nature, the question on extra marital
activity, which is common among the Western World, is never discussed while
that of polygamy, whereby the West can point an accusing finger to Africa and
other developing countries, readily makes the day.

The said Newspaper reported the marriage of Archbishop Milingo to a 43-year-

old South Korean doctor Maria Sung in New York on May 27,2001 at a mass

"The bizarre saga of Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has taken on a new
twist, with the Vatican strongly denying the renegade clergyman is being kept in the
papal palace. Milingo has not been seen since early last week when the Roman
Catholic Church withdrew a threat of excommunication against him for marrying at a
mass wedding ceremony officiated by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon of the South

21 Milingo, in: Demarcations, Lusaka, 1981.

Korean Unification Church ... The Vatican has generally been keeping tight-lipped
over the controversial Milingo's activities.,,22

The PUNCH of Wednesday, August 15, 2001, page fourteen reported that the
South Korean wife of the Archbishop Milingo said that she would starve herself
to death unless the Vatican allows her to see her loving husband. The Vatican,
which forbids priests from marrying (celibacy), gave the 71-year-old Milingo
until August 20, 2001 to renounce his marriage or face sanctions (widely
interpreted to mean excommunication).
That deadline was withdrawn few days later after Milingo met with Pope John
Paul 11 at his Castelgandolfosummer residence for face-to-face talks about the
marriage. Since then Milingo has not been seen in public and his wife Sung
claimed that he was being held at the Vatican against his wishes. 23

The colonial masters who came along with their missionaries can find further
reasons for the growth of African Instituted Churches in the political and
economic domination of the continent. In this regard, it is very interesting to note
that there are over 2,000 Independent Christian Churches in Southern Africa
alone. We cannot therefore, overlook the policy of apartheid as one of the main
causes of many independent Churches in that area of Africa.

For example, the Aladura Churches of West Africa and other parts of the world
are very popular nowadays. One of the reasons for their popularity can be seen in
the revelation and healing power of God through their ministry. Revelation
comes through dreams, vision and meditation. Members of the Aladura churches
are sometimes possessed by the Holy Spirit during worship services and also
speak in different tongues when so possessed. The power to heal and reveal
messages is not restricted only to the Aladura Churches. Some of them forbid
their followers to use foreign and local medicine, teaching them to depend only
. on God's power through fasting and praying.

In traditional African religion, Africans of different origin wherever they are

could always consult a divinity or a spirit through their juju-priest (voodoo-
priest, a.k.a. "Babalawo"), either to give thanks, or make a request to the divinity
or spirit in question. For example, a Yoruba man of the traditional African
religion who has a very important decision to make among many alternatives,
will surely go to an IFA priest, known as Babalawo (a Yoruba priest oflfa) for

22 PUNCH Newspaper, Tuesday, August 14,2001, P 11.

23 PUNCH Newspaper, Wednesday, August 15,2001, P 14.

We can therefore conclude that the African Instituted Churches (AlCs) have
immediate answers to the needs of Africans without any or much request for
change of culture. Some of the AICs are only asking their followers to stop
trying to make contact with God through any divinity or spirit but pray directly
to Him. Most of them forbid members to smoke, drink alcohol, eat pig meat etc,
and also urging them to respect and keep the Ten Commandments.

During worship services in the independent African churches, the atmosphere is

very African to Africans. In other words, they feel very much at home unlike
during worship services in the old mission churches.

Therefore, any misinterpretation of Africans for the search of identity and

authenticity as racism or discriminatory is nothing but prejudice.

According to WaIter J. Hollenweger, in his Foreword to the book, African

Initiatives in Christianity, by John S. Pobee and Gabriel Ositelu 11:

"The centre of gravity of Christianity is shifting to the South - certainly numerically

but also, I would suggest, theologically. Ecumenical relationships with these churches
are thus becoming more and more important.,,24

According to Claudia Waehrisch-Oblau the commissioner for Christians and

congregations of foreign language and origin within the United Evangelical
Mission (UEM) in the German region, in her report for the internal information
of the United Evangelical Mission ("Mitarbeiterbrief der Vereinte Evangelische
Mission", Wuppertal, Germany), after she had visited Ghana and Nigeria
between February and March, 2001, her impression is that the crucial point of
Christianity today has shifted from the north to the south. Black Africa is today
probably more a Christian continent than Europe, she asserted.
She claims that she always learns something new whenever she opens up to
other cultures and African perspective has opened her eyes for some Bible
passages, which she had overlooked.
According to Waehrisch-Oblau, her West African Christianity experience has
animated her to reflect on her experience and faith in God. The display of faith
by Africans in the daily work of the Holy Spirit of God has woken up in her the
yearning for a strong faith in God; unlike the abstract believe in God, which is
common In. Europe. 25

24 Hollenweger W. J., Foreword in: African Initiatives in Christianity, by Pobee, J. S., and Ositelu 11, G., Risk
Book Series No. 83, Switzerland, 1998.
2S Mitarbeiterbrief der Vereinte Evangelische Mission - Distanzierte Betrachtung reicht nicht aus: Vielfalt der
EindrUcke vom christlichen Leben in Ghana und Nigeria (Claudia Wahrisch-Oblau), Wuppertal, 2001.

"There are times when it is more helpful that a people should be called upon to take
their responsibilities, struggle with and conquer their difficulty than that they should be
in the position of vessels taken in tow, and that for West African Christian, this is the
time." James lohnson (19 July 1892, cited in Webster, 1964, p 1).26

The Pentecostal and Charismatic Movement

The word "charismatic" comes from a Greek word meaning "gifts", referring to
the special powers Christians believe are given by the Holy Spirit of God. These
gifts include healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits,
speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and other spiritual gifts.
(1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

Generally, a Pentecostal Church or a spiritual Church, as they are sometimes

called, is a spirit-filled and spirit-led Church. Most of the AICs fit into this
category. The Pentecostal Churches emphasise the gift of the Holy Spirit and
urge their members to live a life worthy of a Christian.

Joann Wolski Conn in "The New Dictionary of Theology", edited by Joseph A.

Komonchak, Mary Collins and Dermot A. Lane, speaks of spirituality thus:

"The term spirituality refers to both a lived experience and an academic discipline. For
Christians, it means one's entire life as understood, felt, imagined, and decided upon in
relationship to God, in Christ Jesus, empowered by the Spirit. ... The word spirituality,
as it refers to experience, has an interesting history. Originally a Christian term - from
Paul's letters ... ,,27

It is a fundamental Christian belief and revelation of Scripture that the Holy

Spirit is a person in the same sense that God the Father is a person and the Lord
Jesus Christ is a person. According to the Scripture, the Holy Spirit has the same
essential deity as God the Father and the God the Son, and is to be worshipped
and adored, loved and obeyed in the same way as God.
According to John F. Walvoord in "The Holy Spirit - A comprehensive Study of
the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit", on page five:

26 Johnson, James., Webster, 1964, p I.

27 Conn, Joann Wolski, The New Dictionary of Theology: Spirituality, ed. By Komonchak, Joseph A., Coli ins,
Mary, Lane, Dermot A., (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan Ltd., 1990), P 972.

"To regard the Holy Spirit in any other way is to make one guilty of blasphemy and
unbelief. ,,28

Therefore, spirituality is Christian in ongm. It is derived from the word,

"spiritus" meaning the life-giving force, which stems from God and quickens
the soul of a baptised Christian. It is the spirit of transformation.

Basically, Evangelical Churches stress that the Bible is the inspired word of
God; the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through a "new
birth"; and the commitment to win souls for Christ Jesus.
Most of the AICs can be described as Pentecostal, Charismatic and Evangelical
in nature.

According to The New Dictionary a/Theology, p 183:

"The charismatic renewal movement consists in an experience of an intimate personal

relationship with Jesus Christ and in a spiritual empowering by His Holy Spirit. This
empowering takes the form of a strong appreciation for the ways of the Lord working
in the Church and for God's word in the Bible, graces of prayer and especially of
contemplative prayer, praying in tongues, and witnessing to the faith with courage. In
addition, the Lord's way is illustrated in the use of charisms such as prophecy,
intercessory prayer, praying with great efficacy for healing, spiritual leadership,
evangelisation, the discernment of spirits, spiritual combat, and other gifts of the

This charismatic movement, which is primarily and predominantly from the

African Initiated or Instituted Churches (AICs), has tremendously influenced
many Christians of all denominations all over the world. Most of their practices
have been adopted by the so-called mainline Churches and the American style
new generation churches.

Pentecostal or Spiritual Churches are not only on the African continent. As a

matter of fact, Pentecostalism has swept through the whole world during the last
century and it continues to grow in this new century. It is not something peculiar
to Africa and has spread through the USA, South America, Europe, South and
East Asia.

28 Walvoord, John F., The Holy Spirit - A Comprehensive Study of the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit,
(Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991), p 5.
29 Faricy r., Charismatic Movement in: The New Dictionary of Theology, Ed. By Komonchak, J., Coli ins, M.,
Lane, D. A., Gill and' Macmillan, Dublin, 1990, p 183-185.

In the 1920s, a wave of charismatic African Churches arrived on the scene of
Christian Independency in West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa and South
Africa. These charismatic Churches combined the two fundamental elements of
Christianity and African culture in a way that advertises their Christian
intentions without denouncing their African values.

In the various African Independent, Initiated or Instituted Christian Churches,

there are groups and congregations who exhibit an uninhibited joy about their
faith. Worshippers often clap their hands, raise their hands or lead the prayers.
This movement is known as Pentecostal and Charismatic Movement. This
movement started around 1920s in Africa. But to some Western writers, like Joe
Jenkins in his book: Examining Religions - Christianity, this movement first
emerged in California in the USA in the 1960s.3o This is historically not the case.

The acronym AIC may stand for a number of things: African Independent
Churches, African Instituted Churches, African Initiated Churches, and African
Initiatives in Christianity. African Indigenous Churches. Some would refer to
them as African Christian Initiatives.
The various types of AICs are not mutually exclusive. Concerning the
MUSAMA DISCO CHRISTO CHURCH (Ghana), for example, C. Baeta in
"Prophetism in Ghana, p62 ", wrote:

"The 'spiritual church' with the most pronounced interest in customary practices and
national politics in Ghana today (in the \960s). The present Akaboha (John Appiah 11,
d. 1974) relates how his father, having predicted that independence would eventually
come to the country but not through the Aborigines' Rights Protection Society, was
deluged with enquiries from his followers at the time Dr. Kwame Nkrumah started to
canvass for support. People wanted to know whether the latter was the person whom
the prophecy envisaged, and even more at the time of the general elections, some
members would write in for spiritual consultations, in order to be advised how to cast
their vote in the best interests ofthe country. ,,31

Reasons why the African Christian Indevendentllnstituted Churches were


Some African scholars have arrived at a different position as regards the reasons
why the African Christian independent churches were founded.
I will only summarise their position, which is quite different from the position of
the early European writers had on this subject. The reasons the Europeans gave

30 Jenkins, Joe, Examining Religions: Christianity, (Oxford: Heinemann Educational, 1989), p 54.
31 Baeta, C., in: Prophetism in Ghana, p62.

are manifold and sometimes contradictory. It will be beyond the scope of this
study to enumerate both positions, but it will suffice to list few of the reasons
that were given by the African writers on this subject:

• God in His infinite wisdom raised people like Dr. Josiah Ositelu for the
Gospel work when the gap between the African belief in God and the method
of worshipping Him and that of the "Old Mission Churches" was growing

• In the traditional society, Africans went to the diviner, and the African
Christians would like to go to their pastors for the same purpose, which the
"old Mission Churches" repudiated and demonised.

• According to Revd. J. o. Omotoye, in his M.A Thesis in 1964 he said that -

Liturgically, the Church of the Lord (Aladura) has evolved a way of
worshipping Jehovah God, which is quite different from the dull uninspiring
set worship of the most of the old Mission churches. Revd. Omotoye
described the worship of the so-called mission churches then as lacking

• Revd. Omotoye further recommends that attempts should be made to

introduce the African musical instruments to their worship to produce variety,
which is the spice of life.

• As an African member of one of the old mission churches, he advised that

Protestants should work out a new technique of beautiful worship and fine
Churches to replace the ugly barns and the ill-translated hymns and sermons
of the past. According to him, their faith will not hold African minds until
they have brought more beauty, reverence and joy into worship of God,
something that is closer to Africans own colourful and emotional religion.
They must represent real religion in a way that Africans can understand and
interpret in their own forms of thought and worship.

• The meaningful hymns of the African Initiated Churches, the drums, the joy
with which they worship, the confidence with which they pray, all which are
naturally harmonious with the African way of life, will convince all more
than anything else, Christianity is the religion of the Africans.

• The old mission churches have suddenly discovered that the African
Instituted Churches were not anti-Christian but that the Christianity, which
stigmatised as bad everything African, is false.

• They should not rule out faith healing. Only false stories should be rejected.
According to Bishop A. O. Orekoya of the Methodist Church, Agbeni, Ibadan
on the Pentecostal Movement, the Aladura Churches should not be
condemned and he particularly will never condemn the Aladuras because he
knows the praise-worthy part they are playing in the spreading of the gospel
to all the nooks and corners of the country.

Most of the points raised above are not existing anymore in the old mission
churches today. They have adopted most of the Aladuras' practices and
observances. To God be the glory!

There is in Africa today a very active "Charismatic Group" spreading throughout

the Roman Catholic Churches. Sometimes ago, a Charismatic Group of
European Catholic Priests and Priests of other mission churches visited some
African countries including Nigeria, 'fasting, healing by faith and speaking in
tongues', were their main practices as already being practised in the AICs.

The Catholic Newspaper (The Independent), gave prominence to the visit of the
group and the growing branches in the local Roman Catholic Churches. All these
were revealed by God to the late Prophet Ositelu and he based the doctrine of the
Church of the Lord (Aladura) on them. Indeed the stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone of the house, as most of the doctrine of
Ositelu's Church, is being practised by both the old mission churches and the so-
called GospellPentecostal Churches.

Those commonly referred to as Mission Churches, though they describe

themselves as independent churches nowadays, are the Anglican Church, the
Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Roman Catholic Church, etc. Those
commonly referred to as Gospel or Pentecostal Churches in Nigeria are the
Redeem Christian Church of God, the Living Faith World Outreach Centre
(a.k.a. Winners' Chapel), the Mountain of Fire Ministry, the Christ Embassy
Church, Deeper Life Bible Church, etc.

It was a great Roman Catholic dignitary, Leo XIII, who once said:
"Perhaps even today if we were to ask some Christians whether they have
received the Holy Spirit, they would answer, like the disciples St. Paul met at
Ephesus, 'we had not even heard that there was any such thing as the Holy
Spirit' ."

On the West African scene, Prophet Babalola of Christ Apostolic Church,
Prophet 10siah Ositelu of The Church of the Lord (Aladura), Prophet Moses
Orimolade and Captain Abiodun Emmanuel both of Cherubim and Seraphim
Society emerged around 1920s to 1960s as African Indigenous Christian miracle
workers. The contributions made by these people mentioned above, to the
development of the healing ministry of their respective churches in Africa and in
Nigeria in particular was enormous.

This period (1925-1965) within which the healing ministry of the Aladura
Churches could be said to be perfected and coincided with the appearances of the
Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) under Prophet 1. A. Babalola, the Cherubim and
Seraphim Society under Prophet Moses Orimolade and Captain Abiodun
Emmanuel (nee Akinsowon), and The Church of the Lord (Aladura) under
Prophet 10siah Ositelu of Ogere-Remo, Ogun State of Nigeria. Ositelu was very
great among the Nigerian Christian Faith-healers of the twentieth century. All
these people of God juxtaposed together, 1. O. Ositelu appears somewhat a
prim us inter pares.
This is one of the reasons, among others, for writing a short profile on his
prophetic career as a renowned Christian Charismatic Pentecostal/Spiritual
healer in Africa.

Other CharismaticlEvangelical to join their predecessors in the healing ministry

as from the 1970s are the Celestial Church of Christ, Lagos under Pastor 1. S. B.
Oschoffa, the Church of God Mission, Benin City under late Archbishop Ben
Idahosa, the Deeper Life Christian Ministry, Lagos under Pastor William F.
Kumuyi, the Winners' Chapel, Lagos under Bishop David o. Oyedepo, the
Redeem Christian Church of God, Lagos under Pastor Enoch A. Adeboye, the
Mountain of Fire Ministry, Lagos under Pastor D. K. Olukoya, just to mention a
few. All these churches now constitute the "Charismatic / Pentecostal/Spiritual
/ Evangelical" Movement in Nigeria, West Africa.

Faith healing is not to be set in opposition to Western or Traditional medicine

but a co-ordinated ministry of medicine and prayer. Rev. Dr. Francis MacNutt in
his book: "Healing, New York, Bantam Book Catalogue, 1977" says:

"Prayer for healing is in no way a negation of the need for doctors, nurses, counsellors,
psychiatrists or pharmacists. God works in all these ways to heal the sick, the ideal is a
team effort to get the sick well through every possible means.,,32

AICs Members of WCC

The World Council of Churches (WCC) was formed in 1948. It is a fellowship

of Churches, which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according
to the Scriptures, and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the
glol)' of the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The World Council of Churches today has among its membership in Africa five
churches from the AIC tradition: the African Israel Nineveh Church, Kisumu,
Kenya, founded by Paul David Zakayo Kivuli (1896-1974); The Church of the
Lord (Aladura), Ogere-Remo, Nigeria, founded by Prophet Josiah Ositelu; Eglise
de Jesus Christ sur Terre par son envoye special Simon Kimbangu (EJCSK),
more commonly known as the Kimbanguist Church, Lutendele, DRC (former
Zaire); The Harrist Church of Cote d'lvoire, founded by Prophet William Wade
Harris; The African Church of the Holy Spirit of Kenya, Kakanega, Kenya (an
associate member); and etc. 33
Their vel)' presence confirms the assertion made by Leslie Newbigin, as far back
as 1953, that "We must acknowledge that we without them cannot be made
perfect. ,,34 Late Bishop Leslie Newbigin (1909-1998) who was ordained as a
Presbyterian in 1936 by the Church of Scotland started his career as an
ecumenist when he was sent with his wife on mission to India. He was vel)'
instrumental to the establishment of the World Council of Churches (WCC). In
his eighty-eight years on the planet earth, he was an ecumenist, a believer and an
activist of "Gospel and Culture". 35

We have already mentioned some of the reasons for the establishment of

independent churches in Africa. Whatever other reasons may be, the fact that the
independent churches form a vel)' important feature of Christianity in Africa
As a matter of fact, the African Instituted Churches (AICs) are the fastest
growing churches in the world today.
32 MacNutt, Francis., Healing, Bantam Book Catalogue, New York, 1977.
33 Together on the Way - Official Report of the Eighth Assembly of the World Council of Churches, (Geneva:
WCC Publications, 1999), p352-354.
34 Newbigin, Leslie, Das Vermiichtnis von W. A. Visser't Hooft. ThBeitr. 2. See also Newbigin, Leslie, Religious

Pluralism and the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ, IBMR 211989, p 50-54.

35 Evangelikale Missiologie 3/98, Reppenhagen, Martin, Unfinished Agenda - in Memoriam Leslie Newbigin,
(Kontal: Arbeitskreis fUr evangelikale Missiologie e.V., 1998), p 100. See also Newbigin, Leslie, "Unfinished
Agenda: An Updated Autobiography, (Edinburg: Saint Andrew Press, 1993).

We are now going to observe the differences between the old mission churches
and the African Instituted Churches before going to the major part of our study.
First, the mission Christianity is that which is deeply rooted in European culture
with the stigma of colonialism, paternalism and foreignness, and their attempt to
denounce the African tradition as barbaric while African InitiatedlInstituted
Christianity is that which is deeply rooted in African culture but without any
Actually not all, but some of the old mission Churches have retained their
anachronistic ideas in Africa thus, form of worship, doctrines, articles of faith,
architecture etc., which the Europeans have even begun to shed. A lot of
missionaries who have spent many years in Africa have made some important
and very interesting discoveries. Some of them include Williams who worked in
Ghana for twenty-six years and Welbourn who worked in East Africa for nearly
twenty years. For example, Williamson in his book "Akan Religion and the
Christian Faith", writes:

"The Akan became a Christian by cleaving to the new order introduced by the
missionary rather than by working out his salvation within the traditional religious
milieu. What passes for Christianity, as so many understand it, is disbelief in gods and
fetish, membership of the Church, payment of its dues, a and obedience to its

Another example, dealing with the same observation as above can be seen in A
Place to Feel at Home, written by Welbourn and OgOt. 37 They observed that the
mission Christianity was actually trying to separate Africans from their society
and culture by putting them on the side of Europeans which can clearly be seen
by making them become members of mission Churches, taking European names
receiving literary education and hoping for promotion in the government or

From the observations of Williams, Welbourn and Ogot as stated above, we

could reach a conclusion that the mission churches have failed to achieve their
mission partly because they were unable to present Christianity alone as a
religion to the Africans but the Western image of its faith.
The missionaries who should have first learned to be at home in Africa, instead
opted to try their best to draw converts away from their traditional life which
they thought was the proper and the civilised method of expressing Christianity
to Africans. This was actually a major mistake by mission Churches and a
disadvantage to their course.

36 WiIliamson, Akan Religion and the Christian Faith, Accra, Ghana.

37 Welbourn, F. and Ogot, B. M., A Place to Feel at Home, London, Oxford University Press, 1962.

On the other hand, the African initiatives in Christianity (AICs) were at an
advantage because they do not need to direct their effort towards drawing
converts away from the African tradition but to preach the Gospel to them
straightaway. Therefore we can say that the fact that African InitiatedlInstituted
Churches (AICs) form a very important feature of Christianity in Africa is a
matter of course.

The possibility of being able to worship God and deities simultaneously is

another glaring difference between the mission churches and the independent
churches. For example, in Nigeria up till today, some Chiefs who are either
members of a cult or worshippers of some deities are executive members of
some of the old mission churches (e.g.: Church President, etc.). They largely see
themselves as members of a social organisation, which is fashionable. This is a
practice, which is not very common among the independent churches. For
comparison sake, let us consider the situation of worship service in Europe and
Africa; we shall see that Africans, being very religious as they are, always attend
worship-services unlike in Europe where churches are nearly empty on worship-
service days. So, the question arises - Are Africans better Christians? The
question is not easy to answer and the writer does not intend to answer this
question but it is certain and clear that Africans are very religious, moreover,
they take their religion as their life without which they cannot exist. This can be
simplified thus, their life is their religion and their religion is their life.

We can therefore conclude that the African Instituted Churches are closer to
African traditional aspirations and religiosity than the mission Churches. The
independent African Churches are very strong in West Africa, East Africa,
Central Africa and South Africa. They are very few in the north due to Muslim
domination in that part of Africa, though one of the African ancient and
indigenous Churches exists up till today in Egypt. Both the Coptic Church of
Egypt and the Ethiopia Orthodox Church have a tradition going back to the
apostolic times.

Historically, it is believed that the Coptic Church was founded by St. Mark. Both
churches were said to have been under the same Patriarch of Alexandria. Unlike
these ancient indigenous churches of Africa, the modem indigenous churches of
Africa have been able to make their presence felt beyond their area of origin and
also in Europe, America and West India. This is not surprising, for example, the
spiritual growth of The Church of Pentecost and its spread throughout the world
is a fulfilment of God's Covenant made with the founders of the Church at its
beginning (from 1931). Earlier than 1931, was the revelation given by God to
Prophet Josiah Ositelu as far back as 1925 that The Church of the Lord (Aladura)
will be spread all over the world. The spiritual growth of The Church of the Lord
(Aladura) and its spread worldwide is the manifestation of the revelation of God
to the founder and first Primate of the Church - Josiah Ositelu, in 1925.

Many African Initiated Churches have grown by exploiting and using traditional
African music, dances, and symbols. Christian themes are expressed in truly
African ways and ideas. For these Churches, Jesus Christ is the "Light of the
world,,38 Who disperses the evil darkness, and the "Giver of life and the Divine
Healer,,39 Who only can keep, sustain, and heal all ailments. Most of the
founders of these Churches are being referred to as prophets of God, who claim
to have received their calling from God Who also endowed them with spiritual
gifts to speak in tongues, perform miracles and healing in His name.

Many of the Africa Initiated Churches grew out of a response of the failure of
missionaries to relate Christianity to the traditional African view of the world.
Often the missionaries condemned the traditional African way of life. They
wanted to transform Africans into "Black Europeans", that is, they laid more
emphasis on the European culture than the Gospel truth of the Bible. For
example, Africans had to be baptised with the so-called "Christian names",
which are actually European names (e.g. Williams, Johnson, Gladys, etc.), in
order to become true Christians. An African name: "Oluwafemi", which means,
"God loves me (Yoruba language)", was unacceptable to the European
missionaries because it was African. To them, anything African was barbaric,
fetishistic, and evil.

Some ofthe African Initiated Churches (AICs), which began in a particular tribe,
have extended beyond national boundaries and have achieved an international
According to Harold W. Turner in "Christianity in Independent Africa -
Patterns of ministry and structure within Independent Churches ", Indiana
University Press, (1978) p 49:

"This has occurred even where they may have remained predominantly within the tribe
of origin in their own country. Thus the Church of the Lord (Aladura) began among the
Yoruba of Nigeria and has spread into other areas of Nigeria; yet in Ghana it has
substantial expansion among Fante, Ga and Ashanti, in Liberia it includes many Bassa
and Americo-Liberians and others, in Sierra-Leone its membership is Creole and
Mende, with a sprinkling of other tribes, and it has also a foothold in Togo and
branches in London and New York, where members maybe of any West African or
even other peoples.,,40

38 Matthew 5:14.
39 Mark 8:37; John 6:63; Exodus 15:26; Psalm 103:3.
40 Turner, H. W., Christianity in Independent Africa - Patterns of ministry and structure within Independent
Churches", Indiana University Press, Indiana, 1978, p 49.

No wonder, Gerrie ter Haar in "Halfway to Paradise H, Cardiff Academic Press,
(1998) p 24, refers to them as African International Churches (AICs). Gerrie ter
Haar writes:

"In the course of time, scholars and others have applied a wide range of different labels
to African Independent Churches. As we have noted already, they have also become
known as 'spiritual churches', or 'healing churches', or they may be simply referred to
as 'independent churches' or 'African Churches'. A difficulty is that these labels often
reflect more than anything else the subjective view of the observer, who is usually
someone from a different church tradition or from no religious tradition at all. This
discussion is also relevant to efforts made today to classify the new African-initiated
churches in Europe. These clearly represent a new type of AICs, but the question is
whether or not they are African. The commonest way for outsiders to refer to these
churches in Europe is as 'African churches', a label often rejected by the churches
themselves on the grounds that it marks a restriction of their task and mission in
Europe since, as far as they are concerned, they aim to minister to both Africans and
non-Africans, to black and white people. Most churches in fact label themselves as
'international churches', expressing their aspiration to be part of the international
world in which they believe themselves to have a universal task. In order to do justice
to this aspiration while also reflecting the historic change implied in the world-wide
spread of these churches, it may be appropriate to invest the initials 'AIC' with a new
meaning, that of African International Churches. To refer to them this way takes
account of their African origin while at the same time recognising the continuity of
these churches with the universal Christian tradition.,,41

41 Haar, G., Haltway To Paradise, Cardiff Academic Press, Sheffield, 1998, p 24.

Accusations by Some Western Writers and Some Members of the Old Mission


Some of the Western writers on this subject accused the AICs of being
syncretistic and separatist. Bengt Sundkler in his book: "Bantu Prophets in
Southern Africa, London, Oxford UP., 1984, p 58" characterised the AICs as
syncretistic. 42 This originates in his early attempt to identify the charismatic
movement in Africa (i.e. the AICs), as "the bridge over which Africans are
brought back to heathenism ". He abandoned such terminology in his later

The language of syncretism does not only confuses issues but it is completely
oblivious to how the Church has acted from its very beginnings. The
introduction to the Gospel according to John (John 1:1-14), did not invent the
word "Logos". Rather, the author borrowed a word, which was very much in use
in the books of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato and his adherents (the
Platonists), to designate the divine order as the rationality of the universe, the
principle of its coherence.

Those who labelled the AICs as syncretistic should be reminded that no religion
has ever existed in a cultural vacuum and that culture has always been the
solvent of religion. 43

Robert J. Schreiter in his book: "Constructing Local Theologies, Maryknoll N Y.,

Orb is, 1985, p 150", asks:

"If contextuality is about getting to the very heart of the culture, and Christianity is
taking its place there, will not the Christianity that emerges look very much like a
product of that culture ... ? Are we going to continue giving cultures the equivalent of
an artificial heart - an organ that can do the job the culture needs, but one that will
remain forever foreign?,,44 '

42 Sundkler, Bengt, Bantu Prophets in Southern Africa, London, Oxford U. P., 1984, P 58.
43 Ositelu, Rufus, Observances and Practices of the Church of the Lord (Aladura), Ogere, 2000, p 9-10.
44 Schreiter, R. J., Constructing Local Theologies, Orbis, Maryknoll N.Y., 1985, p 150.

The AICs have also been accused and described as separatist Churches. In a
book: African Independent Churches - Speaking for Ourselves, by members of
African Independent Churches on their Pilot Study of the history and theology of
their Churches, Preface p 5, Archbishop N. H. Ngada writes:

"The criteria for grouping us together and generalising about us are often external to
our own beliefs and practices. And finally there is the handicap of historical conflicts
between the so-called traditional Churches and ourselves. Because most of our
members are converts from these Churches and because sometimes whole
congregations have come over to our Churches, we are labelled 'sects' or 'cults' and
described as 'separatist', 'nativistic' or 'syncretistic'. There is still some tension
between ourselves and the Churches from which our members came because these
Churches obviously do not like to loose their members to US.,,45

In 1890 some 600 worshippers of the St Paul Anglican Church (CMS -

Breadfruit Church) in Lagos broke away to establish the "African Church,
Lagos". Their protest was against the arrogance and callousness of Bishop
Herbert Tugwell and the racism perceived in the way the CMS missionaries
treated James Johnson. Jacob Kehinde Coker, one of the Founders of this
African Church in his Coker Papers, Files 4/1/28, p 112, wrote that they:

"decided to establish the African Church, in which Africans would worship God as
Africans, independently, both in spirit and in truth, applying Christianity to African
customs, not repugnant to Christ's teachings.,,46

This designation of AICs as separatist is in effect an admission that they

represent a part of the diverse parts of the one body of Christ (1 Corinthians
12:12-27), and therefore constitute an ecumenical challenge. What is needed is
not name-calling or accusations, but unity in the diverse one body of Christ

AICs are supposed to be led by non-literate leaders, and that the clientele of the
AICs are the non-literate, the uneducated and the poor. How the Western writers
and some mission churches expect a non-literate, un schooled African villager to
appreciate the language of the Apostle's or Nicene Creed is beyond me.

As a matter of fact, I know professors and lecturers in various Nigerian

Universities who belong to the AICs. H. W. Turner refers to the "Oxbridge
graduates" in the AICs. Most of the leaders of AICs have University degrees.
Therefore, the attitude of dismissing AICs as the religion of the uneducated,
besides being irrelevant, is arrogant, absurd and uninformed.

45 African Independent Churches - Speaking For Ourselves (Ngada, N. H.), Preface, p 5.

46 Jacob Kehinde Coker, J. K., in: Coker Papers, Files 4/1128, p 112 (unpublished).

The AICs are supposed to be fostering schism. Just as we have schism among
the historic Churches (old mission churches), so also do AICs have their own
share. In some cases, divisions and separations are caused by difference in
opinions and sometimes by greed and the desire to embezzle Church's money. In
order not to go beyond the scope of this study, it will be enough to give this one
example that occurred recently.

A former Minister of Religion (Emmanuel De Graft) belonging to one of the

AICs in Ghana seceded for only one reason and this reason can be seen in the
actions that he took. This example is particularly given because it is very recent
and well known in Ghana as it was on the television and pages of newspapers.
When Emmanuel Adjei DeGraft (former Provincial Head, CLA, Ghana
Province) seceded, he wanted to take all the Church's properties (including
landed properties, vicarages, church-buildings, parcels of lands, money in the
banks, etc.), belonging to the Church, even before he ever became a member of
the Church Organisation. He was not a member of the Church by the time all
these properties were acquired by the Church. He was at the head of the Church
in Ghana at the time he was trying to steal away the properties belonging to the
Church Organisation.
First thing he did was to seize all the money belonging to the Church in the
Province of Ghana. He managed to gain some followers through the
dissemination of false information concerning the Church, which has its
headquarters in Nigeria, and promises to give them part of the money and
materials he had stolen.
But he failed woefully in his plan to steal and reap where he did not sow. He has
since been dismissed and excommunicated from the Church, which he formerly
belonged to. He went to court, lost the case and brought shame to himself and his
Some of his followers, who were misinformed and who later discovered that his
. secession plan was motivated by greediness and embezzlement of church's
money, left him immediately. Some of them came back asking for forgiveness
and permission to join the fold while others were too ashamed to show their
faces around the Church's environs.
As a matter of fact, Prophet Moses Essuman (one of those who went with the
secessionist), has just completed his penance at Ogere in Nigeria, the
headquarters of the Church. He was commissioned to report at Kumasi, the
Provincial Headquarters of the Church in Ghana on the 15 th of September, 200l.

A lot of churches have emerged out of the AICs in Ghana more than any other
parts of the world. This could be an interesting field of study for future research

Schism is historically a phenomenon, which we should not worry ourselves

about unnecessarily. It becomes dangerous, when the reason for it has nothing to
do with doctrinal differences but greediness as in the above example.

Schism is not only common among the AICs but also among the European
Mission churches in Africa and even among the European churches in Europe. I
like to mention the Lutheran Churches that were formed in response to Martin
Luther's teaching. Martin Luther (1483-1546) was the founder of the German
Reformation. Their doctrinal convictions are given expression in the "Book of
Concord" (1580). The Scripture is affirmed as the sole rule of "Faith", and that
justification by "GRACE" alone is the principal tenet.

According to the "Oxford Concise Dictionary of WORLD RELIGIONS, edited

by John Bowker, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000), p 344 ":

"From its beginnings in Germany Lutheranism quickly spread throughout Europe,

gaining dominance in Scandinavia, Iceland, Prussia, and the Baltic Provinces, but its
energies were diverted in the late 16 th Century by internal conflicts.,,47

This conflict then led to schism. The membership of the Lutherans is estimated
at over seventy-five millions.
Another example is the Reformed Church of the Netherlands. The reformation
gripped the Catholic Church, which later broke into two major blocks around
1525 - (1) The Roman Catholic Church, and (2) the "Hervormde" Church of
Netherlands and some small groups including the Evangelical Lutheran Church,
the Brotherhood Church, etc.
Around 1816, the Reformed Church of Netherlands broke out of the
"Hervormde" Church of Netherlands.
Thereafter, the history of both the "Hervormde Church" of Netherlands and the
Reformed Church of Netherlands is full of schism of the kind that has never been
experienced among the AICs.
In 1845 a group broke out of the "Hervormde" Church of Netherlands to start the
Baptist Church in Netherlands. Schism continued until 1975.
Around 1975, another group broke out of the Reformed Church of Netherlands
to form "Dolende congregation ".

47 Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Religions, Ed. By Bowker, J., Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000,
p 344.

In Africa, schism is not limited to AICs. It is also known among the European
Mission churches. Recently, the Nigerian dailies were full of a crisis that started
within the Anglican Church of Nigeria since 1995.
According to the Vanguard Newspaper of Friday, January 26,2001, Front Page
captioned: "Cleric bathed with acid", the recent transfers of priests in the Church
seem to have set the non-Binis members of the Church against the Binis.
According to the same Newspaper edition of Tuesday, January 30, 2001, P 3,
pandemonium broke out at Our Saviour's Anglican Church, Benin, Nigeria
controlled by non-Binis on Sunday, January 28, 2001 when irate members
chased away Venerable 1. Owede in retaliation for the alleged attack on
Venerable G. O. Umukoro a few days earlier at Saint Matthew's Cathedral
Church controlled by the Binis.
Nobody knows what the outcome of this crisis will be. According to the
Vanguard Newspaper of Monday, February 5, 2001 the non-Bini Anglicans no
longer see the Archbishop Akinola, the Primate of the Anglican Church of
Nigeria as an impartial spiritualleader. 48

Theological Edl!cation

Some Westem writers have constantly criticised the AlCs as not theologically
sound, which they see as leading to deviations from the true faith.
Even though the AICs stress the gifts of the Holy Spirit, nevertheless, they
emphasise the need for a theological education. In Zimbabwe Fambidzano has
had the Theological Education by Extension (TEE) program. In Ghana the Good
News Institute was set up to facilitate the educational aspirations of AICs. In
Nigeria, The Church of the Lord (Aladura) has its own seminary - Aladura
Theological Seminary with one campus in Lagos and another in Ogere. The
Kimbanguist Church has a theological program, including a theological faculty.
The interest of the AICs in theological education has also brought them .into
. contact with the WCC and its program on Ecumenical Theological Education.

48 VANGUARD Newspaper of Friday, January 26, 2001, Front Page. See also VANGUARD Newspaper of
Tuesday, January 30, 2001, P 3 and VANGUARD Newspaper of Monday, February 5, 2001, p6.


Syncretism is often being used with negative connotations resulting from hasty
generalizations. This is discussed in more detail in the next section of this
Theologies today seek to be "contextual", expressing God's concerns in a
particular human context.

Robert Schreiter in his book, "Constructing Local Theologies, New York, Orbis,
1985, p 145, 150" asked whether the AIC movement should be seen as 'the
ultimate outcome of contextualization rather than as some aberration,.49 This he
says is one of the 'hard questions' to be answered regarding the relationship
between 'syncretism' and 'contextualization'. Because contextualization is
concerned with getting to the heart of a culture, then Christianity that is truly
contextualized will indeed, he says, "look very much like a product of that
culture". The African Instituted Churches have to a large extent achieved an
instinctive contextualization from which the rest of Christianity can learn. The
AICs provide many examples to innovative approaches to Christianity.


Another source of misunderstanding and distortion is the academic tendency, by

some Western writers and even some African writers belonging to the Old
Mission Churches, to generalise from a particular or few cases. A limited
number of Churches are studied and then, broad generalisations are made about
all the Churches, which they have categorised as African Independent, Initiated,
Instituted or Indigenous Churches. In some cases, the criteria for grouping these
Churches together and generalising about them are often external to the beliefs,
practices and observances of some of the affected Churches. 50

As mentioned earlier, the AICs or the Aladura Churches should not be generally
accused of one thing or the other. On the other hand, some writers have been
very specific in their assertion. References include: Benjamin C. Ray, "Aladura
Christianity: A Yoruba Religion, Journal of Religion in Africa (1993); Kenneth I.
Brown, "Worshipping with the African Church of the Lord (Aladura), Practical
Anthropology (1966); Gerald F. Moede, "The Church of the Lord (Aladura),

Schreiter, R., Constructing Local Theologies, (Orbis: New York, 1985), p 145-150.
50See Sundkler, Bengt, Bantu Prophets in Southern Africa, London, Oxford University Press, 1984; and also
Ayegboyin, Deji, & Ishola S. Ademola, African Indigenous Churches: An Historical Perspective, Lagos, Greater
Heights Publications, 1997.

The Ecumenical Review (1972); Dean S. Gilliland, "How 'Christian' are
African Independent Churches?", Missiology, (South Pasadena, 1986); David O.
Olayiwola, "The Interaction of African Independent Churches with Traditional
Religions in Nigeria", Studia Missionalia, (Rome, 1993); Akin Omoyajowo,
"Christianity in Independent Africa: The Aladura Churches in Nigeria since
Independence, Indiana University Press, (1978); Rufus Ositelu, "African
Indigenous Churches", (Langen: AlexanderVerlag, 1984).51

For example, D. o. Olayiwola in his submission in: "Church And Healing

Ministry In Nigeria", Studia Missionalia, (Rome, 1994) p 43; concluded:

"we wish to state that the healing activities done in some of the Aladuras or Nigerian
Independent Churches were syncretistic in form and therefore, without glossing over
issue, cannot stand the test of biblical scrutiny. For instance, Neils Kastfelt who did a
thorough research work on Prophet Kulibwui suspects that the prophet incorporated
both Islamic and traditional elements into his therapeutic methods to suit his purpose.
On this same allegation of syncretism, the other Aladura Churches, the Celestial
Church of Christ (CCC), in particular could easily be faulted. However, on the whole,
we are beginning to see on a wide scale a resurgence of God's gift of healing in a
manner not seen in the Church since the apostolic times. Healing is not the periphery
of Christianity, it is central. A theory of healing without healing taking place is empty

Fallacious and Dangerous Criticism

Another striking example of fallacious and intentional misrepresentation of facts

can be observed in a book titled "African Indigenous Churches: An Historical
Perspective" by Deji Ayegboyin and Ademola Ishola, (Lagos: Greater Heights
. Publication, 1997).

When a scholar presents hislher fantasy as a fact such a write-up becomes

fallacious. When an indigene of a tribe carelessly or intentionally gives a wrong
meaning to a word or a vocabulary of hislher own people then it becomes

51 Se.e Ray, B. C., Aladura Christianity: A Yoruba Religion, Journal of Religion in Africa, 1993; Brown, K. I.,
Worshipping with the African Church of the Lord (Aladura), Practical Anthropology, 1966; Moede, G. F., The
Church of the Lord (Aladura), The Ecumenical Review, 1972; Gilliland, D. S., How 'Christian' are African
Independent Churches?, Missiology, South Pasadena, 1986; Olayiwola, D. 0., The Interaction of African
Independent Churches with Traditional Religions in Nigeria, Studia Missionalia, 1993; Omoyajowo, A.,
Christianity in Independent Africa: The Aladura Churches in Nigeria since Independence, Indiana University
Press, Indiana, 1978; and Ositelu, Rufus, African Indigenous Churches, Langen, Alexander Verlag, 1984.
'2 D. O. Olayiwola, D. 0., Church and Healing Ministry in Nigeria, Studia Missionalia, Rome, 1994, p 43.

These writers (Ayegboyin and Ishola) who both hailed from Ogbomoso, a
Baptist Church stronghold, are of comparable ages, disposition and diction. Both
are of the Baptist extraction. They are both supposed to have specialised in
Church History. Dr. Deji Ayegboyin is a lecturer at the Department of Religious
Studies, University of Ibadan while Dr. S. Ademola Ishola lectures at the
Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso. 53

Just as some non-African writers have denounced the African Instituted

Churches as unsystematic, syncretistic and of no theological value, these two
Baptist pastors (Deji Ayegboyin and Ademola Ishola), have decided to continue
their master's game in their bias approach, which is fallacious, confusing,
dangerous and absurd.

In Chapter Eleven of their book: "African Indigenous Churches: An Historical

Perspective", they made a lot of wrong assertions. Most striking and damaging
among them is the assertion made on page ninety-one concerning the Founder
and First Primate of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) - Late Prophet Josiah
Olunowo Ositelu. Going through their note on the same subject, it was asserted
that "Ifakoya" literally means "Ifa" (god of oracle) refuses suffering; while
"Dawbdu" is the Yoruba version of the Arabic name for David. 54
According to them, the first name indicates he (Ositelu) came from a pagan
background and then converted to Islamic religion. 55
This assertion is a pure fallacy. The fact that these two writers are of the Yoruba
background, as their names suggest, makes it more unbelievable how they could
have claimed that the Yoruba word "Dawodu" is the Arabic version for the name
As a matter of fact, every Yoruba indigene knows that the Yoruba word
"Dawodu" stands for the first male child (son) in the family while "Beere" stands
for the first female child (daughter) in the family. These names are being used in
the Yoruba homes and have nothing to do with any religion whatsoever.

The duo of Ayegboyin and Ishola could and should have done a better job than
what they did in their book as mentioned above.
First of all, the name "Dauda" is the Yoruba version of the Arabic name
"Daoud". Secondly, Ositelu was never converted to the Islamic religion but was
totally from a pagan background. You may know more about the background of
Ositelu under the Chapter Fifteen of this book, sub-section: The Genealogy of
Josiah Olunowo Ositelu.

53 Ayegboyin, D. & Ishola, s. A., African Indigenous Churches: An Historical Perspective - Foreword by Oshun,
C. 0., Lagos, 1997 (Lagos: Greater Heights Publications, 1997).
54 Ibid., Note 65, p 91.
55 Ibid.

In their bid to prove what others have suggested in the past, but had no proof, the
duo now used a wrong assumption to consequently arrive at a wrong conclusion.
As a matter fact, some African. theologians who are not of the Yoruba origin
have contacted me asking me to either help to write the Foreword for their books
or to proofread their dissertations. Pastor Annan, a Ghanaian was one of them.
He was very embarrassed to have quoted some fallacy from the book of the two
lecturers (Ayegboyin and Ishola) in question when he was preparing for his
Bachelor of Arts in Religion. Since they are Yorubas as their names suggest, he
thought that they must have their facts correct, especially when it borders on the
Yoruba language and custom.

One must wonder why this blunder? Why did they stoop so low to justify what is
not justifiable? The questions, why this and why that, may continue unending.
One answer that readily comes to mind is that they were probably under self
pressure or external pressure to find a link between some of the practices and
observances ofthe Aladura churches that are not common within the old mission
churches (e.g.: their own Baptist background), in order to probably discredit the
African Initiated Churches (AICs).
Some of these practices for example include the removal of shoes (Exodus· 3:5;
Joshua 5:15; Acts 7:33) and the bowing of their heads in adoration of the
Almighty God (Psalm 95:6; Genesis 24:26).
Another reason is probably due to their limited knowledge of diverse Christian
religious practices, among Christians of different denominations around the

For example, the spirituality of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox
Churches (e.g.: the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox, the Ethiopian Orthodox, the
Greek Orthodox, the Syrian Orthodox, just to mention a few) are very similar to
the spirituality of the Church of the Lord (Aladura). Some of these spiritualities
include consecrated water, burning of incense, lightening of candles, and etc.
As a matter of fact, the members of the Egyptian Orthodox Church, till today, do
remove their shoes before going into their temple. They also bow their heads in
adoration to God Almighty. This is particularly a church that was founded by
Saint Mark, the Gospel writer, and a church well known for observing the early
practices of the Christian early Church.

All these misconceptions by some non-African writers and their African

collaborators are mentioned here not purposely to discredit the whole contents of
the book written by Ayegboyin and Ishola, but to expose their fallacious

Contrary to the statements made by Professor C. O. Oshun, the Dean of the
Faculty of Arts, Lagos Sate University, Lagos, Nigeria in his foreword for the
said book written by Ayegboyin and Ishola, these two authors have not worked
hard enough to produce a balanced, objective and up-to-date instructional
material. If they can make such blunder on a subject that borders on their own
cultural background, I do not want to imagine what must have happened to other
subjects treated in their book bordering on other African cultures that are not of
their own background. Their academic research which was supposed to be
elucidatory on some of the topics treated in their book have instead thrown more
confusion on them.
According to their summary on the Church of the Lord (Aladura), also known as
CL, they concluded:

"The CL is an indigenous break-away group which parted company with the Anglican
Church when its originator was dismissed from the Anglican Assembly because he was
introducing unorthodox rituals into the accepted beliefs and the practices of the
Anglicans ... ,,56

This assertion is a blatant lie. Nothing can be true concerning this statement.
The fact is that he had no group or followers within the Anglican Church. This
assertion borders again on generalization. One does not need to generalize
concerning all the AICs, from examples of some of the founders of AlCs, who
had groups (e.g.: prayer group) within their mother churches (old mission
churches) before finally breaking-away to start their own mission.

After the vision of the great light and the large eye, two elders of the Anglican
Church at Erukute namely Emmanuel Odebode and J. B. Oyelekan suggested
that Ositelu should be allowed to go home to take care of himself.
On the 19th of June, 1925 Ositelu started to conduct special prayers with fasting
and on the 18 th of November, same year, he received the message:
"The Elders will hold council to change your heart, but you will prevail."
He was accused of some irregularities by the authorities of the Anglican Church.
Some of the irregularities include special prayers, fasting, preserving a special
place for prayers within the mission house, refusal to eat snakes, and etc.
On the day D. M. George was celebrating his elevation as a full-priest, some
elders of the Anglican Church summoned Ositelu for questioning concerning the
so-called irregularities. He was advised to stop fasting, having special prayers
and stop refusing some food.
To this advice Ositelu replied: "I will rather do the will of God than that of men".

56 Ibid, P 96.

As the Elders could not convince him, he was singularly suspended and he left
the mission house for his hometown Ogere. Thus the revelation of the 18th of
November, 1925 was fulfilled. 57

As a matter of fact, Ositelu had no followers and his first converts were his
parents who prior to their conversion were idol worshippers. The next converts
of his were his sister Madam Oyetola Sodipo and her son, who is now a retired
Minister of Religion in the Church of the Lord (Aladura).


Polygamy is the system of having more than one wife at a time. This system has
been universal until the western introduction of marriage registry. Biblically,
when a man goes to a woman and knows her (Le. having a sexual relationship
with her), she then becomes his wife. 58
At conferences of interdenominational and international nature, the question on
extra marital activity, which is common among the Western World, is never
discussed while that of polygamy, whereby the West can point an accusing
finger to Africa and other developing countries, readily makes the day. While
some africans prefer to take a second wife, some europeans prefer to have only
one registered wife and a concubine (a.k.a. girl-friend or woman-friend).
God has told us unequivocally all that we should do and all we should not do.
For example, all the ten commandments in the Old Testament can also be found
in the New Testament. God deals with us in principles, that is why the Christian
Sabbath is being celebrated on Sundays. It is true that the Christian has a day,
which is given to him or her from God, and this day is to be observed; but its
observance is never a matter of greater piety, devotion, praise, or yieldness to
God than of any other day. Its observance consists in a larger freedom, because
of the cessation of temporal cares, to do all that his or her heart is yearning to do
all the days. Sunday became the traditional Sabbath of the Christian after our
Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven on a Sunday; He
also appeared to the apostles on a Sunday, efcetera.
What does the Bible says concerning marriage and marital duty? This is
important so that every Christian can base his or her decision on what God says
in the Scriptures and not someone's interpretation. This is an intellectual
exercise, but should you need marriage counselling, you should first of all pray
to God to translate the passages you are about to read to you and help you to
make the right decision.

57 Ositelu, Rufus, African Indigenous Churches, Alexander Verlag, FrankfurtlMain, 1984, p 27.
58 Genesis 24:67.

According to the Scriptures: Exodus 21:10 says, "If he marries another woman,
he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.,,59
Deuteronomy 21: 15-16 says, "If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not
the other, and both bear him sons but the firstbom is the son of the wife he does
not love, when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the
firstbom to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstbom, the
son of the wife he does not love. ,,60
Matthew 5:32 says, "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for
marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who
marries the divorced woman commits adultery.,,61
Mark 10:6-8 says, "But at the beginning of creation God made them male and
female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to
his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but
l.Corinthians 7:39 says, "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives.
But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes.,,63
l.Timothy 5:14 says, "So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children,
to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.,,64
Ephesians 5:33 says, "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he
loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.,,65
Colossians 3:18-19 says, "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the
Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.,,66

59 Exodus 21:10; New International Version.

60 Deuteronomy 21:15-16; New International Version.
61 Matthew 5:32; New International Version.
62 Mark 10:6-8; New International Version.
63 l.Corinthians 7:39; New International Version.
64l.Timothy 5:14; New International Version
65 Ephesians 5:33; New International Version.
66 Colossians 3:18-19; New International Version.

In spite of the interpretation many Western worlds give to the AICs, most of the
AICs are stable, growing churches with a Christian doctrine based on the Bible
as sole authority, a special dispensation of the Holy Spirit, faith in the God of the
Bible and confidence in its promises. One can say with conviction that AICs are
part of the universal church and have much to contribute to her life. The
following are a few of AICs contributions, which can enrich the Church around
the world:

• Nowhere in the world is the message of the Gospel spreading more

quickly and strikingly taking deeper roots than in Africa.
A continent with diverse cultures and communities with vitality and joy,
Africa also reminds the world community of some of the critical issues
that must be faced together by all in the years ahead. Some of these issues
include the debt crisis, war, violence against women and children, ethnic
conflicts, the uprooting of people, the plight of children and youth, the
effects of globalisation on economy, culture and environment, just to
mention a few.

• The AICs have helped the Western Church to discover the secondary or
negotiable elements derivative of Western culture and imported with the
gospel into Africa. In other words, we can now distinguish between the
gospel, a universal gift of God to all mankind, and its Western wrappings.
They have revived our culture that had been branded as sinful by
missionaries, causing many Africans later to discard Christianity as not

• The AICs have helped the so-called "mainline churches" (the old Mission
Churches), in developing countries to discover and develop new avenues
of being the church in Africa, ceasing to be a missionary or Western

• The AICs show how a focus upon the world as a whole, both spiritual and
material, is possible in contrast to the dichotomous Western worldview
that divides the sacred from the profane, the spirit from the matter, the
supernatural from the natural. Our relationship to God's whole creation is
one of respect and gratefulness.

• The AICs may not all be articulate in written theology, but they express
faith in their liturgy, worship and structures. Their services are alive with
warm expressions of joy as they clap and dance in rhythm with the new
spiritual and indigenous songs. Needless to say, the people come because
they feel at home.

• AICs may not be used as agents of political, economic and cultural

domination because they have not lost their sense of identity, being aware
that the myth 'universal is equal to Western' erodes Christian love and
trust among the children of God.

• AICs have contributed to the Christian ideal of diversity in ecumenicity as

an example to nations and churches 'to be themselves'.

• AICs have awaken themes that have become dormant or latent in the
universal church due to the destructive influence of technology and
science on relational life, such as:

The wholeness of creation - the Western world has lost the intuition of the
sacred by rejecting symbols, which used to connect.

Fecundity - the generation of life and the sharing of it through interpersonal

relationships are emphasised.

Humans-in-community - they have a spiritual view of life that nourishes their

sense of family and community.

Communion of saints - the relationship between the living and the dead enrich
their churches as the living nurture the memory of their predecessors who are
still influencing their own lives by their contributions to the welfare of their
communities when they were still alive.

The church as a life-giving organ in society through the influence of its members
in the marketplace - because their faith is not a private act, but literally 'carried
on their sleeves' or their clothes.

The renewal of the Holy Spirit - is continuous with and greater than the spirits
around us. Their dependence on the Holy Spirit for protection from evil forces
has liberated us to share with others our freedom from fear, a very enticing
proposition in the African context, as well as in the rest of the world.

Spiritual healing- in most of the AlCs is, in a literal sense, the principal focus of
their worship and liturgical practices, being the main cause of our impressive

In one of the pamphlets produced by the World Council of Churches (WCC)

towards the preparation of the WCC's Eighth Assembly titled "A Jubilee
Assembly", which took place at Harare, Zimbabwe from 3rd to 14th December,
1998 under the heading Looking Ahead, leaders of the WCC's more than 330
member churches are being invited to Harare to make a commitment of the
churches facing together a new millennium with Common Understanding and
Vision. And under The African Context, an appeal was made to all participants to
draw from the faith of African Christians and to deepen ecumenical awareness of
the challenges of the 21 si Century.67

As mentioned earlier, the World Council of Churches today has among its
membership in Africa some churches and council of churches from the AIC
tradition: the African Church of the Holy Spirit (Kakanega, Kenya); the African
Israel Nineveh Church, (Kisumu, Kenya), founded by Paul David Zakayo Kivuli
(1896-1974); The Church of the Lord -Aladura (Ogere-Remo, Nigeria), founded
by Dr. Josiah Olunowo Ositelu (1900-1966); and Eglise de Jesus Christ sur Terre
par son envoye special Simon Kimbangu (Lutendele, Zaire); Council of African
Instituted Churches, (South Africa); Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church,
(Ethiopia); and the Harrist Church, (Cote d'lvoire), founded by William Wade
Harris a Kru man of the Grebo tribe in Liberia.

Some of the AICs are also members of the All Africa Conference of Churches
(AACC). The admission of the Eglise de Jesus de Christ par le Prophete Simon
Kimbangu to the World Council of Churches (WCC), in 1969-1970 has been
much publicised; others, including The Church of the Lord (Aladura), were
admitted by the WCC at Nairobi in 1975.
Others are still aspiring to become members of the World Council of Churches

Eflise de Jesus Christ sur Terre par son envove special Simon Kimbafu

The "Church of Christ on Earth through the Prophet Simon Kimbangu", better
known as the Kimbanguist Church, is one of the largest African Independent or
Initiated Churches (AICs). It originated in the Belgian Congo (former Zaire, now

67 A Jubilee Assembly, World Council of Churches - Eighth Assembly, Geneva, WCC Publications, 1998.

known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and sometimes called
Congo-Kinshasa), in the 1920s, during colonial times, and grown into a
worldwide church with millions of members inside and outside Africa. Apart
from Belgium, the former colonial power, the Church has further spread to other
European countries including Britain and Germany.

Simon Kimbangu was born in Kimbangu on the 12th of September, 1887. He was
married to Muilu Kiawanga, and they both got baptized on the 4th of July,
1915. 68

He was a catechist of the London based Baptist Missionary Society (BMS). In

1918, he had a vision that he was to do the work of God. 69
On the 9th of June, 1921, barely two months after Kimbangu's preaching and
healing ministry, attempts were made to arrest him. He finally gave himself up
on the 1t h of September, 1921 and was tried by a three-man military tribunal on
the 3rd of October, 1921 sitting in the district's capital, Mbanza Ngungu,
formerly Thysville. 70
He died in Lubumbashi, formerly Elizabethville in 1951 while in the prison and
after spending 26 years as inmate. 71

According to the Director of Cabinet of the spiritual chief, Dr. Bena-Silu of the
Church, the Kimbanguist Church began as a movement of Christian awakening
in 1921, in the West DRC (West Zaire). Simon Kimbangu, who was a Baptist,
started his ministry when he healed a young woman in his native village Nkamba
by praying and laying on of hands. Many other miraculous healings followed
and thousands of people were attracted to Nkamba every day.72

After Kimbangu's arrest his wife Muile Marie took over the movement, which
went underground. She and her three sons were bitterly persecuted by the
Belgian colonial authorities.

The Church confesses the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Ten
Commandments are read and taught every day. The Kimbanguists submit to a
very strict moral code of conduct. Shoes are taken off in every place of worship
and women and girls cover their hair. The Church has over seven million

68 Welo.Owango, The Impact of the Kimbanguist Church in Central Africa, in The Iournal of the
Interdenominational Theological Center Vo!. 16:112 (Fall I 988/Spring 1989)
69 Mackay, D. 1., Simon Kimbangu and the B.M.S. Tradition, in Iournal of Religion in Africa (IRA) Vo!. 17:2
70 Anderson, E., Messianic Popular Movement in Lower Congo, in Studia Ethnographica Upsaliensia XIV
(Uppsala: Almqvist & Wilsels Boktryckeri, 1958).
71 Mudimbe, V. Y., Kimbanguism, in Canadian Iournal of African Studies Vo!. 18:2 (1984).
72 Consultation with African Instituted Churches, (Geneva: WCC Publication, 1996), p 13.

members, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), Central Africa
and overseas. 73

The Kimbanguist Church in the Republique Democratique du Congo (formerly

Zaire), but now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is probably the first of
its kind in the Central Africa region. The Church has grown beyond the
boundary ofDRC, and the shores of Africa.
The Church is also present on the European Continent.

The Kimbanguist Church is a member of the AACC, OAIC and WCC.

The Nazareth Church "iBandla lamaNazaretha"

The "Nazareth Church" which is locally known as "iBandla lamaNazaretha" is

the largest African Initiated Church in Natal, South Africa. It was founded by
Prophet Isaiah Shembe who was born in 1870.
Isaiah Shembe contributed immensely to the development and richness of the
African Initiated Churches in the Republic of South Africa and the southern
Africa hemisphere.

Some of these contributions include:

• The African Christian music. He was supposed to have composed several

· . 1 songs74
• Eschatological doctrine of apartheid. He was supposed to have believed that
the blacks who suffered under the apartheid politics will be admitted into
paradise while their white South African oppressors will be turned away75

The African Church ofthe Holv Spirit

According Rev. Levi Okang'a Akhura, the African Church of the Holy Spirit
came into being as a result of a movement of baptism in the Holy Spirit in what
was then the Friends African Mission, in Kenya, in the period 1927-1932.76

73 Consultation with African Instituted Churches, (Geneva: WCC Publication, 1996), p 14.
74 Erlmann, V., African Stars: Studies in Black South Africa Performance, Chicago & London, 1991. Sundkler,
S., Zulu Zion And Some Swazi Zionists, London, 1976.
7S Websters, J. B., Independent Christians in Africa: Christianity in Modern Africa, London & Nigeria, 1969.
Oosthuizen, G. c., The theology ofa South African Messiah, Leiden, 1967.

This movement was initiated by a missionary. His followers were expelled from
the Mission and founded the Church in 1933. After a period of persecution, the
Church was registered by the colonial government in 1937.
The Church confesses the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It believes in
the gospel of Jesus Christ who died and rose again for the salvation of

The African Church of the Holy Spirit is a member of the National Council of
Churches in Kenya, the AACC, OAIC and an associate member ofthe WCC.

Harrist Church

According to Tchotche Mel Felix, the President of the National Harrist

Committee of Ivory Coast, the Harrist Church grew out of the work of the
Prophet William Wade Harris from Liberia who in 1913-1914 converted and
baptised more than 120,000 villagers in what is Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
Harris had been brought up in the Episcopal (Anglican) Church in Liberia from
which he was expelled because of his ideas on polygamy.77

In each local church there is a college of twelve apostles who are lay people. The
preachers are chosen from among the apostles; they can have the title of
supreme, superior, chief or ordinary preacher. Elders are chosen from among the
members of the congregation and serve as advisers to the apostles.

The National Harrist Committee was created in 1960 to be in charge of the

administration and institutions of the Church. The spiritual head of the Church is
the supreme preacher. The Supreme Preacher Cessi Koutouan Jacob succeeded
the late John Ahui in 1992. Late John Ahui had received from the hands of
Prophet Harris Wade the task of continuing his mission in 1928.

The Harris Church is a member of the WCC.

16 Consultation with African Instituted Churches, (Geneva: WCC Publication, 1996), p 11.
11 Consultation with African Instituted Churches, (Geneva: WCC Publication, 1996), p 9.

The most popular among the African Initiated Churches (AICs) today is the
Aladura Church movement. It has the largest number of followers on the
continent. The population of its followers is estimated to be about forty millions.
It is the largest congregation of indigenous churches in Africa. Most of the
churches known under this umbrella-name manage their own affairs and are
independent of each other. Most of the indigenous churches of West Africa
belong to the Aladura group of Churches. The word Aladura is from the Yoruba
(Nigeria) language meaning: Those who pray but this word is used across the
Nigeria boundary and through all West African countries where indigenous
Churches are already featuring very well within their individual cultural society.

The question then is: why this name Aladura (Those who pray)? After all, the
mission Churches do pray. The answer that comes to mind immediately is very
simple, thus: The Aladura Churches pray more and perform more Church
worship services than the mission Churches. Most of them are running five
worship services daily, at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 12 noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. - Monday
through Saturday in addition to Sunday's morning and evening divine services
unlike most of the mission Churches running only Sunday divines services. This
already shows a ratio of sixteen to one Prayer meetings without considering
special services being conducted by Aladura Pastors at 12 midnight and 3 a.m.
Another fact to be considered is that the members of the Aladura Churches
believe more in the efficacy of prayer, thus, they sometimes retreat to an isolated
place to fast and pray or go to their pastors for special prayer. We can therefore
conclude that the use of this name is justified. Most of these indigenous
Churches are not actually registered under this umbrella name, but they are still
referred to by the general public as Aladura Churches mainly because of their
African and other characteristics mentioned above.

It is difficult to say exactly when the word Aladura first came into use.
According to recent findings, the most equipped and well organised among the
Aladura Churches was formally established on the 2ih of July1930, and the
name "The Church of the Lord (Aladura)" was in spirit assigned to the
Or~anisation during the solemn period of the Feast of the Holy Trinity on the
19 t of August 1928. The Church of the Lord (Aladura) started with Open-Air
Service on the 9th of June 1929. And a small group of believers have since then
been worship Jehovah God together.

According to H. W. Turner, The Church of the Lord (Aladura) occurred around
1930. But as we can see above, the Church started to 'unfold around 1925 and
was formerly established in 1930. According to H.W. Turner in History of an
African Independent Church, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1967 p 39-40, Prophet
Josiah Ositelu received his mandate through various visions and revelations from
God, which he documented, in the period between June and November of the

"Your prayers are heard. After many afflictions I will uplift you. Be not afraid, I am
with you (2i h June 1925).
I will anoint you as my prophet, even as Elijah anointed Elisha in the olden days, so it
shall be unto you (18 th August, 1925).
Gradually the seals of power will come to you. Your good time draws on space
(18 th September 1925).
The Lord will give you strong constitution, and people will be streaming after you
(24 th September 1925).
Thou shalt teach the Oyo students, and those that are beyond the seas (loth October
The elders will hold council to change your heart, but you will prevail (4th November
I will build New Jerusalem in you. You are the one whom Jesus Christ has sent like the
last Elijah to repair the Lord's road and make his way straight (5 th November 1925).
I will give you the key of power like Moses, and will bless you like Job ...
(15 th November 1925).78

Other well known Aladura Churches include - The Christ Apostolic Church
which, according to C.O. Oshun in his book: "Pentecostal Perspectives of the
Christ Apostolic Church ", emerged first as the "Faith Tabernacle" and as the
"Apostolic Church" in 1918 and 1930 respectively.
In July 1941, Akinyele, Babalola and Odubanjo constituted themselves and their
followers into the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). That step set these men apart
from the Apostolic Church with which they had been associated, for the
Apostolic Church, directed by English Missionaries, would not stop using
modern medicines as the CAC insisted. 79

According to J. A. Omoyajowo in his book: "Cherubim and Serafohim ", The

Cherubim and Seraphim Church came to historical limelight in 1925. 0
According to J. K. Olupona, in his book: "The Celestial Church of Christ in
Ondo: A Phenomenological Perspective ", Celestial Church of Christ came into
light around 1950. 81

78 Turner, H. W., History of an African Independent Church, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1967 p 39-40.
79 Oshun, C; 0., Pentecostal Perspectives ofthe Christ Apostolic Church, Orita Vol. 15:2 (Dec. 1983), p \07-109.
80 See Omoyajowo, Cherubim and Seraphim: The History of an African Independent Church (New York &
Lagos: NOK Publishers, 1982).

Others include: The Church of the Living God, The Church of Christ the
Saviour, Christ Apostolic Gospel Church, Deeper Life Christian Bible Church,
etc. Some of these Churches have been able to make a conscious missionary
expansion in Africa, Europe and America. It is difficult to say exactly when the
first modem indigenous African Church was inaugurated but it is in record that
an indigenous African Church was inaugurated in the year 1918 in Nigeria.

As early as 1402, the Canary Islands, further north off the Mauritanian coast, the
Spanish Franciscans did missionary work among the native Guanches. They
worked in the Cape Verde islands between 1456 and 1460. The first period of
Christianity in West Africa may be dated from the disappearance of the Church
in North Africa to around the fifteenth century. The second period may be dated
to around 1540 to 1750, while the third period may be dated to around the
middle of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. The
old mission Churches came to West Africa between 1470s and 1900s.
There is an elusive reference to Christianity in West Africa before the arrival of
the Portuguese in the 1470s. There is a report, believed to be a forgery, that the
French in 1364 founded a church on the Elmina coast to which they gave the
name - "Chapel of the Mother of God". Most authorities dismiss that report as
disputable and worthless. The first incontrovertible evidence of European in
Ghana, West Africa dates from January of 1471.

The Christian communities in Nigeria, apart from the 16th century Portuguese
mission in the Benin kingdom, date from the 1840s when the missionary
pioneers of the Anglicans through the CMS in Abeokuta, the Methodists in
Lagos area, the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland in the east on the Old-
Calabar-River, the Southern United States Baptists in Yoruba-Iand (Southwest of
Nigeria), and the Roman Catholic were established in Nigeria. The foreign
missionaries started coming again in 1842.
The Qua Iboe Mission with support from Northern Ireland worked in the western
area of Calabar from 1887. Other missions to follow were the Seventh Day
Adventists from 1914 from 1931, the Sudan Interior Mission from 1893, the
Sudan United Mission since 1904, the American Mennonite United Missionary
Society from 1905, the Salvation Army from 1920, the British Apostolic Church,
which Joseph Babalola after leaving the Faith Tabernacle joined, the American
Lutherans from 1936, the Assemblies of God from 1939, and a number of
smaller American groups.

The old mission Churches, second time around, arrived in Nigeria in the early
part of 19 th century. While acknowledging the fact that they built Churches,

81 See Olupona, J. K., The Celestial Church of Christ in Ondo: A Phenomenological Perspective.

schools and health centres but they totally ignored the African tradition which
they condemned as barbaric. They further tried to impose European Traditions
on Africans through their mode of worship and practices. The Africans who
could not divorce themselves from oracular or prophetic guidance and who felt
constantly being haunted by the thoughts ·of witches, wizards and other
supernatural powers and evil spirit were unable to accept the mission Church as
truly African. Even though the Bible speaks of demons (Mark 5:8-9; Matthew
12:43A5), to the Europeans, demons do not exist. Therefore, the mission to
convert African to Christians by mission Church became a failure; it was
incomplete and only superficial.

According to J. S. Coleman in "Nigeria, Background to Nationalism" (Berkeley,

1958), p 174-178, 302-303; G. Shepperson in "Notes on Negro American
Influences on the Emergence of African Nationalism ", Journal of African
History, (1960), p 309-310; A.B. Batubo in 'The Dawn of Baptist Work in
Eastern Nigeria", (Batubo, Port-Harcourt, 1964), p 6-22, the desire for
independence from the American Baptists in Lagos led to the "Native Baptist
Church", formed in 1888. One of those responsible for this formation was
Majola Agbebi, who subsequently founded many Baptist churches in the Niger
Delta area and other parts of Nigeria. 82

At about the second decade of the 20th century, a wave of Pentecostal movement
spread through the Western part of Nigeria. It was during this period that the
movement now known as Cherubim and Seraphim was founded. At about this
time, a movement - "The faith Tabernacle" which owned its origin to some
American missionaries was very active in Nigeria.
n was also during this period that the late Prophet Dr. J. O. Ositelu received the
call for his divine mission.

82 Coleman, J. S., Nigeria, Background to Nationalism, Berkeley, 1958, p 174-178, 302-303; Shepperson, G.,
Notes on Negro American Influences on the Emergence of African Nationalism, Journal of African History,
1960, p 309-310; Batubo, A. B., The Dawn of Baptist Work in Eastern Nigeria, Batubo, Port-Harcourt, 1964, p6-

Though African in origin, the AICs are not confined to Africa. Some of them can
be found, for example, in New York, Washington, Amsterdam, London,
Birmingham, FrankfurtlMain, Hamburg, Paris, Geneva and· Zurich. Both The
Church of the Lord (Aladura) and the Musama Disco Christo Church (Church of
the Army of the Cross of Christ) have had vibrant branches in London for over
30 years.

The First Atrican Church in Europe

The Church of the Lord (Aladura) was the first African initiated Church to be
established in Europe, that is, in Britain in the year 1964. The Church was
inaugurated in London, on Sunday, lih April, 1964 at Saint Andrew's
Congregational Church, Balham, London, S.W.12. Rev. G. W. Grogan who
deputised for Rev. Andrew Macbeath, Principal of the Bible Training Institute
(BTI), Glasgow, Scotland,preached the inaugural sermon.
According to the editors of the book: A Brief History of the Pioneering of the
Church of the Lord (Aladura) South London (1964 -1979). London, 1979, thus:

"From May 1964 unto January 1967, the Church management was under Mrs. Olive
Sulola Adejobi, assisted by Mr. Oluwole Abiola (now Reverend), supported by able
youths, amongst whom mention can be made of Mr. Orebayo, (now Reverend of Four
Square Gospel), Mr. Fagbo (Deputy Warden in Lagos) and a host of many others ...
Before the end of 1966, many converts from the Jamaican elements in London found
their way to the Church, and so, there was a group of them before Mrs. Adejobi left for
Nigeria in 1967 January.,,83

Late Dr. E. A. Adejobi led a revival team comprising Apostles J. I. Kalesanwo,

F. A. Olaonipekun, J. A. Nathan, D. O. Sonoiki, Bishops J. O. Bankole, L. A.
Thomas, Rev. Mothers Julie Ajoke Ositelu, Deborah Dupe Oluwole, Archdeacon
L. E. Adeyemi, Prophetess Patience Nnodu and Lady Captain Louisa Iyere to
pay a revival, gospel, spiritual, apostolic visit to the Presbyterian Church of
America. The team on the same mission flew further to London in July 1975,
where they revived the London Church branch of the Church of the Lord

83A Brief History of the Pioneering of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) South London (1964 - 1979). Editors:
Boakye, D., Olusanya, S., Enang, E., W. F. Printers, London, 1979, p 17.

DAlC in the Diaspora

Non-Africans have become members of these Churches. Thus, the AICs are
missionary, international and a global player.
The AICs attractiveness to converts at home and abroad indicates that they are
delivering goods that are welcome to the people. 84
A striking phenomenon has been the rise of associations of AICs. The best
known is the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), with her
headquarter in Nairobi, Kenya. There are other regional ecumenical bodies like
Fambidzano of South Africa, Pentecostal Association of Ghana (PAG), Nigerian
Association of Aladura Churches (NAAC), etc.

An extract from various papers submitted at various conferences: The

Significance of the African Religious Diaspora in Europe, University of Leeds,
UK, 8-11 September 1997; Workshop Concerning the African Religious
Diaspora in Germany, Mission-Academy of the University of Hamburg,
Germany, 9-11 September 1998; Evangelisation in the third Millennium
Aladura Church in Europe, organised by '/nternationales lnstitut fuer
missionswissenschaftliche Forschungen (IIMF) , and 'Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer
Missionswissenschaft (DGMW)', Hofheim, 16-18 September 1998, Partnership
ofAfrican Christian Communities in Europe, Westminster College Cambridge,
UK, 16-20 September 1999; From Remissionization 'Reverse Mission' to
Common Mission - The African Church Mission in Germany, Vereinte
Evangelische Mission (VEM), Wuppertal, 16-18 Mai 2000, by Rufus Ositelu:

Missio Africana!
The Role of an African Instituted Church in the mission's debate


Just like in any other country around the world, people from different parts of the
world migrated and continue to migrate to Europe, America, and even within Africa
for different reasons. So also has migration to Germany continued for different
reasons. While some initially came to study, others came to look for work or seek
political asylum.
The situation is quite different now. We now have migrants of the second and third
generations. A large number of these migrants are Christians who like to be connected
with the Christian Body of the countries where they or their parents came from, and

84See Haar, G., "Halfway to Paradise: African Christian in Europe", Cardiff Academic Press, Sheffield, 1998;
Gerloff, R., A Plea for British Black Theologies ", PETER LANG, FrankfurtlMain, 1992; and International
Review of MISSION - Open Space: The African Christian Diaspora in Europe and the Quest for Human
Community - Missio Africana! The Role of an African Instituted Church in the Mission Debate (Rufus Ositelu),
WCC, Vol. LXXXIX No.354, Geneva, 2000.

most importantly to a familiar congregation with the same tradition as existed in their
home countries.
Some of these Churches are members of the World Council of Churches and thus work
together with the local ecumenical council of the country of their abode while others
are still seeking this very membership or partnership.


Most of the African Churches in the Diaspora and in Germany in particular are mostly
Pentecostal and Charismatic. Some belong to big organisations with their headquarters
in Africa, and while some do not belong to any organisation at all. On the other hand,
some belong to organisations outside Africa with their headquarters in Europe or
Some were originally founded in Europe and not in Africa, and therefore have no
"mother churches" in Africa. For example, the "Aladura International Church" was
founded and led by Nigerian-born o. A. Abiola. In 1970 he found a home for his
congregation in a Methodist Church in London, and registered his church as a charity
in the year 1975. Others are the "True Teachings of Christ's Temple", which was
founded in Amsterdam in the Netherlands by Ghanaian-born Daniel Himmans-Arday,
who came to Amsterdam in 1976 and the "International Evangelical Church (1EC)",
which was founded in Hamburg, Germany in April 1992 by Ghanaian-born Robert
Agyei-Mensah who came to Germany in 1977. The two Churches (TTCT and 1EC)
have taken steps to establish branches in Ghana.

The first African Initiated or Instituted Churches (AICs) were founded in Britain in
1960s. The Church of the Lord (Aladura) was the first to be established in Europe, that
is, in Britain in the year 1964. The initiative was later followed by others, including the
Cherubim and Seraphim Church, the Christ Apostolic Church, Musama Disco Christo
Church, and the Celestial Church of Christ, mostly starting in London, but often with
branches in other parts of Britain and Europe. Today, there are various African
Initiated Churches (AICs) in Europe, with new ones continuing to emerge. These
Churches do vary in size, from small to very large. They are mostly led by men but
there are few cases of women leadership (e.g.: the "Born Again Christ Healing
Church" was founded and is being led by Nigerian-born Fidelia Onyuku-Opukiri).

Remissionization "Mission Reversed"

This paper is a contribution to the Quest for Open Space for the African Christians in
the Diaspora. This paper is hereby submitted from the perspective that: Open space is
God given and it is a Human Right.

The word "Mission" has lately become somehow very problematic, and the reproach
against the Mission is ponderous. For example, the allegation that Mission is nothing
else but an "illegal religious intrusion", "transculturalism or Western-world
colonialization of Africa and the so-called third-world", etc.
All the above-mentioned examples brought discredit unto the word "Mission".

Mission may still be considered as a positive thing if all the above and much more,
which brought discredit unto mission can be avoided.
Mission is to spread the good news of salvation around the world and to maintain
solidarity with all the people of this world. Mission is therefore a great commission to
win souls for Christ.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. baptising them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. and teaching them to obey everything I
have commanded you. .. (Matthew 28:19-20).

Mission has always had something to do with a new era and revival of the Christian
There are many active African religious missionaries and communities in Europe.
Some of these African Churches are presently achieving good missionary result.

Church of the Lord (Aladura)'s Understanding of Mission

The WORD (the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ) is the most important
message to spread around the world, but not one's or a particular culture. Therefore,
the African Missionaries in the Diaspora should not make the same mistake committed
by their European counterparts in those days: not cultural transfer or transculturalism is
needed but evangelisation according to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In addition to evangelisation, it is important to show our European brothers and sisters

that other forms of worship and liturgy do exist. The African and the European
liturgies should be a source of enrichment for both sides.

The Mission ofthe African Instituted Churches (AIC)

The mission of the African Instituted Churches (AIC) in the Diaspora may be
described concisely as "Remissionization" (Le. Mission Reversed).
These mission churches are here in the Diaspora to:

Win both new and lost souls for Christ Jesus

Fulfil the aspiration of all Christians with the same background and/or tradition which
agrees with the Holy Scriptures

And also to acknowledge God in His infinite wisdom, Who made it possible for every
generation to be conscious of Him through His messengers so that His children may
find their way back to Him, acknowledge all the wondrous things He has done, and
glorify His Holy Name.

The Mission ofthe Church ofthe Lord (Aladurq) in Europe

The mission of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) in Europe and other parts of the
world is mainly to spread the good news, that is, the message of our Lord Jesus Christ
to every nook and corner of this world, irrespective of the hearer's nationality, race or
political leaning.
It is also to show the world just another way to worship God in truth and in spirit,
during which the worshipers may feel the presence of God.

The main goal of this mission is to gain new souls for Christ Jesus and to revive the
lost souls, which have been carried away by the material things ofthis world, that they
may come to the knowledge of Christ as the Saviour and Redeemer of mankind.

A commentary in one of the publicities of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) in

the year 1960 about the "ALADURA Churches" describes the situation of the
"mainline churches" then as: "The Aladura Church movement had arisen out of
dissatisfaction with the life of the Mission Church (or its lack oflife)".

The recognition of the lack of life in the "mission churches" was in my view not to be
restricted to these churches in Nigerian or on the African continent alone but was all
over the world.
I must say today, that in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, this lack of life is a thing of
the past in the so-called "mission churches" as they have now adopted the practices in
the Aladura churches which they once condemned (e.g. Clapping, dancing etc.).
This recognition and adoption of the Aladura practices by the so-called "mission
churches" is not only very visible today in Nigeria but also in Ghana and the entire
continent of Africa, and even in the Western world.

The old mission churches are today referred to as the so-called "mission churches",
because they now see and describe themselves as African Independent Churches,
which also have both their spiritual and administrative leadership, now in Africa and
no more in the European and American capitals. This is the more reason why the
African Indigenous Churches now describe themselves as African Instituted Churches
or African Initiated Churches (AICs).

Missio Africana - Conclusion

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's
people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and
prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. " (Ephesians 2: 19-20)

All Christian Churches represent the body of Christ Jesus Who is the Head of His
Church. The mission of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) in Europe is therefore to win
new, lukewarm, and lost souls for Christ. The mission is now reversed because those
who Christ Jesus were once preached to are now back to the territory of the preacher of
those days to preach Christ Jesus to them in all His goodness. What a "mission
reversed" indeed.

The co-operation among Christians of diverse denominations, traditions, and cultural

background is very important in our endeavour to achieve the UNITY which our Lord
Jesus Christ prayed for in John 17:21, that all believers may be one just as the Father
and the Son are one. .

"My prayer is not for my followers alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me
through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I
am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent
me . .. (John 17:20-21)

The mission's landscape has changed immensely. The whole world is today a "Global
Village". The whole world is a mission field. Therefore, there is no special mission's
landscape as defined in the olden days. Ecumenism should therefore be our watchword
in the spirit of give and take.

"For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body ... and we were all given the one
Spirit to drink." (1 Corinthians 12:13)

The African missionaries in Europe should therefore go-ahead with their missionary
work in Europe thus using the available space. Since the open space is God given, it is
very important for them to continue their mission and commission to go and make
disciples of all nations ... and teaching them to obey the commandment of our Lord
Jesus Christ.

In other to differentiate between the so-called "main line churches" and the "foreign
mission churches" in Europe, we (participants) recently agreed, at a conference held in
Wuppertal from 16-18 May 2000, to refer to the so-called mainline churches as "Old
Mission Churches" and to refer to the foreign mission churches in Europe, including
the AICs, as "New Mission Churches".

It is quite beneficial for us all to think about the aspect of Pentecostal and Charismatic
life and testimony of the AICs and other New Mission Churches in Europe, which
should be seen as enrichment and renewal that we all need. At this point, I like to
mention four challenges:

Healing - The greatest prerogative of Christ Jesus, "by whose stripes you were
healed." (1 Peter 2:24 NKJV; 2 Corinthians 12:9; James 5:14-15).

Diversity - "till we all come to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to
a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4: 13
NKJV; Ephesians 4:1-13; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

Community - Unity and Diversity in One Body (1 Corinthians 12: 12-30 NKJV).

Praise and Worship - "speaking to one another in psalms and spiritual songs, singing
and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to
God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:19-20 NKJV;
James 5:13, Acts 16:25-26).

There should be a dialogue and co-operation between the Old Mission Churches and
the New Mission Churches in order to promote the ecumenical idea. This should take
place in an atmosphere of give and take between two partners.

This can be achieved:

By exchanging information;
Through meetings and visits to get to know each other better;
Through festivals and projects;
By sharing the available resources (e.g.: church buildings, etc.); and
By working together ecumenically at the local level for the greater goal, which is to
win soul for Christ Jesus through different means. 8S

For other studies on African Instituted Churches in the Diaspora, see Halfway to
Paradise: African Christian in Europe ", by Gerrie ter HAAR and published by
Cardiff Academic Press, (1998), and HA Plea/or British Black Theologies", by
Roswith Gerloff and published by Peter Lang, (1992).

85Ositelu, R., From Remissionization 'Reverse Mission' to Common Mission - The African Church Mission in
Germany, Vereinte Evangelische Mission (VEM), Wuppertal, 16-18 Mai 2000, (Unpublished). See also Ositelu,
Rufus, The Significance of the African Religious Diaspora in Europe - The Mission of African Instituted
Churches in Germany and beyond, University of Leeds, UK, 8-11 September 1997 (Unpublished); Workshop
Concerning the African Religious Diaspora in Germany, Mission-Academy of the University of Hamburg,
Germany, 9-11 September 1998 (Unpublished); Zeitschrift fUr Missionswissenschaft und Religionswissenschaft,
Aladura-Kirche - Afrikaner bei uns (Rufus Ositelu), 83. Jahrgang, 1999, Heft 2, EOS Verlag, St. Ottilien, 1999;
International Review of Mission - Open Space: The African Christian Diaspora in Europe and the Quest for
Human Community - Missio Africana! The Role of an African Instituted Church in the Mission Debate (Rufus
Ositelu), Vol. LXXXIX No. 354, WCC, Geneva, 2000; and From Remissionization 'Reverse Mission' To
Common Mission - The African Church Mission in Germany, (Rufus Ositelu), Vereinte ElIangelische Mission
(VEM), Wuppertal, iooo (Unpublished).


The OAIC has its origin in the work of Bishop Markos of the Coptic Orthodox
of Egypt with AICs since 1976 in Nairobi. In 1978 Pope Shenouda invited
leaders of AICs from seven countries for a conference in Cairo where the OAIC
was founded.
The Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) was founded in 1978 in
The second conference in 1982 was attended by AICs representatives from
seventeen countries. The conference approved a Constitution, which required
member bodies to be Trinitarian, based on the Old and New Testaments and
confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

In 1985 the OAIC was registered by the Kenyan Government as an international

body to serve the needs and concerns of African Instituted Churches throughout
the continent.
The basic aims of the organization were teaching and training. The main activity
was Theological Education by Extension (TEE), which received much support
from ecumenical partners.
Spiritual references to Matthew 28:19-20; John 17:20-21; Ephesians 4:3-6.

Development of Human and Material Resources

The OAIC Programme of Participatory Development (PPD) encourages AIC

leaders to become involved in their society in order to improve the spiritual,
social, and material conditions of their people.
OAIC's Programme of Participatory Development believes that sustainable
development is initiated and owned by the people.
The role of church leaders is to enable the community to think about its needs,
and to help the community plan for meeting them.

Health for All

The OAIC is developing a programme, which assists churches to work with the
community in programmes and initiatives to improve standards of health and
create awareness of dangerous diseases (including HIV/AIDS).

Women's Empowerment

The Women's Department, founded in 1991 in Accra, Ghana, looks for ways of
helping women in member churches to grow spiritually, socially, and
It enables women to find their own solutions to their own problems and educates
men to understand better the contributions that women do make and can make in
the church and society.

Research and Communications Service (RCS)

OAIC's Research and Communications Service produces a regular newsletter

("BARAGUMU") as a voice of the AICs.
Research and Communications Service (RCS) believes that AIC's leaders and
members should be bold to tell their stories to fellow AIC's members and the
wider world through the writing, lectures, consultations and publications, as well
as through the media.


The OAIC is governed through the General Assembly, composed of delegates

from the different regions.
The Assembly elects an Executive Committee to carry out its resolutions. The
OAIC's General Secretary reports to the Executive Committee and co-ordinates
the work of the various departments and programmes and the OAIC regions.


Before your church can become a member, it will need to have a legal existence
according to the laws of your country. Then your church must be accepted by the
headquarters of the OAIC in your region.

Contact Address

The Organization of African Instituted Churches

The General Secretary
P. O. Box 21736
Nairobi, KENYA

The Manifesto of the Organisation of African Independent Churches (OAIC)


"We, the Independent Churches, cannot be ignored anymore. Indifference will not
make us disappear. The African Independent Churches [are] one ofthe fastest growing
phenomena in the whole world. In fact, we are the fastest growing churches, even more
than the Pentecostals in South America.
The World Christian Encyclopaedia indicates that in South Africa alone there was a
total of about 6.2 Millions of adherents of AICs in the mid-SOs, and expected that to
increase to about 12.7 millions in the year 2000. The adherents of AICs in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), including the largest Christian
denomination of Africa the Church of Jesus Christ on Earth through the Prophet Simon
Kimbangu, which is numbered about 4.7 Millions in mid-19S0 and were expected to
increase by the year 2000 to about S.8 Millions.
The African Independent Churches were attempts by African Christians to live our
Christian faith in our own national garb. We sought to establish a Christianity of the
Bible as we saw it, without Western additions and in harmony with our own cultural
heritage. We can also say that African Independent Churches (AICs) - or Spiritual
Churches as some of us call ourselves - are African social entities, some of which
developed in the context of changes in the relationship between traditional and modern
sectors of larger communities, that is, a social transformation as a reaction to urban
We African Initiated Churches (AICs), try to live Christianity with our own national
clothing, in harmony with our own cultural heritage, seeking vehicles of worship that
make the Christian faith alive to us as Africans. We have evolved our own liturgy and
hymnology, our own doctrinal emphases. In yearning for spiritual satisfaction, and
psychological and emotional security, we re-introduced an 'emotional depth' into
Christianity ... ,,86

86John s. Pobee and Gabriel Ositelu n, African Initiatives in Christianity, (Geneva: WCC Publications, 1998),
The AACC was established in 1963, as a fellowship of Christian Churches,
which confess Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures.

The goals of the AACC are:

• To highlight the demands of the gospel to Churches and National Christian

Councils, especially in the areas of evangelism, witness, service and unity.
• To provide for study and research.
• To encourage closer relations and sharing among African churches.
• To assist churches in the sharing of personnel and other resources.
• To promote leadership training.

The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has its headquarters at Waiyaki
Way, Post Office Box 14205, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya. It is similarly and
relatively organized like the World Council of Churches (WCC).
The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) held its Seventh Assembly
from 4th through 10th October, 1997 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme
"Troubled, but not destroyed" (2 Cor. 4:8-9).
Prior to that was the Youth Week Celebration, which took place from 25 th May
through 1st June, 1997 during which the appointed stewards for the Assembly
were in attendance.
Towards the Assembly was also the meeting of heads of churches, which took
place from 1st through 3rd October, 1997.

The AACC Assembly is composed of delegates from all full and associate
members. Each church is expected to bring 5 delegates. And each church
delegate is expected to include a Youth, Woman, and Laity.

The ecumenical journey of the AACC has been a very long journey since the
first Assembly of the body in 1963 in Kampala under the theme "Freedom and
Unity in Christ".

The AACC 1997 Assembly was not the ecumenical destiny, but an ecumenical
peak ofthe process since the previous Assembly in Harare, 1992. It was time for
feedback, sharing fellowship and continuity.
Sub-themes for the i h Assembly were:

• Problems and promises - What hope for Africa?

• The Church yesterday, today and tomorrow - Challenges and prospects.

• Liberation and reconstruction - Vision of the Church for the future.
• Resource building - All God's people working together and
• Peace and righteousness in a changing world.

The AACC post-Assembly process, which involves adequate follow-ups on the

Assembly towards the next one, is mainly calling for localization and ownership
of AACC activities by the churches themselves in their different localities and
The AACC will hold its Eighth Assembly in November, 2002 in Cameroon.

Youth Desk

The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) Youth Desk Peace Programme
has over the past five years given birth to a new process - the Youth Peace
Building Initiative (YPBI).
The year 1995 was for building a culture of peace while "Leadership is a Peace
Mission" was the theme for 1996.

There is a need to help young people to transform themselves from objects and
subjects of wars into agents of peace, so as to start contributing substantially
towards community building value and respect for life, fight against hearts and
minds of war, restoration of their identity, etc.
This, the process is aimed at achieving with the active support of AACC
member-churches, regional and National Councils.

For the early history of the Aladura Churches - Cherubim and Seraphim
Movement, the Christ Apostolic Church, and The Church of the Lord (Aladura)
in Nigeria, see Lamin Sanneh, "WEST AFRICAN CHRISTIANITY - The
Religious Impact, (NY, Orbis Books, 1983); J. D. Y. Peel, "Aladura: A Religious
Movement Among the Yorubas (London, OUP, 1968); H W. Turner, "African
Independent Church" (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1968); R. C. Mitchell,
"Religious Protests and Social Change: the origins of the Aladura Movement in
Western Nigeria "; and Consultation With African Instituted Churches, Ogere,
Nigeria, 1996.

The study of African Initiatives in Christianity has become very important today
because of the numerical strength of the adherents, which serves as a significant
pointer to their apparent dominating influence in African Christianity in recent
times. A lot of references are available to those who require knowledge of a
more specialised nature on this subject. 87

Musama Disco Christo Church (MDCC)

The Musama Disco Church (translated: Army of the Cross of Christ Church) was
founded by Joseph William Egyanka Appiah. He was born in 1893 at Abura
Edumfa in the Central Region of Ghana. 8
Appiah was a former Methodist Headmaster/Catechist in charge of the Mission
station at Abrakrampa-Dunkwa. He got married to Abena Nomaa and had three
children in his station before tendering his resignation as a teacher.
As he began to fast and pray he fell into a trance in which he saw three angels
who placed a crown on his head. 89
Three weeks after his transfer to Gomoa Oguan by the Methodist authorities, he
admitted a spiritually gifted lady, Abena Bawa into his prayer group. Miss Bawa
.who was later christened Hannah Barnes soon became the deputy and wife of

87 Detailed historical accounts of the African Initiated Churches - see Lamin Sanneh, "West African Christianity
- The Religious Impact, (NY, Orbis Books, 1983); J. D. Y. Peel, "Aladura: A Religious Movement Among the
Yorubas (London, OUP, 1968); H. W. Turner, "African Independent Church" (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1968);
R. C. Mitchell, "Religious Protests and Social Change: the origins of the Aladura Movement in Western
Nigeria"; Consultation With African Instituted Churches, Ogere, Nigeria, January 9-14, 1996, (Geneva: WCC
Publications, 1996).
88 Parrinder, G., Afri~a's Three Religions (London: Sheldon, 1976).
89 Clarke, P. B., West Africa and Christianity.

As his group became distinct through speaking in tongues and prophetic
utterances, Rev. Acquah, the Circuit Superintendent asked Prophet Appiah to
stop his so-called "occult practices". Appiah refused to obey the order and he
was dismissed from the Methodist Church Organisation.
On the 17th of October, 1925 a memorable procession started with jubilation
from the Camp Onyaawonsu and terminated at Muzano.
The Church believes in both Old and New Testaments. Consecrated water and
healing by prayer is a central feature of the Church. 90
The Musama Disco Christo Church (MDCC) is one of the oldest African
Initiated Churches in West Africa.

Classical African Instituted Churches

The classical African Instituted Churches of the early 20 th Century with branches
in many African countries and other parts of the world are:

• The Cherubim and Seraphim Church.

• The Church of the Lord (Aladura).
• Christ Apostolic Church.
• Eglise de Jesus Christ sur la Terre par le Prophete Simon Kimbangu (The
Church of Jesus Christ on Earth through the Prophet Simon Kimbangu).
• IBandla lamaNazaretha (Nazarite Baptist Church).
• The African Church of the Holy Spirit.

Cherubim and Seraphim Church

Lamin Sanneh in his book: "West African Christianity - The Religious Impact,
p 190", writes:

"Cherubim and Seraphim Church (C&S). In the 1920s a prayer group was
led in Lagos by an illiterate prophet, Moses Orimolade Tunolashe, who
placed great emphasis on faith-healing. In June 1925, he was called to the
assistance of a fifteen-year old Anglican girl, Christiana Abiodun
Akinsowon (later Mrs. Emmanuel), who had gone into a prolonged trance
after witnessing a procession in Lagos on the festival of Corpus Christi.

90 Debrunner, H. W., A History of Christianity in Ghana (Accra: Waterville, 1967).

Orimolade gained her confidence to be able to pray successfully for her
recovery. The news of this spread quickly, and before long Abiodun and
Orimolade were organising a spiritual society. Abiodun began employing
special prayers and holy water for healing, which she claimed had been shown her
during her trance. Many enquirers called on them. Orimolade decided they must have a
name for their society, and so for three days they went into retreat to fast and pray.,,91

H. W. Turner, in his book: "HISTORY OF AN AFRICAN CHURCH -

Independent Churches in Nigeria, p 15 on Cherubim and Seraphim Society,


"By March 1926 a further revelation led to the full name of Cherubim and Seraphim,
by which they are now widely known in Nigeria and Ghana. In 1928 Captain Abiodun,
as she is known in her church, severed her Anglican connection. In the same year, the
two founders parted company; this division was the first of many, so that in the 1960s
there are some ten divisions, besides other independent Cherubim and Seraphim
congregations. There seems to have been little direct or intimate connection between
the leaders of the Cherubim and Seraphim, and therefore had no specific place in the
great revival of 1930.,,92

Orimolade was born in the 1870's with one of his legs crippled. He was a prince
from Ikare in Akoko Division of Ondo State, Nigeria. He died in October 1933.
Between 1916 and 1924 he travelled to many parts of Nigeria including the
Southwest and the Northern Nigeria.
Orimolade continued his evangelistic mission to many parts of Nigeria without
any objective of establishing a church. This situation changed after the
remarkable event that brought him in contact with a teenage girl namely
Christiana Abiodun Akinsowon. The duo, Orimolade and Miss Akinsowon, later
became the principal actors in the shaping and formation of the movement later
known as the Cherubim and Seraphim Church.
The Church (Society, Movement) was inaugurated in 1928. Weeks after its
inauguration, vibrant branches were established in Agege, Abeokuta, Ondo,
Ijebu-Ode and Ibadan. It was obvious then that the movement had the prospect
of spreading rapidly.93

In 1929, Orimolade and Akinsowon (a.k.a. Captain Abiodun) parted ways.

Prophet Orimolade wrote to Captain Abiodun:

Sanneh, Lamin, West African Christianity -- The Religious Impact, (New York: Orbis Books, 1983), p 190.
92Turner, H. W., HISTORY OF AN AFRICAN CHURCH - Independent Churches in Nigeria, (London: Oxford
University Press, 1967), p 15.

93Peel, J. D. Y., The'Aladura Movement in Western Nigeria, in Tariqh, Vo!. 3:1 (1969). A Religious Movement
among the Y oruba, (London: OUP, 1968).

" ... I am therefore asking you through this letter to inform you to form your own
socie~ taking with you all the members as are willing to follow and cooperate with
you." 4

In 1930, another disagreement arose between Orimolade and the enlightened

members of the Praying Band within his owri Church. These members seceded
under the leadership of Ezekiel Davies and took the name: The Praying Band of
the C & S.
In 1932, Major A. B. Lawrence, one of the leaders of the Praying Band of the C
& S announced that he had a vision to establish his own church. He accordingly
launched his Holy Flock of Christ Church.
In 1933, shortly after the death of Orimolade, Peter Omojola with his supporters
seceded and started his own church: Eternal Sacred Order of the C & S (Mount
Zion), because they could not accept Abraham Onanuga who was appointed by
Orimolade as his successor.

The schisms that broke the Church into parts in its formative years have
continued. Each succeeding year gives birth to multiple groups within the
Today, there are different factions of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church.
Prominent among them are the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement led
by Dr. Shofarasin with its headquarter in Kaduna, North of Nigeria and another
Prophet G. O. Fakeye, General Leader, Cherubim and Seraphim Church
Movement in Lagos, Nigeria. Another fraction led by late Captain Christiana
Abiodun - Cherubim and Seraphim Society has its headquarter at Okesuna
Street, Lafiaji, Lagos in Nigeria. The fraction led by Dr. Otubu is called The
Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim Society with its headquarter at
75 Ibadan Street, Ebute-Metta, Lagos in Nigeria. Other factions include the
Sacred Cherubim and Seraphim Church led by Prophet Solomon Alao ,and
Cherubim and Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria (an umbrella
organisation of about thirty Cherubim and Seraphim churches in Nigeria), led
by Prophet Amos Afolabi Ogunkunle. 95

The Cherubim and Seraphim churches, according to Prophet G.O. Fakeye (one
of the fractional leaders), are as of 1996 divided into five main streams plus a
number of smaller churches:

• Eternal Sacred Order of C&S

• C&S Society

94 Omoyajowo, Diversity in Unity: The Development and Expansion of the C & S Church in Nigeria (Lanhan:
U.P. of America, 1982).
95 Vanguard Online (Lagos), February 16, 2002 -

• Praying Band
• Sacred Order
• Holy Order ofC&S Movement. 96

Christ Apostolic Church

Lamin Sanneh, in his book: "WEST AFRICAN CHRISTIANITY - The Religious

Impact, p 194 ", writes:

"Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). The Christ Apostolic Church may be considered
among the elite of the charismatic Churches: it was closely identified with the legacy
of spiritual. ,,97 .

David O. Olayiwola in, "Studia Missionalia - The Interaction of African

Independent Churches with Traditional Religions in Nigeria, (Rome, 1993,
p 356", writes:

"The Diamond Society (formerly Precious Stone Society [PSS]), began from Our
Saviour's Church, Ijebu-Ode in 1918. This developed into the Faith Tabernacle in
1923 and culminated in the establishment of the Apostolic Church in the 1930s.,,98

Through David Odubanjo, the Precious Stone Society became linked with the
American Faith Tabernacle in Philadelphia, USA. In 1928, the links with Faith
Tabernacle in Philadelphia were broken because their correspondent, Pastor
Clark, had fallen away.

Odubanjo in his search for a Western church for help got in contact with
literature from Britain, which came from the British Apostolic Church (BAC).
The Apostolic Church from Britain (BAC) had its origin in the Welsh revival of
the first decade of the twentieth century.
David Odubanjo had been corresponding with this church since the formal
connection with Clark's Faith Tabernacle had been broken off. Then, on his own
initiative, Odubanjo invited the leaders of the Apostolic Church to visit Nigeria.
No less than the president, D. B. Williams (leader of the Church), the vice-
president, Andrew Turnbull and Pastor W. J. Williams were sent to Nigeria, and
they arrived at Lagos on September 23, 1931.99

96 Consultation with African Instituted Churches, (Geneva: WCC Publications, 1996), p 11.
97 Lamin Sanneh, Lamin, West African Christianity - The Religious Impact, p 194.
98 Olayiwola, David, 0., Studia Missionalia - The Interaction of African Independent Churches with Traditional
Religions in Nigeria, (Rome, 1993), p 356.
99 Turner, H. W., Hi"story of an African Church - Independent Churches in Nigeria, Oxford University Press,
London, 1967, p 30.
On their arrival, they spent few weeks in Lagos, Abeokuta, and Ibadan. Before
they left for Britain, they ordained seven as pastors: J.B. Shadare (ljebu-Ode),
D. O. Odubanjo (Lagos), I. B. Akinyele (Ibadan), J. A. Babatope (Ilesha), S. G.
Adegboyega (Ebute-Metta), E. G. L. Macaulay (Zaria), S. A. Mensah (Kaduna);
these last two were from the Gold Coast (Ghana), working in Northern
· . 100
N Igena.
These African Faith Tabernacle leaders were so satisfied with the discussions
they had with the representatives of the British Apostolic Church that they
unanimously decided to join the Apostolic Church. As a response to this, the
British Apostolic Church sent two missionaries: Pastor Perfect and Pastor
Vaughan, who arrived in 1932, to establish more branches of the Apostolic
Church in Nigeria and Ghana. tOt

H. W. Turner, in his book: "HISTORY OF AN AFRICAN CHURCH -

Independent Churches in Nigeria p 16-32 ", on the great revival of 1930, writes:

"Despite the tensions all (Odubanjo, Akinyele and Babalola) worked together as the
Apostolic Church until 1938 ... Odubanjo, ... Akinyele, ... and Babalola, now became
the centre of opposition to both the control and the practices of the missionaries, and
the Apostolic churches began with some reluctance to separate into those prepared to
continue with the British church, and those who sought to return to independence (as
Faith Tabernacle they were independent as there was no missionary from America on
the ground to control them), and their own emphases in the Christian faith. Shadare, it
seems, had always maintained a relative independence in his original "Precious Stone
Church" at Ijebu-Ode; of the early lcader~, only Babatope and Fasan ftom I1esha
. remained with the British church. Most of those who left formed a new body; by 1941
. they were established as the "Christ Apostolic Church (CAC)". Other secessions from
the Apostolic Church fold have produced the "Saviour Apostolic", the "African
Apostolic", the "Apostolic Gospd", and m:'Hy other varieties oh;lostolic churches."lo~

Joseph Ayo Babalola was born in 1904 at Odo Owa, Ilofa, a small town near
. !lorin the capital of Kwara State. His parents were Anglican and he grew up in
the Anglican Church and attended the AIlglKan Primary 8chool at Oshogbo,
Oshun State, Nigeria.
He met Pastor Odubanjo in Lagos who re-baptized him and thus became a
member of the Faith Tabernacle.
The members of the Faith Tabernacle first adopted the name: Apostolic Church,
subsequent to its affiliation with the British Apostolic Church (BAC). Some of

100 Peel, J. D. Y., Aladura: A Religious Movement Amuq; li·.< Y{\ruba, Oxford U!li'lersi!y Press. Lendon, 1968,
p 106.
101 Turner, H. W., History of an African Church - Independent Churches in Nigeria, Oxford University Press,
London, 1967, p 30
102 Turner, H. W., mSTORY OF AN AFRICAN CHURCH - I!ldependent Churches in Nigeria, p 32.

them later broke away from the Apostolic Church in 1939 and adopted the name:
Nigerian Apostolic Church (NAC).
With the expansion and establishment of the Nigerian Apostolic Church jjutside
Nigeria, the Church executive agreed to drop the word "Nigeria" and to be
replaced by "United". In February of 1940, the NAC adopted the name: United
Apostolic Church (UAC).
In 1941, the UAC adopted the name: Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). The name
CAC was duly registered as a self-governing body in May 1943. 103
The CAC of different factions are present in many West African countries as
well as in Europe and the United States of America.

Leadershiv Tussle in the CA C

IIT'mediatdy after the death of Babalo!a there was a struggle over the next world
leader of the Church. This struggle and division in the Christ Apostolic Church
(CAC) has been going on in-house until recently but not publicly as in the case
of the Celestial Church of Christ.
In the, Sunday Tribune Newspaper of S ..muay, the 9rl : of September, 2001 those
belonging to the Olusheye's fraction was forced to issue a rejoinder on page five
of the Newspaper to the earlier claims by Pastor S. OIu Arijesudade.104
Pastor S. Olu Arijesudade had claimed in an advertisement published in the
Monitor Newspaper of Friday the :ll st of August, 2001, Nigerian Tribune
Newspaper of Wednesday, the sIt. of September, 2001 on page eight and Sketch
Newspaper of Friday, the i h of September, 2001 that the Christ Apostolic
Church was embarking on a re-organisation as a result of a meeting held on the
J'd of September, 2001 at Aperin Oniyert.'U5
The two sides have also been facing each other in the courts of law. One of such
ca!;es:' Suit No~ AKl42/92 was heard on the 17th November, 1999 at the Akure
High Court, the capital of Ondo State, Nigeria.
In response to the publicised ann(junc~nh:mt of Pastor S. Olu Arijesudade in the
Newspaper, the other fraction of the Church represented by Pastor Gideon
Okegwemeh placed a rejoinder in the Tribune Newspaper of Sunday, the 9th of
September, 2001 page five dismissing the claim:; of Pastor Arijesudade. Pastor
Okegwemeh in the same publication aiso listed the names ofthe trustee.> of their
own fraction to include: (1) Joseph Bolade Orogun (deceased), (2) Abraham
Oresanya Adebanjo Olutimehin, (3) David OIulana Babajide, (4) John Dada

hn Mala, S, B" Christ Apostolic Church (c'A,C): Its Pres~nl I'rc-Oc;;upations, in A/i'iean Independt'nt Churches
in the 80's. See also Oshun, C, 0" The Pentecostal Perspectiv~s of the CAC, Orita VoL 15:2, (Dec, 1983).
104 Sunday TRIBUNE Newspaper, Sunday, September 9, 2001, P 5,
.05 MONITOR Newspaper, Friday August 31, 2001. See al~o Nigerian TRIBUNE Newspaper, Wednesday,
S'!pkm!Jer 5, 2001, and SKETCH Newspaper ,)fFriJay, the 7''' of September, 2001, p 8
Obafemi, (5) Elijah Howard Lajuwomi Olusheye (President), (6) Jacob
Oluwatoberu Alokan (General Evangelist), (7) Benjamin Okpaise, (8) Daniel
Olorunfemi Aduramo Oloye (General Superintendent), (9) Gideon Okegwemeh
(General Secretary).
In a nutshell, each fraction is claiming to be the authentic representatives of the
Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). 106

In my conversation with Pastor Apata of the Ilorin CAC who is also the Vice
Chairperson of the Ilorin South Local Government Area of the Christian
Association of Nigeria (CAN), during my pastoral-visit to Kwara State,
Nigerian, confirmed to me that this struggle for power and leadership has been
going on since the death of Babalola, but it is now coming to the public
This can be confirmed in an interview given by Dr. E. H. L. Olusheye (''the
President of CAC Worldwide") to the CHRISTENDOM Magazine February-
March 2001 edition where he said:

" ... We have a lot of freedom within the church, which people termed to be grace ...
For example people were given opportunities to form Christian associations operating
within the rank and file of the Church. Some seized this opportunity to establish
evangelical arms, which are 100%, owned by them. Different people planted
autonomous churches controlling all aspects of such churches with their extensions.
This brought about the problem of World Soul Winning Evangelical Ministry
(WOSEM) founded by Prophet T. O. Obadere (another CAC leader), in the early
1970s. When it was first established people could not see the evil in it. But later it
became a branch, which is almost bigger than the stem of a tree and trying to pull
down the tree. The problem created took the church some time to get over So many
people were just forming their own organisations using the church as their base ... Now
that we want to bring them under control they are now reacting against it ... Because of
the rapid developments after the 1930 (the 1930 Revival), the church along the line
experienced the birth and growth of some dangerous parasitical groups. Prominent
among them were the WOSEM, formed by Prophet Obadare, the defunct Interim
Administration for the CAC, and the other government-in-exile, self-styled as the
Supreme Council for the CAC formed by a few suspended ministers. WOSEM later
became a thorn in the flesh of the CAC and caused untold damages spiritually,
physically and financially to the church, before it was eventually ostracised from the
church. But the scar of the wound remains indelible in the body of the church till

A new development took place recently as some pastors of the Church came
together on the occasion of "the re-integration of CAC supreme council into the
authentic CAC" at the CAC General Secretariat, Aperin-Oniyere, Ibadan on

106 Sunday TRIBUNE Newspaper, Sunday, September 9, 2001, P 5.

107 CHRISTENDOM Magazine, No.9, February-March 2001 Edition, p9-19.

Tuesday 23 rd October, 2001. Among those present at the occasion were Pastor E.
H. Olusheye, Pastor J. O. Babajide and Pastor E. O. Adelekanjust to mention a
few. 108


Other AICs came into the scene around the middle of the 20th century (e.g.
Celestial Church of Christ), while others came into the scene towards the end of
the 20 th century. Examples of these are: Deeper Life Bible Church, Living Faith
World Outreach Centre (also known as "Winners' Chapel"), Redeemed Christian
Church of God (RCCG), Mountain of Fire, etc., just to mention a few.

I will like to introduce these new entries at the later half of the twentieth century
to the Nigerian Christian scene.
Some of these new entries are classified as "White Garment Churches", while
the others are classified as "New Generation Churches" (a.k.a. Churches of
Prosperity). Some do not fit into these two categories.

There are informations or testimonies by defected members of CCC, C&S

among others, to the effect that some leaders and members of some AICs,
including some white-garment and new generation churches, have alliances with
witches and wizards. 109 .

Celestial Church of Christ (Ccq

According to Rev. A. A. Bada, the Celestial Church of Christ considers itself a

church "born of the Holy Spirit" brought into being in the same manner as the
first century church. Its founder Rev. S. B. J. Oshoffa (a.k.a. Oschoffa), was a
Methodist lay person. He received the power of the Holy Spirit and began his
preaching in 1947 after a period of three months in the forest and the appearance
of an angel who commissioned him to teach people to rely on Jesus Christ
alone. 110
The name of the founder of the Church is sometimes written as "Oschoffa" or as

108 PUNCH Newspaper, Thursday, November 1, 2001, p25.

109 See Soetan, Bernard, O. A., CELESTIAL OR TERRESTIAL CHURCH? - The Hidden Secrets About
Celestial Church of Christ, (Abeokuta: Lifeline World Outreach Int., 1998).
110 Consultation with African Instituted Churches, (Geneva: WCC Publication, 1996), p 8.

In September 1998, Mr. Oladele Batunde, the Project Editor of the Lagos News
carried out a lot of interviews as part of the Celestial Church of Christ's
preparation to receive the delegates of the World Council of Churches as regards
the CCC application for WCC membership.
According to the WCC Jubilee Newspaper of the 8th Assembly, number 9,
December 14, 1998, P 6:
"Canon Martin Reardon, former General Secretary of Churches Together in England
was one of the three representatives of the WCC who went earlier this year (1998) on a
formal visit to the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) in Nigeria, in response to their
application, made in 1989, for WCC membership."lIl

The 8 th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, which was held in Harare
from 3 rd to 14th December 1998 overwhelmingly, rejected the bid by Celestial
Church of Christ for WCC membership.112
According to Lagos News (a Lagos Newspaper), Special Edition of September
1998, p 8:

"On May 23, 1947, Samuel Bilewu Joseph Oschoffa (1909 - 1985), was said to be in
the bush looking for trees for his ebony trade when there was an eclipse of the sun.
There and then, as the· story had it, he heard a voice beholding him to take up
evangelism. Thereafter, his profession changed and so did his fortune too. He single-
handedly founded the CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST by Divine Order on
September 29, 1947, in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin on the specific instruction of a
voice believed to be that of God's Messenger.,,1I3

Leadership Tussle

Leadership tussle after the death of a Church leader is not only a phenomenon
. among the AICs but also common among the Old Mission Churches.
There are cases in the Nigerian courts concerning different individuals claim to
the rightful leadership of all sorts of churches, including some of the Old
Mission Churches and some ofthe AICs.

One current and famous case of the leadership tussle is the case of the Celestial
Church of Christ, which is being fought on the pages of the Nigerian National
Newspapers, almost on daily basis.

111 wee Jubilee Newspaper of the Slh Assembly, number 9, December 14,1998, p6.
112 Ibid. .
113 Lagos News (a Lagos Newspaper), Special Edition of September 1995, p S.

Leadership Tussle in the CCC

Since the demise of S. B. 1. Oschoffa in 1985, the Celestial Church of Christ has
not known peace as regards the rightful successor to OschofIa.
Several factions have evolved since the death of OschofIa and the leader of each
fraction believes that he is the rightful successor to OschofIa.
Prominent among those claiming the leadership of the Church include,
Alexander Abiodun Bada of the Ketu-Lagos headquarter of his fraction, Josiah
Kayode Owodunni of the Ijeshatedo-Lagos headquarter of his fraction, Benua
Agbaosi of the Porto Novo headquarter of his fraction, Benjamin Dansu
Hunkanri of the 15, Awelewa Street, Obadore-Lagos headquarter of his fraction.

On June 30th 2000, the Supreme Court of Federal Republic of Nigeria in a

unanimous judgement set aside the appellate court's order and affirmed the High
Court's decision, which nullifies the appointment of Alexander Bada as the
Supreme Head of the Celestial Church of Christ (CC C).

According to the Saturday PUNCH Newspaper of July 1, 2000, which was

captioned - "SUPREME COURT SACKS BADA". This becomes a day to be
remembered in the history of the Celestial Church of Christ. The pages 1 2 of the
said Newspaper further revealed that:

"The Supreme Court on Friday voided the appointment of the Most Senior Apostle
Alexander Bada, as the Supreme Head of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC).
In a unanimous decision by a five-man panel of justices, the court terminated the 15-
year-old tenure of Pastor Bada in what observers described as one of the greatest
setbacks within the Celestial Church Worldwide.
A member of the Board of Trustees of the Church, Evangelist Kayode Owodunni, had
gone to the Lagos High Court in 1992, where he obtained judgement in his favour.
The court had granted Owodunni's prayer by nullifying Bada's appointment as the
head of the Church. Justice B. A. Famakinwa of the Lagos High Court had restrained
Bada from parading himself as the head of the Church.
Bada, however, headed for the Appeal Court in 1994 where the judgement of the High
Court was set aside, thereby regaining his post. Dissatisfied by the Appeal Court's
ruling, Owodunni headed for the Supreme Court.
In the landmark ruling delivered by Justice Anthony Iguh, the Supreme Court restored
the judgement of the Lagos High Court given on January 10, 1992, which nullified
Bada's appointment.
The judgement was hinged on Owodunni's argument that Bada's election negated
Section III of the Constitution of the Church, which stipulated the conditions for
appointment of successor to the late founder of the Church, Pastor Joseph Oschoffa.
According to that section of the Church's law, only Oschoffa could appoint his
successor through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The appointment of Bada according to the contenders, did not go through the normal
process, as Pastor Oschoffa died in a sudden motor accident in 1985, without
appointing a successor.,,114

According to the PUNCH Newspaper of September 11,2000 page 6:

"The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, had ordered that: 'Any official act
undertaken and/or performed by Alexander Abiodun Bada as the Pastor and/or the
successor to the office of Pastor of the Celestial Church of Christ (Nigeria Diocese)
from 24th day of December, 1985 onwards, is invalid, null, void and of no effect' .,,115

By this verdict, 1. K. Owodunni asked members, shepherds and the parishes who
were given ranks while Bada ruled were and directed them to revert to their
former positions, warning that any further use of those ranks by any of them will
be at the risk of a charge of contempt of the court.

According to the Porto Novo headquarter of the Celestial Church of Christ, the
last appointments made by S. J. B. Oschoffa before his death were made in May
of 1984.
In a public announcement issued by the Supreme Headquarters, Port Novo
Secretariat in the Vanguard Newspaper of July 14, 2000, P 23 and signed by
Sup. Snr. Evangelist I. A. Gangbe and Most Snr. Evangelist E. G. Obodo:

" .... In 1984, a year before the founder died, the Supreme Committee and the founder
made all the appointments. These appointments the founder made public in Nigeria in
a meeting he held on Saturday May 5, 1984 at Ketu.
He chose Benua Agbaossi to be the head in Porto-Novo in conformity with the
Nigerian Constitution of the Church earlier published in 1980. Section 6 says that
whoever is chosen to succeed the founder, as Pastor should have his headquarters in
He chose S. O. Ajanlekoko to head the Nigeria Diocese, and P. H. Ajose to head the
Overseas Diocese. He chose Christopher Oke to head the Republic of Benin Diocese ...
1. K. Owodunni was made Chairman International Management Committee, and the
Chairman of the Council of Honorary Evangelists (The. Security Council of Celestial
Church of Christ Worldwide).
The Pastor founder also appointed 16 Councillors and 16 Commissioners.,,116

To make the matter worse in the leadership tussle, and while the leadership
tussle is still going on, the news came from London that Alexander Abiodun
Bada is dead.

According to the Saturday Tribune Newspaper of September 9, 2000, front-page:

114 PUNCH Newspaper, Saturday, July 1, 2000, P 1-2.

I" PUNCH Newspaper, Monday, September 11,2001, p6.
116 VANGUARD Newspaper, Friday, July 14,2000, p 23.

"The death occurred yesterday in London of the Head of the Celestial Church of Christ
Worldwide, Pastor Alexander Abiodun Bada.... The death coincides with the 15th
anniversary of the death of the founder of the Church, Pastor Joseph Bilewu Oschoffa
who died in 1985 as a result of complications arising from injuries sustained in a road
accident after which he was succeeded by Bada .
... The Church had been enmeshed in succession crisis immediately after the death of
the founder ... The crisis led to the breaking away of the Celestial Evangelical Church
and the Benin branches of the Church led by Evangelist Agbaosi. Another faction was
led by Evangelist 10siah Owodunni who, as a member of the church's trustees,
vehemently opposed Bada's appointment as Pastor.... The court action he instituted
saw him emerging victorious at the ... High Court ... and the Supreme Court where
Bada was deposed as the head ofthe Church." 117

Alexander Abiodun Bada publicly announced on Nigerian national newspapers

including the Vanguard Newspaper of July 12, 2000 where he expressed his
gratitude to those loyal to him after the aftermath of his dethronement by the
Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Interestingly in that public announcement, A. A. Bada did not refer anymore to
himself as Pastor and/or the Supreme Head of the Celestial Church of Christ in
order not to be charged for contempt of court, but signed the public
announcement as "Rev." Alexander Bada, and referred to himself simply as
"Servant of God". liS

According to Evangelist Israel Haarstrup of the Celestial Church of Christ, in an

interview with Sam Akpe in Port Harcourt, which was captioned: "Greed is the
root of Cele's crisis", Insiders commonly refer to the Church as "Cele". This
interview was published in the PUNCH Newspaper of August 17,2000, page 32:

"I think the genesis of the problem in the Celestial Church of Christ began at the
beginning in 1947 ... The internal crisis began when people started to flock in. And
these were people of notable education, p~ople in high working offices. Then 1 think
envy came into it ... That started in Benin ,Republic because those who surrounded him
(Oschoffa) thought probably, 'what is he doing that 1 cannot do?' Some of them even
rebelled against him openly and secretly until eventually, he ran away from Benin
Republic ... And with just two followers, he ran across the boarder and came to
Nigeria ... The pastor-founder before his death said that God has not asked him to
choose a leader or successor but that God Himself will choose a successor for the
church. And for God to select a successor for them is simple. We call ourselves a
spiritual church that believes in the prophecy and direction of God. Ifwe had tarried or
waited on the Lord, God would have brought somebody up at the time He wanted it.

117 Saturday TRIBUNE Newspaper, Saturday, September 9, 2000, Front-page.

118 See VANGUARD Newspaper, Wednesday, July 12,2000.
But because of greed and hurry, like I said, everybody had started to forge vision to say
somebody saw this, God said that. So, false prophets sRrang up from each quarter and
all ofthem claiming to become God's chosen elect ... " 19

For other information on schism in the Celestial Church of Christ and the politics
of cultural identity within the church, see: "Celestial Church of Christ: The
Politics of Cultural Identity in a West African Prophetic Charismatic
Movement", by Afeosemime Adogame (PETER LANG, FrankfurtlMain, 1999).
Another book of interest written by a prophet of the Celestial Church of Christ
with over twenty years of experience in the fold: "CELESTIAL Or TERRESTIAL
Church? - The Hidden Secrets About CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST", by
Bemard Ayodele Soetan, (Abeokuta: Lifeline World Outreach Int., 1998).
Also interesting is a book by Engelbert Beyer: "New Christian Movements in
West Africa", (lbadan: Sefer, 1998).120

In the month of December, 2000, the Board of Trustees of the Celestial Church
of Christ (CCC) amended the constitution of the Church to pave the way for the
election of a new leader. This amendment has now become a matter before an
Ikeja Magistrate Court on the account of felony and forgery. In a nutshell, the
amended constitution is alleged to be a forged constitution. 121
Speaking on behalf of the church, according to the PUNCH Newspaper of
Wednesday, February 21, 2001, Senior Evangelist Samson Banjo disclosed that
despite the wrangling in the Celestial Church of Christ, Superior Evangelist
Josiah Kayode Owodunni is a member of the board of trustees of the church, as
nobody has suggested the idea of expelling him from the CCC.
Narrating how Supreme Evangelist Phillip Honsu Ajose emerged as the new
leader of the church, Senior Evangelist Afolabi Adefeso explained that the
constitution of the CCC was amended in accordance with section 6(8), (1) of the
Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). And on December 22,2000, the
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) allowed the amendment. .
According to him, following the amendment of the CCC constitution, Ajose was
appointed the new leader of the Celestial Church of Christ on Sunday, December
24, 2000 at a meeting at Celestial Holy City, Imeko, Ogun State, Nigeria.
The Celestial Church of Christ expressed its preparedness to have a special
thanksgiving of Pastor Phillip Ajose as the head of the CCC Worldwide, taking

119PUNCH Newspaper, Thursday, August 17,2000, p 32.

120 Adogame, Afeosemime, Celestial Church of Christ: The Politics of Cultural Identity in a West African
Prophetic Charismatic Movement", (Frankfurt/Main: PETER LANG, 1999); Soetan, Bernard, Ayodele,
(Abeokuta: Lifeline World Outreach Int., 1998); and Beyer, Engelbert, New Christian Movements in West
Africa", (Ibadan: Sefer, 1998).

121 VANGUARD Newspaper, Friday, August 17,2001, Front-page & p 2.

place on Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24 at CCC Holy City,
Imeko, Ogun State, Nigeria.

J. K. Owodunni through his counsel Mr. Ricky Tarfa a Senior Advocate of

Nigeria (SAN), according to the VANGUARD Newspaper of Tuesday, February
6, 2001, asked a federal high court sitting in Lagos, Nigeria to stop the trustees
of the church from swearing in P. H. Ajose as the next head of the church. \22
Restraining the defendants' constituted so called electoral college following and
relying on the purportedly amended CCC constitution 2000 from the exercise of
the powers, rights, duties, obligation and privileges of the office and from the
discharge of the functions of such office in the Celestial Church of Christ.
According to his averment that P. H. Ajose has already granted press interview
to the effect that he will be sworn in as Pastor of CCC on February 24, 2001.
Joined as defendants on the suit are Oluremi Ogunlesi, Samson Banjo, Olayinka
Adefeso, Phillip Ajose, Gilbert Jesse and Corporate Affairs Commission. Further
hearing on the matter was adjoined till February 19, 2001.
According to the PUNCH Newspaper of Thursday, February 15, 2001, the
leadership crisis rocking the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) Worldwide
worsened on Wednesday, February 14, 2001 as a press conference billed to be
jointly addressed by the church's board of trustees and one of the main
contenders to the leadership, Prophet Anthony Nwoko, was abruptly brought to
an end to prevent total breakdown of law and order at the press conference
In his own reaction, A. Nwoko described as illegal, the action of the board of
trustees in appointing P. H. Ajose, as the church's new leader. He vowed to
invoke the spirit to disorganise the church before the end of the year. 123

According to the VANGUARD Newspaper of Tuesday, February 20, 2001, the

Pastor-elect of the Celestial Church of Christ, Rev. P. H. Ajose, filed a
preliminary objection to the suit by factional leader of the church, Rev. Josiah
Owodunni, asking the court to restrain the church trustees from swearing in
Ajose as the head of the church.
Rev. Ajose in his preliminary objection challenging the Owodunni's suit on the
ground that:

• There are no competent plaintiffs before the court.

• There was no compliance to the conditions precedent to warrant the
granting of the order sought by Rev. Owodunni that the action is not
properly constituted.

122 See VANGUARD Newspaper, Tuesday, February 6, 2001.

123 See PUNCH Newspaper, Thursday, February 15, 2001.
• That the suit is an abuse of the process of the court in view of suit No
HCLl33/2000 between the parties.

The presiding judge, Justice Emmanuel Sanyaolu adjourned the matter till March
16,2001 to allow Rev. Owodunni file a counter affidavit. 124

According to the GUARDIAN Online Sunday, March 4, 2001, barely a week

after the official enthronement of P. H. Ajose as the spiritual head of the
Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), died on Friday, March 2, 2001, after taking ill
suddenly on Friday night.
Late P. H. Ajose was born on August 10, 1932 in Badagry, Lagos State, Nigeria
to Nigerian parents, Mr. And Mrs. Zannu. He attended Government Secondary
School, Badagry. He later proceeded to the Nigerian Marine School for training.
Upon graduation, he joined the then Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN),
now known as the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA). He joined
Celestial Church of Christ in 1953 and settled fully into pastoral work in 1976
when he was posted to London to head the overseas diocese. 125

Ajose was head of the overseas diocese of the church until Alexander Abiodun
Bada's death. He lost his sight in 1998 at Heathrow Airport, London on his way
to Italy to meet the late Bada for a meeting.
In an interview with The Guardian On Saturday in January, 2001, late Ajose
"I was mostly concerned about upholding the tenets of the church. We worship our
God without looking back and always strive to perfect the constitution of the church.
We never knew that we were being observed by God and men.
Satan had boasted that he would get me and my office. He said I was carrying his
profit and giving it to NasirE".126

According to the VANGUARD Daily Online Friday, March 9, 2001, Senior

Evangelist Samson Banjo, a member Of the board of trustees, confirmed' the
. death ofP. H. Ajose and announced that the burial committee will be headed by
Honorary Evangelist Segun Aina, a member of the 61 ~member of the pastor-in-
council. 127

The burial of the late Rev. Phillip Honsu Ajose will take place at the same venue
where a thanksgiving service was held in his honour on Saturday, February 24,

124 See VANGUARD Newspaper, Tuesday, February 20, 2001.

125 GUARDIAN Oniine, Sunday, March 4, 2001, via Internet
126 Ibid.

127 VANGUARD Oniine, Friday, March 9, 2001, via Internet -

2001, one week before his death. Late Ajose was buried on Friday, March 30,
2001, at the Celestial City, Imeko, Nigeria.

According to the PUNCH Newspaper report of Tuesday, August 7, 2001 on

page 3, five Celestial Church of Christ's leaders were arraigned for forgery.
They were accused of forging the signature of Most Senior Evangelist Adosu
Leyon on a document titled: 'Celestial Church of Christ Amendment of the
Constitution pursuant to the Supreme Court Judgement of 30th June, 2000', and
thereby according to the prosecutor, Sergeant Bartholomew Nwaokenye,
committed an offence punishable under Section 467 of the Criminal Code Cap.
31 Vol. 11 Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 1994:

" ... members of the Board of Trustees of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), on
Monday, appeared before an Ikeja Chief Magistrate's Court on.a two-count charge of
conspiracy and forgery. They are: Senior Evangelists Samson OIatunde Banjo,
Olayinka Adefeso and Superior Evangelist Taiwo Oshin.,,128

The VANGUARD Newspaper of Friday, August 17, 2001, Front-page and

page 2 continued in the same vein:

"Five members of the Board of Trustees of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC)
including the Head of the Nigerian Diocese of the Church, Most Senior Evangelist
Gilbert Jesse were yesterday charged before an Ikeja Chief Magistrate Court with
conspiracy to forge the Church's Constitution ... Charged with Most Senior Evangelist
Jesse were Senior Evangelist Samson Olatunde Banjo, Senior Evangelist Olayinka
Adejebo, Superior Evangelist Taiwo Oshin and Senior Evangelist Oluremi Olusoga
Ogunlesi. After their pleas, their lawyer sought bail for them which was granted by the
presiding Chief Magistrate, Mr. A. O. Isaac in the sum ofNIOO,OOO.OO each.,,129

The latest development in the troubled water of the CCC according to one of its
leaders - Rev. Jesse is that the members of the board of trustees have been the
clog in the wheel of progress of the church. This he elaborated when he gave an
interview to the CHRISTENDOM Magazine, in the October-November 2001
edition, captioned "CCC TRUSTEES ARE PAGANS". He said:

"Let me tell you, the unbelievers among us are the trustees, they call themselves
Christians but they behave like pagans. Are they really Christians? No, they are not ...
As a result of mushroom churches many shepherd have become thieves by charging
parishioners unnecessary fees. Many of them will go about looking for what to eat. For
the fact that God called everybody to be shepherd, laity, clergy and the rest, I will
make sure that our church is thoroughly washed clean." 130

12' PUNCH Newspaper, Tuesday, August 7, 2001, P 3.

129 VANGUARD Newspaper, Friday, August 17,2001, Front-page & p 2.
130 CHRISTENDOM Magazine, No.13, October-November 200 I Edition, 9-14.

In a dramatic turn of event, an Ikeja High Court has cautioned the registered
trustees of the Celestial Church of Christ to desist from taking any action capable
of affecting the court proceedings. At the resume hearing of the suit between the
registered trustees and Superior Evangelist Gilbert Jesse, lawyer, Mr. Akin
Olatunji had informed the court of alleged publication of seditious material and
the suspension of his client (Rev. Gilbert Jesse), as a church worker by the
pastor-in-council. He also averred that he was he was summoned to a meeting
through a letter on November 16, 2001 where he was subsequently suspended as
a church worker. 131
In another report on page four in the PUNCH Newspaper of Monday, December
3, 2001 captioned "Cele Crisis: Pastors dissolve board of trustees", Remi
Ladigbolu reported:

"The Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), on Friday, announced the removal of the
members of the church's board of trustees and the appointment of new members to
replace the sacked trustees.
Members of the board dropped are: Snr. Evangelists A. O. Adefeso; S. O. Banjo and
O. o. Ogunlesi, all of whom were appointed by the founder of CCC, the late Rev. S. B.
J. Oshoffa, alongside himself and two others, the late Rev. Abiodun Bada, who
succeeded Oshoffa and the late Superior Evangelist S. O. Ajanlekoko.
Briefing journalists on the development, the Chairman of the Pastor's Representatives,
Snr. Evangelist Lagun Adesanya, said the removal of the former members of the board
of trustees was sequel to the vote of no confidence, which had been passed on them
(trustees) at a meeting of the Shepherd's Council of the CCC, held on June 8, 2001.
The former trustees, according to Adesanya, were removed because they had been
found not to be fit anymore for such an exalted post. He also accused the sacked
trustees of working against the interest of the church.,,1J2

The Church is a member of the Christian Association of Nigeria through its

membership in the OAIC. The CCC had tried to become a member of the
Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) and the World Council of Churches (WCC)
without any success till now. This is probably and partly so because of its
occultic nature. Virtually all aspects of the Church have the touch of some
African Traditional Religion (A TR). There are indications from insiders and
former members of the Church that CCC is a cult. According to Ebenezer
Oshoffa, the son of the founder ofthe Church and Rev. Bernard Soetan, a former
Evangelist in the Church, many practices of the Church are indeed fetish and
unscriptural. Both of them have since left the CCC claiming a new life in Christ
- that they are now born again. 133

III PUNCH Newspaper, Monday, December 3. 2001, p52.

112 PUNCH Newspaper, Monday, December 3, 2001, p4.
133 Soetan, Bernard, Celestial or Terrestial Church? - The Hidden Secrets About Celestial Church of Christ
(Abeokuta, Nigeria: Lifeline World Outreach, 1998). See also PUNCH Newspaper, Wedneday, June 5, 1996,

Deeper Life Bible Church

A former lecturer at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, William Folorunso

KUMUYI, founded this Church. He lectured at University of Lagos between
1972 and 1983.
The headquarter of the Church is at Gbagada, Lagos, Nigeria.
According to him in his book: "THE POWER OF EXTRAORDINARY FAITH-
About The Author, (Life Press Limited, Lagos, 1997)", he was born in 1941. He
is married to Biodun and they have two boys, Jerry and John. The Church has
about 80,000 (Eighty Thousand) members in Africa.
This Church was one of the rapid growing churches in Nigeria in the 1980s. The
Church and her leadership in the person of Pastor W. F. Kumuyi were very
popular then. 134
The Church is generally known as a Bible-believing Church and for the dressing
mode of its members.

Living Faith World Dutreach Centre (a.k.a. Winners' Chapel)

David O. Oyedepo an architect turned preacher founded the Church.

According to him in his book: "The Winning Wisdom" - The Author",
(Dominion Publishing House, Lagos, 1996), he is the presiding Bishop of the
Living World Outreach Centre.
The Church was founded around 1984. He moved to Lagos around 1990 where
he established the WINNERS' CHAPEL, which is the headquarters church of
the "Faith Liberation Hour Ministries", also known as "Living Faith World
Outreach Centre".
By 1996, the membership of the Church has reached about 20,000 (twenty
Bishop David Oyedepo is the publisher and Chairman of Dominion Publishing

134 Kumuyi, W. F., The Power of Extraordinary Faith - About the Author, Life Press Ltd., Lagos, 1997.

He is married to Faith Abiola who is also a minister of the gospel. They have
four children, David Jnr., Isaac, Love and Joyce. Pastor (Mrs.) Faith Abiola
Oyedepo, an EducationlEconomics graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo
University, lIe-Ife. She is the President of the Women Ministry International
founded in 1989, which is the women and family wing of the Living Faith World
Outreach Centre. She is also the Managing Director of the Dominion Publishing
135 .
The Church is generally known as a Gospel or a New Generation Church.

The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG)

The Redeemed Christian Church of God was founded by Rev. Akindayomi in

1952. He was a native of Ondo, Ondo State in Nigeria. He was a member of one
of the so-called "White Garment" Church before he received his call to establish
the church, according to him.
He started his mission at Willoughby Street, Ebute Metta, Lagos, Nigeria. He
was the General Overseer of the Church before his death in 1980.
Before his death, he appointed Pastor Enoch A. Adeboye as his successor. The
same Adeboye was led to Rev. Akindayomi because of his quest for more
children, and he received his miracle and became a member of this Church.
In the year 1980/1981 Pastor E. A. Adeboye was a part-time General Overseer of
the Redeemed Christian Church of God as he was then still functioning as a
lecturer at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State in Nigeria. He did this for about
three years. As he was not able to cope with the double roles, he finally after
three years gave up teaching to become a full-time minister.
The chain of authorities in the Church are: the General Overseer; the Governing
Council; Deputy General Overseer; Assistant General Overseer; State Pastor;
Assistant State Pastor; Area Pastor; Assistant Area Pastor; Pastor; Assistant
. Pastor; DeaconlDeaconesses; Ministers; Workers; and Members.
The General Overseer is the leader of the Church. The Governing Council
comprises the General Overseer, the Deputy General Overseer, the Assistant
General Overseers (Administration, Training, and missions), and the State
The wife of the founder, Mrs. Akindayomi, died in the month of February 2001
at the Redeemed Camp along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
The Church was virtually unknown until Pastor Adeboye became the leader of
the Church. Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Pastor (Mrs.) Adeboye are blessed with

IJ5 Oyedepo; David 0., The Winning Wisdom - The Author, Dominion Publishing House, Lagos, 1996.

Pastor Adeboye established the night vigil of the Church called "Holy Ghost
Night". This night vigil is observed on the first Friday of every month at the
Redeemed Camp along the Lagos-Ibadan express road.
The Church became very popular during the early 1990s. The night vigil "Holy
Ghost Night" contributed immensely to the growth and popularity of the Church
in Nigeria and abroad.
The Church is generally known as a Pentecostal or New Generation Church.

Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM)

Pastor D. K. Olukoya founded the "Mountain of Fire Ministry". It is also known

as the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, but popularly called "Mountain
of Fire". This Ministry came on the Nigerian scene around 1997. This is the
latest among the so-called "gospel" or "pentecostal" churches on the Nigerian

They also hold a monthly night vigil and an annual anointing service at their
camp ("MFM Prayer City"), along the Ibadan-Lagos express road. The year
2001 anointing service for excellence and divine upliftment was celebrated at the
same venue on Friday, 9th March, 2001.
The Church is generally known as a Pentecostal or New Generation Church.

Churches of Prosperity

Most ofthe churches that were founded around the 1980s, or those that changed
their practices in order to be in vogue, and those that came to limelight around
the same period are known as "churches of prosperity" (a.k.a. New Generation
Churches, Gospel Churches or New Age Churches).

One of their symbols is to concentrate power in the hands of founder/leader of

the church and the members ofhislher family.
This type of concentration of positions and powers in the hands of the immediate
family members of the founder or leader is a common phenomenon among the
recently founded churches all over the world. These churches are commonly
known as "Gospel churches", "Pentecostal churches", New Generation
Churches, and/or "Churches of Prosperity".

It is important to state here that some of these groups are splinters from some of
the older AICs. These new groups are being led and/or founded by well trained
charismatic leaders who have refurbished, that is, redecorated the practices and
observances of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) by introducing electronic
gadgets, package of the holy water and oil (consecrated water and oil) in
beautiful bottles, giving much publicity to their ministries through mass media,
and et cetera.
These churches attract more of the youths and intellectuals. However, the
scandals relating to money, women and worldly method of getting their members
are on the pages of Newspaper to read.136

In the front page of "The PUNCH" newspaper of Wednesday, February 7, 2001,

the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev. George Carey, warned against
prosperity gospel. In his sermon delivered in Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria on
Tuesday, February 6, 2001 at the All Saints Cathedral said that prosperity gospel
does not conform to Jesus Christ's teachings. J37

In contrast to the message of Archbishop George Carey, there was a write-up, it

is more of an advertisement, captioned "Church holds seminar" in the PUNCH
newspaper of the same date (Wednesday, February 7, 2001), on page 7. In this
church's newspaper advertisement, the Living Faith Church (a.k.a. Winners'
Chapel) in Calabar was inviting people to their monthly break-through seminar,
which has the theme: "Commanding financial open heaven". 138
All these remind me of the message of Apostle Paul to the Philippians in Chapter
3 verses 18 through 19:

"For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as
enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their ~od is their stomach,
and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things."t 9

. The Glamour TRENDS Journal of August 29,2001 on page 25 carried a report

captioned: "CHRIST EMBASSY PASTOR IN 419 SCAM". 419 is the Nigerian
pseudonym for cheating, fraud, swindle, corruption and wickedness. This
practice is common among some of the New Generation Churches. Christ
Embassy is one of the New Generation Churches.
The journal reported:

"These certainly are not the best of times for Pastor Abimbola Adewale of Christ
Embassy Church, who is alleged to have swindled one Bosun Durowoju. He is

136 PUNCH Newspaper, Wednesday, February 7, 2001, P 7.

1J7 Ibid.
138 Ibid.
139 Philippians 3:18-19; New International Version.

currently being detained at Force Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon, Ikoyi,
Lagos ... The road to the present predicament of Pastor Abimbola Adewale started
some years ago when he allegedly started combining his theological calling with
terrestrial business of buying and selling cocoa. The pastor was alleged to have been
introduced to Bosun Durowoju, a businessman by a confident ofthe pastor also alleged
to be his stooge. Thereafter some money was alleged to have been paid by the
complainant to the pastor for the purchase of cocoa beans. Consequently, the pastor
allegedly took Durowoju to a warehouse full of cocoa. But alas! When it was time to
evacuate the said commodity from Akure to Lagos for onward shipment abroad the
goods had disappeared. However, before Durowoju could discover that he might have
been swindled, he had allegedly paid N3.5 million (Three and a half million Naira) to
the pastor. .. In view of this, Bosun Durowoju petitioned the office A.I.G (Assistant
Inspector General), Anti Fraud, Alagbon, Lagos who dispatched detectives to Akure to
fish out Pastor Adewale and bring him to Lagos. The accused pastor was thereafter
charged with obtaining by false pretence the sum of N3.5 million from Bosun
Durowoju ... ,,140

As a Church leader 1 wish to enjoin all Christians to follow the examples of

Christ Jesus and live according to the pattern He gave us.
"For, as 1 have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many
live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is
their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
But our citizenship is in heaven ... " (Philip. 3: 18-20; NIV).141
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to
me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your
name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then 1 will tell them
plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'." (Matt. 7:21-23;

Apart from corruption, selfishness is another phenomenon of the New

Generation Churches (a.k.a. Churches of Prosperities).
Harry Nwana, a columnist in the VANGUARD Newspaper of Monday, May 21,
2001 on page twenty-seven wrote an article on "Religion and Discipline":

" ... Blocking the Lagos-Ibadan expressway after every Sunday afternoon worship and
the monthly vigil session, whatever that stands for, is selfish, provocative and
unexpected ... As camp vigils and church services are regular events in the Church
programme, one would have expected that they would make adequate traffic and
pedestrian control arrangements for the convenience and safety of road users. Not to do compatible with all that (true) religion stands for.

140 Glamour TRENDS, August 29,2001, P 25.

141 Philippians 3:18-20; New International Version (NIV).
142 Matthew 7:21-23; NIV.

That is where the old generation churches excel. They are orderly discipljned and they
always remember that they are not alone in this universe.
New Generation Churches must understand that not all their neighbours are adherents
or desire to be tormented by church events even in danceable music sounds. That is
where they are getting the mood of the people wrong. They need to return to the
drawing board and revisit those aspects of churching that show little regards to the
feeljngs and rights of neighbours (fellow human beings) ... ,,143

Most of the member churches of prosperity are grouped together in an

association called: "Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN)". Concerning the
rift between Chris Okotie and Chris Oyakhilome because of the alleged visit of
Oyakhilome to T. B. Joshua's Synagogue of All Nations, the president of PFN,
Bishop Mike Okonkwo flanked by PFN's national secretary, Bishop Joseph Ojo
and a member of the governing council, Rev. Ukaegbu during a press briefing as
reported in the VANGUARD Newspaper of Thursday, November 15,2001 on
page five, noted that the main concern of the PFN centres on occultism. Blaming
the entire problem of the members of the PFN (a.k.a. "churches of prosperity"),
on craze for materialism, Bishop Okonkwo of (The Redeemed Evangelical
Mission (TREM) acknowledged "money has sadly become the major yardstick
for success in the church, especially the Pentecostals in this end-time." He
regretted that prosperity messages have therefore taken the centre stage of most
preachings at the expense of full gospel messages. 144

In an article captioned: "The Church, occultism and Pentecostalism" in the

VANGUARD Newspaper of Thursday, January 10, 2002, page thirty-five, Rev.
S. J. Esu advised the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) to rather be
concerned about occultic practices among its members than embark on a smear
campaign against other clergies. He wrote:

"However, the churches of American origin are the current source of crises of which
we have in the body of Christ today in Nigeria... They diminish the high moral
standing of the gospel of Christ and replace it with formulae for bread and butter. To
them the fruit of the Spirit is no longer love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. But car, house money, etc., which things
Jesus said are subordinate to righteousness (Galatians 5:22).
The church that permits or overlooks immoraljty, 419 (cheating), corruption, greed and
revelling cannot be the church of Christ, because Christianity is the doctrine of Christ
and pertains to obedience, righteousness and holjness (Matthew 6:32-33; Titus 2:12) ...
It is an antic of the PFN group to brand every non-PFN-member church an occultic
group ... If any other denomination had condoned the rotten moral character the so-
called pentecostals (PFN) display, the PFN would not have let us hear anything. If any
other group had imbibed the level of occultic manipulation that the PFN group

143 VANGUARD Newspaper, Monday, May 21, 2001, P 27.

144 VANGUARD Newspaper, Thursday, November 15, 2001, pS.

practice, they would have gone on wild hot effusions ... When the PTL Club, the parent
body of the PFN started, they displayed the same holier-than-thou attitude.
That was until Jim Baker was caught pants down with Jessica Hans (the church's
secretary) sleeping in the vestry. Jimmy Swaggart, one of them, an international
evangelist of the PTL Club (the parent body of PFN), went on crusade and declares
Baker 'a cankerworm in the body of Christ'. Baker was appalled and tipped off
journalists on the location of Swaggart's rooming house where he normally resort for a
hot sensuous massage by a bevy of nude women. Swaggart was caught in the act and
he came weeping and confessing.
The question is 'Where did the power for all the miracles come from if the practioners
were members of the hot nudist club?' By the way, the PTF club itself was an arm of
the Er-lea-see Movement; a metaphysical organisation based in New Mexico of which
T. L. Osborn, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker and Jessica Hans were original members
and co-founders. They had obtained the secret of entering into a covenant with angel
spirit and naming it Jesus. These secrets, others, including Temitope Joshua, had since
obtained without going through the Er-lea-see or any of its agencies, including the
PFN, which is why they are fighting Joshua, Oyakhilome and others like them.
It is purely a trade-group to trade-group quarrel (underline mine), and 1 will advise all
true Christians and their innocent followers to steer clear and read Deuteronomy 13:1-
3; Acts 17: 11.,,145

The feud within the PFN has so much degenerated that they are accusing one
another of planning to terminate each other's life. According to the report on
back-page of PUNCH Newspaper of Tuesday, December 4,2001 the police were
particularly concerned about the security implication of the feud. The
Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Mr. Mike Okiro was scheduled
to hold a meeting with the three feuding men: Chris Okotie of the Household of
God Church, Chris Oyakhilome of the Christ Embassy Church and Temitope
Joshua of the Synagogue Church of All Nations. 146

The head pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, one of
the most outspoken pastors recently in the FAME Magazine of Tuesday
December 18 - Monday December 24, 2001 on page 8-9 commented on some
heavy weights ofPFN and others. Seun Oloketuyi reported:

"I pray he (T. B. Joshua) repents and hope this crisis will make him to repent and pray
God touches his heart.
Chris Okotie has just written a book that scares me as it is the doctrine of the doctrine of the
devil. The book in summary, Satan was the first outcast, Jesus the second and the final outcast
is the anti-Christ. This half-baked truth will wreck those who listen, and that is why their
vocabulary has to be high so that people who listen to them will not understand what they are
Two years ago, when 1 spoke on Synagogue of Satan, a lot of people thought I was to Joshua.
Well, the real Synagogue of Satan is Winner's Chapel (a.k.a. "Living Faith Ministries"),

145 VANGUARD Newspaper, Thursday, January 10, 2002, p35.

146 PUNCH Newspaper, Tuesday, December 4, 2001, Back-page.

where you buy oil, mantle and the rest of it to enter the kingdom of God. For years, I have been
shouting on the issue of anointing oil and they said I love to criticise (such users of anointing
oil as PASTOR ENOCH ADEBOYE of Redeemed Christian Church of God) but PFN report
just released, has vindicated me at long last. A pastor who passes his cloth around and at the
end of the day says he has removed witchcraft, they've lowered the church and turned it into
'in Jesus Christ PLC'. A pastor with a pigeon feather in his armpit, it is sad that people can't
ask their pastor questions about how their churches are being run, all they care about is the
number of congregations and the number of services they run.
It is the fault of Christians who flock from place to place (looking for miracles), they are the
grasshoppers of our generation who hop around ... but the present day Christians go from
church to church, they don't read their Bible and so it is easy for pastors to manipulate

My advice for the churches of prosperity (a.k.a. new generation churches), is to

stop judging each other and also stop their media propaganda for self edification
and glorification. They should rather concentrate on preaching salvation and
holiness; for it is written: "Beholy, because I am holy.,,148
Instead of their media campaign for self justification and glorification, they
should organise a massive campaign to educate the masses about the unlimited
power of God. As their own contribution to peaceful co-existence among people
of different cultures and religions, they should use the teach all the adherents of
diverse religions to stop fighting for God because the King of glory is strong and
mighty in battle, and can fight for Himself. He even promised to fight our battles
for us (Psalm 24:8; 2.Chronicle 20:15; Deuteronomy 3:22).
Doing this, they will be contributing something positive into the lives of the
people, which might make those who are burning and killing Christians to have a


In a bid to publicise their churches and draw public attention to their

establishments, many church leaders have secured for their churches a place
along the Lagos-Ibadan express road. Most visible among them are the so-called
"gospel", "pentecostal", and/or "churches of prosperity".
The Church of the Lord (Aladura) is the only Church situated along the
Lagos-Ibadan expressway prior to the construction of this express road.
The Tabieorar Retreat was established in 1937 and situated at the place long
before the express road was constructed. In other words, the Lagos-Ibadan
express road came to meet and pass-by the Church of the Lord (Aladura) unlike
all other churches along this express road.

147 FAME Magazine Tuesday December 18-Monday December 24, 2001 Edition, p8-9.
148 I.Peter 1:16; New International Version.

Some of the Mission churches and AICs have engaged themselves with negative
publicity. This particular chapter and Chapter Twenty-five of this book contain
some examples of such negative publicity.

The Church of the Lord (Aladura) is internationally takert and understood to be

the ALADURA CHURCH per se. This is responsible for the fact that when the
media in other African countries (excluding Nigeria), or in the European
countries, speak of ALADURA CHURCH, it is the Church of the Lord
(Aladura) that they have in mind.
Sometimes, any White-Garment Church is rightly or wrongly described as an
Aladura Church but mistakenly understood to be belonging to the Church of the
Lord (Aladura) Organisation. This is one of the reasons among others, which
accorded the Church ofthe Lord (Aladura) the pseudonym: "ALADURA WITH
A DIFFERENCE". Not all white-garment churches are belonging to the Church
ofthe Lord (Aladura). As a matter offact, the doctrine of the Church of the Lord
(Aladura) is quite different from the doctrine of all other Aladura churches.
The Church of the Lord (Aladura), which is known to be scandal free, is also
known as: "An Aladura Without A Scandal" or "A Scandal Free Aladura

An ugly incident involving an AIC took place about two weeks prior to the
Primate's arrival on pastoral visit to Sierra Leone. The scandal was actually
about a pastor of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) at Lumley, but described
as Aladura Church. This implies that the pastor belongs the Church of the Lord
(Aladura), which is generally perceived as the Aladura Church. According to the
story, a pastor of the CCC in Freetown was involved in a Cocaine deal.
According to the statement broadcasted over the 98.1 radio station, the pastor of
the Celestial Church was last week arrested with cocaine. The news was all over
on the radio and the various Newspapers. The Acting Provincial Head (a local
leader) of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) in Sierra Leone had to disclaim the
story as reported on the radio and in the press.

The Independent OBSERVER of Wednesday, June 6, 2001, on the Front-page

had it captioned: "Bishop Disclaims Cocaine Church". This Newspaper reported:

"Rt. Rev. Bishop Samuel O. D. Macarthy, head of the Aladura Church, said yesterday
that the Celestial Church at Lumley where police recently discovered hard drugs is not
an Adejobi Church (Adejobi is the pseudonym for the Church of the Lord Aladura in
Sierra Leone), as the police claimed last week.,,149

149 Independent OBSERVER Newspaper, Wednesday, June 6, 2001, Front-page. See also The POINT
Newspaper, Wednesday, June 13, 2001, P 2; The POOL Newspaper, Thursday, June 7, 2001, P 3; and The
African CHAMPION Newspaper, Saturday, June 9,2001, Front-page.


Some African Instituted Churches refer to themselves as Pentecostal, Gospel,

Evangelical, Aladura, Bible BelievinglPreaching or simply African church.

The Pentecost is the Christian festival commemorating the descent of the Holy
Spirit upon the Apostles (Acts 2:1-4), falling on the seventh Sunday
(Whitsunday) after Easter. Therefore, Pentecostal may be defined as relating to
direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
From all my encounters around the world, I have not observed or heard of any
church that is more Pentecostal than the Church of the Lord (Aladura) as the
Church depends totally on the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit of God in
all areas. All churches that believe and allow the Holy Spirit of God to guide
them in all their undertakings are Pentecostal (spiritual) churches.

The Gospel comprises the teachings of Christ Jesus as recorded in the first four
books of the New Testament. A Gospel church may therefore be defined as a
church where the teachings of Christ are being taught and particularly that
salvation can be achieved by faith through the atonement of Christ Jesus.
Therefore, all churches that believe in this and likewise propagate this message
are Gospel churches.

The Evangelical may be defined as preaching of, or zealous effort to spread the
Gospel as recorded in the first four books of the New Testament purposely to
win souls unto Christ Jesus.
Therefore, all churches that are engaged in this zealous effort are evangelical.

The Bible BelievinglPreaching church is a church where the Word of God (both
Old and New Testament) is being preached in season and out of season useful
for teaching, correcting, rebuking, encouraging and training in righteousness
(2 Timothy 3:16-4:2).
Since God inspired all Scripture (2 Timothy 3: 16), a Bible Believing church is a
church where both the Old and New Testament remains their spiritual
constitution that handles all matters of faith, conduct, doctrine and practices.

Dr. Allan Anderson in his submission at a conference held in Cambridge,

England, in September 1999 under the "OPEN SPACE: The African Christian
Diaspora in Europe and the Quest for Human Community", maintained in his
paper - THE GOSPEL AND AFRICAN RELIGION - A space for belonging in
African Pentecostalism as published in the "International Review of MISSION,
Vol. LXXXIXNo. 354":
"The expansion of the Pentecostal message in Africa in the 20 th Century can be
attributed, at least partially, to cultural factors. Waiter Hollenweger sees the ,oral
structures' of Pentecostalism, like Christianity itself, to be the reason for its initial
growth. His list of the characteristics of these structures is well known and includes
oral liturgy, narrative theology and witness, reconciliatory and participant community,
the inclusion of visions and dreams in worship, and understanding of the relationship
between body and mind revealed in healing by prayer and liturgical dance ... It is the
contention of this paper that so-called 'prophet-healing' and 'Spirit' or 'spiritual'
African Instituted Churches (AICs), as well as other Pentecostal and charismatic
churches, both new and older varieties, are all different expressions of Pentecostalism
in Africa. These churches now constitute a significant proportion of African
Christianity, and in some countries they are now the majority ... The emphasis on
'freedom in the Spirit' has rendered the Pentecostal movement inherently flexible in
different cultural and social contexts worldwide, and Africa is no exception ... The
AIC movement represents 'a kind of Christianity that has the trademark of African
culture'. Contrary to what some have suggested in the past, many AICs have
programmes for recruiting new members that transcend national and ethnic divisions,
and their belief in movement's universality and message for the whole world is a
radical departure from ethnically based traditional religions ... The planting of these
churches in the churches in the' African Diaspora' is an example of the multiethnic and
international dimension of this form of African Christianity ... Thriving indigenous
churches, established in Africa without the help of foreign missionaries, were founded
in innovative initiatives unprecedented in the history of Christian missions. They were
motivated by a compelling need to preach and, even more significantly, to experience a
new message of the power of the Spirit.,,150

150 Anderson, Allarr, Open Space: The African Christian Diaspora in Europe and the Quest for Human
Community - The Gospel And African Religion, "International Review of MISSION, Vol. LXXXIX No. 354",
(Geneva: wce, 2000), p 373-374.

H. W. Turner, in his book: "HISTORY OF AN AFRICAN CHURCH
Independent Churches in Nigeria p 16ff', on the great revival of 1930, writes:

"Late in 1929 Babalola was invited to Ibadan by a friend who came from the same
Ilofa district (Babalola's home town of Odo-Owa, in the Ilorin province), and who was
now a member of Akinyele's "Faith Tabernacle" church. There, Babalola met Shad are
and Odubanjo in December 1929; they were most impressed with him and arranged for
him to be baptised by immersion.,,151

Babalola of Faith Tabernacle and Josiah Ositelu of The Church of the Lord
(Aladura) played their parts in the 1930 revival. By mid 1930, Ositelu's fame
had spread abroad through Ijebu-Iand and news of his powers had reached the
leaders of the Faith Tabernacle churches. This news was of such interest to those
in Faith Tabernacle who had been praying for revival that they felt Ositelu was
clearly an Aladura of their own kind, and began to visit him.

Ositelu's own record (Journal entries from June 1929 to 1953), describes the first
meeting with Babalola as taking place at Ogere on July 25, 1929. The journal
indicates that Ositelu assumed a certain spiritual authority; while he welcomed
Babalola warmly, he and Ajayi (Ositelu's assistant), revealed some revelations to
Babalola. This incident reveals Ositelu's characteristic confidence in his own
mission and authority, and perhaps this helps to explain why so many leaders in
Faith Tabernacle made the pilgrimage to the obscure country town of Ogere.
Akinyele himself stayed in Ogere for two weeks. Later in the year he sent his son
to become Ositelu's disciple.

Akinyele invited Ositelu to come and see the Faith Tabernacle's work in Ibadan.
Aina, in a typescript: "Odun medogbon Ijo Aladura Ni nu Ibadan, p 10-14 (a
typescript for 'The Silver Jubilee of the Establishment of the Aladura Church in
Ibadan'), who escorted Ositelu, Ajayi, and six disciples, recorded:

"On 25 th September, 1930, we left for Ibadan accompanied by many young men and I
brought them to the house of Akinyele. In the evening of the same day they came to
Oke-Bola to see how the great revival through Orekoya was going on. When they
came to the midst of this revival service it was said through Orekoya that these people
'were the great prophets of God of Glory whose shoe latchet I am unworthy to untie'.
At once he descended from his table and asked Ositelu to speak. The sermon was

151 Turner, H. W., History of an African Church - Independent Churches in Nigeria, p 16ff.

inspiring. After this they started to go out for open air services ... and many people
registered to stay with this new Church."ls2

Aina, who had taken the initiative in fonning Faith Tabernacle in Ibadan over
five years before, became a disciple of Ositelu.
Abimbolu, a Christian Science member who joined the new Church during this
revival and has since become a trusted leading layman in the Church of the Lord,
recalls the way in which Ositelu spoke of his mission and of this new church.
God had sent him to establish the church, but it was not to be Faith Tabernacle,
CMS, or Roman Catholic. It would be the last church that Jesus Christ would
come and meet at his second advent. Seven men had been appointed and
anointed to proclaim this last church, and Ositelu was one of the seven; the
others were not revealed to him.

Seven of the leading figures of Faith Tabernacle, including Joseph Babalola,

Daniel Orekoya, Odubanjo, Akinyele and others, had decided to part with Josiah
Ositelu because of these issues:

• healing of people possessed by witches and demonic spirits by Ositelu (a

demon-possessed man healed by Christ Jesus - Mark 5:8-20; Unclean
spirit - Matthew 12:43-45);
• prophecy, speaking in tongues and use of holy words (Prophecy and
speaking in tongues - 1 Corinthians 14:6-25; Exodus 6:3; EzekieI43:7);
• and the toleration of polygamy (not encouragement of it);

all of which the Faith Tabernacle group, reinforced by its Western associations
with the Faith Tabernacle of Philadelphia, U.S.A. and the British Apostolic
Church, had rejected. Only Aina and Abimbolu from the Faith Tabernacle stood
. finn and remained to give support of any consequence to Ositelu.

A month later, Ositelu was in Ibadan to dedicate Abimbolu as the first leader of
the Church of the Lord (Aladura) in Ibadan. Aina was ordained as the first pastor
at Ogere in the following June.

152 Aina, in a typescript: "Odun medogbon Ijo Aladura Ni IIu Ibadan, (a typescript for 'The Silver Jubilee of the
Establishment of the Aladura Church in Ibadan, Nigeria'), p 10-14.

The Church ofthe Lord (Aladura)

The organisation founded by the late Dr. J. O. Ositelu (sometimes written as

Oshitelu or Oshintelu), is known as "The Church of the Lord (Aladura)", and has
branches all over the world. Its headquarters is in Ogere in Remo Division of
Ogun State, Nigeria. The story of the Church would not be complete without a
brief mention of the life history of its Founder and first Primate - Dr. Josiah
Olunowo Ositelu.

We are going to examine the Aladura Church movement, its organisation, sacred
festivals, doctrine and practices. All these will be dealt with in the next chapter
by elaborating on the history of an African indigenous, initiated and instituted
Church, namely: "The Church of the Lord (Aladura)" and a brief life course of
its founder and first Primate.
I have chosen to present "The Church of the Lord (Aladura)" as an example of
an African Instituted Church (AIC), because recent findings have proved that the
aforementioned Church is the most well equipped and well organised among the
Aladura Churches, and above all, The Church of the Lord (Aladura) is the only
member of the World Council of Churches among the AICs of West Africa.

A lot has been written about late Dr. Josiah Olunowo Ositelu, the founder and
first Primate of "The Church of the Lord (Aladura)" nevertheless, I believe that
it will serve this study to give a succinct life course of Late Dr. J. O. Ositelu with
special reference to events leading to the inauguration of "The Church of the
Lord (Aladura)" and thereafter.
The name OSITELU is sometimes written as OSHITELU or OSHINTELU. In
the Yoruba language they all have the same meaning only the styles of writing
are different. The name is an abbreviation of "OSHIN TE ILU DO" meaning: "A
prominent and blessed person has come to settle and to leave his mark in this

The Genealogy ofJosiah Olunowo Ositelu

Late Prophet Dr. Josiah Olunowo Ositelu was born on Wednesday the 15 th day
of May 1900 at Ogere, Ijebu-Remo, Ogun State in Nigeria.
His father was Ashaye Onakoya Ositelu of Lisa Chieftaincy House, a royal
family in Ogere. His mother was Ejironike a daughter of Adeyemi of another
Chieftaincy House, a royal family in Owo, Ondo-State in Nigeria.

He was the son of Dawodu Onakoya Ashaye and the· grandson of Lisa Ositelu.
Ositelu Lisa is a short form of "Chief Ositelu, Lisa of Ogere". Lisa is a
chieftaincy title in Ogere up till today and the Ositelu family is· one of the
families that have the right to the title.
"Dawodu" in the Yoruba tradition is the first male child (son) in a family. As the
name suggests, Dawodu Onakoya Ashaye was the first male child and only son
born by the first wife (Madam Adefowope Ositelu) to Lisa Ositelu. "Lisa" is a
Yoruba chieftaincy title that is common in many Yoruba cities and towns. It was
common in those days that people annexed such titles to their names for proper
Both "Dawodu" and "Lisa" are titles, which are used to show a person's rank or
office in the family or society. A title is attached to a name for proper distinction
from others bearing the same name.

Miss Lamilu Ogunware married Oso-Erubia (the first Lisaof Ogere town).
Madam Lamilu begat two female children namely: Jebige and Efunremekun for

Jebige married a man from the Gbasemo compound of Ogere town and begat
four children, namely: Okusile, Ogunniran, Otefoga and Odumo.
Efunremekun married to Lorogun and begat Osinowo (a.k.a. Jagun Pampa).
Osinowo begat three sons and two daughters namely Osotimehin, So\vemimo,
Opanubi, Iya Ewusu and Efubule.

Okusile the first child of Madam Jebige married three wives. The first wife of
Okusile was Efujina the mother of four children namely Ositelu, Oduhaja,
Sowehin and Efutowo.
The second wife of Okusile begat Derishamu.
The third wife of Okusile begat Ashaye Agbalajobi who later begat the late king
of Ogere, His Royal Highness Oba Babington Ashaye, the Ologere of Ogere.

Ogunniran the second child of Madam Jebige begat Takiti a male child.

Otefoga the third child of Madam Jebige begat Adebayo (a.k.a. Chief Ejubona)
of Itun-Aledo compound in Ogere. He was a traditional herbalist.

Odumo the fourth child of Madam Jebige was childless.

The Lineage ofOkusile and Efidina the varent ofOsitelu Lisa

In order to remain within the scope of the genealogy of Josiah Olunowo Ositelu,
we shall now concentrate on the family tree of the man Okusile and his wife
Madam Efujina was a daughter of the Lisa of Makun, a royal family in Shagamu,
a town that is about seven miles from Ogere but still within the same county or
district known as Remo.
Madam Efujina begat four children for Okusile namely: Ositelu; Oduhaja;
Sowehin; and Efutowo.

Ositelu became the first "Lisa" within the Ositelu family. "Lisa" is a chieftaincy
title in Ogere town as in many Yoruba towns till this very day. Ositelu was
wealthy and a popular man in the town. He had many chieftaincy titles to his
credit, among which were: Chief Gbasemo, Alase Agemo, Alase Eluku, Olori
Itun and Baale.
He was popularly called Ositelu Lisa. He had eight wives namely: Adefowope,
Funwa, Ifatunsule, Orisamiwo, Adeyemi, Ejimo, Jaiyeola and Osunmuyiwa.

The Lineage of Ositelu Lisa and Adetowope (Jhe Parents of Dawodu Ashaye

Adefowope the first wife of Chief Ositelu, the Lisa ofOgere (a.k.a. Ositelu Lisa)
begat five children namely: Ashaye Onakoya (a.k.a. Dawodu), Efunkoya,
Olabowale, Efunnubi and Aseyibo.

First, Yoruba names always have meanings. Secondly, some of them are
automatic in the sense that if a child comes into this world under a special
circumstance, such a child will get a special name reflecting that special
situation. An example of this is twins. When twin-babies are born in a Yoruba
land, irrespective of their gender the first twin-baby is named "Taiwo" meaning
that he or she came to see the world first. The second baby gets the name
"Kehinde" meaning that he or she came after the firstbaby.
Same applies to "Dawodu" meaning the first son of the family and "Beere"
meaning the first daughter of the family. Whatever the case may be, whether
automatic or not, the Yoruba names readily describe either the situation
surrounding the birth of the child or the situation of the family as of the time the
child was born. For example, if a baby girl was born shortly after the death of her
grandmother, she will be named "Iyabo" or "Yetunde" meaning that the dead
grandmother has returned.

Madam Adefowope begat one son namely Ashaye Onakoya the "Dawodu" of the
family. She also begat four daughters namely Efunkoya the "Beere" of the
family. Her sisters are Olabowale, Efunnubi and Aseyibo.
Ashaye Onakoya was popularly called "Dawodu" being the first son of the
family, while Efunkoya was popularly referred to as "Beere" being the first
daughter of the family.

Dawodu Ashaye Onakoya begat Ifanowo, Isiaka, Orekoya and Molayi.

Efunkoya begat Awoyemi, Arigbabu and Asimawu.
Olabowale begat Oyeyemi, Latunji and Taiba who later changed her name to
Esther after her conversion to Christianity.
Efunnubi begat Joseph, Bose and Erinola.
Aseyibo begat Bankubi.
Any of them with a Christian or a Muslim name adopted the name after their
conversion to the corresponding religion.

Funwa the second wife of Ositelu Lisa begat three children namely: Oyepolu,
Adenuga and Asedeyin.

Ifatunsule the third wife of Ositelu Lisa begat two children namely Arabi and

Orisamiwo the fourth wife of Ositelu Lisa begat two children namely Eboda and

Adeyemi the fifth wife of Ositelu Lisa was a princess from Owo, Ondo State of
Nigeria. Slave trade brought her to Shagamu where Ositelu Lisa met her and
married her. She had already had two children before she came to Shagamu and
got married to Ositelu Lisa. Her children were Ayo and Ejironike. As fate will
have it, she did not bear any child for Ositelu Lisa. Because of the fact that she
had no issue for Ositelu Lisa, she was regarded as Ositelu's daughter.

Ejimo the sixth wife ofOsitelu Lisa begat Aselaja.

laiyeola the seventh wife ofOsitelu Lisa was childless.

Osunmuyiwa the eighth wife of Ositelu Lisa begat Badaru Owonusi.

Other Children ofEfujina

Oduhaja begat Mabukulo and Orisagunwa.

Sowehin begat Adeteju and Adeyemi.
Efutowo begat Ogunname, Oyelarin, Oyedeyin and Moloko.

The Lineag.e ofDawodu Ashave Onakova the First Son ofOsiteiu Lisa

Initially, Dawodu Ashaye Onakoya had many wives but no children. His father
Ositelu Lisa decided to consult Babalawo the "Ifa" priest for a solution.
Dawodu Ashaye Onakoya took Ejironike the daughter of Princess Adeyemi as
wife. Ejironike was previously married to Pa Sodipo for whom she begat two
children. One of them was late Madam Oyetola Sodipo who later became the
first Lady-President of the Church of the Lord (Aladura), Ogere. Her son also
became a Minister of Religion in the Church namely Senior Prophet Sodipo
Madam Ejironike later begat a child to Dawodu Ashaye Onakoya. As Dawodu
Ashaye Onakoya was the first son of Adefowope, the first wife of Ositelu Lisa,
so also was the child Ejironike bore for Dawodu Ashaye Onakoya. Therefore the
first son of Dawodu Ashaye Onakoya was named Ifasina, Ifanowo Ifakoya the
son of Dawodu.
Ifasina means that Ifa has opened the way. Ifanowo means that Ifa deserves
honour. And Ifakoya means that Ifa will prevent sufferings.

As custom then demands; "Ifa" priest (a diviner) must be consulted to know
what the future has in stock for the child. The Ifa priest then revealed to his
parents that the child Ifanowo the son of Dawodu had the same star like his
grand-father (Ositelu Lisa) and will be greater and more famous than his grand-
father. The Babalawo (Ifa priest) revealed further that he will do great things
which no one in the environ has ever done before. And that he would be known
in the whole of Remo, Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
Pa Ashaye Onakoya later married another wife namely Efudemase. Efudemase
begat three children but only one of them survived. The only one that survived
was named Soneye.
The two children of Dawodu Ashaye Onakoya were Ifanowo and Soneye.
When Ifanowo was to be baptized and already having the zeal to become a
Catechist, he renounced all his three names that give glory to Ifa oracle to take
Josiah a baptismal name and Olunowo a short form of Oluwanowo meaning
honour be unto God. Because of his education, he decided to take the name of
his grandfather as his surname.
So it is the same Ifasina Ifanowo Ifakoya the son of Dawodu Ashaye
Onakoya who later became Josiah Olunowo Ositelu.

Late Dr. Josiah Olunowo Ositelu had many wives and many children. Prominent
among them are late Primate Gabriel Ositelu - Agriculturist and Theologian,
Pastor (Mrs.) Deborah Kaka - Trader, Rev. Dr. Gideon Ositelu - Theologian and
University Lecturer, Rev. Elijah Ositelu - Journalist and Politician, Deacon John
Ositelu - Police-officer, Pastor Kayode Ositelu - Manager, Pastor Solomon
Ositelu - Civil-servant, Evangelist (Mrs.) Foluke Adeyemi - Caterer, Venerable
Archdeacon Christopher Ositelu -Minister of Religion, Deaconess Joyce
Solanke - Banker, Deacon Dr. Kole Ositelu - Medical Consultant, Most Rev. Dr.
Rufus Ositelu - Computer Scientist and Theologian (the incumbent Primate of
the Church of the Lord - Aladura, Worldwide), Deaconess Dr. Mojisola
Mafolasire - Educationist, Deaconess Alice Karunwi-Ositelu - Civil-servant,
Pastor Dr. David Ositelu - Veterinarian and Theologian, Evangelist (Mrs.) Ebun
Adeyemi - Educationist, Deacon Tunde Ositelu - Architect, Evangelist (Mrs.)
Ibidun Ositelu - Educationist, just to mention a few.

Josiah Ositelu's Earlv Life

As we have seen in his genealogy, he was the only son of his parents. Like most
parents in those days, his parents did not linger but soon after his birth consulted
a traditional African priest of "Ifa" (a divinity with attributes such as great
wisdom, power and prediction). It was the tradition those days to consult the
"Ifa" priest (Babalawo - a diviner), with the view of getting to know the peculiar
characteristics of life course of a Newborn child. In the case of Late Dr. Ositelu,
the Babalawo revealed a lot of things to his Parents among which he particularly
stated that their son would be a strong, wise, wonderful councillor and head of
his people.

In his early teens, it was quite usual with Late Dr. Ositelu to tell many strange
people who came in contact with him some facts about their past and present
characteristic, which had always been proved to be true in all cases.
His parents raised strong objections to such manners because they thought that
the wizards had influenced their child. They therefore tried their best to stop him
but all their efforts were in vain. This reminds me of a story once told by my late
grandmother, thus: on one sun-shiny day at the early part of the year 1912, late
Dr. Ositelu who was then on his way back Home from the play-ground met one
strange old man who greeted him very friendly. To the surprise of the old man,
late Dr. Ositelu revealed some facts about his past, which he quickly
acknowledged. Late Dr. Ositelu did not stop there; he further predicted the future
of the strange old man. The old man was very astonished. On his arrival at his
own compound, .he quickly called all members of his family together and
narrated the story of the day (as it was then called), which they all found very
difficult to believe because it was not a tradition in Yoruba land then and
therefore a very strange thing.
Late Dr. Ositelu in his prophecy to the old man did not prophecy only a rosy
future but also some bad events that would occur. Few weeks later, some of the
predictions started to occur. "That made me to spy on the school-boy, purposely
to locate his home", the old man confessed after meeting Late Dr. Ositelu's
parents. The old man then told his parents that the purpose of his visit was to
inform them that their son was in possession of some sorts of spiritual power and
that he would like to advise them to consult a "Babalawo" for cure. 153

His parents, full offear, quickly yielded to the advice of the strange old man and
consulted a Babalawo the following day whom they told what had happened.
Amazingly, the Babalawo revealed to them that their son was "a special person
with special qualities among which were wisdom, power and leadership.
Moreover he has a mission before him", the Babalawo asserted. Ositelu had on
several times expressed his wishes to go to school but his parents would not
listen to him. At about eleven years of age, his father asked him to go with him
to his farm to give a helping hand but he refused and he was punished by his
father for his blunt disobedience. Three days later, his father slipped off the
palm-tree and suffered a bodily injury from which he did not fully recover until
after two years. When Late Dr. Ositelu reiterated his request to go to school, his

153 Ositelu, Rufus, African Indigenous Churches, Alexander Verlag, FrankfurtlM., 1984, p 19-23.

parents quickly assented to it with an observation that a child who could not give
a helping hand in the farm and who could not be beaten for a lapse in manner
would serve no useful purpose in the house and that he should better be allowed
to go school. 154

Late Dr. Ositelu began school very late because his parents had wanted him to
work with them on the farm so that he could become a good farmer later. He first
attended Church Mission School; Ogere in 1913 and later attended Christ
Church School, Porogun, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State in Nigeria.

The Headmaster of the school at Ijebu-Ode was late Mr. S.O. Odugbesan. Late
Dr. Ositelu while in school made wonderful and rapid progress and had soon
completed his school course in 1919. In the year 1920, he became a pupil-
teacher and subsequently became a school-master under the late Rev. N.O.A.
Morgan between 1921 and 1923.

He later became a catechist at Erunbe and Erukute in Ogun-State under late Rev.
D. M. George. These Churches were then under the Abeokuta district council.
Late Dr. Ositelu was much beloved by the minister in-charge of the district, the
elders of the churches as well many other people who had dealings with him. His
charm, energy, good disposition and delightful attitude towards all men had won
for him this love.

The Late Rev. D. M. George who was then in charge of the Abeokuta district
had a very high opinion of late Dr. Ositelu whom he arranged for to go to Oyo
Training College so that he could be trained as a qualified priest and eventually
be ordered into priesthood. 155

155See Ositelu, Rufus, African Indigenous Churches, (Frankfurt/M: Alexander Verlag, 1984), p 19-23.

The Church of the Lord (Aladura) started spiritually when the founder of the
Church received his calling in 1925 while he was still a Catechist in the Anglican
Mission. The Church was formerly established in 1930 at Ogere, Ogun State in
Nigeria. He began preaching in his hometown Ogere, about sixty kilometres
away from Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, where the headquarters of
the Church are located.
He started his person-to-person evangelism since 1925 and conducted his first
Open-Air-Revival-Service in June 1929.

"Aladura" . is a Yoruba word which means "the praying people" or "prayer

fellowship", that is, those who believe in the efficacy of prayers. The term
"Aladura" is used to refer to a group of churches in Nigeria, Africa and the
Diaspora, of which the Church of the Lord (Aladura) is the largest.
The Church has spread across the borders of Nigeria to Benin Republic, Togo,
Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Germany
and Republic of Ireland, hence the addition "Worldwide" to its name.

In terms of doctrine, faith and spirituality, the Church of the Lord (Aladura) is
not much different from the western mission-founded churches (old mission
churches) and the orthodox churches.
The spirituality of the Church is similar to the spirituality of the orthodox
churches (e.g.: the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Coptic Orthodox
Church of Egypt).

When Syria became a Roman province in 64 B.C. Antioch was the seat of
administration and residence of the imperial legate. As the capital of the Seleucid
Empire it rapidly became a city of importance. The city was founded in 300 B.C.
by Seleucus Nicator, first ruler of the Seleucid dynasty, who named it after his
father Antiochus. 156
It remained the provincial capital when Eastern Cilicia was united with Syria in
25 B.C. It was at the time the third largest city in the Roman Empire surpassed in
population only by Rome and Alexandria. Tiberius, Augustus and Julius Caesar
enlarged and adorned it, while Herod the Great contributed colonnades on both
sides of the main street and paved the street with polished stone. 157

156 Metzger, B. M., Antioch·on-the-Orontes, Biblical Archaeologist 11 (1948), P 70-88; Elderkin, R. Still well,
Waage, D. B., Antioch-on-the-Orantes, I-IV/2 (Princeton & Oxford, 1934-1952); Downey, G., A History of
Antioch in Syria from Seleucus to the Arab Conquest (Princeton, 1961) and Ancient Antioch (Princeton, 1963).
157 Josephus, Ant. XVI. P 148.

Syrian orthodox doctrine, liturgies, practices and observances preserve some
very old practices and features of the early Christians.

According to the historian Luke, Bamabas was sent by the Jerusalem leaders of
the church to investigate the report that the Lord Jesus had been preached to
Gentiles (Hellenists or Greeks) who in large numbers had joined the community.
After instructing these new converts, Bamabas sought out Paul in Tarsus, who
accompanied him back to Antioch to carry on the programme of instruction of
the disciples, who are now called Christians, meaning those who identify with
Christ (Acts 11: 19-26). It was here believers in Christ Jesus were first called

"Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul (Apostle Paul), and when he had found
him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul (Paul) met
with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called
Christians first at Antioch."]58

The Egyptian Coptic Church was said to have been founded by Saint Mark. It is
the national Christian Church of Egypt. The Coptic Church was a founder
member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 1948.
Coptic orthodox doctrine, liturgies, practices and observances preserve some
very old practices and features of the early Christians. 159

A lot has been written about late Dr. Josiah Olunowo Ositelu, the founder and
first Primate of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) nevertheless, I believe that it
will serve this study to give a succinct life course of Late Dr. J. O. Ositelu with
special reference to events leading to the inauguration of "The Church of the
Lord (Aiadura)" and thereafter.

The Great Light and the Call

While he was a Catechist at Erukute, he lived in a mission house comprised of

many apartments. He, being then a youngster and a bachelor, found it very
difficult to live there alone. Therefore, the elders arranged for some boys to
dwell with him in the. house at night and he also shared his own room with a
friend named Moses Ariyibi.

Acts 11'25·26' NIV

IS9The C~ncise' Oxf~rd Dictionary of WORLD RELIGIONS, Ed. By Bowker John, (New York: Oxford
University Press Inc., 2000), p 136.

On the night of 17th May 1925, Late Dr. Ositelu was sleeping on his bed when he
suddenly woke up at about 2 a.m. He looked around, he did not find his friend
Moses Ariyibi and therefore went to the other apartments to see if his friend was
with the other boys but there was no one to be seen. He then looked outside to
see if they were still enjoying the moonlight but found nobody outside. He
thereafter returned into the house and locked all the doors and windows of the
house. He went back to sleep at about 2:30 a.m. No sooner than that, a light was
flashed unto him and he saw a large eye in the light, which was reflecting, as a
great orbit of the sun. He was flabbergasted and quickly jumped out of his bed
and ran to a nearby house belonging to one of the elders of the Anglican Church
called Daddy Alangi. Late Mr. Alangi, the father of Popoola who was awakening
through successive hard knocks on his door was very surprised to see late Dr.
Ositelu at that hour. The dread of the great light and the large eye made him to
quickly narrate the circumstances of the incident, which brought him there. Late
Mr. Alangi allowed him to rest in his house till the next day. In the following
morning, he invited the Elders of the Church together to hear what had happened
the night before to the Catechist (Late Dr. Ositelu).160

After late Dr. Ositelu had narrated the circumstances of the incident, various
views were expressed by the elders who afterwards decided to allow the
Catechist to go to his home-town because the incident was beyond their capacity,
and in their opinion he had predicted some events to occur in his family.

He accordingly left Erukute for Ogere his home-town. Upon getting there, he
told his parents all that had happened to him. His parents after hearing his story,
thought that their son was suffering from nightmare and did not spare time,
money and energy to get their son's trouble under control by all means. They
first consulted OLOGUN - (a traditional priest) and later consulted
BABALAWO (an oracle diviner a.k.a. Ifa-Priest), but no oracle of a diviner
would put his trouble (vision) into SUbjection.

Late Dr. Ositelu therefore decided to return to his station because he was
compelled to do this by the spell of visions. He returned to his station at Erukute
and reported to the Elders all what his parents had undertaken and that there was
no improvement of any kind. He therefore implored the Elders to grant him a
long vacation with the view of improving his condition. At that time, two Elders
namely - late Mr. Emmanuel Odebode and Late Mr. J.B. Oyelekan, who were
struck by the credulity of the fact connected with the incident quickly suggested
that he should be allowed to see Elder Samuel Somoye who was at one time a

160 Ositelu, Rufus, African Indigenous Churches, Alexander Verlag, FrankfurtlMain, 1984, P 24.

follower of Late Evangelist Aiyelabola. They thought that Elder Somoye would
be able to assist Late Dr. Ositelu.

Late Dr. Ositelu later accompanied by some friends and relatives went to Elder
Somoye, to whom he explained the circumstances of the incident. After hearing
the whole story, Elder Somoye laughed serenely, and told the people there on
that day that his (late Dr. Ositelu) condition was not a bad omen and has nothing
to do with evil spirit but rather a "CALL FOR SERVICE". Elder Somoye
counselled him to read certain special Psalms, continue in fervent prayers and
keep on fasting. Late Elder Somoye further said: "You will surely be victorious
over evil spirit". Late Dr. Ositelu was led back to his station with the
determination to follow the advice given to him by late Elder Somoye. Late Dr.
Ositelu started fasting with special prayers on the 19th of June 1925. On the 2ih
of June 1925, still in fervent prayers and fasting, he heard a voice saying,

From this time forth, Late Or. Ositelu began to hear voices and see visions
concerning men and matters. On the 18th of August 1925, he heard a voice

On the 18 th of September, same year, a voice was heard saying, "GRADUALLY


On the 10th of October 1925, in his earnest desire to proceed to Oyo Training
College, in Oyo State, Nigeria, he started pondering in his mind the circumstance
of his present state as to the possibility of his admission to the college. While in
that dilemma, he heard a voice saying, "THOU SHALL TEACH THE OYO

On the 5th of November, same year, he heard a voice saying, "I WILL GIVE

On the 19th of November 1925, he heard a voice saying, "THE.ELDERS WILL


161 Ositelu, Rufus, African Indigenous Churches, (FrankfurtfM.: Alexander Verlag, 1984), p 26.

On the 2 nd of February 1926, the message heard on the 19th of November 1925,
was fulfilled. The year 1926 had already been set down for Late Dr. Ositelu then
a Catechist to go to Oyo Training College, but the news of the new doctrine he
had adopted had spread all over the District Churches which made the District
Pastor to call him for interrogation. Nevertheless, he was warned and advised to
change his heart but he did not yield. He was several times called for questioning
about the irregularities he was introducing into the Church and he answered
saying, "IT WAS THE WILL OF GOD". Some of the irregularities the Anglican
Church was complaining about included fasting, setting apart a special place in
the compound for prayer, refusal and dislike to eat snakes, rats, pork or carcass
of beasts and fowls, etc.

At the time when the so-called irregularities were taking place, Late Revd. D. M.
George was ordained into a full Priest and gave out a party to mark the occasion.
There were seven Pastors of the Anglican Church gathered among other people
at the festal table. While the party was going on, the· Anglican Church Pastors
and some Elders called Late Dr. Ositelu for questioning, concerning the so-called
irregularities and warned him saying, "If you· don't take to our advice, we shall
deal with you accordingly". Late Dr. Ositelu replied, "I will rather do the will of
God than that of men."
As the Pastors and the Elders could not convince him, he was suspended and he
left the Mission House for Ogere, Ogun-State, his home-town. 162

From the 3,d of February 1926 till the 10th of February 1927, Late Dr. Ositelu
was in his hometown at the Lisa's compound praying and fasting. On the 13 th of
February 1927 he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to go back to Erukute where he
remained till 1929. He saw visions, heard voices and reveal messages during this
period. It was during this time that he acquired the Prophetic Power of inquiring
and obtaining answer from the Lord . .on the 29 th of August, 1928, he heard a

On the 2nd of June 1929, Late Dr. Ositelu held a Valedictory Service for a group
of people who believed in his Prophetic Mission at a place he had established for
solemn prayers (Dada's farmstead in Erukute), and returned to Ogere with one
Daniel Ajayi on the 3rd of June. Late Dr. Ositelu saw a lot of visions and
received a lot of Messages from God between the time he left the Anglican
Mission house and his final return to Ogere after the Valedictory Service he held
at Erukute on the 2nd of June, 1929. The messages he received and the visions he

162 Ibid., P 27
16) Ibid.

saw within the past three years were so many that a large volume of book would
not contain them. 164

It is not the scope of this study to list all the messages he received or all the
visions he saw, but references will be made to some of the visions and messages
in the next pages.

Ositelu's Open-Air Service and Preaching

On the 9th of June, 1929, Late Dr. Ositelu assisted by Late Daniel Ajayi, started
open-air Service at Ogere, preaching on the following ten points:

- Hear the Gospel of Joy! You Christians, you have strayed away and you
have not obeyed my commandments. You have profaned my name and
disregarded my Power.

- Hear the Gospel of Joy! Islamic religion will not endure forever, for they
hear the word of the Kingdom of God but do not understand it.

- Hear the Gospel of Joy! Idols and idolaters would perish and all shrines
would go to oblivion and become object of museums.

- Hear the Gospel of Joy! Pestilence, dearths of food and water, and world
war were imminent.

- Hear the Gospel of Joy! Farms and Plantations would be destroyed by

swarm of locusts.

- Hear the Gospel of Joy! The world is old and broken, and would be
changed immediately.

- Hear the Gospel of Joy! He who abhors divine healing will not be saved.
Believe in God, and put not your trust in idol-priests or idol- worshippers.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.

- Hear the Gospel of Joy! The water of life is given to you, draw near to the
fount of water of Life and you will be cured from all your woes.

164 Ibid, P 28.

- Hear the Gospel of Joy! The ark of safety is right before you, board it
quickly and avoid regrets as in the days ofNoah.

- Hear the Gospel of Joy! Come, Come, yea, remedies for your sundry
ailments are procured for you.

At all Open-Air services, he expatiated these points and the Holy Spirit revealed
itself. At these meetings, late Dr. Ositelu sometimes spoke in tongues, no doubt
with the use of the holy words as revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, and late
Daniel Ajayi, his first disciple, interpreted. The Holy Spirit came upon some of
the people present at these meetings and they were able to speak in tongues, and
in many instances, Late Daniel Ajayi interpreted. 165

The fame of these Open-Air services spread all over the Western region of
Nigeria, especially in the Districts of Lagos, Ijebu-Ode and Ibadan. Elders and
Pastors of the Faith Tabernacle came to Ogere from Lagos to attend some of the
Open-Air services. The Late Revd. J.B. Shadare, a distinguished figure then, also
came to Ogere to pay Late Dr. Ositelu a visit.
Other distinguished personalities who paid visits to Ogere to witness the work of
God, included Late Pastor I.B. Akinyele who later became the Olubadan (King)
ofIbadan and Late Pastor J. Ade Aina who after seeing the work of God decided
to stay in Ogere for a period of about two weeks before going back to his station.

Many well known and less-known people from all corners of the country came to
Ogere to witness the work of God. All the people who came to Ogere to worship
God and witness what God is doing through His servant Ositelu, were impressed
and astonished at the marvellous manifestation of God's spiritual-work.

Formal Inaug:uration ofthe Church

On the 2ih day of July 1930, at 10 a.m. in Lisa Chieftaincy house at Ogere, the
inauguration of the Church now known as "The Church of the Lord (Aladura)"
took place with ten people.

The Church was formerly inaugurated on this day, but the Church was already in
existence before this day. The members, though few, have since been
worshipping together since the beginning of the Open-Air Service of 9th June

165 Ositeiu, Rufus, African Indigenous Churches, (FrankfurtlM: Alexander Veriag, 1984), p 28-29.

This situation is similar to the situation of the branch of the Church in Germany.
The German headquarters of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) celebrated their
first Harvest Thanksgiving Service in October of 1993, but was formerly
inaugurated and registered in February of 1994.

On the 14th of September 1930, the first groups of followers were dedicated.
They include - Titus Olatunde, Joseph Aromuti, Benjamin Orekoya, Michael
Awonowo, Michael Yilu, Theophilus Akinola, Jonathan Otukoya, Olujide
Akinyele, Olubayo Akinyele, Joseph Afolabi, etc. Most of them were from the
"Faith Tabernacle Church" and when temptation broke into their circle, many
left and a few survived. Some of those who left regretted their departure in a
very short course of time.

Some of the issues, which made some of the followers of Ositelu who originally
came from Faith Tabernacle to leave him, including Shadare of the Precious
Stone church in Ijebu-Ode, were centred on witches and demonic spirits, and
speaking in tongues of which their former masters (British missionaries of the
Anglican and the Apostolic churches), had told them that they do not exist.
Another one was the gift of the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues and usage of holy
words, this also they found very strange.

The Bible teaches otherwise - A demon-possessed man healed by Christ Jesus

(Mark 5:8-20; Unclean spirit - Matthew 12:43-45); Prophecy and speaking in
tongues (1 Corinthians 14:6-25).
All these practices and others were rejected by the major elements within the
Faith Tabernacle group. Only Aina and Abimbolu from the Faith Tabernacle
remained to give support of any consequence to Prophet Ositelu.

Today, as a matter of fact, all these groups, including other AICs, and the new
American style Pentecostal movement in Africa, and in short, all churches
including the old mission churches, are practising all that, which were formerly
condemned by their missionary masters or they themselves.

The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Alafara, Ibadan was inaugurated on the 5th of
October 1930. This Church became the first branch of "The Church of the Lord
(Aladura)" in Ibadan District.

The first branch of the Church in Abeokuta District was inaugurated on the 2nd of
November 1930, at Ita-Iyalode, Owu Abeokuta. The first Baptism (by
immersion), which took place at Abeokuta during a Worship-Service conducted
by Late Pastor I.B. Akinyele (who later became His Highness the Olubadan of
Ibadan (king of Ibadan», was held on the 28 th of December 1930. Twenty-three
candidates were baptised. Prominent among the new members of the Church
were Bishop Odebode and Bishop Gbogboade. The former was in-charge of the
Abeokuta-District while the later was in-charge of the Lagos-District of "The
Church of the Lord (Aladura)".

The first Church building at Ogere, which should not be misinterpreted, for the
Cathedral building there today, was dedicated on the 1st of January 1931. As a
matter of fact, the Church building is till today, still in use for one thing or the

The second groups of followers were dedicated on the 1st ofJanuary 1931. They
were Daniel Owolabi, James Aloba, James Oyebadejo, Hezekiah Babalola,
Daddy Ogunsina, Joseph Oye, Isaac Sopein and Emmanuel Aderinale.
On the 4th of April, 1931, another branch of the Church was inaugurated at
Ovibiare Street, Sabongida-Ora.

Late Reverend J. Ade Aina was ordained the first Pastor of the Church at Ogere,
on the 14th of June 1931. The first followers to be honoured with Wooden Rod
include Late pastor J. Ade Aina, James Aloba, Joseph Oye, Michael Iziogba and
N. O. Sobajo. Prominent among them are Bishop J.B. Odebode and Apostle D.
Ola Sonoiki. The above-mentioned event took place on the 3rd of October 1931,
after been consecrated for seven days at Sabongida-Ora.

The Hymn Book of "The Church of the Lord (Aladura) was first published in
the month of February, 1932. Late Revd. Michael Ehiweri Iziogba was on the
17th of April 1932 appointed the first warden to the Founder of the Church. The
Church branch at Imepe, Ijebu-Ode was inaugurated on the 24th of June 1934.
The inauguration of the Church branches at Aiyepe and Sagamu took place on
the 27th of February 1935, and 15 th of August, same year respectively. 166

166 Ibid, P 30-32.

The first Tabieorar festival was held at Ogere, on the 220d of August 1937,
during which Late Prophet S. Ola Diya became the first warden to be anointed as
Prophet. Before that occasion, the Late Primate and Founder - Dr. Ositelu, heard
a voice in a revelation that he should proceed to a place, which will later be
named - "Mount Tabieorar", but pronounced and sometimes written:

The name MOUNT TABIEORAR came during a few days of the first retreat.
The name was revealed by God unto Ositelu in a vision, and pronounced to him.
The name according to the revelation stands for: the mountain of power, victory,
and blessings; the mount from where the Holy Spirit will be disseminated upon
all and sundry from all the remotest part of the world.
And that he should take disciple S. Ola Diya with him. He was further told in his
vision that they should settle down there for thirteen days, fast and pray. They
should on the thirteenth day receive the public, and reveal all revelations and
messages sent from God to them.
The words "Tabieorar", "Tabora" and "Tabborrah" are therefore used
interchangeably in this study.

The Tabieorar festival is celebrated every year on the 220d of August, but the
festivity itself is a period of thirteen days during which all members of the
Church fast and pray to God. Members all over the world always attend the
festival every year.
The Tabieorar festival is not only popular today, but it has become universally
essential for all members of the Church. There is a special anthem sung every
year on Mount Tabieorar, so it goes:

"The Mount Tabieorar's Festival has come

Mount Tabieorar is gleeful
The spiritual anniversary has come
Meritorious year has come
All hail the King of Glory
Praise to the Lord of mercy."

The Mount Tabieorar is a holy mount of God where the children of God come up
each year to receive blessing from the Lord. It can be compared to Shiloh where.
people go annually for prayers and for making sacrifices unto the Lord God
Almighty (1 Samuel 1:19-20); and compared with Mount of Camel where God
revealed Himself as the Supreme God over other gods (1 Kings 18:20-40); and

likened unto the mountain of Bashan, which God desires for His abode, where
the Lord will reside forever (psalm 68:15-18).

Emergence of Tabieorar Festival

On the 5th of August, 1937 late Dr. J. O. Ositelu heard the voice of the Lord
calling him and instructing him to go to the secluded place, where he used to
pray and commune with God, for thirteen days in prayer and fasting, with the
divine promise that the Lord would reveal some secret and His mightiness to him
and make everlasting covenant with him.

Late Dr. J. O. Ositelu then inquired as to the day to proceed to the Mount. The
Lord then told him to ascend the Mount on the 10th of August 1937 but with only
one companion. The Lord further directed that the fast should be undertaken with
foods without salt, pepper, oil, meat or fish, sugar or even milk or eggs.

Late Dr. Ositelu acted on the instructions of God by ascending the Mount at the
dawn of 10 th August, 1937 with his attendant, Prophet Ola Diya. Having made a
small tent for themselves they engaged in prayer sessions all day and all night.
As they prayed, they also meditated on the Bible. In the evenings, his attendant
will go home to collect food for the breaking of their fast.

The presence of God was greatly felt as God spoke to late Dr. Ositelu in visions,
revelations, dreams and audible voice and trances both day and night.
Throughout the whole thirteen days period on the Mount, the Lord opened wide
the gate of heaven for wisdom, power and revelations, and many promises were
made to him. Some of the revelations are as follows:

"My Church will flourish and last till end of time. My Church will be extended
to all the remotest parts of the world and nations of the earth shall testify to it
that I am the true God that is indwelling you, for I have made my habitation and
possession in yoU.,,167

On the 13 th day, the last day, God told late Dr. J. O. Ositelu to send for the
people at home to come up to the Mount and receive divine blessings from God.
On the 22 nd of August 1937, Evangelist N. O. Ogunderu led the congregation to
the Mount. According to the divine instruction, the people were to come in white
robes, with candlelight in their hands, and with bottles of water.

167 Ositelu, Gabriel, The Tabieorar Story, (Ogere: Grace Enterprises, 1997), p 3.

The people came to the Mount with exceeding joy in their white robes and
lighted candles singing jubilantly:

"Mimo, Mimo, L'Oluwa Oba Mimo awa yin 0 logo,

Ijo akobi yin 0, nwon yin 0, awa t'aiye nsope,
Mimo Mimo, L'Oluwa Oba Mimo awa yin 0 logO.,,168


"Holy, Holy is the Lord, the Most Holy King we praise your name,
The Church of the first fruits is praising you,
We here on earth give thanks,
Holy, Holy is the Lord the Most Holy King we praise your name."


The late founder Dr. J. O. Ositelu once recounted that in the year 1960 when
Nigeria was agitating for independence, an elderly man came to him in a vision
on Mount Tabieorar and said:

"Ko sile, oro Nigeria, Ominira inira, Ominira inira, Ominira inira.,,169

Meaning: Write it down in respect of Nigeria, Independence is hardship,

Independence is hardship, Independence is hardship."

Ositelu prophesied further, that if Nigeria should get independence at that time
the outcome would not be favourable. After three years, law and order would
break down, there would be no peace. There would be great hardship and evil
would prevail everywhere to the extent that people with godfathers in high
places would go scot-free whenever they commit any crime.
This was published in one of the dailies and a copy of the revelations was sent to
the government and her officials.

The evil that was predicted eventually came to pass with a crisis, which started in
a part of the country in 1962. The trouble soon degenerated to the scrapping of a
regional government and the declaration of state of emergency in that region.
That was the genesis of the problem facing Nigeria as a nation, and which

168 Ibid, P 4.
169 Ibid, p6.

continued until the 29 th of May 1999 when a new civilian president was sworn-in
to rule the country.

Three political striking predictions were made during the Tabieorar festivals of
the 60's, 80's and the year 2000. The first one was made by the founder and first
primate of the Church - Late Dr. Josiah Ositelu. The second was made by Late
Primate Adeleke Adejobi and the third was made by the incumbent Primate,
Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Ositelu.

First, Ositelu publicly announced that God revealed unto him that Chief Obafemi
Awolowo would not succeed in his bid to become the head of the Federal
Government of Nigeria until certain things were done. History has it that Chief
Awolowo responded scornfully to the message sending the bearer of the message
to go and ask Ositelu how the God who gave him the message looks like. Today,
it is history that he never became the head of the Federal Government before he

Secondly, Late Dr. Emmanuel Adejobi likewise announced publicly that the
government of Alhaji Shagari would be toppled in a military-coup unless certain
things were done. Instead of obeying the message of God through his prophet,
security agents were sent to arrest the prophet of God for questioning. Today, it
is also history that the Shehu Shagari government was toppled in a military-coup
of Buhari and Idiagbon.

Thirdly, Primate Dr. Rufus Ositelu during the Tabieorar retreat of the year 2000
prophesied concerning the United States of America (USA) about what will
happen to the country in the year 2001 thus:

" ... Pray for forgiveness of sin in order to receive the grace of God not to allow less-
powerful nation to wage war against them ... "l7o

Two copies of this book of revelations were sent to the U.S.A. embassy in
Lagos, Nigeria.
Among the headlines carried on the front-page of the International Herald
Tribune of Thursday, September 13, 2001 include: "AMERICA IN SHOCK",
"A Nation Mourns", "Sifting the Rubble for Victims", etc.
As regards the terrible attack of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 George F. Will
wrote a commentary in the International Herald Tribune of Thursday,
September 13, 2001 on page eleven, that was captioned: "When a Nation's
Virtues Draw the Anger of the Weak".171

170 Divine Revelations from the Mount TABIEORAR for the year 2001, (Ogere: Grace Enterprises, 2000), p 21.
171 International Herald Tribune, Thursday, September 13,2001, P 11.

The Editorial of the International Herald Tribune of Thursday, September 13,
2001, which was captioned: "Mourning in America" reads:

" ... And by 10:30 a.m. all that had gone. Lower Manhattan had become an ashen shell
of itself, all but a Pompeii under the impact of a terrorist attack involving two airliners
that crashed into the World Trade Center and then brought its twin towers down. In
Washington, a plane had plunged into the Pentagon. The president was for a long while
out of sight, his plane seeming to hop around the middle of the country in search of
security. For all Americans, the unimaginable became real ... As the scenes of the
explosions replayed themselves on television throughout the day, the shock only
deepened as we began to perceive the suffering that those pictures from New York and
Washington concealed - office workers at the World Trade Center, caught in the
collapsing lattices of glass and steel, and the unbelieving passengers aboard the second
airliner as it swooped below the smoke in the north tower, already burning, and
plunged into the southern one ...
. ,. Despite the increased airport security, the attackers managed to hijack four large
airli~ers from three major airports almost simultaneously, and flew one of them into
the Pentagon's restricted air-space apparently unchallenged ... ,,172

Part of the Tabieorar revelations for the year 2001 published August, 2000 was
about the kidnapping of innocent children. In confirmation of the fulfilment of
this revelation, many print-media reported in April, 2001 waves of child
kidnapping in the country.
For examples, the Sunday TRIBUNE of April 1, 2001 and the PUNCH
Newspaper of Monday, April 30, 2001 carried stories on this subject.

The Sunday TRIBUNE of Apri11, 2001 on page twenty-nine reported:

"The Primate of the Church of the Lord (Aladura), Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola
Ositelu, who predicted that those making money with the blood of children would be
exposed and killed ... The Primate, in Tabieorar revelations published in August last
year, containing revelations for the year 2001 had, in page seven ofthe book, predicted
concerning waves of child kidnapping in the country ... Last month, not less than 26
kidnappers and those who made penis to disappear mysteriously were apprehended and
roasted in Ibadan ... The cat was let out of the bag when a woman kidnapper was
nabbed at Akinyemi Way junction, off Ring Road, Ibadan by a commercial (vehicle)
driver who raised alarm on the woman's devilish mission ... The activities of these
satanic agents is not confined to Ibadan alone, even as their operations in many states
of the federation including Abuja have been reported in some dailies.,,173

On the subject, the PUNCH Newspaper of Monday, April 30, 2001 on page
thirty-one carried a report captioned: "KIDNAPERS IN IBADAN". The
Newspaper reported:

172 Ibid., plO.

173 Sunday TRIBUNE, April I, 2001, p 29.

Kidnappers have besieged the nooks and crannies of Ibadan city. They are
searching for the quickest way to get rich. And they have decided to go to any length to
make their dream a reality. According to a confession made by one of the hoodlums
caught recently, the members of his gang are ninety-two in number. These people, who
normally disguise as lunatics around the city just to hide their identity, move from one
place to other, carrying bags containing phones, guns, charms and local and foreign
currencies. On getting to Ibadan (or any other city), they choose nursery and primary
schools their 'catchment' areas ... Some of the hoodlums caught have been killed and
burnt by irate mobs ... ,,174


In 1945 the late Founder and first Primate - Prophet Josiah Olunowo Ositelu,
during the Tabieorar Grand Finale of that year announced that late Apostle
Adeleke Adejobi would succeed him as the Primate of the Church. Also as if
history was repeating itself, late Primate Adejobi in 1987 during the Grand
Finale of the Tabieorar of that year announced that late Reverend Olusegun
Ositelu would succeed him as the Primate of the Church.
Likewise, in 1998 during the Tabieorar Grand Finale, the most senior Minister of
Religion thereby present, Dr. Rufus Ositelu was proclaimed as the new Primate
of the Church.


There are testimonies galore on what God has done in the lives of people who
called on Him at the Mount Tabieorar. Many barren women have been blessed
with children. Many who have considered their cases as hopeless have had cause
to thank God for his goodness.

Traditionally, new members of the Church always get their blessed wooden cross
handed to them. The Mount Tabieorar's Thanksgiving service always take place
on the following Sunday after the Tabieorar Festival.

The Tabborrah festival has become a festival for all today. It is being attended
nowadays by people from all denominations. An Anglican friend of mine after
his first attendance to the Mount Tabieorar festival commented thus - "This is

114 The PUNCH Newspaper, Monday, April 30, 2001, p 21.

my first time to witness a religious festival which knows no denominational
boundary".175 He was actually right, but the question is, why is this so? I
therefore decided to interview few attendants to the festival. The major questions
asked among others were:

Why are you attending this festival?

Are you a Christian?
To which denomination do you belong?

I have interviewed over two thousand people along the years. The answer to the
question - why is it that the attendance to Mount Tabborrah festival knows no
boundary can evidently be seen in the answers received from the three questions
asked during the interview, thus:

97 percerit of the people interviewed came to Mount Tabieorar purposely to

make a special request from God because they believe that God will surely grant
any request made on Mount Tabieorar, while 3 percent were inquisitive and
wanted to celebrate with the crowd.

According to the declarations of the people interviewed:

=> 94 % were Christians of different denominations

=> 4,2 % were Muslims
=> 1,8 % were of Traditional African Religion

The answer to the third question can be seen in the table below (Basic 94 %

% Denominations (Christians)

58,78 Members of The Church of the Lord (Aladura)

26,22 Members of other AICs
6,70 Members of the Anglican Church
5,43 Members of the Methodist Church
2,87 Members of the Catholic Church

Other questions asked were:

How did you first get to know about the festival?

175 Ositelu, Rufus, African Indigenous Churches, (FrankfurtlM.: Alexander Verlag, 1984), p 34.

Is there anything the government can do to ease the transportation problem?


81 % of the people interviewed first knew about the festival through their local

11,54 % knew about it through friends; while

7,46 % knew about it through local news media.

As regards government assistance:

78,26 % of those interviewed want their respective government to declare the

22 nd of August as a public holiday because of its:

• Uniqueness
• Importance and
• In honour and pride in its African originality.

While 21,74 % want the government to:

Provide enough transportation means; and

Subsidise their transportation cost. 176

The attendance to the Mount Tabieorar Festival increases year after year. For
example, the 1980 figure was estimated at about 200,000 thousand while that
recorded for 1991 was about 600,000 (six hundred thousand), peoples of
different race all over the world.
No census of the attendance of the festival has been taken, but the attendance in
recent years has been estimated to be between one to two million peoples.

The sixtieth Tabieorar turned out to be a special celebration, in that delegations

from the World Council of Churches (WCC), All Africa Conference of Churches
(AACC) and some other African Instituted Churches all over the world came to
witness the Tabieorar festival of 1997.

It is stated in the Church's Constitution that the Tabieorar Festival shall take
place at the headquarters of the Church (Ogere), on the 22nd day of August every
year. Furthermore, the Festival shall be preceded by thirteen days of fasting and

176 Ositelu, Rufus, African Indigenous Churches, Alexander Verlag, FrankfurtlMain, 1984, p 35.

that the form of ceremony at the service of this Festival shall be presented by the
Primate, who also shall direct the whole proceedings.

The Tabieorar festival is a spirited legacy and the manifestation of God's love
the mankind. It should therefore be the collective duty of all to preserve it and
seek its good at all times so that it will continue to be a blessing and hope to all
and sundry.

Tabieorar 1999 Extracted Sermon

Tabieorar extracted sermon as presented on Sunday, 22 nd August, 1999, at the

Tabieorar Ground of the Church of the Lord (Aladura), by His Eminence, Most
Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu, The Primate, The Church of the Lord (Aladura)
Worldwide, in the book: "Sunday School Bible Study Guide, 2000", (Ogere,
Grace Enterprises, 1999), p 8:


Dear children of God, it is important for you to receive the touch of the Almighty
Jehovah today in order to:

Free you from the bond of the enemy (Satan), from oppression, from affliction,
from marital disappointment, from unsettled home, and ·from spiritual
wickedness of all sorts.

Help you, protect you, sustain you, keep you, provide all your needs, and bless

Gracious to you, turn His face towards you, and give you peace, break-through
and Divine prosperity.

May God Almighty, God of our forefathers, God of Tabieorar touch every part
of your body, your soul, and every part of your life in Jesus Name. Amen.

Some of you may be asking the following questions:

What can the touch of God do in your lives?

How can you be touched by the Almighty Father?
What will be the results of God's touch in your lives?

Let us take the questions one by one:
The touch of God is what you need today, just as Daniel and Jeremiah were
touched by God. There are various effects the touch of God can have in your life,

The touch of God can heal and strengthen you - In Daniel 10:18, we are
informed that when Daniel's strength was gone and he could hardly breathe, he
was touched by God and he immediately received strength.

The touch of God can conquer for you and cause your enemies to flee far away
from you - In Daniel 10:7, we read that while Daniel was gazing at the vision,
the men with him were overwhelmed with such terror that they fled and hid
themselves .. Therefore, brethren, submit to God completely and receive the
power to resist the devil and the devil will flee away from you (James 4:7). The
LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your
face. They will come from one direction but flee in seven directions in Jesus
Name. Amen. (Deuteronomy 28:7).

The touch of God can put an end to all your worries and sorrows - Isaiah 60:20
says, Your Sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your Moon withdraw itself;
for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end in
Jesus Name. Amen.

The touch of God can give you great success in all your undertakings, just like
Hezekiah - the king of Judah, as it is written in 2 Kings 18:7 which read thus,
"And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.", or
like David as stated in 1 Samuel 18:14 which read thus, "In everything he did he
had great success, because the LORD was with him" (NIV).

The touch of God can make you to see vision - according to Daniel 8:18-12, we
are told that while Daniel was asleep, with his face to the ground God touched
him and gave him a vision concerning the appointed time of the end.

The touch of God can give you great ability and skills which you never had - in
Daniel 9:21-22 we understand that while Daniel was praying, angel Gabriel
appeared to him, instructed and told him that he, Gabriel, has come to give
Daniel insight and understanding.

The touch of God can make you fearlessly stand for God - 2 Timothy 1:7 says,
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a
sound mind." When Daniel was trembling, the messenger of God told him not to
be afraid (Daniel 10:10-12).
The touch of God can make you to prophesy and fearlessly reveal the message of
the Lord - Daniel 10:16 tell us that, when Daniel's lips were touched, he began
to prophesy. Jeremiah's mouth was touched by God and he began to reveal the
message of the Lord fearlessly.

The touch of God can give you victory over your enemies, Satan and his agents -
If you submit to God and put your trust in Him, God can perform the same
miracle in your lives as He did for Daniel in the lion's den. Daniel 6:22-23 r.ead
thus, "No injury was found on Daniel because he believed in God Almighty."
1 John 5:4 says, "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is
the victory that has overcome the world - our faith in Jesus Christ."

Let us remind ourselves about the story of Elijah, the prophet of God, when he
confronted the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah as stated in
1 Kings 18:1-40.
Prophet Elijah who was serving the true God became victorious over the false
prophets of Baal and Asherah. In the same story you can also see how God put
Satan and her daughter Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, to shame. So also will
God put your enemies to shame if you remain faithful unto Him. Amen.
Elijah was victorious because he was serving the Living God. If you serve the
LORD God in truth and in spirit, and put your trust in Him just like Elijah, so
also will you be victorious over all your enemies in Jesus Name. Amen.

The touch of God can make you prosper in life - Proverbs 28:25 says, "Whoever
trusts in the Lord will prosper." Just as Daniel prospered because he obeyed and
trusted God (Daniel 6:28), so also shall you prosper in Jesus Name. Amen.

The touch of God can cleanse you from all your iniquities and remove all your
impediments. When our Lord Jesus Christ touched the leper, he was cleansed of
his leprosy immediately (Matthew 8:3). The blind men received their sight after
our Lord Jesus touched their eyes (Matthew 9:29; 20:34). When Lord Jesus
touched the tongue of the Mute, the impediment of his tongue was loosed. So
also will God remove all your impediments in Jesus Name. Amen.

The touch of God can give you perfect peace and abundant blessings - The word
of God in Deuteronomy 28:2 says, "And all the blessings of Jehovah your God
shall come upon you and overtake you if you obey and put your trust in the
LORD." May the Lord JEHOVAH bless you all abundantly in Jesus Name.

The touch of God can give joy, happiness and strength - As Nehemiah said to
the children of God in his days so also do I say to you this day, "Do not grieve,
for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8: 10). When God touches
you, your grieve will turn to joy in Jesus name. Amen.

Finally, the touch of God can renew your life entirely - The word of God makes
us understand that "if anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation, old things
have passed away; behold all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The word of God according to 1 Samuel 10:26 tells us that, when Samuel
proclaimed Saul king over Israel, only those whose hearts God had touched
followed him. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children
of God." (Romans 8:14).

Brethren, now that we know what the touch of God can do in our lives, we also
need to know what we need to do in order to receive the TOUCH OF GOD:

First of all, you need to come unto Lord Jesus in all humility with a clean heart.
You have already taken the first step. Your presence here today shows that you
are ready to be touched by God. DID I HEAR SOMEBODY SAY YES? Praise
God (Hallelujah)!!!
A clean heart, what do I mean by that? I mean a repentant and a forgiven heart.
The Scripture says, forgive those who have trespassed against you, forgive and
you shall be forgiven.

The seven things the LORD hates and are abomination to Him are:
- A proud look
- A lying tongue
- Hands that shed innocent blood
- A heart that devices wicked plans
- Feet that are swift in running to evil
- A false witness who speaks lies
- And one who sows discord among brethren.
(Proverbs 6:16-19).

Corruption is sin, and it has become the cancer, which is killing our nations little
by little. It is high time we do away with this dangerous cancer. Both the
government and the governed should have the fear of God in their heart and do
away with sin so that the nation may receive the touch of God.
Corruption eradication should start with the government officials and the
lawmakers. Both the spiritual and terrestrial leaders should lead by example in
the fight against corruption and other evil deeds.

To the general public I say, stop to give and to take bribe, rather let the LORD
Almighty supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
According to the Word of God in Proverbs 22:1, "A good name is better than
great riches, and loving the favour of God is better than silver and gold".

To the students in our higher institutions I have this to say, cultism is an

abomination unto the LORD. It is sinful to be a member of any secret cult.
Children of God, do not let your heart envy sinners, their end is destruction
except they repent and mend their ways. But in the fear of the LORD, you should
continue all day long. (Proverbs 23: 17).

Parents owe it to their children, the duty to teach them the way of the LORD
right from their youth, so that when they become men and women, they will not
depart from it.

The conclusion of the whole matter is: "Fear God and keep His commandments
for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment,
including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil."
(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

You need to trust and obey God absolutely, that is, obey the commandment of
the LORD, and put your trust and confidence in the Lord Jesus - the Author and
Finisher of your faith.

Last but not least, you need to earnestly and prayerfully desire God's touch, of
your body, soul and mind, and your life as a whole. You therefore have to be
very close to God in your thoughts, attitude and actions, and in prayer.

If you want God to touch you and your life, you must earnestly desire it, trust
Him completely that He can do it - With men it may look impossible, but with
God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Trust in the LORD of Hosts;
rejoice and be glad in His salvation (Isaiah 25:9).

Children of God, if you allow God to touch you and your life, your life will not
remain the same, because He will renew your life and as a result you will
become a new person, that is, a person:

- Of perception - a person with the knowledge of God;

- Of principle - a person with moral integrity;

- With purpose - a person who is focused on Jesus the Author and Finisher
of our faith;

- Who is faithful and steadfast in prayer - a person who against all odds
remains faithful, who patiently and trustingly overcame, and thus received
the promises of the Lord;

- With purity - a person who is free from corrupting elements and always
hating what is evil but clinging to what is good;

- Who is healed by His stripes - free from all impediments and satanic

- Who is under the protection and Divine supply of the Almighty God. A
victorious person;

- Who is at peace with God and hislher neighbour - a person who prospers
in life. A successful person. A person who is blessed according to His
riches in glory;

- And last but not least, a person with power from above as endowed by the
Holy Spirit of God.

Prophet Daniel, Prophet Jeremiah and the other great prophets had the touch of
God upon them because they trusted God, obeyed God, and prayerfully desired
the touch of God. So also were other men of God of this age. And their lives did
not remain the same. 177

------- End of the Extracted Sermon. 178


The popularity of the TABIEORAR has grown over the years that some
individuals, groups and denominations are trying to copy it and sometimes going
to the extent of using the same name.

177 The Church of the Lord (Aladura) - Sunday School Bible Study Guide, Grace Enterprises, Ogere, 1999, p 8ff.
"8 Sunday School Bible Study Guide for Year 2000 of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, Ogere,

The Tabieorar festival is very popular that some heads of other churches have
copied it but with little or no success.
There are two categories of people and churches that have copied the Tabieorar
festival and some other things, which the LORD revealed unto late Prophet Dr. J.
O. Ositelu. Some started something similar but gave it a different name. One
category of these churches includes some of the AICs and some of the American
style Pentecostal and Gospel Churches (a.k.a. Churches of Prosperity or New
Generation Churches).

The other category made a carbon-copy of the Ositelu's Tabieorar, that is, they
gave it the same name, sometimes with the same spelling, and sometimes with
another spelling but same pronunciation.
Some of the latter category include the late Apostle Orebanjo's church in Ijebu-
Igbo, who seceded from the Church of the Lord (Aladura) after been queried on
financial inisappropriation, and one Prophet Theophilus Oluwasanu Olabayo of
the Evangelical Church of Yahweh. He is from Ogori town in Kogi State in

Fake Prophets

Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Sermon on the Mount introduces the possibility of
living solely for God but not for appearance (pretending), and warned:

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they
are ferocious wolves." (Matt. 7:15; NIV).179

"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to
deceive the elect ... So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time."
(Mk. 13:22-23; NIV).18o

There are many false prophets and messiahs in the world today. Some have led
hundreds of people to their untimely deaths. Others are still parading themselves
as the new messiahs and servants of righteousness (prophets and apostles of
Recently, I received an electronic Mail (eMail) from one Terence Malaher from
Australia introducing himself as the new messiah. The email subject was "the
final call,,181 and the headline of the email was "The return of the Messiah".182
He ended his message with the following address:
179 Matthew 7:15; New International Version (NIV).
180 Mark 13:22-23; NIV.
181, Wednesday, 20 June, 2001.

"Authorised by Terence Malaher
Office of the Messiah
Anchor road. Pyengana, Tasmania.
Te161363 736188 - eMail: 183

"Jesus said to them: 'Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my
name, claiming, I am he, and will deceive many." (Mk. 13:5-6; NIV).184

"At that time if anyone says to you: Look, here is the Christ! Or, Look, there he is! Do
not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and
miracles to deceive the elect." (Mk. 13:21-22; NIV).185

"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and
glory. He will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends
of the earth to the ends of the heavens." (Mk. 13:26-27; NIV).186

According to Reverend Dapo Asaju, the General Deputy of Theophilus Olabayo,

and the author of the book: "OLABAYO, Mobolaju Publishing Company,
(1996) p 37":

"The Evangelical Church ofYahweh was founded on the 24th February 1973 at I10rin
by Prophet Theophilus Olabayo.,,187

Olabayo celebrated his first "Tabborrah" at Ilorin and later shifted to Lagos and
some other places, but all without any success. The Tabborrah of Orebanjo and
Olabayo do not take place every year. Even since the demise of Orebanjo, his
Tabborrah has seized to take place.

The PUNCH Newspaper of Tuesday, July 17, 2001 on page 5 had one of its
headlines: "Olabayo, a fake prophet". 188
The story was about a visit the President of Nigeria (Olusegun Obasanjo) was
supposed to have made to Prophet Olabayo prior to the 1999 political election in
Nigeria. The Newspaper reported that:

"President Olusegun Obasanjo has refuted a report in a national daily ... that he visited
Prophet Theophilus Olabayo before contesting the 1999 election. Obasanjo, in a
statement on Monday (July 16) denied ever meeting Olabayo whom he described as a

182 Ibid, Wednesday, 20 June, 2001.

183 Ibid, Wednesday, 20 June, 2001.
184 Mark 13:5-6; NIV.
185 Mark 13:21·22; NIV.
186 Mark 13:26-27; NIV.
187 Asaju, Dapo, F., Olabayo: Life and Ministry of an African Prophet, (I1orin: Mobolaju Publishing Company,
1996), p 37.
188 PUNCH Newspaper, Tuesday, July 17,2001, P 5.

'false prophet'. He challenged Olabayo to disclose the names of other aides that
accompanied him to the church at 1 a.m. as he could not have gone there alone, adding
that the Bible in the books of Matthew 7:15, Jeremiah 14:14 and Ezekiel 13:6 warned
adherents against false prophets like Olabayo.,,189

Another like it is the leader of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star. In a notice
signed by Chief (Barrister) Iheke Awa Solomon and publicised in the
VANGUARD Newspaper of Monday, August 20,2001 on page 25, the leader of
the movement Olumba Olumba Obu was under item number seven described
with the titles of Christ Jesus (Revelation 19:16B), thus:

"7. Once again the Father reiterates that the only person empowered and whose
signature carries the force of law in the entire Brotherhood world and who has the
authority of the Father to transact all official business of the Brotherhood of the Cross
and Star is His Holiness Olumba Olumba Obu, the King of kings and Lord of
lords ... ,,190

The genesis of this publicised notice was the controversy surrounding the heir to
the entire Brotherhood world starting from their World Headquarters situated at
No. 34 Ambo Street, Calabar, Cross River State of Nigeria. There have been all
sorts of notices and refutals by his son Olumba Obu (Jnr.) and his wife Ibum
Olumba ObU. 191

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles
of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It
is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.
Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Cor. 11:13-15; NIV).192

How will their end be? The Bible did not leave us to guess. According to the
revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ to John (Revelation 1: 1), we are told that the
fiery lake of burning sulphur is the final destination of all the wicked, false
prophets, Satan their leader and all his agents:

" .... the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the
miraculous signs on his behalf ... The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery
lake of burning sulphur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of
the mouth of the rider on the white horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their
flesh." (Rev. 19:20-21; NIV).193

189 Ibid, P 5. See also VANGUARD Newspaper, Tuesday, July 17,2001, P 3.

190 VANGUARD Newspaper, Monday, August 20,2001, P 25.
191 VANGUARD Newspaper, Friday, June 29, 2001, Front-page and p 24. See also VANGUARD Newspaper,
Monday July 16, 2001, Front-page and plO, and VANGUARD Newspaper, Monday, August 20, 2001, Front-
page and p 25-27. See also the Website:
192 1 Corinthians 11 :13-15; New International Version.
193 Revelation 19:20-21; New International Version.

The original Tabieorar, sometimes written: "Tabborrah", "Taborah" or "Tabora",
of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) is always at Ogere since 1937 and has
never been shifted to any other town, and has never failed to take place, not even
once, since its inception. The civil war in Nigeria in the 70's could not stop it
from taking place.

The First Groups of Cross-Bearers

The first groups of Cross-Bearers were instituted in the year 1937. The first
groups of men Cross-Bearers were late Joseph Ogunleye, Samuel Osibajo,
George Adekunle Dosumu and Theophilus Adesanya. This group of Cross
Bearers received their crosses (symbolic of the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ
on the cross), at the ever first Tabieorar Grand Finale, on August 22, 1937.

The first groups of women Cross-Bearers included Dorcas Olutayo Ositelu,

Eunice Ilumoka, Beatrice Talabi Shobowale, Amelia Abiola Odebode, Maria
Oyenubi and Mary Oluwanifise. The most prominent among the first group of
women Cross-bearers today is Revd. Mother Superior Susannah Adewunmi
Ositelu (Retired.), whose last station was at the Church branch in Soyindo,
Shagamu, Ogun State, South-West of Nigeria as the Minister-in-Charge and the
Overseer of the District. She is the mother of the incumbent Primate of the

Tabieorar 2001 Extracted Sermon

I like to present the reader with another Tabieorar extracted sennon to show the
importance of the word of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God
within the AlCs. To God be all the glory!
Tabieorar extracted sennon as presented at the Tabieorar Ground of the Church
of the Lord (Aladura), Ogere, Ogun State in Nigeria on Wednesday, August 22,
2001 by His Eminence, Most Reverend Dr. Rufus Ositelu, the Primate of the
Church ofthe Lord (Aladura) Worldwide:


Beloved in Christ, God reveals to us in the second Book of Peter Chapter 1

verse 3 that:

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness
through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and
goodness." 194
The God of Tabieorar is the Source and Origin of all power, knowledge and
wisdom. His power, knowledge and wisdom are available to us as sources of
If we diligently obey God's commandments and follow the teachings of Christ
Jesus, we shall receive the potential to be the expression, the expansion and the
extension of God's power in us.
Before I proceed further, we need to understand the meaning of the words
"Power" and "Potential".

According to Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary, "Power" is defined

as "able to do", ''the ability to do" or "the capability of performing". It may also
be defined as "the strength or authority to act or accomplish something". 195
Similarly, "Potential" is defined as "that which has power", "potent" (i.e. to be
able), "capability", ''that can, but has not yet, come into being", or the like. 196

I am speaking to you about the Omnipotent God, Whose power is unlimited,

which is not to be compared to the limited power of a president. I am talking
about the Divine Power of God, which is the source and origin of all power,
knowledge, wisdom and potential.
The crux of the matter is: whatever capabilities we may possess, we need to
develop them and use them in a way that God will be glorified in our lives.

The power to grow and be successful, does not come from within us, but from
God Almighty. So also, the wisdom to develop our potentials comes from God.
Because we do not have the resources by ourselves to be truly godly, God has
given us the grace through Christ Jesus, to participate in the divine natUre to help
us live a righteous life. As followers of Christ, God empowers us with His moral
goodness. Because "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to
spirit. " 197
"And God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might
become the righteousness of God.,,198
"For we have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God.,,199

194 2 Peter 1:3; New International Version (NIV).

195 Webster, Noah, Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary, William Collins Publishers Inc., USA, 1979,
p 1412.
196 Ibid., P 1409.
197 John 3:6; NIV.
198 2 Corinthians 5:21; NIV.
199 I Peter 1:23; NIV.

The word of God in James 1:5; says: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he/she should
ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given
to himlher.,,20o
The Amplified Bible puts it in another way so that we may understand this
passage perfectly. It says: "If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of
the giving God, Who gives to every one liberally and ungrudgingly, without
reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.,,201

What type of wisdom are we talking about here?

Let us find out what the original Greek word says. The Greek word "Sophia"
used in that passage is referring to "spiritual wisdom". I am not speaking about
"sophos", which is akin to "sophes", meaning "clear" or "wise" in general terms.
The Greek word "Sophia" is also used or applied generally to mean - cleverness;
skill; scientific knowledge; and wisdom.
The word "wisdom" as in the Greek word "Sophia" was used in 15-ways:
• Human education (Acts 7:22).
• Man's wisdom (1 Cor. 1:19-22; 2:1-13).
• Human philosophy (Col. 2:23; I Cor. 3:19; 2 Cor. 1:12; Gal. 1:14).
• Earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom (James 3:14-16).
• Prophetic anointing (Luke 11 :49).
• Godly training (Luke 2:40,52).
• Anointing to speak (Luke 21 :15; Acts 6; 1 Cor. 2:7).
• Ministerial ability (Eph. 1:8,17; 3:10; Cpl. 1:19,28).
• Christ the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24,30; Col. 2:3; 3: 16).
• Divine gift of wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8).
• Divine attribute of God (Rom. 11).
• Spirit of revelation (2 Pet. 3: 15).
• Ability of Christ (Matt. 12:42; 13:54).
• Native insight, that is, the ability to understand the inner nature of some
specific thing (Rev. 13: 18; 17:9).
• Heavenly wisdom (James 3: 17-18).

In order not to go beyond the scope of the topic of this sermon, I shall limit
myself with the way of the "Heavenly Wisdom".
According to the Bible, we have principally two kinds of wisdom:
• The godly wisdom, which is spiritual, genuine and rightly guiding.
• The satanic wisdom, which is earthly, fake and misleading.

200 lames 1:5; NIV.

201 lames 1:5; The Amplified Bible (TAB).

The word of God according to James 3:13-17; says: "Who is wise and
understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in
the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish
ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such 'wisdom'
does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For
where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil
practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-
loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and
sincere. ,,202

A truly wise person will not value himself or herself merely upon knowing
things. After you must have acquired knowledge, it is very important to make a
right application and use of that knowledge. Knowledge and application of it
make up for true wisdom.
True wisdom is known by its works. It is not he/she who thinks or talks well is
wise according to the Scripture, but he/she who lives and act well. True wisdom
will evidence itself in meekness, temper and sincerity.

Now that we have the lovely picture of the wisdom which is from above
(heaven), which is contrary from that which is from beneath, that is, the earthly
wisdom, let us therefore grasp the message perfectly.

The messaee: True power, wisdom and potential are from God. It is the gift
from God. It is not gained by the knowledge of this world, but comes from
True wisdom restores peace and every other good things to individuals; families;
churches; kingdoms; societies; nations; countries; continents; and the world at
All we need to do is to seek for the true wisdom that comes from above.
The wisdom that comes from ·above:
• is without hypocrisy;
• is sincere and open;
• is steady and uniform;
• is consistent with itself;
• and it sows the fruits of righteousness in peace.

And that which is sown in peace will surely produce a harvest of joy.

202 lames 3:13-17; NIV.

Commitment. dilieence and hard-work produce SUCCESS. This is what true
wisdom reveals to us. No wonder the Scripture Ecclesiastes 9:10a says:
"Whatever (good) your hand fmds to do, do it with all your might,,203
And Colossians 3:23-24 in the same vein says: "Whatever (moral and legal
thing) you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for
men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a
reward. ,,204

I am sure that some of us have witnessed some situations where the swiftest or
the strongest do not win. Some people see such example as unfair. Remember
that the world is finite, and sin has changed life contrary to God's intention. We
must also remember that, "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame
the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.,,205
An example of this can be found in the story ofDavid and Goliath. David trusted
in the Lord, and he was swift to action while his opponent (Goliath) was still
parading himself (1 Samuel 17:1-50).
1 Samuel 17:48-49; says: "As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David
ran quickly toward the battle line ... reaching into his bag, he slung a stone that
struck the Philistine in the fore-head and he fell facedown on the ground.,,206
This example shows commitment, diligence, hard work, and above all, faith of
the winner in God Almighty.
One thing is to know what is right, but another thing is to do the right thing at the
right time.
We need to remain committed and dedicated to our work and not allow the
inequities, that is, instances of unfairness, keep us from earnest, dedicated work.
We should always remember that we are serving God not people (Col. 3:23).
Colossians 3:9-10; says: "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your
old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed
in knowledge in the image of its Creator.,,207
This scriptural passage is telling us that we as Christians should get rid of all evil
practices and immorality, but remain committed to Christ, as Christ is the
Wisdom and Power of God. 208
Furthermore, this passage is telling us that to be a Christian means more than just
making good resolutions and/or having good intentions. To be a Christian means
taking the right decisions and actions at the right times. If you call yourself a
Christian, you should act like a Christian.

203 Ecclesiastes 9: lOa; NIV.

204 Colossians 3:23-24; NIV.
205 I Corinthians 1'27' NIV
206 I Samuel 17:48~49; NIv'.
207 Colossians 3:9-10; NIV.
208 I Corinthians 1:18-25; NIV.

Every Christian should be in a continuing education programme - learning about
Christ Jesus and His work. Because, the more we know of Christ and His work,
the more we are being changed to be like Him. This should be a life-long
process, and we must never stop learning and obeying the word of God. Always
remember that you have to do the right thing at the right time. And whatever you
can do today, do not postpone it till tomorrow.

It is the spiritual wisdom, which translates to commitment, diligence and hard

work to whatever you want to do that will bring the successful result. Let me put
it to you this way: "Get committed and end up distinguished!"
Commitment, diligence and hard work are choices we make, these are not gifts.
You should therefore not pursue a cause to which you are not ready to be
Whatever may be your occupation - a professional, a trader, a business-person, a
civil-servant, a clergy or a student, and whatever your occupation may be - if
you want to excel, you must be committed to your pursuits. You must do
whatever you do with all your might because you want to do it and not because it
is expected of you.
If you are a businessman for example, you must have resumption time,
schedules, goals, accountability and discipline in order for things to be right.
These virtues apply also to all other occupations.

Message to the Nations ofthe World

Preamble: The fountain of all spiritual blessings is the Divine Power of Jesus
Christ. All things that have any relation to the true spiritual life are from our
Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Wisdom and Power of God (1 Cor. 1:18). In Him
dwells all fullness of the Godhead, and it is from Him that we receive grace after
grace, that is, one blessing after another (John 1: 16).
Through the knowledge of God and faith in Him, all the spiritual support and
comforts that we need, are conveyed to us.
Therefore, the political, the traditional and the religious leaders of the countries
of this world need the Divine Wisdom of God in order to lead their individual
country aright.
The inhabitants of the world and Nigeria in particular need re-orientation. They
must rebuke the satanic spirit and influences of 419 (fraud), corruption,
wickedness and other evil devices. They should rather seek the face of God for
His Divine Power, Wisdom and Potentials (James 1:5; Eph. 4:22-24; 1 Kings

In Exodus 31:3; God told Moses that He has chosen Bezalel and has filled him
with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts. 209
All power, wisdom and knowledge belong to God. No wonder the Psalmist said:
"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of
man that you care for him.,,2IO

The planet earth, which is about 25,000 miles in circumference and about 8,000
miles in diameter, is one of the smallest of God's planets.
Job in Chapter 27:7; says that God " ... spreads out the northern skies, over
empty space; He suspends the earth over nothing.,,211
One may ask that how could Job know in those days, that the earth was hanging
suspended upon nothing but the power of God?
Job came to this knowledge through the spirit, power and wisdom of God just as
God gave Bezalel the knowledge to do things he had never learnt to do.
In the same vein, we are told in the book of Isaiah 40:22a that God " ... sits
enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.,,212
The question arises again, how could Isaiah know that the earth was round when
thousands of years later, scientists were still arguing that the earth was flat?
Prophet Isaiah knew this because he was filled with the Holy Spirit's power,
wisdom and understanding.
If you are committed, dedicated and obedient, you may also be filled with the
spirit of God that will enable you to develop your potentials.
James 1:5 says: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives
generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.,,213
You have been taught according to the truth that is Christ Jesus. You are to put
off your old self, "which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, and put on
the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.,,214

Conclusion: God is LOVE. Because of His love for us, we are able to receive His
Divine Power, Wisdom and Knowledge, if we so desire.
God is all-powerful, all knowing, all seeing and eternal. God wants us to exercise
faith, obedience, discipline, commitment, diligence, dedication and hard work.
He is willing to support us so that He may shine through us.
Every individual must rise up to its full potential, by doing whatever good
hislher hand find to do with hislher might as doing it for the Lord (Eccl. 9: 10).

209 Exodus 31 :3; NIV.

210 Psalm 8:3-4; NIV.
211 Job 26:7; NIV.
212 Isaiah 40:22a; NIV.
21J James 1:5; NIV.
214 Ephesians 4:22-24; NIV.

The nations of the world must rise up to their full potential through humbleness,
prayer, and seeking the face of the Lord, but first of all, by turning away from
their wicked ways so that God may hear their prayers from heaven, forgive their
sins, and heal their lands (2 Chronicle 7: 14).
The Churches must rise up to their full potentials and fulfil the prophecies of Joel
Chapter 2.

God is sovereign over every situation; His power is shown by the ways He
reveals Himself to us in creation, history, and His Word. All the wisdom we
need can be found in His Word.
We should therefore continue to meditate in His Word day and night so that we
may know Him more (Joshua 1:8).
We are being called - " ... not to conform any longer to the pattern of this
world,,,215 with its behaviour and attitude that are usually selfish and often
corrupting. Our refusal to conform to this world's values must go deeper than the
level of behaviour and attitude. It must be firmly planted in our minds, that is, we
must "be transformed by the renewing of our minds." (Romans 12:2).
It is only when the Holy Spirit of God renews, re-educates, and re-directs our
minds, that we are truly transformed.
We can always seek the face of the Lord for Divine Power and Potential.

We must strife after true knowledge of Christ in which to grow and develop our
Life does not remain static - it either goes forward or backward. Life without
growth is a waste. Similarly, knowledge without practice becomes blindness
instead of vision (2 Peter 1:3-14).
In order to develop our potentials and be successful, we need to make the right

We need to:

• Love rather than hate;

• Believe rather than doubt God;
• Plan rather than play all the time;
• Build rather than destroy;
• Take decisions rather than delay them;
• Be hard-working rather than day-dreaming;
• Persevere rather than quit;
• Heal rather than wound;
• Act rather than grasp alone;
215 Romans 12:2; NIV.

• Bless rather than curse;
• Praise rather than gossip;
• Pray rather than despair;
• And seek first of all, the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then,
all other good things of life will be given to you (Matt. 6:33).

Moreover, you must love and serve God with all your heart and with all your
soul, and with all your mind (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37).
If you believe in the promises of the Gospel, God will restore His implanted
Divine nature in you. And you will thus experience the Divine Power of God.
According to the Scripture, God gives and restores His Divine Power in us in
order for us to live godly and successfullife. 216

------- End of the Extracted Sermon. m

216 2 Peter 1:3-4.

217 Sunday School Bible Study Guide 2002 of the Church ofthe Lord (Aladura), Ogere, 2001, (in print).

The First Edition ofthe Church's Constitution

The first edition of the Church's constitution was published in the year 1938.
The constitution has since then been reviewed from time to time. As a result, the
constitution committee presented the revised version of the constitution to the
General Conference of the Church. It was read and adopted by the conference-
members and thereafter became the third edition of the Church's constitution.
The twenty-five signatories to the constitution were Senior Ministers of the
Church and Eminent Laities who came as delegates to represent the Church in
their respective Province at the constitutional meeting.

The twenty-five signatories then were:

1. J. o. Ositelu (Primate and Founder)

2. E. O. A. Adejobi (Apostle)
3. S. O. Oduwole (Apostle)
4. D. O. Sonoiki (Bishop)
5. J. O. Orebanjo (Bishop)
6. M. S. Gbogboade (Senior Prophet)
7. J. M. Odutayo (Senior Prophet)
8. George Thorpe-Wyse (Senior Prophet)
9. I. T. Ladejobi (Prophet)
10. H. Lawson (Pastor)
11. C. D. Sonekan (Member)
12. D. O. Shobowale (Member)
13. D. O. Abimbolu (Member)
14. T. G. Hollist (Member)
15. A. O. Oresanya (Member)
16. A. A. Abimbola (Member)
17. Z. A. Ogunlano (Member)
18. I. K. E. Sagoe (Member)
19. J. E. Achampong (Member)
20. J. Amissah (Member)
21. J. N. Narty (Member)
22. Mrs. Hannah Brew (Member)
23. Mrs. W. H. Reffell (Member)
24. Mrs. Margaret Cape Hart (Member)
25. Miss D. Nanka Bruce (Member)
The Preamble o/the third edition o/the Church's constitution reads:

"In the fullness of time after several years of European evangelistic mission in West
Africa, and especially in Nigeria, it has most graciously pleased the Almighty Jehovah
God as of old to arouse spiritual consciousness in the hearts of his people here in
Nigeria, in that Africa shall raise up her own hands unto Great Jehovah-God under the
Spiritual guide and lead of her own indigenous sons.

In the early parts of the semi-jubilee of the twentieth century in the year of our Lord on
those several auspicious days in the periods of the glorious Feasts next hereinafter
mentioned, it has also most graciously pleased the Father Almighty at diverse times
and season to infuse His Holy Spirit upon our most beloved, revered and venerable
JOSIAH OLUNOWO OSITELU, the Primate and Founder of this Organisation
(hereinafter called 'Our said Primate and Founder'), in that he has been appointed in
such a mysterious and solemn manner to preach good tidings unto the meek, to bind up
the broken-hearted, to proclaim spiritual liberty, and to fulfil all such other
dispensations as were in spirit, declared unto our said Primate and Founder.
Our said Primate and Founder being conscious of his responsibility in regard to this
worthy mandate, has bound himself to the faithful discharge and observance of this
glorious call to duty and happy mission and has accordingly given full effect to it.

It is considered appropriate that a brief history touching upon the inception and early
activities of this sacred Organisation be hereby epitomised in a chronological order,
that is to say:

During the solemn period of the Feast of all Saints, on the 5th day of November, one
thousand nine hundred and twenty-five (05.11.1925), our said Primate and Founder
had his call;

In the solemn period of the Feast of the Holy Trinity and the Celebration of the Feast
of Saint Bartholomew, the Apostle, on the 29th day of August, one thousand nine
hundred and twenty-eight (29.08.1928), the name "THE CHURCH OF THE LORD
(ALADURA)" was in spirit assigned to the organisation.

During the solemn period of the Lenten Season, on the 8th day of April, one thousand
nine hundred and thirty (08.04.1930), a promise of the settlement of a 'Spiritual
Jerusalem' was pronounced unto our said Primate and Founder.

In the solemn period also of the Feast of the Holy Trinity and the celebration of the
Feast of St. James, on the 27th day of July, one thousand nine hundred and thirty
(27.07.1930), the inaugural meeting of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) was held at
Ogere, a District of Ijebu-Remo, Ogun State, South-West of Nigeria.

On that auspicious day, the celebration of the dedication of our Saviour and Lord Jesus
Christ, on the 1st day of January, one thousand nine hundred and thirty--one
(01.01.1931), the first Church of the Organisation built at Ogere, for the worship of
True Jehovah-God, was dedicated.

The Church of the Lord (Aladura) has now a large and increasing number of converts
and members, a full panoply of ministers and several branches in Nigeria, in other
places in Africa and other parts of the world. The Organisation has acquired several
lands, built several Churches and houses and shall continue to acquire more landed
properties, freehold or lease hold, for carrying on its work. It is expedient that steps
should be taken for the proper protection of these properties and for better government
of the Organisation in Africa and other parts of the world.

Now therefore by these presents - The Church of the Lord (Aladura) - accordingly as it
was pronounced in Spirit, and as we, the several subscribers to these presents are
persuaded in our judgements, and being spiritually minded of what the name stands
for, which name too, shall implicitly and tacitly include all the churches in Nigeria, in
other places in Africa and in other parts of the world, which prior to the date of these
presents shall have been established and functioning under the aegis of the Church's
former constitution is hereby established and formed into an Organisation and, for the
purpose of good principle and government policy, we, the several subscribers to these
presents in our respective representative capacities, hereby declare the Regulations and
Bye-laws hereinafter written to be the guiding principle and policy of this our most
sacred Organisation, and we hereby for ourselves and for our successors in office
declare all former Constitutions made by our predecessors in office to be null and

It is not my intention to quote all articles and sections of the Church's

constitution as it will be beyond the scope of this study, but I shall make
references to some articles and sections in the said constitution purposely to help
the reader see the difference between the Old Mission Churches concept of God
and the African Initiated Churches concept of God.
In article twelve, section one of the constitution - The Primate was given
extensive power, as the constitutional head of the Organisation, he has the
authority to exercise all the powers of the Organisation including the
appointment of a successor as led by the Holy Spirit. This section states further
that, if the Primate should decease without any formal appointment of a
successor, then the next Primate shall be elected by secret ballot of three Houses
sitting together at one meeting. The Revised Constitution of 1992 says that the
Supreme Council of Prelates shall inquire of the Lord and determine who the
next Primate should be.

The daily prayers as stated in Article seventeen shall be held Mondays through
Saturday at 6.00 a.m., 9.00 a.m., 12.00 noon, 3.00 p.m., and 6.00 p.m. While
only morning services shall be held on Saturdays at 9.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m.
respectively. Other special services are:

218 See The Revised Constitution of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, Approved on Saturday,
October 24, 1992, P 3-4.

Testimonial service - which shall be held on the last Saturday of every
month at 6.00 p.m.

- Vigil service - which shall be held on every Wednesday at 6.00 p.m.

- Night-watch prayers - which shall be held daily or as required at

9.00 p.m., 12.00 midnight and 3.00 a.m.

The Testimonial and Vigil services may be held at the time specified or any
other time in the evening as circumstances permit.

I have decided to quote Article eighteen which deals with marriages because this
Articles speaks for the indigenous nature of the Church, in that, it recognises the
African tradition unlike the Mission Church, which tried to and to some extent
still continues to impose its European culture on Africans.
Most of the Old Mission Churches have now adopted the AICs policy and have
abandoned their imported culture in this particular case.
Since the Organisation is purely of indigenous African, it shall recognise
marriages contracted according to the custom of the Country but it shall accept
and inculcate upon its members to contact the Christian marriages.
According to Article twenty-one of the Constitution:

"The Organisation shall accept and inculcate in its members to contract Christian
Marriage. All marriages contracted should be blessed in the Church. That is to say:
• Marriage under the Marriage Act can be conducted entirely in the church with
registration according to the provisions of the MARRIAGE ACT and
solemnisation according to the practice of the church.
• A marriage already completed according to Local custom and tradition may
receive blessing in the church.
• Marriage already completed according to the Marriage Act may also receive
blessing in the church.,,219

I have during my research of this African Church and its Organisation observed
that the Church's minister and members are adhering to all parts of the
constitution mentioned in this book.

The first Primate and Founder of the Church inaugurated and laid foundation
stones of many branches of the Church throughout West Africa between 1939
and 1960.

219The Revised Constitution of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, Grace Enterprises, Ogere, 1992,
p 39.

The second Primate - Late Dr. E.O. Adejobi was on the 22 nd of August 1945
elevated as the first Apostle of the Church while Late Apostle S. O. Oduwole
was elevated on the 22 nd of August 1949 as the second Apostle of the Church.

Apostle D. Ola. Sonoiki and Late Revd. Mother Comfort Solanke were elevated
on the 22 nd of August 1947 as the first Bishop and Revd. Mother of the Church
respectively. On the 26th of October 1952, the Freetown, Sierra-Leone Temple
Church was dedicated by Late Dr. 1. O. Ositelu. The Kumasi, Ghana Temple
Church was dedicated on the 1st of November 1959 by the First Primate and
Founder of the Church.


Prominent among those who seceded were A. A. Banjo (1955), and D. M.

Oluwole who established her church in Jos. One thing significant, about The
Church of the Lord (Aladura), was that most of the secessionists, especially in
Nigeria, always return into the fold bringing the churches they founded with
them back into the fold.
For example, A. A. Banjo returned into the fold with the church he had founded
("Regeneration Church of Christ"), in July 1963. Mother D. M. Oluwole also
returned into the fold with the church she had founded and was posted to the
branch of the church at Ibadan Street, Lagos, which was pioneered by her, where
she remained the minister-in-charge until her death. Her husband, Rev. Oluwole,
is till today the Treasurer of the Church Organisation. Bishop Gbogboade also
returned into the fold. His son is a Minister in the Church today.
Further to return in 1964 was a small group belonging to Soetan of Zion Church
of the Lord.

Another phenomenon was that most secessionists could not totally divorce
themselves from the name of the Church - "The Church of the Lord (Aladura)".
Example of this can be found in Soetan's "Zion Church of the Lord". They
mostly take a similar name. Many who have seceded for over three or more
decades are now trying to come back into the fold. Some of these I met during
my recent pastoral tour of West Africa.

Even those who had no connection with the Church also came in large numbers
to be affiliated with the Church of the Lord (Aladura) after the news of how God
was using Prophet Ositelu had reached them.

Dedication of Church Branches

Late Dr. J. O. Ositelu dedicated and laid foundation stones of many more
branches of the Church throughout the world between 1940 and 1965. Prominent
among these branches are the Ondo Cathedral, the Lafiaji-Lagos Church, the Ile-
Ife (Obalufon Street) Church, the Nima Temple (Accra- Ghana) and the Ogere
Cathedral. The Late Primate and Founder also toured the branches of the Church
in Liberia and Ghana in 1963 and 1965 respectively.

As can be seen in the dedications and inaugurations of branches of the Church in

Ghana, Sierra-Leone and Liberia during the early 1950s, The Church of the Lord
(Aladura) was not to be confined to Nigeria alone. Other parts of Africa and the
world in general were to benefit from the mission assigned to Prophet Ositelu.

He therefore sent his top aides - Apostle Adejobi and Apostle Oduwole in 1947
abroad to propagate the gospel of joy as revealed unto him. This led to the
beginning of the mission outside Nigeria. Late Apostle E. O. A. Adejobi (the
second Primate) was sent to Sierra-Leone while late Apostle S. O. Oduwole was
sent to Liberia. The Freetown, Sierra-Leone branch and the Monrovia, Liberia
branch of the Church were inaugurated on the 6 th of April, and 20 th of April 1947

The Church lost one of its frontline ministers - Apostle Samuel Omolaja
Oduwole in 1964 following a tragic death from an assassin.

In fulfilment of revelations of the Lord God, the Church has extended its
branches to Great Britain, U.S.A, Germany, Ireland and other countries.

Late Prophet Dr. Josiah Ositelu appointed Apostle Emmanuel Adeleke Adejobi
as the Administrator General of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) while Apostle
Samuel Omolaja Oduwole was appointed as the Administrator of the Church of
the Lord (Aladura) in the month of August, 1963.

The First General Assembly

On the 15 th of January 1966, Late Dr. J. O. Ositelu, as the Primate and spiritual
leader, delivered his maiden keynote address to the first International Churches
General Assembly of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Organisation, which took
place at Ogere the Administrative and Spiritual Headquarters.
On the following day, the 16th of January 1966, Late Dr. Josiah Ositelu anointed
the four provincial Apostles at Ogere. They were Apostle J. I. Kalesanwo for
Nigeria; Apostle F. Olanipekun for Sierra-Leone; Apostle E. O. Ofosu for Ghana
and Apostle J. O. Orebanjo for Liberia.

Since then, the Church Organisation has been holding their International
Churches General Assembly regularly with delegates from all over the world in

In 1995, the International Churches General Assembly of the Church of the Lord
(Aladura) was held in Lome, Togo. And the recently concluded assembly took
place at Ogere from the 17th through the 23 rd of July 2000.
At this assembly meeting, the present Primate - His Eminence, Most Rev. Dr.
Rufus Ositelu reiterated his calling, mission and vision to the hearing of the
delegates from Africa, Europe and United States of America.
The assembly witnessed among other innovations the amendment of the
constitution, which was last modified in October of 1992 during the assembly
meeting in Kumasi, Ghana. The next International Churches General Assembly
of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide has been scheduled to take place
by the year 2005 in the United Kingdom.

The late Primate Dr. J. O. Ositelu while conducting its last Tabieorar festival on
22 0d August, 1965 remarked that, "the heavenly ghosts were weeping". Nobody
knew then what meaning to give the above remarks. Few months later, Dr.
Ositelu fell sick, during this time, he had a significant dream. In his dream, he
saw some angels in white robes surrounding him saying, "The time has come".
He then replied, "If you are ready, I am ready". When he woke up and realised
what he had said, he prayed and implored God that he was not quite ready yet.
The dream was repeated and each time in his dream, he indicated his readiness to
follow the white robed angels anytime they were ready.

As each day passed by it became obvious to Dr. Ositelu that he would soon
answer the call of the Lord to higher glory. At this stage, friends and relatives
were urging him to get himself admitted to a hospital which he refused to do
initially, and he was quoted to have replied those who questioned his refusal to
go to hospital saying, "The righteous is removed before the evil day arrives".
Some friends and relatives did not stop urging him to go to hospital, saying - If
he should die at home, other people would say he died because he refused to be
taken to hospital.
After a lot of pressure from relatives and well-wishers, he told them that his
situation could not be handled by any Doctor, because his time has come, but
they can do their will. He was then taken to the University College Hospital,
Ibadan where the doctors expressed their astonishment that they have never seen
such a miraculous patient. Some days before his death he ordered that a
thanksgiving offering be made, signifying his gratitude to God for a life well
spent. He later changed mortality for immortality on the 12th day of July 1966
and was buried on the 24th of July 1966.

Late Dr. E. O. A. Adejobi, who was in August 1963 at the Ogere Headquarters
of the Church, proclaimed the Administrator-General of the Organisation
throughout the world by the late Primate and Founder Dr. J. O. Ositelu and to be
next to him in the hierarchy and therefore became Ositelu's successor. He was
enthroned as the second Primate ofthe Church on the 7th day of May, 1967.
Similarly, late Primate G. O. Ositelu was in August, 1987 at the Ogere
Headquarters of the Church proclaimed by the then Primate late Dr. E. O. A.
Adejobi as his successor. He was enthroned as the third Primate of the Church
on the 1st of December, 199L

An extract taken from the proclamation of the incumbent Primate made on the
22 nd of August 1998 on Tabieorar Day, of which the pamphlet is available for

"Proclamation of the appointment of a NEW PRIMATE of The Church of the Lord

(Aladura) Worldwide-
The first voice that gave rise to the establishment of the Church was on November 5,
1925 but it was only sixty-eight years ago - 1930, to be precise that the Church of the
Lord (Aladura) now worldwide was born through its first Primate and Founder late Or.
Josiah Olunowo Ositelu, who was 'appointed in such a mysterious and solemn manner
... to proclaim spiritual liberty and to fulfil all such other dispensations as were in
spirit declared unto him ... '
The Apex and fundamental beliefs (amongst others) of the Church is in ... 'Vision,
Dream and Divine Revelation when examined ... ' (JoeI2:28-29; 1 Corinthians 14:29).
The Church's Confession of Faith - Article One, properly amplifies this:
We believe that it was by the Holy Spirit that the Prophets were directed and the Virgin
Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, was conceived.
We believe that through the Holy Spirit, spiritual endowments such as the powers of
prophecy, of wisdom, of knowledge, of miraculous healing and of discerning of spirits
are given unto man. We, unlike some of our brethren in the Lord, believe that these
spiritual powers are still freely given unto the faithful who by their self-denial and
sacrifice merit the free gift from God.
'Our fervent belief in the potency of the Holy Spirit distinguished us from other
Christians who believe that miracles have ceased ... '
On this basis, the earlier constitutions of the Church, its second edition in 1938, the
1954 edition, etc. did not contemplate the mode of appointing a Primate other than by
Divine guidance.
Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God revealed to the founder, late Or. J. O.
Ositelu who his successor would be in the person of late Primate Dr. Emmanuel
Owoade Adeleke Adejobi by a vision on 18th August, 1945. 'God revealed in a Holy
Trance a Divine Message to late Dr. J. O. Ositelu, recorded, in writing, thus:
'By the love, mercies and grace of God, unto me the Lord revealed on the 18th
of August, 1945, on the Mount Tabieorar that, Emmanuel Owoade Adeleke
Adejobi has been chosen as Joshua to Moses, Elisha to Elijah and as Peter to
the New Testament Church founded by Christ Jesus, so Adeleke Adejobi to the
Church of the Lord (Aladura) and as long as this eternal revelation remains
unchanged, it has to be made clear once and for all, forever, that he is the
Deputy and successor of me by the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ ... '

In 1966, the late Primate and Founder - Dr. 1. O. Ositelu was called to eternal glory
and late Dr. E. A. Adejobi step~ed into his shoes as the 2nd Primate. He was
accordingly enthroned as such on 7 May, 1967 without contest.
In a similar vein, at the Tabieorar Festival held at Ogere on 22 nd August, 1987, Dr. E.
A. Adejobi announced publicly by way of proclamation to the whole world that on 20 th
August, 1987, God revealed unto him who his successor would be, as follows:

'The Lord says, what you have brought before me is sensitive but I have done it
before you did. It shall be joy all over in the end. I have done it, I will do it by
your hands and you will accomplish it, the end is certainly good.
The Lord says, Gabriel Jabburrar Olusegun Ositelu is the one I have chosen to
succeed you when I tell you to retire or call you to the great beyond to join the
Holy Apostles who have served before you.
The one that I gave the task of founding the Church, I called OLLULANA;
you, his successor I called GBOLAHAN. The one who will succeed you at the
appointed time shall be called GBOLABO ... '

The message was received on the Mount Tabieorar that day with great ovation and
Great Primate Adejobi was also called to higher service on 17th May, 1991 and late
Primate Olusegun Ositelu was enthroned as the Third Primate of the Church of the
Lord (Aladura) Worldwide on Sunday 1st December, 1991.
From the foregoing, it is clear that neither constitutional provisions nor procedures
were applied in the appointment of previous Primates even though there was then an
operative constitution of the Church - Article XVII (SS 4-7 et seq.) of the Constitution
of 8th May, 1967. The main guiding principle was God's directive through
VisionslMessages, which the entire adherents of the Church have accepted whole-
heartedly as an article of faith - We have always relied on Divine Guidance and the
Church will continue to do so. This attitude is also supported by the decision of the
organisation's subsequent General Assembly (after the 1967 Constitution was
promulgated), that ...

'notwithstanding the provisions of the Constitution ... such procedures should

be subjected to the over-riding direction of the Holy Spirit ... '

However, the third Primate of the Church, Gabriel Olusegun Ositelu died suddenly on
Sunday 26 th April, 1998 not only without a farewell but also without spiritual guidance
to the Church as to who his successor would be. The Church was left askance.
Since the position must be filled and the Church must not be left without a captain to
steer the ship of the Organisation; for the first time in the history of the Church since

68 years of its founding, the Church has to fall on the provisions of its constitution
dated 24th October, 1992 for guidance.
The Board of Trustees, therefore, in its letter dated 1sI August, 1998 advised the
Prelates to take steps and act accordingly ...
The Prelates of the Church swung into action during the current (1998) Tabieorar
white fasting adhering strictly to the advice of the Board of Trustees. On the
conclusion of the spiritual exercises, the Board of Trustees together with the Supreme
Council of Prelates (SCP), met on Sunday evening 16th August, 1998, in order to
collate the findings of the spiritual enquiries as recorded by each Prelate without one
knowing the findings of the other.
On this occasion, the Supreme Council of Prelates in compliance with Article XVI of
our Constitution composed of Provincial Heads, Apostles, Bishops and Reverend
Mothers from Sierra-Leone, Liberia, the United Kingdom and Nigeria.
Consequently, the following result has been recorded:

'14 of the 16 Prelates found in favour of, and voted for the same person while
the other two did not receive any revelation and therefore cast their votes for
On the whole, one and only one candidate emerged and he satisfied the
constitutional provisions - Article XVII Section 6(c) ... and the Chancellor of
the Church of the Lord (Aladura), Honourable Justice Jacob Adetunji Oladipo
Sofolahan who presided over the occasion accordingly declared him duly

It is clear therefore that the Lord has spoken through His anointed Ministers
unequivocally and, in the circumstances pursuant to Section 7 Article XVII of the
Constitution dated 241h October, 1992, I Amos Oladele Ayoola Fajuyigbe, being the
Most Senior Apostle here present hereby proclaim:


as the new Primate of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide with effect from
the 161h day of August, 1998 to the glory of God the Father, the Son and the Holy
Spirit. Amen.,,22o

See The Church of the Lord (Aladura) - Proclamation of the Appointment of a New Primate, made on the 2200
Day of August, 1998, on the Tabieorar Day.

We have the International Churches General Assembly with the Primate as the
Chairperson. The Primate is both, the administrative and spiritual head of the
Church. Theocracy is the form of government.
This is followed by the National Provincial Conference. We have Dioceses in
every Province (Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, U.S.A., etc., are for example
provinces), and we have Zones within every Diocese. In every local
congregation, there is the Church Parochial Committee. And in the churches, we
have societies including - bands, groups, unions and Church Officers who are
members of the parochial committee.
To aid the Primate in the discharge of his duties, we also have several councils,
boards and committees, which include - Primate In Council (PlC), Supreme
Council of Prelates (SCP), Elders' Governing Council (EGC), Board of
Education (BE), and the Steering Committee (SC), just to mention a few.
Every Province has its own Ministerial Conference, Council of Prelates, etc. The
Supreme Council of Prelates (SCP) is comprised of prelates from all the
The constitution spells out the duties of each body and each officer within the
church organisation.

Ministerial Hierarchv

On the Ministerial line we have:

• The Primate
• Apostle / Rev. Mother Superior
• Bishop / Rev. Mother
• Archdeacon / Archdeaconess
• Senior Prophet / Snr. Prophetess / Senior Pastor / Senior Evangelist
• Reverend / Prophet / Prophetess / Pastor / Evangelist
• Probational Minister (Staff Minister).


The administration of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) is based on Provincial

System whereby the provinces (countries/continent) of the Church are semi-
independent of the International Headquarters.
By that arrangement, each country or, in some cases, each continent becomes a
church province for the purpose of the provincial administration.

The Primate remains the Archbishop of the arch-province, which is Nigeria. It
does not really matter whether a provincial head is appointed to oversee to the
day-to-day affairs of the Nigeria Province or not.
All the Provincial Heads have some limited power as defined by the Constitution
of the Church, but the absolute power remains with the Primate. For better
understanding, this is similar to what exists in the Roman Catholic Church. The
Primate has similar powers to that of the Pope of the Catholic Church.

The heads of the provincial administrations operate under the aegis and direction
of the Primate, who is the Spiritual and Administrative Head of the Organisation.
The provincial head administers the churches under hislher jurisdiction and sees
to the welfare of the welfare of the ministers and members of the fold. He/she
presides over the provincial Executive Council and he/she is directly answerable
to the Primate.

Under the provincial administration are the Church Dioceses. A Diocesan or

Overseer administers each Diocese. Each Diocese is further composed of Church
Zones, headed by a Zonal Superintendent, while each zone is made up of a
number of local churches.

Internationally, we have:
• International Churches General Assembly
• International Churches Executive Council
• The Supreme council of Prelates
• The Primate-In-Council

Nationally, we have:
• Board of Trustees for every Province
• Annual Provincial Conference
• Provincial Executive Council
• Ministers' Consultative Council
• Elders' Governing Council
• Provincial Retirement and Pension Scheme
• Council of Reverends
• Council of Pastors
• Council of Evangelists
• Council of Deacons
• Council of Deaconesses
• Ministers' Wives Band
• Army of Jesus Band
• Ladies Praying Union Band
• And the Mothers' Union.

Furthermore, each Diocese has its council and conducts its own annual
conference, the report of which will be presented to the Annual Provincial


The Church being a spiritual church IS Pentecostal, prophetic, biblical,

evangelical and ecumenical in nature.

The principal ministries in the Church are:

• Prophetic ministry
• Teaching ministry
• Evangelical ministry
• Youth ministry
• Social ministry
• Music & Drama ministry
• Vocational ministry
• Children Ministry.

Ministers' Consultative Council CMCC)

The Ministerial Consultative Council is scheduled to hold once in a quarter-year,

that is, every three months.
At such meetings, matters concerning the progress of the Church, the Ministers
and the members are discussed. Lectures are given to Ministers at this gathering.
And once in a while, the Primate delivers a keynote address to be discussed by
all present under the agenda - matters arising from the keynote address.

Leadership extracted lecture from the keynote address to the Ministers'

Consultative Council at Ogere, Ogun State in Nigeria on Saturday, 10th May,
1999 by His Eminence, Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiolaolu Ositelu, The Primate
of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, in the book: "Challenges and
Responsibilities/or the Next Millennium andLEADERSHIP", p 14-17:


It gives me a very great pleasure to address this noble gathering. The topic of my
speech is Leadership as you are all leaders at different levels.

Leading is causing people to take effective action. The Webster's New Twentieth
Century Dictionary defines leadership in this way: "1) The position or guidance of a
leader. 2) The ability to lead."
You are not a leader by virtue of your position. You are a leader by virtue of your
Leading is a noble task (1 Timothy 3:1). A leader must live by example so that he or
she can boldly say what Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians in Chapter 4: 16, " ••• 1
urge you to imitate me."

The characteristics of a leader from a Christian's perspective include:

• Integrity
• Endurance, Patience, and Perseverance (Steadfastness)
• Self-control
• Model
• Servanthood
• Confidence
• Growth
• Faith
• Living A Life That Is Pleasing Unto God - Allowing all areas of your life to be
under the control of the Holy Spirit.

The Webster's New World Dictionary defines integrity thus: "The quality or state of
being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity".
To those of us who have answered the call to serve in God's vineyard, God is
demanding from each one of us - uprightness, honesty and sincerity. According to
Ephesians 5 :8-1 0, God is also asking us to "walk as children of light, for the fruit of
the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness (fair and just), and truth, proving what
is acceptable to the Lord".
If we do this, we shall then become vessels of honour to God rather than vessels of
dishonour (2 Timothy 2:20-21).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, "If we live in the Spirit of God, let us also walk in the
Spirit of God." (Galatians 5:25). Ministers of God, do not be deceived, God cannot be
mocked. We shall all reap whatever we sow. The one who sows to please hislher sinful
nature, from that nature will reap destruction. The one who sows to please the Spirit of
God, from that Spirit will reap eternal life (Galatians 6:7-8).
I hereby appeal to each one of you in Jesus name to please rededicate yourself unto
God and stand firm on the Rock of Ages - Christ Jesus. And be "shepherds of God's
flock that is under your care ... as God wants you to be; not greedy for money,
but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted you, but being examples to

the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of
glory that will never fade away." (1 Peter 5:2-4).

Endurance Patience and Perseverance

According to Webster's New Dictionary, endurance is defined as the ability to stand
pain, distress, fatigue, hardship, etc. According to the same source, patience is defined
as the ability or will to wait or endure without complaint. Likewise, perseverance is
defined as the act or ability to continue in some effort in spite of difficulty, that is, to
be steadfast in purpose.
Calvin the theologian defines it as the continuance in grace of people elected to eternal
According to 2 Corinthians 6:4-6, as servants of God "we commend ourselves in
every way; in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings,
imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity,
understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and sincere love."
If you persevere, the reward is yours, for the One Who promised is faithful. As it is
written in Hebrews 10:36, "You need to persevere so that when you have done the
will of God, you will receive what God has promised."

The Scriptures in Proverbs 25:28 compared a person who lacks self-control to a city
whose walls are broken down, meaning - defenceless and disgraced. Self-control is
one of the virtues that will produce a well-rounded Christian life. The Bible tells us in
2 Peter I :5-8, that we should make every effort to add to our faith in Christ goodness,
knowledge, self-control, godliness, kindness, and love. " ... For if you possess these
qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and
unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Our Lord Jesus Christ is our Model in everything, be it obedience, goodness, self-
control, kindness, endurance, patience, perseverance, faithfulness, love, godliness,
service and the like.
We are being called upon to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1). The sacrificial way
our Lord Jesus Christ expressed His Love for us is not only the means of salvation but
also an example of the way we are to live for the sake of others.
In a nutshell, the life of Christ Jesus is a model for us to follow. At the same time, we
are supposed to be a model for our congregations.
Borrowing from the words of John to his dear friend Gaius as recorded in 3 John 11, so
also do I say to you, dear beloved "do not imitate what is evil but what is good.
Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not
seen God."

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the best example of Servanthood. He came not to be served
but to serve others. The Christian life is not to get (be served), but to give (serve
Jesus once said, " ... whoever wants to become great among you must be your
servant, and whoever to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did

not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."
(Matthew 20:26-28).
I therefore urge each one of you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received
and to be completely humble, gently, patient and bearing with one another in love
(Ephesians 4: 1-2).

Be confident. Having self-confidence in Christ-confidence, knowing that the strength
of the Lord is enough for you. Union with the living God is the secret of being content
and which should also be the source of your abiding strength.
Then will you be able to say that which Apostle Paul said in Philippians in Chapter
4: 13, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

Aspire to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour. We have to be hungry and
thirsty for the WORD. We must make it a habit to grow. We have to do our best to
present ourselves to God and our congregation as approved work-persons who do not
need to be ashamed, and who correctly handle the Word oftruth (2 Timothy 2:15).
I therefore like to you all to seize the opportunity when it arises as to advance
According to 2 Peter 3: 18, we are told to " ... grow in the grace and knowledge of
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Faith is to believe and trust in God, knowing that God is real, even though we cannot
see Him physically (Hebrews 11: 1). In other words, faith in God is TRUST and
absolute RELIANCE on God (Hebrews 10:35-39; 11:1-3; Mark 11:22-26).
Steadfastness is an important ingredient of faith. If we remain steadfast, not doubting
God, we shall also overcome (lames 1:6-8).
Let us therefore be faithful to God so that God may be faithful to us. According to
2 Samuel 22:26, God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him.

Living a Life that is Pleasing unto God - Allowing all areas o(your life to be under the
control o(the Holy Spirit
Last but not least, let us live a life that is pleasing unto God and always allowing all
areas of our lives to under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God (Romans 8:8). So let us make
it our goal to please God, whether in the body or away from it. For we must all appear
before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to himlher
for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
Therefore, brothers and sisters in the Lord, I urge you to "offer your bodies as living
sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not
conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of
your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good,
pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12: 1-2).

------------ End of the extracted Keynote Address 221

Institutions and Establishments

The Church has established many Schools and colleges in Nigeria, Liberia,
Ghana and Sierra-Leone. Among these Schools are Aladura Theological Institute
(A TI) with the AMTS campus in Anthony-Village, Lagos and the OOMTI
campus in Ogere-Remo; Aladura Comprehensive High School (ACHS), Lagos;
Ositelu Memorial College (OMC), Ogere; Ositelu Memorial Nursery and
Primary School (OMNPS), Ogere; Church of the Lord (Aladura) College
(CLAC), Ogere-Remo; etc.
The Church has about seven Primary Schools in Kono and Bo districts of Sierra
Almost every branch of the Church in Liberia has a Junior High School and few
branches also have the Senior High Schools.
The Church has few health centres including maternity homes. There is a plan to
establish cottage hospitals especially in the rural areas.
The Church is also planning to establish a University in the nearest future.
Some. Dioceses and local churches have embarked on establishments of social
services in their environs including nursery and primary schools, health centres,

Aladura Theological Institute

This Institute has two campuses, one in Lagos and the other one in Ogere. Both
campuses (AMTS - Anthony-Village, Lagos Campus and OOMTI - Ogere
Campus) are now under one umbrella, that is, ATI - Ogere-Remo. The Lagos
Campus is named after the 2nd Primate of the' Church - Late Most Rev. Dr.
Adeleke Adejobi (Adejobi Memorial Theological Seminary - AMTS), while the
Ogere Campus is named after the 3rd Primate - Late Most Rev. Olusegun Ositelu
(Olusegun Ositelu Memorial Theological Institute - OOMTI).

OsiteJu, Rufus, Challenges and Responsibilities for the Next Millennium and Leadership, Grace Enterprises,
Ogere, 1999, p 14-17.

The ATI has a central admission policy and entry point. The doors of Aladura
Theological Institute (ATI) are open to all who seek a greater knowledge of
God's Word.

Diverse courses are available to fit every need. Whether you are a clergy or a
laity, ATI has a programme for you.
Among the ATI graduates of the year 2000 are four University graduates in other
disciplines, including Economics, Business Administration, etc. who have
graduated from Nigerian Universities before enrolling as students of theology at
ATI, Ogere-Remo. Some of the students who enrolled for the year 2000/2001
sessions are University graduates. Most of the students have completed Bible
training courses in some of the other seminaries or Bible institutions in the big
cities of Nigeria before coming to enrol at the Aladura Theological Institute
(ATI), Ogere, Ogun State in Nigeria.


The Church believes in Christian Ecumenism and that co-operation among

Christians of diverse denominations, traditions, and cultural background is very
important in our endeavour, as Church of Jesus Christ, to achieve the UNITY
which our Lord Jesus Christ prayed for in John 17:21 - UNITY IN DIVERSITY.
"For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body ... and we were all given
the one Spirit to drink." (1 Corinthians 12:13).

The Church of the Lord (Aladura) was admitted a full member of the World
Council of Churches on the 28 th of November, 1975 during the 5th General
Assembly of the World Council of Churches, which was held in Nairobi, Kenya,
from 23 rd November, 1975.
The late Primate, Dr. E.O.A. Adejobi led a delegation of "The Church of the
Lord (Aladura)" to the conference of the Organisation of African Independent
Churches (OAIC), which was held in Cairo, Egypt, from the 1st to the 15 th of
November, 1978.
Among the attendants were delegates from Ghana, Lesotho, Zaire, Kenya,
South-Africa, Nigeria, etc. Dr. Adejobi was appointed chairman and presided
over the occasion. While in Egypt, the conference participants seized the
opportunity to visit historical places and Coptic Churches of Egypt, which were
first established during the era of the Apostles. As mentioned earlier, the ancient
Coptic Church of Africa is one of the early Churches to be established during the
era of the Apostles of Christ. The Coptic Church is truly African, this can be
seen today more in the true African characteristics of the Coptic Churches of
Egypt and Ethiopia (Egyptian and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches).
In 1979, the Church became a member of the Nigerian Association of Aladura
Churches (NAAC), with late Dr. E. A. Adejobi becoming the Life President on
the 24th October, 1981.
In 1984, the Church became a member of the Christian Association of Nigeria
In 1988, the Church became a member of the Christian Council of Nigeria
In 1993, the Church became a member of the International Ministerial Council of
Great Britain (IMCGB), and in 1994 became a founding member of the
International Ministerial Council of Germany (IMCOG). Rev. Dr. Rufus Ositelu
was elected the very first National Co-ordinator of the council.

Through the grace of God and efforts of the late Primate Gabriel Ositelu who
stood by his promise to the World Council Churches (WCC), which he made
during his visit to the WCC in October 1994, the Church hosted a WCC
Consultative Meeting at Ogere in the month of January 9-14, 1996.
In September 1999, at Cambridge, the Church became a member of the Council
of African Christian Communities in Europe (CACCE), and in October of the
same year (1999), the Church became a founding member of the International
Convent of Christian Congregations, Rhein-Main, Germany (ICCCRG).

The Church is also a founding member of the Council of Afro-Caribbean

Churches in Europe (CACCE), which started first as "Partnership of African
Christian Communities in Europe (PACCE)".
The German chapter of this organisation is known as "Afrikanische
Diasporagemeinde in Europa (ADE)". Rev. Dr. Rufus Ositelu was one of the
three very first Executive Members of the German Chapter of the Council of
Afro-Caribbean Churches in Europe (a.k.a. "Council of African Christian
Communities in Europe [CACCE],,).

Various Ministries

The ministries within the Organisation are as follow:

• Prophetic Ministry - The Church is in its entirety a spiritual and a prophetic

ministry. The Church depends on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all its
endeavours. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ remains the Guide and
Administrator of the Church.
• Teaching Ministry - For whatever things are written in the Scriptures, were
written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the
Scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4). We are supposed to preach the
Word in season and out of season to convince, correct, and rebuke as the
Word is sharper than any two-edged sword (2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 4:12).
The Aladura Theological Institution with campuses at Ogere and Lagos; the
Lay Training and Development Centres; Sunday Schools; Seminars; and
Workshops are serving this purpose.
• Youth Ministry - It is the responsibility of the Church to strengthen the youth
both spiritually and morally. The Church realises that it is an inclusive
community comprising men, women, elders, youths and children, each with
differing spiritual, moral and material needs.
• Evangelical Ministry - Evangelism has always been one of the cardinal tenets
of the Church right from the beginning. The great commission of Christ Jesus
to His followers is: " ... go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew
28:19;NIV). The Church will not relent in its effort to evangelise in every
nooks and cronies of the world.
• Social Ministry - The Church aspires to be and will continue to be a blessing
to the community wherever it may be located. The Church's Nursery and
Primary School, secondary schools (CLAC, Ogere and ACHS, Lagos, etc.),
and other higher institutions were established in this light.
• Music & Drama Ministry - The Church wishes to enhance the talents of the
gifted members in this area for the glory of God. The Church intends to use
this ministry to reach out to people.
• Vocational Ministry - The desires and will continue in its effort to set-up
small-scale enterprises for the benefit of the unemployed and for the glory of
God. The Grace Printing Press, Grace Bookshop, Grace Block-making
Industry and Grace Sewing Industry are to be seen in this light.
• Children Ministry - The Church wishes to bring up the children in the way of
the Lord so that when they grow older they will not depart from it (Proverbs

West Africa

In September 1946, a prominent American-Liberian family, Hon. Mr. Justice and

Mrs. Barclay, visited the king of Ogere, the Ologere of Ogere - His Royal
Highness Oba Babington Ashaye in search of African powerful medicine. The
king of Ogere was a cousin of Ositelu. After he had attended to them, he told
them that he has a cousin, a prophet with spiritual powers, who with the Holy
Spirit power can solve all their problems. In this way they met late Dr. Ositelu,
discovered the healing power of consecrated water, and· were especially very
impressed about the prophecies of Ositelu, which revealed many things about
their past and their future.

The Liberia venture was made in response to an invitation from the Liberian
lawyer, the Hon. Mr. Justice Barclay who met Ositelu in 1946.

The Sierra-Leone venture was through the agency of a Creole couple, Mr. and
Mrs. Nathaniel Bell, who had a first-hand experience of the Church branch at
Elegbata, Lagos while in Nigeria on vacation.

The expansion of the Church beyond Nigeria is the physical manifestation of the
revelation God gave to Ositelu on the 101 of October, 1925.
Ositelu inquired of the Lord whom he should send to Liberia and Sierra-Leone.
And the- Lord revealed unto him that he should send Oduwole to Liberia and
Adejobi to Sierra-Leone.
Thus late Apostle Adejobi was sent to Sierra-Leone and late Apostle Oduwole
was sent to Liberia by the founder of the Church (late Prophet Ositelu), on
missionary work.
Both of them departed together and arrived Freetown, Sierra-Leone on the 21 sI
March, 1947. Oduwole supported Adejobi in the very first activities in Sierra-
After few days in Freetown, Sierra-Leone, Oduwole left for Liberia. On Maundy
Thursday,3 rd of April 1947, late Oduwole arrived at Momovia, Liberia to start
his missionary work there.

When Ositelu visited Sierra-Leone in 1952, a woman from Kumasi, Ghana (then
known as Gold Coast), came to Ositelu asking for the Church of the Lord
(Aladura)to be brought to Ghana. In March 1953, Ositelu after Divine inquiry
asked Adejobi to proceed on missionary work to the Kumasi area of Ghana.
In June of 1953, Ositelu also in the same vein asked Oduwole to proceed to
Ghana on missionary work in the Accra area of Ghana.

A branch of the Church was founded at Lome, Togo in 1961, the first to be
established outside the English speaking areas of West Africa. This branch was
pioneered by Adejobi as instructed by his master - Ositelu.

No Minister in the Church Organisation (i.e. within the system) ever

pioneered a branch of the Church on his/her own volition, but with the
directives of the incumbent Primate to do so. So it was, so it is now till
today, and so shall ever be to the glory of God.

United Kingdom

Through Adejobi, the Church was established in Britain as the first African
Independent Church in Europe. The first AIC in Europe - The Church of the
Lord (Aladura) was inaugurated on 12th April, 1964 at St. Andrew's
Congregational Church, Cavendich Road, Balham, in South London.

United States ofAmerica

Through Oduwole, the Church was established in the USA, which started as
prayer groups in the 1950s in Atlanta and Philadelphia. In 1962, Apostle
Oduwole was invited to visit them. We have branches of the Church today in
Pennsylvania, Washington DC, New York, North Carolina, and other places in
the USA.


The Church was established in Germany in October 1993 and was formerly
registered in February 1994 by the incumbent Primate, Most Rev. Dr. Rufus
Okikiolaolu Olubiyi Ositelu.

There are invitations to come and establish the Church in some other countries
where the Church does not yet exist. More branches will be established in the

future for the glory of God. The expansion work is also going on in those
countries where the Church is already in existence.
New branches of the Church are being pioneered every year especially in places
where the Church does not exist yet and particularly in the province of Nigeria
where six to ten new branches are being pioneered.
The Primate of the Church at any point in time is the chief-pioneer of any
branch of the Church during his own tenure as he is the person who sends
the pioneers forth on missionary work.
There is a Yoruba adage, which says: "Eniti 0 leru ni 0 ni eru ", translated thus:
"The owner of the servant owns all that belongs to the servant. " And from
practical experience, we know that it is the Primate that plans, permits, sends the
pioneer and in effect pioneers any branch of the Church with the assistance of his
followers during his tenure of office. The following statistics is presented from
this light:

• Josiah Olunowo Ositelu - 1925 to 1966 => 185 churches were pioneered
during his primateship.
• Emmanuel Adeleke Adejobi - 1966 to 1991 => 250 churches were pioneered
during his primateship.
• Gabriel Olusegun Ositelu - 1991 to 1998 => 33 churches were pioneered
during his primateship.

Bible Customs

Though the Bible is adapted to all nations, it has in many respects an Oriental
culture. It represents the modes of thought and the peculiar customs of a people
who, in their habits, widely differ from other parts of the world.
While this fact must be remembered in the interpretation of some New
Testament passages, it is nevertheless true that many ancient customs can also be
found among some African customs (e.g.: religion of names, bride chosen by
parents, shoes taken off, and so on and so forth).
Christian ethics recognises the cultural differences and does not demand that one
gives up his own culture in order to keep God's commands.


The main practices and observances of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) were
revealed to the man God called to establish the Church. And he carefully wrote
them down as they were revealed unto him. They were revealed unto him in the
same way as God revealed the Tabernacle and all its sacred objects to Moses. He
was continuously told: "See that you observe them as you are told, and as shown
unto you." (Exodus 25:40; 26:30; 27:8).

An extract of the "REFLECTION" as found in the book: THE OBSERVANCES

AND PRACTICES OF The Church a/the Lord (Aladura) IN THE LIGHT OF
Old Testament And New Testament", (Ogere: Grace Enterprises, 2000, p 14-17),
by His Eminence, Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Ositelu:

"The Church of the Lord (Aladura) believes in the efficacy of prayers, which is part of
its name "ALADURA" meaning the "prayer people". It also has other names like
"OLOMI lYE" meaning the "people with the living water".
This Church and the other African Initiated Churches (AICs) have changed the mode
of Christian worship, observances and practices dramatically in Nigeria, Africa, and
other parts of the world.
The AICs championed the use of native drums and instruments, clapping, and dancing
in worshipping God at a time when the old mission churches and/or western world
mission oriented churches considered it foul to do so.
A commentary in one of the publications of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) in
the year 1960 about the 'ALADURA Churches' describes the situation of the so-called
'mainline churches' (old mission and/or foreign oriented churches), then as: »'The
Aladura Church Movement had arisen out of dissatisfaction with the life of the
Mission Church (or its lack oflife)'«

The recognition of the lack of life in the old mission and/or foreign oriented churches
was in my view not to be restricted to these churches in Nigeria or on the African
continent alone, but rather to be applied to such churches all over the world.
I must say today, that in Nigeria and other parts of Africa and indeed the world at
large, this lack of life is a thing of the past in the so-called old mission or foreign
oriented churches, as they have now adopted the practices of the Aladura Churches,
which they once condemned (e.g. clapping, beating drums, dancing, etc.). TO GOD
This recognition and adoption of the Aladura practiced by these foreign oriented
churches is not only visible in Nigeria but all over the African continent.

Early in the 20 th century, the AICs rose in popularity as they embraced many African
traditions and practices because the liturgy of the foreign oriented churches was
becoming stereotyped and irrelevant to the African culture.

The AICs led the way in ex-tempore prayers, that is, prayers from the heart as
compared to prayers read from the book. The Aladura Churches were and still in the
forefront in the night vigil prayer sessions, which some foreign oriented churches
and/or New Generation Churches in Africa have now given other names (e.g. Holy
Ghost Night, Spirit Fire Night, Redemption Night, etc.).

The AICs are also pacesetters in the use of local lyrics and in the area of ordination of
women as priests. For example, the Church of the Lord (Aladura) believes that God is
calling men and women who will surrender their lives to Him and obey His Divine
calling. The Church believes and agrees with Paul the Apostle when he said, in this
new life (Church of the Living God), one's nationality, race, gender, education or
social position is unimportant: such things mean nothing. Whether a person has Christ
is what matters, and He is equally available to all - Not carnality but Christ
(Colossians 3:11).

Some of these foreign oriented churches (mostly American styled) and some of the
New Generation Churches, despise the AlCs because some or all of the following:
Candlelight; Speaking in tongues; Holy names; Putting off their shoes; Fasting;
Burning of incense; Prophesying; Sprinkling of water; Drinking of consecrated water;
Anointing their heads with consecrated oil; and so on and so forth.

The fact remains, that the Aladuras and other AICs do not preach that any or all of the
above is/are vital for salvation.
For example, some of these foreign oriented churches vehemently oppose the use of
candlelight. As far as the Church of the Lord (Aladura) is concerned, there is nothing
magical about the use of candlelight. Candlelight symbolises the presence of Jesus
Christ who is the Light of the world.

Let me briefly mention here the precious truths that are embodied in the setting,
symbolism, and significance of the Tabernacle and its materials (e.g. the metals,
colours, fabrics, wood, lampstand and the oil, spices/incense, etc.) - Exodus Chapter
25 through 31. These are the two-fold divine purpose of the Tabernacle and its

The immediate purpose - This was to warn the children of Israel not to practice the
idolatry of Egypt and to set before them a pure and noble ideal way of worship and
witness unto the Almighty God (Exodus 32; John 4:22).
The ultimate purpose - This was to point to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in
Whom all object lessons are fulfilled.

In African traditional setting, no one greets a king or a chief with his/her shoes on, how
much more the KING of kings and LORD oflords! We are not apologetic for having a
very rich culture, and demonstrating our respect for our Creator. Apart from this, God
Himself demands that this should be done when He instructed Moses and Joshua to
remove their sandals because where they stood was a holy place.

Aladuras in general believe in the efficacy of prayers and in the virtue offasting. Some
of these foreign oriented and New Generation churches on the African soil claim that
Christ has fasted for all. But as a matter of fact, our Lord Jesus said, 'However, this
kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.' (Matthew 17:21; NKJV).

Some of these foreign oriented churches argue that prophesying ended in the time of
Jesus. But we know that Apostle Paul around 50 AD wrote to the Thessalonians
saying: 'Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies.' (1 Thessalonians 5:19-
20; NKJV). Prophesying is a spiritual gift from God to be used for the edification of
the Church. In his letter to the Corinthians, Apostle Paul wrote, ' ... brethren, desire
earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues." (l Corinthians 14:39).

The craze for anything foreign among Africans, including religion, should not blind
and or prevent them from sifting the wheat from the chaff. Of course, as in any
organisation, there are some vessels for honour and some for dishonour.
'But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood
and clay, some for honour and some for dishonour. Therefore if anyone cleanses
himselffrom the latter, he will be a vessel for honour, sanctified and useful for the
Master, preparedfor every good work. ' (2 Timothy 2: J 9-2 J .. NKJV).,,222

The Church of the Lord (ALADURA) sees itself as an assembly of people

belonging to God, whose Head is Jesus Christ. The Church accepts as members
those that accept Jesus Christ as Lord, Saviour, Redeemer and King. The Church
got its name as a result of God's Inspiration as revealed to Late Dr. J. O. Ositelu
- the first Primate and Founder. The taking off of shoes at the time of worship is
meant to indicate an expressed symbol of lowliness of the creatures before their
Creator, a Great, Holy and Loving God. The Church practices ablution, which
should indicate the practices of humble believers approaching a Holy God with
an attitude of worship in purity, of mind and body. The white apparel is preferred
at worship because it indicates the emblem of purity and chastity of body and
mind by which the believers should always approach the Great, Glorious God.

222 Ositelu, Rufus, The Observances And Practices of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) in the Light of the Old
and New Testament, Grace Enterprises, Ogere, 2000, p 14-17.

First, the white gannent serves as a leveller thus allowing the worshippers to
concentrate on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Secondly, it serves as a constant reminder to the adherents that they have to walk
righteously before the Lord God, as white is spiritually the symbol of

Members and ministers of the Church bow their heads in adoration during divine
worship in humble adoration (psalm 95:6). The use of the palm leaves in the
Church stands for an emblem of victory and triumph (John 12:13). The Church
practices clapping as an emblem of joyous praise to God (Psalm 100:1-5; 150:1-
6). The same reason goes for jumping, dancing, shouting and laughing. They are
otherwise known as "Spiritual Exercise". The descending of Holy Spirit on the
worshippers during divine worship is believed to be fulfilment of God's promise
as it happened to the apostles on the day of Pentecost (JoeI2:28-32).223

The Church does not condemn the scientific medical treatments or the use of
curative medicines. The Church encourages and practices "Faith or Divine
Healing" by urging her members who have faith in the healing power of Christ
to fill their bottles with water for prayer during worship. Women have to cover
their hair during worship, in keeping with the inspired counsel of God through
St. Paul the Apostle (1 Cor. 11:1-10). The Church believes in the adult baptism
by immersion because only an adult can make a confession or profession of faith
in the Lord Jesus Christ. As mentioned earlier, wooden crosses and iron rods are
handed to new members and ministers respectively every year on Mount
Tabieorar. This is to serve as a token of constant remembrance of the death of
Christ on the cross to redeem them while the iron rod serves as a visible omen of
victory through Christ and also as the staff of office. Smoking is discouraged
among believers because it is economically wasteful, dangerous to health and
spiritually impure.
It is very interesting to observe that some Old Mission Churches (OMCs) and
some New Generation Churches (NGCs) abhors the burning of incense but
encourages smoking of cigarettes through many of their pastors, who are
supposed to be roll-models (leaders worthy of emulation) to their adherents.

The Church encourages social gathering purposely to make it possible for the
rich to share with the poor, to arouse mutual fellowship and comradeship and to
continue the same biblical principle of the "AGAPE" once observed during the
apostolic age.

22J Ibid., P 19.40.

The Church believes that prayer can be said at any moment, anywhere and any
day. In spite ofthis, the ministers of the Church are expected to conduct prayer-
worship five times daily as part of their ministerial duties:

First hour ofthe day ·6:00 a.m. (5:30 a.m.)

Third hour of the day 9:00 a.m.
Sixth hour of the day 12:00 noon
Ninth hour of the day 3:00 p.m.
Twelfth hour of the day 6:00 p.m.

The Church encourages its members to aspire the following virtues:

Love and Fear of God.

As mentioned earlier, the Church believes in the special powers of fasting and
prayers over the evil forces of this world. It believes in the use of holy names, as
revealed by God and holy water for the cure of ailments. Members of the Church
receive holy sacrament at nights. The Church is unique in its gift of divine and
faith healing. The pastoral care and concern for members of the Church and
adherents alike has no equal.

In all matters of faith and conduct, the supreme court of the Church remains the
Bible. The Church is spirit guided, spirit influenced and spirit directed. The
Church regards the whole world as its parish and is determined to preach,
witness to the life, work and resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ and to make
disciples of all nations. The Church encourages the assembly of the saints to
share fellowship unity in bounds of peace with every other group or body who
worships and serves Jesus Christ as Lord, Saviour, Redeemer and King.

Holv Names and Speaking in Tongues

In the early 1930s, Ositelu's fame spread very quickly and so much that other
leaders of other African Initiated Churches (AICs) like Joseph Babalola, I. B.
Akinyele, J. A. Aina and J. B. Shadare, elders and pastors of the Faith
Tabernacle expressed interest and went to Ogere to know more about the famous
and energetic young prophet from Ogere-Remo. Many more from all corners of
Nigeria came to Ogere to witness the work God was doing through Ositelu His
As the Holy Spirit of God was leading Ositelu, he refused to succumb to the
demands of these elders who demanded that he should do away with the holy
names (strange names) and speaking in tongues (strange language).
Ositelu insisted on doing the will of God rather than the will of man. He told
those who were opposed to the holy names that God spoke to him as He did to
Prophet Ezekiel thus: "I will make known my holy name among my people
Israel." (Ezekiel 39:7A; NIV). The revelation Ezekiel received then and the
subsequent vision he saw in Ezekiel 43:3-7 and the prophecy of Prophet Joel:
"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters
will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see
visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in
those days ... " (Joel 2:28-32; NIV), symbolized that God would live again with
His renewed people and that God would respond to Jews and non-Jews
(Christians) without any distinction. "And everyone who calls on the name of the
LORD will be saved" (JoeI2:32A; NIV).
Some of the holy names revealed to him include AJJAGGORRAJJAB,
AJJAGGORRARBBULLAL meaning God of victory and the God that fights our
battle respectively. A very well known holy name among members of the Church
and non members is SAAWWIEOLLAKKABBIELL meaning peace of the Lord
be unto you to which adherents respond with SAWWIEOLLAKKABBIE
meaning peace unto you.
Ositelu told opponents that God revealed these holy names to him as He revealed
unto Moses in Exodus 6:3 thus: "And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and
unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAB was I
not known to them. ,,224 . .

Some critiques have suggested that these holy names are made-up from the
Yoruba language. I shall exhibit enough examples to dismiss this assumption.
Nonetheless, I will prefer to leave this to ethnologists and linguists to do a
thorough research on this.
These two examples will suffice to dismiss the assumption that the holy names
have anything to do with the Yoruba language. The Church of the Lord
(Aladura) hymn number 17, first stanza:


224 Exodus 6:3; Authorized King James Version (AKJV).


The second like it can also be found in the Church of the Lord (Aladura) hymn-
book, hymn number 503, first stanza:


As evident to every average Yoruba speaking person, these holy names (words)
have nothing to do with the Yoruba language. None of them resembles any
Y oruba word. Looking at them or listening to them when sung, a Yoruba
speaking person will not understand a word except those God has given the
ability to understand and translate them.

According to Ositelu, God revealed some spiritual names to him for himself and
for some of his followers:

• Josiah Ositelu Arrabballahhieubbah-Donnddollah

• Emmanuel Adejobi AjjieiWwerrewwerre-Tawweh
• Samuel Oduwole Saggommsaggomm-Sallieah
• Gabriel Ositelu Jabbieorrah-Abbushebbieah
• Rufus Ositelu Gbieonngbieollabbinnoh-Jahhieujjah

Prayers while Standing or Kneeling Down

Kneeling down to pray as most of the practices and observances of the Church of
the. Lord (Aladura) is based on humility before the Lord Almighty.227

Kneeling to pray has from the beginning been the practice of our Lord Jesus
Christ, His disciples and also of the Prophets of the Old and New Testaments
(Daniel 6:10; Luke 22:41; Acts 9:40; 20:36; 21:5).

225 The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Hymnal 17,Ogere, 1993, p 24.
226 Ibid., Hymnal 503, Ogere, 1993, p 4\3.
227 Ositelu, Rufus, OBSERVANCES AND PRACTICES of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) in the light of the
Old and New Testament, (Ogere: Grace Enterprises, 2000), p 9.

Daniel in a foreign land (Babylon) could not worship God in the way he was
used to before the captivity (Daniel 1:1-2). He did, however, pray three times a
day. Not even the threat of death could make him vary this practice:

"Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his
upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got
down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done
before. ,,228

As Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, as was his custom, followed by His

"He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed.,,229

Peter had extended his mission to cities along the coastal plain, including Lydda
and Joppa. A healing and a restoration to life of a dead woman demonstrate
God's power with Peter and lead many to trust in the Lord Acts 9:32-43).
It was the practice ofthe Apostles of Christ Jesus to go on their knees when they

"Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed.'.230

Apostle Paul's farewell to the Ephesians elders serves as his concluding address
to all the readers of Acts. He reviews his audacity to proclaim the message of
Jesus Christ throughout the whole region, and declares that he was aware of the
perils that awaited him in Jerusalem. He indicated that he was willing to die in
the process of completing his mission. He asked the elders of the church to take
care of the flock in their charge and reminded them that he had supported
himself financially (Acts 20:1738).
It was also his practice to kneel when he prayed. This he did after his farewell

"When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.,,231

Passing between the coasts of Asia Minor and the islands of the sea, Apostle
Paul reached Tyre and then Caesarea, in both of which cities he visited the
communities of believers, and was warned through the Spirit of the difficulties
he would experience in Jerusalem (Acts 21:1-16). On this particular journey to

228 Daniel 6:10; New International Version.

229 Luke 22:41; NIV.
230 Acts 9:40; NIV.
231 Acts 20:36; NIV.

Jerusalem, the believers in Tyre escorted them outside the city to bid them
farewell where they prayed on their knees before boarding their ship:

"But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and
their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we
knelt to pray.,,232

232 Acts 21:5; NIV.

The Church of The Lord (Aladura) is one of the independent Church movements,
which sprang up, in Nigeria in the early 1920s.
The first Sunday Service of the Church took place on the Sunday after the Open-
Air Service of the June 9, 1929 at the Ilisa house in Ogere, Ogun State in
The formal inauguration service of the Church was conducted on the 27th of July
1930 at Ilisa house in Ogere-Remo. By 1946, the Church has reached all corners
of Nigeria. As for Late Dr. Ositelu, other parts of Africa and the world in general
were to benefit from his mission. He therefore sent his top aides abroad in 1947
to propagate the ALADURA mission. In fulfilment of God's words the Church
now has branches in Africa, America and Europe.

The Church is rightfully occupying its leadership role among other independent
Church movements in Africa due to its uniqueness in outlook, operations and
observances. Ministers and members alike are able to prophesy, dream dreams,
speak in tongues, and perform healings and wonders. The Church believes that
everyone is equal before the Lord. The wearing of white robes is meant to
document the acceptance of equality. The Church of the Lord (Aladura) believes
in the special powers of fasting and prayers. It believes in use of holy names as
revealed by God and holy water (consecrated water) for the cure of ailments.

It is not my intention to write about all facets of independent African Churches

but it will suffice to say that some of these Churches have acquired bad public
image for themselves. This in my analysis is due to lack of good Organisation or
deep moral commitment. In this respect, The Church of the Lord (Aladura) has
laid a very good example for other African Instituted Churches (AICs) to follow.
An evident proof of good administration, moral and spiritual commitment of the
Church can be seen every year in the affiliation of other independent Churches to
The Church of the Lord (Aladura). This recognition further led to the
appointment of the second Primate of the Church late Dr. E. O. A. Adejobi as the
President of the Nigerian Association of Aladura Churches (N.A.A.C.) in 1981.
The leadership role being played by "The Church of the Lord (Aladura)" is being
recognised and respected by other members of the independent Church
movements in Africa.

As mentioned earlier, Ogere remains the constitutional administrative and

spiritual headquarters of "The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide
Organisation" as stated in the Church's constitution.

As a matter of fact, there is today a major express road connecting Ogere to other
parts of the country and above all, Ogere town now, since a long time, has
telephone lines and a Post Office. The Church of the Lord (Aladura) is on the
Internet - World Wide Web and can be reached through all modem
communication facilities:


Address: The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide

International Headquarters
10112, Primate Ositelu Street, Ogere-Remo
P. O. Box 71, Shagamu, Ogun State

One of the European writers on "Life history and mission of Late Dr. 1. O.
Ositelu" arrived at a wrong conclusion in his book where he mentioned that Late
Dr. J. o. Ositelu could not have handed "The Church of the Lord (Aladura) over
to one of his children because none of his Children was interested in theology.
The statement is extremely false and unfounded because Late Dr. J. o. Ositelu
never saw the Church he founded as a family business but a godly mission.
Furthermore, three children of the late Primate have graduated in theology at
different theological institutions. Even, his first son, Reverend G. S. Ositelu (the
former Principal of College of Agriculture, University of Ife), was at Ogere on
the 22nd August, 1987 publicly proclaimed by Late Dr. Adeleke Adejobi, the
then Primate of the Church, as his (Adejobi's) successor.

Another son of late Dr. Josiah Ositelu, Rev, Dr. Gideon Ositelu, is the head of
the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ibadan (the first
University established in Nigeria).
This writer is also a son to the founder and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in
Computer Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Religion, and was, according to
Article XVII, Section 7 of the Church's constitution dated 24th October 1992,
proclaimed the fourth Primate of the Church on the 22nd August 1998 with effect
from the 16th day of August, 1998.

The Church of the Lord (Aladura) up till today continues to preserve its
uniqueness in outlook, operations and observances. The Church believes in the
active operation of the Holy Spirit. The Church does not only believe in the
freedom and dignity of women, but accepts women equally as ministers of the
Church. The Church abhors discrimination in its mode of service and worship.
There are no special seats in the Church for the rich; everyone is made to feel
that Jesus Christ only is the centre of worship and praise in the house of the
living God. The Church observes baptism by immersion, receives holy
sacrament at nights and observes regular prayers and fasting.

The Church is unique in its of Divine and Faith Healing and its keen pastoral
cares and concern for her members and adherents alike.

The Four Tenets ofthe Church ofthe Lord (Aladura)

The postures of the Church can be summarised as:

• Biblical in pattern
• Pentecostal in power
• Evangelical in Ministry and
• Ecumenical in Outlook.

The four tenets of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) as illustrated by the Primate
of the Church, His Eminence, Most Reverend Dr. Rufus Ositelu in the book:
of the Lord (Aladura) IN THE LIGHT OF Old Testament And New Testament,
(Ogere, Grace Enterprises, 2000, p 13-14), are as follows:

• Biblical in Pattern in the sense that in all matters that affect faith and conduct,
our Supreme Court of Appeal should always be "The Holy Bible" and
whenever we come to a cross-road or are at a fix in our deliberations, our next
reaction must be - "Let us hear what the Bible says on this". Thus the Holy
Bible is our spiritual constitution.

• Pentecostal in Power in the sense that the Spirit of Jesus Christ is the Guide
and Administrator of the Church through which the Church is guided,
directed, filled, influenced, administered and managed. The Spirit of Jesus
Christ shall quicken, inspire and stir everyone up always to glorious and
godly deeds.

• Evangelical in Ministry in the sense that we carry the Gospel to nooks and
corners of the world, and to preach, witness and propagate the Good News to

all, and to make disciples of all nations unto the Lord Jesus Christ,
irrespective of background, race or gender.

• Ecumenical in Outlook in the sense that we embrace and encourage brotherly

and sisterly love among believers, and not to forsake the assembly of the
saints. But that we share in fellowship, unity in bond of peace with every
other group or body who worship and serve Jesus Christ as Lord, Saviour,
Redeemer and King, and to Him every believer must bow in adoration and
reverent worship. The prayer of the High Priest - our Lord Jesus Christ - for
the Church is, "That they all may be one" (John 17:21).233

233 Ositelu, Rufus, The Observances And Practices of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) in the Light of the Old
and New Testament, Grace Enterprices, Ogere, 2000, p 13-14.

Article of Faith of The Church ofthe Lord (Aladura) Worldwide



We believe:

• That God inspired both Old and New Testaments.

• That our God is a Trinity in Unity manifested in three persons but one in
essence: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

• That God is the Creator of living and non-living things.

• In the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His Virgin Birth, in His Sinless Life,
in His Miracles, in His Vicarious and Atoning Death on the Cross, in His
Bodily Resurrection, in His Ascension to the Right Hand of the Father, and in
His Personal Return in power and glory. We believe in His complete Man and
Absolute God according to the Scriptures.

• In the Regeneration by the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the lost and sinful
person, through faith in the Redeeming Blood of Jesus Christ that was shed
for all at Calvary. We believe in the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the
Son to bring each believer to the redemption of Christ.

• In Divine Revelation. We believe that the God of Creation and Redemption

has revealed Himself and His will for men by many and varied ways.

• In a life of holiness without which no person can see the Lord, through
sanctification as a definite, yet progressive, work of grace.

• In the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, received subsequent to the new birth with
the speaking of other tongues, as the Holy Spirit gives utterance through
grace, as the initial physical sign and evidence. And it is the same Holy Spirit
of God that is filling the hearts of those who diligently seek Him today.

• In the water baptism by immersion for the believers only, which is a direct
commandment of our Lord, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Spirit. We believe in baptism by immersion after confession of sins
and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord, Saviour, Redeemer and King. We believe
in adult baptism and infant dedication.

• In observing the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion) in remembrance of the

Lord Jesus Christ, thus proclaiming the Lord's death till He returns.

• That Divine Healing is provided for in redemption by the blood of Jesus

Christ, and is available to all who truly believe.

• In the pre-millennial second advent of Jesus, first to resurrect the righteous

dead and then to take away the living saints to meet Him in the air; and
secondly, to be with Him and reign with Him a thousand years.

• In the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost, they that are saved
unto resurrection of life, and they that are lost into the resurrection of

• In living a holy, sanctified life. We believe in divine healing, and outpouring

of the Holy Spirit of God on everyone who calls on the name of the LORD
diligently and as allotted to each one individually as the Spirit chooses.

• In the body of Christ and in the communion of believers. For in the one Spirit

• That man is created sinless but fell to sin of disobedience. We believe that
there is salvation in no one else by which we must be saved except by the
name of Christ Jesus.

• In prayer and to pray often, and never to grow tired or weary. We enjoin our
converts, adherents and faithful brothers, sisters and friends to carry their
burden to God in prayers.

• In alms-giving. Jesus enjoined us to give and it shall be given unto us, full

CL(A) is an acronym for the Church of the Lord (Aladura) [CL(A)]. It is
sometimes abbreviated as CL or CLA.

Recently, I toured the West African coast on a pastoral visit to the Church of the
Lord (Aladura), Christian Council of Churches, Christian Associations and other
ecumenical bodies in the countries visited. To be precise, my entourage and
myself left Nigeria on the 1sI of June, 2001 for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra-Leone
and returned to Nigeria on the 3'd of July, 2001. The visit was quite an

As it might have been observed or may be observed in the international media,

the Church of the Lord (Aladura) is taken and understood to be the ALADURA
CHURCH per se. This is responsible for the fact that when the media in other
African countries (excluding Nigeria), or European countries, speaks of
ALADURA CHURCH, it is the Church of the Lord (Aladura) that they have in
Sometimes, any White-Garment Church is rightly or wrongly described as an
Aladura Church but mistakenly understood to be belonging to the Church of the
Lord (Aladura). This is one of the reasons among others, which accorded the
Church of the Lord (Aladura) the pseudonym: "ALADURA WITH A
The Church of the Lord (Aladura), which is known to be scandal free, is also
known -as: "An Aladura Without A Scandal" or "A Scandal Free Aladura

Our visit was extensively reported both in the Ghanaian media (Radio and
Newspapers). On arrival at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, we were met
by journalists amidst the adherents of the Church.
The Ghanaian TIMES Newspaper of Tuesday, June 5, 2001 on page thirteen
carried the report captioned: "Aladura head on pastoral visit". The Newspaper
"A six-member delegation from the Headquarters of Aladura Church in Nigeria, led by
the Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Ositelu, arrived in the country last Friday, to begin a lO-day

pastoral visit to the country ... Speaking to newsmen on arrival at the Kotoka
International Airport, The Most Rev. Dr. Ositelu advocated the intensification of
Religious education in children and the youth. Rev. Dr. Ositelu said that it is only
through the fear of God that the present escalating crime wave ... and immorality,
which are widespread throughout the world, could be reduced. Dr. Ositelu said,
children and the youth are the future leaders of 'our countries and so it is important for
Governments to invest in their education, moral and social upbringing to ensure that
they grow up in the fear of God so that they can take the place of the aged' .,,234


The Monrovia GUARDIAN Newspaper of Thursday, June 14,2001 on the back-

cover carried a report captioned: "NIGERIAN PRELATE WANTS

Speaking to reporters yesterday at the headquarters of the Aladura Church on

Center Street, Monrovia, the visiting Nigeria clergy man ... Most Rev. Dr. Rufus
Ositelu said that the Government of President Charles Taylor should accommodate
opposition leaders for the sake of peace in the sub-region ... The Rev. Dr. Ositelu told
reporters that they are in the country to show their solidarity and to encourage the
people and Government of Liberia to rebuild the country's damaged infrastructures
and economy ... He said, while in Liberia, he will preach forgiveness. 'We need to
forgive each other. If we want to revenge, the circle of violence will continue. We need
peace in order to reconstruct and develop the war-ravaged Liberia ... The Aladura
Primate further called on Liberians in and out of the country to join hands together to
achieve peace and development.,,235

The New NATIONAL Weekly of Tuesday through Thursday, June 19-21,2001

on page three carried a report captioned: "Avoid Violence, Greed". The Weekly

"A visiting Nigerian Prelate has cautioned Christians throughout the country to avoid
acts of violence and greed in their endeavours. His Eminence, the Most Rev. Apostle
Dr. Rufus O. Ositelu said, it was necessary for Christians to exhibit virtues that portray
the teachings of Jesus Christ at all times and work for the common good of the church
and society. Delivering his sermon on Sunday at the Church of the Lord (Aladura) on
Center Street, Dr. Ositelu said this is one of the instruments through which Christians
could enjoy the blessings of God. Dwelling on the theme: 'Serving for the Glory of
God', Prelate Ositelu ... added that it is important for Christians to be sober-minded

The Ghanaian TIMES Newspaper, Tuesday, June 5, 2001, p 13.

23SMonrovia GUARDIAN Newspaper, Thursday, June 14, 2001, Back-page & p6. See also The NEWS
Newspaper, Thursday, 14,2001, Back-page, and POLL WATCH Weekly, Thursday, June 14-20,2001, P 3.

and exhibit a high degree of moral rectitude at all times as well as serve as
ambassadors of Christ ... ,,236

Sierra Leone

The POOL Newspaper of Monday, June 25,2001 on page three carried a report
captioned: "Aladura Church Leader arrives today". The Newspaper reported:

"The leader of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) ... Dr. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu will
arrive in Freetown today, Monday, 24 for a week long visit. The purpose of the visit
according to a senior member of the Church, is to sympathise with the relatives of its
members and other Sierra Leoneans killed during the nine year civil war. Dr. Ositelu is
also expected to offer special prayers for lasting peace to return to the country ...
Meanwhile, thousands of Aladura adherents led by their local leaders, Bishop S. O. D.
Macarthy and Senior Prophetess Winifred Turay will converge at the Lungi Airport to
give their leader a rousy welcome.,,237

In another report captioned: "Aladura Primate Calls For Unity", the New
STORM Newspaper of Saturday, July 7, 2001 on the Back-page reported:

"The Primate of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide Most Rev. Dr. R. O.
Ositelu has said in Freetown that the main objective of his visit to Sierra Leone was to
pray for permanent peace and unity of purpose to prevail here ... He said that the civil
war has adversely affected all facets of our society adding that only peace, forgiveness
and national reconciliation would heal these wounds.'.23S

The POOL Newspaper of Tuesday, July 10, 2001 on page three in its report
captioned: "Aladura Primate Brings Peace Message", reported: .

"The head of the Aladura Church Worldwide - Primate Rev. Dr. R. O. Ositelu has
called on the people of this country to forgive and reconcile with each other in order to
ensure lasting peace ... He assured the people that he will continue to pray for this
nation for God to have mercy and compassion for lasting peace.,,239

An ugly incident occurred about two weeks prior to the Primate's pastoral visit
to Sierra Leone. The scandal was actually about a pastor of the Celestial Church
of Christ (CCC) at Lumley, but described as Aladura Church. This implies that
the pastor belongs to the Church of the Lord (Aladura), which is generally

236 The New NATIONAL Weekly, Tuesday - Thursday, June 19-21, 2001, P 3.
237 The POOL Newspaper, Monday, June 25, 2001, P 3.
238 The New STORM Newspaper, Saturday, July 7, 2001, Back-page.
239 The POOL Newspaper, Tuesday, July 10,2001, P 3. See also SALONE Newspaper, Monday, July 9, 2001,

perceived as the Aladura Church. According to the story,a pastor of the CCC in
Freetown was involved in a Cocaine deal. According to the statement
broadcasted over the 98.1 radio station, the pastor of the Celestial Church was
last week arrested with cocaine. The news was all over on the radio and the
various Newspapers. The Acting Provincial Head (a local leader) of the Church
of the Lord (Aladura) in Sierra Leone had to disclaim the story as reported on the
radio and in the press.
The Independent OBSERVER of Wednesday, June 6, 2001, on the Front-page
had it captioned: "Bishop Disclaims Cocaine Church". This Newspaper reported:

"Rt. Rev. Bishop Samuel O. D. Macarthy, head of the Aladura Church, said yesterday
that the Celestial Church at Lumley where police recently discovered hard drugs is not
an Adejobi Church (Adejobi is the pseudonym for the Church of the Lord Aladura in
Sierra Leone), as the police claimed last week.,,240


The sixtieth Tabieorar celebration was widely reported in the Nigerian media.
Many newspapers and Radio stations carried reports on the Tabieorar Festival.
The PTL News of August, 1996 on its Back-page carried a report captioned: "60
Years of Tabieorar". The Newspaper reported:

"From the dusk of Thursday, August 22 nd to the dawn of Friday, August 23rd 1996, the
quiet town ofOgere-Remo in Ogun State would play host to the hundreds of thousands
of worshippers and faithfuls of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide in this
year's edition of its annual Tabieorar Prayer Retreat. According to a source from the
organisers, this year's meeting is very special for being the 60 th of the meeting which
was started from a revelation to the founder and the first Primate of the Church late Dr.
losiah Olunowo Ositelu in 1937 ...
The prayer meeting is highly reputed for answered prayers ... the annual Tabieorar
meeting is also known for divine solution to all shades of problems and affiictions,
many women have been delivered of long years of bareness, many have witnessed
outstanding success and breakthrough in their different callings, while a lot have been
promoted on their jobs, others are problems of won cases.
Mount Tabieorar is also known as Mount of Transfiguration as many people's lives are
expected to change for the better through the divine power of God. Prayers are
expected to be offered for Nigeria in particular, and all other nations of the world in
general, that there could be peace and justice. Prayers would also be offered for the

240 Independent OBSERVER Newspaper, Wednesday, June 6, 2001, Front-page. See also The POINT
Newspaper, Wednesday, June 13, 2001, P 2; The POOL Newspaper, Thursday, June 7, 2001, p 3; and The
African CHAMPION Newspaper, Saturday, June 9, 2001, Front-page.

church (body) of Christ in Nigeria and all over the world. Individual participants would
also have the opportunity to pray over their problems ... ,,241

The pastoral visit of the Primate of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) to the
Federal Capital of Nigeria, Abuja was extensively reported in the diverse media
(Television: NTA, Radio: Radio-Nigeria and diverse Newspapers).
For example, the PUNCH Newspaper of Monday, May 28, 2001 reported:

" ... The Primate of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, Or. Rufus Ositelu,
gave admonitions on Sunday in separate interviews with journalists in Abuja ...
Ositelu ... stressed the need to give the Obasanjo administration a chance. He
expressed the optimism that things would improve. The cleric, who gave the assurance
during the launching of the church's N 10 million (Ten Million Naira) fund in Abuja,
said: 'it requires a lot of patience on the part of Nigerians because, it is not easy to
repair what some people had damaged in the last 12 years ... He called on the Federal
government to ensure that infrastructural facilities are put in place for the willing
investors. ,,242

As part of the Tabieorar season activities, the PTL Newspaper and the TRENDS
Journal among other media establishments carried extensive reports on the
Tabieorar festival of the year 2001.
The PTL Newspaper of August 2001 on its front-cover carried a report
The Newspaper reported:

"As the entire members of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide would be
gathering at this year's annual Tabieorar festival on Wednesday 22 nd August, 2001
participants have been promised a special harvest of Tabieorar blessings as it had been
revealed by God. This part of the assurance given by the spiritual head and the Primate
of the Church, Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu in a pre-Tabieorar exclusive
interview with PTL News. The man of God speaking on this year's Tabieorar festival
saw the annual gathering as a glorious and miracle filled one. On the Tabieorar night,
there will be several prayers for different needs of the participants, the nation and the
world at large ... One of the main expectations of the annual Tabieorar festival is to
release a book of revelation in which various prophecies and predictions are published
for individuals, groups, professions and nations. PTL News was with the Primate of the
Church of the Lord (Aladura) Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu. The Primate a
well informed and highly tutored religious leader with very sound academic excellence
with a PhD in Computer Science and Theology, in this interview with PTL News takes
the advantage to speak on his Church, other churches of God in Nigeria, the current
issues in the society, politics, economy, education and several others with a predictive
counsel that a very bright future is assured for Nigeria.,,243

241 PTL News, Vol. 2 No 9, August, Lagos, 1996, Back-page.

242 PUNCH Newspaper, Monday, May 28,2001. See also The GUARDIAN Newspaper, Monday, May 28, 2001.
243 PTL Newspaper, August, 2001, Front-page, p 3 through p 5.

The Glamour TRENDS Journal of August 29,2001 on page 10 carried a report
captioned: "Olabayo's Taborah Is Fake". The journal reported:

"The name Ositelu certainly rings a bell, but not many people know Primate Rufus
Ositelu, a professional computer scientist who has spent over twenty-five years in
Europe and America making money. Of course, through the years, he has worked hard
to earn quite some respect for himself that it seems he can no longer beg for food.
However, all that changed in August 22, 1998 when he was proclaimed the Primate of
the Church of the Lord (Aladura), and the suave cleric did not hesitate to take up the
mantle as he had always been willin§ in his about forty-nine years on earth to do
nothing-else but the bidding of God. ,,24

The Monitor Newspaper of Sunday, November 25, 2001 on page A9 carried a

report captioned: "Primate Ositelu predicts attacks on USA. The newspaper

"Primate Dr. Rufus Ositelu, the supreme head of the Church of the Lord (Aladura)
Worldwide had predicted the event of September 11, 2001 when suspected terrorists
attacked the World Trade Centre (WTC) in New York and the Pentagon.,,245

In another publication, the Sunday Tribune Newspaper of Sunday, December 16,

2001 on page twenty-seven carried a report captioned: "Cleric warned US of
terrorist attack". The newspaper reported:

"The September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre which led to the death
of over six thousand people in New York could have been averted.if the government of
the United States of America has taken cognisance of the pre-warning revelation words
released on the 22 nd August 2000 by Primate Dr. Rufus Ositelu of the Church of the
Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, Ogere Remo in Ogun State. 246

The said Tabieorar revelations were sent to the embassies of the respected
countries in Lagos. The embassy of the United States of America thankfully
acknowledged its two copies long before the September 11,2001 event.

United Kingdom

The PRIDE Magazine of March, 2001 on page thirty-eight through forty-five

carried a report on the Church of the Lord (Aladura) in the United Kingdom
captioned: "THE PRAYER PEOPLE".

244 Glamour TRENDS Journal, August 29,2001, Front-page and p 10-11.

245 The Monitor Newspaper, Sunday, November 25, 2001, pA9.
246 Sunday Tribune Newspaper, Sunday, December 16, 2001, p27.

Marcia Blake for the PRIDE Magazine seeks to unravel the divine mysteries of
the Aladura worshippers in white and reported:

"It's Sunday on the streets of south-east London, when groups of worshippers clad
entirely in white converge on the steps of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) in
Walworth. Donning long-flowing African-style ceremonial garments, other blanched
outfits evoke vestiges of a colonial past. Striking in appearance, the Aladura
worshippers proudly wear their religious beliefs and their prayers on their pure white
sleeves .. , Deaconess Betty Odunsi dismisses the charges levelled at the sartorially
conscious church: 'We are all equal before the Lord and so these garments are a sign of
equality and humility before the Lord', she explains. 'When I used to go to other
churches, there was always the worry about what to wear to church, and who had the
biggest and best hat. Here, we can just focus on coming to praise God.' Disciple Nigel
Armstrong (a Briton undergoing pastoral training in the Church) agrees: 'We have had
opposition from other churches who think we are a cult because we wear white
garments but for us, it is to show that we are all the same before God.' ... A devout
people, the Aladura pray more openly, vocally and expressively than more reserved
Christian churches. Pentecostal in power, outlook and practice, members play music,
dance, sing and shout their praises to the Lord to attain health, wealth and happiness.
The Aladura believe that if they pray, they will receive ...
Through the power of prayer and fasting, proven testimonies among the assembled
congregation range from a 'barren' woman who had several children to an unhealthy
one who became well again. 'Aladura means those who believe in the efficacy of
prayer, and it is through prayer that so much can be achieved: the sick can be healed,
evil spirits can be chased away, and you can hear God's message', Armstrong says ...
'Being a Pentecostal Church, we are as most Pentecostal Churches are: alive with the
Holy Spirit. Therefore, God directs our churches through the Holy Spirit. Some people
find it difficult to believe that God can give revelations to human beings in this day and
age. They believe that God is dead or that revelations might have happened a long time
ago - but as He (God) gave them to the prophets two thousand years ago, the same
power is alive today. In the Pentecostal churches, we receive that power of spiritual
gifts' ...
As its most extreme, such powers of spirit have resulted in tragic cases like 8-year-old
Anna Climbie's, killed appalling physical injuries inflicted by her adoptive mother
Marie Kouao and Kouao's boyfriend Carl Manning. Both devotees of the Universal
Church of the Kingdom of God, they took Anna to church in the belief that she could
be rid of the evil demons they claimed were possessing her. Cases like these forge
attitudes towards the 'sinister' practices of post-colonial Christian churches. While the
Aladura (The Church of the Lord - Aladura) have remained scandal-free. this
church is not exempt from outside suspicion ...
Founded in famine-ridden Nigeria by Dr. Josiah Olunowo Ositelu, Aladura origins
reflect a Pentecostal quest for true spirituality. An African Independent Church, the
Aladura was a response to the paternalistic Christianity of 1920s. European
missionaries who denounced African traditions as backward and uncivilised - elements
persisting in current mainstream British attitudes to African Independent Churches ...
The Aladura Church in Walworth, founded (pioneered) in 1964, was the first of its
kind to be established in the UK, forming the European arm of the Church. Other
London branches have since been set up in Westbourne Park, Lewisham and Islington

plus another in Handsworth, Birmingham with British membership currently around
2,500 ... For the Aladura in Walworth and the world over, African elements of
Christian spirit, power, life and victory continue to ring loudly, vocally and true.,,247


In the International Review of MISSION on Open Space: The African Christian

Diaspora in Europe and the Quest for Human Community, Vol. LXXXIX No.
354, July 2000, on pages 384-386, Dr. Rufus Ositelu submitted a paper on: "The
Role of an African Instituted Church in the Mission Debate". Ositelu submitted:

" ... The mission of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) in Europe and other parts of the
world is mainly to spread the good news, viz, the message of our Lord Jesus Christ, to
every nook and corner of this world, irrespective of the hearer's nationality, race or
political leaning. It is also to show the world one other way to worship God in truth
and in spirit, in which the worshippers may feel the presence of God.
The main goal of this mission is to gain new people for Christ Jesus and to receive the
lost souls, which have been carried away by the material things of this world, so that
they may come to the knowledge of Christ as their Savior and Redeemer of humankind
... The recognition and adoption of the Aladura practices (e.g. clapping, dancing and
other expressions) by main line churches is not only very visible today in Nigeria but
also in Ghana and the entire continent of Africa.
The mainline churches in Africa are today referred to as the 'so-called mission
churches', because they now see. and describe themselves as African Independent
Churches, which also now have their spiritual and administrative leadership in Africa
and no longer in the European and American capitals. This is main reason why the
African Indigenous Churches now refer to themselves as African Instituted Churches
or African Initiated Churches (AICs) ... Cooperation among Christians of diverse
denominations, traditions and cultural backgrounds is very important in our endeavour
to achieve the unity, which our Lord Jesus Christ prayed for in John 17:21, that all
believers may be one just as the Father and the Son are one ... The mission landscape
has changed immensely. The whole world is today a 'global village'. The whole world
is a mission field. Therefore, there is no special mission landscape as defined in the
olden days. Ecumenism should therefore be our watchword in the spirit of give and

247PRIDE Magazine, March 2001, p 38-45.

248The International Review of MISSION on Open Space: The African Christian Diaspora in Europe and the
Quest for Human Community, VoL LXXXIX No. 354, July 2000, p 384-386. See also YOL Magazine, (Langen:
Ausliinderbeirat der Stadt Langen, 1995), p 4-7; Zeitschrift fuer Missionswissenschaft und
Religionswissenschaft, (Ottilien: EOS Verlag, 1999), p 169-176; and Religionen der Welt, (FrankfurtlMain:
Fachhochschulverlag, 1997), p 59-60.

The Christian Churches have been called by Christ to be the light and salt of the
world by teaching and putting into practice the teachings of Christ Jesus. 249
Christians should therefore see themselves not only in their relationship to the
church, but importantly in their relationship to Christ's kingdom.

Africa has been and still is exploited by the Western world. We were led to
believe that Africa only had things to learn from the Western world. This is
wrong. Both the Africans and the Western world have something to learn from
each other. More especially, the Western world should learn from Africa - her
cultures, traditions and religions, which are steeped in ancient knowledge, beauty
and wisdom.

The African theology is concerned with expressing the Christian Gospel from an
African cultUral background, and to take the positive attitude to African
traditions, which are not contrary to the teachings of the Bible and thus
remaining true to the Gospels.

The churches in the Western world should start to learn from the African
Churches that the division between the producer of theology (theologians) and
the consumers of theology (Church members) is not the only way to deal with
the Bible.

The ALADURA Churches have proved that there is another way to deal with the
Bible. For example - The Church of the Lord (Aladura) holds Bible-lessons
(Sunday-school), on every Sunday Morning during the Morning Worship
Service. The Church produces yearly a Sunday School Guide for all their
adherents. Some of the other AICs both in Africa and in the Diaspora do make
use of the yearly Sunday School Guide from the Church of the Lord (Aladura),
as they do not have one of their own.

The existence of ALADURA Churches in the Western world has prompted some
European Churches to start complaining about the African Liturgy, African
music, African custom and African theological understanding. A lot of the
European Churches and their priests actually admit that the above-mentioned
African characteristics are very good but with resentment, thus: "but they don't
agree with our European custom".

249 Matthew 5:13-16; NIV.

What is important is to see if mankind will benefit or lose for allowing religion
to occupy such a dominating position in human history. Therefore it is necessary
for both the African Instituted Churches and Old Mission Churches to work
together for the benefit of mankind and to share fellowship in unity, in bounds of
peace with each other and other groups or bodies who worship and serve Jesus
Christ as Lord and Redeemer in truth and in spirit.

"My prayer is not for my followers alone. I pray also for those who will believe
in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father,just as you are
in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that
you have sentme." (John 17:20-21; NIV).25o

"For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body ... and we were all given
the one Spirit to drink. " (1 Corinthians 12: 13; NIV).251

The Christian Church is therefore called upon to encourage ecumenical

relationship with other denominations.
As we are being looked upon by others as the followers of Christ, we must let
our light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise our
heavenly Father (Matthew 5:16). It is imperative therefore, that we should
discourage power struggle and divisions within our systems, that we may be one,
in the ecumenical spirit, just as the Father is one with our Lord Jesus Christ
(John 17:21).

250 John 17:20.21; NIV.

251 1 Corinthians 12:13; NIV.

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VANGUARD Newspaper, Thursday, July 12,2001, (Lagos, Nigeria).

VANGUARD Newspaper, Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, (Lagos, Nigeria).

VANGUARD Newspaper, Friday, June 29,2001, (Lagos, Nigeria).

VANGUARD Newspaper, Monday, August 20,2001, (Lagos, Nigeria)

VANGUARD Newspaper, Thursday, November 15,2001, p5 (Lagos, Nigeria).

VANGUARD Newspaper, Friday, November 30, 2001, Front-page (Lagos,


VANGUARD Newspaper, Thursday, January 10,2002, p35 (Lagos, Nigeria).

Vanguard Daily Online, Friday, March 9,2001 (Lagos, Nigeria).

Vanguard Daily Online, Saturday, February 16,2002 (Lagos, Nigeria).

Walvoord, John F., The Holy Spirit: A Comprehensive Study of the Person and
Work of the Holy Spirit, (Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991).

Webster, J. B., "Independent Christians in Africa: Christianity in Modern

Africa ", (London: LongmanlHistorical Society of Nigeria, 1969).

Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language -

Unabridged Second Edition, (William Collins Publishers, Inc., 1979).

Williamson, Akan Religion And The Christian Faith, Accra, Ghana.

Welboum, F. and Ogot, B. M., A Place To Feel At Home, London, Oxford

University Press, 1962.

World Council of Churches, "A Jubilee Assembly", Harare, Zimbabwe, 3-14

December 1998.

World Council of Churches, "Open Space: The African Christian Diaspora In

Europe And The Quest For Human Community - INTERNATIONAL REVIEW
OF MISSION", Geneva: WCC, 2000.

YOL Magazine, (Langen: AusHinderbeirat der Stadt Langen, 1995).

Zeitschrift fuer Missionswissenschaft und Religionswissenschaft, (Otlilien: EOS

Verlag, 1999), p 169-176; and Religionen der Welt, (FrankfurtlMain:
Fachhochschulverlag, 1997).

Most of the material for this study has been drawn from the selected number of
sources. Most of the material concerning the Church of the Lord (Aladura)
Worldwide has been drawn from the Church's sources, before the 1960s, there
was very little documentary reference to Ositelu elsewhere, and the memory of
those outside the Church who knew him has been found demonstrably faulty by
western and African writers. On the other hand, memory of the members of the

Church for factual matters, such as dates, places and background stories of
incidents, has been proved very accurate.

An account of events up to 1926, from Ositelu's pen, was published in identical

form in the Church's magazines: "The Key of Heaven", and "The Ideal
Christian ", in 1946.

The Church's sources for the early period include the six journals of Ositelu's
visions, and his general journal begun in 1929.

An account of events from 1925 to 1955, from Ositelu's dictation, is available in

the y oruba language in the form of a manuscript. This account is more
circumstantial as regards the historical events in the Church than any
documentary reference available elsewhere till now.

The other Church sources are the writings of the previous primates and the
incumbent Primate.

The account of the Guardian Online Sunday, March 4, 2001 was found on the
Internet website:

The account of Vanguard Daily Online Friday, March 9, 2001 was found on the
website: 103090336.html

The account of Vanguard Daily Online Saturday, February 16, 2002 Was found
on the Internet website:

Terence Mahler's own correction of the salvationary truth can be found on the

Olumba Obu's version of the true king of kings can be found on the website:

One of the striking features of the changed demography of world
Christianity has been the emergence and growth of the African
Instituted Churches (AlCs).
This book is therefore provided for those who desire to study the
African initiatives in Christianity. The book is intended to serve as
a valuable material to teachers and students of African Instituted
The customs, culture and traditions of the African or any other
peoples of the world are to serve as beautiful compliments to the
Christian faith and belief, and not diametrically opposed to it.
His Eminence, Most Reverend Dr. Rufus Okikiolaolu Olubiyi
OSITELU is the incumbent Primate of the Church of the Lord
(Aladura) Worldwide and a PhD holder in both Computer Science
and Theology. He has written several books and has presented several
papers at higher institutions, conferences and academic journals.

LIT ISBN 3-8258-6087-6

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