If you want to understand Apostle Joseph Babalola, you have to remember that in Acts 8, when Philip went down to Samaria with the gospel of Jesus Christ, it was not to speak many words. He went there as Paul went to Corinth, not with words of man’s wisdom, but with the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power.
The people of Samaria were so confused and awed by witchcraft, that they called it the power of God. Philip changed all that so much that the sorcerer himself, wanted to be saved
When Ayodele Joseph Babalola was raised by God in South West Nigeria in the year 1930; it was to silence witchcraft that had gripped men so viciously, and to turn them from the power of Satan to Jesus Christ.
Many were saved. Men saw the raw power of God in manisfestation destroying the power of witches and wizards and obliterating fear and black magic from their lives. This man will clear a field in the forest for a crusade and the town will be waiting for him and his team to drop dead because it is an evil forest. Instead, witches will start confessing their evil works and crying out for Jesus, in the crusade.
There were thousands of miracles, and manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. People were able to interpret tongues, even though they had not been TAUGHT these things from the word. The lame walked and many with terminal diseases were healed. Many incredible things happened. Hospitals were emptied. Many came from most parts of Africa without TV or adverts. Joseph Babalola preferred to use water in the literal sense to bless and heal people. It was a demonstration of faith, NOT a doctrine. He was doing it to help the faith of the people in a way they could understand. He was not an academic person, and the people were not academic people. He knew little of the Bible. It was after the power of God came on him that he began to study the Bible.
BUT HE WAS A PRAYING MAN. It was basically a prayer revival, hence the term Aladura. Adura is prayer in Yoruba. Apostle Babalola could pray seated on one spot for three days. He would visit you and that prayer thing will just start and you will sleep and wake up, go out and come in, and the man of God will still be on that seat praying. And like Philip, there were several testimonies of God transporting this man from place to place supernaturally.
Now, like Peter and John came down to Samaria, God sent Sydney Granville Elton into this situation. He was 30 years when he came to Nigeria with the word in 1937. At some point, he tried to explain to Babalola that his vision of a rod and a bottle of water were symbols of God’s authority and anointing respectively, but the apostle did not exactly agree. Perhaps, if he had, the people will have learned the word, moved up in faith, and not have been locked up in the doctrine of water, which is not what Apostle Babalola at all intended.
Sir Elton was a bastion of the gospel according to the word of God. He TAUGHT people from the word, about the Holy Spirit, the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, marriage, deliverance, and everything…from the word perspective. He was said to take a seat and speak living words like someone receiving a dictation from heaven. He once taught on deliverance and then conducted a once for all deliverance service for everyone there, and that was it. Those who had been ill, bound to spiritual and ancestral curses from their previous religions went on to become missionaries and pastors and full fledged saints. Many many miracles were recorded, both of salvation and healing.
GOD USED Pa Elton to bring the word into the power moves and ministries, so that they don’t get carried away into spiritism and be able to judge all things by the word. Many men of God drank from that fountain. For instance, Gordon Lindsay (a wondeful man, and contemporary of Kenneth Hagin) told Pa Elton that he had a vision where he saw a black man kneeling before him. God told Pa Elton that the man was Benson Idahosa, and he told Lindsay. Lindsay asked for Idahosa to be sent to him, and that’s how Idahosa went to Gordon Lindsay Bible school, and met TL Osborn, Oral Roberts and the others.
That brings us to Archbishop Benson Idahosa.
Many do not understand the difference between a thing and the abuse of a thing.
Once a thing has been abused, people quickly lump the two up and reject the very thing. This is a common error.
Many confuse the abuse of religion with religion itself
Many confuse the abuse of tithe, with tithe itself
Likewise, many confuse the abuse of prosperity, with prosperity itself
IN THOSE DAYS, “pentecostal” churches with all the word, tongues and miracles were despised. They were called “mushroom” gospel churches. In 1976 when General Olusegun Obasanjo visited Bendel State as military head of state; civil servants, justices of the court and clergy, were there to welcome the head of state. The security men went to the queue to identify those waiting.
Idahosa who was there, and introduced himself as Rev. Idahosa but they said he was not supposed to part of the dignitaries, that it was for bishops, those who were recognized by government. He was bundled out, and that day vowed that the church will be a force to be reckoned with. He saw that the “Pentecostals” were schemed out of things. He had this boldness and anointing to bring pentecostalism to national and international relevance. Elijah was the enemy of the kings in his time, but Elisha was called “my father, my father, the chariots of Israel, and the horsemen thereof”. That was Idahosa.
Bishop Oyedepo, Bishop Wale Oke, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, and several others, drank deeply from this stream; as well as followed the men he went after, such as TL Osborn, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland etc
MANY OF THE upstarts speaking against Bishop Oyedepo and others today will not be pastors today, if the likes of Archbishop didnt resist those things. Ministry was FAR FROM a young man’s thing then. Go into ministry, and your family would shed tears; and your fiancee would leave you. Have you read what Bishop Oyedepo said when he proposed to Mama faith? It was not all this Tinsel talk of nowadays. It was a carry your cross for the joy set before you thing. It was Archbishop Idahosa that changed the narrative. He was the first to start insisting on instruments and public address systems, when all the church used were tambourines, shekere, and talking drum. You will go to a gospel church with about 2000 members, and there will be only 4 cars in the car park, whereas in the Catholic and Anglican churches several people had cars.
Many believers just wanted to spend all the time in church activities but were not doing so well outside those four walls. In the process of mingling with believers across the world and studying the scriptures, Idahosa began to preach that we don’t have to live in poverty in the name of serving God that prosperity is for God’s children. Prosperity mindset became a necessity. He was really concerned about the pentecostal churches. He spent a great deal of his life and ministry mentoring and strengthening other ministries outside Church of God Missions, his own ministry. He was a father.
Those close to him know that he was a simple man and he did not elevate materialism above holiness. You know it was an exciting thing for us to know that we could still prosper and be Christians.
BUT JUST AS Apostle Babalola did not accept Pa Elton’s worded interpretation of his visions and leadings.
So also did Pa Elton not take it well when Benson Idahosa first started being a bishop, and then an Archbishop. It broke his heart. He had warned against titles and about over-focusing on prosperity.
This was when God raised the man called Pastor WF Kumuyi with the holiness message, so that just as deep fellowship with Scripture was to limit the excesses of people given to deep prayer, and righteous prosperity was to help those given to prayer and the word to shine in the world, so also would holiness message limit the excesses of prosperity message.
I can never forget the first time I heard him speak through a screen/live broadcast. The fingerprint of Jesus was so heavy on me, just listening. I just heard Jesus talking, and stood transfixed to the spot. As far as I’m concerned, all the devil’s box, don’t wear this, don’t wear that; were to me, quite ephemeral. The dimension to the body of Christ through him, was strongly evident.
He was sent to call believers who had being blessed by the prayer of Aladura, the word of SU, and were now enjoying the prosperity of word of faith; to call them to holiness.
These were dimensions God brought in to build up the church. And of the many that stepped foot on the soils of Nigeria, and live or lived here
MOST of the DELIVERANCE, and PRAYER ministries can be traced back to Joseph Babalola or Joseph Oshoffa, and others
MOST of the WORD ministries can be traced back through SG Elton, and the SU Revival, and others
MOST of the FAITH for PROSPERITY ministries can be traced back through Benson Idahosa, and others
MOST of the HOLINESS ministries can be traced througn Adeboye and Kumuyi, and others
BUT BY THE TIME Pastor Kumuyi came on the scene, the Babalola-like churches and the Elton-like ministries and the Idahosa-like churches were separated by certain cracks; such that the Aladura move and the Evangelical move of the SU, and the word of faith moves were already separate.
Holiness camp was therefore also set up, and without the others, stretched into legalism beyond what the set man could handle. For instance, the (Late) Mrs. Kumuyi once told women in Deeper Life that it was not every time they should cover their heads, but they should do so only when praying and prophesying. The women thought Pastor Kumuyi’s wife was wrong. The could not believe she would say that, and elders in the ministry have opposed Pastor Kumuyi for trying to deviate from ‘holiness message’
Just as disciples took the manifestations of Babalola and made it a doctrine
So did disciples take the word and tongues of Elton and make it a fad
So also did disciples of Idahosa take prosperity and make it THE message
As did disciples of Deeper Life take holiness message and stretch it into legalism
Everyone formed their own ideological and doctrinal camp.
I conclude with the RCCG. As greatly anointed as Pastor Adeboye is, he has formed no other camps than the redemption camp on Kilometre 46, Lagos Ibadan expressway, where everyone is welcome. You would be amazed how many different kinds of ministers have been there to visit, and even hold their own meetings. Pa Akindayomi, his predecessor and founder (who founded the RCCG in 1952) was already a stronghold of prayer, encounters with the Holy Spirit, holiness, and Bible study, and passed these verities to baba. As a young brilliant man, baba went after Kenneth Hagin; he went after Pa Elton. Bishop Francis Wale Oke brought him and Archbishop Benson Idahosa together, and they had fellowship. So RCCG did not throw their tambourines away when they picked up microphones and instruments and air conditioning.
When the inspiration of model parishes came, and was opposed by some of the Aladura style of worship elders, Pastor Adeboye encouraged it mightily. There is no perfect church, but RCCG nationwide and worldwide is the closest example of what the church should be like: old women, young men, excited youths, orthodox like elders, tongue talkers, Baba-se, Baba-se prayer warriors; worded fellows….everyone finds a place. They have helped those who are tired of the monotony of Catholic and Anglican, the practices of Aladura, the legalism of holiness, the Hebrew and Greek of word of faith, and the excesses of focusing on prosperity; to find a place to worship.
That’s what it means to be a shepherd, and a pastor.
Space will fail me to speak of so many others; but Joseph Babalola was more of an apostle, Pa Elton a teacher, Benson Idahosa a prophet, Enoch Adeboye a pastor, and well, Reinhard Bonnke was an evangelist.
He (that is, JESUS CHRIST) is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ,
Until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.
Then we will no longer be like children, FOREVER CHANGING OUR MINDS ABOUT WHAT WE BELIEVE BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS TOLD US SOMETHING DIFFERENT OR BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS CLEVERLY LIED TO US AND MADE THE LIE SOUND LIKE THE TRUTH.
Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. AS EACH PART DOES ITS OWN SPECIAL WORK, IT HELPS THE OTHER PARTS GROW, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
God has sent us various men over the years, to build His church, by comprehending with all the saints in love, storey by storey, to heavenly heights, and lengths, and depths, and breadths, into a habitation of the Spirit, filled with all the fullness of God, Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.
Instead we keep building several great big bungalows.
Is it not time to have the former rain and the latter rain together in the same generation, and to bring together ‘Luther’s Faith’, ‘Calvin’s Grace’, ‘Wesley’s Holiness’, ‘Finney’s Conviction’, ‘Kenyon’s New Creation’, ‘Wigglesworth’s Power’, ‘Watchman Nee’s Christ Crucified’ ‘Hagin’s Love’, ‘Yonggi Cho’s Church Growth’, ‘Tanee Fomum’s Consecration’, and ‘Strong’s Hebrew and Greek’; etc, so that the beautiful name of Jesus be magnified in all the earth, and in Heaven.
It is time.
So let the people of God say…
© Ebele Uzopeters