ORIGIN OF PENTECOSTALISM AND THE BIRTH OF ALADURA GROUP
Proceeding from the points of convergence already enunciated by The Apostolic Church author, here are the agreed accounts of how the first indigenous Pentecostal movement started in Nigeria. Daddy Alli, a sexton of Saint Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ijebu Ode had a dream in which he saw the members of the Anglican Church parish divided into two. The first group was large but was in darkness because the group was not praying but the second group was small and was in sparkling light because it was praying. In the morning, he rushed to the Vicar of St. Saviour’s, Rev. Ganzallo to relate the story to him but the white man dismissed the dream as having no special meaning.
Although Daddy Alli was disturbed and embarrassed by the response of the vicar, he believed that the dream had a meaning and so he left the vicar but still unconvinced. A few days later, he saw the same vision. This time, he went to the people’s warden, a self-employed goldsmith and a member of the Lagos synod of the church, Mr Joseph Sadare, also known as Esinsinade and related the dream to him. Mr Sadare immediately took steps to put the vision into effect by informing D.C. Oduga, E.O. Onabanjo and E.O.W. Olukoya. Together with Daddy Alli, the five of them started to pray at regular intervals.
Soon other members of the church joined the praying group. True to the vision of Pa Alli, God began to manifest His power in their midst as they began to see the effects of answered prayers. The church’s vicar, Rev. Ganzallo, who had dismissed Pa Alli’s vision as a result of over-sleeping, gave them support. He reportedly joined them on some occasions to pray. He was said to be directing the group, the church members’ prayer requests. The group which was holding its prayer meetings on Sunday evenings, soon realized that it needed more time to pray as prayer requests were increasing. The group then changed its prayer meetings to Monday.
Around the same time, The Lord had called a young lady, a school teacher, named Sophia Odunlami, a native of Isonyin in Ijebu Ode area. She had the gift of prophecy. She had an attack of influenza, which was ravaging Nigeria at the time and which had killed several hundreds of people. This prophetess survived by following what the Holy Spirit told her to do. She thereafter became an advocate of divine healing. She recommended the use of “sanctified” water for the treatment of those attacked by the disease, and there was a tremendous survival rate among those who followed her instruction. She was introduced to the prayer group and she became a member. Through her prophecy, the group was instructed against the eating of kola nut, drinking alcoholic drink including palm wine, the use of amulets and juju belt called onde and juju rings and pieces of jewelry. Sophia Odunlami not only preached God’s message in Ijebu Ode and its environ, but she also went as far as Ibadan to preach. The prayer group, which at this stage is now known as the Precious Stone Society, greatly benefited from the membership of this young prophetess.
Another person whose membership also had a great impact on the society was then Mr David Osmond Ogunleye Odubanjo.
FROM PRECIOUS STONE TO FAITH TABERNACLE
The classification of Christ Apostolic Church as a “daughter church” to The Apostolic Church became more illogical with The Apostolic Church authors’ admission of the fact that Christ Apostolic Church was established on the pioneering work which started in 1918 at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ijuebu-Ode when Joseph Sadare (a.k.a. Esinsinade), Sophia Odunlami, Mr David Ogunleye Odubanjo, and others of like mind, formed a prayer group, supported by the clergyman of the church, at the initial state. Once this fact had been admitted, there was no basis to say The Apostolic Church gave birth to Christ Apostolic Church again. The reason is that it is not possible for both the mother and her daughter to be born the same day by the same parents.
The Apostolic Church authors admitted that the prayer group which started in 1918 and led by Joseph Shadare and later D.O. Odubanjo grew to become a formidable society named Precious Stone Society or Diamond Society and within a short time, the society was formed in other branches of the Anglican Church. The society, which was holding its prayer meetings in the premises of St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ijebu Ode had its faith in the power of God to perform miracles bolstered during the influenza epidemic (aisan lukuluku) that broke out shortly after the First World War. Through the power of prayer, most of the members of the church and the relations of the prayer band’s members who were infected by the viral disease were healed as the group prayed for them, and as they adhered to the prophetic directives of Miss Sophia Odunlami.
The prayer band’s exploits became known in other Anglican Church branches and people of like-minds formed Precious Stone or Diamond groups in various Anglican Churches in Lagos, Ibadan, Ilesa, Oyan and Ile-Ife.
Soon, tension rose between the group and the leadership of Anglican Church at Ijebu-Ode, as the band members were seen as radical and non-conformist elements, who were on changing the status quo. This was due to the prayer band’s belief in divine healing, opposition to infant baptism, reliance on dreams and visions, abstention from the revelry, dancing, drumming, drinking of alcohol, gambling, debt-owing, idolatry and mixing with non-Christians.
As a result of the tension, members of the group were subjected to serious persecution. They were sent out of the church, those of them who were employed by the church were forced to resign their employment. Mr Joseph Sadare was compelled to give up his post at the synod. Others were forced to withdraw their children from the Anglican Church’s schools.
Earlier in the life of the prayer band, David Odubanjo had established contacts with the Faith Tabernacle of Philadelphia, USA, through Pastor A. Clark, its leader, with whom he exchanged correspondence. In turn, Pastor Clark would send tracts, especially ‘The Sword of the Spirit’, a publication which revived the group and helped to crystallize their doctrines. As the persecution of members of the prayer band intensified, the group had no choice but to affiliate with the Faith Tabernacle of Philadelphia, USA.
In less than a decade, branches of the Faith Tabernacle had been established in Nigeria, especially, in all the towns where the Diamond Society had been operating. The group also spread their tentacles to Jos, Minna, Zaria and other West African countries including Ghana.
THE CALL OF APOSTLE JOSEPH AYO BABALOLA
|Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola
The call of Joseph Ayo Babalola in October, 1928 was to have salutary effects on, and change the fortunes of the Faith Tabernacle forever. Ayo Babalola was a roller driver who was posted to Akure-Owena-Ilesa road, then under construction by the Public Works Department. He was working under a British Manager called Mr Ferguson. Somewhere at Ikeji-Arakeji, on October 9 1928, the roller machine he was driving suddenly stopped. His boss, Mr Ferguson did everything to make the roller work, but to no avail. He (Babalola), later heard a clearly audible voice that sounded like the sound of thousands of thunders saying: “Joseph, Joseph! If you don’t quit this work, you will surely die this year”. This was repeated on the second day at the same time without Joseph paying any special attention to it. But on the third day, which was October 11, the voice called him as usual and it clearly told him that the roller would never work unless he tendered his resignation letter.
Babalola now realized that he compulsorily had to heed the warning but before taking a decision, he asked the voice: “Who are you calling me, and what work do you want me to do?” The voice replied: “If you resign and quit this work I will show you what to do”.
Just in the similitude of Saul’s encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus, those who were the Ayo Babalola only heard Babalola’s voice they couldn’t hear the voice he was speaking to. He resigned his appointment that day. When he got to his residence at Ipetu Ijesha, the voice told him to fast for four days without eating anything in order for him to see who was talking to him. On the fourth day, the voice again asked him to add another three days to make his fasting seven days. Before the dawn of the seventh day, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Ayo Babalola face to face. The whole room was filled with the glory of God, his co-tenants in the house were in deep sleep all through this vision. Babalola was awakened from his sleep and as he saw two heavenly beings, one was so tall his head reached into heaven. The second figure was obviously Jesus, he wore a sparkling white robe. It was the tall heavenly figure that spoke to Babaola that the Lord Jesus Christ who stood before him instructed the angel to bring Babalola to the presence of Jesus Christ.
The figure asked Babalola if he was hungry and he was ready to eat. As Babalola answered in the affirmative, he was given a cooked yam tuber which was divided into two. He was given half of the yam to eat. Babalola was further told that the whole world is being fed by the other half. Babalola was also given a rod of iron which was interpreted to him through Psalm 2:8. He was also given a bottle of water with a firm instruction that he should always sanctify water for the healing of all diverse diseases. This was the reason why Babalola always sanctified streams of water flowing in any town where he was holding crusade. Till today, those streams are patronized by members of the public for healing of diverse diseases. Anybody who drinks, or baths with the sanctified water would get instant healing.
Babalola also asked the Lord in this encounter how he could spread the gospel in a society full of wickedness and satanic forces without being attacked and harmed. The Lord showed him many things to confirm the fact that he had taken away all the powers of the forces of darkness.
Pastor Adeware Alokan claimed that Babalola, who had operated independently from 1928, was instructed by God to link up with the Faith Tabernacle congregation of Nigeria because they had the same doctrine and beliefs.
Daniel Ajibola was to later link Babalola with the Faith Tabernacle Group which had been praying for heaven-sent revival since 1918. The group believed in holy living and that all forms of diseases could be healed through prayers. Once they saw him, they all accepted him as the answer to their prayers. Babalola’s followers like J. A. Medaiyese, A.O. Omotoso, John Oye and J. B. orogun were also brought into the group later. Babalola was baptized by Pastor Esinsinade in 1929.
The Revival of 1930
The Faith Tabernacle leadership had fixed a meeting for Oke-Ooye in July 1930 to resolve some doctrinal issues that had been causing disputes among them. Among those at the meeting at Oke-Ooye, Ilesa were D.O. Odubanjo, I.B. Akinyele (later the Olubadan of Ibadan) and J. A. Babatope and Pastor Adegboyega. They were to later make available their wealth of experience in guiding Prophet Babalola in the revival that broke out later that day.
At that meeting, the leaders had intended to introduce the young prophet to the rest of the leadership who had not met him but while the meeting started, Babalola was in another room praying and waiting for the time when the agenda will reach the item concerning his introduction. Some of the major issues on their agenda were faith healing, polygamy and use of synthetic drugs for healing. The group had made it a taboo for any of its members to use black medicine prepared by herbalists or witch doctors. But there were some elements among the leadership who believed that the use of orthodox or synthetic medicine was not wrong. As the leaders were debating these issues, there was a mourning procession passing through the street of Oke-Ooye in front of the Church where the meeting was holding. A 12-year old boy named Bamiji Ogundipe who had died the previous night was being carried to where they would bury his remains.
Another version by a tradition from one of the eye witnesses put the story this way: Babalola was holding revival at Oke-Ooye, in Ilesa when the bereaved family brought the corpse of the 12 year-old body, Bamiji Ogundipe who died the previous night. Babalola was said to have asked the family to put the dead body under a table. He continued with his ministration. After his ministration he took a water bottle and sprinkled on the dead body as he prayed for the boy to come to life. Immediately, the boy sneezed and came back to life. Whether the first version is correct or the second, one constant element in the story is that the revival of 1930 started simultaneously as the dead body, Bamiji Ogundipe rose from the dead. There was an instant bedlam! The mourners suddenly went ecstatic, their dirge turned to praise of God and thus simultaneously began the 1930 revival.
The meeting of the leaders was forced to an abrupt end as they joined the young prophet in the revival, which news reverberated through West Africa and beyond because hospitals were deserted for the revival venue, where all the sick and the infirm, those that had been bed-ridden got instant healing. People possessed of evil spirits got instant deliverance and many idols and their owners were forced to part ways in a dramatic manner. Many possessing charms abandoned their evil possessions at revival venue as they embraced Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. All their abandoned charms were later gathered for burning.
News of the great revival spread like wild fire in harmattan and people from all over Nigeria, West Africa and other parts of Africa trooped to revival ground in Ilesa where their yokes were broken.
The great revival did not only embrace all the beliefs accepted by the Faith Tabernacle group, but also went further by embracing baptism of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual manifestation of seeing visions, prophesying, dreaming and speaking in tongues.
To show that God was indeed, ready to demonstrate His power in the affairs of the Church, also in October 1930, one of the evangelist who went to the Oke-Ooye revival, Prophet Orekoya had requested Joseph Ayo Babalola to lay his hand on him before leaving Oke-Ooye for his base in Lagos. On his way to Lagos, he branched at an assembly of Faith Tabernacle in Oke-Bola, Ibadan where he started a revival programme. During that revival, God used Prophet Orekoya to revive a pregnant woman, named Abeo, who had died for four days with her advanced pregnancy. She later gave birth to a living baby. She also lived several years more to a ripe old age.
FROM FAITH TABERNACLE TO CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH
|CAC Founding Fathers
Soon, the church began to expand at a rate that was unprecedented. At this time, the Faith Tabernacle in Nigeria had reason to discontinue its affiliation with the Faith Tabernacle of Philadelphia, USA but despite this expansion, persecution from the British colonial authorities continued. The aspect that brought the church in conflict with the state was faith healing as people were not showing up in the hospitals again. So, on behalf of members of the Church, David Odubanjo, who had been ordained as a pastor by the Faith Tabernacle, approached the British Apostolic Brothers in Bradford, England for cooperation. On September 23 1931, Pastors D. P. Williams, A. Turnbull and W. J. Williams arrived in Nigeria as guests of the Church. In November 1931, the visitors re-ordained seven Nigerians who had earlier been ordained by proxy by Pastor Clark of Faith Tabernacle. The visiting pastors later returned to England but on June 22 1932, Pastor Geourge Perfect and Prophet I. Vaughan came to Nigeria to strengthen fellowship between Nigeria brothers and British Apostolic Church. For some time, the religious activities of the white missionaries complemented the evangelical exploits of Prophet Babalola. This relationship made the Nigerian leaders to name the church Nigerian Apostolic Church.
But the expectation of Nigerians that their affiliation to British Apostolic Church would mitigate or eliminate their persecution by the colonial administration became an illusion as the authorities were unrelenting in their persecution of the church. In in spite of this, the Nigeria Church managed to remain with the Bradford Apostolic Church until 1940 when the white men were caught taking drug to heal their fever. This crisis over doctrine of ‘divine healing’ divided the leadership of the Nigerian church into two. The pre-European group was led by Pastor S. O. Adegboyega, a civil servant who had been assisting Pastor Odubanjo in the Faith Tabernacle assembly in Lagos while Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, Pastor D. O. Odubanjo and Pastor (later Oba) I. B. Akinyele led the Nigerian group.
Hence, at the General Executive council meeting held at Ibadan on December 22 1941, church delegates, made up of all pastors as well as two lay representatives from each assembly, proposed “CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH” (CAC) as the new name to be finalised at the following convention. On that occasion, the principal officers of the new church together with their deputies were proposed but as Joseph Sadare (a.k.a Esinsinade), the erstwhile leader of the Nigeria Faith Tabernacle (NFT) group declined holding office in the new Church, Isaac Akinyele who was first suggested as his deputy became president with Jacob Odusona as his deputy. Others were David Odubanjo as general superintendent while Joseph Babalola was general evangelist with David Babajide as his deputy. At the following convention which was held at Efon Alaaye in April 1942, the name CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH (CAC) was unanimously adopted. Hence, in May 1943, the church was registered under the Lands ‘Perpetual Succession Ordinance’ of 1924 with the Registration Number 147.
CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH TENETS
1. The unity of the God-head and the trinity of Persons therein.
2. The utter depravity of human nature; the necessity for repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.
3. The virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, triumphant resurrection, ascension and abiding intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ; His second coming and millennial reign on earth.
4. Justification and sanctification of the believers through the finished work of Christ.
5. The baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers with signs following.
6. The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for edification, exhortation and comfort of the church, which is the body of Christ.
7. The sacraments of baptism by immersion and the Lord’s supper.
8. The divine inspiration and authority of the holy scriptures.
9. Church government by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, elders and deacons.
10. The possibility of falling from grace.
11. The obligatory nature of tithes and offerings.
12. Divine healing through obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ and faith in His name and merit of His blood for all sicknesses, diseases and infirmities. (Isaiah 53:5, Mark 16:18, James 5:14-18).
13. Faith in God, the Jehovah Jireh to supply all your financial needs without going into debt or borrowing money on interest and to be content with having food and raiment. Godliness with contentment is a great gain and the love of money is the root of all evils (Philippians 4:19, Romans 13:8, I Timothy 6:6-10, Psalm 15:5).
Soul winning and spiritual re-awakening of the world
Leading people into the knowledge of God through an in-depth study of The Word of God, prevailing prayer, and spiritual worship
One fold, One Shepherd (John 10:16)