Are white garments (popularly called Aladura) churches really evil and occult as some orthodox and Pentecostal churches perceive them? What are the historical background and doctrinal convictions of the founder of the Cherubim & Seraphim (C&S) church, the late Saint Moses Orimolade Tunolase and the founder of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), the late Rev. SBJ Oshoffa, whose churches (the C&S and the CCC) respectively are the two front runners of the Aladura church within and outside Nigeria, their origins.
Why do the Aladura church founded on September 25, 1924, with the birth of the C&S as the first indigenous church in Nigeria attract so much criticism and condemnations today with a declining membership? By definition, an Aladura church refers to any white garment wearing church, principally of the stocks of the Cherubim & Seraphim (C&S), the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) and The Church of the Lord (Aladura) among other white robe adorning churches. However, our focus in this discourse is the Cherubim & Seraphim (C&S).
As the first indigenous church in Nigeria, the Cherubim & Seraphim in its early years of existence enjoyed so much popularity in Nigeria, and across West African countries like Benin Republic, Ghana, Togo and Cote Di Ivoire among some others that the sect suddenly became a threat to the bourgeois Western orthodox churches like the Anglican and the Methodist who were then the prominent church denominations in Nigeria until the C&S was founded in 1925; even before the Protestant and Pentecostal churches made in roads into Nigeria.
The C&S was imbued with so much spiritual power that the power was interpreted as magical power, spiritism, herbalism and occultism by its detractors in the non- Aladura churches. The Pentecostal churches joined the fray of the criticism of the C&S with their (Pentecostals) massive evangelism, crusade and revival programmes, preaching unrelentingly against the the Aladura doctrine which they condemn “ evil and ungodly doctrine.” With this, the Pentecostal churches succeeded in depleting the Aladura churches, relegating them to the background and converting many of their adherents into the Pentecostal fold. Their efforts were boosted by their western education and exposure, which was lacking in both the C&S and the CCC in their early years.
However, it cannot be deleted from history books that many of the prominent Pentecostal pastors and church leaders in Nigeria today are of the Aladura background. The rivalry between the Aladuras and the Pentecostals particularly is legendary as the former often accuse the latter of employing western education, intellectual tactics and gimmicks to evangelise and attract people; including the Aladura members to their churches.
The latter is equally fond of accusing the former of mixing Christianity with occultism, herbalism and ritual practices; the practices the Pentecostals condemn as anathema to the pure and holy Christian faith. The Pentecostals were known to be more vociferous than other church denominations in the criticism and condemnations of the Aladura church as a non- Christian and evil denomination.
This has created a yawning gap between the Aladura churches on one hand, and the Pentecostal and orthodox churches combined on the other hand. Christian Benefits magazine in its efforts at bridging the gap in the body of Christ in Nigeria, in this article, examines the Aladura church, particularly, the Cherubim & Seraphim (C&S) sect, from its historical perspective to enable people have a proper understanding of the first indigenous church in Nigeria. It’s a research effort you will enjoy reading as I welcome you into the new year 2024. Shalom! Wole Olarinde, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christian Benefits magazine; 08180301631.
SAINT MOSES ORIMOLADE TUNOLASE: THE MYTH AND THE MISSIONS OF THE C&S FOUNDER
Moses Orimolade Okejubu, the son of Tunolase, was born in Ikare, now in Akoko Division of Ondo State. The story of his life sounds like a myth. Oral and written accounts have it that while his mother, Odijoroto, was pregnant with him she experienced strange manifestations of the supernatural. The child spoke in her womb many times; sometimes greeting his mother as she engaged in domestic chores. It was reported that once, as an invisible spirit, he helped her lift a heavy load of firewood onto her head while she was faggot gathering.
When his father, the mighty warrior, Tunolase, heard of these phantom stories about the expected child from his youngest wife, he was embarrassed. He consulted the ifa oracle. The priest warned him not to terminate the pregnancy because the child is a powerful messenger of God in whose way nobody should stand. Reluctantly, Tunolase allowed the pregnancy to come to term and the prodigious baby was born in 1879.
Alarmingly, the day Moses Orimolade was born, he reportedly walked dragging his placenta along. His father was disturbed. He reported the matter to the King, Onikere, came to see this supernatural sight, the baby greeted him, “welcome father. Tunolase was shocked and enraged. The old man jealousy was ignited. He was a valiant dispenser of charms, feared the length and breadth of Ikare and deep into the heart of Nupeland. The father wanted the child to be killed; otherwise he threatened to commit suicide because, as the saying goes, “two masters cannot live in the same hut. “Old Tunolase’ was persuaded by relatives and neighbors not to take such a drastic action. Nevertheless, he managed to cripple the young Orimolade. Tunolase remained bitter towards his son, even unto death.
In his childhood days, Orimolade was exposed to the church and was baptized and christened Moses. In the new light of Christianity, he was a marvel to clerics and a living miracle of God. He started to read the Holy Bible by divine will, not having been taught by anyone to read or write. At the age of eight, it was recorded that the cripple, Moses Orimolade materialized in an Anglican church, in the dead of the night when everyone, including the minister of the church, was asleep.
The minister, as if dreaming, heard a beautiful heavenly chorale coming from the church. He woke up to more wonders. The church was brightly illuminated, and powerful beams of dazzling light shone out through the little spaces in the window- shutters and the doors.
The clergyman asked who the singers were. A lone voice answered: we are. To his amazement it was the voice of the crippled child, Moses. How, the child walked the long distances from his parents’ home to the church, and how the church filled with dazzling light at a time when Ikare had electricity, and the angelic singing in the dead of the night were miracles enough for the priest. The climax occurred when the door opened, and the priest saw the back of Moses briefly before he disappeared on spiritual wings.
As he grew he was regarded as an angelic being. His performance in music was superlative. The songs he sang were originally and divinely inspired. He had dada (dreadlocks), which his parents had tried to cut. They gave up in frustration when the twelfth razor broke. Later in life this Samson-like locks usually spread out like an umbrella over the great prophet’s head whenever he ministered in revivals.
At a point he fell seriously ill. Everyone thought he would die, but in the seventh year of the illness, God apparently spoke to Moses, saying it was time for him to begin his mission on earth. Moses Orimolade had therefore, the tripartite endowments of victory embodied in a Mosaic Rod, the authority of prayer and a crown of God’s glory.
Thereafter, he began his apostolic missionary work, spreading the word, healing and delivering people from the forces of darkness. His personal life was also full of wonders. He was reputed to hurt animals in the bush by sheer will without having the four walls of his home. He owned a farm where each harvest yam could only be carried by at least eight people. Once a huge rock fell on him, it took seven able-bodied men to roll the boulder off his prostrate body, yet he rose without suffering as much as a simple scratch.
To crown everything, Moses Orimolade Tunolase was enthroned king by a heavenly host. Eyewitness account stated that the participants were not people from this world. They swarmed around him placing a crown of most precious stone on his head and robbing him in a dazzling white, ornamented robe.
As “king” on earth, he faced idol worshippers and pagans in Ikare and environs in spiritual battle, counting on God to deliver him like he delivered Daniel from lion’s den and Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego from the conflagration. Indeed, during one of these battles, the pagan aggressors ended up fighting one other. In another episode, he made the earth open up, almost swallowing his heathen detractors.
There is also an account of how he stayed indoors for ten years without meal. During this spiritual retreat he received many visitations from mysterious guests who were eventually understood to be heavenly beings. After this retreat, he went on a trip with his mother to her home town in Edo where they sojourned for three months. Unknown to the mother, Orimolade materialized in other towns preaching the Gospel without anyone in Edo being aware of his absence.
In 1916, Orimolade left Ikare, crossing the River Ojawiri by spiritual powers, to land of the Tapa further north. Later he visited Owo, Ifon, Benin, Lokoja, Onitsha, Sapele, Kabba and Ogidi where he subdued the terrifying water spirit that manifested itself in monstrous fishes of a nearby river.
Orimolade’s evangelistic mission also took him to northern cities like Bida, Jos, Zaria- where he put up with one Marcus Thomas, and Kano-where he met one Madam Pearce. On the whole, Moses Orimolade spent about two years in the north. Thereafter, he moved to Ilorin, and later on, to Offa, Ikirun, Osogbo, Ede, Ogbomoso, Ibadan and Abeokuta.
Everywhere he went he left a trail of miraculous happenings; some good, some terrifying. A remarkable example took place in Ogbomosho, where a female sorcerer challenged his mission despite the people eagerness to benefit from his work. Orimolade left Ogbomoso placing a curse on the town. Rain did not fall; pregnant women could not give birth; things stood still after he left. The ruler of Ogbomoso had to send a special delegation to meet and plead with Orimolade in Ifako, the man of God’s fame spread far and wide even to the city of Lagos.
Mose Orimolade Tunolase stepped into Lagos on 12th July 1924, at a time when pestilence had seized the city and healer was desperately needed. As he entered the city, his followers sang: raise the alarm with seriousness, alarm of good news, let it ring far and wide, for all creatures to hear, step back, ye sinner, step back, the foundation year is here, step back, ye sinner, step back.
Orimolade made a triumphant entry into Lagos. He prayed in the name of Jesus and pestilence ceased. In departed and returned in December that same year to the displeasure of some priests of the western orthodox churches. They regarded the African apostle of Christ with disdain and contempt, the same way the churches of the west, even the Pentecostal churches of today, relate to their culturally liberated, non-imperialist indigenous counterparts, such as the latter-day Celestial Church of Christ, founded in 1947 by Samuel Oschoffa.
A certain orthodox clergyman connived with a churchwarden to plant a charm on the doorpost of the church in which Orimolade was to preach in order to harm him. He entered the church, preached and left without any problem. His detractors marveled, giving in helplessly as the man of God carried his evangelism to the heart of Lagos Island, and devastated the idol worshippers in Obun Eko. He later settled in Agosofin from where he took off to other parts of Lagos for further missionary work.
Sometimes in March 1924, he met the distinguished mother of the Cherubim & Seraphim Church, the then Miss Abiodun Akinsowon whom he salvaged from a near terminal trance, which has lasted seven days. This miracle brought about a glorious association and Abiodun became a disciple of Orimolade and this earned her the title ‘captain’ from her master because, according to the man of God, “ýou are the first seed of my work in Lagos.”
Through Abiodun, many souls including eminent, prosperous and erudite personalities were won for Christ in the Cherubim & Seraphim Church, her direct collaboration with the founding father lasted until 1928.
The movement grew, and in order to accommodate its teeming followers, it moved from Agosofin to the Holloways parcel of land along Martins street. At this point, the name Serafu emerged in visions by various interdenominational seers. Later, another visionary divined the inclusion of Kerubu on 26 March 1926 to complete the nomenclature of the church (C&S) all to the foreknowledge of the objective consciousness of the founder.
The fervor with which the church was received in Lagos was monumental. So also was it growth. The fame of the church also spread because of the signs and wonders associated with it, which included the healing of the legendary Lagos millionaire business, Da Rocha.
During Orimolade’s sojourn in Lagos, he also laid down the administrative structure and the tenets and ordinances of the church. All this happened in the midst of rising treachery by existing churches. The chosen man of God, however, marched on and his fame extended even to the palace of the British Crown when he prayed prophesied and received God’s sanction for the healing of the reigning King of Britain.
Between 1925 and 1928, the evangelic wave of the C&S spread to the whole western region. Through the efforts of captain Abiodun and others the church activities spread to Ebute-Meta on the 5th November 1925; Agege on 7th February 1926; and Ibadan, Ijebu Ode, Ile Ife, Ilesa and Ondo, among others. In 1928, towns like Igbomina and Ijabe were won for Christ.
These and many others demonstrated the successful outreach of Captain Abiodun and her lieutenants, under the sacred guardianship of the divinely anointed founder, the first Alagba and Baba Aladura, Moses Orimolade Tunolase. Soon afterwards, however, disagreements began to occur between the spiritual father and daughter. On ground of insubordination and rabble-rousing by the latter, the founder advised her, in a letter dated 8th March 1929 to dissociate from the scared order of Cherubim & Seraphim and if, she wished, to establish her own movement in the interest of peace. Thus began the fragmentation of the order. More splinter groups broke off, and the elders of goodwill are still trying to bring them back into fold.
Before the completion of his life’s mission, Moses Orimolade has been exposed to the realities of modern life. The dissonance of some of his followers served as an eye-opener. Therefore, he firmed up the legality of the order as an African ecclesiastical legacy that would be untarnishable over time He took constitutional precautions for the order and had it registered according to the law. This helped to protect it against litigious mischief-making.
His departure from the mortal world was presaged by visible activities of the celestial realm especially in October 1933. A meteor shot across the sky on 13th October. Five days later, at Ojokoro, a suburb of Agege where he drew his last breath, the same heavenly chorus which was heard when he was a youngster enveloped his abode and was heard by his disciples. Then he began to bless and pray for them, and for the church.
The portents were apt. just one day later, at exactly 3am on 19th October 1933; a powerful flash of lightening cut through the evangelist’s house and felled his disciples who had surrounded him. Before they could rise, he had shut his eyes and passed into the great beyond, leaving behind a legacy for Africa- the Scared Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim, with a flock that now flourishes even in foreign lands. Branches were established in Britain in 1969 and in America in 1975. Story culled from The People In The News
Ayo Ni O Movement created a class system that makes other Aladura feel inferior–Olorunfemi Ejide
Baba Aladura Olorunfemi Ejide
The vocal founder/general overseer of Ogo Sioni (Aladura) Ministry Int’l and a staunch defender and promoter of the Aladura church, Baba Aladura Olorunfemi Ejide in this interview with Christian Benefits canvasses genuine reforms in the Aladura fold in order for the sect to be relevant in Christianity practice today. Excerpts.
In one of your interviews with Christian Benefits magazine you called for some reforms in the Aladura church. What reforms are you calling for in the Aladura church?
The first has to do with the word of God. Every Aladura church today must be world-based. They must study, know, understand and practice the word of God, which is the Bible. Presently, most Aladura churches today still believe more in spiritual practice than the word of God. Many Aladura clerics cannot even preach the word of God for few minutes but they can lead their congregation in clapping and singing from Genesis to Revelation. But when it comes to the word of God most Aladura churches are failure. When God called me into ministry I requested from him wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that will enable me take the Aladura church from her primitive religious practices to the demands of modern Christianity. God answered me and he drew people of like minds to me to assist me achieve the kind of reforms and changes I want in the Aladura. With this we have been able to establish Ogo Sioni on the word of God. Someone like us is now coming up to encourage other Aladura churches to embrace the scriptures by teaching and practicing the word of God more importantly than the primitive religious practices common in Aladura churches. Sometimes people find it difficult to believe that we at Ogo Sioni are Aladura. Indeed, Ogo Sioni is still an Aladura church, but an Aladura church with a difference. In this modern age you still see some Aladura dressing like masquerades with garments of different colours. That’s one reason why I’m imploring our people to change, and let the whole world know that Aladura churches can also study and preach the word of God.
To what extent is the lack of the word of God affecting the Aladura church?
Sometimes we feel that our Pentecostal brethren particularly, are cheating us, and superior to us. But in actual facts, we are not being cheated by anyone. It is our ignorance that is drawing us backward because we lack the word of God; an area the Pentecostal and orthodox churches are doing very well far ahead and above us.
Using Ogo Sioni as a sample how do you intend to achieve these reforms in the Aladura church?
We have already started the reforms in Ogo Sioni. We are setting the pace as pathfinders to the reforms in the Aladura church such that today many people outside the Aladura church are being attracted to our programmes. In fact we are experiencing a massive membership drives particularly from prominent Pentecostal churches like the Redeemed Christian Church of God, the Mountain of Fire and Miracles etcetera to Ogo Sioni Aladura Ministry Int’l. Though we still retain the positive practices of Aladura we ensure that more than anything else our members are grounded in the word of God. I tell our members, yes you will get solution to your problems but first you have to know God through His word, the scripture. By ensuring that the people are first grounded in the word of God it helps me to easily find solution to their problems and lead them to the way of God.
Since human beings naturally abhor changes. Don’t you expect some resistance to the kind of reforms you desire in the Aladura?
Even when Jesus Christ came to reform the entire world some people resisted his reforms. So, naturally we expect some challenges and criticism to our reforms. The truth however is that the Aladura cannot afford to be fooling them any longer. It is our foolishness that allows non-Aladura churches to talk rubbish about us. When other churches are busy doing revival and serious evangelism, we are busy clapping hands. Now, somebody is simply saying let us stop that non-sense and let us be forward looking.
How will you react to the tag of the Aladura as an indigenous church?
There is nothing wrong with the Aladura as an indigenous church started by the Yoruba. Christianity goes with culture. I’m an African, and I should know how to worship God in an African way.
Are you inferring that since Christianity goes with culture there is nothing wrong with ritualism and herbalism, an African culture, as a way of practicing Christianity?
No, no! Let me clear this. When I say Christianity goes with culture, it does not infer that we should practice ritualism or herbalism as African Christians. What I simply mean is that our Christianity practice as Africans should have an African outlook in the way and manner we dress and relate with people, not necessarily to be practicing ritualism or herbalism. Even at that I don’t think anything is wrong as Africans to take Agbo (herbs) when we are sick to cure our illness, even with our confession as Christians. Except we want to deceive ourselves many people across different churches today have subscribed to taking Agbo to cure their illnesses. That is part of our beliefs in Aladura, and nothing is wrong with that.
How will you assess the efforts of Ayo Ni O (Aladura) Movement in bringing some reforms into the Aladura church?
The kind of reforms of the Ayo Ni O Movement has created a sort of class system that makes them feel superior to other Aladura churches. Their kind of reform is not what we desire in the Aladura. We at Ogo Sioni (Aladura) Ministry Int’l have embarked on some other reforms that will make everyone equal. Ayo Ni O is made up of basically the elite who are enlightened and educated, which is all right. But it is wrong for them to now look down on other Adura churches as inferior to them. At Ogo Sioni we are building a classless system where everyone is equal irrespective of their level of education, enlightenment or wealth. Our kind of reforms cuts across board without segregation or superiority complex.
Tell us about the Aladura unification movement.
Unification is the effort of all the elite in all the Aladura churches that brings them under one umbrella as a single entity. Despite the efforts some sects of the Aladura are still seeing themselves as superior to others. And this has continued to impede the objectives of the unification, which is affecting the Aladura churches psychologically, in that other denominations particularly the Pentecostals are now taking our sons and daughters away from the Aladura into their folds. There is also a lot of politicking in the Aladura unification movement. For instance, if you don’t belong to some certain groups within the Aladura you are nobody.
Aladura church is presently planning to establish own university. In what way can the proposed university assist in bringing reforms into Aladura church?
Ayo Ni O Movement is championing the proposed Moses Orimolade University, which is okay. The university can assist by designing parts of her curricula towards reforms in the Aladura church. Ogo Sioni in the very near future will also establish her own university. My motivation is determination, wisdom, knowledge and readiness to learn from other people. Determination leads to success. On the way you may encounter lots of challenges. That does not mean you won’t get there. A failure is a man who does not admit trials on the way to success. When we started our telecast some years back, some people said that would not attract people to Ogo Sioni because it is an Aladura church. But today, the church through her telecast programmes has attracted more membership from different denomination backgrounds into our fold. The church was in the region of 200 members before we started the telecast. Today, the church has over 800 members, which has led us to restructure the church building and doubled its former size to contain the increasing members of the church.
You have some intellectuals around you. Tell us their contribution to the growth of the ministry?
If it is the will of God that I have some intellectuals to assist me in the ministry he will make available all necessary provisions that will enable the ministry to succeed. He will draw unto you the people that will work with you. He will so much disturb them until they surrender themselves to work with you. In addition, we have around us ministers, senators, commissioners and the rich. They see the zeal, the audacity and the authority of God in us. That is why we are different from many Aladura churches.
The Aladura church encourages members to exercise their spiritual gifts – Apostle Kemi TogunApostle Olukemi Togun, Founder/Shepherd Pillar of Truth Ministries (C&S)
With the benefits of both Anglican and Pentecostal backgrounds, Apostle Kemi Togun, the founder of Pillar of Truth Christian Ministries (C&S) says Aladura churches give their members opportunities to develop and exercise their spiritual gifts even when they are ordinary members and not church pastors or leaders.
Apostle Togun, who left the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) to join Ogo Sioni (Aladura) ministry Int’l and served the ministry for about 20 years before she recently pioneered and founded Pillar of Truth Christian Ministries (C&S), in an exclusive interview with Christian Benefits, expressed that she discovered the full potential of her spiritual calling and gifts when she joined Ogo Sioni (Aladura) white garment church.
In her word, Togun said “There are many people particularly in the Pentecostal churches that are more powerfully endowed with spiritual gifts than their pastors, but are not being encouraged to express or exercise such spiritual gifts in their church assemblies.” To buttress her point, Togun cited an incidence she experienced after she left the Redeemed Christian Church of God for Ogo Sioni (Aladura )Ministry Int’l.
“There was a time a provincial pastor of a particular Redeemed parish, that I will not mention his name visited me with a sister, and said Sister Kemi, when we were praying and fasting concerning your life and the Holy Spirit spoke to us about a particular problem in our lives, and said we should come and knee before you to pray for us, lay your hands on us and the problem, a particular disease, would die quickly. I said within me, me an ordinary member in the Redeemed church, a provincial pastor coming to knee before me to lay hands on him. It was then I discovered that there are some people we are looking at as ordinary members in the church but the spirit of God inside of them is more powerful than the one inside their pastors,” Togun remarked.
On her movement from the RCCG to Ogo Sioni, an Aladura church, Togun, who grew up under the guidance of devout Anglican parents shared with Christian Benefits the reactions of a Redeemed church, whom she said accused her of backsliding, and went into fasting and prayer for God’s intervention to retrace her steps back from the white garment church.
She added that for over two years after she joined Ogo Sioni she ran away from her Anglican parents whom she said were also uncomfortable with her joining an Aladura church from a Pentecostal church. “But to the glory of God, today, my parents, and also those of my friends who were taken aback by my decision to join a white garment church, now understand why I joined the Aladura church,”She remarked.
Apostle Kemi Togun, a chartered accountant and business woman however pointed that most Aladura churches lack the knowledge of the word of God unlike Pentecostal churches where she was a member of the RCCG, Ebenezer Parish, Akowonjo Lagos for ten years. Nonetheless, she said the Aladuras are more endowed with spiritual powers and gifts than the Pentecostals to make up for their lack of the word of God.
Comparing the Pentecostal to the Aladura further, Togun, a graduate of accountancy from Yaba College of Science and Technology with also an ACA qualification, said Aladura church do not make it compulsory for her members to attend school of ministry, or acquire theological training before they can be spiritually relevant in the church unlike Pentecostal, which she said lays so much emphasis on theological education before their members can be relevant in the church.
The woman of God said the meeting point of the Aladura, the Pentecostal and other church denominations is the belief of all of the sects in Jesus Christ. “Every one of them calls Jesus Christ though their modes of worship and service are different. Religion perception is like prism. It depends on the angle from which individuals view the mode of worship or service of each of the denominations. What appears to you as unbiblical in the mode of worship or service of any particular denomination is the interpretation you give to it from the side of the prism you view it. But what is more central to all the different denominations, and which cannot be controverted is that fact that all the denominations believe in Jesus Christ, and worship the same God. The issue of denominational differences is mere human or individual perceptions; not divine, which is totally irrelevant to anyone who truly wants to serve God and make heaven,” the woman of God concluded.
C&S Mountain of Joy: An Aladura church with Pentecostal beliefs and practices
Superintendent Apostle Prophet (Dr.) Solomon Olabisi Ogabi
With profuse and intermittent quotations from the scriptures, there is no denying the fact that Superintendent Apt Prophet (Dr.) Solomon Olabisi Ogabi is very verse in the word of God. This is uncommon among the majority of Aladuras who are generally regarded as people lacking in the word of God.
This cannot be said of Superintendent Apt Prophet (Dr.) Solomon Olabisi Ogabi, the Shepherd of Cherubim & Seraphim Church of Christ (The Worshippers) Mountain of Joy, Egan, Lagos. Apart from having a good grasp of the scriptures Ogabi has a peculiar mandate from God to rely solely on the word of God and the use of water for the work He has committed into his hands.
“God specifically told me that we should not add anything to the word of God in this commission. God warned us against the use of spiritual materials or shedding of the blood of goat or ram, or any form of ritual practice in this church. What God commanded us to be using in this church is the word of God and water.” Ogabi told Christian Benefits.
It was then not surprising that when the Badagry-born Superintendent Apostle Prophet (Dr.) Solomon Olabisi Ogabi founded the church in January 2000 he named it Mountain of Joy Gospel Church (Aladura). According to Ogabi, when that name could not surmount the challenges that it attracted, he affiliated the church as a parish of a prominent Aladura sect called The Worshippers, Iponri, Lagos, reputed for its belief and total dependence on the word of God. With affiliation, Ogabi renamed the church, Cherubim & Seraphim Church of Christ (The Worshippers) Mountain of Joy. Just like The Worshippers, the church is renowned for teaching her members the in-depth of the word of God and how they can apply the word to their daily living.
Superintendent Apostle Prophet (Dr.) Solomon Olabisi Ogabi, had a flourishing business as a successful electronic technician before he reluctantly answered the call of God into ministry in November 1999 after several battles he had with the Lord to resist the call. He worked for 20 years with a famous electronic firm in Lagos, Bera Beam; a division of UAC Plc. After his resignation from the company, Ogabi started his own private business around 1993 with some partners at Jibowu, Lagos. The Lord blessed the business so much that he was he bought his personal car, built his personal house, got married and was blessed with five children. Ogabi was in fact enjoying the best of life when he suddenly received the call to ministry to serve in God’s vineyard.
Ogabi initially resisted the call because he considered the work of God as a job for the wretched. Despite all the entreaties from several servants of God to him to answer the call, he vehemently refused until God touched his thriving business. “By 1999 the call became very strong such that my thriving business began collapsing in my very eyes. I became worried at this sudden development. I consulted some people of God they told me that the problem had to do with my refusal to answer God’s call to ministry,” the cleric shared.
Instead, Ogabi moved from Prayer Mountain to Prayer Mountain seeking solution to his collapsed business but all to no avail. He engaged the spiritual assistance of a certain mother-in-Israel, Emily Abatan, the founder of Jehovah Jireh (Aladura) where he worshipped then. The woman took him to several places, including the Bar Beach for spiritual bath. Yet, there was no solution until the woman told him frankly that the time was up for him to answer the call of God.
Solomon Olabisi Ogabi finally though reluctantly answered the call and started a church with his wife and five children in their house, although he had had no clear direction yet for the work until the Lord led him to request for Apostle Agannanoh of another C&S assembly to join him in the ministry. God had also revealed to Agannanoh that a certain man would request his assistance to start a new but the Lord did not disclose the identity of the said man until they both met each other.
MSA Agannanoh Mathew . N (J.P)
MSA Agannanoh Mathew . N (J.P) gives further details on his path with Superintendent Apt Prophet (Dr.) Solomon Olabisi Ogabi: “Even though God revealed to me that a certain person would invite me to join him start a new church and I should oblige him, I never thought it would be him. I further took some spiritual exercises to confirm if God has genuinely called him, and if he was the one He revealed to me. God confirmed all these and I joined the work as his assistant. And we have been enjoying working together over the years..”
MSA Agannanoh Mathew . N (J.P) described Superintendent Apostle Prophet (Dr) Solomon Olabisi Ogabi as a genuine man of God with a strong passion for the word of God. This is a church where we don’t rely on anu black power or ritual practices. We use only the word of God and water in this church. These two (the word of God and water) are what God commanded Superintendent Apostle Prophet (Dr) Solomon Olabisi Ogabi to use in his ministry,” MSA Agannanoh Mathew . N (J.P) disclosed
The Aladura were Pentecostal before the sect infiltration with strange practices – Sobukola
Young vibrant, dynamic and charismatic with sound knowledge of the scriptures, Prophet Olabode Sobukola could easily pass for a Pentecostal preacher but for his white garment that gives him out as an Aladura faithful. Sobukola in the below interview with Christian Benefits says the Aladura sect was initially Pentecostal before the infiltration of the sect with strange doctrine and practices. Excerpts.
Please, let meet you
I am Prophet Olubode Sobukola, the Shepherd of C&S (Gilgal) Iju, Lagos.
Share with us how you received the call to ministry
I had been told from childhood that I am a servant of God. It was one particular babalawo; herbalist that actually revealed this to my father when he told me along to the babalawo when his business was nose diving. When the babalawo saw me, he asked my father who I was. My father told him I’m his son. The babalawo then told my father that I was not supposed to come to his place because I’m a servant of God. He told my father that I am an oracle of God. However, I was formally ordained as a minister of God 23 years ago at a conference in Ikirun, Osun state.
How did the ministry eventually start?
Actually, when I was a member of Saint Moses Orimolade C&S Ikotun, I shared the vision of the ministry with the church leaders. I told them I would like to start with a vigil programme within the church and they have me the nod. That was how started with a vigil programme called A Night of Believers’ Freedom every third Friday of the month.However, when I left the church, I continued with the programme but now as A Night of Joyful Noise inspired by Nehemiah 8:10. So, the ministry formally started as an independent ministry 20 years ago with a monthly programme in the premises of Alimosho local government, Ikotun, every third Friday of the month before we later started the church at Iju, Lagos.
Share with us the humble beginning of the ministry 20 years ago?
Actually, we started the church arm of the ministry few years after the ministry was formally inaugurated when people began to impress it on me to start a church for weekly services, that how can the monthly programme be attracting a large congregation without a church to build up the people spiritually on a weekly basis. After much consideration we chose to establish the church arm while the monthly vigil in the premises of the local government in Ikotun continued.
What exactly is the focus of the ministry?
Our focus us to let people know God through His word. The Bible says faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. I am very concerned about the word of God, particularly in our denomination, the Aladura. Even the founder of C&S, the late Saint Moses Orimolade Tunolase, started with the word of God.. He was now for going from places to places preaching the word of God to the people for them to believe in the word of God against their beliefs in idol worship and ritual practices. The Aladura of the days of Apostle Moses Orimolade started as Egbe Aladura abbreviated from Egbe Afi adura jagun. Where they studied the word of God and engaged in powerful prayers without any recourse to do eto (prayer rituals). It was later that some people introduced strange doctrines and practices to the Aladura sect, and which has become a serious problem and set back for the Aladura churches. It was for this purpose of discouraging the people from Idol worship that Baba Moses Orimolade sought the face of the Lord, and the Lord endowed him with spiritual gift, which is today the strongest point of the Aladura. Unfortunately, the spiritual gift has taken the Aladura church away from the word of God today. So, my mission is to shift the focus of Aladura churches from the the spiritual gift back to the word of God. God has been helping us in preaching his word alone to people to believe more in his word than doing eto. By the grace of God in our church we have been working on the word of God, and the word has been working for us.
Is that why your preaching sounds more like a Pentecostal preacher than a typical Aladura priest?
This is one impression I will like to correct. The truth is C&S is the first and foremost indigenous Pentecostal church in Africa. The church was the first African church that believes in the word of God and practices it. It is just unfortunate that some people adulterated the beliefs of the Aladura and infiltrated the church with strange doctrines and practices, which today stigmatizes the Aladura churches as non-Pentecostal churches because the Aladura have lost their first love for the word of God. So, whenever I’m ministering I always have it at the back of my mind that Aladura church originally believes in the word of God like the Pentecostals. That is why some of us, particularly the younger generations are out to return the Aladura church to the old good days of the word of God.
What are the gifts God endowed you to achieve this fear?
God has given us the power and the ability to arrest souls with the word of God.
In summary, tell us the main challenge of the Aladura church today, and how the challenge can be tackled for the Aladura to regain his front line status
I will say the problem of the Aladura church today is their over dependence on the spiritual gifts of vision and revelation. We can see and tell visions, which is supposed to be an advantage to us, but has become a problem for us. The only way we can tackle this challenge is to return to preaching the word of God undiluted.
There’s a wind of change in Aladura – Rev. Gbolahan Odusoga
Although many people are still looking down on Aladura churches as a local and backward church denomination bereft of modern transformation in Christianity, Rev. Gbolahan Adeyemi Odusoga (JP) says Aladura churches today are coming to terms with the fact that the world is expecting a change from them if they are to be relevant in modern day Christianity. He particularly said the most significant area the Aladura churches are coming to terms with is their need for western education.
In an interview with Christian Benefits, Rev. Odusoga, the founder of Mountain of Salvation Ministry (C&S) Ogudu, Lagos, posited that lack of Western education of the early founders and leaders of the Aladura affects the sect and set it apart from its contemporary churches whose founders were lettered in western education.
“The problem of the Aladura is the lack of western education of its early founders and leaders. The early founders and leaders of the orthodox and Pentecostal churches had western education, which I must confess, is working to the advantage of those church denominations today. However, we thank God that the present generations of the Aladuras, particularly their youths, are educated in the western way to the advantage and progress of the C&S denomination,” Odusoga expressed.
Odusoga admitted that it is no longer fashionable in modern Christianity to mix ritualism and herbalism with Christianity; a common practice among many Aladura churches, which attracts to them criticism and condemnation as a cult of local ritualists and herbalists derogatorily tagged babalowos in Yoruba parlance.
Odusoga however said many Aladura churches today have shed off that derogatory label as they now embrace, teach and practice the word of God as a total replacement for ritualism (eto) practice for which many Aladuras church are known. The cleric said despite the shortcomings of Aladura churches there is no denying the fact that white garment churches were established by God with a mighty and powerful hand through the founder of the C&S movement, the Saint Moses Orimolade Tunolase.
“It is an undeniable truth that the founding of Cherubim & Seraphim through our father, Baba Moses Orimolade is a great call from God. History records that Baba Orimolade had been performing great wonders right from his mother’s womb. He would come down from his mother’s womb and assist her in the farm or help her lift firewood on her head. That is why he was perceived as Abani eniyan (a strange being). God established the C&S church with a mighty hand,” Odusoga posited.
With this claims the founder of Mountain of Salvation Ministry (C&S) appealed to non-Aladura churches to desist from looking down on white garment churches as if they were not originated from God. He canvassed unity, love and tolerance in the body of Christ. “My appeal is that all the churches irrespective of denominational; differences; whether C&S, Cele, Pentecostal, Methodist, Anglican, or Baptist etc, should bridge gaps and remove the barriers separating them from one another because we are all serving the same God. We should join our hands together for the progress of Christianity.We should desist from segregation, discrimination and criticism of one another for the unity of the body of Christ,” Odusoga appealed.
Rev. Gbolahan Adeyemi Odusoga JP, a former chairman of Ojota Zone of Aladura unification movement, was born into an idol worshiping family from Ikenne, Ogun State. Despite his parents being idol worshippers, from childhood, he had been hearing strange voices speaking to him, which according to him, he never knew were the voices of the angels of God until he received the call to ministry.
Despite being born into C&S, Odusoga was not attending any church until he became of age and joined the Celestial Church of Christ CCC (Ore Ofe Parish), Isolo, Lagos. He later joined another church, Itedo Ogo Eri, in Ibadan, founded by Primate Taiyelolu Abegunde. But anytime he visited Lagos he worshipped at Ipinle Ododo spiritual church of Saint Michael founded by Primate Oluwayemi. “It was during this journey that the Lord eventually called me with a mighty hand into ministry as I realized that I couldn’t do anything successfully except praying for people,” Odusoga told Christian Benefits. He also told the magazine that he was called by God into deliverance ministry to give victory and breakthrough to people, proffer solution to the problems and endowed by God with the gifts of prophecy, revelation, prediction and songs for these functions.