Archbishop Dr. Martias Bassey Inyang says the Church started departing from the path of genuine conversion when wrong teaching about prosperity crept into the Church. In this interview with Christian Benefits on his growth in the Christian faith, the Akwa Ibom state-born Leader of Apostolic Army Worldwide, Global Apostles-GAP/Apostolic Commanders Forum and Akwa Mboho Ndito Abasi, shares his salvation growth from Ibadan before coming to Lagos to start a ministry and his frustrations in the ministry that made him head for a night club to drink, smoke and quit the ministry but for a divine intervention that saved him from committing apostasy.
Please, can we meet you sir?
I am Archbishop Dr. Mathias Bassey Inyang, the Leader of Apostolic Army Worldwide, Global Apostles-GAP/Apostolic Commanders Forum and Akwa Mboho Ndito Abasi, to the glory of God. Last year 2022, I clocked 48 years of walking with the Lord since my salvation encounter with Dr. T.L Osborn in 1974. I had my second encounter with Dr. T.L Osborn in 1976.
What happened to you during your two-time encounters with Dr. T.L Osborn?
Specifically, in my second encounter with Dr. T.L Osborn in 1976, he prophesied that I would be a priest. He layed hand on me and anointed me as little evangelist that 1976 during his crusade at Mayne Avenue, Calabar, And that was the turning point of my life. Aside these two encounters with Dr. T.L Osborn, I had a personal encounter with the Lord in 1977 when God appeared to me, and with my names written on the sky; pointing that I would be a soul winner for God. I joined the scripture union in the secondary school. Since then I have been a follower of Christ. Later, I joined Christian fellowships like Calvary Fellowship Brethren and the Assemblies of God both in Calabar. I moved to Ibadan in the late 70s. In the early 80s I joined The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) under the now late Pastor Opeolu Adetunji till I left the RCCG in 1986. I was greatly impacted and groomed in the Christian faith and growth by Pastor Opeolu Adetunji’s Sunday school lesson on Ayeti oni itunnu (a meaningful life). We always visited the RCCG headquarters at Ebute Metta, Lagos for general training and programmes in the 80s
What happened next in your Christian journey after your exit from the RCCG?
After I left the RCCG I joined Faith Clinic Ibadan; a fellowship organized and hosted by a medical doctor; there I experienced deliverance. Later, I joined Christ Resurrection Soul Revival Ministries, Apata, Ibadan; there I met Rev. P.N Anwuzia. Subsequently, I joined Rev. Awunzia briefly when he started Zoe Ministries. At the same time I also attended Scripture Pasture of Rev. Olubi Johnson every Wednesday. I was on fire for the Lord. Sometimes, we covered kilometers of miles during our morning and night prayer walks. Eventually, I moved on and started Amen Ministries in 1992, which was later, renamed Apostolic Army worldwide; a call to raise an End-time Army for the Lord to bring order to the body of Christ.
Briefly take us through the journey of Apostolic Army Worldwide since 1992 till now
Apostolic Army Worldwide started originally or formerly as Amen Ministries in 1992 at Little Talent Nursery/Primary School Akowonjo, Lagos. We later moved to a restaurant where we were charged N50 per meeting. When we couldn’t afford the charges any longer, we moved to another school at Ojodu, Lagos. At a point I got fed up with the work. We lost many members, but I had to continue. But on a particular day I decided to quit the ministry while trekking from grammar school to Coca-Cola in Ikeja. I headed for a night club on Awolowo, Ikeja to smoke and drink to forget my worries. But, suddenly there was a divine intervention that stopped me from quitting the ministry at the point.
Tell us about the divine intervention that stopped you from quitting the ministry at that point?
As I was trekking towards Oregun roundabout, a particular sister who had not seen for a very long time saw me. She beckoned on me to get into her car and drove me to her house, which incidentally was behind the club I was heading to go and drink and smoke. She had no idea of what I was going through, but treated me very well. That was the divine intervention that stopped my quitting the ministry at that point. When I left Zoe Ministries for Lagos; leaving my family behind in Ibadan, I slept for many years in different classrooms in Lagos. The sister helped me get another school, Victory Home School on Toyin Street to hold our meetings. She also gave me money to go to Ibadan. Before I returned she had secured the school premises for us where we paid N20 per meeting. There were about eight churches, including Deeper Life, holding fellowship meetings in that school. We later moved to Oba Akran, Ikeja, and this was where the Lord eventually visited us and started bigger works in Amen Ministries. The journey of the ministry has not been easy, but I keep going because I am sure of my calling. I know God called me into evangelical ministry; reaching out to lost souls. My calling is soul-winning and deliverance.
What are the gifts God endowed you for this calling?
God endowed me with the anointing for deliverance and core salvation messages. I am called into the ministry of reconciliation; not of condemnation. I am called into the ministry of the love of Jesus through his blood and the gospel of good news. When you present the gospel as good news, people will be interested in the gospel.
What is sustaining your core salvation messages in this age of compromise?
I rely solely on the strength of God. I pray and study a lot and depend on the Holy Spirit. Above all, I disassociate myself from any company that I don’t understand. Many ministers move with the trend of material acquisitions, wealth accumulation, buying exotic cars, building gigantic houses and touring the world and the likes. I also travel but it is not the heart of ministry. Ministry is about winning people into the kingdom of God; sustaining them and handing them over to the Master when He shall come. I am strictly on that mission and depend on the Holy Spirit for help.
Who are the greatest influences in your growth in the Christian faith?
The now late Pastor Opeolu Adetunji of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) was a mentor to me. Aside my two encounters with Dr. T.L Osborn and the influence and impacts of Calvary Fellowship, Scripture Union, the Assembly of God, Faith Clinic, Christ Resurrection Souls Revival Ministries, Scripture Pasture and Zoe Ministries upon my life, the Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) under the now late Pastor Opeolu Adetunji laid the good foundation for my steady and fervent growth in the Christian faith.
How do you navigate the crossroads (moment of confusion) in the ministry?
There was a time I was confused in ministry which is the case with a lot of young ministers. When you are at the crossroad in ministry, all you need do is to go to God. I visit Ori-Oke (Prayer Mountain) regularly. A lot of people don’t believe in going to the mountain, but that’s the way I was brought up. Some people say it’s not scriptural. The crux of the matter is to know where you get your inspiration. I started going to Ori-Oke in the early 80s, and I still go there. If you are inspired by staying in a hotel or in your room, it’s left to you. I get connected to God on the mountain top.
Is there any difference between how you gave your life to Jesus Christ back then in 1974 and how lots of people give their lives to Jesus Christ today?
There is a wide difference. Back then when you give your life to Christ, you are conscious of the fact that you are a new creation. But today, you hear some people saying it doesn’t matter. This mindset is killing the body of Christ. There are procedures one has to go through to becoming a new convert. Becoming a new convert doesn’t happen overnight. It is gradual. Going through the foundation will help one grow. Today, a person can claim to be born again and his next move is to start a church; no tutelage, no mentorship, no form of servant hood. A lot of people that started church immediately after their salvation and say God did not ask them to join any church is like a baby getting married or graduating from a university without attending primary school. It doesn’t work like that. Back then we were taught how to grow as baby-Christians. There was conscientious love, honesty and truth among the brethren. You would learn from different ministries because no pastor has everything. I don’t believe people claiming they have the five-fold ministry. The Bible says “to some” and not “all,” although an individual can have similar graces where it is needed. That one prophesied on certain occasions doesn’t make one a prophet. You can prophesy when the need arises. God can use an individual to pass a message, but it doesn’t make that person a prophet. When there’s a need for a prophet you will know there is a need for a prophet. An evangelist in the field can also have the grace of a prophet. The yesteryear born again are genuine unlike the ones today They were conscious of their way of life.
Where did the Church start departing from the old path of genuine conversion?
The Church started departing from the old path of genuine conversion when lies and wrong teaching about prosperity crept into the Church. A lot of people, including supposed believers think prosperity has to do with material acquisitions. The scripture says “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth.” Prosperity is not only about material things. Prosperity is misinterpreted. People now see prosperity as amassing wealth as per material things. The half-baked or unbelieving believers came in and embraced that philosophy. Some internet fraudsters now exploit some pastors by building warehouses and employing them. In the long run, these pastors begin to compromise and preach the message of material wealth. I would have been a victim too. Also, the church is no longer a community of people. It’s now a one-man business making some pastors to flaunt their wealth. This entices jobless people, some of which are graduates or charismatic. Some pastors are no longer answerable to anybody. A church is not supposed to be a one-man business. Ministry is different for church. For a church to exist, it has to be a community of people. The money of the church is not supposed to be for one man, but for the community of the people that make up the church. The people are the body.
What are the prices you have paid to sustain your growth in faith over years?
One of the prices I have paid is turning a blind eye to material things. Sometime in 2012, a great man wanted to entice me with money laundering of 20% profit. I am here today because I am disciplined. I don’t lust after money. I also depend on the word of God. I don’t compare and compete with anybody or ministry. I believe in what God can do with me per time. From my foundation I got to know that the journey does not end here. The journey is beyond here; when we are out of here. The consciousness of this helps my growth in the Christian faith. Sometimes, it does not seem rosy but heaven makes provision. The highest encouragement I bear in mind is when the Master shall welcome me. When I will sit at the feet of the father, I will recover everything I might have lost here. The world is not a permanent abode. Our mission here is to work and return home eternally someday.
Please share with us your motivation in walking this path of Christian faith?
The motivation is the fact that the kingdom of God has enough space to welcome more people in. So any opportunity I get to win souls, I jump at it. Last year 2022, I stumbled into a masquerade group in my village in Akwa Ibom state. I called one of the masquerades and commanded him to pull off the mask in the name of Jesus. He did so and I told him he’s more handsome than what he was wearing. I then began preaching the gospel to him. Through him, I was able to reach out to the rest of them and also preached to them. They received the message of salvation and gave their lives to Christ. I did a follow-up on them after they gave their lives to Christ. I have a church in that town. So I assigned one of my pastors to follow them up.
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