Bishop Dr. Taiwo Akinola’s walk with the Lord since April 4, 1977 when he gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ has been steady, progressive and highly impactful spiritually and physically. The Presiding Bishop of Rhema Christian Church & Tower (RCC&T) Sango, Ogun state, recalls how he prayed he suffers persecution as a young believer. The electrical engineer and former lecturer-turned a preacher of the gospel in his over 44 years of walking with the Lord shares his Rebirth Encounter in this interview with Christian Benefits. Excerpts.
Sir, please, can we meet you, and how long have you been born again?
I am Bishop Dr. Taiwo Akinola., the Presiding Bishop of Rhema Christian Church & Tower, (RCC&T) Sango, Ogun state. I was born again on April 4, 1977.
Please, share with us how you lived your life before you accepted Christ
I was actually born into an Anglican Church family background. My parents were committed members in the church. They raised us in an atmosphere that made us have great passion for God. I was always wishing to have more of God. I was in the church choir. This background accumulated in my rebirth encounter by which the Holy Ghost introduced me to Christ, and I got born again.
How will you describe your experience when you gave your life to Christ?
The experience was like heaven come down and the glory of God fills my soul. My rebirth encounter gave me extreme joy. After I gave my life to Christ, nobody followed me up. I personally looked for a church and joined as a member. I found peace, joy and fulfillment in Christ when I got born again.
Did you struggle parting with some sinful old practices after your rebirth?
I was privileged that nothing held me back. Some people because of how far they had gone in the pleasure of sin have difficulties with their rebirth. God prepared me not to have any inhibition. That is where the place of growth comes in. People just have to grow out of their old ways into a new reality that is found in Christ.
How did you receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost after you accepted Christ?
I was baptized in the Holy Ghost on April 10, 1977 few days after I gave my life. The Bible says being born again, not by corruptible seed but by incorruptible seed in the word of God, and the word of God being spirit and life. The moment you are born again the spirit of God is within you, whether you are speaking in tongues or not.
As a young believer, what were some the programmes you attended regularly and some of the books you read that boosted you growth in the faith?
Reading the Bible regularly and books that interpret the mind of God, or describe some revelations in the Bible were helpful to my growth in the faith. For instance, books written by T.L Osborn and E.W Kenyon were very rich and helpful to my life. Going to fellowship was life to us. The third thing was a rich prayer life, and also sharing our faith and new birth experience with our friends and relatives. We felt for those who were not born again. We had passion for their conversion.
Did you suffer any form of opposition of persecutions for accepting Christ?
I have a friend who is also a bishop now. When he got born again he suffered persecution from people. And we read in the scripture that when you are being persecuted for the gospel you have a crown waiting for you in heaven. So, I would be praying, oh! Lord, please let people persecute me for the gospel. But I wasn’t persecuted. Rather many people loved me for the faith that I shared with them.
As a young convert who were those you looked up to as your mentors in faith?
The first person was my pastor, Paul Fakunle. The second person was Pastor W.F Kumuyi because his teachings are Bible-based and heaven-minded. The third person was T.L Osborn whose books contributed immensely to who I am today.
Share with us your involvement in church activities as a young believer
I was very much enthusiastic about evangelism as a young convert, particularly bus evangelism. I also liked encouraging my pastor by giving him prophet offering every month. I would ask him sir, do you have clothes for me to wash and things like that. Any task that was considered menial in the church I handled it joyfully. Anytime the church organized a crusade I erected the electrical poles without grumbling because we believed we were serving God doing that and not man.
How will you describe your walk experience with Christ thus far since 1977?
I’m satisfied in Jesus Christ. I have been enjoying Jesus Christ a great deal. He gave me victory, peace, harmony, swift intervention and hope for eternal life.
Have you at any point slipped off in the faith (backslide) for once?
I have never ever backslide for once to His glory and by His power.
What is your advice to today’s born again Christians that are being weighed down by societal pressure to compromise their faith?
Born again Christians that succumb to pressure don’t know who they are in Christ. The Bible says we should not envy unbelievers. Pressures do come out of envy. Instead of coming under pressure they should revert to praising God. In the process of praising God, the Lord will meet their desires or needs without pressure.