“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
As our highly respected church elder in the Body of Jesus Christ, domiciled in Nigeria we greet you with the honour that Scriptures dictate. Perhaps this narrative sir, should begin with a reminder that a special edition, amethyst text bible was launched on the 1st of October 1960, with Princess Alexandra in attendance at the commemoration morning service in the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos. The independence bible carried a frontispiece portrait of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther and it was planted as an Ebenezer to speak to the future generations of Christians in Nigeria and its leaders in particular. It was meant to be a reminder of all the sacrifices made by the Christian faith in building the foundation of Nigeria.
Six decades plus after the fact, millions of Christians are now asking many questions because things have gone awry. The trickles of blood have swelled into a daily torrent of crimson and widows are wailing; orphans are multiplying across the land while able-bodied men, both young and old are hunted down like beasts by the hydra of Islamist terrorism. Corruption is rife and the value of human worth is reminiscent of the era of human slavery. Unspeakable atrocities and acts of wickedness are being reported in the church and worse still on the pulpits. We need no prophet to see that the present trajectory cannot end well.
Knowing that God would hold the church responsible for the state of our nation rather than the government or the political class we have joined prayers with you seeking the face of the Lord for divine counsel. Without any bias or finger pointing attitude we believe that our God has revealed something significant that is able to change the game completely. The Bible says “that there is little the righteous can do” when the foundations have been compromised. The Holy Spirit shone a light in that direction with a reminder that the root cause of a famine in the days of King David was a transgression that King Saul committed against the Gibeonites in contravention of a covenant signed many generations before.
Our prophetic inquiry took us all the way back to the Azusa Outpouring of 1906 where the life springs of the global Pentecostal revival were stirred by William J. Seymour. It came as a shock after due diligence to discover that the wells were poisoned at the very source such that the strains that flowed all over the world had been compromised at the fountain head. Permit us to say sir that our findings have shown that the modern church practices of our Pentecostal denominations are as far removed by comparison from the original services at the 312, Mission House is as far as the East is removed from the West. We have been victims of revisionist history spawned by subtle satanic injections into the narrative.
Just to give one example out of many, we discovered that there was a terrible war of spiritual narratives with William J. Seymour’s insistence that the presence of divine love was the evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit while Charles Fox Parham vehemently opposed him declaring that “speaking in tongues” was the evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Correcting the error with gentleness, William J. Seymour chided Fox Parham that “agape” was the evidence because it was a total commitment of God’s presence to the believer while tongues was a “sign” (among many others) of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Using the superior advantage of administration, public relations and the racist card, Charles Fox Parham hijacked the definition of the Azusa Outpouring at the source.
It was that corruption of the original revelation given to the one-eyed ‘black’ man by the racist sentiments of Charles Fox Parham that gave birth to the modern Pentecostal mantra that talks about the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.” By removing “agape” and replacing it with ‘tongues” Charles Parham performed a heart surgery on the entire move of God. When “agape” was kicked out of the window and replaced with “tongues” it meant that God himself was asked to step aside for His gift to take central position. Evidence shows that the corruptions introduced by Charles Fox Parham poisoned the Azusa Outpouring and produced strife where love had reigned hitherto. William Seymour was unaware of the “Parham murders” in Zion Illinois when he invited his old “masta” and bible teacher to Azusa.
As a result, the tainted Pentecostal move produced leaders who are not obligated to love the flock but rather wow them with power gifts and wonder displays wherever it flowed. Clara Lum and Sarah Crawford, for example were loyal lieutenants of William J. Seymour who ended up stealing the Azusa fellowship’s mailing list, masthead and publications to start up their own church in Portland, Oregon after the corruption by Charles Fox Parham. They also diverted the funds meant for Azusa to Portland to sponsor the growth of the Apostolic Faith Church. This is just one example of the character traits that has followed the Pentecostal move wherever it flowed. Our inability to stand in unity is part of the harvest we reap when “agape” is kicked out of the window and replaced with “tongues”.
The deceptions introduced in 1906 from enemies within are so subtle that our research efforts initially made no progress until the Holy Spirit instructed us to note that we needed to separate the “fruit” that comes from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil from the genuine fruit of the Tree of Life. The Pentecostal presumption that says “If it is good, it must be God!” had to be expunged before we detected the terrible poisons that lace our theological positions and records of the Azusa Outpouring. As recorded in the Garden of Eden, spiritual warfare at its highest level is a war of narratives and this is why we believe that divine wisdom would rather have us address the foundational flaws in the roots of the modern church system instead of picking at the leaves.
Now that Nigeria is facing nothing less than five major existential threats, and the church has unable to muster the strength needed to rescue the nation. We are pleading with you to use your good office to check whether the things we have said be so or not! Our prayer is that you would use your weight and influence to address the modern church leadership until an independent enquiry is established and a policy change is effected to correct the predatory evil that Charles Fox Parham introduced at Azusa. We are trusting in God that He will rescue our nation if we repent and move to restore the “agape” love to the position it deserves in our creed and doctrine while relegating “tongues” to its original position as a sign.
This is our Macedonian Cry to our elders and church leaders because we stand at an hour when so many things have gone wrong and evil is waxing bolder to subdue the nation under the sword of a terrorism hydra. We have been in the mission fields for at least 2 decades and we can say with authority that church ministers are now being targeted & hunted like prey and we can report that the predators are about to expand their hunting grounds to the entire nation. Please help us to appeal to the present crop of church leaders to establish that independent investigation to question what we have shared. We know that what we have penned here is just a tip of the iceberg and pray that the Nigerian Pentecostal Church will lead the way for the global church to address the injustices done to the apostolic heritage of William J. Seymour by reinstating agape love to prominence in our doctrinal books and church practice.
Reverend Ladi Peter Thompson