Pastor Diipiri Tikili, General Superintendent of Touch-Life 7th Day Pentecostal Ministry, has explained that the aim of the ministry is to ensure evangelism and discipleship are not compromised. In the below interview with Christian Benefits’ Peace James he sheds light on the misconceptions about Sabbath churches and also addresses the need for the Body of Christ to break the barriers that divide them for the sake of the spread of the gospel. Excerpts
Please can we meet you sir?
I’m Pastor Diipiri Tikili. I hail from Nembe, Bayelsa State. I’m a third generation pastor. I’m married and blessed with children.
Let us have a look at your background?
I count myself very blessed to have been born in a Christian home. My grandfather was one of the founding fathers of the Sabbath church in Africa. He was one of the first black ordained pastors in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He used to be an Anglican. He left home and went to Bonny where he got education. When he found the Sabbath truth he had to move on to the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Knowledge is progressive. By the time you study the word of God you will realize that there are things you believe but are not in agreement with the Bible. Churches have dogmas and these dogmas many times conflict with what the word of God says. A true seeker of God’s word will always be able to find out what God is saying and what the church is saying; and when that happens you have to make a choice whether to stay with what the church is saying or to stay with what God is saying. God is the one that calls and when He calls you have to obey His voice.
Aside been raised in a Christian home, when did you personally accept Christ?
Growing up in a Christian home does not make one a Christian. It only provides an enabling environment for one to have the knowledge of God. When I was in the secondary school I began to feel a nudge of God in my heart. I couldn’t escape it because I was appointed the chapel prefect when I was in class three. Initially I had some struggles until I eventually had a personal encounter with the Lord in 1984.
How will you describe your walk with the Lord from 1984 till now?
It’s been a wonderful and progressive journey. One thing the Lord did was that the moment I received him into my life he baptized me with the Holy Spirit and for more than a week I couldn’t come out of it. I was so drenched in the Spirit that I had to be helped to do many things. My encounter with the Lord was quite unique and unusual and since then I have been following the Lord till this moment.
At what point in your walk with God did you receive the call into ministry?
It will amaze you that when I got born again in 1984, three months thereafter my father traveled out of the country and there was nobody in charge of preaching in the church. I started preaching from that time. I took over the service and became an evangelist and from then till date I have been doing the work of the Lord.
When did Touch-Life 7th Day Pentecostal Ministry come into the picture?
Touch-Life 7th Day Pentecostal Ministry came into the picture three years ago. Before then I used to be with The Apostolic Church of God 7th Day, which is our mother church where my father is still the Overseer. I served in that church for 30 years as the National Evangelist and the International Coordinator of the ministry worldwide. I’m still helping out in that ministry. So, I left to start Touch-Life as an extension of my services unto the Lord to the take the work to the next level. I was properly released by The Apostolic Church of God 7th Day. The International Overseer of The Apostolic Church of God formally inaugurated Touch-Life.
What is the specific mandate of Touch-Life 7th Day Pentecostal Ministry?
God made me to understand that there was a need for proper keeping of the Sabbath. Many of us who talk about keeping the Sabbath are not actually keeping the Sabbath. We are also commissioned to ensure that evangelism and discipleship are not compromised. The Lord made me to understand that over the years we have a lot of converts in churches but not disciples. The Great Commission is “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). There are some Sabbath keepers that teach and preach about the Sabbath in such a way as if keeping the Sabbath is the salvation and not Jesus Christ. So, it becomes a problem when you bring the issue of Sabbath as a means of salvation or the moment you keep the Sabbath everything is okay. Keeping the Sabbath is what the Lord expects you to do after you have been saved in order to maintain your salvation. Discipleship, on the other hand, is bringing people back to Christ where they can have a personal relationship with him. The Lord also commissioned us into prayer ministry. Touch-Life is a Praying & Deliverance ministry. So, we raise disciples after the kind of Christ who are their personal prophets; who don’t have to wait for anybody to pray for them. You know the Bible yourself and you know what to do. We teach a lot of spiritual warfare and deliverance in Touch-Life.
But the general impression is Sabbath churches are not Pentecostals. Why is Pentecostal added to the name Touch Life despite being a Sabbath church?
The word ‘Pentecost’ came from the Acts of the Apostles. Pentecostalism simply means you believe in the baptism of the Holy Ghost. You believe in speaking in tongues. You believe in the work of the Holy Ghost. You believe in the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. There are churches that don’t believe in the Holy Spirit. They don’t believe in divine healing and deliverance. That is why to make a distinction between us and those churches we added the word ‘Pentecostal’ to Touch-Life; that we as a Sabbath-keeping church we believe in divine healing, deliverance and in the Holy Spirit. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit must be operative in the Body of Christ. Without the Holy Spirit you cannot do anything. Jesus said the spirit giveth life while the flesh killeth. I believe that the early apostles were Sabbath keepers and they were filled with the Host Spirit. There are some Sabbath churches that are orthodox. Some churches are Judaism. They are wholly adherents of the Old Testament. But if we have to go by what Jesus has done at Calvary you have to believe that He is risen and has given us the power to become his ambassadors on earth. (Continues next edition)
#Touch-life 7th Day Pentecostal Ministry is located at 71, Brown Street, Oshodi, Lagos. Telephone: 08037114177.