CYBERJOURNAL FOR PENTECOSTAL-CHARISMATIC RESEARCH #18
Predilection for African Indigenous Practices in the Pentecostal Tradition of African Indigenous Churches with reference to Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura
By Dr. Ogunrinade Adewale O.
TABLE OF CONTENT
1.0 Background to the Study
1.1 Overview of the Origin, Beliefs and Practices of Pentecostalism
1.2 Brief History of Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Itura
1.3 Pentecostal Manifestations in
Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Itura
1.3.1 Inspirational Manifestation in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura
(b) Speaking in Tongues
(c) Discernment of Spirit
1.3.2 Revelatory Manifestations in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura
(a) Word of Knowledge and Wisdom
1.3.3 Power Manifestation in CAC Agbala Itura
(a)Use of Sanctified Water for Healing and Miracles
(b) Use of Anointing Oil for Healing and Miracles
(c) Healing Prayer for the Alabiye
1.4 Prayer Methods in CAC Agbala Itura and their Correlation with African Indigenous Worldview
1.5 Impact of Pentecostal manifestations on the intensification and expansion of CAC
Indigenous Christianity came into being in Africa through the initiatives of the concerned indigenous Africans who felt that Christianity should better be expressed in the African perception and worldview.[i] This initiative was deployed to wipe off factionalism and bring together African Christians with their African feelings and passions towards generating African thoughts in Christianity. This strategy was necessary to connect the gulf created by the “foreign evangelists” who came to “pioneer” a Christianity that was incompatible with the socio-cultural and political worldview of the continent. The Africa that western Christianity came to influence was the type which gave much attention to the existence of spirits, and their invading powers in the human world. As a result of this, Africans found solace in the indigenous African means of solving existential problems like sickness, bareness, spiritual afflictions, “accident" and sudden death. These were effective system of maintaining stability and health[ii]. They were used to consulting traditional healers such as herbalists, and making divinations for problem solving. Dreams could be interpreted through divination. Witchcraft, sorcery and conjuration were popular.[iii] Among the Yoruba, deities and gods like Obatala, Orunmila, Sango, Ogun, Osun, and Ela and so on were normally consulted and these methods were helpful.
When mission Christianity came, this means of problem solving was discouraged, even though mission Christianity was unable to offer any potent alternative. As African Christians continued to wallow in abject depravation of an alternative, some of them were forced to go back to the old method while others were subscribing to this means secretly. Some African Christians were however inspired to challenge the dominance of mission Christianity over African thoughts and values. A number of churches came up as a result of this native initiative, which was Ethiopian in nature. Due to lack of unity and “one voice” approach to encountering and solving problems, and the drastic change in the mode of appropriating the gospel around this time, Ethiopianism degenerated.[iv]
On the heel of Ethiopianism, African Indigenous churches came up the stage from 1920s onward. These churches constitute a significant identity and force to reckon with in African Christian statistics in the Western, Southern and Eastern parts of the continent. They started to make waves and remarkable religious manifestations in the religious, cultural, socio-economic and political terrains of the African people.[v]
In West Africa, the 1918 influenza or bubonic plague led to the birth of the earliest African indigenous churches, especially in Nigeria.[vi] The local peoples came out in droves to employ the weapon of prayer as a veritable alternative to the impotence of Western medicine which was not generally available to the common people. During prayer sessions, healing, prophecy, vision and dream manifested, so they derived their name Aladura meaning “prayer people” or “the owner of prayers”, among the Yoruba of Western Nigeria. African indigenous Churches of which the Aladura churches are typical examples, are churches in Nigeria that attempt to incorporate indigenous African elements into Christianity. This is more than ever relevant in the area of predilection for African world view which makes them to be different from the mainline churches. The AIC’s give African interpretation to Christianity with the aim of making Christianity to feel at home or respond to the emotional, spiritual, physical and material yearnings of Africans. The Precious Stone Society, which emerged around this time, affiliated with the American Faith Tabernacle congregation (with headquarters in the USA). In 1930, this indigenous movement witnessed a revival called the Great Revival, which produced the Christ Apostolic Church in 1943.[vii]
Though, modern Pentecostalism is traceable to a reasonable extent to the North American Pentecostal experience of 1901 and 1906 under Charles Fox Parham and William Seymour respectively,[viii] indigenous Pentecostal manifestations evolved in Africa through the efforts and initiatives of the African indigenous Churches, of which Christ Apostolic Church is notable. Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura which this essay focuses is a typical example of an indigenous church that has manifested enormous indigenous inventiveness in African Christianity. The church has gone a long way to fill the vacuum of spirit encounters which was left in African Christians by western missionaries when Christianity was “first introduced” by them. This essay however, attempts to paint a picture of Pentecostalism generally. It also pays particular attention to Christ Apostolic Church (an indigenous Pentecostal denomination), and Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura (solely founded by Prophet S.K Abiara), and located in the southwestern axis of Nigeria.
We shall consider the diverse Pentecostal manifestations in this church to ascertain the development, peculiarity and merits of its indigenous Pentecostal standpoint. This involves identifying the African indigenous ideals that CAC Agbala Itura has incorporated in the history of its existence. Three major types of spirit manifestations that have much indigenous bearing with African religion and culture will be discussed. They are inspirational, revelatory and power manifestations. The thrust of the essay is towards reviewing the dynamics and importance of Pentecostalism to African Christianity, more than ever in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura. The paper examines how Pentecostalism has been contextualized in the church, such that the beliefs and world view of indigenous Africans are properly interpreted in line with their culture in Pentecostal Christianity. Before delving into this, an overview, beliefs and practices of Pentecostalism will be discussed.
1.1 Origin, Beliefs and Practices of Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism is a religious ideology that gave birth to churches in the United States[ix] and Africa in the 20th century. It emphasizes that Christians should seek a post conversion religious experience known as baptism with the Holy Spirit, which solely rests on the Holy Spirit’s descent on the apostles and the disciples that were present in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2vs4). On that day, the expectant early Christians who received the Holy Spirit were one hundred and twenty in number. They spoke in other tongues as the spirit gave them utterance. This marked the historical origin of Pentecostalism.[x] Speaking in Tongues occurs as Glossolalia (speech in an unknown language) or Xenoglossy (speech in a language known to others but not the speaker)[xi] and is considered one of the gifts described by St. Paul the Apostle in I Corinthians 12: 1-13.
Modern Pentecostalism is traceable to the 19th century marginalization of the ordinary, common people’s expressions of faith and spiritual manifestations in a serious sense. Denominations that were revival oriented became subdued and the Church became gradually capitalistic in nature. Protestant denominations became the churches of the upper middle class. People of limited resources were in no place at all and so the yearning to return to a “heart religion” that would identify and cater for the spiritual and emotional needs of this class of subjected and disenfranchised people increased. Many of the people opted for this “religion” that would cleanse and sanctify their inner state and put them “right with God” in a society that continued to marginalize them. The yearning turned into an outburst just in the early part of the 20th century, 1901 and 1906 respectively.[xii]
On January, 1, 1901, Agnes Oznam, one of Charles Parham’s student at Bethel Bible College, a small religious school in Topeka, Kansas became the first to speak in an unknown tongue out of about forty of them who were praying for the Baptism of the Spirit. This was after their serious study of the Pentecostal experience as recorded in Acts 1 and 2. Others, including Parham also spoke in tongues, and this experience empowered Parham to incorporate faith healing, the hallmark of Pentecostalism today.[xiii] Wider expansion and publicity was given to this expression in 1906 when William Seymour, a disciple of Parham initiated the Azusa Street Revival of the Faith Gospel Mission at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles.[xiv]
Pentecostals believe in the impartation of the Holy Spirit and also that the Spirit would be the sources of power and the fuel to transport them to heaven at the close of the age.[xv] This state is only attainable after the recipient might have achieved a sincere conversion and a great deal of closeness to Christ and His atoning grace. Pentecostals also believe that the impartation of Pentecostal power should translate into speaking in tongues other than one’s own.
It is important to say that there are now schools of “Pentecost”, “Holy Spirit”, “the Spirit” and so on, where people are being trained in the “act of Glossolalia,” especially in Africa and most especially Nigeria. Here, a great wealth of credence is attached to the possession of the ability to speak in other tongues as the early apostles experienced on the day of Pentecost.
Anderson[xvi] identifies Yonggi Cho’s “Seven Enemies” which Christians must use the power of Pentecost to drive away through prayer. They are: sin, worldliness, sickness, poverty, hatred, fear and despair. Pentecostals believe that after the crucifixion of sin at salvation and sanctification, Christians should beware of worldliness, fear and despair. They should fight the onslaught of sickness through prayer and as they are guarding against worldliness, they should also reject poverty. They hold that poverty is a punishment, a threat, a curse and intrusion of Satan in the well being of a truly regenerated Christian.[xvii] It appears here that the omnipotence of God is being unreasonably exaggerated. Are poor and physically sick Christians really poor and unhealthy spiritually; and which one is more expedient between being physically healthy or spiritually healthy? Such attitude and expression that portray those undergoing one trying moment or the other (e.g. those suffering from ill health or financial lack) as sinners or incompetent Christians are wrong.
Furthermore, Pentecostals believe in “Cura Divina,” (Divine healing) This forms the twelfth of the thirteen tenets of Christ Apostolic Church, which Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Itura holds with great regard. This is traceable to the divine manifestation of healings during the epidemic of 1918, and Apostle Ayo Babalola’s healing ministry starting from the 30s.[xviii] They hold that through faith and prayer alone, God can cure all diseases. This position is now being redefined, as “enlightenment and modernization” now appear to be “complementing” faith. Many Pentecostals who probably could not attain the extreme faith level of their “patriarchs” now visit the hospitals to augment their failing “faith” and “health” states. However, the question remains: can one visit the hospital and still remain a fervent Pentecostal? This question is still open for scholarly debate even though Fatokun[xix] sees this anti-medicinal Puritanism of some African Pentecostals as Pentecostal fanaticism which should be corrected. John F. Mac. Arthur, Jr.[xx] expands this a little further by registering his discomfort at the way some Pentecostals interpret the concept of divine healing today. Some of them despise medical treatment believing that modern medicine was an extension of ancient witchcraft and “black magic” and that to take prescription from the doctor was tantamount to exposing oneself to demonic influence. This also manifests in some Pentecostal churches in Nigeria where expectant mothers are told to attend ante-natal clinic and give birth at the faith homes of their churches, yet some of these faith homes are not well equipped for the task of taking delivery of pregnant women. A pregnant woman[xxi] interviewed narrated her ordeal in one of the churches that float such faith homes. She complained that the midwives were partial in their services as those who were able to give them gifts got better attention and prayers. She further adds that they spoke discreditably about attending ante-natal in modern hospitals as sign of unfaithfulness and unbelief on the part of the attendee about the promises of God on divine healing, blaming those who subscribe to them as men of little conviction and devotion and that these faith homes midwives showed reluctance at referring cases beyond their control to the hospital and even when they did, the health state of the patient would have deteriorated. A number of pregnant women and infants had died prematurely through this means as a result of poor medical treatment.
About prayers, Pentecostals employ various means of carrying this out. They pray in the church, mountain-top and “power house” (in the case of some African Indigenous churches), open crusade ground, riverside/beaches especially the “white garment” African indigenous churches.
Water is an essential ingredient which most of the indigenous Pentecostal churches in Nigeria use. They pray into it and drink it for healing purpose or sprinkle it on objects for consecration purpose. Elder J.B. Doherty[xxii] attests to the efficacy of water prayed upon in the healing of ailments, especially those that had defied medical solution. He traces the tradition of the use of water to the precedence laid by the forefathers of African indigenous Pentecostalism, and especially, the efforts of people like Apostle Ayo Babalola who had a great input in the founding of Christ Apostolic Church in Nigeria.
Church services of the Pentecostals are usually characterized with exuberance, flow of the spirit, passion and cooperative participation of everybody in the service. This is unlike the quiet, dull and “melancholic” mood of the mainline churches. This lively environment is like “bait” at the tip of a hook which attracts the fish. This makes the Pentecostals the biblical “fishers of men”, fishing men from the river of one church to another. Anderson[xxiii] captures this idea clearly in a Chicago Church he visited in 1999. He says that the church members broke into ‘holy dancing’, speaking in tongues, or loud and spontaneous praises. Expressions like Yes Lord! Thank you Jesus! Halleluyah! Glory! Amen! was loudly proclaimed. Towards the end of the sermon, the inspirational chants of exhortation were rendered by the preacher, which the congregation spontaneously took over with dancing and rhythmic clapping and uplifted hands. This is characteristic of Nigeria’s Pentecostals today as they have almost incorporated exuberant foreign Pentecostal ideals like in America. This is however impetuses for this brand of church as young people are largely attracted into them; thereby improving the proficiency and energy of the movement.
There appears to be a problem about the concept of holiness in the Pentecostal movement today. The tenacity and emphasis which pious and holy living used to be noted for in the old Pentecostal movement is already on the decline today. Extravagance, fashion and “show off” seem to have been the bane of many Pentecostal churches. Prosperity messages are preached with utmost seriousness while holiness messages are waved aside. For them, the best Christian is the type that puts on the best dress and gives generously to the church and the pastor. Being born again and at the same time being fashionable is the music in vogue in the Neo Pentecostal churches which appears quite contrary to official evangelical opinion.[xxiv]
1.2 Brief History of Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Itura
The founder of Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura, Pastor S.K. Abiara, was allegedly called by God into the ministry of evangelism in 1963.[xxv] Before his call, he was working as a clerk with the late Chief Agoro who later became of great help to him later in his ministerial adventure. He claimed to have been called while working as a government officer in Akufo Farm settlement, a village at the outskirt of Ibadan.[xxvi] In some of his sermons, he described his call as sheer obedience to the call of God. According to him, he found it quite unbelievable that God could translate the little beginning to a magnificent ministry today[xxvii].
He claimed to have learnt courage, seriousness and zeal for the work of God. He purported God revealed to him through dream His purpose for him to be enlisted in ministerial duties. In 1963, he heeded and this gave birth to the Akufo Church. After engaging in some preaching and revivals, his sitting room could not contain the crowd who saw the zeal and passion for leadership in him. He acquired a land and erected a church named Independent Christ Apostolic Church, Oke-Igbala.[xxviii] This church soon became crowded and the founder soon relocated to the centre of the city. The significance of this relocation is that there was growth around this period, Christ Apostolic Church leaders then, such as Pastors Akindele and Budale used to come to visit Prophet Abiara in his Akufo base and encouraged him to join the Christ Apostolic Church. This he did when he relocated to the center of the city to form the Christ Apostolic Church, Oke Imole, Agbeni.[xxix] This church was dedicated by Christ Apostolic Church’s Ministers. A land was further given to Prophet Abiara as a gift in 1977 in appreciation of God’s divine intervention in the life of the donor who had earlier shown his gratitude by giving the man of God a huge sum of money which he refused, claiming that God demanded that he should give spiritual assistance to whoever believed without any strings attached. Coincidentally, that same year Prophet Abiara heard the voice of God instructing him to shift to the Old Ife Road site (the piece of land he was given) and this became the site of Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Itura (Garden of Comfort) Old Ife Road , Ibadan . Prior to moving into this piece of land, the whole environment was bushy. God called him and said that if he (Abiara) would believe and abide on the lonely site, He would change all the bushes around to people. This meant that just as the bushes overcrowded the whole place, God would populate the place with multitude of people. This is similar in a way to the promise of God to Abraham when God entered into covenant with him a great nation. The spiritual significance of this name reflected that God would give to those who stepped on the land with faith, the desires of their hearts and that the place would be a point of contact for pleasure, convenience, blessing and spiritual well being of all.[xxx]
Apart from this, Prophet Abiara usually claims in his sermons that God divinely instructed him to move to Old Ife Road so as to bring comfort to many people suffering the afflictions of Satan and the odd world. He later alleged that God said that just a He did for Abraham who became the father of nations; he would also have many followers.[xxxi] A new church at New Ife Road, precisely a place called Olode now harbours a 25,000 capacity church auditorium. This place serves as the international headquarters of the Church.
1.3 Pentecostal Manifestations in Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Itura
Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura, being an arm of Christ Apostolic Church generally shares the major doctrines and beliefs of Christ Apostolic Church. But we need to mention certain peculiar traits of Agbala Itura that made it characteristically different. The first is that it had an arm of evangelism known as the Christ International Evangelical Ministry (CIEM). The CIEM was formerly known as International Evangelical Association and was founded in 1976,[xxxii] and gained much popularity between 1980 and 1983. The name however changed in 1984 to Christ International Evangelical Ministry.
This arm of evangelism saw to actualizing the mandate of the “Great Commission” as instituted by Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19). Many branches of Agbala Itura were established through this unit. The arm also reached out to people in confinement such as hospitals and prisons.
The second peculiarity lies in the name of the church, “Agbala Itura” which simply means “Garden of comfort” or “Vineyard of Comfort”. The name has a fondness or predilection for African indigenous thoughts especially the Yoruba world view for Agbala and Itura. Agbala in Yoruba parlance ordinarily means a place for recreating or refreshing after hard labour while Itura means the actual act of relaxation. The two words then mean an abode where stress is relieved and solution is found to problems of life. According to the founder,[xxxiii] God had revealed to him that everyone who stepped into the Church must experience relief from whatever discomfort he had suffered from. However we need to observe that it is not everyone that attends a church, no matter the level of charisma of the founder that could be comfortable. Though many people claimed that they had solutions to their problems, yet it appears very impossible no matter the case to establish that “all” members were really comfortable.
Also, comfort is not derivable through prayer alone. The Church generally needs to be involved in seeking material provisions for members through provision of schools and hospitals and giving out of loans to empower those who are fit to utilize such benefits productively, especially the jobless. Miracles happen not only by prayer but also by rendering necessary assistance to members when needed most. By this, the Church is also participating in alleviating poverty, which is ravaging Nigeria.
Prayers are considered a great weapon in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura as in Christ Apostolic church world-wide. Vigils are organized during the week days for different groups in the Church. The Church believes that the “odd world” is better lived with prayer being the anchor of every Christian. Prayers are usually accompanied with fasting.
Counseling and visitation were two means through which members are reached and given spiritual succour in the Church. Members and even non members who are passing through a problem or the other are helped every counseling session.
The Church also visits the sick in the hospitals and those on compulsory confinement like the prisoners; to preach to them and win them to Christ This practice conforms to the recommendation of Deji Ayegboyin that the church should intervene in alleviating the sufferings of the prisoners in Nigeria, since the condition of prisons in Nigeria is discouraging.[xxxiv] As it has been mentioned earlier, three main areas of spirit manifestations in CAC Agbala Itura that have relevance to predilection in African traditional religion are going to be reviewed. They are inspirational, revelational and power manifestations.
1.3.1 Inspirational Manifestation in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura
Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Itura “recognizes” and “reveres” the manifestations of the Spirit. This aspect was left untended by the western mission churches when Christianity was brought to Africa and Nigeria, so it created a vacuum in the spiritual yearnings of African Christians. CAC Agbala Itura has contributed an appreciable effort towards filling this space.
Christ Apostolic Church acknowledges the nine gift of the Spirit namely: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, the gift of healing and working of miracles. Others are prophecy, discernment of spirit, divers kind of tongues and interpretation to tongues (1st Corinthians 12:4-11). Four out of these are prominently manifesting in Christ Apostolic Church. The gifts are prophecy, vision, speaking in tongues and dreams.[xxxv] These gifts are also manifesting in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura. They are cherished by the church and their manifestations are not restricted to prophets or church leaders alone but every member could manifest them according to the grace bestowed on such a member. Here, the person who manifests one of them tells the future and the messages are such that relate to issues affecting individuals, the Church, impending dangers on sinners or the nation as a whole. The Church believes that these gifts are to edify the church and that they must be utilized with utmost care and reverence. In the view of Pastor Akinpelu,[xxxvi] “those who possess these gifts must conduct themselves with great humility and piousness that cannot be defeated under any circumstances”. He said that this position still stays in principle but that generally Pentecostals today have greatly deflected from this standard as some of them have been found to be indulging in many forms of abuse under the guise of manifesting the gifts of the Spirit. However, he claims that Christ Apostolic Church clerics still teach this ideal with the seriousness that it requires and that in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura, the precedence laid by the founder of the church (Prophet S.K. Abiara) about decent conducts for Spirit filled Christians still holds, even though there are some defaulters. He charged that Pentecostals should let decency be paramount in their conducts.[xxxvii]
We shall first discus the three gifts that are under inspirational manifestations namely: prophecy, speaking in tongues and discernment of spirits and determine how CAC Agbala Itura has made these gifts to be relevant to the indigenous people.
(a) Gift of Prophecy
Before the missionaries came to Nigeria, indigenous people had to consult the traditional cults to unravel different kinds of mysteries and to get to know the future, but when mission Christianity came, this idea was made unpopular and ungodly. Indigenous African people were discouraged from exploring this medium, even though the mission churches could not offer a substitute. African indigenous church founders however had to make a nexus between the traditional beliefs of the African people and Pentecostal Christianity so as not to make this version of Christianity strange and to adequately make a substitute for consulting the traditional diviners. Just as indigenous Africans would consult diviners (Babalawo or Baba awo) to know secrets about marital issues, birth of a child and its destiny, success in business and other related matters, so also African indigenous churches’ leaders would gladly render this service to their members.
The nature of prophecy in CAC Agbala Itura could be better described in the teaching of Pastor D.A. Olaiya[xxxviii] as such that presents problem and the way out of it, not the type that leaves the church in fear and threat. He stated that prophecy could be a warning, encouragement or piece of information that is not partial or selfish, but seeks the good of all, especially the recipients of such prophetic oracle. He made an instance of a certain meeting of some leaders of Christ Apostolic Church, where a Pastor gave a prophecy that a committee should be set up and headed by him (the speaker of the prophecy).This according to Pastor Olaiya shows the selfish interest of the speaker and the egotistic nature of the prophecy which made it to appear bogus and unacceptable to the forum. The church however, does exercise some reasonable level of control over those who speak in tongues, especially during services and most especially when there is outburst of tongue speaking during revival and prayer sessions. They do this by jingling the bell to instill silence and order when such an outburst becomes unreasonably persistent. He went further by describing the importance of the gift to the church and the members. According to him a lot of disasters and calamities had been averted in the past through the intervention of prophecy. In fact he hinges the security of the church on godly prophecies as God would not leave his church in darkness and oppression of Satan.
Many testimonies have been shared about how God had revealed secrets of the evil ones which could have cost the church huge losses through prophecy. An incident that could have tarnished the image of the church was averted through prophecy in 1994. Pastor Folahan, the assembly pastor between 1994 and 2002 prophesied that a church building harbouring those with mental problems should be demolished and the patients discharged.[xxxix] Few weeks after the demolition, a passer by died on the miracle ground of the church and this attracted the police and men of the press who came purposely to see whether it was one of the patients in the healing home of the church that died. They were surprised to see that the place had been demolished and that there were no patients left in the vicinity of the church. The assembly pastor claimed that the church would have been in the news if the instruction of the prophecy had not been carried out in time. Another example was about a lady who received a word of prophecy about her choice of husband. She was warned through a prophecy not to marry the man she had courted for many years. She heeded the warning and she was saved the sorrow that could have accompanied such a union because the man died just a year after.[xl] The manifestation of the Spirit through prophecy has really replaced the indigenous practices of conjuration, sorcery and enquiry from diviners. Witches that are consulted by the indigenous people are humans who are thought to own intermediating ability; they are called the “owners of the world” because their power to intercede transcends that of the progenitors or the divinities. Their power is ambiguous and therefore dangerous, however, and must be controlled. They can however be hunted and eliminated.[xli] Just as witches had the ability to operate in the supernatural realm and perform tasks that could not be carried out through ordinary means, so the African indigenous prophetic personnel and those endowed with the gift of prophecy. From the incidence of prophetic intervention mentioned about CAC Agbala Itura above, it could be said some degree of confidence that the church through prophecy has effectively substituted the indigenous practice of consulting diviners, witches and sorcerers to unravel secrets and mysteries.
(b) Gift of Speaking in Tongues
Speaking in tongues is a kind of prophetic prayer which edifies when interpreted. This implies that the speaker speaks in an unknown language. (Acts 2:4-11) If the speaker possesses the gift of interpretation of tongues, such a person may interpret the tongue; but if not, somebody else who possesses this gift interprets. This gift is possessed by some members of the church, and in fact, it is a measure of spirituality there. We need to ask whether God demands from every believer to compulsorily speak in tongues and whether those who do not speak in tongues do not have the Holy Spirit. Though there have been many debates about this but it is pertinent to say that nobody can acquire the spiritual gifts by power or might as only God gives according to His will. Thus, we can say that those who do not possess Glossolalia are not weak Christians and they should not be looked down upon. Late Pastor S.O. Folahan[xlii] once said that the Holy Spirit does not only manifest through speaking in tongues as some Pentecostals superciliously believe it to be but also through other gifts of the Spirit. This seems to represents the mind of Paul in I Corinthians 12:4 where he ascribes all the gifts of the Spirit to the authority of the same Holy Spirit. Paul further says in 14:1-4 that it is even better to prophesy than to speak in tongues as prophecy that is interpreted edifies the whole church. Pastor Folahan warned young Christians to be careful of “tongue speaking enthusiasts” who arrogantly claim that they can impart the gift on people and who also teach that tongue speaking is “compulsory”. This Pentecostal act replaces the consultation of Osanyin among the Yoruba in the southwestern part of Nigeria.
Osanyin is held to be in charge of all roots and herbs[xliii] and he possesses more knowledge than any other deity about the use of plant materials to cure illnesses. The Osanyin communes directly with the priest through Osanyin’s emblem, a type of doll or puppet which a priest manipulates by means of ventriloquism.[xliv] The Osanyin replies the priest by prescribing the necessary root and herb that could cure the illness under treatment. This is similar to tongue speaking and interpretation since the language of the Osanyin cannot be interpreted by anybody except the Osanyin priest. It can be said that just as the Osanyin reveals the right panacea for treating different ailments, so also the manifestation of the Spirit through speaking in tongues especially when it is interpreted. Tongue speaking is familiar in CAC Agbala Itura and it is accepted by the church as a medium through which God speaks to His people. However, the church exercises a level of control over the practice of this gift in her vicinity so that there would not be misuse and confusion.
Pastor Olaiya said that it is right for the church to allow a person to speak in tongues if the tongue could be interpreted and that a tongue that is not interpreted is mere noise.[xlv] Many mysteries had been revealed through tongue speaking in the family, among the church groups and the church in general. A woman once spoke in tongues in the church warning members to be careful of fire and that the church should pray that God should avert any of such incidences on members.[xlvi] Not long after then, many fire outbreaks were recorded around Ibadan, but members of CAC Agbala Itura came to testify how God miraculously saved them from such incidences. One of the members gave a testimony about how his houseboy forgot to put off the boiling ring that was used to boil water for tea before the family went to bed. According to him, the boiling ring had melted the plastic container and was already burning the rug on the floor of the sitting room when he suddenly woke up and found that the sitting room was already engulfed in smoke. He claimed that the fire could have burnt the whole house if the secret had not been revealed and prayers to avert such a calamity had not been said.[xlvii]
(c) Gift of Discernment of Spirit
It is a veritable system of fishing out false prophesy or message so that the Church or individual Christians would not be stupidly deceived.
This is a separate gift which makes anybody who has it to identify whether an “inspired message” is really from God or not.
The problem lies in the fact that false prophecy still manages to thrive in the Church today. Causes of this may be traced to the presence of sin which weakens the spirituality of Church leaders and members. Elder Oyewale[xlviii] observes that the spate of false prophecy in the Christendom and especially in Pentecostal circle is on the high side today. However, he stated that this syndrome is being controlled by Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura through many ways, one of which is that members are being constantly educated against accepting prophecies without putting them to spiritual tests. This further emphasizes the biblical warning about false prophecy and the necessity for the gift of discerning of spirits. (1 Corinth. 12:10)
1.3.2 Revelatory Manifestations in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura
Manifestation through revelation is the most dramatic and intimate means by which devotees maintain contact with the divinity. Before the arrival of the of the missionaries, the indigenous Yoruba people believed in consulting Ifa oracle and the Ifa priest derived his own word of knowledge and wisdom from the manipulation and interpretation of the Ifa corpus. The Babalawo or Baba Awo at times perceived the problems of their clients even before they opened their mouths to say them. They also prescribe the solution to these problems through their divine means. This is the indigenous people’s version of revelatory manifestations and it had aided them in solving many problems of life. For example, the way an Ifa priest throws his Opele or divination chain up and down and interprets the message of the Opele is somewhat the same way that a pastor or prophet might interpret a verse of the bible. The advent of mission Christianity derided this means of problem solving. When the indigenous churches came, a new and genuine dimension of incorporating these indigenous elements in indigenous Pentecostal Christianity developed. CAC Agbala Itura has meaningfully contributed towards advancing this challenge.
Revelatory Manifestations in CAC Agbala Itura include manifestations of the gifts of word of knowledge and wisdom, vision, trances and special dreams.[xlix]
(a)Gift of Word of Knowledge and Wisdom
Word of knowledge and wisdom are referred to as divinely inspired knowledge and wisdom expressed in words.[l] Word of knowledge, as put by Late Pastor Folahan, involves the revelation of a secret about an impending danger or goodness and the precautions to take to achieve the desired results.[li] Word of knowledge on the other hand proffers the ways or steps to follows so that the impending evil is repelled or the blessing or benefits ahead are hastened. Dr. Abiodun Hassan[lii] in an interview said that “members of the church are careful not to disobey the voice of God through this means of communication”. He gave an unfortunate incidence of one Adejare Family. The head of this family was an important factor that made the branch of Agbala Itura to be founded at Athens in Greece and he was also a founding member of Agbala Itura. According to Dr. Hassan, a word of knowledge came up which warned all members of the church against embarking on a long distance journey but his family made an oversight of this revelation by traveling. They had a fatal accident and the couple died leaving the children. Pastor Folahan in a message titled The Gifts of the Holy Spirit describes this gift as a guide and security of the church.[liii]
Also, the word of knowledge was spoken by Pastor Folahan concerning a woman who wanted to abort a pregnancy she was having in 1995. It was during a Sunday service when the pastor was about to start his sermon. He warned that the woman should not do so and that if she disobeyed, she would die in the process. The woman came out that day and she attributed her decision to poverty and that the decision was a joint one between herself and her husband who was not having a good job then. The pastor and the congregation prayed for her safe delivery and for divine provision from God. He further revealed to her through word of wisdom that God had promised to take care of the child even before the conception and that He would raise a helper for the woman. After her delivery, the woman came to testify that she had a divine encounter as someone she had not seen before came to give her a huge sum of money to restart her business which had been grounded for a long period.[liv] Another example is the case of a man who committed adultery with a woman and contacted a sexually transmitted disease. At the time the word of knowledge came to him, he was in a great pain which had defied medical solution. The man later saw the pastor in private and narrated the whole story to him. The pastor revealed to him through word of wisdom to first confess to God and his wife whom he cheated. He was then told to offer a seven day prayer with fasting and he claimed in his testimony that he received total healing. CAC Agbala Itura through the manifestation of the gifts of word of knowledge and wisdom has made a surrogate for indigenous Christians who were used to consulting the Baba Awo for problem solving and guidance. In fact Pastor Akinpelu confirms that CAC Agbala Itura in its early time was churched by the less privileged indigenous people of Ibadan who had close contact and affiliation with this means of consulting diviners. He said further that some of them who had exploited the means decided to quit and opted for assistance in the church. He reiterated further that there were incidences of some who voluntarily surrendered their charms and objects to be destructed.[lv] This shows that these people were finding potent substitute that could satisfy their world view about spirituality and power.
(b)Gift of Vision
Vision ordinarily means the ability to see the facial appearance of objects we look at such as colour, shape, size, details, depth and contrast. It is achieved when the eyes and the brain work together to form picture of the world around us.[lvi] In the spiritual sense, it is the capability of seeing and comprehending secret things that cannot be assessed through ordinary aptitude but through spiritual means. Vision may be accompanied with or without word.[lvii]
Vision is a vital manifestation of revelation in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura. In the Church, the visionary places God first before revealing the message, that is, he makes God his sole witness who shall judge him vis-à-vis his message. However, trances of long duration e.g., 3, 7, 21,0r 40 days are not recognized in the Church, though it is acceptable by some Aladura churches.[lviii] A vision may speak about a personality nearby or remote, a church or a nationwide issue. The method employed to divulge a vision is also as important. This is because vision has the propensity to build or destroy a person or a system. Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura does not encourage vision to be divulged unscreened. Prior to hearing a vision, especially from members of the congregation, the church leadership might have ordinarily had the vision narrated to them by the visionary to assess its worthiness for the spiritual building of the congregation. This is important to make sure that unhealthy and ungodly visions do not penetrate to cause puzzlement and chaos in the church.
Many have claimed that they had received guidance through vision either in their conscious or unconscious states. Some have even testified to the fact that the message of God through vision had made them to escape some dangers that could have claimed their lives.[lix] Mr. Amos Oginni,[lx] is a member of the church, and when he was interviewed, narrated his miraculous escape from an accident along Ibadan/Ilesha road. He declared that he saw in a vision a man dressed in white robe telling him to pray and sanctify himself with the “miracle water” (that is sanctified water) before making the journey which he claimed he did. He alleged that after the automobile accident in which many people died, he was the only person that came out unhurt. Another example was the case of a woman who was suffering from a mysterious affliction for many years but who was able to find a cure through the vision that late Pastor Folahan had about her in 1994. The pastor relayed that he saw a woman in the vision dishonouring her husband by pouring a pot of soup on him. To the amazement of many, the woman came out and said that all that the pastor said was right, and she narrated to the church how it happened many years back and that ever since the incidence, her body had been oozing out a bad and powerful odour that people would not want to sit close to her. She confessed that she did not know the actual cause of her problem until the day the vision was relayed. The pastor enjoined the congregation to pray for her and encouraged her to go and apologize to the man.[lxi] This is an example of a vision that communicated what evil or wrong had happened in the past so as to elicit a solution. In Yoruba world view, there is a system of seeing what cannot be seen ordinarily. This is called wiwe oju or we oju. This literally means, washing the eyes to give the person who does the ability to see ghosts, monitor witches, goblins and dangerous animals in order to fight or avoid them. The researcher learnt from a herbalist that snakes could be seen and avoided after the administration of a special herb and recitation of incantation.[lxii] Dr. Hassan relayed that his grandfather had this capability and that he used it to drive away a goblin that usually came to steal his hens.[lxiii] Some people had also claimed to have seen dead people rise from their graves in broad daylight. All these are to show the indigenous people’s version of vision and its numerous functions. It also shows that CAC Agbala Itura is reasonably filling the gap of making recourse to this means through the manifestation of Revelational gifts through vision.
(c) Gift of Dream
The last in this category is dream. The dreamer gets his or her revelation in an unconscious (sleeping) state which makes it different from a visionary who acquires the knowledge in a rather conscious state.
Dream as a means of revelation among indigenous Africans before the advent of the missionaries was less popular than divination.[lxiv] Yoruba people believe that a dead person can appear in dreams to counsel or terrorize the living. If a Yoruba man dreams, he may wish to determine the wishes of the dead person he saw in his dreams by consulting a diviner. A diviner could also foretell what may happen in future. It may also help the diviner or interpreter of the dream to determine the best treatment for an ailment and whether the person suffering the affliction will get well or die. It may further help to ascertain what the benevolent or malevolent spirits want as sacrifice or ransom to either bless their victim with good things or release him from the spiritual bondage they had kept him.[lxv] However, in the AIC’s and particularly in CAC Agbala Itura, revelation from dreams could be disclosed by the individual dreamer to the persons concerned. When it involves the whole church, dreams are usually relayed through the dreamer. This takes place after the church leaders might have screened it. The church leaders may decide to divulge the dreams to the congregation by themselves.
The gift of dream is a way of revealing spiritual mysteries to an individual or the church at large, and as said above, such mysteries are revealed when the recipient is in a sleeping state. The church normally teaches its members to be watchful of dreams so as not to make members be under the repression of fright. They teach that when a person has a frightening dream, such a one should rather pray to God to avert such an evil than living under fear. Pastor Oki[lxvi] said that when a Christian dreams of an impending evil, such a one should interpret it to mean that the evil seen happening in the dream had been averted by God already, only that he wanted such a one to know how much He cares. Furthermore, he stated that if someone dreams of being wealthy, such a one should rather be more prayerful and hardworking so that poverty would not come. This moral lesson and awareness is necessary so that laziness would not be condoned in the church, as some Christians think, that miracle and divine providence do not require hard work from Christians. There were some testimonies from members who had claimed in their testimony that God had revealed to them many things that actually came to pass later in life. There was the case of the testimony of one Mrs. Adeyemi[lxvii] who dreamed of being attacked by armed robbers but that she escaped unhurt. She said that she prayed immediately after the dream. Some days after this dream, she said some armed robbers came to her neighborhood and robbed almost all her neighbours but only her was spared. This shows that the gift of dream has been efficacious towards warning and protecting the members of the church from calamities that could have plunged them into untold hardship or even death.
1.3.3 Power Manifestation
Before Christianity came to Nigeria, indigenous Yoruba people believed that malevolent forces existed and that they had power to influence decisions, change fortune and destiny. They further believed that the only way to suppress their influence was through consulting higher powers or mediums. The battlefield was the supernatural realm and the most powerful side carried the day.[lxviii] A traditional doctor might be employed to curse an opponent, or witches and wizards be consulted to invoke an affliction on an enemy. To cure a curse is one of the most difficult tasks in traditional medicine. Some traditional healers even said it was impossible while few ones admitted that it was curable. The latter group adopted many methods of cure and one of them is the recitation of incantations such as:
Ogeyeku wa ye ibi kuro lori lagbaja
Eni to ba npe ori lagbaja ni ibi ki ibi ki o lo si ori re
Bi elulu b ape ojo ori ara re lo npee le
Eni to ba npe ori lagbaja ni ibi, ori re ni ki ibi o lo…
Ogeyeku, remove misfortune from Mr X
Anyone who wishes Mr X misfortune, letHim have the bad fortune
Whenever Eluluu (a bird) invokes rain, the rain falls on him
Whoever wishes Mr X bad fortune, let misfortune descend on him…[lxix]
The AIC’s believe that wicked powers exist just as the indigenous Yoruba people but they make use of the divine power of God to subject the wicked powers. That is why this brand of church has claimed to have many records of incidences of divine miracles through power manifestations. Apart from making use of imprecatory prayers and psalms to counter evil forces in CAC Agbala Itura, songs that resemble the incantation above are sung to show that God has power over evil forces. One of them is as follows: B’araye ba f’ejo mi su ogun aye, emi naa a f’ejo won sun ogun orun. This translates as: If my enemies report me to the earthly forces, I will also report them to the heavenly forces. Another one says: Oruko ti mo ni ni mo pe, agbara ti mo ni ni mo sa, eyin ota mi e f’ori gba’ri, l’oruko Jesu e f’ori gba’ri o which translates as: It is the name that I have that I invoke, It is the power that I possess that I enforce, You! My enemies be disorganized, In Jesus name get confounded. This shows this point of fact that African indigenous churches germinated in a society where much attention is given to the fact that power contest takes place in the spirit world on daily basis and that power is needed to stay victorious. It also shows the rich translation of indigenous Yoruba ideals about power in indigenous Pentecostal Christianity of the same people.
Power manifestations in Pentecostal Christianity are the demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit through faith healing and working of miracles.[lxx] There have been many incidences of miracles that had taken place in the church that is CAC Agbala Itura which range from divine provision to healing miracles. Pastor Olukotun[lxxi] in an interview said that the church was a focal point for the poor and the oppressed when it was founded and that they usually got answers to their various problems. He affirmed that a high percentage of the members of the church at inception were poor and uneducated, who were in search of a haven where their problems could be solved. As stated by him, the church was actually providing this, as many had benefited from the free gift of divine providence by the Spirit through the servant of God, Prophet S.K. Abiara. A lot of ailments of mysterious origins had been got rid of and this increased the membership of the church such that some people from other religious inclinations became members of the church. Many people from the local surroundings were availing themselves of the opportunity of accessibility and instant answers to prayer through faith.
The method of conducting prayers for divine blessing in the church varies. For example, when offering prayers for divine blessing, Prophet Abiara usually asked that every member should raise money of any denomination up and prayers were offered upon them. Members would be instructed to either keep such money or add them into their business. It is believed that the money prayed on would serve as a contact of blessing for the members. Here, power is portrayed as having the ability to travel through any medium. This replaces the indigenous practice of keeping a consecrated object in the house to serve as a point of blessing and protection for the Yoruba people before the arrival of Christianity. At another time, the prophet might ask people to bring working tools to the Church for blessing. Here both professionals and non-professionals would come with their tools such as hammer, stethoscope, scissors, and writing materials and so on. At times those who had encountered either financial difficulties or impediments of unexplainable origins (probably from forces with malevolent dispositions) in finishing their building projects would be asked to bring a portion of the soil from the site of the building to the Church for prayers of sanctification. Many have testified that they had breakthrough after such prayers.[lxxii] It is important to discuss briefly some of the items and strategies or procedures used during prayers of healing and miracles and their significance to African thought and Christianity.
(a)Use of Sanctified Water for Healing and Miracles
The use of sanctified water was very popular in the church and it is still popular till today. This practice in Christ Apostolic Church is traceable to the encounter that Prophet Ayo Babalola had in 1928 when he saw Christ in a revelation giving him a bottle of water and telling him to drink.[lxxiii] After drinking it God told him that the water was for drinking and healing of the sick from all sicknesses. In Agbala Itura, this practice was emphasized so much emphasized and there was a special well called “Kanga Iyanu” (The Well of Miracle.)[lxxiv] The well was kept clean, a fence was built around it and a notice was placed beside it warning trespassers to keep off. Only designated people were allowed to get near the well. Three days of prayer meeting were usually organized every month and it was on these days of the month that people would come with containers to collect the water and use till the following month when they would be due to collect another one. This water was special and different from those blessed every service day. However, faith was required from every one who used the water to initiate the desired miracle and this usually reflected in the teachings of the founder anytime he preached about the water. The water could be drunk by the sick, applied on the affected path of the body or used for bathing. Members of the church were at times told to wash their heads with the water to wipe away curse and usher in good fortune. At other instance, they had been instructed to add some quantity of the sanctified water to the water for their bath and take their bath with it. By this, it is believed that generational curses could be erased. The use of water among the indigenous people of Africa and Yoruba people of Nigeria before the missionary era was significant. The Yoruba saying: Omi la bu we, Omi la bu mu, enikan kii b’omi s’ota which means: We bath with water and we drink it, no one dares play enmity with water explains it all. Water was used for sanctification and consecration. There were important rivers in places in Yoruba land and one of them that survived till today is the Osun River. This river is significant for its medicinal purpose especially for barren women. It is generally believed that if the river goddess is worshipped, it makes barren women to be pregnant. However, the Kanga Iyanu at CAC Agbala Itura returned the age long practice about the use of water for healing purpose, which mission Christianity greatly discouraged.
(b)Use of Anointing Oil for Healing and Miracles
The use of anointing oil for healing and miracles was not so common at the inception of the church till 1993. This idea was popularized and emphasized by Pastor S.O. Folahan between 1994 and 2002. This system of healing has its origin in the Bible (James 5:13-16) and was also taught by Prophet Ayo Babalola[lxxv]. So, it was not really an innovation around this time but rather giving of prominence to an existing practice. The anointing oil could be administered in the church using two methods. The first method entailed the church providing the oil and after prayers might have been said on it, the church ministers would administer the oil on members. The second method required every member to provide the oil themselves. They would be asked to lift the oil and prayers would be said on it and most of the time Psalms were read on the oil before elaborate prayer was offered. Many people had testified to the efficiency of this method. A woman interviewed testified to the efficacy of the anointed oil during the delivery of her third baby. She professed that the baby was maintaining a breech posture and she had been advised to come to prepare for Caesarean Section. She alleged that when she was being prepared for the theatre, she anointed herself with the oil. She claimed that the fetus immediately turned to the right position after administering the oil. When she noticed this turning, she notified the nurses who examined her and saw that the baby had actually turned and that she had started to experience contractions. She was immediately wheeled to the labour room where she delivered the baby safely.[lxxvi] Another person interviewed claimed that he was divinely protected in his dream through the administration of the anointing oil on himself. He said he anointed himself with the oil before going to bed and he was able to subject the evil forces that came to torment him in his dream. He declared that when he woke up he was gasping for breath, that he could have been overpowered if he had not anointed himself the previous night.[lxxvii] The use of the anointing oil for healing and miracles could be said to have replaced the herbs and medicines, charms and amulets that herbalists and priests prescribe for their patients for protection before the Missionary era in Nigeria.
(c) Healing Prayers for the Alabiye Women
Alabiye is a euphemism for women who have the problem of conceiving and having the joy of parenthood. The word literally means the one that gives birth to healthy and living children. This understatement is intentionally used as a code word for those suffering from bareness and still-birth to make them feel that their problems are nothing to worry about and that it will get solved. This usage latter became to be known as Iya Iyanu meaning the miracle mother or the mother of the miracle baby. The church used to set aside a day of the week for such women. The programme usually involved counseling barren women about how to be good wives to their husbands. Humility and honour for the husband were usually stressed as necessary virtues that a good wife should possess. They were also taught to always be submissive to their husbands and show kindness to their in-laws. In other words, the church demands good conduct from barren women as prerequisites to getting pregnant through divine intervention.
During such prayer sessions, faith was also emphasized. They would be asked to come with new baby wears and materials to be prayed on. The significance of this is that they were to believe they would actually be pregnant and that the fruit(s) of their wombs would be the same to use the materials after giving birth to them. This practice reinforces the fact that faith is the key to answered prayers.
Many women testified to the efficacy of this method.[lxxviii] Healing miracles in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura is traceable to the patriarchs of Christ Apostolic Church, the likes of Evangelist Ayo Babalola and Daniel Orekoya when they were still under the Faith Tabernacle.[lxxix] They were used by God to perform many healings and miracles like restoration of sight to the blind and sound to the deaf, sanity to the insane and healing to lepers.[lxxx]
The first miracle of the fruit of the womb in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura was that of one Mrs. Margaret O. Akinola[lxxxi] who was fondly called “Mama Sina”. She joined the church around 1978 and she was one of the pioneer members of the church choir at the time. According to her testimony, she had explored many means just to get pregnant without success. She narrated her ordeal with a native doctor who gave her a horrible concoction made of animal dung to take. She took it and yet there was no good result, until she joined the church. She said that Prophet Abiara prayed for her and asked her to join the Choir of the church which she did and in no time she conceived and bore a son that was named “Olusina”, which ordinarily means “the Lord has opened the passage”.
Another outstanding miracle in this regard was that of Mrs. Ayinde Maria who had been barren for the past thirty three years but gave birth to a child. According to her, they had given up having a child since the western medicine they had been using had failed them, but that the powerful God favoured her during a special programme for barren women.[lxxxii]
Miracles of such nature have been recorded in the church. When prayers for healing miracles were being said, people were usually asked to place their hands in the particular areas or places where they were experiencing the ailment and to remain calm. In the state of calmness, there used to be outburst of speaking in tongues, eeriness and awesomeness.
At the end of the prayers, people would be asked to give themselves a kind of self examination to verify whether they had actually experience any healing. Many testimonies usually followed such prayers.
According to Pastor Akinpelu, prayer played a great role in healing the sick and working signs and wonders. He attributed the reason why his mother became a member of the church to the fervent prayer culture being practiced in the church, especially when she joined in 1978. He narrated that her mother was on her way to her church, CAC Sango Obadare, when she was attracted by the noise of people who were praying in another church. What attracted her most was the fervency in their tone which was not so different from what obtained at CAC Sango Obadare, more so Agbala Itura was nearer to her house. She became a member of the church and then enjoined her son (Pastor Akinpelu) to also be attending.[lxxxiii]
Pastor Akinpelu recounted the zealousness of the members with respect to prayer and the miracles that followed such prayers. He cited that the church usually organized a three day prayer meeting called “Ipade Omi Iyanu” which literally means “Prayer of the Sanctified Water”. Throughout the three days, the sanctified water would be given to people. He established that people who had swallowed poisonous objects or had sicknesses that had outwitted the knowledge of medicine usually had solutions to their problems during such programme. He mentioned that miracles happened immediately and that any poisonous substance swallowed in dreams or in reality was usually vomited after drinking the sanctified water. He also confirmed that all those around would see the immediacy and efficacy of such healing. He described the prayer meeting as the type offered with the “head, soul and body” wherein people were getting liberated from their bondages.
Mr. E.W Goboze[lxxxiv] who was a member of the church in the early 80s expressed that revival songs of power and healing were sung with towering spirituality and utmost concentration. He claimed that during such revival moments, a number of people more often than not declare that they received spirit baptism. Examples of such songs that invoke the presence of the Holy Spirit to work wonders are;
(1)Emi Mimo wole, Okunkun gberu re (Repeatedly)
Meaning: Holy Spirit! Come in, darkness pack your load
(2) Jesu! Wo’nu mi, Jesu! Mi si mi, Jesu! Gbe mi wo. (Repeatedly)
Meaning: Jesus! Enter me, Jesus! Breathe into me, Jesus imbue me.
Pastor Akinpelu testified of a woman who vomited cowry shell in the course of a prayer meeting and that at another time another woman with a long period of pregnancy gave birth to a big rat which had been mysteriously put in her stomach by the evil forces. He on the other hand points out that not much emphasis is being laid on the use of sanctified water today compared with what obtained then. At the same time he lamented and decried the relapse that has bedeviled occurrences of instant healing in the Church.[lxxxv]
Apart from praying in the church vicinities, members further attached much importance to praying on the Mountain tops. This place is considered serene and “sacred” and they claimed that prayers get answered quickly, as distraction is minimally controlled. The initiator of this practice in Christ Apostolic Church was Prophet Ayo Babalola who claimed that God gave him express command and divine order to do so.
Babalola J.A in his account writes:
God told me to make use of mountaintop that would be in the bush
where there would be quietness and calm. That there would be
no distraction but concentration of mind in prayer for the
purpose of effective success in the ministry, renewal of spiritual
power, receiving clear vision and revelation from God. For
example Jesus did the same while on earth.[lxxxvi]
Members of Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura also followed in the footsteps of the founder of the church who shared in the vision of Apostle Ayo Babalola. The Oloode Assembly of the church has a mountain top where church members visited to offer prayers.
1.4 Prayer Methods in CAC Agbala Itura and their Correlation with African
Indigenous World View
Aladura churches consider prayer as the mother of all blessings and they hold that prayer is the purveyor of blessings and the means of actualizing wishes that cannot be assessed ordinarily.[lxxxvii] CAC Agbala Itura being an Aladura church holds some beliefs of the society that houses it vis-à-vis prayer with great respect and the church utilizes these beliefs to give Pentecostalism a pleasant appeal before the members who are predominantly Yoruba. We shall examine some of the Yoruba beliefs that the church is making use of to contextualize its Pentecostalism.
The first is the Yoruba belief about Ori which literally means a part of the body called head. Ori in this culture is viewed in two forms that are the physical and the spiritual forms, the visible and the invisible. The visible Ori is a symbol of Ori-inu, which is the internal head or the inner person which forms the very essence of the personality soul. It is the belief of Yoruba people that this Ori rules and guides the life and activities of the person possessing the head.[lxxxviii] It is the Ori that chooses the destiny of a person as to whether the person will be successful or unfortunate in life. If a man is unfortunate in his endeavour, he may be asked to sacrifice to his Ori to influence or change his destiny which means; ipin ori or ayanmo. So it is preferred that Ori be worshipped than beauty because it is ori that brings good fortune to a person. Ori la ba bo taa ba f’Orisa sile t’ori Ori lon gbe’ni, Orisa ko which means: it is more expedient to make sacrifice to Ori than Orisa because it is Ori that favours one, not Orisa.[lxxxix] Ori however holds a significant place in Yoruba world view.
CAC Agbala Itura being an indigenous church still treasures this belief about Ori. The belief is sustained because of the perception of the Yoruba culture that groomed the church. Members are asked to lay their hands on their heads when prayers about good fortune, progress and prosperity are prayed. Sanctified water is used to wash the head. By doing that, it is believed that misfortune is washed away and replaced with good luck. Songs such as the following are sung: (1) Ori mo gbo o Ori mi gba, 2ce
Oniwa ngba’re eleyin n gba’re
Gbogbo ori lon gba’re
Ori’mi tete gba’re mase k’adura
translates as: Hearken! My Ori, Accept it! My inner head, 2ce
Every Dick and Harry is receiving their goodness
At Agbala Itura
Hearken! My Ori, Accept goodness!
Do not reject prayer
(2) Ori’Mi! ma gba’bode, Eleda Mi! ma gba’bode 2ce
B’araye fun O ma ma gba o
Ori Mi! ma gba’bode
translates as: My Ori! Do not accept misfortune
My inner head! Reject misfortune
If the wicked ones give it to you, take it not,
My Ori! Do not accept misfortune
These songs reflect to a great extent the belief of the church about the significance of Ori and its position in the belief system of the people. It also shows that the church recognizes that members of the church must not be unnecessarily cut off from such indigenous beliefs that could enrich their faith.
Another practice involves encouraging members to wake up and pray at night especially around 12 midnight, 1:00am, 2:00am and 3:00am. It is believed that the quietness of this period enhances concentration and also that malevolent forces normally meet around this period to fashion their strategies. The church believes that prayers offered around this time hit the evil forces with great impact and destabilize them in their meeting places. It further believes that the moment the forces are demoralized, prayers get answered easily.[xc]
Yoruba culture recognizes the fact that evil deeds are perpetrated by wicked spirits at night and that their wickedness can also be neutralized at night. Awolalu[xci] supports this by saying that witches hold their nocturnal meetings around 2:00am. They gather not in physical appearance but in spiritual form and as such, they cannot be tracked down through any physical means.[xcii] Also sacrifices are usually taken to crossroads around this time as it is believed that the carrier of the sacrifice must not be intercepted on the road by anybody at all, otherwise the potency of the sacrifice will be infected. In order to fill this gap, CAC Agbala Itura recognizes the act of keeping vigils as a replicate of the remedy that anti-wickedness divinities, diviners and priests may proffer to their clients through their medium and personnel. The church teaches that observance of vigils replaces Ebo or sacrifice that African Traditional Religion adherents offer at night.
The practice of joining hands together in groups of two, three and seven in the church is synonymous to the concept of Awo (cult) in Yoruba traditional religious belief. In the cult, collaboration is the hallmark for achieving the desired result. A semblance of this means is practiced in the church and it is acclaimed a useful means of getting rid of spiritual problems that had proved stubborn for a long period of time. Members are told to form a circle chain and that no opening should be created. It is believed that prayers said in this position get answered quickly. It is claimed that this “unbroken chain system” spiritually shuts evil spies out and blocks every passage wherein information about the people in the chain could be assessed spiritually. It is held that any spiritual crisis or war that could not be nullified through ordinary prayer is better cancelled through chain prayer. The church refers to such a problem as Ogun Alafowosowopo, that is a spiritual problem inflicted on a person through the joining together of many evil collaborators so that such a problem could not be easily unraveled. It is claimed that solution to such a problem is through the formation of the similar chain system where the efforts of the people in the chain are coupled together to form a formidable powerful force to topple the influence of the evil ones on the victim.[xciii] That is why such a prayer formation is easily noticed in the church.[xciv]
A practice similar to the above is circling or dancing round the altar for a number of times, for example 3, 7, 21 times. It is alleged that prayers said in this attitude are efficacious.[xcv] The altar in the church is considered a sacred pavilion and it is believed that the God resides there. It is further held that such a place should not be desecrated. In Agbala Itura, the entire church is purportedly held as an altar, a sanctuary where safety is guaranteed. That is why members of the church observe this formation and they believe it is effective to achieving answers to their prayers.[xcvi] Shrines and temples among the Yoruba people are considered sacred. They are equated to the palace of a king in sacredness, since the obas (kings) that reside in them are often considered representatives of the gods on earth.[xcvii] CAC Agbala Itura exudes this indigenous notion about the shrine or temple in the recognition given to the church and the altar.
Another striking practice involves facing the “four cardinal points of the world” that is, the north, south east and west points to offer prayer. It is believed that these points (origun merin aye in Yoruba parlance) are filled with lucky things and disasters but no one knows the exact point where these things are so as to either go after them to acquire them or avoid them. Facing these points during prayer significantly means conducting a search or a spying escapade in every direction, even though no specific direction is intentionally targeted. This clue is probably derived from the world view of Yoruba which recognizes that there are four walls cornering the world. One of the prayers of the Yoruba people says; Ire l’otun, ire l’osi, ire ni’wa, ire l’ehin which means, may I experience goodness from my left and right, front and rear .This shows the belief of the Yoruba about the fact that the world is surrounded by many things both good and evil.
1.5 Impact of Pentecostal Manifestations on the Growth and Development of CAC Agbala Itura
Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura has been able to bridge the gap that existed between African indigenous religious consciousnesses and the type of Christianity introduced by the early missionaries into Nigeria before the colonial period. The reason for this influence rests on the fact that western Christianity failed in no small means to satisfy the feelings of the traditional African society.
The church has been able to incorporate indigenous African flavour in manifesting and interpreting the spiritual gifts in the three areas namely inspirational, Revelational and power manifestations.
Under inspirational manifestations, the church has been capable of manifesting the gifts of prophecy, speaking in tongues and discernment of spirit in manners that are not strange to the beliefs of their cultural environments. This makes the adherents of other religions, especially African Traditional Religion adherents to feel at home, thereby leading to more effective conversion.
Revelational gifts in CAC Agbala Itura have helped in the solving of problems and unraveling of mysteries thereby making the consultation of oracles unnecessary. This helps in entrenching the faith of members the more. It also increases the level of their confidence in God, Yoruba culture and the church. Just as those who patronize priests and cults get spiritual satisfaction, protection and confidence through the warnings they receive, charms that are given them for protection, and secrets that are revealed to them about the dangers ahead, CAC Agbala Itura through the manifestations of the Spirit provides all these through revelation to members. The overall effect of this is enlargement in number of members. It may even be interesting to know that some claimed they joined the church because of the information they had heard about the church’s spiritual fervency. They claim they are safe being with the church.[xcviii]
The traditional world view of indigenous Africans rests on spirit and power. With the knowledge of this, CAC Agbala Itura is able to rise to the challenge of solving through the help of the Holy Spirit, spiritual problems of its members. This is made possible through the manifestations of the Holy Spirit through power. A considerable occurrence of miracles has been recorded in the church and this makes the world look like a better place to stay. A good number of members of the church rely on divine miracle and healing. This helps in a way to decongest the hospitals and reduces the anxieties that go along with health security. The use of sanctified water and anointing oil for the cure of illnesses and consecration of objects and properties such as house, car, and equipment and so on further helps to propagate the name of the church, thereby increasing the membership. The church is also contributing to reduce the problem of bareness in women as many families have testified that God miraculously gave them fruits of the womb after many years of bareness.
The Significance of Divine Healing:
Testimonies and news about divine healing in any gathering or crusade often lead to increase in zeal for evangelism and church planting. In fact, it is on the fulcrum of divine healing that Pentecostal Christianity rests.[xcix] According to Pastor Akinpelu, Divine healing shows that the power which raised Jesus Christ from the grave is still alive today and what it does is healing for the sick.[c]
Divine healing can also bring
sinners to repentance and confession of sins and acceptance of the gospel news.[ci]
This strategy is being exploited in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura.
Evangelical revivals are organized in a way that the salvation news is brought
down to the immediate environment of the people. After the message about
salvation, what follows are prayers for divine healing. We have noticed that the
promise of divine healing is not only for the Christians alone but also for
everyone. Many non-Christians have claimed that they have received healing at
one time or the other in such revivals. This shows the universal nature of
Christ’s gospel and mercy. Divine healing further increases the spiritual
earnestness of the receiver of the healing and those who hear such testimonies.
Here, as salvation news of the healed is broadcast to all, the efficacy
of divine healing is also brought to the heart of everyone thereby increasing
peoples’ readiness to totally submit to Christ’s authority and headship of the
This could be said to have accounted for the large membership which CAC Agbala
Itura had in the years under reference as those who received healing transmitted
this tiding to others. In addition, divine healing brings together a large crowd
of people with prolonged sicknesses that have defied medical therapy. It is
however worthy that churches that practice divine healing take the pain to
educate those who claim to have received healing to still confirm their health
status medically. This will help in re-assuring that the symptoms do not
hibernate to resurge later. Jesus did this when he told the leper he healed to
go and show himself to the priests for confirmation of his healing (Mt. 8:2-4,
Mk 1:440-44). This will help to curb the incident of “fake healing” and also
identify genuine ones.
From the findings, it has been discovered that CAC Agbala Itura has a long record of multifarious encounters with the Holy Spirit in power and in might. These spirit encounters have gone a long way in establishing members in the Christian faith. This is because these encounters have proved to the African Christians the vitality of the Christian faith to give a holistic satisfaction to the yearnings of Africans. Considering the three types of manifestations that have been discussed it is clear to a large extent that African indigenous way of life during the advent of mission Christianity was underrated, disrupted and blacklisted. Through the initiative of some native Africans, indigenous Christianity came to incorporate these values to their faith to give it relevance and meaning before Africans.
The worldview of Africans is such that sees spiritual interpretations, explanations and guidance to every problem of life. Pentecostal inspirational manifestations have gone a long way in satisfying these desires in African Christianity. For example, prior to the advent of Christianity, Africans consulted Ifa oracles to ascertain whether it would be safe to; embark on a journey, get married to a woman from a particular family background, take a risky step, determine the destiny of a new child and so on. Answers to these questions were formerly supplied by Ifa priests through Revelatory manifestations during visionary experiences, hearing words of knowledge and wisdom and having dreams. With the advent of indigenous Christianity, all these means of solving problems are now incorporated in African Christianity and particularly in Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura. This church has responded positively in making Christianity to be up to the task of meeting the spiritual, psychological and physical and material needs of Africans. It further stops African Christians from making recourse to African traditional cults for solution as that was the case before the era of Pentecostalism.
[i] E. A. Ayandele., The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria; 1842-1914: A Political Analysis. London:
Longman, 1966, p187.
[ii] Abogunrin S.O.,(ed.) Biblical Healing in African Context, Publication of The Nigerian Association for
Biblical Studies (NABIS) Biblical Studies Series No. 3, 2004, p.9.
[iii] Ibid., p. 9
[iv] Ogbu U. Kalu (ed.), African Christianity: An African Story. Pretoria: University of Pretoria, 2005,
pp. 276, 277.
[v] Afe Adogame & Lizo Jafta: Zionists Aladura & Roho: African Instituted Churches in Ogbu U. Kalu (ed.),
African Christianity: An African Story, p. 309.
[vi] A, Alokan, The Christ Apostolic Church, (1928-1988), Ibadan. Ibukunola Printing Nig Ltd., 1991, p.30.
[vii] A, Adogame,. Celestial Church of Christ: The Politics of Cultural Identity in a West African Prophetic
Charismatic Movement. Frankfurt am Mian: Peter Lang. 1999.p.24.
[viii] Allan Anderson, Zion and Pentecost, Pretoria: University of South Africa Press, 2000, p.28.
[ix] The New Encyclopedia Britannica., Vol. 7, Chicago: William Benton Publisher, 1974, p.858.
[x] F.D Brunner: A. Theology of the Holy Spirit. The Pentecostal Experience and the New
Testament Witness, New York: Panlist Press, 1991, p. 176.
[xi] Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004,
pp. 10, 19.
[xii] Encyclopedia Britannica., Vol. 7, p.858.
[xiii]R. Liardson., God’s General, Oklahoma: Albury Publishing, 1996, p12.
[xiv] Encyclopedia Britannica., Vol. 7, p.268.
[xv] L.G. Donald., Pentecostalism: A Theological View Point. New York: Panlist, 1971, p.176.
[xvi] Allan Anderson: Introduction to Pentecostalism, p. 4.
[xvii] Participatory observation of some Pentecostal leaders in the south western part of Nigeria. The churches
observed include the Winners Chapel at Bashorun, Ibadan and Christ Embassy, Bodija, Ibadan in July 2006.
See also J. Kwabena Asamoah Gyadu; “Born of Water and the Spirit”: Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity
in Africa in O.U. Kalu; African Christianity: An African Story, p. 401.
[xviii] J.A, Omoyajowo, Cherubim and Seraphim: The History of an African Independent Church, New York:
Nok Publishers, 1982, P.97. See also, Olusheye E.H.L., Mysterious Legacies of Apostle J.A. Babalola
Ibadan: Gideon Global Publications, 2004. 18,19. E.H.L. Olusheye., Who is this Joseph Ayo Babalola?
Ibadan: Gideon Global Publishers, 2006, pp. 6,7,&8. E.H.L. Olusheye., Saint Joseph Ayo Babalola:Africa’s
Foremost Religious Leader, (1904-1959). Ibadan: The Christian Overcormers Publishers, 1999, pp. 8 29,30.
[xix] Fatokun S.A., Pentecostalism in South Western Nigeria with Emphasis on the Apostolic Church 1931-
2001. Ph.D thesis submitted to the Dept. of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan 2005, p. 22.
[xx]John F. Mac.Arthur, Jr., Charismatic Chaos, Grand Rapid Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House,
1989, p. 237.
[xxi] O.O. Akinleye, Interview Respondent: Member, Christ Apostolic church, Agbala Itura, Ibadan.
Interviewed on the 6th ofJuly, 2007. (Age 28)
[xxii]Elder J.B. Doherty: Interview Respondent, Choir Master of Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura Ibadan,
between 1988 and 2002. He was interviewed on the 8th of July,2007 at the Oloode Assembly, (the new
headquarters of the church) (Age 58)
[xxiii] Allan Anderson, Introduction to Pentecostalism, pp. 8&9.
[xxiv] Gifford Paul,(ed.) New Dimensions in African Christianity, Nairobi: :All African Conference of Churches.
[xxv] Falaye T.A., The Origin and Growth of Christ Apostolic Church , Agbala Itura,1977- 2003.A Ph.D
Thesis submitted to the Dept of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan. Ibadan . 2005. p.108.
[xxvi]Bisi Yesufu, The Journey So Far, in Torch of God Magazine, Sept. 1996, p. 10.
[xxvii] Ibid., p. 10
[xxviii] S.K.Abiara (Prophet) “God of Possibility”. Sermon delivered during the annual Jesus Festival
Convention (Dec. 2006 edition).
[xxx] Abiara (Prophet), “God of Possibility”. See also: BisiYesufu, The Journey So Far, in Torch of God
Magazine, p. 19.
[xxxi] Participatory observations at Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura, Ibadan.
[xxxii] This arm is headed by a Director of Evangelism who oversees evangelical programme both inside and
outside the Church
[xxxiii] Prophet Abiara normally preaches this phenomenon in his sermons to reassures members of the church that
God cares for them.
[xxxiv] Deji Ayegboyin., Commiserating with the Prisoner: A charge to the Church in Nigeria. Orita. (Ibadan Journal
of Religious Studies)Vol.29 No. 1-2. 1997.
[xxxv] Alokan A; The Christ Apostolic Church, (1928-1988), p. 295. See also, Ogunrinade A.O., Schism in
the Christendom; A Case Study of Christ Apostolic Church, B.A. Long Essay. Dept of Religious Studies,
University of Ibadan, 1999, p. 99.
[xxxvi] Pastor A.O. Akinpelu, Interview Respondent, Senior Pastor, CAC Agbala Itura. Interviewed on the 8th of
July 2007. Age: 44
[xxxvii] A.O. Akinpelu, Interview Respondent.
[xxxviii]D.A. Olaiya (Pastor) “True Prophecy”. Sermon delivered at the Old Ife Road Assembly in March 7, 2004.
[xxxix]Participatory Observation during a Sunday church service in August 2001.
[xl] Idowu Mrs. Testimony shared during a week long revival organized by the church in Nov. 2005.
[xli]“Witchcraft.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite . Chicago:
Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008.
[xlii]Pastor S.O. Folahan: The Essence of Speaking in Tongues and the Secrets that Christians Should Know about
It. Sermon delivered at CAC Agbala Itura’s Believers Fellowship on Tuesday November 14, 1994.
[xliii] Awolalu Omosade J., Yoruba Beliefs and Sacrificial Rites, Essex: Longman, 1979, p. 74.
[xliv] George E. Simpson., Yoruba Religion and Medicine in Ibadan, Ibadan: Ibadan University Press, 1980, p. 42.
[xlv] D.A. Olaiya (Pastor) “True Prophecy”.
[xlvi] Participatory Observation at CAC Old Ife Road on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2004.
[xlvii] A.L. Oyewo. Testimony shared during one of the vigils of the church choir in February 22, 1999.
[xlviii] Elder Oyewale, Interview Respondent: Church Secretary of CAC Agbala Itura Old Ife Road, Ibadan)
Interviewed on the 10th of June 2007. (Age:52)
[xlix] Alokan J.O. Op.cit, 295.
[l] Fatokun S.A. Op.cit, 238.
[li] Pastor S.O. Folahan Op.cit
[lii] Abiodun Hassan (Dr.) Interview Respondent: a member of CAC Agbala Itura between 1980 and 1998.
Interviewed on the 11th of March, 2007. Age: 38.
[liii] S.O Folahan, “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit”. Sermon delivered during a church service on the 20th of
[liv]This incident happened in January 1995 on a Sunday morning at the Old Ife Road venue of the church.
[lv] A.O. Akinpelu, Interview Respondent.
[lvi] E. Faye, Eleanor. "Vision." Microsoft® Student 2007 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2006.
[lviii] Omoyajowo J.A. 128. See also Ogunrinade A.O, Moral Degradation in Churches in Nigeria. P. 102.
[lix] A lot of testimonies were shared by those who experienced miracles, especially during the annual Jesus
Festival programme of the church held every December.
[lx] Mr. Amos Oginni, Interview Respondent: Interviewed 10th July 2007. (Age 47)
[lxi] The church was spellbound at such a great revelation through dream. At this particular time, members of the
church had a feeling of rhapsody at what God could do for whoever He wishes nor matter the magnitude of
his/her sins. It also sent a note of caution to the married members of the church about the need to respect each
other in marriage. The incident cited above happened on the 16th of January, 1994.
[lxii] The researcher witnessed the treatment of a man bitten by snake on the 14th of April, 2005 in a town called
Lanlate. After the treatment, the native doctor advised his patient to go for eye-washing so that he could see
snakes in future and avoid them.
[lxiii] Abiodun Hassan: Interview Respondent
[lxiv] George E. Simpson., Yoruba Religion and Medicine in Ibadan, p. 74.
[lxv] Ibid., p. 75.
[lxvi] Pastor Oki is an itinerant evangelist who visits the church occasionally. He organizes week long
programmes. This particular exposition was revealed when he came in November and December 2005 and
he focused on the power of the unseen forces and how Christians should respond to them
[lxvii] Adeyemi (Mrs.)Testimony shared during a Victory Night programme usually held every last Friday of the
month in Nov. 1998.
[lxviii] George E. Simpson., Yoruba Religion and Medicine in Ibadan, pp. 82&83.
[lxix] Ibid.,, p. 83.
[lxx] Fatokun S.A. Pentecostalism in South Western Nigeria with Emphasis on the Apostolic Church 1931-
[lxxi] Olukotun. (Pastor) (Interview Respondent: Pastor, CAC Agbala Itura.) Interviewed
on the 9th of July, 2007. (Age: 58)
[lxxii]Bisi Yesufu, The Journey So Far, in Torch of God Magazine, Sept. 1996, p. 10.
[lxxiii] E.H.L. Olusheye., Mysterious Legacies of Apostle J.A.Babalola, pp. 32,33.
[lxxiv] This well was dug for the purpose of providing miracle water, that is, water that has been prayed upon. This
was the initiative of the founder of the church to give to whoever had faith in the healing efficacy of the
[lxxv] E.H.L.Olusheye., Ibid. 33,34.
[lxxvi] A.O. Sobogun, (Mrs.) Interview Respondent, Member, CAC Agbala Itura. Interviewed on the 14th of June,
[lxxvii] Ojo Olukunle, Interview Respondent, member, CAC Agbala Itura, Ibadan. Interviewed on the 4th of August 2007.
[lxxviii]Miracle News, the News Letter of Christ Apostolic Church Agbala-Itura, Vol.2 No 8, May 1997, P2
[lxxix]Fatokun S. A., Pentecostalism in South Western Nigeria with Emphasis on the Apostolic Church 1931-
2001, p. 240
[lxxx] A, Alokan, The Christ Apostolic Church, (1928-1988),pp. 46&47.
[lxxxi] Margaret O. Akinola Mrs. was a member of the church choir. Her own miracle of the fruit of the womb
Which happened to be the first in CAC Agbala Itura became a point of focus and reference for those who
desired such a miracle.
[lxxxii] Mrs. Ayinde Maria gave her testimony on the 6th of April 1996, after coming for the 1995 edition of the
[lxxxiii] A.O,Akinpelu Interview Respondent.
[lxxxiv] Goboze E.W (Interview Respondent) was a member of the church and a staunch member of the Church Choir
from 1980 to 1992. Interviewed on 5th March 2007. Age: 48
[lxxxv] Pastor Akinpelu Interview Respondent.
[lxxxvi] Babalola J.A. Eto Iranti Ajodun ti A o Maa se ni Odoodun nipa Ibere ati Isoji Nla Christ Apostolic Church.
Lagos: Ibukunola Printers Nig. Ltd. 1994. 5, 6.
[lxxxvii] Olayiwola D.O., The Aladura: its Strategies for Mission and Conversion in Yoruba land, Nigeria. In Orita,
Vol. 19, No. 1, June 1987. pp. 40-53.
[lxxxviii] Bolaji Idowu E., Olodumare; God in Yoruba Belief, Ikeja: Longman Nigeria, 1962, p. 180.
[lxxxix] Ibid., p. 180, 181.
[xc] Babajide E.A., Interview Respondent: Elder, Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura. Interviewed on the 26th of
July, 2007. (Age 47)
[xci]Awolalu Omosade J., Yoruba Beliefs and Sacrificial Rites, p. 85.
[xcii] Ibid.,, p. 85.
[xciii] Babajide E.A., Interview Respondent.
[xciv] Participatory Observation during a Victory Night programme in the last Friday of February 2001.
[xcv] Fawole O., Interview Respondent. Member, Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Itura. Interviewed on the
30th of July, 2007. (Age: 36)
[xcvi] Doherty J.B., Interview Respondent
[xcvii] Olaoba O.B., Traditional religious Practices in Yoruba Palaces. In Orita, Vol. 24, No. 1&2, 1995, pp. 1-12.
[xcviii] Pastor Akinpelu, Interview Respondent.
[xcix] Oshun C.O.; Divine Healing in the Service of Mission. Some Reflections on the Experience of Aladura
Pentecostals in Nigeria. Paper presented to a consultation of Faith, Health, Healing and Mission,
Organized by World Council of Churches and Evangelism Team Ghana Institute for Management and
Public Administration GMAPA, Achimota, Accra, Ghana, 4-8 Dec. 2002 p.18
[c] Pastor Akinpelu, Interview Respondent.
[ci] Oshun C.O., Divine Healing in the Service of Mission. Some Reflections on the Experience of Aladura
Pentecostals in Nigeria. p.18
[cii] Oshun C.O ., Divine Healing in the Service of Mission. Some Reflections on the Experience of Aladura
Pentecostals in Nigeria. p.19