God Will Never Announce A Church To Be The Best..."No One Claims The Ownership Of The Holy Spirit” - Pastor Gideon Oyedepo
Pastor Gideon Oyedepo, the Senior Pastor of the Cherubim and Seraphim Bible Ministries and member of the Moses Orimolade University Board in an interview with Shola Afolabi and Bolaji Olasupo spoke on his view on the state of the church and Moses Orimolade University.
Can we meet you, sir?
I am Gideon Oyedepo of C&S Bible Ministries, that is; Cherubim and Seraphim Bible Ministries. They always say where the best begin, that is who I am.
Tell us your relationship with Bishop David Oyedepo
People always want to know about my relationship with Bishop David Oyedepo. Well, he is my brother and we came from the same place and I must tell you that he is a blessing, and also a mentor to me. He led me to Christ and taught me many things. From the time he gave his life to Christ in 1969, his life has been very unique and very peculiar. When you look at 1969 to now, that's about 51 years ago. So he has been very consistent and has been very hardworking.
In your words you said Bishop David Oyedepo led you to Christ. Tell us how you became born again and your journey so far with Jesus Christ
I was a student of Ahmodu Bello University, Zaria in the 80s, Bishop was in Kaduna running his ministry and on that particular day, I felt fever and headaches, I called him on phone and told him that I'd be coming to his house to spend the weekend. Then as I boarded a vehicle from Zaria to Kaduna, I said to myself "Little children in Bishop house don't live on drugs." I said, "When I get to his house, will I now tell him that I'm having fever and headaches?" So I told myself "Whatever is in him that's making him live sickness free, must get inside me today". I got to his house (it was either on a Wednesday or Friday) and they had service that day, so we went to the service together, I gave my life to Christ because I wanted whatsoever that is in him to come inside me, also so that I will live the kind of life he is living.So you can see that he is a positive influence. I can tell you this "That fever disappeared without any effort." He is an uncommon grace; I'm telling you about a long time ago when the world did not know him
Walk us through how you started your ministry and how God has helped you so far?
When I came to Lagos in 1992, I worship with the C&S Movement Church, Surulere District under the leadership of late Prophet G.O Fakeye. The Lord helped me to become a church worker and to contribute to whatever has to do with the church, the Lord blessed it and the leadership of the church thought that it was wise for me to be a supervisor among the supervisors in the youth fellowship. They thought that it was good for me to lead the English Chapel of the church, so I became a shepherd in the English Chapel and between the time I was shepherding the English Chapel, the Lord began to speak to me about the things that he has purposed in His heart to do; He said:
- He will show mercy to those that are thirsty and hunger after righteousness in the Cherubim and Seraphim churches.
- The time of revival is coming and that He wants me to also be a tool for the revival for Him
- Most of the activities done in C&S churches that we know that the Holy Spirit is not present there. Those are the vital issues that the Holy Spirit brought to me in prayer.
Then it came in the year 2000 that God took me up and showed me a revelation, in the revelation, I saw the leadership of the C&S Movement Church. There was a big conference room with a presidential round table. I haven't entered that room before but I was summoned to come to the place and while standing outside, I saw the first that walked into that hall was late Nathaniel Coker that was the founding Baba Aladura of the Movement church, the second person that walked in after him was S. O Kalejaye the second Baba Aladura of the Movement church and the third fellow was J. T Agboola. After the three of them had entered, a messenger from inside came out as if people are coming for interview and beckoned me that my attention was needed inside, so I followed the messenger inside and I was asked to sit at the opposite side, so I sat and the three of them spoke in one voice same statement. They said "son, the time of God's revival in the land and among the C&S churches has come and it has pleased the Lord to start with the C&S Movement Church and the Lord has chosen me to be an anchor. I was asked to go on the strength of this message and start for the Lord. I was very happy; I came out of the hall excited.
The next thing I did was to tell Prophet G. O Fakeye that this is what the Lord is saying and that I'm praying as to the time the Lord will have me do those things. And Prophet Fakeye said, "Son, the Lord has spoken to me a long time ago that He is going to use you for a revival so I want us to do it together." In 1988, that was 12 years before then in Zaria, the Lord showed me a revelation, I saw a crusade outside, in the crusade I saw a lot of people clapping, singing and there was a little girl, they said the girl has a familiar spirit and the parent of the girl wanted her to be delivered of the spirit, I saw the giant Prophet that I knew then, they tried all they could to deliver the girl but didn't succeed. That crusade would have ended in shame but then I saw a little fellow at the side and I heard somebody called me that Gideon, God needs you here.
So I moved to the front of the crusade down below the platform while the Prophet was on the platform. I moved to the 8years old girl that has been troubled by the familiar spirit and I laid my hand upon her and commanded the spirit out of her. And I saw that she was delivered and I was surprised. When I woke up from sleep, God said to me that the C&S churches have been sick from the time, it was 8years, that the girl in the vision represented C&S churches. That God is now going to raise a new breed of which I am among them that will set this organization free of its sickness.
I came into ministry by calling, by revelation, that is not to talk about many other revelations, the Lord has spoken to me through other people. If you notice, if you get to C&S Movement Church, English Chapel, there is a bridge that crosses from English Chapel to the main Church, the Lord built that church through me, So I led the building of that bridge. Many people did not believe that we could build a bridge without a pillar at the center of the canal and the government did not allow putting anything in the canal that could affect the flow of water. So that was the origin of my civil engineering, that was one thing that got me interested in civil engineering. God revealed to me that it was possible and He told me what to do, so I called one engineer and a technician. It was the technician that fabricated the iron content of the bridge. I never knew it was for a sign then, a Pentecostal pastor from a neighborhood church was passing by after we dedicated that bridge in the year 2000. The Pastor looked at the bridge and the spirit of the Lord came upon him and he said, "Thus says the Lord, tell the man whose hand the Lord built that bridge that Lord, God Almighty said He has raised him for revival and it’s time for the revival to commence. " So it's the calling of God and I didn't want to do it because I went to the university to either be a lawyer, a lecturer or a businessman that will be making money and bringing the money to the church.
I saw doing full-time ministry as a lazy man's job. Though when the vision of 1980 came, I knew that the Lord wanted me to work for Him but I wasn't ready at all, but having spoken I went back to God,for Him to show me exactly what He wants me to do. And then the dialogue began as if somebody was talking physically with God, and God responded to the things I needed to know and He said: I have raised you for a revival, you will be a messenger unto all beginning from the C&S church. And I said: God, Revival? Yes, but let me have a church first because if I carry the news to them saying you don't know how to do righteousness, they will mock me, they will say he is not into the church so how will he know what it takes? that was how God gave us the Cherubim and Seraphim Bible ministries. It is for a testimony, it is not the main job we are called to do, I was called to serve Seraphs.
· To ensure that the word of God gains prominence in the lives of members of the C&S churches.
· To ensure there is transformation by the word
· To bring revival and the great works that they have spoken about Moses Orimolade to this generation, to experience a greater dimension of it.
· To raise a team of selfless believers that wants to stand and carry the fire of the revival.
It is not something we can do only in our church because it is meant to cut across all churches, so we began by publishing materials free of charge and distributing it to C&S churches. We also began to teach people who can teach the bible so that Bible fellowship can be held. We also opened a Bible college where we train people free of charge from then till now both people from C&S churches and other churches come too, everybody is trained free of charge.
Sir, you talked about revival. Has the revival started?
Yes, the revival has started and I must give it to the Holyspirit. The revival has started and God used us in the course of doing His work, He used us to train many people from different C&S churches who are burning for God. Some, unfortunately have left C&S church but many of them are still there burning. I can boldly tell you that talking about Apostolic revival today we will name them starting from Pastor Makin Olaosebikan in Oshogbo, Pastor Kole in Zaria, Pastor Ajewole in Omuaran, many of them in Ilorin, Pastor Moses Labade, Pastor Abraham Adebayo (Erinle). So the Lord is actually doing these things, many of these people are coming up and a Seraph of today is far better than a Seraph of 18 years back. The conscious awareness of the presence of God is what revival is all about besides there are spiritually oriented activities now than before in C&S churches. Yes, I know the devil is competing by also multiplying unspiritually inclined programs.
Additionally, we initiated the Leadership training although most of this has been hijacked and more leaders are becoming more flexible now, let me not say they are already there but they are becoming more flexible unlike before that people don't want their children to be like Gideon. If they don't give room for their children they also go elsewhere and say the Lord has called them, so they are becoming more flexible but apart from that, there are also genuine hunger among the C&S people, fairly among the young and old ones who now made up their minds that they want to go to heaven and whatever it will take them they will submit. They don't want to go to hell, they want to serve God. Yes, it's not easy for them but then many of them have recognized that and they have made a vow to be exactly who Christ Jesus wants them to become. In the light of all that, we can say that the fire of the revival has been rekindled already but like we use to say in this ministry "the best is just beginning", we are at the beginning of the best.
How can we build a bible growing church or Godly community in the C&S church?
I think this is according to the accord of the C&S church. In retrospect, C&S was impactful in its community, it was a church with tremendous power. Moses Orimolade was going into the neighborhood just like the way Jesus was going about and whosoever he comes by he will either heal the sick or raise the dead or solve problems. C&S was a solution provider. It was a prove where God provides a solution for the people, it's a place where the needs of the people were met, a place where people looked and longed for God, C&S was a church that pointed them to Jesus, that it was Jesus that will give them the water of life freely and C&S was fantastically modified by the Holyspirit, people are coming from occult who believe in incantation, God gives them the psalms to recite and you know the word of God is potent, it's explosive and sharper than the double-edged sword and nothing can be hidden from it, so when those people who were used to incantation came, the Lord gave Orimolade psalms that he would give them and you saw when Ebenezer obey sang in one of his songs, the belief was that if I hold on to my psalms, the warrior has missed it. That was the dimension of glory, that was how they were received, that was how they won souls from the occult. They were able to withstand all challenges of darkness, that time, they stood for God and were faithful but there was a mixed multitude, you see, all the time in every church you will always have a mixed multitude mixed up with the genuine convert and came with lots of things that were not godly and they began to practice diabolism, all these things are in every churches, be it Pentecostal or not, idolatry is there.
Many churches miscarried justice, many of them their pastors are their idols, they are already into idolatry even many of their pastors compromised God's word and embark on immoral behaviors, rituals are peculiar to many of the churches all over and not C&S alone and also one church will present itself to be better while another will pronounce itself to be the best. God will never announce a church to be the best and that's part of the deceit that we Seraph grew up with, and they say that they are the ones who own the Holy Spirit. No one can claim the ownership of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is God and whenever anybody says he is the owner of the Holy Spirit, that fellow is ignorant. Holy Spirit owns everything so where ever there's ignorance, there is darkness. That's the challenge, there are a lot of ignorants among us, one of the critics of mine saying a church must have it's do's and don't. Yes, I agreed but the church do's and don't must be the same with the husband of the church, the owner of the church which is Jesus Christ himself, so anything that is going to be a burden and yoke on another person's heart which is supposed to be open to the grace of Jesus Christ that thing is not scriptural nor spiritual.
The ministry of the prophet is very very important but we have turned it to diabolical rituals where people influence who you marry, the career they want you to go into, how much money they want to put into the church as they also influenced who they want you to see so that they can monopolize you that's the kind of challenge. The challenge is all over but we are the one that needs to adjust as it's not a mistake that God placed us in the Cherubim and Seraphim church as our Jerusalem so we must start from here.
Are there solutions to the prophetic ministry and its challenges?
Pastor Gideon Oyedepo: the prophetic ministry and the challenges have a solution, there is God's given solution "Raise disciples", let them be God's disciples first before they become prophets and prophetess then there will be no challenge. They need to be discipled. C&S is filled with people that don't know where they are going because they have not been discipled. Once a person is discipled for Jesus Christ, the same Spirit which is in Jesus will be in that fellow and what Jesus wouldn't like, that fellow too won't take it even if the whole world will collapse. So there is nothing that doesn't have a solution.
Sir, the era we are in, the era of reverend mother Esther Ajayi. She has been doing well but is the church conscious of this time and this season?
Hmm. You see, God has prepared reverend mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi for what she is doing and I need to say this, that unless we know what God has prepared her for, we wouldn't know what to expect of her. In times like this, we are to seek the face of God and ask how to make use of these opportunities. And God would have spoken to us and that's how a lively church should be. One of the things God spoke to me about 12 years ago was that He will build the university with young hands, that He won't let the fathers build the university. It pleased the Lord in answer to prayers of Seraphs, He raised reverend mother Esther Ajayi, she is an answer to our prayers and like I said if we pray to God and ask God in how many ways can we use this opportunity to glorify His name, God will tell us and we will even be able to help her spiritually but nobody is doing that. Not because of any other thing other than their God-consciousness is very low.
Can you say something on the state of Lent Service i.e not playing instruments during lent service?
To me, the lent season does not proclaim drumming, clapping, shout of hallelujah. Lent season is for sober reflection and that you are been sober does not mean that you will not appreciate your God or you will not celebrate your God. Nothing in the Bible says we should drum or not drum during lent season. The way I see it is that whatever does not corrupt righteousness is supposed to be protected, practiced and followed. If you are beating of drums because you want to celebrate the presence of God, why did you reduced the celebration of the presence of God at any point in time? It is a strange and wrong idea and it's not godly and not scriptural. So the C&S church of this generation will never adhere to such things whether they like it or not. I need to tell you that there are many hypocrites in the C&S churches. These hypocrites are part of the leadership, they happened to be the people whose children will never fellowship with us in the C&S churches. And they are the one who dictates what happens there.
What is the state of Moses Orimolade University for now? Any advice for the church and the state of our generation.
By the grace and mercy of God, Moses Orimolade University will start by the end of this year and that becomes a commonwealth to which any C&S can subscribe because a time is coming when each organization would determine the numbers of lawyers, doctors, engineers, architects, surveyors e.t.c they want to produce. Many seraphs went to the University (public and private), their course of choices were not the ones given to them, today they are of an economic disadvantage because they were never able to achieve their dream. That is the terror in a generation that is not planning for its people. And it will look like God is not answering their prayers, it is because they do not blend their faith and their dreams.
By now the C&S as an organization ought to have had a scholarship board, you see we've already conceived something we called Orimolade trust fund and the trust fund will be giving scholarship to the less privileged people in the C&S churches that want to embark on tertiary education because if we say Change! Change!! We must start with something. So it's not just that the people are not planning for their generation also their fathers. We have poor fathers, I don't want to see a Baba Aladura who is jumping from taxi to taxi. I want to see a joyful Baba Aladura who is comfortable, who is not begging for food or transport. Most of the churches don't even cater for their Baba Aladura, how much more catering for the future of children that they don't know. That's the challenge, we are to change in those areas, all these fancy things we are doing, jingle praise, colored seraph, etc they are not what will promote the Kingdom. Some children knew that their parents are poor and they struggle to make it, in this last WAEC, they made the best results but there was no help, let me tell you something, their help is in the hands of their neighbor Seraphs but they have not discovered the people they ought to help and those who need the help have not gotten revelation so they continue going to mountains meanwhile the Lord has supplied, God will punish many of them for withholding the supplies.
We have a generation that is not giving but want to be rich and they run to other churches where people are rich. Look at many of them, after many years, their financial situation will still be the same and they pretend as though they went to seek God there and when you ask them why they left they will say there is too much fighting, etc meanwhile they are the fighters. So the leadership is ignorant that's why somebody can tell you that there is no solution to prophetic challenges. How can Jesus be in a place and there won't be a solution? There is a solution to everything. But now my worries are these, we can pardon the elders of the C&S church but most of the younger generation is also growing up after them and that's the terror, that's what disturbed me and I pray that it will be solved. Many young people are doing worst things than that of their fathers, is it idolatry? Fetishes? Is it insensitivity in spiritual demands? And we wonder, do these people not know where their parents have gone wrong? So that's the disturbing side of it all. Now the youths because they can memorize the Bible they believe that is the power.
They can never submit to authorities for proper discipleship and many too who will think that they were superior they will not be a partner and God's given kingdom is about fellowship, you will always need yourselves, the beauty of His kingdom is in fellowship. if heaven does not need to populate people to make them come as one, there would have not been any need for Jesus to come, so when you think you know, why run away from others? Why don't you put hands together and form a stronger bond for the sake of the kingdom? So that's the challenge with the children. Another challenge with the youths is that most of them are not givers, that are not working their talk especially when it comes to time to fellowship and in the word of God, many of them don't pay tithes, I was disturbed to know that some Seraphs were happy when one ignorant said that the Bible does not write about paying tithes and said well, those are Seraphs who don't pay tithes in the first place. Do you know what they do? It will surprise you that many Seraphs, the one who is earning twenty thousand naira a month pay #500 in the name of the tithe. So those things are worrisome. It's ok if those doing it are old people but we have a younger generation that it doesn't matter to them if they get to leave the earth and there is no second chance. And finally, I'm worried by a generation of C&S churches that doesn't open its arm to other churches to come in. Here people come from other Pentecostal churches, we are to learn from them, our regular teachers here are non-members, they are from Deeper life, Redeemed and other Pentecostal churches and occasionally we have people from the CAC church. That's wisdom to learn where others walked through, so you don't have to go through the same challenges they went through, that means you are climbing on their shoulders and you can know more than them.
There are things that our generations must be alive for, the younger generation must open their hearts so that they can attain and achieve more for God's kingdom. I still believe that no church is more liked in rural places than that of C&S churches, that is we have a lot to do for God, there are villages and rural areas that they do not know God. C&S church doesn't go out for evangelism, no outreach, no sponsorship for missionaries, no public Crusades, no one-on-one evangelism, they don't do those things. It's so pathetic but we can change. I know the likes of Deeper life because I have sat down with Baba Kumuyi, they are willing to help, willing to support and I know other churches are ready to open their arms to us. But, don't give yourself a false superiority when you are not up to standard yet.