Dr. Jacob Owoyemi is a senior lecturer at the Department of Forestry and Wood Technology Federal University of Technology, Akure. He is the founder of Christ Apostolic Church God of Glory also in Akure. In this interview with the duo of Gbenga Osinaike and Yemi Audu he talks about his life , the CAC church and the body of believers in Nigeria. It’s a refreshing read.
You are a lecturer at the same time the General Overseer of a church. How did this happen?
When God called me, I said I did not want to beg or look up to any church member for my daily need. And he said to me that he will allow me keep my job while I do ministry work. But God gave me a warning that my secular work must not affect the church work. And God has made it in a way that God gave me a job at the FUTA and by the time the ministry started God made it possible for my ministry to be located close to FUTA and my house is not even far. My house to the church and to the office is not more than one kilometer. If God has done it this way I think I have been blessed.
Is it wrong to abandon secular work for full time ministry?
I am not saying so. In the work of the ministry there are different fields. God has used me to impact the university where I lecture. If I were not a staff it might have been difficult to do that. I have impacted the lives of my students. If I was not a lecturer that would not have been possible. It is God that has designed it this way. Everybody has peculiar calling. Ayo Babalola the founder of CAC was peculiar. He was a tractor driver when God asked him to abandon the work and follow him.
But was Babalola the founder of CAC because we read the church had been in existence before he joined them?
Well I want to say the CAC charismatic dimension started from him. Before he joined the church was known as Faith Tabernacle where there were people like Pastor Odubanjo and Oba Akinyele. The revival of the CAC took off from him. To me from what I have read when we talk about the core of CAC and the trend, it can be traced to Ayo Babalola. There is no way you can take that credit from Babalola. He was a tractor operator when God called him. God called him three times to the point that the tractor refused to work. He moved from there to dedicating his life to prayers and fasting and then God used him to raise the dead when he went for a meeting where the likes of Odubanjo, Oba Akinyele were. I think they were arguing about divine healing when he came on the scene and God used him to raise a dead person. That ended the argument. And then it sparked off revival that lasted for days.
Is that why CAC members deify Babalola so to say?
Well Jesus made a statement that nobody has seen God except his only begotten son. And the Bible tells us to believe his prophet and we will prosper. There is the tendency to want to have a lot of attachment to servants of God. But the warning there is that no man of God must deify himself. It happened to Paul, they wanted to worship him but he stopped the people. Members have a tendency to deify men of God. For instance, there are occasions when members want to come and see me they kneel down, but I usually stop them from doing so. I tell them never to kneel down for me. I don’t take it from anybody. Some ministers enjoy it. I think it depends on the understanding of the individual. Even Angels don’t accept the worship of men. If you read in the Bible where prophets bow for angels like when John wanted to worship the Angel that came to him the Angels stopped John. So, it is not proper for any man of God to accept deification from anybody.
You pastor a big church like this, yet you live so simple. We saw that you drove yourself to church this morning.
Like I said it depends on what you believe. I don’t want to be known. I don’t want to be noticed. Sometimes I have to go through the back door because people want to do things for me, they want to carry my bag and all that. But I don’t like it. I like to drive myself as much as possible. I think pastors have to be careful the way they carry themselves. If one is not careful members can drive you to a point of sharing God’s glory.
Can you tell let us into your background?
My coming to the world was prophetic. My father was a man who was spirit filled. He started one of the branches of CAC, the Oke-Lisa Quarters specifically. He had delayed in child birth. At a point he and his wife got tired of staying together. The woman was excused from the marriage. But the Lord spoke through Apostle Babalola and told my father to go and take his wife back that there is a child of destiny that the Lord wants to have through her. That was how my mother came back and she became pregnant later and gave birth to me. My father gave birth to me when he was 55.
I had my primary school at the CAC St. James Primary School, Oke-Isegun and then went to Modern School. The results the year I finished Modern school were woeful. It was the worst result in the history of the exams. I then went to Lagos and secured the job of a cleaner at the Army Signal School at Apapa. After working for a year, a man, Sergeant Ejiofor told me I was not meant for the place that I should go back to school.
I then went to Govt Technical College. All along I was doing God’s work. I worked with the ministry of works and did O’ levels again and got admission to Ikere College of Education. I served and took up teaching appointments. I later went to Delta State University and then Ekiti State University where I did my masters and Phd. There was a vacancy in FUTA and was appointed lecturer. I was an organist at CAC Oke-Lisa but right there, God was manifesting through me. In 1994 the church authority recommended me for ordination. Along the line I started seeing revelations. I saw myself in a cassock with a candle. My senior pastor said to me I had a call and that I should go on a seven day fast. We started a CAC church in 1996. When we were two years the Holy Spirit spoke that we should start looking for land. The Lord provided this place. It was a swamp but gradually we were able to put up this place. In 2008 the Lord asked us to move. But miraculously the rain fell December 31 that year. It was quite unusual. it was a sign. God has been faithful ever since.
You are a senior lecturer. What has been your impact in FUTA?
Well God has used us to reach out to the students. We have a group called campus ministers. God has given us an open door in the university and God has used us to interface among warring factions. Besides every discipline takes its root from the Bible. There is no how I teach that we won’t make reference to the Bible. God was the first forester. He put man in the garden. Jesus’ earthly father was a carpenter, Noah was asked to build an ark. As a scholar you are free to infer. My relationship with students have endeared me to many students that some of them just gravitate towards me. God has given me the grace to reach out to them and help solve their problems as God gives me the grace.
Professor Akindele of the OAU has been maligned on the social media for his alleged amorous act. What has been your own experience lecturing in a campus where there are female students?
Lecturing is like any other profession. There is no profession that does not have its own hazard. A medical doctor for instance will examine women who come to them and may have to view their private part. But it will be unprofessional and ungodly for the doctor to now take advantage of his patient. We were taught that as teachers we must be above board. There is no profession that is free of temptations. Even pastors are being tempted everyday. A woman was attacked with some charms in her private part. She came to me and before I could make any statement she had started pulling her underwear to show me the place she was attacked. Immediately I said to her hold it and now called the midwife around to attend to her.
So many ministers of God are exposed to daily temptations. Lecturers are not exempted. There are ladies who are aristos who will never attend lectures and still want to pass. But we need to be disciplined and keep ourselves from being carried away. Temptations will come. The Bible says every man is tempted by his own lust so we need to flee from every lustful appearances. We must also not put ourselves in a situation where we will be boxed like staying with female students alone in the office at awkward hours.
One thing that guides me is the life of Joseph. Husbands at home should also be careful. We must appreciate that we are responsible to God.
Evangelist Hezekiah has been appointment as the general evangelist of the CAC. How do you see his appointment?
We are praying for him. It is a good development. But I think the church authority must appreciate that there has been crisis in the church. In the last two years there have been efforts to settle the crisis. There are some churches that maintain their identity and had vowed not to come to the mainstream of the church until the crisis is over. What I felt the church ought to have done rather than go into all these politics is for it to put its house in order. Any appointment will appear it is taking sides. There should be reconciliation before appointment.
Thank God for the man that was appointed but we need to reach a compromise before the appointment. The devil is against the church and he has been trying to tear the church apart. I am sure you are aware of what Adelaja is doing. If I have opportunity I want to talk with Adelaja. Whether what he is criticizing is right or wrong is not the issue. I think his methodology is wrong. The Bible says rebuke not an elder in the open. It is God that everybody will answer to. It is by God that all things are measured.
He has been saying Adeboye is a scam. Some people came to Jesus and said some people were preaching in his name. He said leave them if they are not against us they are for us. If Adelaja has issues with anybody he should go through the proper channels instead of attacking men of God on the internet. What he is doing to Adeboye and other men of God is not right.
We have the CAN we have the PFN what are these bodies for if they cannot address issues. CAN is not doing enough. These bodies are supposed to moderate how the church is being run. In the first century the church in Jerusalem had to step in to address some of the knotty issues in the church.
But we know there are excesses in the church?
Has Jesus not forewarned it? It is fulfilment of scripture. I admit there are excesses that is why there must be control. You want to register a church, there must be a body that must give clearance before such church is registered. If CAN is approved as the regulatory body they should be the clearing house. For instance, we don’t register any Christian body without the approval of University Joint Christian Fellowship at the FUTA. CAN should be the clearing house for any church.
Today, anybody can do anything. Some churches have been so polluted that even pastors’ wives dress anyhow. I went to preach somewhere and I overheard some young people saying I was one of the illiterate pastors who did not go to school because I was preaching in vernacular and preaching against illicit dressing. When I heard I paused and switched to English just like Paul I started reeling my credentials. I said to the glory I am a carpenter and they said no wonder. I continued and said to them but I have an NCE, a BSC and a Phd. They were shocked and they kept quiet. And I said I am also a lecturer. But I told them all my degrees are irrelevant to my salvation. So, you see that the church is really polluted. Just because I was hammering on a truth they said I was an illiterate.
There are so many issues to be addressed in the church. But CAN and PFN are not living to their billing. PFN by my estimation is an amalgam of the good the bad and the ugly. They have been asking me to join them but there are issues that I can’t agree with them. I don’t subscribe to the disorderly attitude of some church leaders. I believe there are certain comportments that we should not celebrate. I believe that women need to be modest in their appearance. The things of heaven could be hard.
I was in the US in 2010. God told me to preach to them salvation message. I had to change my message and I was really hard on them as God gave me unction. I preached to a point that the pastor stood at the back and was telling me…otooo..its enough. But I continued I did not listen to him. By the end of the message some members came forward for special prayers and deliverance. I told the pastor I won’t be available to preach the following Sunday but the church insisted that they wanted me. So, you see the problem is not the people but the pastors because they are after their pockets. They want to say what the people like. Jesus was hated by the majority.
Sometimes there is a dilemma on what to follow in the Old testament because of the New Covenant?
Those areas that are knotty Jesus has answered them. The book of Leviticus is well explained in the book of Hebrew.. its only that people don’t take time to read. Jesus punctured some of the laws. When that woman was caught in adultery and was brought to Jesus, he stooped low and wrote something on the ground. What he was writing was John 3v16,17.
But that is not stated in the Bible?
It is the spirit of God that told me. Will Jesus be scribbling on the ground like a child? That is what the Lord told me Jesus was writing. God called me and gave me 1John 2v17. He said to me that the anointing is in you. If you abide in him he tells you what is in his mind. There is no message you want to preach that you can’t get online but when I preach I do go online I rely on the spirit of God to speak through me.
We are working towards another election in Nigeria. Would you subscribe to active Christian participation?
When Jesus came they thought he would come as a political leader. They wanted to make him king. But he dodged it. When he was going they asked him when will the kingdom be handed over he said it is not for us to know that. I can’t explain why a man of God will leave his calling for full time politics. But I think members of an assembly who want to join partisan politics should be free to do so. But they must play the role according to the ordinance of the Bible. The terrain is volatile. A lot of horrible things are done on the political field that it will be difficult for a believer to survive. Adedibu was being asked why people kill in politics and he said the door to political offices is narrow and many people want to enter. He said there is no how people will not be killed in the process.