Oje Giwa-Amu is a Christian brother, a teacher of God’s word, and an apologist for the Christian faith.
He is the Chief Administrator and host of the YouTube and Facebook Channels and Facebook group called Back to the Biblical Faith – a cause committed to defending and contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints as well as exposing perceived falsehood and deception in the Christian faith.
He is happily married and lives in the UK with his lovely wife and two children. He spoke with Church Times Nigeria on some of his perspectives. Below are excerpts:
You have been so active on Facebook, defending the faith and pointing out perceived errors in the Church. When exactly did your God-consciousness begin?
I was a professing Christian like many other people. But I came to have a personal relationship with Christ when I was 17 at the Federal Government College Warri. This was Sept 4, 1988. It was a Sunday night. That was when I found Christ. I became saved. Since then, the journey has been a great one.
Did you join a denomination?
I grew up in a charismatic environment. I have been part of different fellowship groups but I have not been a registered Church denomination member. I was involved with Scripture Union in the early days of my salvation. While at the University of Benin where I studied accounting, we had various charismatic fellowships. I was part of the Word Clinic.
When I left the university, I travelled to the US. I used to worship at Creflo Dollars church while in the US. But when I came to the UK I served for some time with the RCCG. It was based on a special request to assist with the choir. But then I must confess that I have been quite controversial and never been at home with the church system in many instances.
You have been a Christian since 1988. At what point did you begin your agitation and what caused it?
I think William Brahman played a major role in influencing my direction in faith. But I have never been part of the sect that came out of his teachings. My orientation about Christianity changed when I began to read Brahman.
Before then, I used to listen to prosperity messages and books on healing, etc. I remember I had a box filled with books on self-motivation. But when I began to listen to Brahman despite his errors, my perspective changed.
The life he lived, was Christ-like. His messages were about sacrifice and were centered on Jesus. God used Brahman to make me see the reality of the life of Christ. But God was able to help me see his error too and not follow the error.
His ministry made me love Jesus. He made me forget self. But at the end of the day, I had to look up to the Holy Spirit the ultimate teacher. I began to learn from the holy spirit. I am now able to talk with some of Braham’s followers that he erred in some areas.
Over time, the things God began to teach me were not things that are conventional. For instance, I do not believe in this idea of a Pastor of a church to whom everybody submits. I believe it is a false anti-Christ satanic concept.
In the same congregation, there are prophets and teachers, etc. The pastor is not the head of the teachers. That was why, when the issue of circumcision was handled in the Jerusalem church, it was handled by a committee and not one person.
How effective is this joint leadership thing from your understanding?
There is no such thing as the pastor of a church. I do not believe in the Jehovah Witness sect. But they have a good church structure. You don’t really get a face in that sect. But in the Pentecostal, one man is being glorified.
In the Jehovah Witness sect, for instance, you will not know the distinction between the president and others in the leadership. When we were on campus, the CU had leaders, the president vice, etc but we fellowshipped as brethren.
We may look up to somebody for the purpose of administration and structure but not because the person has more advantage than the others. Not having a one-man show thing is not synonymous with disorganization. Having one man as the alpha and omega in a church is anti-Christ. it causes a big problem for the church in the long run.
That is why a popular Bishop could slap a lady the other time in the public glare and nobody could talk. If there are people, he is accountable to he would not have done that. And if he did, despite being accountable to some other people, he would have been disciplined. The danger of a one-man show is that there are no checks and balances. Nobody can challenge the leadership.
The other example is when one other popular General Overseer said those who don’t pay tithe won’t make heaven and he said full stop. How can you say somebody who does not pay tithe will not make heaven and you say it authoritatively as if you are the gatekeeper of heaven? In a system where there is a collegiate leadership system, that statement would have been checked.One man demi-god thing is damaging to the fellowship of believers.
What in your view is the root of false teachings?
False teaching is a product of tradition. It comes from respected authorities by the way they interpret scriptures and nobody gets to query them. It starts out with a people regarded as authoritative. Not many are like Berean Christian. I bought into the idea that Lucifer was Satan many years ago. But after an independent study, I discover Satan’s name was never Lucifer. That is why I agree with Daddy Freeze that Lucifer is not satan. It takes one to go back and study, ask questions and the church will be better for it.
So, who was Lucifer if I may ask?
Lucifer was not even the name of the Babylonian king as some other people suggest. It is not the name of Jesus either as some may want us to believe. There are certain inanimate things used to describe Jesus. Lamb of God for instance was used to describe Jesus because of his meekness but his name is not Lamb. The name of Jesus is not Lion either but he is described as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
The name Lucifer is an attributive noun that can apply to anybody. KJV is completely off by capitalising the L to make it the name of satan. How can we refer to Satan as a light bringer or a shining star which is the meaning of the word lucifer? The bible never associated Satan with light.
You have been on this crusade trying to correct perceived errors in the church. What has been the experience?
It’s not been welcome. My first encounter of being disfellowshipped was in the 90s. I stopped paying tithe in 1992. As far as 2008/9 I have been writing against tithe. I was disfellowshipped from a Church in Edo State. I had a discussion with the pastor of the group who came to visit me and I told him I never believed in tithing and the kind of tongues people speak.
I told him I believe there is a supernatural experience of the real tongue. But that too many people are speaking fake tongue. I believe in speaking in tongues but I believe God gives the utterance. You don’t force it. When you ask people to come and receive the holy ghost and you add, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, that is where the error comes in.
We should pray for people to receive the holy spirit but you don’t box God by saying they have to speak in tongues. That has led to a lot of deception. The charismatic church is deceived most in this regard. So, I was sharing my views with the pastor and I also said I do not believe in paying tithe.
That when he got angry that I even suggested that Christians should not pay tithe. I can’t even recall how we ended the conversation. By the following Sunday, the fellowship had crafted a questionnaire and they asked us to state our beliefs. They asked questions like: Do you believe in speaking in tongues, do you believe in tithe. I filled the form stating my position. That was how they asked me to leave the choir. But they forget that it is a privilege that people even come to listen to you in church. They asked me to change my orientation on the subjects within two weeks or I quit.
That was when I stopped committing myself to any organised system, except I could see a place that is not a one-man system. The basis of gathering is to rub minds together. We need a body ministration. Pastoral work is a calling, a gift to raise people and bring them to the point where they can stand on their own.
Does an engineering student come to say he has a particular teacher when he graduates? When he graduates, he goes out to the field as an experienced engineer, but he comes back to relate with his lecturers as colleagues. God did not ordain anybody to pastor people for life. The pastor, pastors for a while. The ultimate teacher is the holy spirit.
If all gifted people in a congregation express their gifts, how do we manage that?
There are all kinds of gifts not limited to the five-fold ministry. They all come together to edify one another. The point I am making is that the pastor wants to be the prophet etc. This is not proper. This is why some pastors are under undue pressure to satisfy the crowd.
But some will accuse you of being jealous of the big pastors and ministries. How will you react to that?
You will always have people that will swing and make accusations. Daddy Freeze once said Jesus is not the way to God and I had to challenge him. He began to boast about the number of his followers. A lot of people do that. They believe you can’t argue with results.
If these people we talk about are genuinely doing these miracles, it will be a different thing. But this crowd thing is a non-issue because Satan also has the capacity to gather crowds. There are many satanic gatherings with huge crowds. When you want to talk about results, we need to talk about the Bible result, not crowd, or material acquisition.
The things they call result are carnal things. When Paul was boasting about his credentials, he was talking about the persecution he faced. He was identifying with the suffering of Christ. That is the result he was talking about. Is jet plane, limousine result? That is the big deception we find ourselves.
So, what is your take on the name Jesus?
Those who argue about the name of Jesus not being his original name think the name of a person is about the way the name is pronounced. But it goes beyond that. It is not the sound. It is the substance of the person bearing the name.
Yeshua is just a Hebrew association of the name. The name of Christ is deeper than that; it is the spirit, or the authority that is behind the name. We have had cause to use the name of Jesus to cast out devils and heal the sick. A man was crawling to the well to kill himself and Jesus appeared to him and said I am Jesus.
God is not that petty to begin to say “the actual name I bear is Yeshua, if you don’t call me by that name I won’t hear you.” If Jesus appears to a Yoruba man, he will say “I am Jesu”. The father knows that the son is calling him even if he does not call him properly.
Daddy Freeze has no place to stand in this. The word indeed for Christ’s name is Yehoshua in Hebrew and later Yeshua…if we must stick to the original, why should we accept Yeshua? Why will God accept Yeshua’s name in Greek?
Pilate wrote; Jesus the Nazarene the king of the jews. He wrote the name in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. Stephen was a Greek-speaking Jew. (Hellenist) Stephen spoke Greek and called Jesus Iēsous. If it must be Yeshua, why did Jesus receive Stephen? The name of Jesus is not the sound. It is the authority. It is the being. At the end of the day, it’s all semantics. For educational purposes, you can educate people and say the name of Jesus originally is Yeshua. But you don’t make an issue out of it.