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Ogo ni fun Olorun l’oke orun. Mo tun wi leekan si pe ogo ni fun Olorun l’oke orun. E jeki a gbadura (Glory be to God in heaven. And I say once again, glory be to God in heaven. Shall we pray?)This slogan echoed over the Nigerian airwaves, especially in southwestern Nigeria, for close to four decades. Each time it echoed, those who were familiar with it easily identified the voice of Apostle (Dr.) Timothy Oluwole Obadare, one of the indigenous prophets of the land, who was the General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) (Worldwide); the Executive Director of World Soul-Winning Evangelistic Ministry (WOSEM) and the President of the Interdenominational Ministers’ Association of Nigeria (IMA). Formerly of The Apostolic Church (TAC), he worked with the church for a period of four years, 1953 to 1957, before he was brought into the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) by Apostle Joseph Ayodele Babalola in 1957. Having joined the CAC, he worked with the Church until his death on March 21, 2013: a period of fifty-six years.
Birth and Early Background
Missionary Christianity was the first brand of the faith that came into Nigeria. Years after, the reaction of Nigerians to this form of Christianity (especially in the southwest of the country) produced other expressions of the faith. First was that of the Ethiopian Churches which occurred from 1888 to 1917; the second produced the African Indigenous Churches otherwise referred to as Aladura Churches; while the third gave rise to the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches. Within the south-western zone of Nigeria otherwise known as Yorubaland, another reaction inspired a handful of indigenous charismatic figures or prophets who laid claim to the call of God. Prominent among these was Apostle Joseph Ayodele Babalola, whose ministry in latter days blossomed into the Christ Apostolic Church.
While western missionaries introduced Christianity into Nigeria, the credit of contextualising, that is adapting it to the African milieu so that it would reflect the aspirations of Africans, goes to these indigenous churches and their prophets, many of whom dramatically demonstrated the power of God in their ministries. Such a man was Apostle Joseph Ayodele Babalola, whose church, the CAC, became a force to be reckoned with within Nigerian Christendom and continues to be so to this day. Babalola and David Odubanjo led the CAC for some time before they both passed away in 1959. However, shortly before Babalola’s death, he brought into the church a young evangelist who would later propel it to greater heights. This young evangelist became widely known in later years as Prophet Timothy Oluwole Obadare. His ministry contributed immeasurably to the expansion of the CAC.
Timothy Oluwole’s date of birth is uncertain. While some documents have 1925 as his birth date, others assert that he was born in the year 1930. The 1930 date seems more likely as more documents allude to this date than the 1925 date. He was born at Ise-Ilesa, in the present Osun State of Nigeria, to Pastor and Mrs David and Felicia Obadare of the Apostolic Church of Nigeria. His father David was initially a farmer before he was called to be a minister of God, while his mother Felicia was a petty trader. Obadare’s family could be described as ecclesiastical or Levite, as his four brothers were all ministers of God and his only sister was married to a clergyman. Timothy’s father later relocated to Oke-Eso, Ilesa, where he continued in the service of God as a pastor in his denomination.
Timothy attended the Apostolic Church Primary School, Ise-Ilesa, but was unable to complete his primary education as he developed an eye problem caused by a chronic small pox epidemic, which ravaged his entire community and cost him the use of both eyes. All efforts by his parents to salvage the situation and help restore his sight proved fruitless. He was later taken to a missionary hospital in Lagos where the missionary doctors at the hospital confirmed that his eyes were damaged beyond restoration, but suggested that God had provided him with invisible eyes sharper than ordinary human eyes. This sounded prophetic and that was what it turned out to be. This ugly incident became a challenge which propelled young Timothy to seek divine intervention, as a result of which he encountered God at the age of seven. He received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in February, 1949.
In spite of the issue of his eyesight, Obadare was undaunted. He had a clear focus with regard to what God wanted him to do and he pursued it with all his vigor. Although he never had the advantage of western education early in life, after his call he went to be trained. In 1954, he attended the Apostolic Church Theological Seminary for theological education. Later he received many honorary degrees and was granted membership of many international institutions. Among these were a Doctor of Ministry degree from St. John’s University, Missouri in 1985; membership of the International Affairs Leadership Parliament (MIALP) of the Golden State University, Los Angeles and the International Theological Seminary of Desoto and Honolulu University, Hawaii. The Trinity College of Ministerial Arts, Aba, Nigeria also granted him an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1990.
Having sensed the call of God on his life, Timothy submitted and set himself to be a vessel to be used by God. This led to many encounters with the Lord. One of these encounters took place in 1952 and was a pointer to his call to the ministry. That year, all the members of the Apostolic Church were commanded by God to participate in a period of fasting and prayer for ten days. On the tenth day of the program, during the normal Sunday morning service, Obadare received what could be called a spiritual ordination from the God. He narrated the experience as follows:
I saw a wonderful hand, bigger than any hand in world. The hand descended upon my head like a cap and oil was poured on my head and it streamed down my feet. Then the spirit of God made me to prophesy mighty things from 9.15 a.m. to 1 p.m. and there was no other thing done in the service that day and the prophecies were recorded.Obadare started his career as an evangelist in the Apostolic Church of Nigeria in 1953. The choice of the denomination was no doubt influenced by his father who was a pastor with the church. A revival had been organized by Brother Paul and Dr Thomas Whayad, ministers of the church, which continued till mid-April 1953. The end of the revival challenged Obadare, who felt that God needed more vessels to carry his message. Therefore, first and foremost, Obadare made himself available to God and challenged God to make use of him, in spite of his physical disability. However, he was aware that the Holy Spirit was the most essential weapon needed by any man of God for spiritual exploits; and so this is what he decided to pray for most doggedly. He compelled his mother to lock him up in a room where he embarked on a prolonged fasting and prayer session to seek the power of God as demonstrated by the two evangelists of the church. The Lord appeared to him on the fifth day of this prayer session. He described the experience:
On the fifth day, I did not hear any sound of this world again. In that room, it seems to me that I was there with over thirty people; I no longer had the feeling that I was there alone. It was in this room I was given twenty-one keys. God spoke to me a lot, and they were confidential issues about my mission, my life, my nation and my future. Also my head was opened at the left hand side and a copy of the Holy Bible was deposited there and the place was sealed up.Coming out of the room on the seventh day, he went straight to the church where he preached for a period of four hours, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This resulted in the first of the miraculous events of Obadare’s ministry: close to 350 people suffering from a cough epidemic that had broken out in Ilesa at the time were miraculously healed by God through his ministration.
Obadare worked passionately with the Apostolic Church for four years, from 1953 to 1957, before divine providence brought him into the CAC through Apostle Joseph Ayodele Babalola. After joining the CAC, he worked in many towns and cities across southwest Nigeria before he permanently settled in Akure in the year 1965. As an itinerant prophet and evangelist, he successfully spread the gospel to the far corners of West Africa in general and Nigeria in particular, where God used him to establish many parishes for the CAC. His ministry also extended into many countries internationally, notably the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom. As a result of this the CAC today is firmly established in major parts of these countries.
On December 30, 1969, God spoke to Obadare during another fasting and prayer session organized to round-off the year, commissioning him to take the gospel of healing to the world. God made him understand that humankind as a whole is suffering from diverse ailments for which no cure can be found except through the power of God. This is because sicknesses caused by evil powers will always defy medication of any sort: local or western. Therefore the masses need divine intervention to be free from the powers of darkness that hold them captive. Equally, he was made aware of the fact that many vibrant churches which had previously depended on God’s power for divine healing and promoted it had lost faith in it for one reason or another. Consequently the people, including those professing Christianity, were plagued with mysterious ailments. Obadare took up this assignment in earnest and recorded huge success: signs, wonders and miracles attended his ministry.
Obadare belonged to the group of indigenous prophets whose ministries were highly successful, especially within southwestern Nigeria. It is therefore pertinent here to reflect on the African environment and the part it played in the tremendous achievements of the African Indigenous Churches. The African environment provided fertile ground on which the seeds of this group of churches fell and blossomed. This was a result of many factors. First is the African view of the spirit world. In Africa, there is a strong belief in the existence of invisible mysterious powers, which are thought to operate through witches and malevolent spirits. This belief is quite strong in Yorubaland, an important center for the indigenous churches in Nigeria.
The issue is quite controversial and attempts have been made by some Western and African scholars to explain away the phenomenon of witchcraft. For instance, E. E. Evans-Pritchard describes witchcraft as an imaginary offence because he believes that it is impossible. According to him, “a witch cannot do what it is supposed to do and has in fact no real existence.” Another observer, M. J. Field, denounces witchcraft because of its invisible mode of operation.
These assertions notwithstanding, the average African in general and the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria in particular considers witchcraft a reality and so would not dismiss it as mere superstition. Awolalu explains that because witches are believed to maintain affinity with diabolical powers of the unseen world, they are seen as personifications of evil; as innately wicked people who work harm against others. In the words of Idowu, “witches are human beings of very determined wills with diabolical bent… (they) are the veritably wicked ones who derive sadistic satisfaction from bringing misfortune upon other people.” Due to their possession of these diabolical powers, witches are dreaded in many African environments.
Before the advent of Christianity, it was the medicine-men, popularly referred to as Babalaw, who were the caregivers of the time. Since the advent of Christianity things have changed as some churches claim divine powers and the ability to deal with the difficult issues of life of which witchcraft is a part. These churches are the African Indigenous Churches otherwise known as the Aladura Churches. The Christ Apostolic Church to which Obadare belonged falls into this group, and therefore one of his areas of operation was deliverance from the dominance and torment of witches.
This made his ministry quite popular. Akeem Lasisi recalled his experience with Obadare in one such ministration. According to Lasisi, in the early 1980s Obadare conducted an open air evangelistic meeting at Iroko village, a sleepy town along the old Ibadan-Oyo Road. The meeting was held on the field of one of the primary schools in the village. At the center was the preacher, whose words oozed with a power that commanded the attention of the many people who had been attracted to the crusade ground. After preaching fervently against iniquities and man’s wickedness against his fellow man, it was time to battle witches and wizards. Obadare launched into a special prayer session which practically shook the ground. In the process, strange sporadic screams erupted from several corners of the field. Some of the people making the noises, mostly women, lost consciousness, and some of them rolled about on the ground as though under the spell of powerful spirits.
When normalcy returned at the end of the prayer, one after the other, people climbed the platform on which the pastor and his interpreter stood, and confessed to various strange and destructive things, which they claimed to have done by the strength of the wicked powers they possessed. There was one confession which many of the pupils of Iroko Community Grammar School, who were in the congregation, would not forget in a hurry. This was made by a woman who sold them snacks. She confessed to being a witch, but was ready to change her ways for good.
The story did not end there. Obadare declared that some of the trees scattered in various parts of the town, including those standing by roadsides, were hosts of inimical spirits who held their night-time meetings there. He ordered that such trees be felled, and the instruction was promptly carried out by residents who were anxious for relief from demonic influence.
Another factor in the success of the African Indigenous Churches is that of divine healing and miracles. Adherents of all religions expect some form of benefit from their worship. Although preachers and teachers have always emphasized the need for people to seek God for His own sake, rather than for selfish ends, the fact remains that every adherent desires the best of life and believes it will come from his or her religion. Christianity is no exception in this regard. It is obvious that its adherents are not serving God for the fun of it; they expect some benefit from their worship. This may be in the form of divine intervention in the ordinary affairs of life, in which the natural course of events is suspended in order that the unusual may happen. It may result in the provision of healing, deliverance, material needs and answers to prayers in a way thought to be beyond human comprehension. An event of this nature is usually referred to as a “miracle.” However, the issue of miracles is a controversial one in many of the world’s cultures. While some believe in their reality, there are those who generally dismiss claims to miracles as false and contend that miracles are impossible.  Hume defines miracles as a violation of the law of nature, rules out their possibility and contends that religious people use false claims of miracles to propagate their religions.
Among Christians the belief in miracles is more universal, but the emphasis is stronger among the Indigenous Prophetic Movements and the Pentecostal denomination. Pentecostal and Charismatic ministers have always insisted that the days of miracles are still very much with us. They emphasize the ability and willingness on God’s part to intervene miraculously in human affairs, and they testify to miraculous activities, which they claim have attended their ministrations. W. F. Kumuyi, a prominent Pentecostal Minister, declares that a miracle is one of the ways by which God intervenes in human affairs to deliver men from impossible situations. Concerning divine healing, a central concern in the discussion of miracles, the emphasis is that “God is a good God and it is His will that His children live in good health as well as enjoy divine healing throughout their days on earth.” Scholars are unanimous in their opinion that the emphasis on miracles has been one of the factors responsible for the growth of the Pentecostal movement worldwide. Anderson asserts that a major attraction for Pentecostalism, in many cultures of the world and especially in Africa has been its emphasis on divine healing. Dempster affirms that the “signs and wonders theology” promoted by independent Pentecostal evangelists led to the rapid growth of the movement in many parts of the world.
It is reported that, as with other indigenous prophets, many divine acts characterized the ministry of Timothy Obadare. According to his biographers, the first notable miracle God performed through him was one involving a pregnant woman who was in labor for a whole week and could not deliver her baby. It is said that the young Timothy was passing by the woman’s house and learnt of her crisis. He also noticed the woman’s mother sitting and rocking herself tightly on a faced-down mortar. As long as the mother remained sitting on the mortar, she was inflicting pain and hardship on her daughter in the dark spiritual world, preventing her from delivering her baby. The young Timothy Obadare sensed this and instructed the old woman to get up from the mortar. It took some spiritual rebuke, through the name of Jesus Christ, but as soon as the woman rose up from the mortar, her daughter delivered the baby. When the mother was later interrogated to find out why she had done what she did, she complained that she had asked her daughter to give her the fresh heart of a goat that had been recently butchered, but her daughter had not. It was later discovered that the daughter had cooked this meat for her, but the fact that she did not give it to her blood-fresh constituted an offence. So, the mother decided to inflict this great discomfort on her and she would possibly have died if not for the saving power of Christ demonstrated through Timothy Obadare.
In his sermons, Obadare often made allusions to miraculous acts which attended his ministrations. According to him, in 1998, there was a woman in Chicago, in the USA, who had lost all of her children. The next time she conceived she had difficulties with the pregnancy, which resulted in the removal of her fallopian tube. She was later invited to attend one of Obadare’s crusades – open air evangelistic meetings – which she did. During his sermon Obadare made it clear to his audience that God as the creator has the power to create or re-create any part of the human body that may be damaged. The woman developed a strong faith in this declaration and miraculously conceived and gave birth to a baby boy. This miracle was astonishing to the rational mind because it defied scientific or biological explanation. As a result of this miracle a television program of the ministry was broadcast in Chicago. In the same vein, Obadare related the case of another woman who died during a surgical operation in the hospital but was brought back to life when he prayed for her.
Such acts were characteristic of indigenous prophets who emerged within southwest Nigeria in the early part of the 20th century. Prophets like Joseph Ayodele Babalola of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC); Moses Orimolade Tunolase of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement (C&S); Josiah Olunlowo Ositelu of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide (CLAW) and Samuel Bilewu Joseph Oschoffa of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) manifested this ability to perform miraculous acts. They delivered people from the clutches of witchcraft and the malevolent forces which elders claimed dominated the Yoruba environment of the time. Hence the indigenous prophets were viewed among the people as kinds of “Messiahs” sent by God to deliver them from evil. In fact, the revival ignited through the ministry of Joseph Ayodele Babalola in 1930 was so marked with signs and wonders that 1930 and the preceding years were later designated as the “Odun Aladura”, meaning “the years of the Praying Churches.”
Another factor which endeared the indigenous movements to their people and which also led to their phenomenonal expansion is the demonstration of spiritual (charismatic) gifts – charismata. The issue of the gifts of the Spirit, or charismata, is one which attracts the attention of scholars the world over. Pearlman defines it as “the spiritual enablement for the purpose of building up the church of God through the instruction of believers and the training of converts.” Barrackman says “they are measures of divine grace, by which the Holy Spirit enables believers to do special ministries, which today are involved in the building of the church.” Gafin stressed that these consist of particular operations pertaining to various ministries within the church.
Because of this, the indigenous churches and their counterparts in the Pentecostal denominations emphasize that the subject is of paramount importance to all Bible-believing Christians. The reason is that the believer needs to be thoroughly knowledgeable about these gifts so that he will be able to discover and stir up any of them that God might have given him or her. Scriptural teaching on the subject will encourage the believer to plunge into the gifts of the Spirit and receive them, while the right knowledge of the spiritual gifts will guard him against the danger of erroneous teaching and unscriptural experiences.
Referring to the teachings of the Apostle Paul in 1Corinthians 12:4-11, they identified nine gifts of the Spirit, which are further classified into three categories of three gifts each. The first category comprises the Gifts of Revelation, which are: words of wisdom, words of knowledge, and discernment of Spirits. These are said to be useful in the administration of the church as demonstrated in the appointment of Stephen and the other deacons. The next category is the Gifts of Power, which are the gifts of faith, healing and working of miracles. These are associated with dynamism. In the last group are Gifts of Inspiration. These are prophecy, diverse kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues, all of which have to do with inspired utterances. The indigenous churches emphasize that these gifts are needed to launch the believer into the realm of the supernatural. Proper use of them demonstrates the power of God among men and confirms the preaching of the gospel. Therefore, these gifts are to be desired by all believers.
Working with these gifts, especially those concerning prophetic utterances, links people with some of the practices in their traditional religion. One of the practices in the Yoruba traditional religion is divination. In this practice, people consult a diviner who, by the power of the oracular divinity, assists them in investigating problems. On consulting with the oracle, the diviner often diagnoses the cause of a problem and also discerns its solution. For an average Yoruba person, this is a customary way to go about resolving a difficult situation. Therefore, it is not surprising that the churches found ready acceptance in this area, since they also met people’s needs with prophetic declarations. Obadare, as an indigenous prophet, dramatically displayed and utilized some of the spiritual gifts, particularly those of prophesy, healing and miracle-working.
Evangelism is yet another key factor in the growth of the African Indigenous Churches. It is a central tenet of Christianity and is acknowledged as the major reproductive mechanism for the church. The assertion is that just as procreation adds new members to the human race, evangelism properly practiced, enhances the overall growth of the church. Scholars have identified two forms of evangelism, the first being apostolic or outreach evangelism while the other is pastoral evangelism. Apostolic evangelism is aimed at bringing numbers into the church, while pastoral evangelism is targeted at discipling people so as to make them functional members of the church. It is observed that the CAC is to be highly commended in these two areas of evangelism, because of the activities of its many evangelists and pastoral teams.
Obadare was revered for his exploits in outreach evangelism which played a big role in his huge successes in soul-winning. Much of his success was attributed to his wise deployment of the mass media, especially the radio and television, to get his message across. For a long time before radio and TV evangelism became the fad in Nigeria, Obadare’s voice had reigned on air, and it will continue to ring in the minds of many people in years to come. His early morning sermons and inspirational messages on the airwaves were irresistible to his audience. He also complemented his media activities with explosive open-air crusades to which the afflicted, tormented, demon-possessed and the deprived flooded for salvation, healing and deliverance. Eyewitnesses’ accounts have it that his crusades were characterized by conversion, healing and deliverance on a remarkable scale.
Ojo Olusegun describes the magnitude of these revivals:
In the 80s and 90s, the whole country reeled under the refreshingly sweeping wind of revivals anchored by this inimitable man of God. At the echoing of “Ogo ni fun Olorun loke orun,” (his popular slogan), witches, wizards, principalities, and African fetish priests cum gods quaked and blanched terribly. With volcanic moves of divine powers, many spiritually afflicted, physically oppressed and mentally tormented people were rescued from the jaws of fiendish forces. Through his abundantly flowing anointing, Obadare turned the world of the pernicious forces in Nigeria upside down while releasing thousands, if not millions, from their fetters.He observed further that Obadare ranked favourably among the world’s acclaimed evangelists like T. L. Osborn, Reinhard Bonnke, Billy Graham, and Dag Heward Mills, among others. In the annals of evangelism in Nigeria, Obadare and Bonnke competed indomitably. However, it could be said that after Apostle Joseph Ayodele Babalola, Obadare seemed to be the only CAC prophet to be as much anointed and spiritually gifted as Babalola, whose ministry led to the resuscitation of the dead and the healing of many physically wounded Nigerians.
It is the assertion in certain quarters that “the golden era of the CAC ended in 1959 when Pastor D. O. Odubanjo and Apostle Joseph Ayodele Babalola died.” However, after the death of these two great apostles, the ministry of the church revived under the many evangelists to come out of the church over the course of time. Principal among these was T. O. Obadare. According to Olusegun, Apostle Babalola was unarguably the man who discipled Obadare but the uniqueness of Obadare’s evangelism, coupled with his incredible healing prowess, made him the new face of the CAC in Nigeria after Babalola’s death in 1959, particularly from the 1970s onward. Alokan reiterates that this was consonant with the will of Babalola, as he had earlier prayed for God to raise other evangelists, prophets and prophetesses for the ministry. The emergence of such a personality as Obadare was therefore viewed as an answer to prayer.
In spite of his blindness and limited education, Obadare’s mastery of the Bible was outstanding and challenging even to the sighted. God seemed to give him spiritual eyes and grace with which to read the Bible, and his claim that God had opened a part of his head and deposited the whole Bible there cannot easily be faulted. According to Oladoyinbo and Adebayo “though Obadare was blind, his followers recall that he mastered the Bible chapters and verses so well that if a chapter or verse was read wrongly, the late cleric would instantly correct the reader, to the amazement of the listeners.” He also possessed exceptional knowledge and wisdom to drive home his messages to his audience, which many testified were like the “Balm of Gilead” for the troubled, tormented and spiritually disturbed. He preached the Scripture with a high degree of proficiency and zeal; stood for the gospel of conversion, liberation, reformation and restoration and was never a part of the modern gospel which characterizes contemporary Nigerian Christendom.
Some people believe that God specially sent Obadare to Nigeria, the black race and the whole world to be an instrument of God’s power in order to pull down the dominion of Satan and set souls free from the bondage of sin. Called to this great commission, Obadare fulfilled that call through the millions of souls that God won through him and the healings and deliverances God performed through his ministration.
Founding of Koseunti and WOSEM
Obadare started the Koseunti in 1970 in consequence of a vision which he had during a prayer and fasting session organized to round-off the year 1969. According to Obadare, on December 30, 1969, God spoke to him in a vision lamenting the vast number of dilemmas confronting many people in the world and emphasizing that many are faced with difficulties engineered by Satan. As a result, these problems often defy human solutions. God remarked that what pains God most is that Christian Churches were no longer dependent on God for rescue and healing, preferring alternatives – traditional and western medication. The most pathetic aspect of this was that many churches which had previously depended solely on faith healing had lost faith in it because of the absence among them of the Holy Spirit, the source of power for the Church.
Consequently, through Obadare, God promised to establish a place of prayer for people to come together and bring their problems to God. This would be a place they could get solutions to those problems and it would be known as Koseunti. Koseunti is a Yoruba word meaning “God never fails”. This refers to God as the Almighty, a God with whom nothing is impossible and who is prepared to rescue as many as would ask. God promised to grant the Koseunti meeting power and authority so that miraculous acts could be performed. Obadare was specifically instructed by God to dig a well, whose water was to be used for the treatment of all kinds of ailments, including problems which defied rational explanation. Obadare inaugurated the Koseunti on February 1, 1970. Before this, in September 1968, he had established the CAC Oke-Itura (Mount of Comfort) at Akure, the capital city of the present Ondo State of Nigeria. This eventually became the parent body of Koseunti, the international headquarters of WOSEM and the place of Koseunti Prayer meetings.
When Koseunti monthly meetings started they were held in a hut, built with disused corrugated iron sheets, but this was eventually abandoned when it became too small to contain the ever increasing number of attendees. It started as a one day prayer meeting, usually on the first day of every month, and rose to that of seven days per month. In later years, it became a place of pilgrimage. It was commonly flooded with people, from all walks of life, bringing their myriad difficulties to God. In the available records there are a great many testimonies to the miraculous feats which attended the prayer meetings. The prayer meeting became so popular that it even found favor in the eyes of many traditional rulers and chieftancy title-holders in Yorubaland who formerly had not been favorably disposed to attending church services. Many of them became notable members of the meeting and made significant contributions to its expansion. It is also notable that the meeting bestowed blessings on many people. For example, farmers who had previously been poverty stricken among the community became quite prosperous and able to have houses of their own.
In discussing the Koseunti prayer meeting, it is necessary to give honor to certain people who joined forces with Obadare and through whose assistance the meeting can be described as a success today. Prominent among these are Pastors Oloruntoba, Samuel Adeniran, Matthew Awe, David Sunday Oluyi, Matthew Folorunso, Samuel Alonge, R. A. Olukayode (an Assitant General Evangelist of the CAC), D. O. Odebunmi, Moses Iyiola Abiola, Evangelists Gideon Adeyele, Michael Oluwasola, Samuel Sunday, and Pastor and Prophet E. A. Oke. Others are Lady Evangelist (Mrs) Makanjuola, Mrs Esther Akinwumi, Mrs E. O. Obadare (the Prophet’s wife), and Evangelist (Mrs) Bankole whom God used to translate Prophet Obadare’s message from the indigenous Yoruba language into English.
According to Obadare’s biographers the WOSEM, which was established in August 1974, is the grandchild of the CAC, Oke-Itura and the brainchild of Koseunti. In 1974, the Lord directed Obadare to establish a group that would sponsor his evangelistic campaigns and tours to all parts of the world. This group was initially known as World Soul-Winning Evangelistic Group (WOSEGRO), but had its name changed to World Soul-Winning Evangelistic Ministry (WOSEM) in 1975. It grew into a complex structural organ of evangelism for the Christ Apostolic Church from 1979. The motto of the Ministry is “Eagerness of God”. Obadare, through WOSEM, was instrumental in the establishment of Revival Centers in almost all of the 36 states of Nigeria. There are also WOSEM Revival Centers in Ghana, Liberia, the Republic of Benin, Lome, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada and other parts of the world.
The above assertion notwithstanding, the operation of WOSEM within the CAC has been highly controversial, with some leaders of the church accusing Obadare of sponsoring a parallel ministry within the CAC. WOSEM contributed immensely to the growth and popularity of the CAC through its exploits, but at the same time the organization allegedly engendered much confusion because of the ways in which it was administered by Obadare. According to the incumbent President of the CAC, Pastor Abraham Akinosun, the operation of WOSEM created division because there came a point in time when it was something of a competitor to the Church. He described the situation thus:
... By then God was using him (Obadare) to make exploits but those (churches) he was planting were not working for the CAC but for him. They paid their dues to WOSEM instead of the CAC. Even when he went for revivals, he would launch WOSEM there and all those converted would become loyal to WOSEM instead of the CAC. Our leaders started complaining about the activities of the WOSEM leader (Obadare) to the President of the church, Baba J. B. Orangun, who in turn gave Obadare many warnings to desist but he ignored them. When he ignored the last warning, he was suspended and some people who had sympathy with him were suspended along with him.Obadare’s camp, speaking through Dr. Paul Obadare, the eldest son of the Apostle, declared that Obadare neither caused the crisis within the CAC nor frustrated efforts to resolve it. Paul claimed that he personally made efforts to reconcile the factions when his father was alive. He insisted:
It is not true that my father caused the crisis within the CAC fold. In fact, his accusers were actually responsible and I made a series of efforts, which were frustrated by some of the leaders. My father carried on his WOSEM as an evangelical arm of the CAC for many years and he submitted himself to the authority of the church, which he still did until he was called to glory. A lot of people were at peace with WOSEM activities and they requested for branches which were granted by my late father. Some leaders saw this as setting up of an independent church, which was not the case. The statement that my father caused the crisis is not correct. It is not an honest one. Before his death, baba had on many occassions sent letters to the authorities, seeking their understanding on the need to be in one accord. I, also, on several occassions have gone to meet the leaders when Baba Olusheye was the president. I have also gone to talk to the new president several times about solidarity and pleaded with them to bury the hatchet and allow the CAC to move on as a united church.In the opinion of Solomon Adewoye, an independent researcher and commentator, reporting through Alaroye, a Yoruba (indigenous) newspaper, the bone of contention was the popularity of WOSEM, which tended to overshadow the name of the church (CAC) itself. According to him, Obadare started the WOSEM with the approval of the leadership of the CAC, when Prophet Medayese was the president of the Church. However, in latter years after the demise of Medayese, the WOSEM, acting as the evangelical voice of the CAC across Nigeria and other parts of the world, soon became more prominent than the church which was its mother. This naturally elicited reactions from subsequent generations of the church’s hierarchy, and snow-balled into negative actions and counter-actions from the various stakeholders of the church. This eventually contributed in no small measure to fueling the crisis within the CAC.
Considering the nature of the crises in the CAC, it would be wrong to attribute their genesis and continuance in the CAC to Obadare and the WOSEM affair. Although it is difficult to completely exonerate the apostle from certain controversies within the church, other members of the hierarchy could also be considered culpable. The schism generated by various controversies, actions and counteractions from all the key players in the church has, over the years, devastated the CAC and made virtually all of those players vulnerable. Our earnest prayer is that God will grant the leadership of the church the courage to face the reality of the situation and wisdom to resolve the various controversies so that rancor and acrimony will be a thing of the past.
Many extolled the virtues of this great Apostle of Christ. Pastor Joseph Adegoroye, a former President of the CAC worldwide, while commenting on the establishment of the Koseunti monthy prayer meeting in 1985, said “Prophet Obadare is a hero as well as a dynamic man, whose knowledge is wonderful. He is a prophet of Jesus Christ raised to accomplish certain important spiritual assignments; bothering on salvation of souls; faith; setting the captives free and healing in Jesus name”. Speaking further he states that:
It is just because God desired peace for Nigeria in particular and the world as a whole in these last days, that he has raised Evangelist and Prophet Dr. Timothy Oluwole Obadare for the completion of the work of spiritual and physical healing of mankind according to the will of God for man.Another prominent CAC minister, Pastor and Evangelist D. O. Babajide, described Obadare as a “jewel of inestamable value” in the work of evangelism. He also described him as the Moses of our time: with authority given from above, raised to give law and regulations to kings, chiefs, civil servants, and all people, as Moses did to the children of Israel. He encouraged all ministers of God in this generation to emulate the steadfast commitment of the prophet so that blessings from the prophet may continue to rain till the second advent of Jesus Christ.
Many paid glowing tributes to Apostle Timothy Obadare. One of his aides, Pastor Michael Awe, who managed the media activities of Obadare’s WOSEM for many years, said “Baba had worked tirelessly as a general in the army of Jesus Christ. He travelled widely within and outside the country for serious and rigorous evangelical activities for many years and this will definitely tell on his health considering the fact that he also fasted and prayed a lot apart from the long sessions of counseling.” Bishop Joshua Ketiku, the Chairman of Ondo State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), described his death as a shock. According to him, “the news of Baba Obadare came to us a shock. Baba lived a good life. He is happy where he is now.” In the same vein, the Director of Publicity, CAC worldwide, Pastor Ademisoye Alawode, said the President of the Church, Pastor Abraham Akinoso, was shocked at the news of Obadare’s demise. The Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko eulogized the late evangelist, saying that his life, ministry and influence could be likened to those of the saints – rare and impactful. He described it in this way:
In his way of life, concern for the lost soul and uplifting of the name of God, Obadare stood tall among the prophets of his generation and broke barriers that health attempted to place on his way. He was consistent and controlled; aggressive yet unobtrusive and had no pretesions about his faith and God. He, it appears, had discharged his duties and deserves blissful rest in the bosom of his Maker.Prophet Gabriel Oyelami, Assistant General Evangelist of the CAC says that though Obadare is dead, his work speaks forever and by his death he has lost a dear and faithful friend. Reacting to his death, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the incumbent President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said the late Prophet Obadare’s death came as a shock, adding that he was a great man. He said, “It’s a shock. I’m surprised. He’s an elderly man quite alright but we never thought he would go so soon. He was a great man who contributed his quota to evangelism in Nigeria and Africa. We’re surely going to miss him. Obviously, God has called him and there is nothing we can do than to wish him good night.”
In his own comments, the General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide, Prophet Samuel Kayode Abiara says:
He was our father in the Lord, a genuine prophet of God. He was a prophet of prophets, pastor of pastors. He was a pastor with uncommon grace and favour. He was an international preacher. What I found interesting about him is that if he asks you to read the Bible and you make a mistake, he will correct you (despite his sight disability). Well he is dead, nobody can query God. We’ll miss him. We must all emulate him. He worked all day to promote God. He preached the scriptures all over the world. God used him mightily. His preaching was centered on salvation. He was a wonderful man of God.Rev. Gabriel Osu, media Director, Catholic Church, Lagos described Obadare as one of the pioneers of television evangelism in Nigeria, who did his best to propagate the gospel and used the media to reach out to lots of people. Pastor Akinosun, the incumbent President of the CAC, described him as a great man of God, whose ministry was attended with authentic miracles from God.
Apostle Timothy Oluwole Obadare went to be with the Lord on March 21, 2013 at the ripe age of 83. According to reports, he had been confined indoors for some years, but was said to have struggled to attend the March edition of the Koseunti Prayer meeting on March 1, 2013. He was brought to the church premises but could not come down from the car. When the news of his death came in, it dawned on the members that perhaps their leader had wanted to attend the meeting for the last time. Apostle Timothy Obadare is survived by his wife, Elizabeth E. A. Obadare, six children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Michael Adeleke Ogunewu
1. Prophet Timothy Obadare always opens his radio and television broadcast with these words.
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Adewoye, S., “Eyi ni Itan Igbesi aiye Woli Obadare: Bi won se bii, bo so bere ise iranse ati bo se ku”, Alaroye (Yoruba) Weekly Newspaper, Tuesday, April 16, 2013.
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Deeper Life, “The Healing Covenant” in Search the Scriptures, Vol. 25, Lesson 325, 106.
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Olusegun, O., “The Life and Times of Prophet T. O. Obadare, Wosem and CAC Crisis”, Historical Flashback Newspaper, Wednesday, April 17 – Tues , May 14, 2013.
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This article, received in 2014, was researched and written by Dr. Michael Adeleke Ogunewu, a visiting lecturer in Church History at Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in Ogbomoso, Nigeria.
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