The General Overseer Of The Redeemed Christian Church Of God, Pastor Adejare Adeboye is being celebrated all over the world as he marks 80 years of his earthly sojourn.
In this interview with BETTY IDIALU, the Assistant Continental Overseer /SATGO/PIC REGION 23 of the Redeemed Christian Church Of God , Pastor Sunday Emmanuel Akande, speaks about the Octogenarian clergy who his admirers fondly call DADDY G.O, he has been such a tremendous blessing to the body of Christ and the entire human race, Pastor Akande also touched on some burning national issues.
Daddy Adeboye will be 80 by March 2nd, is there something you would want the world to know about him?
By the Grace of God, I know him to be a man of God, somebody who is humble and who loves God to the letter. By God’s grace, I have been with him close to 40 years and I would say the man I knew 40 years ago is still the man I know now when it comes to humility and serving the Lord, believing in holiness and living a holy life. Even before he became the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church Of God, I have been one of his sons; so I would say we’re all growing with him. The same Pastor Adeboye we know now is the same Pastor Adeboye we knew about 40yrs ago; forthright, believing and ready to give anything for the gospel. So, it’s a thing of joy that most of us are still around and appreciating God for his life at 80.
Do you think Redeemed is taking it’s rightful place in the polity?
I don’t know the kind of place you want Redeemed to be because as a church, I want to believe we are doing our best in our own little way. Because the Bible says righteousness exalts a nation, not going to church. So, what Redeemed is doing is to ensure we get people to know the Lord as much as possible. Because if we don’t have people who have the fear of God in the polity, there’s no way you can change it. If we are 10 in an environment and only two of us know God, it will be difficult to change things in that environment. That is what Redeemed is woking on. If we have more people coming to the Lord, knowing who God is and not just going to church, then it will affect the environment positively. That is the way Redeemed is affecting the environment; that is how we are contributing our own quota to the polity.
There have always been arguments about the issue of tithing what’s your take on this sir?
I believe the issue of tithe is an individual thing. If I believe God, then whatever I achieve is given to me by God; and God said give one-tenth back to me according to Malachi 3, and Jesus said he didn’t come to cancel the Old Testament because he came with Grace. He brought Grace to us that whatever it is we are doing for our God, we are not doing it by law; but because of what we believe in and stand for. I wouldn’t want to argue more on the issue of tithe because it’s an individual thing and it depends on your belief in God. On the issue of people arguing and accusing the church, the church cannot go about disputing and arguing with them. The work of the church is to preach the word that is what the bible says we should do. In RCCG, we believe that whatever I am doing I shouldn’t let others know cause that is what the word says. It will be wrong of us to go broadcasting about what we are doing, but God knows and that is why He is blessing this church. What Redeemed is doing to affect the community and environment is more than going to the television to broadcast it; I am a witness to that. I was once in the North, when I was there, I discovered that a lot of people come from Benue, Bauchi bringing the sick ones to Jos General Hospital. I had to visit the ICU when I was there and shed tears at the sight of it. Redeemed stepped in and we spent up to N60 million to give them all the modern ICT equipment that were needed. But newspapers will not carry that one. Today, we have more than six central hospitals in this nation that we have that kind of project completed and that is benefiting a lot of people. But because our father is not the talking type, they thought that Redeemed is not doing much. When we want to really go into details and look at the churches that are supporting the environment, I think Redeemed will be number one. But because we are not the type of church that publicices, people may not appreciate it. If people are criticizing the church, that is not our headache because we are not doing it for people to praise us, but we are doing it for God. And that is why some people don’t appreciate the church.
As a leader, what is the church doing about the way our youths are going into ritual killings for money?
I believe that in Redeemed, there’s still a lot on ground. We are hearing of “Light Up” why are we in the position we are today? A lot of people are putting blames on the church as if the church is government, church is not government; it is just a part of the society but do the government really appreciate what the church is doing? Because people are not seeing anything wrong with it. In other countries that I have been to, when they see what the church is doing, they do all they can to support it. They give it every support because they know they are helping them. But today do we have that? Is there any support for the church? Church is not the policy maker. We have the policy maker up there; what are they doing to encourage, empower these youths? What is the population of Redeemed in Nigeria? We cannot really control these things we can only do our own little part. And how do we do that, we have all kinds of empowerment programmes. Most of our regions have farms where we employ youths and all kinds of programmes going on. We have technical colleges where youths are admitted free of charge to go and study and become something for themselves. They may not be all free but many of them are being subsidized and some other churches are doing it. Redeemer’s University is giving certain amount of money to students who are Redeemed members. And these are part of the things the church is doing in order to touch the lives of the youths.
When we look at the population of youths today, it’s more than elders and that’s why we are working on this legacy thing to be sure of how we can touch the lives of these young ones, how we can bring them closer to God. Look at the ones doing Yahoo Yahoo, some of them are going to churches but what are they hearing in those churches? If a 17-year-old can kill because of money, then we must know we are facing a great problem in this nation. But what exactly is our government doing? All we hear in the television is that they are doing farming; where’s the farm?
When will our government wake-up and clear the land? Awolowo did it. They have the means to clear the land and employ thousands. The problem of this generation or nation is more complex.
Some people are pointing accusing fingers at the church, that we have preachers who focus more on prosperity; that it is that consciousness that turned our youths into looking for shorter way to get money. What’s your take on this?
The Bible said when the world is coming to an end, we should expect these kind of things. The present dispensation we are, we can’t rule out what is happening now. Not only in Nigeria, but all over the world. I was once in UK and I was talking to a young one and he said, “I don’t need church, after all I’m 18 and government is paying me.” They don’t go to church and some of them don’t even go to school. The problem we are facing is a global phenomenon. But because we have this kind of churches, doesn’t mean there are no good churches who are preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. I need to point that out.
So what would you advise your colleagues to do on this matter?
My advice is for all the churches to go back to the foundation. Prosperity is not a sin, but Jesus said we should seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and every other thing will be added to us which include prosperity, good health, amongst others. But today, emphasis is being placed on prosperity. We should preach salvation, sanctification. What’s the use of prosprerity if we have it and can’t enjoy it? What’s its use when you don’t have peace of mind and what’s the use of prosperity if you have it and you leave and your soul is destroyed?
I will encourage the church to go back to the foundation which is preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ which starts with salvation, sanctification; prosperity is part of it. But if these people are thoroughly born again, I’m sure this issue of running after prosperity will reduce. Those who are preaching prosperity should learn to share their testimony of how they got to where they are now. If you ask some of them, you would find out that some of them didn’t start with prosperity. I would encourage these modern day preachers to preach salvation and sanctification and some of them should be able to talk to our youths about their personal life experience because I know some of them started from zero before they got to where they are. I believe if we look into that, we can begin to look into the problem we’re facing today in our nation.
What’s the church planning towards the forthcoming election and what’s God telling our Christian leaders concerning 2023?
I’m not the spokesperson for the church (laughs), but what I need to say is, if anybody will be fair, for 35 days in this nation, we had Osinbajo leading this country when his oga kpatakpata (boss) was sick; I was in Abuja then; even those of us in the North felt the peace of God. But some of the decisions he took when his Oga returned were reversed. We are not always fair to Christians in Nigeria. We just put our judgement on general things.
In what sense is this country not fair to Christians?
In the sense that they see Osinbajo there and they ignore him when it comes to taking decisions forgetting that you need a spare tyre when one of your tyres is punctured. That’s one aspect of it. As for 2023, all we can do is to pray and encourage as many. Politics too is part of ministry. In the past, we must have made such mistake, but presently, the church is coming alive, encouraging those who have the ministry to come out. I cannot be a politician.
Sir, if politics is a ministry, what is wrong with the church creating a political party?
The church cannot float a political party because the church stands as the father and rally point of all. So, floating a political party means the church going one way. In my church, we have two major parties, APC and PDP. What the church can do is that if we have people who receive the ministry and are willing to go, all we can do is to pray for and encourage them and tell the church to engage in prayers before going to vote him and not to take money from politicians. Because the problem with Nigerian politics is corruption which I know the church cannot exonerate itself from. But what can we do in our little way? Today, when we talk about the church, people focus so much on Redeemed but it’s not the only church in Nigeria. If Redeemed is lifting it up and another church is bringing it down, what do you do? What the church, I’m talk of Redeemed now, can do is to encourage, pray for them and to emphasise on what God is expecting from them but it now depends on the individual to decide.
Will it be wrong for the church to provide the resources, especially money, for those with political ambitions?
Yes, it will be wrong. Don’t let us forget that the church is a spiritual organisation. It will be wrong because there’s no provision for that in the Bible. Please don’t let us get it wrong.
My take is that if you won’t support your members financially in politics and then he goes to the unbelievers for support, what now happens when he gets there?
don’t believe that the church has to use the church money to support politics. He’s not the only one in the church, there are individuals in the church who are interested. I have not seen anywhere in the Bible where the church provided money for a politician. If there’s any church doing that, then I think the law enforcement will have to take their action. We have different kinds of people coming, we have associations that can support anyone who wants to come out, but not from the church purse. Individuals in the church can support. I know several people who are past governors and who are still present governors that came from the church to the glory of God. I don’t have to take money from them to sponsor them.
*QUESTION*There are things that bother Nigerians and even the church. There’s Redeemers University; what is the fate of Redeemers who are not well-to-do but want to enroll their children in the University?
Well, just as I have said, I believe today for every member of Redeemed, from ordinary members to pastors, there are certain percentage approved by the parish pastor that is being paid by the mission. And when they are talking about the school fees, inasmuch as Redeemer’s University is one of the best in the country, let us not deceive ourselves, if we want good education, we have to pay for it. I want to believe that every parent that desires something good for their children must be willing to sacrifice. Because the only inheritance you can give to your child is education. People just criticize and criticize. If you want to have good teachers in Nigeria today, you have to pay them good salary and equip them and to have all that, it will cost money. Sometimes they will say “shebi Redeemed is taking tithes.” I don’t know how many state governments have the number of staff that Redeemed has today in this country and they have to be paid. There are so many things connected to this thing. Education is one of the uppermost thing in the heart of our father-in-the-Lord; he wants to have the best kind of educational institute in Nigeria and if we are going to have that, it will cost us something, it’ll cost us money. Besides the one that our father is subscribing to, there are some of these children that have it free. I know several children that Daddy and Mummy G.O are sponsoring free of charge. I want to believe that when it comes to the educational institution, Redeemed too is really trying. But we cannot keep countering those who are criticizing us because it’s part of the system.
Which religion would you want the next president to come from come 2023 and what’s your take on the issue of restructuring?
ANSWER The Northerners have been in government for eight years, it will be proper the next leader to comes from the South. If we’ve had a Muslim president for eight years, I believe the opportunity should be open to a Christian president. The issue is if the Christians themselves will wake up. Is there unity among Christians? No matter the difference, the other religion speaks with one voice. If Christians can speak with one voice, we may have the number, but we don’t have the voice and that is the truth of the matter. If the Christians would stand up and team up together to speak with one voice, you would see that this country will shake. Come 2023, it is our prayers that a Christian from the South will rule this nation.