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THE CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF NIGERIA - Joseph Babalola's struggle

By the end of this topic you should be able to:
• the call Apostle of Joseph Babalola
• describe his meeting with Faith Tabernacle members at Ilofa
• identify the contributions of Babalola to the planting of 
Christianity in Nigeria
• discuss his persecution over the spread of the Gospel in Nigeria.

3.1 The Birth and Early Life of Joseph Ayo Babalola

Joseph Ayo Babalola was born at Odo-Owa in Kwara State, Nigeria, on the 25b of April, 1904. His father was Pa David Lawani Rotimi, while his mother was Martha Talabi Rotimi. Both of them were of the Anglican Church in Nigeria. Pa Rotimi was one of the early strong 
members of the Anglican faith in the then Lagos Diocese of Nigeria. 
Joseph Babalola started Primary School at Ifo. He later transferred from the place to Oshogbo in Osun State, Nigeria. There he read Standard Four, but could not proceed further. For this reason, Babalola took an 
appointment with the Public Works Department, Lokoja, in Kogi State, 
Nigeria. He was employed as a tractor driver. On the day, he was called by a mysterious voice to take up preaching as a vocation, as he was driving a roller on the road of Akure—Ilesha in 1928. He thereafter heeded the call and resigned his appointment. Babalola later married 
Mrs Dorcas [nees Adetoun] a native of Ilesa in Osun State, Nigeria in 
1935.

3.2 The Call of Joseph Ayo Babalola 

 On October, 9b 1928, Babalola heard a Voice calling him from heaven th
to leave his job. He asked others who were near him if they heard the voice that spoke to him. But they said to him that they heard no voice. 
The next day, he went to the Akure-Ilesa road to continue his work. At 12 noon, Babalola heard the mysterious Voice the second time repeating the same words that were spoken to him the previous day. So he came down from the roller and told one of his assistants to take over the 
driving of the roller from him. As the man started the roller, it cut fire. 
As a result of the burning of the roller, Babalola resigned his appointment with the Ministry of works, Lokoja. While he returned from Lokoja, to Ipetu-Ijesa,the same Voice spoke to him to fast for six 
days and also pray 120 times and he obeyed. In his room, he saw a very bright light, and a Voice accompanied the light, saying to him that the Lord Jesus would like to send him with important message to various towns. The Voice further said to him that if he did not obey his 
words, he would die. For obeying the voice, he would not die. He decided to heed the Voice. Babalola further had revelation from heaven. 
He began his ministry by paying visits to many towns and villages in the Yoruba area preaching the Good News. As he preached the Gospel, he also healed many people that were ill. He went about ringing a hand bell to call the attention of people his messages of salvation. As Babalola 
went to Odo- Owa to preach the Gospel, he was rejected by his people. 
He pronounced epidemics on the people that disobeyed the Word of God which he preached to them. Many people at his home town were afflicted by small pox. However, those who heard the Word of God and obeyed it were healed by him. The people of the town decided to kill 
him for they could no longer tolerate his words. A man volunteered himself to kill Babalola in the elders meeting that was held to find solution to the problem of his preaching which they claimed was 
against them and their way of life. The second day, as he was going out to proclaim the Good News, he saw a snake about to strike him on the road. However, God sent an Angel that stood between Babalola and the snake, and the heavenly Being used a sword in his hand to kill the snake. 
Also, according to Idowu,(2007), some evil spirits that were shouting behind Babalola while he was preaching along the road, also disappeared as he kept ringing the bell and pronouncing the Word of God to warn his people to repent of their evil deeds in the land. 

3.3 His Meeting with the Faith Tabernacle at Ilofa

At Ilofa in Oke-Ero Local Government, of Kwara State, there was an Anglican Church which had a Society named the Faith Tabernacle. The and was headed by Daniel Ajibola in 1918. The Society engaged in all season prayer meetings. He used the opportunity to involve the members of his Society to participate in many evangelistic programmes of the Church. The Society became attractive to many members of the Church in Nigeria. More members of the Anglican faith joined the Society. Mentioned could be made of Mr. J.B.Sadare and Miss Sophia Odunlami. The Faith Tabernacle Society became popular among the Anglicans in Nigeria. For instance, it has been mentioned that the following Anglican members also joined the Society: Messrs I.B. 
Akinyele, Odubanjo and Babatope. The Faith Tabernacle Society spread to the following towns through the Anglican Church Lagos, Ibadan, Ijebu-Ode, Ilesa and Zaria.
However, as more people joined the Society in Nigeria, it became affiliated to the American Faith Tabernacle that has its headquarters in Philadelphia, USA. The members of the Society who lived in Lagos invited Joseph Babalola to come and preach to the people of Lagos. 
Joseph Babalola was hosted at the town hall at Ebute-Elefun to preach the Good News to the people who had gathered themselves there to hear him. According to Idowu, Babalola used six hours to address the audience about his calling, he then preached the Good News to them. 
Many people who were ill, were brought to him for healing and were healed. Many people also got converted. According to historical accounts, Babalola said that the Holy Spirit, told him to join the Society 
and he did. Babalola joined the Society and he was baptized into the Faith before he continued in his missionary journey in Nigeria. 
Members of the Faith Tabernacle chose Mr. J. A. Medaiyese who probably hailed from Ka a area to accompany him in his missionary journey to Odo-Owa. Babalola did not limit himself to his home town, 
as he also spread the Gospel to Ibadan. Many people went to hear him there and were saved. Many ill people were also healed by him at the various crusade grounds at Ibadan.

3.4 The First National Meeting of the Faith Tabernacle at Ilesa, Osun State

A meeting was held at Ilesa on July 9b and 10b, 1930 by the Faith Tabernacle Society in Nigeria. The main reason for holding the meeting was to settle the doctrinal differences among members of the society. 
Some members held that polygamists should not be admitted into the Church. While another group among them accepted the view that they should be accepted into the Church, but they should be denied baptism. 
Yet some other group also argued that polygamists may be given the chance to attend Church services, but they must be excluded from participating in the Holy Communion. Another issue that also needed to be settled was the case of the use of drugs to heal the sick. While some 
elieved that only the name of the Lord Jesus Christ should be used to heal the sick, some others believed that both methods should be used. 
Among those groups who wanted the two methods to be combined for healing was Joseph Babalola who was station in Ilesa at this time. 
Besides, members of the society also planed to introduce Babalola to others as the leader of their Society. Members of the Society assembled at Oke-Oye Street in Ilesa town for the meeting on the above mentioned date. Before the deliberation on the above issues, Babalola preached to 
the assembled members. After his preaching, he stepped aside with Mr. 
Medaiyese in one of the rooms that was attached in the church building. 
Delegates of the various Churches deliberated and finally arrived at the 
conclusion that a Christian husband should marry one wife. Likewise, a 
Christian woman should marry to one man. While the delegates were  deliberating on the issue of divine healing, there was an incident that disrupted their discussion. It was the death of a child that was brought from the farm by its parents for burial. As Babalola heard the cry of the 
community over the dead child, he was moved with pity then he had compassion on the child and the parents. He prayed on the dead child and the child was brought back to live. This became the first miracle 
which all the delegates from various towns and villages that attended the conference witnessed. The raising of the dead child, convinced every body that Jesus Christ is the Lord over sickness and the dead. Every body who saw the child brought back to live believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour and Messiah. Many people who witnessed the miracle became convinced that Babalola was a prophet anointed by God. As a result, many repented of their sins and became converted. 
Babalola stayed in the town spreading the Good News for many days. 
Many people visited him and he prayed for them. Some people brought water to him to pray on it for their use. According to the late Chief Ezekiel Komolafe who also witnessed the great crusade that took place at Ilesa, there was a prominent king from Akoko land who was warned 
not to drink the water which Babalola prayed on. But the king insisted and drank the blessed water. Immediately, he fell down and blood began to rush out of his mouth and he died. Reverend Lennon, an Anglican priest at Ikare Mission Station, who went to Ilesa to hear Babalola 
preach, used his car to carry the deceased king to his town for burial. 
Also,a woman from Ogori named Mrs. Rebecca Jemitola, who was childless for many years, went to the crusade and Babalola blessed the water for her to drink. She drank the water and she conceived and gave birth to a son named Samuel Jemitola. The son later became a doctor. 
The crusade of Babalola spurred the growth of the Church in the Yoruba 
land. It also became as the first time for Christians to gather in one place to witness the preaching and performing of at the same time. Not long after, the Faith Tabernacle Society got transformed into Christ Apostolic Church of Nigeria. 
Babalola later moved from Ilesa to Efon-Alaaye where he later settled as his missionary home in the Yoruba land. From there, he proceeded to the following towns for evangelism: Offa, Aramoko, Ijero,Ikole and Iddo. Many sons and daughters of these towns are now Ministers of the 
Gospel in Nigeria and overseas. 

3.5 The persecution of Apostle Joseph Babalola in 1928-32

 
 Babalola was persecuted by his own people at Odo-Owa, his home town, the people hated him for his preaching in which he warned them to turn away from their evil acts, and if they were adamant, they would perish. He was beaten up by some people who felt that his words were 
against the culture and values of their society, for his preaching did not exempt the elders of the town. His parents and sisters were also   persecuted because of him. As many of his people did not listen to the Good News preached by him, there was a revelation which was shown to him by God concerning the wrought of God on those who were opposing the Gospel. An epidemic of small pox broke out in Odo-Owa. 
This caused many people to die in the town. For this reason, he was hated the more. Therefore, some people planted to kill him. While they were busy planning to kill him, he was fasting. A man volunteered at the meeting that was held the palace of their king to eliminate him. Apostle 
Babalola kept on preaching the Gospel in the town, ringing the hand bell to call the attention of the people to the Gospel. According to Idowu, Babalola was confronted on the road by evil spirits but they could not harm him. In addition to this, a strange snake also appeared to him on the road, but an angel of Lord appeared and killed the snake. Likewise, 
the evil spirits also appeared to stop him from continue his preaching. At 
Offa, Babalola’s crusade drew many crowds and this angered the Muslim community as they could no longer bear this. Conseqently, they called their king to send away Babalola from the town. Not long, he was sent away from the town. 
In 1932, Babalola was imprisoned in Benin-City. This was because he identified two women who attended his crusade at Otuo as witches. The people of the town reported him to the Oba of Benin. The chiefs in the town felt bad over the matter. The Court sent officials with warrants to 
Ilorin that was the headquarters of his home town to effect his arrest through the Government. So he was arrested and brought to Benin-City, where he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.

3.6 The Hand Over of the Church by Babalola to Prophet Akande at Ede

Babalola attended the Sunday Service in the morning of 26b July, 1959 at Ede. After the service, he called on Mr. Odusona to take up the expenses of a young man whose wedding he had promised to sponsor, for the man had no helper. He also had a dialogue with Mr. S.O. Akande 
who was instructed to take care of the Church. According to Idowu, aside the discussions which Babalola had with the two men mentioned above, a strange event also marked his departure from the earth. The Holy Spirit was said to have filled the room where he bid them good�ye. After these events, Babalola passed away peacefully.

SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE
Account for the persecution of Babalola by his own people and government.

4.0 CONCLUSION

From this unit, you have read how God called Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola to be His Servant. You also learnt how he was persecuted by his people, and also the authorities. The crusades of Babalola also 
rought salvation and healing to many people who had accepted the Gospel. You have also learnt how many people who did not accept the Gospel at Odo-Owa perished with the epidemic that took place there. You also learnt how the evil king who drank the water died. Also, you 
learnt how a childless woman who had faith in the Good News preachedby Babalola gave birth to a son w ho later became a doctor. Finally, you studied how the Faith Tabernac Society transformed into Christ Apostolic Church and how the Church was handed over to Prophet S.O. Akande before the Apostle of God, Joseph Ayo Babalola departed this world. 

5.0 SUMMARY

• Babalola was called by God when he was working with the Public Works Department in Lokoja, in Kogi State, Nigeria in the 
year 1928 along Akure-Ilesa road.
• He was use by God to spread the Gospel in Nigeria. 
• God also used him to bless many people in the country. 
• He was imprisoned at Benin- City, Nigeria. 

6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT

1. Discuss the call of Joseph Ayo Babalola.
2. Asses the roles of Babalola in the planting of Christianity in Nigeria.
3. How was Christ Apostolic Church, Nigeria founded?

7.0 REFERENCES/FURTHER READINGS
Idowu, M.O. (2007).b African God’s General Series: Joseph Ayo Babalola, Lagos: Divine Artillery Publications.
Medaiyes J.A. (1956). Itan Igbedide Joseph Ayo Babalola fun ise 
Ihinrere, Ibadan: Temitope Press.
Owolabi, A.J. (2005). The Growth of the Anglican Church in “Akoko�Kabba District” bPh.D Thesis, Department of Religions, 
University of Ilorin: Ilorin Unpublished. 

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