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Pastor Adeboye: A God’s humble general at 80

By Martins Oloja
06 March 2022   |   3:04 am
If Pastor Rick Warren, author of that un-put-down-able classic ‘The Purpose Driven Life’, were to write a tribute on the man of God fondly called ‘Daddy G.O’

Adeboye

If Pastor Rick Warren, author of that un-put-down-able classic ‘The Purpose Driven Life’, were to write a tribute on the man of God fondly called ‘Daddy G.O’, Enoch Adejare Adeboye @ 80, he would have described the man as both a prominent and significant man (of God). I have been quoting this purpose-driven pastor for ages on the construct in the last but one chapter of that significant book. In the chapter, Warren, who sold more than 30 million copies of the book when it was released in 2002, argues that there are some prominent people in this world who are not significant just as there are some significant people who may not be prominent, after all, in the sight of God. But the cleric concludes in the book that God the Almighty isn’t seeking prominent people as He is constantly in search of significant people to reshape the world. 

Indeed, there are so many things we can write and say about this very educated but humble man of God who truly believes that there is no man of God who can be significant without the grace of the God of man. Our own Daddy G.O, a God’s General, is a classic example of a significant man. The man from Ifewara, Osun State, by the grace of God, has become a global citizen. As a child of God, I don’t have an option: I have to salute our great man of God, one of Nigeria’s remarkable brand ambassadors. This man is undoubtedly the Barnabas (of our time) the only man the Bible boldly describes in many versions as ‘A Good Man, full of Holy Spirit And of Faith’. So, our Daddy G.O, A God’s humble General, 80 Hearty Cheers!  

Olufunke Adeboye who wrote on the impact of the former Mathematics teacher’s ministry on the society, his life and calling in a 2017 book noted that Adeboye has been General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) since 1981. “Within these thirty-five years, he has expanded the reach of the church, instituted various innovative programmes and broadened its membership base. His visionary leadership has steered the ship of the church through various courses without any major rupture. This has earned him respect from various quarters across the globe and made him a model for many young people…” The book identifies some areas of influence where the mark of Adeboye has remained indelible both within the local context of the Nigerian society and the wider global community. This also underscores the fact that the RCCG is no longer a local ‘brand’ but a transnational church with parishes in more than 200 nations of the world. 

For those who have not been following the man’s life journey though ‘this wilderness called life’ as iconic Kofi Awoonor calls it, the first area in which the ministry of Adeboye has impacted the society is in the multitudes of souls converted from their old ways to Christ. Evangelism is his real passion. At 80, he still preaches every day. He visits correctional centres to preach the gospel to bad boys and girls there. Some have just been released from Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centres through his ministrations and prophetic utterances. The big man who would just like to be called Pastor doesn’t make fiery political statements. No matter what you tell him about any fire on the mountain, in the context of the parlous state of the nation, or even the church, he would smile and tell his audience to ‘go and win souls’ of the bad and wicked people, the scoundrels you are complaining about. There is fire in his belly but he doesn’t use such powers to bring down powerful people. His anointing has broken many yokes, yet he is humble. He doesn’t allow any exploits and miracles wrought through him to get to his head. He always thanks His father Who gives the grace to do the exploits. His is a life of ‘Thanks-living’. His is more than ‘Thanks-giving’. He truly believes in the words of Christ revealed through part of His Sermons on the Mountain: ‘…But I say unto you pray for your enemies… and those who despitefully use you that you may be children of your father….’ Not for the man of God to pray dangerous prayers for the enemies and the wicked to fall down and die. That is a great lesson I have imbibed from the life and times of Pa Adeboye who holds a doctoral degree in Mathematics from the University of Lagos.    

It is also worth noting that while most of Adeboye’s converts probably came from the background of mainline Christianity, a whole lot never had any Christian encounter before. Many were involved in destructive, anti-social behaviour before they got converted…’ Olufunke claims. It is difficult to give a precise number of souls saved through Adeboye’s ministrations because of the sheer spread of his activities at various congregations. These include sermons given in various parishes of the RCCG at special programmes such as the ‘Go-A-Fishing’ evangelistic outreaches, Holy Ghost Services, Annual Convention, Holy Ghost Congress, open-air crusades in various communities and stadia, services held on the campuses of various Nigerian universities…’ as revealed through various writings.  

His Special Holy Ghost Services are being held in various nations of the world such as the ‘Festival of Life’ in the United Kingdom. Added to these are the programmes held outside the RCCG fold to which he is often invited as guest preacher. 

In addition to the conversion experiences through evangelistic ministry are testimonies of miracles that have taken place under Adeboye’s ministrations. These testimonies range from healing of physical ailments, deliverance from barrenness, provision of jobs and breakthroughs to deliverance from the powers of darkness.

In 2008, Adeboye’s ministry got international press endorsement when he was listed by the American Newsweek newsmagazine as one of the Fifty Most Powerful People In The World. According to a citation on the man by Newsweek’s Lisa Miller, two things impressed the magazine editors about Adeboye. One was his integrity the tribute writer described as “reputation for honesty”. According to the report, “behind Adeboye’s extraordinary success is his reputation for honesty. While other Pentecostal Pastors (including some Nigerians) have been accused of financial misdeeds or faking supernatural powers, Adeboye remains above the fray”.

The second quality the magazine pinpoints is his commitment to the task of church planting much like the way “Starbucks used to build coffee shops everywhere”. This endorsement by the reputable international medium shored up Adeboye’s image and enhanced the RCCG’s brand reputation within and outside Africa. 

It was, therefore, not surprising that Adeboye was invited in September 2009 to lead Pre- summit Inter-faith Prayers for Global Peace at the 64th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. The International Prayer Council of the United Nations in September 2009 actually organised a prayer session titled “Uniting in Prayers for the United Nations”. This pre-summit inter-faith prayer attracted representatives of more than 68 nations. In attendance were leaders of various religions. Nigeria’s Adeboye participated actively in this session. Again, in June 2011, he was at the same United Nations for a meeting of religious leaders calling on the UN to foster an alliance for the “Culture of Peace”, which among other things was expected to enthrone peace in the Middle East and serve as a model for conflict resolution globally. The summit was sponsored by the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics and co-hosted by the mission of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the UN and the Christ Redeemers’ Friends Trust (CRFU) led by Adeboye under the patronage of Frederic Mayor, a former Director General of UNESCO, who introduced the ‘Culture of Peace’ at the UN, and the King Mohammed VI of Morocco. The meeting was attended by leaders of the “Abrahamic Faith Groups”, namely, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Commenting on this summit, Sam Eyoboka and Olayinka Latona wrote: “For the first time, the Pastor has joined forces with the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics to bring together religious, academic and diplomatic leaders to the summit at the UN with the goal of agreeing to work together and individually implement the UN resolutions developing a Culture of Peace through education, communications and legislation as a milestone to achieve peace in the Middle East region and as a global model”.

Again, on June 21, 2016, Adeboye, in furtherance of his commitment to global peace, met with the then UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon to discuss how the UN system could exploit the influence and goodwill of the RCCG to facilitate inter-faith harmony, thus creating a conducive environment for action towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

On the issue of global peace and development, he noted that the RCCG, through its provision of above-board leadership and promotion of Christian faith and values, will continue to impact the global community, especially the youthful population positively. From the RCCG model, it is expected that Christians worldwide will serve as “a strong moral compass and voice for the society, speaking for the marginalized and disadvantaged” while remaining accountable to the general population. 

These UN meetings showcased the growing significance of Adeboye and they illustrate recognition of the cleric by the inter-faith world of international ecumenical engagement and the willingness of the RCCG to work with global institutions like the UN for the common good. The engagements also deepened the continuing expansion and globalisation of the RCCG brand. 

Another illustration of Adeboye’s involvement in international politics is the underreported case of Jonathan Pollard. Pollard was an American (later turned Israeli) agent convicted in the US in 1987 (though arrested in 1985) for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the US. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. After spending more than two decades in American jails, his health began to fail and various groups started to plead for his release. The most consistent request for clemency for Jonathan Pollard came from Israeli authorities in 1995, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014.

According to reports, some American statesmen and politicians also began to speak on his behalf. In 2010, 39 members of Congress submitted a Plea for Clemency to the White House, while former Secretary of State, George Shultz wrote President Barrack Obama in 2011 to commute his sentence. It was around this time that Adeboye wrote to President Obama, requesting that the remainder of Jonathan Pollard’s sentence be commuted “in the interest of justice”. Several other leaders pleaded on his behalf, and eventually, he was released on parole in 2015, after spending thirty years in prison. Adeboye’s involvement in Pollard’s case underscores his cordial relations and remarkable influence with Israeli authorities. After all, Pollard was not the first political prisoner sentenced to life in US jails. 

In the main, as we celebrate Pastor Adeboye @ 80, it is important to borrow some brilliance from his ministry, learn from the power of his focus and the benefits of his uncommon humility despite the power and the glory of God’s grace upon him.  

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