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Cele's unity rests in the headship of Agbaosi óKumolu-Johnson
By Sam Eyoboka
Posted to the Web: Wednesday, January 25, 2006

SENIOR Evangelist Samuel Kumolu-Johnson was born in August 1949 in Kano to a Methodist Church lay preacher who was useful in setting up a lot of parishes of the church in the North. He left Kano for Lagos at the tender age of three where he lived with his blind uncle. He soon became a chorister at the Methodist Church, Olowogbowo, while he daily read newspapers for the uncle and became so good in English and in current affairs. He lost his dad in 1962 when he was 11 years old but managed to read Electrical Engineering at the University of Lagos through scholarship and later worked with the oil company in different parts of the country but later in 1967 he joined the Lagos State Civil Service be-cause of pressure from his mother that he should come home. He worked there for 20 years and retired to become a full time minister of the gospel, this time at the Celestial Church of Christ, CCC. He heads the Rescuers Internation-al, a reformist organisation whithin the church.

 You were brought up in the Methodist Church, at what point did you veer off to Cele and why?

I was a Methodist until I went for youth corp. Why I veered up basically was because I discovered that within the Methodist Church, there was no room for people to develop their talents. Iím somebody who believes that everyone should be allowed to develop whatever talent deposited in  one. I had a very good talent to write, study something and come up with some ideas that can be useful to humanity and I discovered that the Methodist Church, even Anglican Church and other orthodox churches are so fixated about their so-called precepts. If you come in and say something, they will brand you as a non-comformist. And it was time to go out to look for any other organisation where I could feel free to develop myself; so that, I donít just lock up so much energy which could be useful to some people and that was the basic reason. Till now, I have nothing against Methodist Church, but I thank God that I moved out. I discovered that the white garment is where you can really discover and develop yourself to the maximum. The day I joined Celestial Church in 1979, was the day I was allowed to read bible.

Secondly, I joined because I discovered that a lot of people from other churches come to Celectial Church, either in the night like Nicodemus, or early in the morning like Mary Magdalene who went to the graveyard, to seek spiritual assistance. I am somebody who does not believe in hiding anything Iím doing. If Iím a Methodist and I have to go to Celestial for prayers, then why can't I be a Celestial? I can assure you, in all the travails Iíve found in life; Iíve never had any cause to leave the Celestial Church to seek extra power anywhere.

The third reason is that I discovered that Celestial Church is where, by the grace given to the founder, you can live a normal life. The church encourages people to live normal lives. I have a lot of friends in Methodist, Catholic who have wives at home, and keep concubines outside. Some even have more than one wives but you must not say it in church. In Celestial Church, you live your normal life. If you have more than one wives or you donít, itís your own problem. The church says come as you are, as dirty and stinking as you are, we accept you but I found out that 98 per cent of Cele members have one wife.

So two per cent are polygamists. Isnít that at variance with the Bible? The Bible says a bishop must be a husband of one wife...

Number 1, the Celestial herarchy has no room for bishops. We start from brothers, then elder, our next rank is leader, then evangelist. There is no where in the Bible where it says, that an evangelist should have one wife. It says bishop, deacon. We donít have those titles, so we cannot be held down to what the Bible has written about them. And there is no way you can equate a bishop with an evangelist. Their jobs are different.

Is that in another way saying that the Bible allows for polygamy?

What about David? He had eight wives.

And in the New Testament?

At the end of Revelation, the Bible says, you must not add or deduct from this book. So, whether itís new or old, anybody who believes in the Holy Bible must live by the Bible. Let me give you a simple example. I had a mission that took me round Nigeria, preaching here and there. A whole man like me would have to go round sleeping here and there without anybody to take care of him; because my wife says she doesn't want to join me. One thing I want you to realise is that, the Bible wants you to live your life to the fullest. Thatís why Jesus said I came that ye might have life and have it more abundantly, rosier and better than he lived. The Bible does not encourage anybody to suffer himself because he wants to please God. The bond of marriage is fivefold. Once any of those bonds breaks; if your wife is not bone of your bones or flesh of your flesh, that is, if the power of communion is not such that you are in everything together, then that marriage doesnít exist. And thereís no point deceiving yourself that you're maintaining that marriage so that people will not talk. I do everything in such a way that my God is happy with me and I can perform, to the best of my knowledge, any duty that is given me.

Thereís nothing wrong with monogamy. Itís the ideal thing, but certain situations come up in which you just cannot avoid it, unless you donít want to succeed. Some people hide and keep concubines. I donít keep concubines, I have no girl-friend or woman friend. Itís against my policy. I will have a wife and I know Iím investing in somebody that my name is attached to, any where she goes, my investment is being seen, itís not hidden. We saw all these things when we were in secondary school. A whole judge in Ibadan died, it was during the burial ceremony that the wife knew he had another woman with four children. I donít want to live that kind of life, and I thank God that till now, Iím not living like that. Iím not saying that the Bible does not say you should have one wife, but the same Bible is where, for certain reasons people had more than one wives and God did not cut their necks. The famous man after Godís heart, David, did it. I donít see anywhere in the Bible where it says he did the wrong thing. And that is how Celestial Church sees the issue of wife. The constitution of the church states clearly that we abide by the marriage ordnances of any country where we operate. We abide by what the law says. So, the church is not saying go and marry 10 wives, but it says when people have problems and difficulty of life, rather than run to festish priests, they should come here. God will give us a solution to any problem.

But I can assure you today, that 99.9 per cent, if not 100 of polygamous situations are due to one or two problems. Donít let anybody deceive you that the man likes women, itís a lie. Probably the man is too sexually active and the wife cannot cope.

On the contrary, if a man is married to a woman who is too sexually active and the man cannot cope, will you advise the woman to take another husband?

That is their own problem. I donít get involved in that one. I want us to realise one thing, religion or the Bible has no intention of making you live an impossibility. You can always have a meeting with your wife or your husband and say let's review this situation. Anything that both of you agree upon, is valid before the almighty, because you are still trying to keep the bond. There are rare cases here and there and those exceptional cases are not too many, but when those cases come, they must be handled in their own merit.

The Celestial Church of Christ as it was founded by late Pa Oschoffa is not what it is today. Can you give us an insight to what is the true situation now?

The church is not what it was for three reasons. One, the prophecy he gave on succession was misinterpreted. He said the spirit that instituted the church will choose a successor to him. And one of the ways to know his successor was that he would have joined the church 20 years before he died or 5-6 years before he died. And he said when that person is finally known, he should be honoured and respected. They refused to allow that prophecy to come to pass. Infact, they wanted to cover it up but it was one of the members of the Board of Trustees, Owoduni, who allowed a lot of people to know about the prophecy. Pa Oschoffa gave the prophecy on his last interview on television. He said he has chosen the leader, who would not be the next person in rank, which is Bada. The person will be chosen by the spirit, that is in the church. When he died, people said the thing canít come to pass. I was one of those who believed that, because of my spiritual growth then. When we ran into chaos, I now discovered that it is the only solution. What they should have done was to put on an advertisement to determine those who joined the church 5-6 years before the man died. Those who joined 20 years. There are records, because he defined in the constitution to who the pastor is. He said the pastor must have unchallengeable authority on earth as concern the rules, doctrines and tenets of the church. If you people now say you were born at that time, the spirit has given you, so, let us see what he has done to you. You will now know whether what they are saying can be challenged or itís unchallengeable. If we had maintained the same dead leaders, new ideas would not come in; but unfortunately, they refused to listen. That is one thing that caused the chaos.

The second thing is the love of money. Pa Oschoffa was really blessed with money by the almighty. He would sit down and people will be bringing money to him. God gave him that grace. There was the annointment exercise in which he places hand on you, with oil, and a lot of promises are automatically kept by the almighty. Particularly promises that have been surpressed by the devil. What he used to tell us then was; ask what you want. God specially gave Papa. Why did he give him? So that he could have followers. So, when he died, the people he left believed that such grace would be automatic. But they had since discovered that it doesnít work. People never sat down to really search Oschoffa spiritually and know why he was performing and succeeding. They just felt that all they needed was to be called Pastor.

 So when they now gave themselves the title, we have four pastors now and the four came up in four different ways.
How do we get out of this lock jam?

The shortest way I believe to get out, is for us to forgive ourselves. Because each of the pastors are not ready to leave the seat, but there can be a midway solution if they love the church and they love the unity of the church. The solution is to let Agbaosi become pastor. If Agbaosi is accepted by them to be the pastor, he is senior to every pastor. The others have no right to talk. While the man is on sit, let us work on the fulfillment of the prophency.

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