“…And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept,…” (Nehemiah 1: 1b – 4a)
Like Nehemiah wept when he heard the tidings that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, any committed member of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), who truly loves the Church, and who was either witness to or heard about, the glorious early years of the Church, cannot but weep at what the dear Church has turned out to become today. Over the years, spiritual retrogression has eaten gradually and unchecked, deep into the fabric of the Church, culminating in the unfortunate crisis that has torn the Church apart for about nineteen years now. Indeed, it has been one long nineteen years of chaos and confusion. Things are sadly, no longer as they used to be. The CAC of today has become a shadow of the glorious CAC of between the 1930’s and 1960’s. The spiritual walls of the Church have broken down terribly, and it is a time for people with the heart of Nehemiah to weep.
The beginning of Christ Apostolic Church was indeed glorious. The Church was birthed over nine decades ago, in the labor room of united prayers. As early as the year 1918, a group of men led of the Holy Spirit, began to meet regularly for prayer and to share the Word of God, somewhere in the town of Ijebu-Ode, in Nigeria, West Africa. The group included people like one Joseph Sadare, E. Olukoya, D. Oduga, E. Onabanjo and Ali, and later joined by David Odubanjo. Most of them were members of the Christian Missionary Society (CMS).
The Nigerian communities at that time were largely pagan communities, despite the presence and activities of early Christian missionaries and churches. Occult practices and idol worship were widespread. Spiritual darkness pervaded the land. The Christian churches made some progress and disciples, but they were largely religious organizations that were powerless to penetrate the darkness and make much impact in the lives of the people. The Christian religious leaders then often had to compromise with the society, so they could make some members from among them. It was in the midst of all that spiritual darkness that the Holy Spirit stirred up these men who refused to compromise on Scriptural principles, and who started exhibiting a living faith in God that produced astounding results!
The prayer meeting gradually developed into the Aladura Movement, which was later called the “Precious Stone,” and later metamorphosed into the “Faith Tabernacle.” A.A. Hanson and Isaac Akinyele (Olubadan of Ibadan) also joined the group later, around 1924.
The group met constantly to pray for spiritual revival in their land, a prayer that God eventually answered by raising Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola in the 1930’s, a man through whom God visited the dark African continent with burning spiritual light, and with unprecedented signs and wonders. Through Apostle Babalola’s revivals in the 1930’s, and those of his disciples, several idol worshippers surrendered their idols to be burnt and gave their lives to Jesus.
Apostle Babalola was eventually led by God to join ranks with the members of the Faith Tabernacle, and together they started a new kind of Pentecostal organization called the “Christ Apostolic Church.” Even the name of the Church was given by the Holy Spirit. God confirmed the new partnership between Apostle Babalola and the leaders of the Church, with an unprecedented harvest of miracles, beginning with the miracle of raising a ten year old boy (called “Obi”) from the dead, at Oke-Ooye in Ilesa, under the ministration of Apostle Babalola, during a meeting called by the early leaders of the Church to settle doctrinal rift. Since then, outstanding miracles became a badge of the Church. Several dead people have been raised. Countless dumb ones have spoken. The ears of the deaf have opened. The lame have walked in their thousands. Countless souls have been saved into the kingdom of God. Oh, Africa had never experienced such a harvest by the Holy Spirit! However, it is remarkable that in spite of the abundant miracles that God performed through Apostle Babalola, the Apostle still humbled and submitted himself to the oversight of the leaders of CAC at that time.