Presiding Pastor of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Ori Oke Baba Abiye, Ede, Osun State, Prophet Timothy Funso Akande (a.k.a Baba Abiye), speaks with OLAIDE SOKOYA on how it has been 25 years after the death of his father, his take on payment of tithes, and what God revealed to him concerning Nigeria.
ORI Oke Baba Abiye ranks among one of the highest mountains in Nigeria, what is the secret?
It is God. I can’t even explain myself. The main thing that we should embrace in ministry is integrity. Some years ago, I went to the United Kingdom High Commission in Lagos with my wife and son for the renewal of their visas.
I was not allowed to go inside with them so I waited in my car. Later, someone came to meet me that my attention was needed inside. As I was about entering the embassy hall, a white man approached me and said, ‘excuse me sir, while asking madam some questions she could not quite express herself in English. That is why we need your attention so that you can help her out.’ I sharply replied that it was a lie.
When I got in, they told me that while they were talking with her, they realised that she was the wife of Baba Abiye and when they were told I was outside, they made up the excuse so I could come in to pray for them, as they had heard that in the church, we were honest. And they apologised for making up the excuse. I prayed for them afterwards.
Apart from the covenant I had with God, what sells this place to the people is integrity and consecration of the grace. No matter how close you are to me, if you lack integrity, I will quickly disconnect from you. We don’t compromise on integrity.
What has been the greatest testimony you have heard recorded on the prayer mountain?
We have recorded incredible miracles. We used to write and print the miracles, but we had to stop because we lost count of what God was and is still doing. Whenever someone gives a testimony, I will just say another huge one is on the way.
We have heard testimony of someone whose breast was affected by cancer and another new breast miraculously appeared. We have heard of the testimony of someone whose intestine was completely out of place, and after I laid hands on him and prayed that God should replace it, some minutes later, he went to the mountain to sleep and in his dream, he saw God appear in the form of a doctor, who operated on him, and that was the end of that problem.
Another was about someone that drank the water we prayed upon during one of our Abiye conventions, after which she went back to her home in Lagos. One day, the woman was eating with her husband in their house and she asked her maid to bring her water, but the maid told her there was no water in the house.
It was then she noticed the water in the keg she brought from the Abiye convention, which she drank from. Afterwards, she went to her doctor, who confirmed that she was pregnant and she subsequently delivered a baby boy. Interestingly, her doctor, who was also looking for the fruit of the womb, after being told about the miraculous conception, drank from the water and became pregnant too. So, we have had a lot of great testimonies.
Since your father’s death in 1992, how has it been filling your father’s shoes?
What I tell people is that, God gave my father a cup of water and I have transformed it into a river. By the time our children take over from us, we will transform it into oceans.
What people don’t understand is that apart from my father’s ministry, I had my own vision too. What makes it sweet is that I am operating under three covenants: the covenant of Apostle Ayodele Babalola; the covenant of my father, Prophet Samson Oladeji Akande, and my own covenant with God. Since I started this ministry, I have had instances where God made covenant with me.
The things happening now in the ministry are results of my vision, like the power for advancement which started in 1998; the covenant day of festival of prayer which has been on for about 22 years now; the Bible college convention, among others. Thank God I entered into my father’s shoes, but I don’t just have one shoe but many shoes.
What prompted the theme of this year’s convention, Higher Grace?
Grace is in levels and dimensions; we have saving grace, amazing grace, and uncommon grace. We aim at gathering people that have the grace of God upon their lives and have the desire to tap into grace that is greater than theirs.
Some people have told me they can’t find this higher grace in the Bible, and my response to them is that you cannot find it. Higher Grace is the same as Greater Grace. You always want some greater things than what you carry to lift you up.
What inspired the yearly convention?
In 2010, God told me to gather people together once a year, and it will be a gathering of the saints and harvesting of souls. January to October is a time to labour on souls, but November shall be a month of harvesting souls.
The concept of Abiye convention is that we are all abiku until we give our life to Christ; it is when we surrender our lives to God that will become Abiye. If you come to this world without being born again, you have come in vain. We emphasise more on salvation during the convention.
What are the activities of the convention?
We are going to start on November 13 (day and night) and end on November 17. There will be a special programme for those looking for fruit of the womb, which will be conducted by my wife. There will be impartation for grace.
As the country prepares to round off 2017, what has God told you about Nigeria?
God told me it is well with Nigeria. Let us continue to pray for our leaders. When our president, Muhammadu Buhari, came into power, he thought he would have it his own way, not knowing that what was on ground was more than the “Change” slogan.
He needs our prayers; we understand the heavy burden upon him, because he has to be dealing with so many people of different characters, intentions and backgrounds. He is really putting in his best.
In recent times, there have been concerns that many clerics now focus on parading lavish lifestyles, rather than focus on the salvation of the congregation.
We cannot jettison riches and wealth from the ministry; it is needed to further the gospel. For instance, we are planning an extension for where we worship to accommodate 1 million people; we are not just talking of money here but riches.
If we ask 1,000 people to give N1 million, that’s N1 billion. People that are average cannot give N1 million. While we pray for the salvation of souls, we must pray for money too, because in our ministry, we do lots of crusades. For each crusade, we spend an average of N5 million; we cater to accommodation, transport, logistics. Next year, we are planning to go through every major city to carry out crusades, and we are going to need a huge amount of money to successfully plan the programme. For our upcoming convention, we are spending millions.
Such assumption as the question you asked is the devil’s strategy to make us believe we don’t need money. The scripture says “Seek ye the kingdom of God and every other thing shall be added unto you,” but people are doing it the other way round by seeking after money and they want the kingdom. We should go back to our Bible and see what the scripture says. Everything that we have now in our ministry, I never prayed for them but was just bent our seeing the kingdom of God established and He has added every other necessary thing that would help the course of the gospel.
Is paying tithes an outdated commandment for Christians?
It is not. Saying that is a device by the devil to afflict Christians and make them believe it is not necessary. You can’t talk about prosperity without tithe. When the Bible says “I will open the windows of heaven,” it is talking about prosperity – prosperity in the form good health. We have people who have all the money in this world but do not have good health. Can we call such prosperity? Also, tithes are used for the development of the church and the upkeep of workers in the church.
What is your advice to the government on the fight against corruption?
The government must have the fear of God. If you must fight corruption, there should not be sacred cows. The president is really trying I must admit, but if you will fight corruption, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
What is your advice for Christians as the year runs to an end?
Pray more, shun ungodliness, shun bitterness and embrace holiness. Jesus is coming soon.