Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), who turned 76 years old, last Friday, has touched many lives in various ways.
His uncommon humility, which transcends the human realm, is one reason some people think he is more of a spiritual being than human. It perhaps defies human psychology that a man who is so spiritually powerful, so widely revered, and even sought after by presidents of various countries hasn’t been afflicted by the seduction of success – a phenomenon characterized by pride and disrespect for others.
Another surprising aspect of Pastor Adeboye is his unusual energy and staying power. He has personally attended and led all major RCCG programmes at the Redemption Camp, which in itself is a testimony of God’s special favour on Him.
In 1981, while he worried about accommodation for his family in Mushin, Lagos, God promised him a city. Today, the Redemption Camp of several residential estates and reliable socio-economic infrastructure is growing into a city. He also attends programmes in many of the 198 countries where the church has branches. He hops from one programme or country to another making people wonder if he ever has time to rest.
At 76, instead of cutting his schedule short to rest, it is getting longer. Last month, the daily prayer session at the Camp for the church’s 50-day fasting season was increased to a week. He also began ministration for the church’s monthly thanksgiving service, broadcast live in all branches. It was also the month in which he organized special prayers for the nation at the Camp.
The 50-day fasting of the Church, with his full participation, ended on March 1, but it is only the first part. The second part, of 30 additional days, starts in July.
Asked if he would reduce or stop fasting, which some people observe has become his food, he had replied: “The moment I quit fasting, you can begin to expect my departure because I have resolved never to relax. As far as I am concerned, the day I cease to be relevant, I go.”
Even during the birthday week, it was all work.
Last year, a video in which people had lined up to touch a chair, that had been used by Pastor Adeboye, for miracles, went viral, with some people accusing the church of ritual practices.
The reality of the situation which was misunderstood is that the anointing on the Pastor has become so powerful that coming into contact with anything he uses could invoke miracles. There are many cases of barren women who have had their wombs blessed by eating leftovers of his food, or sitting on a chair he had used.
The anointing on him has become so strong that even oil and handkerchiefs he has blessed have been used to raise the dead.
For a man who is able to communicate regularly with God, Pastor Adeboye’s sermons are usually punctuated with ”Words of Knowledge” he shares with the congregation.
Some of the prophecies sound unbelievable but the rate of accuracy has not been faulted. In Ibadan, the woman who had feathers growing in her armpit, instead of hair, came out for deliverance and the feathers promptly disappeared.
The phenomenal growth of the church is also a reason why Pastor Adeboye is highly respected. It takes the blessing of God for a church that had only 40 parishes to have several thousands of them in Nigeria, with visible presence in 198 countries.
The growth of the church is a prophecy foretold, but it still pleasantly surprises some of the members who have grown with it. The choice of Pastor Adeboye to succeed the founder is said to be a key success factor.
Pastor J.H. Abiona, the 93-year-old Retired Deputy General Overseer of the church, who was appointed General Superintendent after the death of the founder, had to weather a storm generated by people who were eager to lead the church, despite God’s plan, which had been made known.
Respected for his humility, righteousness and commitment to God, Pastor Abiona is known as one of the very few people to pray for Pastor Adeboye and his wife during church programmes.
He said in a magazine of the church: “I thank God that we insisted on doing God’s will and today everyone can see that the successor was God’s choice.”
More Spiritual than Human?
From all that, many people find multiple reasons to believe that Pastor Adeboye is now more of a spirit than a human being. “Living with that man will be a nightmare because he will know everything you do,” a young man in Lagos cracked recently.
Pastor Adeboye has heard what people say about his spirituality himself, and has reacted this way: “Someone once said that the reason why God is using Pastor Adeboye is because of his name “Enoch’”, referring to how God related with Enoch in the Bible. (The Bible says that Enoch lived 365 years before he was taken by God, which some Christians interpret as Enoch entering heaven alive.)
“He doesn’t eat. Have you ever seen him eat the pounded yam he talks so much about?” the person argued.
“When I heard that,” said Adeboye, “I laughed. You think I don’t eat? Invite me to your house, prepare some good pounded yam; get a very good combination of okro, make sure there is plenty of bush meat and chicken and fish and turkey. You won’t have to go to any church before you see the glory of God. Right there in your dining room, a mountain will become a valley.”
Of course, evidence of his human nature is strewn all over the place. His birthplace in Ifewara, schools he attended, etc., are still there, so are many of his friends and associates.
Pastor Adeboye can never be caught ascribing achievements of the church or his personal achievements onto himself. He says that without God he is nothing.
At a book launch last year, he said: “I cannot say I have any ability or wisdom. Everything has been the Lord Himself. When I was about 40 and spotted grey hairs on my head, I wondered why and God said I was carrying a burden that was not mine.
“God said, ‘I am just using you as camouflage. People need to see someone. So, I am putting you forward so that I can do the work from behind.’ So, everything that is happening in RCCG, nothing is of Adeboye at all; it is all about God.”