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Kumuyi: Defender of the faith

Kumuyi: Defender of the faith

A detailed look at the impactful life of one of Africa’s most respected preachers, from the eyes of four authors: Banji Ojewale, Segun Babatope, Emeka Izeze, and Tunde Opeibi and reviewed by OBINNA EMELIKE.

Considering his successful career spanning almost half a century in the vineyard of God, and service to humanity, any attempt to capture the feats of Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi in a single volume as this 307-page biography, could be a feeble shot.

From a humble background traced to Erin Ijesha in Osun State, to becoming a university don, resigning later to lead one of the strictest Bible-believing churches, Pastor Kumuyi, as he is fondly called by his members, is one-of-a-kind man of God. His expository teachings, mastery of the scriptures, ability to reach out to both the educated and not-so-educated members of his congregation or audiences on radio, amid signs and wonders that follow his ministrations, clearly set the cleric apart.

The intrigue is that; once written off in his childhood as a never-do-well, today Pastor Kumuyi, the founder and general superintendent, Deeper Christian Life Ministry, has not only excelled in academics and his career, but in life, impacting humanity, and lifting souls.

The impacts of the pastor, who is known for holiness and being scandal free, are top among the reasons the book; ‘Kumuyi: Defender of the Faith’ is worth reading.

Written by Pastor Kumuyi’s four mentees and lieutenants: Banji Ojewale, Segun Babatope, Emeka Izeze, and Tunde Opeibi, the 307-page biography, published by Elite Publishing Academy UK, and foreword written by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, general overseer, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, unveils Pastor Kumuyi in a much deeper level across 14 chapters amid pictures trailing his life and career journeys.

In Chapter One, titled ‘Divine Affirmation’, the authors highlight some of the miracles he performed across the world.

The uniqueness is the fact that the pastor does not lay hands on anybody for miracles to happen; he simply prays in the name of Jesus and healings will take place. That was the case for a woman crippled for 25 years who stood up from her wheelchair and walked for the first time when Pastor Kumuyi prayed in the name of Jesus at the Parliamentary Building, venue of his crusade in Moscow, Russia.

The impacts of the pastor, who is known for holiness and being scandal free, are top among the reasons the book; ‘Kumuyi: Defender of the Faith’ is worth reading

The miracles abound amid thousands who got theirs through the pastor’s radio ministrations.

In Chapter 2, the authors, for the first time, reveal some events in his early life. He is the eldest son from a polygamous home, raised in the Anglican Church and there is cordial relationship with his siblings, including one who is a pastor in Deeper Life today.

Then, he enjoys playing keyboard and carries his bible everywhere. But Pastor Kumuyi had a playful disposition during his early years as his academic performance was worrisome to his parents and was severally promoted on trial.

He could not pass into secondary because he made Grade B in his First School Leaving Certificate. While in preparatory school, his father, who wanted him to go to secondary school, moved him to Mayflower Secondary School Ikenne, Ogun State in 1957. While still academically challenged in secondary school, change came in Class Four and he turned over a new leaf. The teachers and parents were surprised and he finished with one of the best results in the Secondary School Certificate Examination.

He later took the General Certificate in Education (GCE), A level, and got admission at University of Ibadan where he graduated with First Class in Mathematics in 1967 and finished as the overall best graduating student. He was offered scholarship for PhD, which to the disappointment of many; he turned down because of the burden for God’s kingdom.

The authors also point out that Tai Solarin was an atheist, yet he sponsored Pastor Kumuyi’s university education. Kumuyi was born-again on April 5, 1964 at a gospel meeting organised by the Apostolic Faith Church, Ijebu Ode. Then, he was teaching at Mayflower Secondary School, his Alma Mater.

The authors also unveil Erin-Ijesha, birthplace of the pastor. There are mentions of natural endowments in the town, especially the waterfall, which is a global tourism attraction.

Chapter Three is dedicated to Mayflower Secondary School. The authors further unravel Tai Solarin, especially his principle of hard work, which rubbed off on young Kumuyi.

Chapter Four reveals how, out of sacrifice, Kumuyi returns to Mayflower to teach after graduating from university.

Like the authors observe, studying under the atheist is among the training Kumuyi needed to undergo to become born-again at 23 years and to become the great man of God he is today.

Even as a Mathematics lecturer at the University of Lagos, his commitment to work and lecturing style that eased understanding for his students speak volume for his personality.

Some of his fellow lecturers attest to his peaceful nature and submission to authorities, including Professor Chike Obi, a well-known mathematician.

No wonder, many of his students joined him for Bible Study at Flat 2, his official residence on campus then.

“As the mathematician fed the students with the word of God, he also dished out snacks to balance the equation,” the authors note.

Also, the narration of his voluntary resignation as a lecturer in 1983 for full time service to God, and how he was excommunicated from The Apostolic Faith Church in 1975 for preaching without being ordained, will interest you.

The authors draw an analogy between him and John Wesley, founder of Methodist Church, and Kumuyi’s spiritual model, saying that both were rejected for their hard messages, and later respected for their persistence and manifestation of God’s power.

Well, in Chapter 5, Kumuyi’s ‘March into Ministry’ with the Bible Study group he started in Flat 2, his residence at University of Lagos, was highlighted. From 15 believers in August 1973, the group grew to 1,500 members in 1976.

“His passion for God was such that he would trade anything in to uphold God’s name and preach the gospel fully. Till date, he does not maintain a personal bank account and he does not own any personal property in his name. The Ministry is his life”, the authors say.

In 1982, Kumuyi established Deeper Life Bible Church to resolve issues for members of the Bible Study group who were excommunicated from their churches, who needed to wed or a place to worship regularly.

On November 7, 1982, they worshiped in the first service of the new church. In 1983, the House Caring Fellowship system commenced, growing the church further.

By 1988, Deeper Life Bible Church ranked the third largest single congregation church in the world. Today, the church has missionaries in over 40 countries in Africa, and 20 nations spread across other continents.

The authors reveal how, while on his regular evangelism on the street in one of those days, he meets and preaches to Abiodun, a Muslim, who accepts Christ and is greatly persecuted by her family, yet she stands her ground. As divinely orchestrated, both married on September 13, 1980 at a chapel at LUTH and were blessed with two sons, Jeremiah and John.

Kumuyi was pained when Abiodun, the wife of his youth, died on April 11, 2009. The pastor remarried on October 13, 2010 to Esther Folashade Aduke Blaize in London where the sister resides and works.

The 65-year old, who has been church administrator for several years at Deeper Life Bible Church United Kingdom, did not marry before the marriage to Pastor Kumuyi.

Also of interest is how technology is enhancing the capacity of the church to reach out to the world. With this, the authors affirm that the ministry of Pastor Kumuyi is entering a new phase.

The authors also go deeper into the pastor’s teaching on sacrificial giving in Chapter 6, revealing his belief in unconditional giving. They also highlight his ministration style and breakdown of his sermon for easy understanding.

Read also: Redeemed church renovates, equips Lagos laboratory with N15m

It is no surprise to them that the Pastor hardly obeys completely medical advice for rest while souls, according to him, are perishing. They are even intrigued as he goes stronger in his ministry despite growing older; and turning 80 years in 2021.

In Chapter 7, the authors delve into Pastor Kumuyi’s passion for souls. For those seeking to know how Deeper Life is a game changer in Christianity in Nigeria and Africa, the authors explain that in Chapter 8.

While the gigantic 35,000-seater church headquarters building changed the skyline of Gbagada, Lagos, the authors say that Pastor Kumuyi wants attention on the purpose of the structure.

In Chapter 9, the authors bare the spirit-filled lifestyle of Pastor Kumuyi.

“There are not many ministers of the gospel who have so meticulously cultivated and jealously guarded their spiritual estate as this humble servant of the Most High”, they say.

As well, he exercises utmost carefulness in the use of language in and out of the pulpit so as not to sound indecent or offensive, they say. In summary of his lifestyle, the authors say, “It is safe to say that Pastor Kumuyi by dint of his consistent pious lifestyle has also produced so many Timothys who are today diligently walking in his footsteps.”

Chapter 10 explains the meaning of his name; William Folorunso Kumuyi. According to the pastor, William foreshadows God’s plan that he would be a “defender of the faith.” Folorunso translates to “he who God watches over,” while Ikumuyiwa, from which the name Kumuyi was derived, means “death brought this.”

“While I am defending the faith, which the death of Christ has brought to us, God watches over me”, the pastor says.

So, it is clearer why he is called William; the defender of the faith, and the suitable title for this biography.

In Chapter 11, the authors uncover how apolitical the pastor is, yet very informed about the political scene. “So, as Kumuyi is surrounded by the politics of his environment, he is careful he is unspotted by it,” they say.

As well, he does not fall into the snare of political fortune-telling, New Year prophecies and predictions on who the next president or governor would be.

Chapters 12 and 13 feature ovations by the people.

“The Lord found William Folorunso Kumuyi at a time when true religion had dwindled in little drops and declining shadows in Nigeria. He has remained consistent with Jesus Christ alone,” a Deeper Life pastor in the USA, testifies.

Looking at the years ahead, the authors in Chapter 14 assure that Deeper Life Ministry is enjoying phenomenal growth and will continue with the feat. They also disclose that at 80 years and over four decades in the Lord’s vineyard, Pastor Kumuyi is not slowing down.

“Kumuyi will continue his work of defending the faith in the years to come. Nobody can expect to see changes in this direction,” they conclude.