• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Kumuyi and a 60-year-old story

Kumuyi at 83: Beyond the preacher’s cassock

Except a man be born again…he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.-Jesus Christ.

Dateline: Ijebu–Ode, Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria, Sunday, April, 5, 1964. A preacher is delivering a message in a church. Among those he’s addressing is William Folorunso Kumuyi, 23. The lad is ‘’almost like a moralist’’, as he listens and watches the cleric. The preacher is unrelenting as he insists that it isn’t just our actions that make us unacceptable to God. Our wrong thoughts and wrong plans and leaving Him out of our programmes as if He doesn’t exist also displease Him. After what must have been a battle within, young Kumuyi steps forward as the preacher asks those who have so contemned God to come out. They must be born again. Kumuyi says: ‘’I felt drawn to what he (the preacher) was saying. I went forward, I knelt down and prayed. In fact, it was such an important day for me that I still remember it to this day, even where I knelt, how it all happened and the peace and joy that came to my heart, that now I was reconciled (converted, born again) to God through Jesus Christ. It was very definite.’’

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This is the plain and ungarnished message the General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, DCLM, has told the world since: lost man must find his way to his Creator through Jesus Christ; he must be born again. There’s no salvation elsewhere. Not in platitudinous religion, wealth, education, science, technology, philosophy, civilization, or any man-made contraption.

Related many times over the past 60 years by Kumuyi himself, this story has continued to don new relevance and added freshness because of the dizzying depths our values have plunged in our age. Pastor Kumuyi’s ministry has now reached a crescendo with an offshoot called Global Crusade with Kumuyi, GCK. A nondenominational organization, it passionately takes the uncompromising born-again teaching to all parts of the world. When he holds his outreach in any country of the planet, the Deeper Life Bible Church leader lays hold on the levers of technology to access millions worldwide. There’s a complex web and layers of organizational structures that ensure record attendances at international, national, subnational, regional and local venues.

Late March through to early April, 2024, GCK moved to Taraba, a provincial state northeast of Nigeria, bearing a new prong, a medical outreach for the poor and vulnerable. Those who receive the Word of God and become born again also have waiting for them God’s tenderness for their health challenges. There’s caring for the soul and the body.

In India in December 2023, the world was treated to surging crowds hardly witnessed at Christian gatherings in the subcontinent. Such was the acclaim given the Gospel of Christ during the trip that a book on the African cleric, Kumuyi: Defender of the Faith, was translated into Telegu, a major Indian language and presented to the public. Again, all the authors of the book project is what Kumuyi has stood for: except a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God. There’s more, according to the pastor: if we don’t teach that doctrine of Christ and believe and accept it, man can’t enjoy stability and sanity in society.

What, then, is it to be born again? It is simply salvation from sin and the supernatural power it gives to live above going against the laws of Heaven and constituted authority. It is to receive a new birth midwifed by Christ Who calls the shots, sets the terms and conditions, and teaches you that there should be no more focus on death-laden laws of the old world. In other words, after being born again and forsaking your sins, your loyalty is to Christ and His precepts on love for fellow human beings and country and community, holiness and consecrated preparation for the Heaven He has promised hereafter.

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The alluring take is its salutary and concomitant effects on society. If you’re truly born again, you become light years away from antisocial activities that bring you into conflict with the law and your neighbours. God’s Kingdom is of peace, not of contention and violence. It doesn’t accept greedy, selfish and manipulative leadership, either in the Church, home, workplace or in politics. You also abhor a competitive or vindictive spirit whose pursuit is fatal hatred for those you perceive as your enemies.

Once, the Police in Lagos invited Kumuyi to their office upon receiving a report that his ‘’church is preaching about being born again.’’ He said he went and met the Police Commissioner. The evangelist recalls: ’’I told him(Police boss) that I teach that ye must be born again and that when you are born again, your life will change; that we are the people (the born-again followers of Christ) changing (transforming) the country(the society)…I emphasized that it is people like me who are helping to procure peace in the country…’’

Truly, a land that has experienced veritable transformation wouldn’t breed thieving leaders and citizens, their iconic worship centres redefining the skyline notwithstanding. That their religious leaders are among the planet’s wealthiest is immaterial. Heaven doesn’t recognize them by those metrics; ye must be born again.

The world has fed on the religious philosophy disregarding the kernel of God’s demand for a complete break with ungodly acts or motives suggestive of them. This has landed all humanity in a miry meretricious mirage. Nigeria’s reliogiosity hasn’t given us the acuity of fraternity promised by the Scriptures. We don’t love one another as God’s Word commands. Why? We’re not converted into new creatures in His way. That’s the missing link.

It’s the reason over there in Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa the other day, thousands of customers of a commercial bank exploited a ‘’system glitch’’ to withdraw huge amounts far more than what they had in their accounts. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, ‘’over $40m (£31m) had already been either withdrawn or transferred to other banks before the bank could freeze further transactions hours later.’’ It was learnt that university students were mostly culpable as reports spread on the phone of the system error. Obviously, these fellows, even if they’re ‘First Class’ resources don’t have the God-being you possess when you are born again. They failed the main test, the Integrity Test. This is more of consequence in the sight of God and society.

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Being born again gives you the God-being that transforms you and leads you to change your character, community and country. In my opinion, that’s what Pastor Kumuyi meant when he told the Police chief: permit more teachings and practice of being born again and stand by to see the emergence of a new Nigeria freed from insecurity, man’s inhumanity to man, corruption, failing governance, mismanagement of our rich resources, greed-driven government policies and the other demons of the polity.

.Ojewale is a writer in Ota, Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria.