Christ Apostolic Church is distinctly an indigenous African Church. By its structure, belief and practices, it is an independent Pentecostal Church. The Church is presently under the leadership of Pastor Samuel Olusegun Oladele who was appointed as the General Superintendent in 2014 and President CAC(Worldwide) in 2021
. Pastor Emmanuel Odejobi (General Superintendent) and Prophet Hezekiah O. Oladeji (General Evangelist).
The seat of administration of the Church is in Ibadan, Oyo state. The policy making organ of the Church known as the General Executive Council (GEC) is headed by the President who is the highest officer of the Church.
The GEC is the highest decision making body in Christ Apostolic Church.
The early history of the Church can be linked to a prayer band that was formed in 1918 at the Saint Saviour’s Anglican Church Ijebu Ode.
The pioneers of this group wanted to see Christianity the same way it was practised in the days of the Apostles.
The pioneers included: Joseph Sadare, D. O. Odubanjo and Miss Sophia Odunlami. The group was named The Precious Stone Society and nicknamed “Egbe Aladura” (The Prayer Group).
Pastor D. O Odubanjo had correspondences between the group and the Faith Tabernacle in Philadelphia, USA. This cordial relationship led to the change of the group’s name to Faith Tabernacle Nigeria. Around this time, a young fervent and spiritually filled man, by the name Joseph Ayo Babalola became a member of the Faith Tabernacle Nigeria through the leading of God in order to be equipped for the call God had delivered into his hands, and he was accepted as an answer to the prayer for revival the group has been praying since 1918. He was immersed in water baptism by Pastor Joseph Sadare (aka Esinsinade) in 1929.
The Great Revival of July 1930 at Oke Ooye Ilesha where notable miracles and healings were recorded through Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola added a great deal to the massive growth of the group. The group soon began to face serious persecution in the hands of the British Government because their members no longer showed up in the hospital for treatment. This persecution became so strong and this made the group to consider a partnership with another foreign mission after the Faith Tabernacle America didn’t intervene in their call for help during their crises with the British Colonial Government.
Hoping that this would mitigate the issue on ground and through the help of D. O. Odubanjo, the group sought cooperation with British Apostolic Brothers in Bradford England. This relationship made the Nigerian leaders to name the church The Apostolic Church Nigeria. This partnership suffered and crumbled between 1939/1940 as a result of the disagreement over the issue of “Divine Healing”. It was discovered that the White missionaries were always taking drugs especially quinine. The missionaries saw nothing wrong in taking preventive or even curative drugs.
While the divine healing controversy was generally believed to be the reason for the split within The Apostolic Church in Nigeria, Pastor S.G. Adegboyega (an eye-witness and one of the seven leading African Apostles at the time of the controversy) however reveals that divine healing controversy was only known as an immediate reason for the break-up. He noted were some other remote causes. One of the remote causes of the controversy, according to him, was a reaction to a charge of misappropriation of funds levelled against Pastor D.O. Odubanjo (the leading African Apostle) by the resident British missionary of T.A.C. Nigeria, Pastor George Perfect.
The former queried the latter on the double claims from Missionary Fund, which resulted into sharp exchanges of correspondences between the two them: there was an occasion when Late Pastors Odubanjo and Perfect, in obedience to the Spoken Word of the Lord through Prophetical (prophetic) Ministry were sent to tour the interior Districts of Ilesha Area. The transport fares were paid through Late Pastor George Perfect. They travelled by road.
It was discovered from one of the monthly statement of Accounts that Late Pastor D.O. Odubanjo had claimed his transport fare to Ikare in Ilesha Area two times. He (Pastor Perfect) then queried the Treasurer who replied that he paid out the money as part of claim made by Pastor D.O. Odubanjo. Late Pastor Perfect then wanted to know from Late Pastor Odubanjo the reason for claiming the money the second time after he had been paid the amount by him when they travelled together. The amount in question which was claimed two times was One Pound Five Shillings (£1.5s). This greatly annoyed Late Pastor D.O. Odubanjo and there were sharp exchanges of correspondences between them on the matter.
It is pertinent to clarify at this juncture that, from available sources gathered in the course of this research, Pastor Odubanjo was a man of proven integrity, a very dedicated and committed servant of God right from the formative years of the church (1918 hitherto). There is no record in history of any previous charge of financial misappropriation of church funds with him. The allegation of Pastor George Perfect that he made double claims for his journey could have been better resolved if Pastor Odubanjo had humbly explained what he used the previous money collected for. But owing to the bottled up ill feeling he developed against the resident European missionaries, he counted it an insult for the white man whom he invited to assist the Church to now be lording it over him, querying him on how he spent the money of the Church that had been in existence before the arrival of European missionaries.
Evidently, what Pastor Odubanjo seemed to be reacting against is what could be called ‘Colonised Pentecostalism’ in an African instituted church. As a typical African church leader, Odubanjo would consider a great insult, an European whom he invited to come over to help now to turn around and treat him as a subject, just as a typical European would equally consider an abomination to European cultural imperialism for a white man to take instructions from a black man. Thus, one can say that the phase-off between George Perfect and Odubanjo was more of personality clash generated by superiority complex.
Earlier in 1937, as a measure against the resident European missionaries’ assumption of leadership of the church over the indigenous founding fathers, Pastor Odubanjo had, as alleged by Adegboyega, made a move to stop sponsoring the resident missionaries from the Missionary Fund so that the funds could be well utilized for the welfare of the African ministers and their children’s education. However, he didn’t get the mandate to get this done.
Similarly in 1938, there was another move by Pastor Odubanjo against the resident European missionaries of The Apostolic Church in Nigeria. As reported by Adegboyega: Pastor.Odubanjo contacted leading ministers in the country about his plan to ask the European missionaries to leave Nigeria because of inability of Africans to bear the burden of financing them. Again, the appeal did not receive warm reception by the ministers and workers concerned.
These two moves by Pastor Odubanjo, critically examined, were on the surface level aimed at improving the welfare of African ministers, which of course should have been a welcomed idea. But intrinsically considered, this would be at the expense of sending away the resident missionaries which four of the seven pioneer African leaders (Babatope, Mensah, Macaulay and Adeboyega) considered as unethical – amounting to use and dump treatment of their benefactors.
In 1938, Pastor Odubanjo, consequent upon his personal clash with Pastor George Perfect, propagated and accused the European missionaries of using medicine. A battle line was drawn between the two pastors which later led to the separation and the creation of CAC.
Those who opposed the missionaries stand insisted on maintaining their firm stand on their faith in divine healing. Subsequently, a division ensued and some important personalities among the African leaders, led by Pastors Odubanjo, Akinyele, Apostle Ayo Babalola teamed up against the European missionaries, and pulled out to form Nigeria Apostolic Church,that is today known as Christ Apostolic Church .
Some others who were moved to sympathise with the missionaries’ explanation decided to continue to fellowship with the missionaries under the name The Apostolic Church (TAC).
In 1942, God specifically revealed to Apostle Ayo Babalola that the name should be Christ Apostolic Church, this was unanimously agreed on. The name was formally registered as No. 147 of May, 1943, under the Lands Perpetual Succession Ordinance.
The Church believes: that God is revealed in The Unity of the Godhead and the Trinity of the persons therein; church government (Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists, Teachers); man’s depraved nature, the need for repentance and regeneration, and the eternal doom of unrepenting sinners. Besides the belief in prophecy, visions, divine healing and holy living, the focal points of all tenets and practices of the Church is “PRAYER” Faith and Prayer are the two religious virtues that serve as the bedrock of the Church’s spiritual power.
The Church has branches all over the country, as well as across the globe, with schools which include: Primary schools, Secondary Schools, Seminaries, Bible Colleges and most importantly a university which was named after the Church’s first General Evangelist (A major force in the growth of the Church), Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU)
The Church is marching on and growing stronger and stronger with millions of members across the globe.
Vision Statement: Soul winning and Spiritual re-awakening of the world
Mission Statement: Leading people into the knowledge of God through an in-depth study of the Word of God, prevailing prayer, and Spiritual worship.
Motto: One fold, One Shepherd (John 10:16)
Sources: CAC Headquarters website, CAC United Kingdom website, CAC Headquarters Facebook Page, TAC website