Chairman of the Ikola-Ilumo. Ipaja Chapter of the Lagos Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Reverend Solomon Oluniyi shared his vision for the chapter with DAYO Emmanuel recently Excerpts:
What is the name of your ministry?
Christ the living fountain church, it may change very soon but currently, that is the name. It will change because I used to believe that I am called by God so I should not be licensed by any government. That is one of my very strong beliefs. Why should government license me for what God has called me to do?
But same God wants us to respect the authority of the land…
Yes, but I didn’t see it in the area of a license. I obey all laws I try to keep to the laws of the land as much as possible but when it comes to preaching the gospel because I know the government can wake up one day and begin to exact unnecessary control on the preaching of the gospel, so for a long time I refused to register my ministry. Lately, I had a change of mind and went to look for registration and I discovered the name I have is not available, so we are still thinking of taking another name till it materializes.
It means all along you have not been banking, you have not been running a corporate account?
No, we have not been running an account in the name of the church. The church has a number of trustees who combine to open a joint account. We still issue cheques, so different persons approve and it is different people that are signatories to the account. This issue of account is one of the things that eventually made me want to register because I discovered that many people don’t fully trust. No matter how anointed you are, when they discover you don’t have a corporate account, they don’t really trust you as they should, so these are the issues.
So, what kind of background did you come from?
I am a man of a very humble beginning. I was born into a Christian home but at a time in my life I almost lost my bearing as far as Christ is concerned until Christ called me back. Everything about me is very controversial, I will not lie to you. I went to the Bible school because I was inquisitive not because I was called, so I went to take the Bible training until I passed out and was still telling my lecturers, you can deal with those who are called, I am not called.
I came because I wanted knowledge but after the training, God came to me and said you have done what I wanted you to do because I want to use you and that was the beginning of the journey.
Yes, my dad was a pastor but that was not the reason I became a pastor. It was because God spoke to me. Lagos is the place I detested most in Nigeria, I didn’t want to stay there, I was a unionist, we used to come to Lagos for meetings and the sight of Lagos alone made me hate the place more.
So, when God called me and said go to Lagos, I said no. I was based in Ibadan. I said no no, I can’t go to Lagos and that was about the time Osun State was created, I am from Osun State. So eventually when I agreed to come to Lagos I was shuttling between Ibadan, Osogbo, and Lagos every week. I would come to Lagos, go to Ibadan to see my family and go to Osogbo to work and I did that for about two years before God asked me to resign. All the while God had been telling me to resign.
Where were you working then?
I was working with the government printing press. First in Ibadan then seconded to Osogbo. Eventually, I had to resign and came to Lagos. But ever since then it had been from one miracle to the other. For ten years I used a hall in this Lagos free of charge. The man just gave us. He is a lecturer at the University of Lagos. After then, God moved me to this place and that is how the journey had been all along. I have had series of encounters with the powers of darkness, there has been a group of witches who said I must not exist but God dealt with them and I am still here today, most of them are no more, so I see the hand of God upon me.
But at the same time, I must say that I have not been able to live to God’s full expectations there are things He has told me to do which I have found very difficult to do, I am trying my best but it has not come to realisation. It has been like that all along but all the same, God has been very faithful, I cannot lie.
Congratulations on the inauguration of this chapter what is your plan?
We have three goals. One is evangelism so that the unsaved might be saved. The second is ministers’ welfare. We want to put programs and projects in place that can improve the general well-being of ministers. The third goal is the liberation of our land from cultism, witchcraft, gambling, pornography, and all kinds of evil that have dominated our land. We can get people out of these vices as the Lord supplies the grace. Those are the real focus of this chapter of the PFN
Is that in unison with the state PFN’s goal?
Definitely! In actual fact, our province is always very mad at any minister who is discovered to be using diabolical powers in the ministry. I have been given strict warning that when such people are discovered, such must be dismissed from the fellowship.
What if the person continues practicing even after being dismissed from PFN or do you have powers to close such church?
Their dismissal is the number one thing after that the higher authority will take other steps to correct such a person. If it is someone you can still bring back and restore, we do that. If it is someone that cannot be brought back, he would probably be excommunicated and he will be on his own. PFN is also very serious about the marital life of a pastor, PFN frowns at polygamy, bigamy, or monogamy with girlfriends outside. PFN frowns at pastors who can’t manage their homes. We correct that in training.
In your last two years have you identified any pastor using diabolic powers in your area?
So far, we have not seen any. Not that we have not seen traces, a grassroots chairman must not be frivolous about such things. You have to be sure of what is happening before you now make the thing open. We are seeing signs. We hope to intensify our searchlight and fish out pastors who are not following biblical injunctions. But you can be sure there will be no compromise by the special grace of God.
You talked about some of these vices, pornography, gambling, etc., are there practical steps to correct them because some of the subscribers are even from Christian homes… how do you intend to influence the community?
Yes, some of them are from Christian homes, some of them are even children of ministers of God. If the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do? The righteous can only pray and raise his guard. Those are the two things that we have in the offing to work on. The church began to lose its savour when it refused to realise we are in a different age. In the early 60s, the church was preaching the salvation message, we graduated and began to preach the deliverance message, we graduated and began to preach the prosperity message until now. Unfortunately, we are still stuck in the prosperity message. We are oblivious to the reality of the digital age.
We must begin to preach the end-time message now. In fact, we are late already but we can still catch up. Secondly, the Church has refused to do spiritual warfare. The devil is now fiercer in his work and the church is still sleeping and that is where our fault is. The moment we can correct our errors; salvation and deliverance has come.
The church must call itself to warfare and change its message to end-time messages. We must begin to preach the rapture more than ever before. We must let people know the wiles of the devil and dissuade people from incestuous lifestyles and the attendant danger.
I don’t think anybody will see something dragging him to hell and continue in it. We must not lay all the fault on the politicians. The politicians are doing their job. It is the church that is not making the necessary impact.
We must bring back the days of Charles Finney. Finney would not even talk, he would be walking the street and people would be repenting and breaking down. He was doing warfare in his closet. So, when demons see him walk the street, they leave the people alone. Anybody that demon leaves will repent because he will see himself, those are the days we need now.
And how do we get those days back?
How we get it back is to walk within our ministerial fellowships, open the eyes of one another to the failure of the church and how the church can go on and that is what this chapter of PFN is out to do.
How are we sure these ministers you are talking about are called because the economic downturn has turned some people into ministers?
The issue of calling is another thing entirely but this is my take on that; If you are called, these demands we want to be placing on ministers will be easy for you, it would be difficult if you are not called. Even among ministers, there is going to be a falling away of some because that is what the end time actually demands so we are prepared for that. We pray our numbers increase but those who are not called will soon fall away because they won’t be able to keep up with the pace. If you faint in the days of adversity, your strength is small.
So, the days when ministers must realise their calling and the demands of their callings have come. If you are truly called, you’ll meet up the demands of your calling. If you are not called, you would fall by the wayside. It is just as simple as that. Let us start the race, let it gather momentum. If you line up ten people to do a marathon, is it all of them that will get to the end? No, but the strong, the trained, the equipped will get there. Those who are not equipped will fall by the wayside. The same thing happens in the race of the call of God. It is expected that many will fall by the wayside.
How do you advise the president of Nigeria as a grassroots Christian leader who is seeing what someone up there may not see?
Many of the top ministers we can describe as radicals have given necessary advice to the president, maybe the president himself has sealed up his mind and not ready to take advice from anybody. I don’t think that our president has a true picture of what is happening at the grassroots and if he has, it means the president has another agenda apart from leading this country to a land of glory. In that instance, it is difficult for somebody like me to advise the president.
What if your assumption is wrong?
If my assumption is wrong, then the president would have acted on the good advice he has been given in the past. Our Vice President today is a respected minister of God but is he allowed to operate and function in that office? These are the questions we should ask ourselves. So rather than advise the present president, I will advise men of God to start warfare prayer for this nation especially as it concerns the 2023 transition.
No advice is likely going to work any longer for this present government. I cannot see it work. The church voted for Buhari. If the church had known there is a hidden agenda, the church wouldn’t have voted for him. The pursuit of that hidden agenda is so vehement that pieces of advice given to him are jettisoned. So why give more advice? Let the church enter into its closet again. We have done it before and it worked. Why can’t we do it again? That is the weaknesses of the church. God does not need anybody to take up arms. Even when Gideon wanted to go to war with 300,000 men, God said no, I don’t need you. If 300,000 men win the war, they will arrogate glory to themselves. He said I need only 30,000 men and the 30,000 should not carry arms. I will fight the battle, you just do what I say and God fought the battle and He won.
The church has lost a lot of ground and we seem not to realise it. We need to wake up and face this problem head-on. I love something about God and that is the fact that He works with remnants, He doesn’t need anyone to take up arms.