Oshoffa’s son exposes Cele’s best kept secret

IMG_20151015_152815_1


Ebenezer Oschoffa is the scion of the late founder of the CCC. He spoke with Church Times’ Gbenga Osinaike and Sanmi Falobi on the church and some of the misgivings about CCC. Below are excerpts:

How do we address you sir? Are you prophet Ebenezer or pastor?
I am just Ebenezer Oshoffa. I don’t believe in titles. For me it is nothing. It is just a label. It does not represent the content of a person. What is inside you is more important than the title you carry. I have a son who also bears my name. He loves God. He is on fire for God in London. He is the last born of the family and very energetic. Just call me Ebenezer Oshoffa.

Take us back to the beginning of the celestial church?
The church had been founded before I was born. There is a book on the history of the church. But I can remember vividly that I have been active in the church as far back as the 70s. I was in Ikenne, Shagamu, Tejuosho and so many places to shepherd parishes.

But some believe Celestial Church had a faulty background?
Celestial church is a Christian church. People are entitled to their opinion. Until you move close to a person, you will not understand what the person stands for. There are bad elements in the church and in many other churches too. The challenges we have are not peculiar to us.

So what exactly was the commission God gave to Pa Oshoffa?
Well, the Lord commissioned Oshoffa as a tool to liberate Christians from satanic bondage and make them appreciate that what they are looking for in the home of the herbalist is available in the church in a better and safer way.
In those days many Christians were still patronizing herbalists. That was the situation of the church when God called him to ministry. God spoke to him that many people had satanic marks on them because of their contacts with herbalists and so cannot make heaven. But the Lord commissioned him to evangelise and bring the gospel to people and make them realize that deliverance is available in the church. God told him that without the power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit in his life people would not believe in him. That is why his ministry was marked with signs and wonders.

We hear stories that animals like snake, monkey bird appeared to him when he received the call to start ministry. Some have inferred that it gives credence to the occult background of celestials. How will you react to this?
That is not strange. Moses the prince of Egypt had strange visitation from God. God appeared to him in the form of fire. The creatures God showed Papa OShoffa then were symbolic of what can happen in the society. The snake is symbolic, the monkey is symbolic and the peacock is symbolic. I think they represent the pride of life, lust of the flesh and lust of the eye. They were warning symbols for papa so that those things will not obstruct his ministry.

What was he doing when he had the encounter?
He was born and bred in the Methodist church. He was taken to a reverend at a time. His father was a converted Methodist Christian he was named Samuel because he was the only surviving boy of the father. Before him all the other children of his father had died. The father named him Samuel because he made vow to God that he would give him back to Him for His service. He was also named Bilewu (bi ile aye bawu) meaning, if he finds pleasure in the world. Let him live. The father was skeptical about his survival. That was why he gave him that name.

Did his encounter with God happen in the bush?
Yes. He was not going for any missionary work when God visited him. He was just going to buy wooden items in the bush when he had that encounter. It’s a long story. He was staying with a priest who kicked him out at a time after a minor skirmish and he returned to his father’s carpentry job. He went to the bush with his Bible. But he did not go there to pray or meet God. He did not set out for anything before he had the encounter. As a Methodist boy he always liked to pray.

Did he start the church immediately?
He did not start immediately. He was transformed. He started the church in 1947. He had so many angelic visitations and they were giving him specific instructions on what to do.

How did he get the inspiration for white garment?
The garment is just a uniform. It is a leveler. Anybody can afford it.

Why not brown?
What is common is white. I think it is just a way of making us feel a sense of oneness and nothing more. With the white garment you don’t have to bother on what to wear to church on Sunday. You also don’t have to fear that you will be inferior to some other people in church. It is the instruction from God to Pa Oshoffa. In Israel they have their Shawl to pray with. It is just a cloth. He did not borrow the idea from anybody. Imagine people looking for clothes to wear because they want to serve God?

You also go Barefooted. If I wear shoes does that make me a sinner?
It is the anointing of God in you that empowers you. Wearing the shoes or not is not the issue.

But some believe it is an occult practice?
Why don’t we say that Moses was an occult person when the Lord asked him to remove his shoes? Moses was asked to do that. For us not wearing shoes is symbolic. There is nothing to it. It is a representation of the fact that there is nothing in this world. And it also removes the craze for material things.

But Moses’ case was a one off situation?
Yes. But for us it is a tradition that has come to stay. And that does not mean there is something extra-ordinary about it. As I said, it is symbolic. Going barefooted has helped us to appreciate the vanity of life. It helps us to know that man without God is nothing. It is a way of humbling ourselves before God.

You have travelled wide I suppose?
Yes. I was outside the country for a long while. Just came back to Nigeria a couple of years ago. I was all over Europe and the US.

Have you always been in Cele?
I have always been in the church. But at a point I moved out and became a born again Christian. But I will not like to talk about that. I am born again. But it is an issue I don’t want to dwell on for now because some people may not understand.

Which church did you attend when you moved out?
I was with Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo’s KICC in London at the early stage of his ministry. I never knew Pastor Mathew before I joined his ministry. It was the situation in the CCC that led me to the church. The Holy Spirit led me to the church. I was trained in KICC. I know Pastor Mathew very well. Thank God for somebody like him. But I don’t want to dwell on that now. There are certain things people will do now and it means nothing to them. But I cannot do it.

How did papa come about the worship mode of CCC?
He got the mode through revelation. Our worship mode is not peculiar. The Catholic Church for instance also uses water the way we use it.

What about candle, binding candles using it to pray and several other ritualistic practices?
What we find out in the church is that those who attended over time brought their religious exposure into the church. People were used to using elements when they consult herbalists. So this idea of having something in their hand was brought into the church. And instead of them using it negatively, we convert it to something positive. The Yoruba man for instance believes in holding on to something to strengthen his faith. It is not a ritual in that sense. Sometimes we cannot understand the ways of God. It is like saying what was practiced in the Old Testament is occult practice.

But the Old Testament is supposed to be the shadow of the new?
Yes. You are right. But the truth is that we are not following the Old Testament as such. If we are, the whole of our church premises will be full of blood.

How do you explain the special work prayer sessions in the church that makes it look as if there is something beyond prayers that are being done?
The fact that some of the things we do are couched in strange terms and methods does not mean they are strange. When we do special prayers for people, it is like what you call intercessory prayers. In such case the issue is taken up by a group of people and they are asked to fervently stand in the gap praying for the person. It could require that the person will be in the church or under the watch of a shepherd.

But you use the name of angels to pray?
We don’t do that. Those who do that are acting in ignorance. We pray in the name of Jesus. But we do not worship angels. We are forbidden to do that. Whenever we mention the name of Jesus we bow. When it comes to Michael and other angels they all have their roles in actualizing the prayers. They are ministering spirits. They minister to us who are heirs of salvation.

I saw a building in your compound called White Angel. What does that mean?
The white angel house is just a name given to a building. I met it on ground. It was built for people who want to seek the face of God. It could have been any name.

You mystify a lot of things in the church?
The fact that we name some of these things does not make it bad. It is for our own convenience.

Using coconut to pray? What does that mean?
I think it has to do with the faith of the people. It is not easy to take such practice from them.

But who introduced it to them? Is it not the church?
Many things in the church were brought into the church by those who joined.

Are you saying there was no structure when the church started?
Nobody was controlling anybody. People were acting as they were being led and according to their faith. It is the faith of the people. It is difficult to remove from them what they believe. But God has used us to make them use those belief systems positively.

Oshoffa’s style was like that I suppose?
He prayed in the name of Jesus. And he prayed as he was led. There were times he asked for water or some other things just like Jesus did.

But what were the things you can recall about your father?
God used him to raise many dead people and also used him to heal many sick folks. His exit has left a vacuum in the church. He did not pay attention to some of the rituals you mentioned. He prayed simple prayers and God answered and things happened.

Why then was he controversial? He was a polygamist, he had a big foot and people say that is why he did not allow his members to wear shoes since his legs could not fit into a shoe?
Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Don’t forget that Moses in his old age married an Ethiopian woman. The people quarreled with him and God judged them. I cannot quarrel with any man of God for his preferences. I won’t do that. That is between him and God.

But you are not into that?
I am not.

But some of your pastors are also into it?
Don’t mind those pastors who have many wives. They will tell you that it is because Oshoffa had many wives. But the truth is that they are adulterous. The adulterous spirit is already in them they just used Pa Oshoffa to cover up. In the case of Oshoffa God knew he had three wives before he was called to ministry. If God saw that he was unusable he would not have used him. I cannot vilify him for that.

oshoffa1

The CCC seems not to have a structure?
Somebody came here and she did not believe what she saw. She said the way the church is being labeled outside is not what she experienced. The lady came and I did not ask her to bring anything and I prayed for her. Some people from the mainline Pentecostal churches come to celestial church when they have challenges and they get solution to their problems but they go back to their churches.

Maybe it’s because of your own peculiar experience that is why you seem not to look like the typical celestial pastor?
Yes. When God wants to do something in a person’s life he does it His own way. When God took me away from the church I was transformed. I had the privilege of interacting with men of God who worked on me. My exposure transformed me. You could be going to church for donkey years without encounter with God.

What is your background?
I was already a district evangelist by the time my father died. I had been married with children at that time. After the death of my father, I travelled abroad. I had a bit of my education here before I travelled. I had also worked in the bank. I did A/Levels. I was also at the University of Ibadan and then travelled abroad. While abroad I did a lot of courses in Information Technology. For me acquiring degrees does not matter.

We heard that your father never travelled by air. People said he had known he would die by accident. He believe dying in the air would make it impossible for his remains to be gathered?
These are mere speculations. He did not travel by air. I don’t know why. But there are people who have flight phobia. Travelling by air always can affect one’s health. It could be that he had phobia for height. Sometimes constant travelling by air could affect one’s health. He just did not like travelling by air. But people who travelled out of the country started the church abroad.

The way Celestial is run here is not the same with what you have abroad?
The culture of a place to a large extent affects the worship mode. That is what we are experiencing in the church. In the UK the way of doing things is different. The Yoruba man has a way of worshipping God which is different from the white man.

30 years after Oshoffa. What is your observation since he left?
There is a vacuum. I don’t want to talk more than that because doing that will lead us to talk about the crisis in the church which I don’t want to dwell on.

We hear that he prophesied that there will be crisis in the church for 30 years?
He said so. But if that is what is happening how come we are still in crisis after 30 years because it is already 30 years since he died.

Still on your father, what fond memory do you have of him?
He was unassuming. He was humble. He had relationship with other church leaders. He never criticized any church. He believed churches are like schools. One day they will sit in an exam hall and God will examine them.

What is the message of the Celestial Church?
It is to preach the gospel to the lost. It is to reach out to Christians who still run after fetish things and assure them there is power in the church. God commissioned Papa Oshoffa to preach the one true God. The mission of the church is to cleanse the world. Celestial Church people are trained to challenge powers of darkness.

But you mystify some of the things you do?
Every house has its own rules which some may not understand. I must confess that crisis have threatened the church.

Oshoffa died in 1985 about 40 years after the ministry began. One would have thought he would have put a structure down?
He would have put a structure down. What happened is that his death was sudden. As a matter of fact he did not die in the accident. After the accident we took him to First Shadrach hospital in Surulere and he was responding to treatment. There was no cut on his body. He was recuperating from the shock of the accident. We registered him as Mr. X in the hospital because we did not want people to flood the hospital. But my sister and I had access to him. I used to park my car far away from the hospital so that people would not trace me to the place. We were not wearing white garment to visit him. Many people thought he was dead. But on Sept 8, 1985 I brought Archbishop George Amu who was then a shepherd in the church to see him. Then, Papa Banjo and Papa Owodunni who had misunderstanding also came to see him that same day. There was a crisis in National Bank and Papa Banjo was in detention. Papa was asking Owodunni if he paid a visit to the man while he was in detention. He said, No, that even Thomas who had died… (Thomas was one of the aides of papa in the vehicle when the vehicle had accident. Papa Oshoffa did not know he had died.)
He was still talking when papa cut in. He was shocked to hear that Thomas had died. Papa Owodunni could not conclude his statement. When he saw that the piece of information did not go down well with Pa Oshoffa, he tried to rephrase what he said about the death of the aide but it was too late. Papa got the message.
Just to be double sure he told me to go and look for Thomas and one other person. I knew Thomas had died. I came back to him on Monday evening pretending to have travelled to Ibadan to bring Thomas. But the news had triggered so many things in him. I am sure he prayed that God should take his life away. If he did not die, I am sure people would have read meaning to the incident. He was okay and was cracking joke with us but the shock of the news of Thomas led to his death.

About Church Times

ChurchTimes Nigeria is a publication of Church Times Agency . Its vision is to report the church in a professional way with a view to also promote what Christians are doing in politics, business, education, health and other spheres of human endeavours. With various pages including news, features and interviews, tit bits, social diary and light hearted humor, the publication is packaged in a way that offers the reader a refreshing insight into the activities that take place in the Church and carried out by Christians in every sphere of life.

View all posts by Church Times →

20 Comments on “Oshoffa’s son exposes Cele’s best kept secret”

  1. Why were you not born again in celestial church. Those who are in ccc are not born again. The constitution says so long you are a member, you are going to Heaven. None of the member believed the gospel. None of them ever confessed thier sins. None repent from them or forsake them. What makes a sinner be Saint is conversion. Celestial is an occtic church. Trace your foundation back to 1947…. It’s called ijo atinga

    1. you are stupid fellow animal is your father church that is occultic don’t say what you don’t know bitch

  2. That man is an idiot And foolish person is a waste to his father oshoffa disgraceful son how can you leave your father church and start saying rubbish about it fool

  3. “Awon aje to WA ni titi, atinga ti ko won lo” s s d d d r m d l, s d d d r m d d. Meaning the witches on the road, atinga have driven them away…that was the song we used to sing then. If cele is an occult church, why would they be a terror to witches? I know a born again cele, she will not do 1/100 of what Pentecostals are doing. Enough of hypocrisy.

  4. Celestial church of Christ is a true church, is a church from heaven,is not an occultist church ooo pls Rev SBJ Oshoffa is called and ordained from God ooo pls is a real man Of God ooo stop criticising and blaspheming okay the son of Rev SBJ Oshoffa is a disgrace and coursed, now let me announced to u people the u people know now that the guy is blind

  5. Some of you people need to mind what you say, when come to issue of religion, churches . By the way, there is no religion or church in heaven and what real matter is our relationship with our creator being the God almighty. Moreover, out of the so called pastors will have today in our churches how many of them hear a calling from God almighty before starting their so call ministry? All the prophet from the Bible received a calling from God. My so call fellow Christian whether you are CAC, Apostolic, Celestial, CSC, Redeem, KICC etc, what real matter is that did you hear from God? Thanks

  6. @Kemi otulana bornagain is not a religion neither an identity it is jst an acces to new world i.e celestian life which makes u a spiritual,peculiar being and a new speice of people.As a celestian our root is in heaven jhn8:23,so,we are amng the people who dwell in heaven,we are frm heaven on a mission on the earth,we are nt jst a human who is jst struggling to survive but smebody who is here on earth to make a mark and to make heaven real here on earth that is y we are called celestians,a peculiar people
    therefore my fellow celestian kingdomite we dnt need to critisize any one but preach d gosple to them
    u dont knw d quality of a soup that is nt tasted I am proud to b a born again celestian member (frm temidayo ogunmodede,ccc jehovah elyon parish ldowu egba b/sp lasu igando express road……Area h youth member)for more info 08173136151 or temideewon@gmail.as a celestian i will continue flowing at Gods frequency till thy kingdom come halleluyah!!!!!!!

  7. I Greet You All My Brothers And Sisters In Thy Lord Jesus Christ. 1corinthians Chapter 15 Vs 40 Says: There Are Also Celestial Bodies And Bodies Terrestrial. But The Glory Of Celestial Is One And The Glory Of Terrestrial Is Another. This Great Glory Of Celestial Has Been From Heaven And Sent Through Grace As A Last Boat Of Salvation Through Pa. Samuel Bilewu Oshoffa When He Heard The Word Luli Meaning Grace, It Is Not Occultic Church And Pls Let’s All Watch What We All Say, I Will Not Go Further Than This But If You Are Willing To Know More And Want To Ask Question About What Is Not Clear To You About Celestial, Reach Me On 08112215980. Micheal Ayomide Joseph, C.C.C Seminary School, Km/53 Ibadan Expessway.

  8. The greatest enemy is death 1coritian 15 vs 26…..let me be sincerely celestial church of Christ is a great church……bi ayie Fe be ayie ko, won Teri ba fun Christi….God bless us all…bro Abraham from makoko NHQ…..

  9. Like father like son. This interview with the son simply served to prove what exactly the celestial church is – a church based on lies and deception: 2 Corinthians 11.14.
    Throughout the interview and at every corner and turning you see the man deflecting and side-tracking all the questions asked without being able to give a single straight-forward answer to any of them. And that is what the devil always does whenever he is cornered.
    No wonder they always send themselves straight to the burning hell right from here, when at burial, their dead bodies are accompanied with candles thrown into the four corners of their graves. May be this ritual is also one that was “brought into the church by those who joined”
    And as for the so-called ‘born again’ christians that sneak to your church for help, surely these are not Christians as defined by the bible and neither are they born again even though they claim to be attending Pentecostal churches. For instance I knew the day you claimed to be born again and I was also at your water baptism. I knew you won’t last long in the faith going by your celestial background and the strong man behind the celestial church. But then read 2 Peter 2: 20 -22 and especially verse 22. That is why satan never willingly release his captives be they white garment church members, muslims, occultists, satanists. And that is why deliverance ministers have extra works on their hands whenever any of these people encounter the real Christ (not the fake demons camouflaging about as ‘christs’ in many occult houses called ‘church’.
    And as for those who continue to argue, well it’s no surprise, since their master satan has blinded their eyes lest they should discover the truth according to 2 Corinthians 4.4.

  10. I always wondered why some people are criticisms. Celestial church of Christ is far better than a lot of Churches we are having today. The church have rules and regulations on like most of Churches that there members are dressed as if they attending party jam on Sunday service

  11. How are you even sure that the so call reporters didn’t add there’s…all that matters is your relationship with your God..CCC or penticostal Churches,,ask your self , how is my relationship with my maker.cus I can see some people here criticizing CCC now and even backing up their bad act brother is that what they taught in your own church???..is this the love your neighbor as yourself God commanded..am not a CCC member but we dar we are so called CAC or whatever ,are you not worst than them? They use water , anointing oil and so as them,so now tell me what the difference is.. please no one should be discriminative here… your faith matters a lot in what ever you do.. cus most of people are bad doesn’t mean everybody is bad , please take note of that ..there are still the one’s that are pure and holy..so please as our Bible has taught us don’t judge any body.. it’s not in your hands to judge any act my brother/sister.cus you’re not God .. you’re not God that will accept or decline their worship so what your stress..do what you believe is right..the owner of the church himself is coming for it..the question is how prepared are you?????
    Stay blessed.

  12. How are you even sure that the so call reporters didn’t add there’s ..were you there wen they were asking him? reporters can post anything they like…all that matters is your relationship with your God..CCC or penticostal Churches,,ask your self , how is my relationship with my maker.cus I can see some people here criticizing CCC now and even backing up their bad act brother is that what they taught in your own church???..is this the love your neighbor as yourself God commanded..am not a CCC member but we dar we are so called CAC or whatever ,are you not worst than them? They use water , anointing oil and so as them,so now tell me what the difference is.. please no one should be discriminative here… your faith matters a lot in what ever you do.. cus most of people are bad doesn’t mean everybody is bad , please take note of that ..there are still the one’s that are pure and holy..so please as our Bible has taught us don’t judge any body.. it’s not in your hands to judge any act my brother/sister.cus you’re not God .. you’re not God that will accept or decline their worship so what your stress..do what you believe is right..the owner of the church himself is coming for it..the question is how prepared are you?????
    Stay blessed.

  13. Hmmm….
    celestial church of christ.
    i think on the long run, we might realize it is only baba osshoffa that is worthy member of ccc.
    cos i know a lot of things being practised in the church is scriptural but too modified bcos of greediness of the leaders that took over from oshoffa himself.
    the issue where a part of the Alter is meant for men only, females in the church not permitted to go near the alter Etc… these rules to me might have been so good bcos there is no grace abounding, so sin abounds, but finally a spirit being is given to us in form of man (Jesus) to die for us and reconcille us to the father through grace… that is why the bible says “Let us therefore come bodly unto the throne of God through the grace of God”. He (Jesus) for human is the law fulfiller, He came to fulfill the law which so many took into religion today. Thats why He said on the cross “IT IS FINISHED” now the death of Jesus did the unthinkable. It serves as a big significant and gives everyone the access to the Father. but only those who accept Him. For without Him (Jesus) no man, no church, no congregation will enter into kingdom of God…..
    my conclusion: anyman, church, congregation, leader who doesnt live a christlike life is just wasting time…..Hell awaits such

  14. What I don’t really understand about the church bathing people in river and also making some ritual and there was a day I when to one of the branch here in Benin inside the church compound there was a small house that’s was build the house is like that of Catholic Church were dey do mode that their holy marry statue I saw many padlock that was padlock together what does that also symbolis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *