Evangelist Ezekiel Aremu Abatan is the founder of Christ Evangelistic Glorious Mission also known as Faith Glorious Church. He also founded the Virgin Prayer Fellowship, an interdenominational fellowship for ministers of the gospel. Abatan who clocked 70 a few years ago talked to Church Times on the journey so far and other issues in the body of Christ.
Can u look back and reflect on your journey so far.
As a human being born into this world, you must pass through ups and downs, there is nothing you can do about it. I met the Lord in 1954 but I thank God that today, God really sustained me and uphold me. For instance, I lost my first child after a big crusade. But I had to continue the crusade the following day. But God has blessed me with six other children; they are all around me doing well.
How was growing up?
I was born at Gbokolu village, formerly in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State, now in Ewekoro Local Government Area, very close to Obasanjo’s village; we had our Empire Day together in those days. When we talk of Owu, Egba, Gbagura, Abeokuta, we mix together. But politics have separated us. I am just a primary six holder, no more no less, all the grammar I’m speaking to you today are just by the grace of God. All my children are university graduates to the glory of God
Can you go back into history, how was life?
I was not born with silver spoon, I had idolatry background, my father was a babalawo or native doctor, my mother was an idol worshiper as well. My father died when I was in primary school in 1957 and since then, I have been managing myself. I was a teenager, around 14 or thereabout and had to fend for myself, it took the grace of God. And today I have a lot of professionals under me, doctors, lawyers etc.
Can you give us insight into what you suffered growing up?
In 1959 I finished school, I later came to Lagos in 1959, I continued to suffer where I lived. I asked my people few days ago, have you ever eaten eba mixed with saliva? I did when there was no choice of what to eat. Sometimes I wore torn school uniforms and there was no body to help. A lot of things that happened then, young people today can’t endure them. I learnt carpentry. They employed me at Lever Brothers. I would collect salary and hand it over to my boss since it was remaining one year for me to complete my carpentry training as an apprentice. After the one year, I did freedom and continued with Lever brothers. I later left there for Ministry of Defence. That was where I retired.
How did you meet Jesus?
I was converted in 1964 at Victory Gospel Church in Mushin, Lagos. The pastor then was Pastor Olatunji. When the gospel is preached and it touches you and you are born again you can’t know how it happened, it is God. Two of us may be here and the gospel is preached, it may touch one and not touch the other person. That is what we call salvation, it is personal. If God does not touch your heart at that moment, you cannot be saved. Some people just go to church, they are not touched. Paul was with many people when Christ appeared to him, but he was the only person that was converted, what of his followers? Did we hear anything about them?
Some churches today would conduct deliverance service for someone from an idolatry background like you, did you experience anything like that as a new convert?
What is the difference between salvation and deliverance? Salvation is a total package. The Bible says if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away and all things have become new. Deliverance, falling people down does not touch your heart, it only touches your body. All these boys, (I call them boys) saying they are doing the work of God, some of them are jobless and now camouflaging to be working for God and deceiving people, falling down does not touch your heart. There is nothing like deliverance, salvation is salvation, Jesus is coming back very soon and salvation is what he wants. If I fall you down physically, can I fall you down in your heart? Some people use demonic power to fall people down, Jesus is coming back and each church leader will give account how they gathered crowd. Mine is to preach the word of God, pray for you. When I was in Kenya, I ministered and people fell under the power of God at the crusade, but I never emphasised that, the word was what I emphasised. People may fall, but the message is the word, salvation is the main thing. Many people today, accept Jesus because of money and what to eat, I accepted Jesus because of the kingdom of God, money is good, but I don’t preach it, I preach salvation, Matthew 6:33. I don’t deceive people and I will never, I don’t have anything to hide, no hidden agenda.
When did you start ministry?
I started ministry in 1965 as a part time minister. Then I was with the Ministry of Defence. I was at the Civil war as a civilian working with the Ministry of Defence. It was hard time, I was in the store department, Benjamin Adekunle and the rest were combatant, it was a tough time because nothing must get missing in the store.
How is your marital life?
I believe in one man, one wife. I got married in 1971. I’m met my wife in church, I liked her, that is all, God didn’t show me or tell me anything, I saw her and I loved her.
How was Nigeria in those days?
It was a peaceful place. In those days, you can go out anytime; we used to sleep outside in the compound, no fear. No armed robbery. It was the civil war that started the problem we have in Nigeria today, war is bad, whatever it brings you take it, what it brings must be bad, we don’t pray for war, whatever a war brings is not easily eradicated.
How did you start your ministry?
I was in my former church till 1991 when I started the church. Today people like to be deceived. The prophetic ministry is thriving and many people are being deceived because they want to, they want someone to tell them things, but some of us can’t be deceived. The Bible says people shall be deceived. You can’t deceive me with car or money. It was because of heresy that I started my Bible school. That you have gone to Bible school does not mean you are called. It does not mean you are competent; you go to get knowledge. You may have the call without going to Bible school.
What have you experienced working in the vineyard of God what are the lessons?
Number one, as a man of God, let people know you. Two, try to build your name. Let people know you for who you are. If you want to be faithful, be faithful.