Happy Sunday everyone and Happy Missions week to all CGMITES. I had a great time in the presence of God earlier and I want to use this medium to remember someone very special to my faith and work with God, Benson Idahosa. It is exactly 19 years (11 September 1938 – 12 March 1998) since he passed on ? but his legacy cannot be forgotten. Affectionately called PAPA or BABA by his followers, he was a Charismatic Pentecostal preacher, and founder of the Church of God Mission International ( that’s my church ?) with headquarters in Benin City, Edo State. He was renowned for his robust faith.
Born to non-Christian parents in a predominantly non-Christian community, he was rejected by his father, John, for being frail and sickly. He constantly had fainting spells as a child, and on one of his spells, his mother, Sarah, abandoned him at a rubbish heap presuming him dead. Hours later, he came to, and began wailing and was rescued by his mother. He grew up in a poor household. Like most of the surrounding houses, his family home was a mud house. This reality denied him access to education until he was fourteen years old, when he was able to attend a local government school. His education was irregular due to the poor financial status of his parents. He later took correspondence courses from Britain and the United States while working in Bata Shoe
Expansion of His Ministry and His Credentials
Benson Idahosa, the archbishop and founder of Church of God Mission International Incorporated with its headquarters in Benin City, Nigeria established over 6,000 churches throughout Nigeria and Ghana before 1971. Many of the ministers he supervised pastored churches of 1,000 to 4,000 people. In addition to filling the position of archbishop of Church of God Mission, he was also president of All Nations for Christ Bible Institute, president of Idahosa World Outreach and president of Faith Medical Centre. He held positions in numerous organizations including the college of bishops of the international communion of Christian churches and the Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma.
Idahosa earned a diploma in divinity from Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, which he attended in 1971, a Doctorate of Divinity in 1981 from the Word of Faith College, New Orleans and a Doctor of Laws degree from Oral Roberts University in March 1984. He also received other degrees from the International University in Brussels, Belgium. Archbishop Benson Idahosa and his wife Margaret Idahosa were blessed with four children.
Idahosa’s Supreme Task
Soul winning was Idahosa’s primary concern. With a motto “Evangelism our Supreme Task,” he worked towards this goal of reaching the unreached in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He ministered in over 143 countries all over the world. Idahosa is reported to have performed so many miracles, including healing the blind, and raising up to twenty-eight people from the dead at different times in his ministry. At the time of his death in 1998, he was reputed as having preached to more whites than any black man and to more blacks than any white man. He had strong links with international gospel ministers like Billy Graham, T.L. Osborn, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Reinhard Bonnke, Morris Cerullo, Oral Roberts, amongst others. . Many notable pastors in Nigeria like Ayo Oritsejafor, Bishop David Oyedepo, Pastor Felix Omobude, Fred Addo and Chris Oyakhilome are his protégés. Many of his messages on faith, miracles and prosperity remain a classic among Pentecostals.
His desire to meet the needs of the total man led him to establish several other arms of the Ministry apart from the church. They include the Faith Mediplex, All Nations for Christ Bible Institute, Word of Faith Group of Schools and Benson Idahosa University which is currently under the leadership of his son, Rev. F.E.B. Idahosa. His wife, Margaret Idahosa is the current presiding bishop of the Church.
Crusades played a major role in his ministry. He was involved in at least one crusade per month. A record crowd of nearly one million people a night attended his Lagos Crusade in April 1985. He established the Redemption Television Ministry with a potential viewing audience of 50 million people
How He Died- Archbishop Margaret Idahosa
I was planning to travel that night to Nigeria when the report came that he had gone home. That, to me was a great shock. Before he died, he had preached a message titled The benefit of death and he preached so hard and made death so useless. He made it clear to us that he had finished the work God gave him in that message.
He cleared the land for all of us. Many years ago it was a taboo for women to hold the microphone not to talk of preaching in the church but he encouraged us to move in the spirit of God. He encouraged us to preach and do the work.
That was the last message he preached to the women. He preached also at the Bible School before he went to lunch with a team from Oral Roberts University.
He gave instruction to all the members of the team and they were all glued to him! After a while a gentle breeze was blowing and everybody set their gaze on him.
He was saying thank you Jesus and those on the table thought he was praying and they all closed their eyes and started saying thank you Jesus along with him but suddenly they did not hear anything again and one of the team members opened his eyes and found out that archbishop was gone.
They tried all they could to revive him but he was gone. He was not sick. He never had high blood pressure. He was never down. Each time we came back from foreign trips doctors were always there to take our blood pressure. I was the one that was the sick one. Even the doctors were surprised that he died because he was not sick at all.
His Notable Quotes
Life is full of choice but faith in God will affect them all.
If you turn to Jesus as your last resort, He will become your result
If you know where you are going, you will not be afraid of where you are now.
When you give the devil attention, it will give you direction
“My God is not a poor God”,
“Your attitude determines your altitude”,
“It is more risky, not to take a risk”,
“I am a possibilitarian”,
“If your faith says yes, God cannot say no”,
“Living a daily life of absolute faith in God is the only secret to great success”,
“If someone spends time studying the Bible and acting on it, people will come looking for that person for life solutions”.
No matter the obstacle God will take us to the pinnacle.
You are born in the interior (your locality) by the inferior (your parents) and called by the superior (God)
Cleverness takes you up but it is integrity that keeps you there.
Battles does not destroy a Christian but rather, it strengthens him.
A big head without a big brain is a big load to the neck
If your faith says yes, God cannot say no.