The author of over 200 bestsellers spoke to HENRY AKUBUIRO in the church premises, Ajah, Lagos, where he addressed some topical issues facing the Nigerian church even as he gave reasons for his decision never to get married or have sexual relations with other challenges threatening the nation.
News Rain Nigeria gathered that the Shepherd or G.O. of Locust Army International, a church with many branches in Nigeria, Africa, and worldwide, has no property to his name due to an oath. He does not have a wife at 56 and has no ambition in the future for any.
Rev Chris Christian Reveals Why He Is Still A Virgin At 56 Years
What are the parameters?
God is His Word and there are other principles that should make a genuine man of God. For instance, God cannot be monopolised. If you say you are a prophet and He is talking to you, He cannot only talk to one individual. So when one person is saying, “God said… “, the person should allow what he said God said to be censored. Apart from being censored, there should be a kindred spirit. When Jesus came to the world, his ministry wasn’t accepted by the Jews. But, at least, he recognised John the Baptist. So the messiahnism of the Sovereign Servant that Jesus accomplished was acceptable to John. So somebody should not say he is one tree in the forest.
So was Chris Okotie right in his criticisms?
I was expecting you to ask me whether TB Joshua was right. I am not a judge, but I am thinking that, if TB Joshua was dead, whether he was right or wrong, he should be left alone.
Don’t you think T. B. Joshua’s death has left a big vacuum in Nigeria?
All of us were surprised he died. Whether you like him or not, he influenced this country. That doesn’t mean I am saying he is from God (laughs). But it’s not possible to deny him that impact.
When you said he influenced Nigeria, what exactly do you mean?
If you look at the tourism red light, many nations identified with the Synagogue. But I think people should be very careful because Godliness is a mystery. We can’t know everything. That’s why some people should be guided not to say some things straight. There are some things that cannot be said straight. Somebody said when T. B. Joshua was about to be buried, an angel appeared, and some people disagreed. Look at that!
Prophet Odumeje said Chris Okotie had never performed any miracle in his life, but he had chosen to rubbish a prophet like T. B. Joshua who performed multiple miracles all over the world?
A lot of things are spoken out of ignorance. It is not only through miracles that impact is made in the church. There are big ministries that miracle is not part of their calling. There are those who are just teachers. There are announcers. There are prophets who announce God’s projects or programmes; they are not into healing. There are prophets. So people shouldn’t see miracle work as the only arm of success. For instance, when John the Baptist came, he wasn’t into miracle work. But Jesus testified that no one was greater than him. A ministry can be successful without that part.
Sometimes you find it difficult to separate that part from witchcraft. Sometimes you are not sure of the source of that power, especially if it is separated from the Word. The Bible tells us there should be learning before power. There should be knowledge. As I often say, power is a projection of wisdom. So when somebody does not have knowledge and he is doing a lot of miracles, you should look at that being magical, because the first thing the word of God does to you is to transform the inner man, the soul of the man, and God doesn’t depend on miracles to do it. So there is a lot of impacts we make on people through fellowship.
How then do we distinguish between genuine miracles and fake ones, because most Nigerians are craving miracles now?
There are values associated with a genuine preacher, which should not be trifled with. When a preacher trifles with that, we suspect him. For instance, clarity of vision. The second is genuine attention to the word of God. The third is the character that the word of God produces —testimonies.
There are things that, if you hear about men of God, you begin to wonder if they are genuine people. What you see is excessive materialism, the way prosperity is being flaunted as though it was the only criteria. The King died on the cross as a total sacrifice. So his name should not be traded with. The final criteria is an association —who is your father in the lord? At least, you should have someone to look onto, and then somebody you are encouraging.
So what do you have to say about a prophet like the celebrity prophet, Odumeje Indabosky?
I don’t know who Indabosky is. In the days of Acts of Apostles, there was a Bar Jesus. The Bible says he depended on sorcery to do wonders in the land of Samaria until Peter came. Still, in the Acts of the Apostles, the Bible mentions another man who was using divination to get money for his master.
There is a lot of magic going on. There are some men of God, if I say they are magical, you will be embarrassed. But, if you give them time —because we are not judges — nature won’t be patient.
You are 56 years now, have you changed your mind on getting married?
The oath of celibacy is for life. As long as I am on earth, it’s just to give it totally to God. He made me that way. Handling temptations from females is not hard to handle if you make up your mind.
I have created a structure that doesn’t give room for temptation. My PA is a man. I don’t travel to preach with a woman. A woman has not entered my apartment for about 5 years. I don’t carry a woman in my car.
Why did you take the oath of celibacy?
I didn’t just take the oath. There are three categories of eunuchs: those made eunuchs by God; those who became eunuchs because of their contributions to the kingdom, and those who men made eunuchs be used. I belong to the first category. I just discovered I was born that way for a purpose; for the work, I came for.
I am a preacher of a kind. And that particular oath of chastity shares a covenant with poverty. So, as long as I am not married, I won’t have things. Even my Bible, books (both the ones I bought and the ones I wrote) all bear the name of the church and not my personal name. This church premises is situated on 18 plots of land -—that’s about three hectares, from the gate to the sea. I bought it in the name of the church.
It costs millions of naira. It doesn’t bear my name as the owner because of that oath of poverty. So the oath is not just about chastity; it’s also about poverty. So I don’t believe in owning things. You don’t preach prosperity to me. It’s also a mystery. You know, I preach eternal life in the flesh. I don’t fall sick.
I don’t go to the hospital. Meanwhile, I am out of sight of many, that is, I don’t go to the supermarket. I don’t visit people’s houses on a regular basis. For instance, I haven’t visited anybody’s house for five years. People don’t visit me at home except those I am living with. That’s a restricted life.
One might say since you lead a life similar to a monk, you ought to be submitting yourself to daily strokes of the cane as monks of the old were used to. Are you not thinking in that direction?
(laughs) Do I need to be flogged? I live a life of purpose, why should I be punished with strokes of the cane? (laughs). I don’t need to be punished. The pain of the consecration is enough for me. The fire that sustains that oath is very hot, so there is no need for further pain.
Were you ever in a relationship, or have you always been celibate? Do you have female friends?
There is an age of awareness. I passed through secondary school and university. And if you can see, people are praying in the hall. In the process, people come around; sometimes women cook food and give it to me, and I do pastoral work. But that relationship has its limits (laughs). As I told you, there are restrictions; no female church member visits me. I spent most of my time alone in my office. I only spend a little of my time at home daily.
Are you a virgin?
When you hear chastity, it’s just that. The word “chastity” is deep. It’s only those who are involved from God that knows what’s involved in it. The feelings of a eunuch can’t be regular. If the emotions are regular, then you will have problems.
That’s the difference between a God-made eunuch and a man-made eunuch. If a man is meant to get married and he chose to be a eunuch, he may naturally have challenges in coping with it.
The oath is tied to why I came to this world. If I break it, I don’t exist. The oath involves the altar here —I don’t bury people here.
I mean, my church members don’t die untimely deaths, because I have to pay that price to preserve the people and the church. It’s not something I should not be hypocritical about. It’s not whether people are watching me or not. God is watching me. So if I fail in my oath, the things attached to it will go.
There are benefits that I enjoy because I live this way. There are certain angelic services I enjoy because of that life. I enjoy angelic massage, feeding, and injection. If I need to be injected, when I lay down, they give it to me. If I am exhausted and I need to be ministered to, they will serve me. If I break the covenant, the benefits will fade. So I am better inside than outside. Some people wonder if I do it secretly, but I am not a hypocrite.
How then do you fight and conquer temptations? A handsome and successful man (of God) will have ladies drooling all over him. How do you cope?
You have asked me this before. There is a structure in place to checkmate that. For instance, I have never had a lady secretary or personal assistant. I don’t travel with women. I don’t live with women.
Much of the work women would do for me is done by men. So the structure I have reduces the temptation. You know, there is power in contact. Apart from the structure on ground, I already have this nature in me. The eunuch’s life is a spirit in a man; it’s not a decision. That’s why it works in consonance with poverty.
I feel like helping pastors sometimes. They talk about prosperity, but they don’t see the ability to see the negative side of accumulating wealth. Some of this wealth is not from genuine sources, but they don’t know. That’s why you see them falling sick. Sometimes when problems start coming to them, they can’t trace the source because of avarice. They want to grab things.
Do you believe in other people getting married and do you conduct weddings in your church?
Why not? I have pastors all over the world. They are all married. I support them. There are some of them who wanted to remain single, but when I saw they were having pressures coping with it, I encouraged them to marry, but I haven’t wedded anybody. Weddings take place in the church, however, but my regional coordinators and pastors handle them. If I like, I attend. If I don’t like, I won’t attend.
Many men of God in this part of the world run their ministries with their wives and some with their children. How do you run yours?
The pattern is there in the Bible. Peter wasn’t Jesus’ wife. Moses handed over to Joshua, and Elijah gave the mantle to Elisha. There is a structure that commands who is who in the ministry, that is, the organogram of this church has not brought any wife into it.
How do you counsel couples since you don’t have a marriage experience?
(laughs) You don’t need to have a marriage experience to counsel. I have been a pastor for 28 years, so pastoring has given me the experience to handle such issues. I do counseling for couples, but that is not my major. You met me writing here.
By taking the oath of celibacy, are you not working against God’s instruction that man should “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it?”
If you look at what you said, God wants partnership for man; it’s not necessarily wife. I am not here alone. I am working with a team of people. What God wants is dominion. You are talking of a natural family; there is also a spiritual family.
The dominion I want is the dominion of God’s kingdom, so I already have a team of people who are helping in the dominion, like church members, leaders —in this place, we have coordinators and different kinds of pastors all over the country and beyond.
And then, the fruitfulness is the evangelism, soul-winning, and church planting, just like Jesus who did have a wife; just like Apostle Paul; just like Elijah accomplished so many things without a natural family.
Source: Sun News