Historical Facts about 1930 Revival

Chapter 11

 

Historical Facts Supportive of 1930s Pentecostal Revival

in Nigeria as The Apostolic Church’s and Not Christ

Apostolic Church’s

 

By

 Samson  A. Fatokun

 

Below are facts in the light of archival evidences and other historical sources  that affirm  that the popular 1930s indigenous Pentecostal revival in Nigeria, often made reference to by scholars, ministers and other people  alike, in different  write-ups, pulpit sermons, teachings, Pentecostal and Evangelical conferences, academic conferences,  symposia and seminars both in Africa and overseas, was housed  and nurtured by The Apostolic  Church Nigeria, and not Christ Apostolic Church, as viewed by some:

 

  • The 1930s Pentecostal Revival in Nigeria, critically assessed in the light of historical evidences, was basically The Apostolic Church’s  revival since the 1931 affiliation of the defunct Nigerian Faith Tabernacle Congregation, from where the revival started, and so was not in any way Babalola’s  movement’s revival  as Alokan wrongly claims[1]  nor  Christ Apostolic Church’s  (which of course was not in existence by that time), in spite  of the fact that, Evangelist Joseph Ayo Babalola was   the principal actor at the revival. This is confirmed by a Colonial government document earlier cited in chapter nine of this book (A Memorandum sent by the then Commissioner of Police, Oyo-Ondo Province, Ibadan, to the Resident, Oyo (dated 6th 1931): …three European missionaries (The Williams and Andrew Turnbull) arrived in Lagos from England for the purpose of holding revivalist meetings in connection with The Apostolic Church and Faith Tabernacle Movement.[2]

 

  • While the revival started  in 1930 under the name ‘Nigerian Faith Tabernacle (NFT) Church, by 1931 the name The Apostolic Church Nigeria had been adopted by the group with the visit of European missionaries from Great Britain as a new umbrella name for the revival as confirmed also by a Colonial document deposited at the National Achieves of Nigeria (Ibadan Zone), written by the District Officer, Ibadan, to the Acting  Commissioner of Police, Calabar Province, Calabar, dated 29th July 1933:

 

The Faith Tabernacle in Nigeria appealed for help from The Apostolic Church in England … and the Faith Tabernacle has now became The Apostolic Church.[3]

 

  •  The 1930 revival under Nigerian Faith Tabernacle (NFT) would have died a natural death as NFT with her revival was proscribed by the then Colonial Government as an unruly movement, if not for divine intervention through the visit of The Apostolic Church’s delegates from Great Britain now subsequent affiliation  with that body.
  • It was the European missionaries of The Apostolic Church that subsequently gave shape and governmental approval to this  proscribed indigenous African Pentecostal revival which the Colonial Government erstwhile described as unruly.
  • Similarly, it would be recalled that by 1931, prior to the visit of TAC’ missionaries, Evangelist Joseph Ayo Babalola, the revival’s  principal actor had already been arrested and sentenced to imprisonment at Warri on charges relating to the government’s  alleged unruly nature of the revival, which would have spelt the total doom of his revival activities if not for the procurement of his release on personality grounds by the European missionaries of TAC.
  • More significantly, while Evangelist Joseph Ayo Babalola remained the principal actor in the revival from 1931 to 1939 before  he decamped in 1940, the revival activities was under the direct supervision of European resident missionaries (Pastors  George Perfect and Idris Vaughan) assisted by the pioneer indigenous leaders. In fact, Evangelist Babalola and Pastor Idris Vaughan (who doubled as missionary prophet and evangelist)  on occasions worked hand in hand in revival activities, consider for instance the visit of the duo to Creek Town  Calabar in 1932[4].
  • Furthermore, as  earlier stated, contrary to the view of some writers, Evangelist Babalola was not the leader of the  movement that led the revival but rather a newly absorbed member and minister who was duly baptized by immersion (as part of the requisites for NFT church membership) by the duo – Pastor Sadare and Odunbanjo (the African Presiding Pastor and Missionary Correspondent of NFT respectively)

who even after affiliation with The Apostolic Church Great Britain in 1931 were the leading African apostles  of the church affiliated church where Babalola was only ordained an Evangelist (as earlier discussed in chapter

  • Lastly, as confirmed by an indisputable historical evidence, Oke-Ooye, Ilesa, in the present Osun State of Nigeria which in African Pentecostal history can be described as ‘the African Azusa Street’ – as the historical site of the commencement  of the 1930s Pentecostal revival which many people from across the nation and beyond visited in the year 1930,  is till today still owned and managed by the authorities of The Apostolic Church Nigeria as the sites of  the Ilesa Area Headquarters as well as the Ilesa Metropolitan Areas’ Temple of the church. The only closest Christ Apostolic Church District headquarters building is at Igando, near Ogbon-Arugbo Compound, Ilesa  – not even on Oke-Ooye Street.

 

In summary of the above points of facts, we can say that  while it is true that the 1930s Pentecostal revival in Nigeria actively continued even after the breaking away of CAC from TAC Nigeria in 1940, the fact remains in history that the revival was nurtured and consolidated by The Apostolic Church at least for the first ten years of Babalola’s activities, and would not have gone beyond 1930 if not for the “Ethiopians Cry for Help”[5] heavily worded letter (a kind of ‘save our soul’ (SOS) message, sent to the International Missionary Centre of The Apostolic Church  in Bradford, Great Britain through Pastor Odubanjo in 1931, which subsequently led to the visit of the principal leaders of the church from Great Britain to Nigeria.

 

 

[1] J.A. Alokan (1991) Christ Apostolic Church (1928-1988), Lagos: Ibukun-Olu Printers Nig. Ltd., p. 147

[2] See The Commissioner of Police, Oyo-Ondo Province, Ibadan, “A Memorandum”  to the Resident, Oyo (dated 6th Oct. 1931) in  National Archives, File No. 662, Subject: The Faith-Healer Babalola and Faith Tabernacle, Class Mark: Oyo Prof., p. 44.  See also, pp 5,9,56,59-63

[3] The District Officer, Ibadan, “A Letter” to the Acting  Commissioner of Police, Calabar Province, Calabar, dated 29th July 1933 in National Archives, Ibadan, File No1146,   p.3.

[4] Adegboyega (1978), Short History of The Apostolic Church in Nigeria,   pp. 70-71

[5]  N/a (1931),  “Ethiopia’s Cry for Help” in Riches of Grace. (An official magazine of T.A.C. Great Britain.), May 1931, p.215

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