By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
With proven men of God like Pastor Aloysius Chukwuemeka Ohanebo still around and standing resolute and unmoved in their insistence on old-time, Christ-like Christianity as practiced by the apostles of Christ, and strongly determined to continue practicing and teaching this “narrow way that leads to eternal life” to all men and women in the face of the polluting influence of the perverted gospel issuing from the pseudo modernism and outright backsliding being advertised all over the place, genuine believers can take consolation that there still remain in the land a number of “knees which have not bowed unto Baal.”
Indeed, we still have a few men, holding aloft the shinning light of true godliness, selfless service and unquestionable Christian character, and beckoning on all others to follow. This is especially important and reassuring, because over the years, the whole landscape appears overrun by charlatans, clear backsliders and a mass of unregenerated men and women found these days on every hole and cranny of our city and rural centres “spreading” their kind of gospel and “performing miracles.”
Unfortunately, these appear to succeed so well in their Satan-inspired and directed mission: to attract immense discredit to the most holy faith by their ugly lifestyles, confuse so many, and eventually lead them away from the only hope for salvation available to mankind into eternal punishment in hell.
But thank God for His mercies, a few like Pastor Ohanebo are still around, like lone voices in the wilderness, calling on all and sundry, to shun all worldly, perverted and substandard Christianity of whatever hue, no matter the flashiness, status, flamboyance and dignity of their propagators, because, at no time has God changed His standard.
Pastor Ohanebo is the General Superintendent of the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement (WCCRM), with its headquarters in Lagos. I am told that the word “CATHOLIC” in the Church’s name is used in its original and proper sense, to mean, “universal” or “for all.” In his over two decades in ministry, Pastor Ohanebo’s view that Christianity must remain an “all-round package” has remained consistent.
What this means is that any person, whether preacher or prophet, who claims to use the power of a holy God for miracles and wonders must equally vindicate such a claim by right-living and personal holiness in every conduct and relationship with others. Indeed, God who he claims to work for is a holy God. It is difficult to believe that God could bestow His power on an individual without imparting in him His nature and attributes, which distinguishes His children from carnal men or the devil’s children and servants. The devil can give powers for miracles, prophetic insight and visions. But he lacks the power to regenerate people, sanctify them, and impart in them the life and nature of the most holy God.
That is why the lower media now derive characteristic vulgar excitement from celebrating on their covers the unedifying, scandalous lifestyles of mostly flamboyant “miracle pastors” who are only manifesting the very nature of their “father.”
Pastor Ohanebo’s ministry has seen a lot of miracles, where incurable diseases are rolled away, but this hardly gets into the media. Yes, people must be healed and delivered, but real emphasis should focus on the salvation of their souls. His name rings bell among the multitudes that had encountered him and his God-directed and God-centred ministry. Throughout the about fifty parishes of his Church in Lagos, and many others in several parts of the nation and abroad where thousands of worshippers convoke weekly to serve their God in truth and spirit, this man of God insists on the same standard everywhere.
The WCCRM is built on a very strong foundation of discipline and godly character, which he believes should be the hallmark of any Christian congregation. That is why he insists that the WCCRM members everywhere must be identical in character and appearance. There is nothing like an Americanized or Europeanized version of the Church. All forms of worldliness and indecency in appearance and conduct are abhorred with unyielding resoluteness.
We have before us a man with a great burden and vision for his generation, who has schooled himself to remain undistracted by the several irrelevant matters that consume others. He, for instance, does not court publicity. And even though he heads such a large ministry with branches all over Nigeria, several parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Canada and the United States, I have not once heard that he addressed a press conference, nor granted any press interview, though, they keep seeking his attention.
His Church organizes well-thronged programmes and crusades regularly, and he is always ministering at those events, but people are always amazed that the posters and handbills advertising the programme do not carry his photographs. He is so careful about projecting himself instead of God. All he wants at all times is that multitudes be won to Christ and the entire glory goes to God. It is equally the same reason that his face does not daily adorn TV screens despite his awareness of the immense publicity such a preoccupation would accrue to him and his Church.
(First Published in July 2004, A Few Days Before Pastor Ohanebo’s Sixtieth Birthday On July 17, 2004)