Monday, November 23, 2020 12:05 am
By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
The calm, often ebullient and rather confident yet humble (Dr) Wisdom Okotie of Christ the King Miracle Church based in Tulsa, Oklahoma United States of America contends in his book Beyond Dreams, Prophecies and Visions, that he is the rightful, spirit-filled, anointed, and Holy Spirit-chosen successor to the Founder and Pastor of Celestial Church of Christ, Papa S.B.J. Oshoffa who passed away some thirty five years ago. Okotie passionately believes that Pa Oshoffa blessed and ordained him when in 1985 he Okotie visited with the Founder in Lagos and boldly but humbly shared his personal revelations with the founder which points in the direction that he had fulfilled all the conditions which the pastor had declared would follow his God-ordained successor. In the book, Oshoffa is said to have acknowledged to the hearing of everybody present, ‘Ooto oro ni omo yii so’ (translated as ‘he is speaking the truth)!
At the core of this ten-chapter, 209-page book, is Dr. Okotie’s belief and conviction that even before Baba SBJ Oshoffa passed, he had been identified, acknowledged, ordained, and recognized by the actions of the founder. Okotie visited with SBJO in Ketu International headquarters of the Church on Thursday and Friday March 28 and 29, 1985 and had a similar spiritual encounter as Joshua had with Moses and Elisha had with Elijah. Roughly six months after this encounter, the founder was called home into Glory.
Reading through the book, I wondered what gave Okotie, a young man and the Shepherd of CCC Uniben Parish, Benin City the courage to travel all the way from Benin to Lagos and tell that highly-placed man that he was the successor whom SBJO had talked about. There is no doubt that such boldness and courage were made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit, which Okotie claimed was the drive behind his actions.
To some degree, Dr. Okotie has received the blessing of some influential leaders both inside and outside CCC. This is the core of Okotie’s contestations in the well-written book, Beyond Dreams. For example, he has consulted and revealed the exactitude and spiritual implications of his encounter to such persons as Baba JKJ Owodunni, Baba EMF Oshoffa, Baba Benoit Adeogun, Baba Samson Banjo, Mommy Edith Oshoffa (SBJ’s daughter), Baba David Okunlola, Baba Ajayi, Professor S.O Odeyemi, Evangelist Peter Zinsu -Center Pillar, Evangelist Jacob Oshoffa, Evangelist Frederic Oshoffa, former President Olusegun Obasanjo (a family member), and many others. The real crux is whether the powers-that-be in the CCC Movement will succumb to the overwhelming evidence which Dr. Okotie has presented, both privately and in public.
Church history is replete with movements that deviated from their founding principles and core values and so lost the original vision. Okotie documents the history of Herbert Armstrong of Worldwide Church of God that lost focus after the death of the original visionary. Okotie contends that the similar fate has befallen the CCC because the persons who became successors to the throne were not chosen by the Holy Spirit. Pastor Oshoffa had declared, according to Okotie, that none of his aides at the time should succeed him. In an apparent fulfillment of the consequences of deviation, those who occupied the throne did not last long. This disobedience by the leadership, according to Okotie, is the main reason the Church has many factions today. Okotie is of the opinion that once the leadership can examine and confirm his submitted evidence, the unity and glory of the CCC will be restored.
Okotie’s spiritual journey to the throne started in the 1980s. As a young man worshipping in the CCC in Sapele and Benin respectively, dreams and prophecies about a crown of leadership turned into reality when he visited with Founder Oshoffa in 1985 and his revelations were accepted. He dreamt, and fellow worshippers and prophets within the CCC Movement prognosticated on the destiny ahead of him. He kept recording the dreams, prophecies, and divine encounters for a period of over 40 years and those revelations are still in their original format and ready for thorough scrutiny by the authorities. He soon relocated abroad, also a fulfillment of a prophecy where he took degrees up to PhD and successfully pastored a church. Having established himself he said, the spirit moved him to reveal his identity and narrate his story to all who are willing to listen. His first stop was his visit to Beulah Parish, the home Church of Edith Oshoffa in the month of September 2018.
One of the conundrums of the situation is the occupant of the Pastor seat in the person of Baba EMF, biological son of SBJO. To resolve this, Okotie quotes Baba SBJO as narrated by some of his confidant when he once asserted after sighting a ‘disabled young usher with chronic hunchback burning incense in the inner altar’ that they should ‘never allow the disabled man to go near the altar again because scripture forbids that’. Pursuing this further, Okotie asserts in his book that ‘Baba EMF was called as a place holder, forerunner and the stub of Oshoffa. He was not called to carry out priestly duties or even go near the altar’. Okotie quotes Leviticus 21:18-21 which states that “no one who has a defect qualifies, whether he is blind, lame, disfigured …No descendant of Aaron who has a defect may approach the altar to present special gifts to the Lord’, to support his viewpoint.
In Beyond Dreams, Dr. Okotie provides an answer to the question – what is the solution to the succession crisis? – which he poses in the main body of the book. He states that ‘the Holy Spirit-chosen successor has finally emerged. The truth has finally prevailed. Light has triumphed over darkness’ and minces no words in letting the world know that he is the anointed one. This is a bold declaration by Okotie, stating that he is the promised successor to SBJO. It is now left for the existing hierarchy to examine his assertions and confirm if they are true.
Succession to the topmost spot in most religious bodies appears to be a weak link in structural arrangements. This is especially so because of the role which God ought to play in appointing a successor. But in most cases, human factors play a great role and people in the corridors of power want to play God. Personal ambition often comes into the equation. On the political sphere, succession has always been an issue even in the so-called advanced democracies, as America is currently displaying to the world.
But if church leaders realize that the church is all about God and not their personal glory, then they would subject themselves to the dictates of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Okotie stresses the power of the Holy Spirit on succession matters. He therefore calls on all stakeholders to examine his proof of evidence conscientiously and fervently, a combination of proclamations, dreams, prophecies, and revelations. Once confirmed, they should waste no time in installing Okotie as the Pastor of CCC Worldwide. Only time will tell what the leaders will do!
-Professor Eghagha writes from the University of Lagos