CHRIST LIFE CHURCH @ 32; HOLY GHOST CONVENTION @39
CELEBRATING GOD FOR THE VISION OF BISHOP FRANCIS WALE OKE:
A GENERAL OF BREAKTHROUGH EVANGELISM & THE ENTIRE CHRIST LIFE FAMILY
Thirty (30) years is a relatively short period in the agenda of God whose one thousand years could be reckoned as just one ordinary day. The set-man and Visioner of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, who is also the current National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria has actually been in the ministry much longer than three decades. He never founded the church arm of his ecclesiastic activities until he heard clearly from God to proceed on the assignment. Just like the early Christian leaders in Nigeria, Francis Wale Oke is fiercely committed to evangelism, having been convinced during the teething stage of his enlistment in the End-Time Army of God that whoever does not preach the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ is guilty of dereliction of duty. It is, therefore, not surprising that the bishop has the following view on the early patriarchs who gave their ALL to the service of the Lord.
“The early disciples discovered the tremendous power that is in the name of Jesus and used it to their advantage. They used it to deal with the power of darkness and prevailed against the negative circumstances of their time. They used it to bless their generation and established the Church. As soon as the Lord gave them the command to go into the world, they took the authority in the name of Jesus and went to work immediately. “They wielded the authority of the name and the Lord was with them confirming the Word with signs and wonders”. (Mark 16:20)This is the enablement and grace God has mercifully given to Nigerian ministers of God who are preaching His message in all parts of the world”. (Bishop Francis Wale Oke, Presiding Bishop, Christ Life Church)
We present this piece culled from Nigeria’s Leading Lights of the Gospel …. Revolutionaries in Worldwide Christianity to celebrate the grace of God upon His servant and the entire Christ Life Family. – Femi & Funmi Adelegan
Bishop Francis Wale Oke
God has a way of springing surprises. Our ways are not His ways and this explains why He is God, who does whatever He likes. It was at one of Pastor W.F. Kumuyi’s ministrations that Wale Oke struck a covenant with God to preach the gospel to every creature that came his way. He had been taught that “if you don’t preach the gospel, you are a murderer and that God would ask a believer to account for the souls of those they know were hell-bound and which they deliberately neglected by not preaching salvation to them”
These summarize the unbending resolve and commitment of Bishop Francis Olubowale Aderibigbe Oke, the set-man of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries (aka Christ Life Church) with headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria to soul-wining, evangelism and service in the vineyard of the Lord. Since committing his life to Christ as his personal Saviour and Lord in December 1975, Bishop Wale Oke who heads the Christ Life Church as presiding bishop and founder has over the past few decades preached the gospel in all parts of the world in accordance with the directives of Jesus Christ to His disciples to “go ye into the world and preach the Gospel”. Since receiving his call, nothing gives the preacher greater joy than ministering salvation to the populace. And he has a very strong evangelical ministry to show for his first love of winning souls for Jesus Christ.
Christ Life Church, (aka The Sword of the Spirit Ministries) was inaugurated in 1983 with a mission and vision to “plant vibrant assemblies for Christian worship, teaching of the word of God and aggressive evangelism as the Lord leads. Wale Oke asserts that “Jesus Christ started his ministry with the word “Repent”. The message is the same today as when Jesus and John the Baptist gave it. Becoming a follower of Christ means turning away from self-centred-ness and self-control and turning our lives over to Christ’s direction and control. The three key aspects of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ are teaching, preaching and healing”. And the president of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries and presiding bishop of Christ Life Church is endowed with spiritual power to operate in the seven-fold spirit of God. And this unbending resolve to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ forms the major fulcrum on which operations of Christ Life Church rest viz:
“The Lord has given me a mandate to call believers, most especially to minister to:
•Live for Jesus and His Kingdom,
•Love Him with all of their hearts, and
•Aggressively win souls in expectation of His glorious return, using all their gifts, talents and abilities”.
MISSION OF CHRIST LIFE CHURCH:
•To lead people to Christ massively world-wide and establish them in the grace of God;
•To establish vibrant churches strategically world-wide that will plant other vibrant churches; to make the world a better place through practical applications of the gospel of Christ; and to make heaven our home at last.
•PHILOSOPHY: “We are a Bible-believing, soul-winning, church planting, missions-driven Church, walking in the fear of God and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit”.
•RESPONSIBILITY: “We exist to cater for the spiritual needs of everyone that God brings our way, leading them to know the unsearchable riches of Christ”.
Born on September 8, 1956 in Egbeda Local Government area of Oyo State, the clergyman started preaching the gospel in December 1976 and later stepped out into full-time ministry in May 1982. His ministry was commissioned in 1983 by Pastor Enoch Adeboye and was formally ordained in 1986 by the famous and flamboyant tele-evangelist, late Archbishop Benson Idahosa after close to 10 years of ministering and labouring in the vineyard of God and experiencing diverse occurrences. Francis Wale Oke has over the past three decades developed a powerful preaching and teaching ministry accompanied by supernatural signs, wonders and healing. He equally carries great grace and unction as a prophet of the Most High God with the Holy Spirit moving mightily at his ministrations. Words of knowledge and prophecies have come to accurate fulfilment at the various meetings at which the servant of God has officiated. His beginning, like those of numerous servants of God was small. Wale Oke is a scion of a licensed lay-reader and catechist, late Pa James Oke who served the Anglican Communion in that capacity for forty-eight years and Madam Elizabeth Oke, a petty trader who is still very agile at the age of over eighty years. The mother, Madam Oke has disclosed that “Francis is a miracle child. Right from the womb, the parents suspected he had been destined to be great. He had a normal infancy until the day facial marks were to be inscribed on his face. Unfortunately, something went wrong and Francis almost bled to death”.
For late Pa Oke, that marked the end of the inscription of any type of traditional marks on other members of the family. Bishop Wale Oke had a humble and rough beginning, toiling and labouring to make ends meet to be able to acquire western education and record a breakthrough in life. He described his efforts at acquiring western education as “a triumph of grace” as he was brave, strong and was never intimidated. To make ends meet following the inability of his parents to fund his education, Wale Oke served as houseboy to three different families at different periods. His experiencies as houseboy were not too pleasant but he faced the future with fortitude. Wale Oke attended St. Paul’s Primary School, Kasumu village, a rustic settlement on the outskirts of Ibadan, located on the Iwo/Ibadan road. His leadership trails manifested quite early. While in primary six in the elementary school, he served as the headboy of the institution. He served as a house-boy to be able to earn some money to finance his early education. He served in that capacity to at three families after his primary education. At various times, he hawked rice and beans for one family, sold groundnut oil and eggs for another family; until he finally served Mrs. Da-Silva, a matron at Oluyoro Catholic Hospital, Ibadan. At this last point, fortune smiled on him. Madam Da-Silva instructed her children to coach Francis who was eventually admitted to Ibadan East Community Secondary Modern School. Unexpectedly,God used the experiences of his early life to prepare the bishop for the future. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God to them who are the called according to his purpose.
In 1973, Oke proceeded to Wesley Teachers Training College, Ibadan where in spite of financial predicaments he still led his class at the end of his course. Fondly called FAO, he was reported not to have had ample time to study; yet he led the class in all examinations. While in the college, he battled against all odds to enter for the General Certificate of Education and to the amazement of people, Francis scored distinctions in seven papers and a pass in Additional Mathematics. At the Teachers College, he was always in the chapel between 5.30 and 6.00 a.m everyday, praying for himself and others. Wale Oke had earlier in life attended the Anglican Church, the Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church where he got baptized and was named Michael while serving as a houseboy.
THE MEMORABLE DECISION
PIX ABOVE: BISHOP DAVID OYEDEPO, PASTOR EA ADEBOYE & BISHOP WALE OKE
He had an encounter with Christ in 1973 by divine arrangement when attended the Christian Church Evangelistic meeting of late Prophet Timothy Iyanda at the St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Aremo, Ibadan. Wale Oke was baffled at the awesome power of God which resulted into the occurrence of diverse miracles at the crusade. “That day, I resolved that I would for ever belong to God and I will use Jesus’ name to help my village and possibly, humanity” the man of God disclosed. This occurrence aptly demonstrates the move of God as recorded in the book of Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome”. 320 His real formal surrender to the Lordship of Christ was to later occur at the Wesley College where he was the College Organist. His had met with co-students – Mr. Frederick Babatunde Odutola and Mr. Samuel Adewuyi who were members of a Church outside the campus on their way to attend a Sunday service outside the campus and decided to follow them.
At the church, Wale Oke was not fascinated by the praise and worship session, the Sunday school and other aspects of the service. In the course of the service, however, one of the female ushers asked Wale Oke if he had been saved; a development he considered rude. But the Holy Spirit convicted him while several thoughts ran through his mind. He was attending a Christian church and was morally upright. But were these enough? He trekked back to the College with the thoughts of being saved raging in his mind and he began to nurse the feeling that God indeed needed his soul for service in His vineyard. He rushed back to his room and there and then made a resolution to belong to Christ. Then the passion to serve God started to grow. The new convert got more involved in personal evangelism. His growth in faith was very rapid and a considerable period of his time was devoted to evangelism.
Wale Oke secured admission to the Polytechnic, Ibadan in 1976 and in 1978 proceeded to the University of Lagos where he studied for and bagged a Bachelor of Science degree in Lands and Engineering Survey. While a student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, he identified with the Christian Union which was the largest campus Christian Fellowship and there, he met great instruments of God like Revd Mike Oye, Pastor W.F. Kumuyi and Dr. Paul Jinadu. “It was at Unilag that I met the people that the Lord used to play foundational roles in my life and ministry. People like Pastor E.A. Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and Pastor W.F. Kumuyi, General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry. Both men are great blessings to my life’’, says Wale Oke. Periodically, God showed up at various stages of Wale Oke’s life through people who could be regarded as destiny connectors.
HELPERS OF DESTINY — REVD SG ELTON
The education policy in Nigeria requires every university graduate to participate in a special programme of service to the nation. Francis had his National Youth Service at Christ Ambassadors Evangelistic Team (CAET) an indigenous Christian Ministry in Ibadan. He was the Administrative Secretary for that year. The various ministerial exposures while in the university enabled Brother Francis (as he then was) in no small way to cope with the onerous task at CAET. Happily, his position in the organization enhanced his effectiveness in handling ministry matters as he was exposed to various ministerial experiences. God also linked him up with Pa S.G. Elton, a British Missionary who lived in Ilesa, Osun State of Nigeria in the 1980s. Pa Elton was sent by God to impact several ministries, (including Wale Oke’s) and was co-speaker with him at the first Holy Ghost Convention of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries in 1983.
It was while serving in that ministry during the annual long vacations of Nigerian universities that one of the first few confirmations of the power of God manifested. Wale Oke had been dubbed an ‘extremist’ by his family members on account of his new relationship with God. He had converted his younger sister, Emily Oke (now Pastor Emily Odejayi) but this met with stiff resistance from his parents and family members. Emily decided to obey her parents and went back to her former church. Soon, she became deaf and had to seek medical attention at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. Treatment notwithstanding, the problem persisted. A few months later, Emily returned to her brother (Wale Oke) and requested they prayed together.
Wale Oke, then young in faith was convinced that the name of Jesus Christ could heal his sister. Following his conviction, he called one of the Christian brothers serving in the ministry and they simply pleaded that “in the name of Jesus, receive healing and continue to hear again”.321 God decided to honour the request of Wale Oke for His name to be glorified and Emily started hearing again. That event confounded members of his family and proved to be the required confirmation that Wale Oke’s Jesus Christ is real. This event also provided the platform for Oke to witness salvation to his parents and siblings and get them converted to experience the goodness of God. Today, Emily is married to a pastor in the Christ Life Church and they both head one of the branches of the church in Ibadan.
Since the dramatic move of the Holy Spirit leading to the establishment of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Wale Oke has demonstrated a high penchant for evangelism under his ministry’s “rescuing the perishing programme” for the salvation of millions of souls that are hell-bound.
PIX ABOVE — WALE OKE AND CELEBRATED ARCHBISHOPBENSON IDAHOSA
“The late Archbishop Benson Idahosa was my mentor and I hold him in high esteem and with utmost respect. He was a great influence on my life. Pastor E.A. Adeboye is also my spiritual father”. Highly proficient and blessed with a sound knowledge and delivery of the word of God, Wale Oke has been able to reach millions of people world-wide with the Good-news of Christ. He is noted for his crusades at which the Holy Spirit has dramatically pulled the barriers of the devil down as well as free people from the shackles of oppression. Speaker and international evangelist, he committed his life to Christ as Saviour and Lord in December, 1975 while studying at the Wesley Teachers Training College, Ibadan. He later attended the Polytechnic, Ibadan for his advanced level studies.
Oke is widely noted for his immeasurable love for evangelism and salvation of souls. It was a decision which he made in 1976 when he attended a Deeper Life Bible Church crusade which held in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Pastor William Kumuyi, one of the leading lights of the gospel who was to later in life make a lasting mark on Wale Oke’s ministry called the meeting. At the meeting, there were 16 people, including Wale Oke in the Bible class and there was the opportunity for participants to be taught the word of God undiluted, characteristic of Kumuyi’s style. It was at that event that Wale Oke struck a covenant with God to preach the gospel to every creature that came his way. He had been taught that “if you don’t preach the gospel, you are a murderer and that God would ask a believer to account for the souls of those they know who are hell-bound and which you deliberately neglected by not preaching salvation to them”.323
This revelation set the young convert on fire for Christ and he commenced witnessing Christ at every opportunity and in all places. He even employed a potent means of mass communication by joining commercial buses operating in cities and preaching the message of salvation to the passengers. But God has never promised anybody, including those who belong to him crises-free sojourn on earth. That would have prevented humanity from recognizing the majesty of God. Wale Oke faced teething problems associated with the acceptance of his new religion by members of his (parents and siblings) who persecuted him. In his words, “I faced persecution from members of my family; my elder brother, my mother, everybody. Only my father did not go with them. But they persecuted me. They wanted me to give up my faith” Instead of encouraging the new convert to be committed to serving the Lord,his main persecutor –his elder brother — encouraged him to consume canned beer on a few occasions. I forgot to ask Baba Wale Oke if he ever got tipsy.
He continued that “they said I was going to what was then derogatorily termed ‘Ijo Elekun’ where they pray and weep (the way Scripture Union members were described in the early days) and my brother told me that he knew a lot of the Scripture Union members and the general impression is that they don’t make progress in life, they are always behind and I went to talk to God about it. I went to the Lord and said “God, they said your people don’t make progress and God began to prove otherwise”. When I finished my teacher’s college, I led in my set. I was also the best student in the immediate past seven years in the results that came out. When I sat for my General Certificate of Education, even though I didn’t go to a secondary school, I cleared all the papers, including Additional Mathematics. I had A1 in English Language. Nobody helped me. I got admission into the Polytechnic, Ibadan. I later got admission into the University of Lagos. They came up to me and said if your Jesus can do this for you, we leave you to serve him. Those were the days when to be a Christian was to be the odd person out. It is to be persecuted, to be called names and be victimized and they really persecuted us; but those persecutions made us strong and I thank God for it. Mark it, the church is that bush that is burning, but is not consumed. Persecutions, don’t bother the church, they make the church wax stronger. It is worldliness, carnal-mindedness and sin that break the church”
GOD’S PLAN — THE ONLY PLAN THAT WORKS
God has a way of moving such that His name would always be glorified because the Creator would never share His glory with anyone. Wale Oke was a highly cerebral student throughout his days from the primary to the tertiary levels of his education. God has been magnanimous to give him a first class brain. He sat for the concessional entrance examination into the then University of Ife and did extremely well in his papers. As an ‘A’ student, he believed he would be admitted. However, he failed to write his examination number on his answer sheet provided in the examination hall. That marked the end of his ambition to study at the University of Ife. Having realized the futility of his move, he turned to the University of Lagos which admitted Oke in 1977 to read Land and Engineering Survey. Reflecting on this later in life, Wale Oke says “it is the plan of God for my life. If I had attended any other University other than the University of Lagos, I would have missed my helpers of destiny like Pastor W.F. Kumuyi and Pastor Enoch Adeboye who were both lecturers in the institution and who were used by God to set my feet on this ecclesiastic journey”. God said No to Ife but Yes to Lagos, and so Bishop Oke could meet with his helpers of destiny like Pastor EA Adeboye and Pastor WF Kumuyi
Of his childhood ambition, the evangelist said “I trained as a Survey Engineer at the University of Lagos and I had two ambitions. I wanted to make money in my profession and wanted to develop academically to become the youngest professor in Nigeria. I was very brilliant and was conscious of it. I was working as a surveyor. For example, I handled a survey project in 1980 for a housing estate the Ogun State government. The company I worked for was paid two hundred and eighty thousand naira (N280, 000) for that job.” (About US$ 1,800) All these happened at a time when four thousand, two hundred naira, now (US$350) could purchase a brand new Peugeot 504 car. The first property, a two bedroom flat that the evangelist rented at that time for two years cost just seven hundred and twenty naira! Therefore, his profession was a very lucrative one where he could make money, if he so desired. When he told his boss the Lord had called him and wanted to resign to go into the ministry, the boss requested to know if Wale Oke was emotionally stable. To dissuade the budding preacher from taking the plunge, the boss offered to double his salary. However, Oke refused and explained it was not about money. Stunned and confounded but noting the promising future ahead the young engineering land surveyor, the boss promised that if he ever changed his mind, the employment offer was still there. To God be the glory that Bishop Wale Oke has not had the cause to go back after hearing the call of God and vowing to serve God with all he has and everything he can muster.
A few incidents early in his new Christian life were enough to convince Wale Oke that he was indeed destined to preach the gospel. In December 1976, he was part of an outreach programme organized by the CAET cited earlier in Ode-Omu, Osun State of Nigeria. He was assigned the responsibility of handling the follow-up teaching for converts at the crusade. As soon as he started to preach, the Holy Spirit moved and people began to sob and scream. Records showed that those who got saved that day were more than those of the previous days. And for the five days that the crusade lasted in the town, God moved powerfully such that many new converts trooped out to give their lives to Christ. Wale Oke himself says that “that was my baptism into the world of evangelism and the experience has never stopped. The grace of God has taken me round the world and I have preached the glorious gospel of Christ in many nations”.
That was not the only way God moved to convince Wale Oke and his family members that He could intervene in seemingly impossible situations. Before being born again, Oke had attended the crusade of one of God’s servants which He used mightily in the 1970s, Evangelist Timothy Iyanda. He carried his cousin, Olujide Oke, who had been lame for 14 years on his back. And suddenly, on the crusade ground, the raw power of God hit Olujide Oke in the crowd at the prompting of Evangelist Iyanda and the lame began to walk. Today, the beneficiary of that kind gesture of God is hale and hearty.
HOW GOD ARRANGED THE RECOGNITION OF FRANCIS WALE OKE
At the time Brother Francis (as he was then known) got born again, you couldn’t mix anything up; you were either a Christian or you were not as there was no middle ground. The Pentecostal movement that began in the 40’s had by the 70’s given birth to two main streams: the Full Gospel Churches and the African Independent Charismatic Word Fellowships. The latter was initially very popular among secondary school students, with and through whom it went into the universities. A lot of front-liners in Christendom today emerged from that move. It gave birth to men of God like Rev. (Dr) Mike Oye, Pastor W.F. Kumuyi, Pastor E.A. Adeboye, Bishop David Oyedepo, Brother Emeka Nwankpa and a host of others. Even while Francis was still at the Polytechnic, Ibadan in 1977, his zeal for the things of God had already marked him out, particularly in the area of evangelism. But it was during his undergraduate days at the university that the full impact was felt. Brother Francis joined the Lagos Varsity Christian Union immediately he got to the institution in 1977. After discovering that certain things were not going on well with the fellowship, Francis started a personal one-hour daily intercession for the fellowship and its leadership. Interestingly, it was at the University of Lagos that God launched Wale Oke into stardom as a budding evangelist. He had obeyed the directive of the Holy Spirit for him to fast a day preceding a preaching engagement of W.F. Kumuyi on the campus .
Providence had it that Kumuyi was unavoidably absent and Bro. Wale Oke was requested to minister in the place of Kumuyi, his lecturer and mentor. Oke developed goose pimples at the thought of standing in for William Kumuyi who was far more superior to him in spiritual matters. It was then Oke remembered that the Holy Spirit might have directed him to fast in preparation for the speaking engagement. Wale Oke mounted the altar and God helped him to perform excellently. God used that memorable meeting to give Wale Oke instant recognition as his performance attracted invitations to him to minister at other campuses on notable Universities across Nigeria.
The servant of God has been inspired by God’s moves in the ministries of some servants of God. “God had been stirring me up before then. I attended a crusade by Evangelist Timothy Iyanda. The crusade was held in Wesley College. And there I heard the testimony of a woman who claimed to have been a witch but was now delivered by Jesus Christ and would like to serve Jesus. I couldn’t believe what I heard, because since childhood, we’ve been taught to pray with this name but at the same time we feared witches, we feared wizards, we feared all those wicked powers and we were terribly scared of them. And to now think that the name of Jesus was more powerful amazed me. I didn’t give my life to Christ at that meeting. I now said Lord Jesus, if indeed it is true, help me to understand and I began to pray, so I made up my mind I’ll wake up thirty minutes before the others. Wake-up time at Wesley College was six ‘o’ clock in the morning and after that, I went to the chapel to pray. And I prayed the way I knew how to pray. It was not long after that, that I heard the message of the gospel very clearly, that “by His grace we are saved”.
A PROPHECY FROM GOD FOR NIGERIA.
Then on December 24, 1979, at a meeting in Ijebu-Igbo, organized under the auspices of The Redeemers Ministry by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, his spiritual father, Wale Oke had a definite encounter with God with a mandate to reach his generation with the gospel. As contained in his diary, God said “son, I am going to visit Nigeria and I will shake it greatly. I am the Lord God of Hosts, the time is come. The time is fulfilled. It is time for the harvest. I will move this once in Nigeria and fulfil my promises which I have spoken by my prophets of old, of which I have been speaking to my anointed ones these days. Lo, the time for the restitution of all things is at hand and the sons of God must be prepared…… Son, I am moving. Many shall be saved. Many shall be healed, raised from their afflictions and my people shall be strong in the Holy Spirit”. The message continues: “I will meet you here in Nigeria and move greatly. I will do great and mighty things. It shall be so great that people will gather from afar and come to see the goodness of the Lord in Nigeria and I will cause my goodness to flow from it to other lands. Separate yourself unto me for before the ages have I separated you unto myself that thou may be A PROPHET TO THIS GENERATION and a teacher of the word…I the Lord have spoken and I will bring the events of this age to consummation. Be faithful, for the time is short”. After receiving this message, Wale Oke almost decided to abandon his university education and go into full-time ministry. However, the wise counsel of Pa. S.G. Elton who prayed for him prevailed.
He began to preach the gospel in 1976 and stepped into full time ministry in obedience to the Holy Spirit in 1982, and later founded the Sword of the Spirit Ministries in 1983. He went formally into the ministry in 1986. He was awarded a honorary doctorate degree by Oral Roberts University in conjunction with All Nations for Christ Bible Institute, Benin City. He has conducted Mass crusades all over Nigeria, and Africa with impressive record crowds of people in several single services, and tens of thousands soundly born again. He has spoken to more than 10,000 audiences in several countries, including Britain, the USA, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, and several other nations. He holds an annual God’s End Time Army conference in Ibadan, for ministers of the gospel.
Wale Oke, a gifted and talented teacher and preacher of the word of God believes so much in the application of the Word of God to all situations. He often asserts that “the name of Jesus is a mighty weapon of spiritual warfare through which we can subdue the devil and its hosts and enter into our inheritance in God. The early disciples discovered the tremendous power that is in the name of Jesus and used it to their advantage. They used it to deal with the power of darkness and prevailed against the negative circumstances of their time. They used it to bless their generation and established the Church. As soon as the Lord gave them the command to go into the world, they took the authority in the name of Jesus and went to work immediately. “They wielded the authority of the name and the Lord was with them confirming the Word with signs and wonders”.329 On his mentors and spiritual father, Wale Oke said they are/were the people that God chose to use for supporting him in his move to fulfil destiny. Everybody, he says, requires destiny connectors like Moses and Joshua. The Bishop says “they were the people that God was using as leaders at that time and now, particularly Pa S.G. Elton, Archbishop Benson Idahosa, Pastor William Kumuyi and Pastor Enoch Adeboye. So it is not a matter of my choice. No man chooses his father. And as it is in the physical, so it is in the spiritual. God connected us supernaturally and I am faithful to God. I have a Godly heritage. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places and what I am today; they contributed immensely to it. And for this, I am grateful to God”.
GOD’S FIRST SUPERNATURAL MOVES:
Sometime in 1976, young Wale Oke was residing with a family at Oke-Bioku, Ibadan, the largest indigenous city in black Africa as a new convert of the Scripture Union fold. He had been schooled about the ability of God to perform wonders and miracles using any vessel with strong faith and belief in the fact that the power of life and death is in the tongue. One fateful day, Wale Oke was returning from a meeting where faith was strongly preached and emphasized only to run into a crowd wailing and crying that a baby had convulsed and was unconscious. “Let me put to test the teaching of faith” an enthused Wale Oke felt. He collected the unconscious child and called upon God with a loud voice for the Almighty to prove himself by letting the dead child come alive again. God responded by directing the young believer to call the name of the child. Wale Oke complied. God responded as the dead child sneezed and came alive to the glory of His holy name. According to Bishop Wale Oke, that was the first raw miracle God did through his hands.
A similar incident which clearly depicts the majesty of God occurred in 1984 in the ministry of Rev. Frank Akeredolu, where Revd. Francis Wale Oke (as he then was) had been invited as a guest minister during a meeting of the church based in Lagos, Nigeria. The church was in the midst of a three-day glorious meeting which featured fasting and prayers and where the power of God flowed freely. Suddenly in the night of the second day, the devil struck. Rev. Akeredolu’s son, Tolu, suddenly died. Depression and confusion almost set in as some in the congregation wondered why such had to happen. Of course, God has a way of moving for people to be able to glorify His holy name. Everybody started praying. For hours, it seemed as if the Lord would not answer. Then came His word: “call Jesus”. Revd.Wale Oke held the hands of his host, Akeredolu and they started calling the name of Jesus. Suddenly, Tolu, the dead child was dramatically brought back to life by the power of God.
Wale Oke asserts that “if God is there, then His power is there – to save, to deliver, to set free and to do anything. There is no limit to what is possible. Your faith is your only limit. In the presence of God, all things are possible. He wants you to “ask, so that your joy may be full.” Because in His presence, there is the fullness of joy, at His right hand are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11). Apparently, God is able to raise the dead. Conversely, God is also able to kill. A crusade in which God killed the living and at the same time raised the dead occurred in Aba, Imo State, Nigeria 1998. A servant of God who was living in iniquity was warned by a word of knowledge from the altar during the ministration of Bishop Wale Oke who said God had given the minister involved in unholy acts the last warning. The man of God failed to repent. Two months later, the judgement of God came and he died on top of another man’s wife in a hotel in Aba. Conversely, God raised a child from the dead at the same meeting in Aba.
A dead child, Chinedu, was carried to the crusade ground by the mother, who broke all protocols and went before the altar of God to be able to seek the preacher to pray for her and the child. Bishop Wale Oke prayed and it seemed the power of God would not move. “Do you believe God can do it”? Bishop Wale Oke asked the woman. “I am very sure God is able”, the woman replied. The woman was asked to go if she truly believed and to continue praying to God for the miracle to occur. She complied. Suddenly, as she was about to go out of the crusade grounds in Aba, the power of God located her miraculously and the dead child came alive again as the woman was praying and shouting the name of Jesus. What a wonderful God!
Bishop Wale Oke is also a powerful preacher and hosts an annual Holy Ghost Convention with many testimonies. One of the testimonies is that of a woman, who in a less dramatic but no less amazing circumstance attended a crusade organized by Oke. She attracted the attention of the congregation with screams of joy and hallelujah! while waving a newspaper in her hand. In 1999, she had approached the bishop in London to pray for her as she faced an immigration order to deport her back to Nigeria. It was her last chance and she just had to win. A day after the prayer, God moved miraculously and the House of Commons in London decided that all asylum seekers in Great Britain for a certain period of time be given automatic resident permits. About 56,000 people were affected and the woman was among them.
That many ministers of God are today recording evangelical exploits all over Europe and the former Soviet Union which were for long barricaded with impenetrable iron walls against the gospel is the result of God’s intervention in the affairs of these nations. In line with the word of God contained in Habakkuk 2:2, this minister of spiritual warfare virtually leapt over the iron curtains of barrier through his Sword of the Spirit Ministries through prayer mobilization in which he mobilized against the fence between God and His people. Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo recalled in an interview how much Bishop Wale Oke is given to ‘tearing apart’ gospel impediments with crusades. He recalled that whenever Wale Oke visited him in London several years ago, he usually locked himself up in prayers, wrestling and interceding for nations. And at the thick of General Sani Abacha’s dictatorial military regime in Nigeria, (1997) when it became clear that Abacha planned to rule Nigeria as life president, God spoke through Bishop Wale Oke in one of the nations’s newspapers (The Punch Newspaper) that God’s Jubilee of freedom for Nigeria was around the corner.
PASSION FOR INTERCESSION
His passion for intercession for Nigeria knows no bounds. In 1998, in obedience to the directives of the Lord, the servant of God embarked on a whistle-stop prayer tour of all the state capitals in the country for a successful and crises-free political transition programme in Nigeria. This writer was part of the first NIGERIA TURNING POINT PRAYER PROGRAMME whose grand-finale held in Abuja in January,2003. I still remember following up the bishop’s invitation to the grand finale ”troubling” as it were figures like Kema Chikwe, Dupe Adelaja and Paulen Tallen who graced the event with a picture in my head of retd Vice Admiral Adeyemi Afolayan, then Chief of Naval Staff dancing heartily with his tabourine at worship sessions at the Kubwa event. Baba Olusegun Obasanjo arrived the Papal Grounds into our waiting hands about 12.00 midnight, .
The church fasted for 100 days in 2002/2003 for Nigeria to experience a smooth political transition in 2003. Bishop Wale Oke, it is on record, predicted the emergence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and at the instance of the Holy Spirit anointed Obasanjo, who had then just been released from prison on framed up charges, as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1998, even before his entry into politics. He equally predicted accurately, the astronomical upsurge in the prices of crude oil (Year 2000-2007) whose prices, he announced, as revealed to him by God would remain very high with the divine assurance that the advanced countries of the world would not be able to bring prices down for a long time.
SOME OTHER MOVES OF GOD
Several times, Bishop Oke has been under the instructions of the Holy Spirit to ‘go forth and proclaim the jubilee’ in the same way Phillip was instructed to act during his visit to Samaria. Proclaiming the jubilee included setting people free from bondage and announcing the plan of God for liberty, healing, promotion and blessings. The author of this publication has also received prophecies directly from the Throne of God through the prophet. I was, through intrigues forced to retire voluntarily from the Public Service of Osun State of Nigeria in year 2000. On two different occasions, during a vigil and at a Sunday service, the Lord revealed through His servant: “You are here, I don’t know you. The Lord says you were prematuredly forced out of your job …precisely in Osogbo. The Lord says I should tell you that you are going back to that same place on a higher level”. Lo! It happened that God confirmed the word of His servant and two years later, I was back in Osogbo on a higher level and with greater responsibilities.”
In 1984, at a crusade held in Owo, Ondo state of Nigeria, a woman who heard about the programme and whose child was not immediately available decided to attend the programme. And it was a day God decided to give her a miracle. Her son was a sickler with battling with sickle cell, the ‘SS’ genotype. Suddenly, the word of God came and the woman said she believed God would heal her child. In 1985, the woman brought her child for which she sought God a year ealier to testify that God had changed her blood genotype from ‘SS to AA”. This same move of God happened at Bishop Oke’s crusade in Port Harcourt in year 2006 when God miraculously changed the blood genotype of an intending couple. These are incidents which defy medical explanations and could only be credited to the power of God, Who is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent.
Speaking at the 30th anniversary of Winners Chapel in Ota, Ogun State of Nigeria, Bishop Wale Oke was emphatic about the power that is usually packed and conveyed by the word of God. He recalled that he once preached at a church in Ojota, Lagos to which he had been invited as a guest speaker. He said as he was asserting that “Jesus is Alive”, one woman in the gathering screamed and was felled by the power of the Holy Spirit as it was evident that the power of God was moving dramatically at that period. It was later discovered that the woman had been miraculously healed of an affliction of breast cancer through the mere acknowledgement of the fact that “Jesus is Alive”. In May 1984, Wale Oke was preaching at the Foursquare Gospel Church, Yaba, Lagos when the Holy Spirit revealed that there was a woman in the gathering who had been waiting for a miracle for eleven years. The female legal practitioner was married, also to a lawyer. They planned to raise five children. The Lord heard their prayers but the devil withstood the manifestation. According to the bishop, “the woman had never been pregnant even for one day for the first eleven years of her marriage. But with faith, they held on to the promise of God that came from His sacred altar. The following year, God fulfilled His promise and the first pregnancy resulted in the birth of two boys and a girl for the family, which had been barren for eleven years.”
Miracles occur all over the world, especially where people pray and know their God. In 1990, in Bauchi, Bauchi State of Nigeria, God moved and did the seemingly incredible in the life of a 25-year old lady who was deaf, dumb, lame and blind. Her mother attended the crusade with the lady who was placed in front of the crowd. The preacher, Bishop Oke was not aware of the presence of the lady who required God’s intervention. And suddenly, the power of resurrection of God moved while the preacher was proclaiming liberty and restoration. When God located the lady, healing took place and the afflicted lady got totally healed to the glory of God. In 1992 in far away Russia, a woman approached Wale Oke at a ministration. She carried a very big burden and told the man of God that she was being afflicted by witches and demons. Her husband and only son were drunkards and the poor woman had lost her job. She was led to Christ and baptism was ministered to the poor lady, with the bishop declaring liberty. She believed. One year later during a repeat of the Bishop’s visit to Russia, the husband of the man had quit drinking to become an usher in the church. Their only son had become one of the drummers in the Church!
A very precise prophesy came in 2001 during the ministration of the Bishop Wale Oke at the headquarters of the Church. He said God told him to inform the whole nation (Nigeria} that the prices of crude oil which had gone up astronomically at the stock market would remain very high for seven years. He said God disclosed that world powers would do everything conceivable to bring down prices, but they would not succeed. “However, after seven years, prices of crude oil would fall and the situation would be gloomy for the commodity for a period of seven years”. It occurred and crude oil prices crashed in year 2008, exactly seven years after the prophecy.
On another occasion in August 2001, the whole church was in a frenzy resulting from a glorious worship session and the bishop had barely got on the altar to minister when God again spoke through the Bishop: “Oh! my God! The Lord says there is a top politician in Ibadan here. God says I am taking him away this year because everything about him is evil”. When the prophecy came to pass, I reminded Bishop Wale Oke about the divine pronouncement which surprisingly, he did not recollect. He had to call for the audio and video recordings to listen to the message and view it again. These go a long way to show that God, indeed “is not a man that He should lie; neither is He the son of man that He should repent. Hath he said and shall He not do it, or hath He spoken and shall He not make it good?” 331
“Divine assignment is too important for me to act on any man’s instruction or directive” Wale Oke often asserts. “Neither riches nor honour”, says the bishop, was sufficient to start a church. “Many of my friends and fathers said I should start a church. Actually, during one of the Holy Ghost Conventions, late Archbishop Benson Idahosa announced that I was going to start a church. The point is that at that time, God had not spoken to us to start a church; despite my love and great respect for my fathers and friends in the ministry. If I had acted on any one of their instructions, if I ran into problems, I would have to go to them and you know they are not always there. Nevertheless, God is always there. It was only after God had spoken and confirmed it very clearly to me in my spirit that it became pertinent to do just as He had said. Since then there has not been the slimmest moment of regret. God has also been blessing us because we are acting on His instructions”.
In his daily devotional, ‘From Glory to Glory’, he asserts that “it could be very embarrassing, when others do not see what you see and hear what you have heard. Through the grace of God, he often operates very sharply in the prophetic ministry. One of the challenges identified by this great servant of God is that of finances. “It is always there.” I have discovered that God will never give you an assignment you can handle without depending on Him. If you have five million naira in your account, God will give you an assignment of a hundred million naira. The enormity or magnitude of the task will force you to depend on Him. You are forced to pray, to cry and say “Oh God if you do not do it, it cannot be done.” In the process, God enlarges you. He gives you a capacity and faith to be able to draw a hundred and twenty million naira so that after executing the project, you are rejoicing, God gives you another task, bigger than what you have just done. God keeps you on your toes all of the time”.
God moves in supernatural ways. Wale Oke has had angelic encounters which clearly confirm the majesty of God. While on pilgrimage to Israel in 1986, he saw a figure likened to that of Jesus Christ appear, dazzling in His majesty. To the man of God, it was too real. The image told the man of God “I am alive”, confirming the power and grace of Jesus Christ even over 2,000 years after he was nailed to the cross. On another occasion, the bishop embarked on a long fasting and prayers, seeking the face of God. After the ninetieth day, a stunning incident occurred. He heard some glorious singing and praises to the Most High God in front of the gate of his residence but Wale Oke saw no one. He then heard a voice requesting the preacher to get up. Then the assurance came to the man of God, through a voice that rang out that He (God) “would make his enemies lack good things of life”, an indication that God, whom Oke had sought for a lengthy period had listened to and approved of his petitions.
STANDING IN THE GAP FOR NIGERIA
Speaking in tongues or praying in the Spirit is one of the secrets of having a fruitful relationship with God. Bishop Wale Oke in his publication titled “20 Benefits of Speaking In Tongues” published by His Kingdom House, 2011; recalled how in 1977, his reading of a book by famous late American priest, Kenneth Hagin encouraged him to imbibe the habit of praying in the Spirit at least one hour a day. Hagin had disclosed that within six months of his commencement of praying in tongues for six months, his ministry experienced the hand of God in a marvellous manner. In what he calls the ‘Kaduna Testimony,’ Wale Oke was preaching at the Living Faith Church of Bishop David Oyedepo in 1986 and during one of the Ministers’ Conference encouraged participants to pray in the spirit for lengthy hours. One of the ministers who took a cue from the admonition came back the following year to testify about the miraculous move of God in his ministry. The bishop revealed that praying in the Spirit has revolutionised his life and ministry.
The Nigeria Turning Point Prayer Movement is one programme easily identifiable with the Sword of the Ministries led by Francis Wale Oke. The bishop has been playing a unique role in the prayer vanguard that God has raised in the Nigerian nation. The ministry believes that God wants His people to pray, because He wants to heal Nigeria and the Nigeria Turning Point Prayer Movement is an instrument in the hand of God to ensure that God’s will is done particularly in the political life of the nation. The Church is convinced that God has given it an agenda and a voice. The mandate is to secure a great future for Nigeria, the biggest country in Africa. The prayer event is to ensure that Nigeria is established in her place in destiny. “God has graciously given us a voice before the throne of grace and before the throne in the land” says the head of the Church. One significant development is that the prophetic world of direction has always come for every phase of the move. The annual national prayer gathering has always been a prophetic meeting.
For the first phase of the move in the year 2002/2003, the Lord gave the direction. The focus of the assignment was “to rescue a great nation with a great future”. It was a move to rescue the nation from the great danger election year 2003 portended. The agenda was primarily to gather the people of God to pray and break the vicious cycle of political crisis that has bedeviled the nation for 50 years. To God be the glory, the united supplications of God’s people secured peace for Nigeria during and after the year 2003 elections. Before that event, God had, in 1998 directed Wale Oke to embark on a nation-wide whistle-stop prayer sessions which took the man of God to all state capitals in the country. The divine instruction was for him to release the grace of God on the state capitals at a time Nigeria was drifting precariously towards precipice at the tail end of military rule in the mid-1990s. Just as God used one stone from young David to kill Goliath, the Lord accomplished His ordained purpose of destroying the yoke of the vicious cycle afflicting Nigeria once and for all. The prophetic word the Lord gave Bishop Wale Oke was: “I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day” Zech 3:9. The theme of the January 2003 gathering which held at the Papal Grounds, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city was: “Possessing the Land”.
The second phase of the move in year 2004, based on the word of divine direction, emphasized the original mandate. The Lord said the assignment was not just to rescue but also to secure a great future for the nation. The prayer focus was “to secure a great future for a great nation”. The move was to awaken the church to be faithful in playing her role as “salt and light” in the land especially in the light of the strong apathy against the government of the day. The challenge was for the church not to lose her focus and as the “hope of salvation” rise up to neutralize the poison if ill-speaking and dispel the darkness that the devil was trying to bring upon the land. Bishop Wale Oke says his secret is to make sure that God is his strength, and he backs it up with the biblical passage: “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”. (Isaiah 40:31) He affirms: “if you stop waiting on the Lord, you become stale; you will not be in tune with what the Spirit is saying to the church anymore”. More importantly, Bishop Wale Oke believes Christians should make God their source of strength instead of depending on human beings.
On making a choice of a future partner, Wale Oke believes that there must be something that attracts you in the person. But above all, he recommends prayer in making a decision as marriage is a very serious affair. “It is a life long contract.
PIX ABOVE: WITH WIFE, REVD VT OKE
Discussion as to who to marry is a grave one that must not be taken anyhow. You should pray and make sure you hear from God so that if there is a future challenge, you can go back to God and say, you led me to it. And if he led you to it, He will see you through”. He met his wife, Victoria Tokunbo in 1975 at The Polytechnic, Ibadan. “Of course, we were just brother and sister. Those were days you were not even permitted to shake the hands of a lady because it was considered worldly. There was nothing like husband and wife. It was when I now inquired from the Lord who my future partner will be. She was then at the University of Ilorin and I was at the University of Lagos. I wanted to marry another lady entirely but God said no, she was not part of God’s plan for my life. Who then is? And God said it was my dear wife and I didn’t know eighteen months earlier she had also prayed and God had spoken to her about me and she was only waiting for me. So she knew I was going to be her husband”.
An itinerant evangelist, Wale Oke has been involved in conferences of Pentecostal bodies and has associated with famous evangelists like Billy Graham, Pa. S.G Elton, late Papa James Boyejo, Revd Mike Oye, David Duples, a renowned minister popularly called “Mr. Pentecostal”, the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Pastor William Kumuyi and Dr. Creflo Dollar, among others. In the course of his evangelistic assignment, Wale Oke has also served as guest speaker in several crusades addressed by a number of other ministers of God across the country and abroad. He is known to have carried his missionary exploits to several countries of the world. An apostle of Christ with a strong prophetic unction, God has called Wale Oke to to reach the nations of the world with a mandate to turn 100 million souls to Christ and to establish them in the grace of Christ.
Highly proficient in the use of the Queen’s English as well as the word of God, Bishop Wale Oke has led the Sword of the Spirit Ministries to establish a new university – The Precious Cornerstone University in accordance with divine instructions. The university is an addition to the numerous Christian universities that have been established in Nigeria in the last one decade. With enormous resources already committed into the venture and more still expected, the faith of the congregation is up that the university would – soon contribute to on-going efforts at fulfilling God’s agenda for humanity. One of his beliefs is that it is time for the church to begin to walk in dominion as it should. In the publication ‘From Glory to Glory’ cited above, Wale Oke declared that “it is time for the church to continue to take back what the enemy has stolen. It is time for the church to take her proper place, possessing her possessions, beginning to fulfil God’s plans and purposes on earth.”