INTERVIEW! God warned me not to leave CAC,irrespective of the crisis- Pastor Makinwa

Pastor Gabriel Morakinyo Makinwa

At 83, Pastor Gabriel Morakinyo Makinwa, has come a long way in the ministry, founding his first church in Katsina State in 1962. Having experienced paralysis, flood, hardship, and a variety of trials and miracles, he shares with Nigerian Tribune his journey into the ministry, why he refused to heed the call for 16 years, and advises new generation pastors on the need to embrace humility.

Journey into the ministry

My father was an Anglican, but when I joined the Osomalo textile world, I joined the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). I was born in Ilesa, Osun State and hail from the state. I grew up in Osun but at 15, I started travelling. I was enrolled as an apprentice to an Osomalo textile trader in Ilu Titun, now in Ondo State. I was around 35 years old, when I got the call to go into the ministry. Before then, many people had informed me of the revelation that I would be a cleric. However, I tried to run away from the call because I didn’t have enough formal education. Then, I assumed that one needed to go through the four walls of an educational institution, before becoming a cleric. However, God told me that He Who called me would equip me. Learning to read the Bible was done through divine revelation. The Holy Spirit taught me how to read the Bible. At the time, when it was 3am, someone would wake me up, tell me to open the Bible and start reading. And whatever I read, I never forgot. That was how I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

How did your family react to your decision to join the ministry?

It’s one of the reasons I refused to heed the call for 16 years. Our pastor at the time didn’t receive up to 10 shillings as income, and I realised that if I went into the ministry, for my level, I would receive two and a half shillings. I wondered how I would come into the ministry with that expectation, since I was already married with children and I didn’t want my family to suffer. So, I attempted to make a bargain with God that when I trained my children to adulthood, I would come into the ministry. However, God told me I couldn’t decide for Him, rather, He would decide for me and would support me. God even sent people to me, but I still refused to heed the call. I went ahead and joined active but part-time ministry at Katsina. I was a textile trader at the time and my business took me to the North. By God’s grace, I was instrumental to the founding of a Christ Apostolic Church in one of the major towns in Katsina State and the church still stands till today, and is, in fact, a district headquarters now. The story of how that church came to be is a very long story, but we thank God for what He has done.

However, God asked me to leave the area, because a crisis was in the offing. I moved to Osogbo, but when I got there, I told one of the elderly clerics that I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay at Osogbo. I decided I wanted to go to Ore, because Ore was a beehive of activities and I assumed that if I went there, I would get members quickly, but God didn’t want me to go to Ore, according to what He revealed. Someone mentioned Ibadan, but I wasn’t really sure I wanted to go to Ibadan. I came under the tutelage of Evangelist S.O. Akande, popularly referred to as Baba Abiye, at Ede, before I moved to Ibadan in 1980. I still tried to evade full time ministry by engaging in more work of evangelism, while doing my business. I had a group, called the Egbe Imole Aye – I was an elder at the CAC, Agbokojo – and we went round as far as Ilorin, preaching the gospel. I thought to myself that it was also the same thing as being in the ministry.

However, God told me that was not what he wanted me to do, that I had to leave my business for full-time ministry. With time, I had no choice but to heed the call. The turnaround happened one night. I fell off my bed, and my hand and leg was paralysed. It was then I agreed and I kept repeating: ‘I would do your work, Lord.’ It was my screams that woke my wife. It was that day I made the decision to come into full-time ministry. If only I had known that God had good plans for me, when He decided I would join full time ministry. After some time in Ibadan, when that turnaround happened, in a revelation, I was reassured of God’s support, and was told that on January 1, 1980, I should establish a church in a small part of Ibadan. I attended the CAC Theological Seminary in Akure in 1988, before I was ordained a pastor of the CAC.

Unlike when you joined the ministry, things seem to be a little different now, as more clerics are found culpable in acts of evil. What do you think went wrong?

During those days, people had the fear of God. Nowadays, that fear of God seems to have vanished, and people would rather focus on immediate material benefits they can get from joining the ministry. When I was with Baba Abiye, he made me the leader of 13 of us. Of the 13, only two of us are full-time clerics today. Not everyone is called to full-time ministry and it is important for clerics to be discerning when it comes to divine calling.

What are some major challenges you have faced in the ministry?

When we moved to Ibadan to establish full-time ministry, a day before we were to have the first service at the newly founded church, now CAC Orisun-Ife zonal headquarters, in 1980, I had a dream that I had an accident and a trailer fell on me. I had already given up hope of surviving, and was, in fact, singing that I was leaving the world. However, someone came and made some marks, and I found myself able to leave the scene of that incident. When I woke up, I was seriously disturbed, especially because of the programme we had the next day. When I slept again, I had another dream that I was in a house, and something made a huge noise, and all of a sudden, very big snakes emerged from the walls, and tried to attack me. By some miracle, a man appeared beside me, and together, we were able to use cutlasses and killed all the snakes. No snake escaped. When I awoke, I prayed, read the Bible, and prepared for that service the next day, I was very unhappy, but I didn’t show it. I didn’t know something big was going to happen to teach me a lesson on trusting God in all situations. You know, when a person is at the brink of victory, the devil tries to dissuade him/her from pressing on further by bringing what appears as major challenges. The eighth day after we began the service, while we were at a church programme, the rains came. We thought the rain would stop, but it didn’t and became a flood. After that flood, people left the church. Everyone left, because they were affected by the flood. Some people had their houses destroyed by the flood and they left the area. The only people left in the church were just me, my wife and children. Even members of the Egbe Imole Aye, who were also members of the church then, had to leave the area. After that incident, God revealed to me that He let that happen because he didn’t want me to assume that without the group, the ministry wouldn’t have come to be, because they played major roles in the establishing of the church that time. Nobody was left and it was a time of trials. After a few years, members of the group came back and appealed to me for having left during that period but I told them there was nothing to apologise for, as I was not God.

You founded the church in Katsina in 1962, the CAC Orisun-Ife zonal headquarters in 1980, both of which have given birth to many other churches. Where do you see the church in the future?

I am satisfied with how much God has worked wonders in the church these past years. There have been so many miracles that have taken place, sometimes, just when we have assumed that the situation was hopeless. We give God all the glory. The future of the church, according to what God has revealed, is glorious.

What is your advice to the CAC on unity?

As I always tell those who have left the fold, they should come back. The crisis has been revealed long before it happened and God expressly warned me that no matter the crisis that befalls the CAC, I must not leave the fold, because it is through the church I will receive salvation. There’s no reason to run helter-skelter, in the name of wanting to stand alone. Even for some churches not under the CAC, I have had the opportunity of speaking with some of their leaders, who have expressed intention to be under the umbrella of the CAC but are worried about not being able to fully control resources. I would advise church leaders, beyond the CAC now, especially those who, out of some misguided sense of pride, prefer to run selfish ministries, arrogating resources to themselves, to shed the cloak of arrogance and humble themselves. They should submit to genuine church leaders with experience. Being under a person as a cleric would not make you any less important.

There have been agitations for secession and calls for restructuring of the country. Having visited many parts of Nigeria, what is your message to the country at this time?

Nigeria has to go back to God. It’s as simple as that. Agitating for disintegration at this time is not the way to go. Many Nigerians call on God but their hearts are far from God. If only we knew how much God loved this country, if we choose to do what God expects of us, whether we are together or apart, we will receive God’s blessings.
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