INTERVIEW! I’ve only been admitted in the hospital once in 75 years- Prophet Abiara

With the attention the mention of his name commands, followed with his positive exploits in the ministry, which spans more than 50 years, retiring General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) worldwide, Pastor S.K. Abiara, the Apostle of Peace, as he is popularly referred to, is unassuming, soft-spoken and humble. He speaks with Nigerian Tribune on why he is marking his birthday for the first time at 75, his experience in the ministry and his take on second term for President Muhammadu Buhari, among other issues.

You do not usually mark birthdays. Why is clocking 75 different?

First, I want to thank God Almighty for this opportunity. I don’t usually celebrate birthdays. However, I have cause to give God thanks. I don’t fall sick, don’t usually visit the hospital. The first time I was admitted to a hospital was when I lost my wife last year. I don’t deserve what God has made me today. I’m not worth what God has done for me. I’m not even holy enough to deserve how much God has blessed me. It’s not even because I fast and pray; that has been by the grace of God. Is it because of my education level? Not at all. My parents were not buoyant enough to send me to the university. Yet, today, I’ve sat with the high and mighty. I just know it’s all by God’s mercy. So, this is an opportunity for me to thank God for His goodness to me.

At 75, what’s your most memorable experience?

Losing my wife last year. I’ll never forget that experience till God calls me. Since we got married in 1965, till she passed on last year, we never quarrelled. She called me Baba because I made her happy. God gave her to me as a wife. She loved me so much and we never had cause to quarrel, however minor the disagreement. She could read my actions, without being told. She knew me very deeply. I love her so much. We made each other so happy. In fact, that’s why I always preach to men to always make their wives happy. Men should create time for their wives.

Which is your happiest day in 75 years?

Whenever I preach and I win souls for Christ that always makes me very happy. That’s why I love to preach and pray for people every day.

You were a clerk before you joined the ministry and have been in the ministry for 54 years now. What occupation would you have embraced, outside the ministry?

It had already been written by God that I would be in the ministry. Before God called me, my boss at the time, Mr Agoro, paid me N1:50k per month. I had planned to go into import business big time before God called me into the business of winning souls. Interestingly, whatever impact I would have made, whether in academics or business, I have made even more positive impact as a cleric, by the grace of God.

In 2016, you urged Nigerians to be patient with President Muhammadu Buhari. It’s 2017 and there are already calls for him to run for second term. Taking an assessment of the current administration, would you say Buhari deserves a second term in office?

Before President Buhari settled in office, we were told many things were not as they should be. From this background, we can say the present administration has tried, in some areas. In the area of security, the administration has tried. In Oyo State too, there have also been various impressive developmental efforts. We shouldn’t blame past administrations for their efforts. God gives each individual grace to perform in administration. If his health can handle it, there’s nothing bad in Buhari going for a second term. However, the voice of the people is the government. If the people want him to have a second term, they will decide.

Has God told you anything about Nigeria for the one month left in 2017 and for 2018?

Those who want to see 2018 must move closer to God and they must pray fervently. That’s why God said 14 days to 2018, those who want blessings and protection in the new year should be on fasting and prayer. Also, for the last three days before the new Year, we must pray day and night to enter 2018. People must not fear or panic, and not listen to prophecies of doom. God owns the country and God can never destroy His work. God loves us. However, Nigerians must move closer to God. We must not be deceived by false prophets. People will end the year well if they move closer to God. For those engaged in evil, before the end of the year, they will be punished. 2018 is a year of blessings, grace, happiness and peace for those who move closer to God.

You talked about not listening to prophecies of doom. Some prophecies do not come to pass. Why does this happen?

We can never judge prophets for that. See for instance, Prophet Isaiah prophesied the coming of Christ. That prophecy did not come to pass until 800 years after. Even in the Bible, there are prophecies that have not come to pass till date.

There are moves by the CAC to unite all factions. What’s your advice to the church at this time?

Everything is already settled. Disunity came as a result of the influence of the devil. Even in heaven, the devil caused trouble and was sent away. The Bible does not put us in darkness. So, I’ll advise the church that we should always follow the instructions in the Bible. The Bible advises love and unity, and if we follow that, there won’t be problems.

In recent times, there has been controversy on tithes. Some people have said if pastors insist that tithes must be paid, then there should also be ritual sacrifices in church as it was in the Old Testament. Is payment of tithes really an outdated commandment?

There’s something we should note. Jesus’ birth in the manger is instructive. It’s a message that his blood has paid the ultimate sacrifice and the sacrifice of animals to God was no longer necessary. Many people are just ignorant. Those who say payment of tithes is outdated are spreading heresy. There are many things tithes are used, and somehow, each person benefits. When people pay tithes, God has promised to send His blessings upon them. We should not teach heresy. Some of these controversies stem from people who are envious of pastors who seem to be rich. Each minister of God has a vision. Mine is to help people. We can’t blame those whom God has blessed through people, who have universities and the like. No one forces anyone to attend such universities. Who knows, some of those at the forefront of the criticism may end up being called into the ministry, or their children may become pastors.

Across CAC churches, it would seem doctrines vary. For instance, in some, women sit separately from men. Now that the CAC is working towards unity, how would these varying doctrines be resolved?

Whether men and women sit together or not is not an issue. What is important to God is the heart one brings to worship. The important thing is the salvation of the soul.

You were with your wife for more than 50 years. You’ve advised men to always make their wives happy. What’s your advice for women?

God loves women, in that Christ Jesus came through them. A woman must submit totally to her husband. A woman who doesn’t submit will not see God’s favour.

When people hear CAC, Agbala Itura, they think of Pastor Abiara. Now you’re retiring as General Evangelist of CAC Worldwide, as the church planter of CAC, Agbala Itura, what are the plans for succession?

I can’t retire from the work of God. For the CAC worldwide, there is a constitution and that’s why I retired as General Evangelist of the CAC worldwide. However, I’m still very much involved in my work as a minister of the gospel. For CAC, Agbala Itura, when the time comes, God will take total control. Let us leave that for God.

Nigeria has many churches, yet it would seem moral decadence is on the increase. What is the Christian community not doing right?

This is the end time. Crime will not cease until Jesus comes. Just as well, planting of churches will not cease until the end of time. In fact, if not for the church, the world would have collapsed.

What’s your advice for the person succeeding you as General Evangelist of the CAC worldwide?

He was appointed by the authority of God. We will continue to pray for him. I’ll urge him to act according to the instructions of the Bible and obey God and authority.  He should also endeavour to make the people happy at all times.
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