Source: C.A.C. Constitution of April 16th, 1998.
The Christ Apostolic Church is distinctly an indigenous African Church. By its
structure, belief and practices, it is an independent Pentecostal Church.
The history of the Church is traceable directly to our fore-fathers, namely
Oba/Pastor Isaac Babalola Akinyele, Pastor David Ogunleye Odubanjo, Joseph
Sadare, Miss Sophia Odunlami and Evangelist (late Apostle) Joseph Ayodele
Babalola who was called to the ministry by the Lord on 11th, October, 1928.
Apostle Babalola’s call subsequently led to the great revival of 1930.
Before then, there was the 1918-28 Faith Tabernacle era characterized by the
formation of praying groups’ such as the Precious or Diamond Society found in
small pockets all over Nigeria. The brethren in control were Joseph Sadare
(a.k.a. Esinsinade), D.O. Odubanjo, I.B. Akinyele (late Olubadan of Ibadan) and
Miss Sophia Odunlami. Majority of the members of the first group of Diamond
Society were worshipers at St. Savior’s Anglican Church, Ijebu-Ode, where they
began meeting regularly for prayers and spiritual guidance in 1918. Mr D. O.
Odubanjo soon developed contact between members of the ‘Praying Band’ and Pastor
A. Clark, the leader of Faith Tabernacle in Philadelphia, USA. through
correspondence and receipt of tracts and magazines such as ‘The Sword of the
Soon, tension rose between the group and the Anglican Church over such practices
as divine healings, opposition to infant baptism, reliance on dreams and
visions, abstention from dancing, drumming, debt-owing, drinking of alcohol,
gambling and mixing with non-Christians. Mr Joseph Sadare was compelled to give
up his post in the Synod and others were forced to resign their jobs and to
withdraw their children from the Anglican School.
But in less than a decade, branches of the group had been established in Lagos,
Ibadan, Ilesa, Oyan, Ile-Ife, Minna, Jos and Zaria. Their members had also
imbibed reliance on the power of prayer, divine healing and the All Sufficiency
Fortunately, the Great Revival of 1930 with Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola as its
medium, emerged in July 1930 at Oke Ooye, Ilesa. Those who assisted him during
the Revival included D. O. Odubanjo, Oba I. B. Akinyele and J. A. Babatope as
well as Babalola’s followers such as J. A. Medayese, A. O. Omotoso, John Oye, J.
B. Orogun, and Philip Mabigbade among others. Prophet Daniel Orekoya later on
came to the scene.
The Great Revival did not only embrace all the beliefs accepted by the Faith
Tabernacle group, but also went further by embracing the baptism of the Holy
Spirit, the spiritual manifestation of seeing visions, prophesying, speaking in
tongues and dreaming. Consequently upon this, people with diverse deceases were
healed in thousands and, in turn, they spontaneously rejected their “juju” and
other medicines. Massive revivals hitherto unknown in Nigeria ensued.
Thousands of people surrendered theirs lives to Jesus.
Meanwhile the Church leaders were subjected to avoidable intimidations,
harassment and humiliation at different levels of the society. So, on their
behalf, Mr D. O. Odubanjo sought co-operation with British Apostolic Brothers in
Bradford, England. Thus on 23rd September, 1931 three missionaries, viz. Pastor
D. P. Williams, A. Turnbull and W. J. Williams arrived in Nigeria as guests of
the Church. In November, 1931, the visiting missionaries ordained the first
seven Pastors of the Church who had earlier on been ordained by proxy by Pastor
A. Clark in America. Three of the new Pastors namely, Pastor J. B. Sadare, D.
O. Odubanjo and Oba I. B. Akinyele later came to play important roles in the
growth of the Church. After the return of the white Missionary delegates to
Bradford, Pastor George Perfect and Prophet Idris Vaughan came to Nigeria on
22nd June, 1932 to strengthen the band of fellowship between the two religious
badies. For a time, the religious activities of the white brothers complemented
the religious exploits of Joseph Ayo Babalola.
From the side of the Nigeria, the hope that the partnership would mitigate, if
not totally eliminate, their untold sufferings and persecutions became an
illusion. The partnership, however, staggered for a decade before it crumbled
during 1939/40 crisis. As a result of the disagreement over the issue of
“Divine Healing”, two groups had emerged. The pro-European group was led by
Pastor S. G. Adegboyega while Apostle Joseph Babalola, Pastor D. O. Odubanjo and
Pastor (Oba) I. B. Akinyele led the Nigerian Group.
Over the time, God revealed to Apostle Ayo Babalola to name the Revival Group
“APOSTOLIC CHURCH”. About 1939, the Church changed its name to NIGERIAN
APOSTOLIC CHURCH. This name was again changed to UNITED APOSTOLIC CHURCH until
1942 when God specifically revealed that the name of the Church should be CHRIST
APOSTOLIC CHURCH. It was thereafter that the name was registered as No. 147 of
May 4, 1943, under the Lands Perpetual Succession Ordinance.
During the decades 1940-1960, the CAC was subjected to a series of strain and
stresses. Stiff opposition came from the detractors of the Church including
some of the orthodox churches, most government officers, some Obas and high
chiefs and even evil forces. There were also problems of internal
administration, inadequate training, recruitment of unqualified Church personnel
and weak finances.
However, the following factors later tilted the pendulum in favor of the Church;
political power had then passed to the Africans who were free to embrace the
Gospel; the church had produced literate children; prominent men and women who
had directly or indirectly benefitted from church then gave it their support;
the oil boom of the 1960s provided money for better church personnel throughout
Nigeria. The golden era of the Church ended in 1959 when Pastor D. O. Odubanjo
and Apostle Ayodele Babalola died.
The history of the church witnessed remarkable developments such as the
establishments of a Bible Training College, Ede (1952) (the Bible Training
College moved to Erio Ekiti in 1954, to Efon Alaaye in 1958 and to Akure in
1969), Pastoral Training College at Ibadan (1946), School of Prophets and
Evangelists at Ilesa (1949), defunct Teachers’ College at Efon Alaaye (1955),
Faith Home at Ede (1959). Grammar Schools at Ibadan, Efon Alaaye and Iperu (all
in 1960), Ilesa (1962), Akure (1964) and Odo-Owa (1970), Press and Publications
department (1966-67), Sunday School Department (1977), Theological Seminary at
Ile-Ife (1979) by merging the Bible Training College and Pastoral Training
College, and the formation of Societies, Associations and Fellowship groups.
All these organs soon helped the Church to firmly establish religious practices
and liturgy peculiar to it.
The teaching of the Church had grown out of many sources, namely the Bible, the
remarkable soul-searching sermons of the founding fathers; borrowing from
Europeans and American literatures especially tracts and magazines; the lessons
produced by the various tensions within the Group over the prophylactic use of
medicine and other issues of administration. Besides the belief of C.A.C.
members in prophecy, visions, divine healing and holy living, the focal points
of all tenets and practices of the Church is prayer. And when accompanied with
fasting, it could accomplish the impossible. The C.A.C. has strong belief in
the efficacy of prayer and that no divine healing could be achieved without
FAITH and TRUST in Jesus Christ. These two religious virtues are the bedrock of
the Church’s spiritual power.
As a Pentecostal denomination, the Church, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit,
is administered by the orders of Apostle, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and
teachers. Ultimate power rest with the Authority of the Church; but it involves
elders/deacons, women leaders (deaconess) and leaders of recognized
organizations as found appropriate in the process of administration (Eph.
In sum, for a little over six decades of its existence, the C.A.C. , has grown
from groups of persecuted and inconsequential Christians to a church
denomination that today claims some five million adherents residing in different
parts of the world.
The Church possesses its uniqueness and identify in liturgy hinged on praying
and singing of hymns, anthems and choruses. It had an impelling message of
worshiping in a truly African pattern for all Nigerians. The most distinctive
feature of the Church attractive to people of different faiths, in the tenacious
belief in, and practice of, divine and Christian healing. No wonder people
flock to the C.A.C. seeking solutions to their social, religious, existential
and psychological problems. This emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ still
heals and can still be relied upon to provide for all needs as He is the same
yesterday, today, and for ever!