Polygamy is not forbidden in any Celestial Church law — Oshoffa’s son

The 20th child of the founder of Celestial Church of Christ, Worldwide, Olatosho Oshoffa, popularly known as Tosho is the shepherd of CCC International Headquarters, Ketu, Lagos. He speaks with IMOLEAYO OYEDEYI on some controversial issues surrounding the church and its founder, the late  Bilewu Oshoffa

How related are you to the CCC founder, the late SBJ Oshoffa?

My name is Olatosho Mathew Oshoffa. By the grace of God, I am the 10th son and the 20th child of the late founder of CCC. So, I am a real and proud son of Oshoffa for that matter.

Over time, there has been controversy about the CCC founder, especially regarding the number of wives and children that he had. Can you shed more light on this?

Well, this is no longer private. My father left this world on 10th September 1985. He left behind 13 wives and 53 children. Many people have said he had 100 children and so on. But no. We (the children) know ourselves and up till now, I can tell you that we know the number of wives that gave birth to this number of children for my father. So, we know ourselves and relate very well. There is one love in the family, no matter how many we are. The number of children is 53, but we are all in one love and one accord.

How possible is it for the entire 53 children of the CCC founder to be well connected and united as you said?

Let me tell you something, my dear brother. Our father, while on earth, used to gather us together and tell us, “Never say you are a son or daughter to any of my wives. But tell yourself, you are a son of Oshoffa.” This means he used that girdle of love to tie us together. So we don’t see ourselves as children of our various mothers but as children of Oshoffa. And that is the same way we related when he (Oshoffa) was still in this world and has been doing after his demise. Even as of today, the remaining Oshoffa wives that were younger to my mother, I still refer to them as my mother, because of the love that our father (Oshoffa) has used to bind us together. So, we all remain one as SBJ Oshoffa children.

But given the scriptural position that a Bishop must be a man of one wife; don’t you think those condemning polygamous men of God are right?

Can I tell you something, my brother? You see, in that scripture, Paul was only advising. Tell me in the Bible, which prophet of God had only one wife? Do your research and tell me. Secondly, if God were to judge by the number of wives, my father would have been the first to be disqualified as the founder of CCC, because he was already having three wives before God called him. Yet, he was given the vision and mission to found CCC Worldwide. This year, it will be 76 years since the church came into being and it will also be 39 years since the founder left the church. But the church has kept on waxing stronger and stronger every day. So, if it was not the will of God, then, Oshoffa wouldn’t have been the first to be contacted.

I am sure in 1947, if there was a better candidate to found CCC, Oshoffa wouldn’t have been chosen. But because there wasn’t a better candidate, he was the only one that God found worthy to found CCC, despite having three wives. So those condemning my father should know that he never had any concubine. He married them (his wives) and they were all under his roof. But today, the so-called men of God with only one wife will have concubines outside. Which one is better? So, I will tell you that if God were to judge by the number of wives before sending a bishop or pastor on a mission, my father would have been disqualified because he had three wives before God called him. And thank God, the church he founded is still alive today, despite all the attacks here and there. The church remains one and keeps waxing stronger every day.

Based on this, what is the position of CCC on polygamy?

Based on this, anyone who desires to marry only one wife is allowed to do so. The church allows it. In the same way, the church does not have a law that binds a clergy to have only one wife. So you have a freedom. Maybe in the future, there will be a law that will bind us to have only one wife, but as of today, there is no law that binds a shepherd or prophet in CCC to marry only one way.

Does this mean that polygamy is not forbidden among the shepherds in CCC?

As of today, to be frank, polygamy is not forbidden among the clergies, the shepherds, or pastors in CCC. Tomorrow, there may be a law if God says so. But as of today, no law forbids polygamy in CCC.

About six different pastors claim to be the authentic spiritual head of the Celestial church. What is your take on this?

Let me assure you that this church came to sanctify and save the world. It was for salvation. Now, when the founder of this church departed, the same way Jesus Christ departed there were troubles among the apostles about who will lead. The same way as well that according to history the Catholic Church at a time had multiple Popes. But today, they have only one Pope after so many centuries. This is the same situation with CCC. After the demise of its founder, there was so much trouble. The apostles also faced the same challenges on succession as those of the Catholic Church.

Today, it is our turn. I believe that despite all the problems that we are facing today, a time is coming when the church will have only one leader. But as of today, the most acclaimed and accepted leader in CCC all over the world is the first son of the founder, my eldest brother, Rev. Emmanuel Oshoffa, who is based in Imeko, Ketu, and Makoko, the headquarters of the church. A time is coming when the church will become one again. It is our prayer that when that time comes, it will be during our time so that it will not happen when we might have passed away.

Are you saying that the church can still be united under one leadership despite the depth of the division within the fold? 

We can still be united, my dear brother.

How?

I believe in one thing, which is dialogue. In Isaiah 1:18, God called all the people and said, come let us reason together. A time is coming, and it is not far again when we shall all reason together and see where our faults are. And believe me, we shall become one again when we sit down and reason together. It is my prayer once again that when that time comes, we shall be tools that God will use to give a way for our church to have one leader that will be accepted all over the world. I believe it is possible and it is my prayer that it should not be far. And we are working towards it. And that is the vision and mission of the Pastor, Rev. Oshoffa. So whether we like it or not, the church will be one again, because, without the oneness of the church, it cannot fully accomplish its mission. We have to be one. And God must enter the hearts of everybody to make us one because it (The church’s mission) is a task that must be achieved.

Does it seem the Cherubim and Seraphim churches also have similar divisions to that of CCC or is the situation different?

No, no. Let me tell you why we are different. During the time of Moses Orimolade, the founder of C&S, he was frustrated. He was so frustrated that on the day he was dying, he picked a bunch of brooms and scattered them, saying, “You C&S people because you have made me suffer this much, you will not be one anymore. He gave a collective curse to the C&S. But during the time of my father, the founder of CCC, he laid down individual curses. What was the curse? He said anyone that will divide my church, his ways, blessings, family, and inheritance in heaven shall be divided. That is an individual curse. And believe me, none of those who have a hand in the problem of this church has had a good end. It is always evil. You can see the difference. There was a collective curse placed on the C&S but an individual curse placed on CCC. That is why we still have room for reconciliation and oneness according to Isaiah 1:18. There is a big difference between collective curse and individual curse.

What are the efforts that Pastor Emmanuel Oshoffa has taken towards reaching out to other factional pastors in a bid to unite the fold?

I believe he is making his best efforts. No one is perfect. Let us put it that way. But recently, during the burial of my late younger sister, Arewa Deborah Oshoffa, the Deputy Pastor of CCC in Benin Republic, Babanla Shimi, sent by the CCC leader in the French country, met with Pastor Emmanuel after the burial. And they both spoke about the oneness of the Celestial fold. So, I believe that Pastor Emmanuel is trying in that area. He took over the leadership of the church on December 25, 2002, but he was enthroned on 23rd February 2003. I was his Personal Assistant for 13 years, so I know much about him.

When he became the Pastor, there were only a few parishes loyal to the CCC headquarters in Ketu, Makoko, and Imeko. But today, he has spent 21 years on the throne and many parishes have returned to his stream. I am not condemning other spiritual heads that are not in Ketu. No. As a leader in my little way, I cannot condemn anybody. That’s why whenever any parish returns to Ketu, Pastor Emmanuel never criticizes them; he will simply say, “Welcome to our father’s house.” So, I am not condemning anybody in his favor. And since every Celestial parish still prays with the God of Oshoffa, I believe the church still has a chance to be united. Already, despite having different leaders, our ways of worship, praying, singing and tenets have not changed. This means every CCC member is Papa Oshoffa’s child. Even the founder said so while he was alive. So for me, he has laid down the foundation of unity for the church. Based on this, I believe a time will come when the entire CCC members who are all Oshoffa’s children will come together and chart a way for the church’s unity.

Regarding your younger sister’s recent death that just you mentioned, what type of person was she, and what was the cause of her death?

My younger sister unfortunately has passed away. May her soul rest in peace. She shared the same father and mother with me. My sister, during her lifetime, fought for the unity of CCC. She was almost everywhere. Yes, she died at a prime age, 51, because we still have much older people who are still alive. God knows best. But let me tell you, death will always come with something once the time comes. Ecclesiastes 8:8 says, “At the time of death, no one can change, and no one can be saved again.” That is, no one can be saved from the hands of death when your time comes. Her time came. Believe me, many people have said, how can an Oshoffa child die like that? If she had lived for 100 years, she may not have gotten such a befitting burial that would get wide acclamation from people. Believe me, she died at her appointed time to meet her creator. But the fact remains that death will always hold onto something. And yes, death held onto something in her case and we all knew it. Debby Oshoffa died and the page is closed. As a family and church, we are moving forward. But she will never be forgotten. As I said, death held onto something and she passed away. But let me leave it that way.

So you don’t want to share the ‘Something’ that her death held onto?

No, I cannot share it now, because it is still very fresh in the memory of the family. She was buried just two weeks ago. So, why should I be talking about her death now? She is my younger sister for that matter, not my older sister. So for now, I don’t want to say anything about Debby. She passed away at the time God wished, and the death took her because of something, which I don’t want to reveal now. But in the future, everybody will know it.

It has been widely reported that Pastor Emmanuel Oshoffa has been having a prolonged court case with the registered Board of Trustees of the church, who claimed that he does not have the legal right to dissolve them because they were appointed by his father, the CCC founder. How can this issue be resolved?

Yes, Pastor Mobiyina was appointed in 2002 and proclaimed as Pastor in 2003. But at times, some problems could have been avoided. But at the same time, these problems are here now and we are facing them. What can we do? I have said earlier that court case or not, a time is coming when we all will sit down in CCC and reason together. But believe me, these are problems that may have been avoided. I won’t say more than that. Whether on his side or not, these are problems that we shouldn’t have faced normally. But they are here already in our house. So, it is my prayer that we get a solution to it quickly.

I believe the solutions will come at the right time. It is my prayer once again that God will give us the wisdom to realise that we don’t need to fight each other. We are all children of Papa Oshoffa. We just need to come back home and reason together. And if we know that we are all true children of Oshoffa, please, let us come together and resolve the issue. I want to beg everybody, both the registered BOT and Pastor Emmanuel, that we should please come back home and reason together so that the church may become one.

Some people believe CCC is occultic and fetish. What is your reaction to this?

They said the same thing to Jesus and Papa Oshoffa. But the real Pentecostal church is CCC and I will tell you why. This is the only church where in every service, both during the week and on Sunday, we denounce occultism openly. We tell our members that we are not part of any occultic acts or sects, and none of them has the right to join any occultic sect. So, tell me, which other church in the world openly denounces occultic during its devotional services? It is only CCC. But because of the magnitude of the power of God in the fold, people tend to disbelieve it and claim it is not possible. This is the 76th year of the church on earth and testimonies have been recurring in the CCC parishes spread across the globe. But we are not a church that makes noise with its testimonies. So, we are not occultic. Let me give you an example.

Baba Ogunde, during his time, came to Papa Oshoffa early in the morning one day. Papa said, “Oh, I hope there is no problem.” Ogunde said, “Papa, I have said your name in every occultic group all over the world, but I thought you were using evil and that you belong to a secret cult with all these miracles you are doing. But I didn’t see your name on the list of occultic people. So, because of the power of God that you are using, I want to produce a film that will reveal the secret of the darkness.” And the film was called “Aye”. Ogunde now said, “Papa, I want to put my family and myself under the God that you are serving, so that no harm will befall us.

Meanwhile, if Pope John Paul  II could leave Rome in 1982 to come and visit Papa Oshoffa because of what he had heard about him that should tell you we are not occultic. We are a church of God, the Holy Spirit, and the real Pentecostal church.

CCC is a church I am very proud of and till my last breath, I will remain a member of the church. This is because what is not possible in other places is possible in CCC as it was through the blood of the lamb (Jesus) that the church was founded.

But people say Celestial church shepherds do involve themselves in diabolical things….

Yes, I call them intruders. Any CCC prophet or shepherd who deals with an occultic group is an intruder. Sooner or later, God will flush them out. But don’t forget, the Bible says, “Let the chalk and the wheat gross together. They are there and they are individuals. But the church as a body is a church of God. We may have one or two occultic people, but they do not belong to us. They are intruders and soon, God will flush them out.

Is it true that every member of CCC joined as a result of one problem or the other?

No, some people were born in the church. I was born in the fold. I didn’t come with any problem. Meanwhile, for those who joined the church, it may not be because of problems. Some people joined the church because of the white garment we wear and its neatness. Some other people also joined because of our hymns, while some joined because a prophet gave them a message. Many people have reasons for joining the fold, so I may not agree that all joined because of one problem or the other.

But have you ever heard that other Christians see Celestial members as inferior because they believe they are involved in using charms?

Yes, they do say that. But they are telling lies. And it is because they believe the CCC founder is not well-schooled. He didn’t attend any university. He didn’t take a Ph.D, and he didn’t pass through a theology school and all. But God said he would take what does not exist to confound what truly exists so that what exists may not be arrogant. This is because everything is not about books. It is on record that despite the CCC founder not being educated, God still made use of him and today, CCC is still standing. How many churches can do that many years after their founders passed away? But as I have said, people may say anything they like. They cannot still understand CCC, because the church is not of this world. Have you heard of how some people went and fasted for many days all because of CCC? But in the end, angels appeared to them and told them CCC is a divine church and you cannot fight it. It has come to stay and except people go spiritual, they cannot comprehend it.

Some months back, a popular investigative journalist, published a story that raised public eyebrows on how fake prophecies affect peoples’ lives. The CCC International Headquarters was one of the churches indicted in the report. What is your take on his report and what has the church done to address some of the issues he raised?

No. No. No. I won’t agree with that. It was a wrong thing. Have you heard of him again since then? I don’t want to talk about him. It is almost two years now. I won’t say he indicted us, no. He assumed because there was no proof. As God would have it, a year after, Ebenizeri came out from my choir, the CCC Apex Choir. It was exactly a year later. That is to tell you that though the report said something wrong about the church, the angel of the Lord came a year after to make amendments and glorify the church (Through the song). Today, the CCC International Headquarters is standing strong and it has changed. The Spirit of the Lord lives there and every day, the prophets, like in every other CCC parishes, still performs miracles and the spirit of the Lord is working. So no one can destroy what the Lord has not destroyed.

How are CCC shepherds paid? Is the headquarters in charge of every branch of your church or people are allowed to open their churches and just make remittances to the headquarters?

Before the CCC founder left, Celestial church shepherds were not paid a fixed salary. We are paid stipends. What does that mean? Every income realised in the parish monthly is divided into three parts. One stays in the parish; one goes to the headquarters; and one is divided among the shepherd and those working with him. So that is how we are paid as clergies in CCC. For now, we don’t have a fixed salary. But a law may come tomorrow that will fix the salary.

Culled from Punch