Prophet Samuel Kayode Abiara is a retired General Evangelist Worldwide of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). He is also the founder of the Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Itura, with headquarters in Lagos and Ibadan. In this interview with GBENGA ADERANTI, the 77-year-old clergyman, who took a new wife about two years ago, talks about his new love, the 5G communication network controversy, why many female pastors don’t remarry after losing their husbands, and plans to reopen churches after the shutdown impelled by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We are told that the coronavirus pandemic will be around for a long time. How does that sound to you?
Covid-19 is not a new thing. Epidemics had happened many times in the past. Even before the birth of Jesus Christ, there were epidemics. It is not a new thing. History tells us that when the smallpox epidemic broke out, it killed millions of people. Cholera, Lassa fever, Ebola, malaria all killed many.
It is a signal to all the people of the world. Christ Jesus talks about the end of this age in Matthew 24. At the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, you will hear rumours of wars and many incidents will continue to happen. Epidemics will break out. There will be fake prophecies and fake prophets. It is the word of Jesus Christ manifesting.
It is one of the signs of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not something we should fret about.
You say we should not worry but scientists have said we should be ready to live with it. What is the way out? What should be the roles of clerics in this critical time?
The Bible does not put us in darkness concerning this. In Isaiah 45:7, God says I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things. I’m still the same God. If that is the case, we must still go back to that same God and pray to Him; appeal to Him to deliver us from this pandemic. God will surely answer our prayer.
He said call upon me in the day of trouble and I will answer you (Psalm 50:14-15). At a time like this, we need to gather together and pray unto God and God will answer our prayer. When the enemies wrote a letter to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, that they were coming to fight him, Jehoshaphat called all the people, the men, the women and the children, they all prayed unto God and God fought for them.
We need to pray to God Almighty. Only God can solve the problem. Scientists have tried, doctors have tried, they did not find a solution to the problem. It is a manifestation that God has absolute power over everything, so we have to return to Him.
Christian leaders are divided over the reopening of churches. What do you think is responsible for this?
You can’t blame anybody for the position taken on this issue. Everybody has their own opinion. In my own opinion, which is biblical, Roman 13 says we must obey the authority. God put our political leaders there to guide the people; to rule. God rules through people. He put them in positions. You know in government, you have experts in different fields; in hygiene, health matters, medicine and science.
I think the people in government are looking at Covid-19 pandemic from the angle of health; that if they embark on lockdown, it would curb the spread of the disease. That is their own field. I think we all have to obey and comply with the rules and regulations of government.
Besides, the lockdown is for a while; it is not something that will last for a long time. If government asks us to do something, let us comply and obey. Let us continue to pray for God to give us peace because He has power over nature.
Some allege that some of the Christian leaders who are advocating for immediate reopening of churches are driven by pecuniary gains. How do you react to that?
That is their own opinion. It is not true. Government is aware that by opening churches, the disease could spread further. No responsible government would allow its citizens to die. They must find one way or the other to curb this epidemic. It is normal for people to criticise the policies of government no matter how noble they are.
I want to believe that it is a thing God laid unto their hearts. Remember it is not the first time the world will be having such epidemic. The lockdown has a history behind it. When it happened in the past, the governments of that time put up the same measure to arrest the spread.
I am particular about clerics, not government…
That is their own view. You know in a situation like this, churches normally have financial challenges. It is only when some people come to church that they perform their obligations.
But that notwithstanding, when they don’t open churches, God knows how to take care of His people. I don’t think churches must because of money lose people. It is not right. It is good to abide by the rules and regulations of government.
There is this argument too that faith-based institutions are expensive and beyond the reach of an average person. The argument is that missionaries made education free and in most cases, affordable to all but reverse is the case now. What is your take on this?
If you want quality, you will pay more, and if you want inferior, you will go for it. Nobody forces anybody to attend a particular school.
If you like it, you enroll in their school. There are many schools. If you cannot afford to go to a private school, you go to a public school. If you want quality education for your wards and you can afford it, you choose private.
I wonder why people criticise the fees being charged in private institutions. In private institutions, the owners employ versatile and competent professionals and teachers.
The owners of these private schools pay heavily to engage these professionals and teachers. I don’t think it is fair to criticise the owners of private schools.
Nobody is forcing anybody to go to private schools. If you like you come, if you don’t like, you take your children to public schools.
Of late, killing of young virgins has been on the rise. What do you think is responsible for this?
That was what Jesus Christ was talking about when he talked about signs and end of this age and signs that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming.
Because He said in Matthew 24:12 that sins will be rampant. I just finished a sermon online. The present world is worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. It is sad that people no longer fear God.
They kill at will and do so many bad things. They cut and sell human parts at very ridiculous prices. It is a sign of the end of times. That is why people must be careful and move closer to God.
People now rape. Fathers are raping their daughters. That is an abomination. That was what they did in Sodom and Gomorrah.
To stem this tide, we need to pray more and government needs to do something about this. My advice to government is that the judicial process must be hastened. Cases drag for too long in courts. That should not be.
Aside that, some of the criminals get light sentences and this tends to encourage others to commit crime. Imagine the case of a kidnapping suspect dragging for four or five years and government continues to spend money on these suspects. In 1984, the capital punishment that was in place discouraged many of these criminals from committing crimes.
For many years CAC was factionalised with members belonging to different camps. Recently, efforts were made to bring the church under one umbrella. When is the process going to be concluded and what should we expect?
We thank God that church is making efforts and the president, Pastor Abraham Olukunle Akinosun, is making efforts to bring the church together. I believe everything is settled. Very soon, you will hear officially from the church that everything is settled.
Now that you are retired as the General Evangelist Worldwide, what roles do you play in church?
Many. If they have retired me in the office, I’m not tired. Like every organisation, there are rules and regulations. According to the rules and regulations of the CAC, when you clock 75, you are expected to vacate the seat and allow younger elements to come to the saddle.
Even before the time, I had informed the CAC that I would be clocking 75, and when the time came, I vacated the position.
The church does not stop me from ministering. I just finished ministering to millions of people via Facebook. The grace of God is with me.
How does it feel to find love again?
I feel so good. You can see me. The woman takes good care of me. She is a woman God gave me. She is a good woman. She takes care of me. She has respect for me; she has respect for all my children.
All my children love her so much and they take care of her. I enjoy her company. She is like my former wife. I thank God Almighty for giving me a woman like her.
Most female pastors do not remarry after losing their partners. But that is not the case with male pastors…
It is their choice. I think many female pastors prefer not to marry because they want to take care of their children, and you cannot blame them.
But if they decide to marry, it is not a bad thing, because it is in the Bible. Those who want to marry among them get married; it is their own choice. And those who do not want to marry, it is their choice.
Are we expecting babies from you very soon?
(Prolonged laughter) Will you help me to take care of them? But if God gives me two or three sets of twins because of this lady who is taking good care of me, I will praise God and the whole world will rejoice with me, and you journalists will join me in celebrating. It will be news all over the world that I have twins again. I dey kampe.
Some of your colleagues said it was the 5G network technology that caused the coronavirus pandemic and that Christians should resist the technology. What is your take on this?
That is their own opinion. The Bible did not say so. Even before Christ Jesus, there were pandemics. According to Psalm 91, those who are in the place of the Almighty, will be under the shadow of Almighty and He will protect us from the pandemic.
The Bible does not say there will be no corona. The argument that G5 caused coronavirus is not biblical. God made the technology in the world for our comfort.
They are not dangerous. They are not to harm us. Look at television, look at phone, will you say if you use the phone now, you will have sickness?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming them for holding their views. But the Bible does not say that. What I’m saying is that epidemics had been in existence before Jesus, and God said He will deliver us.
When we move closer to Him; when we are with Him, God will continue to make us have more knowledge to make life very easy for us.
God even said knowledge will continue to increase and our comfort will increase. That is why I tell people that it is dangerous to enjoy this comfort without accepting Him.
Talking about palliatives, you distributed materials to some people through the Abiara Foundation. Considering that you are retired, what is the source of your funds?
You see, I had to do this because of the current challenges many church members are facing. There is no pretence about it; things are hard for so many people, even Christians.
I decided to give out food and other materials as my own contribution towards lifting those who are in need.
On the source of my fund, I used part of the money meant for my allowance to do this. You know we can’t sit down and watch people suffer, because the little you do will go a long way.
If others who are a bit comfortable a bit do their own part, everybody will be happy. There is no wisdom in eating while others are hungry.