Apostle Paul Thomson Odola is a prominent Minister of God in the North East of Nigeria. He is the Senior Pastor of Dominion Power Assembly based in Gombe State. He is also the President of the Paul Odola Ministries International (POMI), an outreach that anchors conferences, crusades and other evangelical activities of Apostle Odola.
He is currently pioneering another branch of Dominion Power Assembly in Abuja. Mojola Peters had a chat with him on Christianity in Nigeria recently and he bears his mind on the challenges facing Christians in Nigeria. Excerpts,
As a prominent minister of God in the north, how will you describe Christianity and gospel in Nigeria?
Right now, Nigeria is the center of revival where the gospel is concern. That is very obviously with the kind of Generals the Lord has blessed the country with. People that have pioneer the gospel and the branches all over the world. It shows Nigeria is a center of revivals. You can see the massive denominational structures, the innumerable number of people that gathered in crusades and conferences. Nigeria right now is the center of revival.
It is unfortunate that as much as Nigeria is the center of revival,the devil is also adulterating the gospel by infiltrating the body with falsehood and prophets. So we just have to be careful. While the gospel is at work the devil is equally sowing seed.
With new generation churches springing up in various parts of the country what is your advice for believers about these prophets and churches?
First and foremost, I believe that to be a Christian you must have a personal encounter with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If you get that right you can always spot rightly. When you are not a genuine Christian then you can be a victim of some of these fake pastors. Like the bible says “deep calleth on to deep. Judge and test every spirit.” It begins with your genuinity in serving God and you will be led aright.
There are very basic things we can use to identify when a man is into errors or when you are dealing with a false prophet. Number one, what is the center of his gospel? Is it about him or about Jesus? Number two, does he has biblical basis for every instruction or revelation given? Number three, where is he coming from and who are his company? With this three you can always tell.
At this present state in Nigeria, many people believe that Christianity in Nigeria is faced with tribulation what do you think is the way out?
It is very unfortunate, but the truth of the matter is that tribulation and the gospel go together, you cannot separate them. That is why Jesus said rejoice when men persecute you. Then speaking about the prosperity, the increase and the success of the body, He said you shall have a hundred fold in this world including persecution”. So persecution goes hand in hand with the propagation of the gospel, persecution goes hand in hand with the prosperity of the gospel.
So whether the gospel is being propagated or whether it is prospering, persecution is part of it. With regards to the current situation in Nigeria, it is the failure of government policies.
Democracy cannot thrive where there are illiteracies. Being in the North I can tell you that 90 percent of the Boko Haram members are stack illiterates. They have nothing to lose, they have no vision, they have no purpose. Where there is illiteracy it becomes breeding ground for insurgency and militancy. So something is wrong with government policies.
The number two, the kidnapping and the herdsmen crisis still boils down to the same government policy failure. Kidnapping is still as a result of joblessness. Nigeria is very unfortunate where leadership is concern. One of the most blessed countries in the face if the earth. Mineral, human resources, landmass, arable land, leadership is our problem in this country.
What will be your advice for Christian leaders in the country on the way forward?
This is my sincere advice, we have been too heavenly conscious that we are earthly useless. Let us conscientise our people to get into politics.
Let us wake up to the realities of our time. If the wicked is in power we will all suffer. Let us start empowering our people to take over what I call “gates”; Military gates, academic gates, political gates and Information Technology gates. If we control the gates we can determine who enters. Let us take our battles to the gates. Let our people wake up to the reality of our time and get involved. We have been spiritualizing everything to the point that while we are being spiritual the authority and position is being taken by people who do not favour our course. My advise is let us conscietise our people to be socially aware and politically aware. Let us get involved.