A lot has been said about the life and ministry of Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola but we can’t hear enough as his life is fill be lessons to learn. Read, learn and be blessed
Joseph Ayo Babalola was born on April 25, 1904, to David Rotimi and Madam Marta Talabi who belonged to the Anglican Church. The family lived at Odo-Owa in Ilofa, a small town about ninety kilometres from Ilorin in Kwara State, Nigeria. His father was the Baba Ijo (“church father”) of the C.M.S. Church at Odo-Owa. Pastor Medayese wrote in his book Itan Igbe dide Woli Ayo Babalola that mysterious circumstances surrounded the birth of Babalola. On that day, it was believed that a strange and mighty object exploded and shook the clouds. He was registered at an elementary school at Oto-Awori on Road, in 1914. He got to standard four before he became a blacksmith’s apprentice and he learned it for two years, before he became a steamroller operator under the PWD (Public Works Department), then under the control of Great Britain, learning to become a steamroller driver. After 15 days of learning to drive the caterpillar, he was able to drive it without any assistance. After nine months; he became a master in his class.
Just like the Old Testament prophets, Babalola was called by God into the prophetic office to stand before men. His was a specific and personal call.
Babalola’s strange experience started on the night of September 25th, 1928 when he suddenly became restless and could not sleep. This went on for a week and he had no inkling of the causes of such a strange experience. The climax came one day when he was, as usual, working on the Ilesa-Igbara-Oke road. Suddenly the steam roller’s engine stopped to his utter amazement. There was no visible mechanical problem, and Joseph became confused and perplexed. He was in this state of confusion when a great voice “like the sound of many waters” called him three times.
The voice was loud and clear and it told him that he would die if he refused to heed the divine call to go into the world and preach. Babalola did not want to listen to this voice and he responded like many of the Biblical prophets, who, when they were called out by Yahweh as prophets, did not normally yield to the first call. Men like Moses and Jeremiah submitted to God only when it became inevitable. So, Babalola gave in only after he had received the assurance of divine guidance.
To go on the mission, he had to resign his appointment with the Public Works Department. Mr. Fergusson, the head of his unit, tried to dissuade him from resigning but the young man was bent on going on the Lord’s mission.
The same voice came to Joseph a second time asking him to fast for seven days. He obeyed and at the end of the period he saw a great figure of a man who, according to Pastor Alokan, resembled Jesus. The man in a dazzling robe spoke at length about the mission he was to embark upon. The man also told him of the persecutions he would face and at the same time assured him of God’s protection and victory. A hand prayer bell was given to Babalola as a symbol. He was told that the sound of the bell would always drive away evil spirits. He was also given a bottle of “life-giving water” to heal all manners of sickness. Consequently, wherever and whenever he prayed into water for therapeutic purposes, effective healing was procured for those who drank the water. Thus, Babalola became a prophet and a man with extraordinary powers. Enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit he could spend several weeks in prayer. Elder Abraham Owoyemi of Odo-Owa, said that the prophet regularly saw angels who delivered divine messages to him. An angel appeared in one of his prayers and forbade him to wear caps.
Revivals and Miracles
The revival of his mission began with the raising of a dead child in September 1930. What followed this in 3 weeks was the healing of about 100 lepers, 60 blind people and 50 lame persons. This also resulted in the desolation of Churches in Ilesa because their members transferred their allegiance to the revivalist and that all the patients in Wesley Hospital, Ilesa, abandoned their beds to seek healing from Babalola. This divinely kicked off The Great Revival of 1930, which saw people coming from most parts of Africa and diaspora without posters and TV adverts. On June 25, 1931 he slew the sinister Abugabu dragon of the jungles of Yogumbo, wielding a holy sword imbued with the fire of the Lord. From then on, with bell and Yoruba Bible in hand, he toured Yorubaland and eastern Nigeria, preaching about repentance, and renunciation of idolatry, the importance of prayer and fasting, and the power of God to heal sickness.
Birth of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC)
In 1930 Faith Tabernacle affiliated with the British Apostolic Church. Then following a schism in the Apostolic Church about 1940, Babalola went with a new independent church, Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), where he continued his healing and revivalistic activities until his death. The CAC regards Babalola as an apostle and his revival ministry as the beginning of the church. A CAC retreat center was built at Ikeji-Arakeji, Osun State where Babalola was first called in 1928.
The Christ Apostolic Church has not died along with Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola in 1959. In fact it has grown rapidly over the years, with many churches under the Christ Apostolic Church name but each church with a specific branch name. The Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU) a private Nigerian university located in Ikeji-Arakeji in Osun State, established by the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Worldwide is named after him, located at the place where he says he was called by God in 1928.