ANG REDEEMED CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GOD (RCCG)
REEDEEMED CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GOD TIMELINE
1909 (July5): Ogunribido Ogundolie Akindolie was born at number 12 Odo-Alafia Street, Odojomu, Ondo State, Nigeria.
1927: Akindolie joined the Church Mission Society (Anglican Communion) school to acquire western education. He was baptised in the same year and changed his name to Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi.
1931: Akindolie left the Church Mission Society to join the newly-founded Cherubim and Seraphim Society (C&S).
1941 (25 July): Akindolie left Ondo town on a long trek to Ile-Ife, a town sixty kilometres away and regarded in Yoruba cosmology of the “centre of the world.” bBecame a prophet of C&S in Ile-Ife.
1941: Josiah O. Akindayomi married Esther Egbedire; They left Ile-Ife for Lagos.
1948: Akindolie founded “Egba Ogo Oluwa:” Society for the Glory of God (Prayer Fellowship), which was to become the nucleus around which the future RCCG was to be built.
1952: Akindolie was excommunicated from C&S for gross insubordination and for nursing independent ambitions as a church leader.
1952: Egbe Ogo Oluwa became “Church of the Glory of God,” which was later modified to The Redeemed Church (Ijo Irapada).
1954: The Redeemed Church became affiliated to the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (AFM) and changed its name to the Redeemed Apostolic Mission.
1956: RAC changed its name once more to The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (Nigerian Branch). In the same year, the name was changed yet again to the Apostolic Faith Mission of West Africa.
1960: The affiliation with AFM of South Africa ended because of the apartheid policy of South African government. In the same year, it changed its name to The Redeemed Christian Church of God.
1975 (June 28): Akindayomi first travelled outside Nigeria; he visited Tulsa, Oklahoma in the U.S.
1980 (November 2): Josiah O. Akindayomi died in Lagos, Nigeria.
1980 (December 6): Akindayomi was buried at Atan public cemetery in Lagos.
1981 (January 20): Dr. Enoch Adejare Adeboye (b. March 2, 1942; joined RCCG 1973), became the leader of RCCG after a protracted power struggle.
2001 (January 10): Esther Akindayomi, widow of Josiah Akindayomi, died in Lagos.
FOUNDER / GROUP KASAYSAYAN
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) was founded by the Reverend Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, an “apostle” and pophet of the Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement (C&S) in 1952 in Ebute-Metta, the swampy backwaters of Lagos. Akindayomi was born in 1909 in Ondo town (about 250 kilometres from Lagos) into a family of worshippers of Ogun , ang Yoruba Orisa ng bakal at digmaan. Ang kanyang ibinigay na mga pangalan sa kapanganakan ay Ogunribido (Ogun ay may isang lugar upang manirahan) Ogundolie Akindolie; lumaki siya upang maging isang kilalang tao babalawo (ama ng mga lihim / misteryo o manghuhula) at onisegun , tradisyonal na gamot tao, pati na rin ang isang magsasaka. Tungkol sa 1925, nag-convert siya sa Church Mission Society (CMS), ang pasimula ng Iglesia ng Anglican sa Nigeria, sa kanyang paghahanap para sa western na uri ng edukasyon. Nabautismuhan siya at kinuha ang mga pangalan na Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi. Bagaman pormal na isang Kristiyano, nanatili siya sa paniniwala sa mga diyos at praktika ng Yoruba: "sa kabila ng kanyang pagiging miyembro ng CMS sa panahong ito si Josiah ay isang praktis na herbalista ( Babalawo ) "(Olaleru 2007: 33, diin sa orihinal). Ang katotohanang ito ay makabuluhang nagbubuo ng trajectory ng kanyang espirituwal na pakikipagsapalaran sa hinaharap.
Ginugol ni Josiah Akindayomi ang tungkol sa limang taon sa Anglikanong Iglesia, kung saan, di-nagtagal ay inabandona niya ang kanyang pakikipagsapalaran para sa karunungang bumasa't sumulat sa kanluran, before moving on to join the C&S about 1931 as a result of his encounter with a prophetess of the church who was later to become his spiritual mentor. As a renowned onisegun , Akindayomi had cast a hex on this elderly C&S prophetess for interfering in his business. He had expected the prophetess to be bitten by a (mystical) poisonous snake as a result of the curse he had placed on her. Several days and weeks passed and nothing of the expected calamity befell the prophetess. Akindayomi went on to confront her to enquire the source of her spiritual power to withstand his sure-fire mystical powers. The lady assured him of her protection from evil because of the power of prayer that surrounded her. The encounter precipitated his reaffiliation from the CMS to the C&S. While the quest for the acquisition and manifestation of power through intense spiritual engagement might be said to be manifestly responsible for Josiah’s switch to the C&S, the latent or remote cause could have been his dissatisfaction with the sterile, monotonous, spirituality and liturgy of the Anglican Church.
Under the tutelage of the elderly prophetess he had previously wanted to kill, Akindayomi grew rapidly in his understanding of the spirituality and doctrines of the C&S. In 1941, after his apprenticeship under the prophetess-mentor ended, Akindayomi left his family house in Ondo town for Ile-Ife, where he was formally inducted as a peripatetic prophet. Ile-Ife is an important city in Yoruba cosmology; it is renowned for its spiritual significance as the centre of the world. Subsequently, he married a young woman, Esther Egbedire (d. January 10, 2001), who was a member of the local congregation of the C&S. After his marriage and his elevation to the official position of woli (prophet) in the C&S, he continued his spiritual migration, this time to Lagos. He claimed that God had instructed him to relocate to this city for his full-time prophetic ministry. In Lagos, he sojourned at the Mount Zion branch of C&S, the same parish where one of the co-founders of the C&S, Moses Orimolade Tunolase, had headed a congregation before the latter’s death on October 19, 1933 (Omoyajowo 1982:38; Ukah 2003:51). Tunolase’s successor, Abraham William Onanuga, welcomed and encouraged Akindayomi who soon achieved popularity and fame as a prophet and healer. His renown soon attracted a small group of followers that he organised into a Bfible study group called Egbe Ogo Oluwa , the Glory of God Fellowship (GGF). Most of the members of this group were (former) clients who had benefited from the healing prayers of the prophet. Akindayomi soon moved the activities of the GGF from the C&S church premises to his private apartment, fuelling the suspicion that he harboured an intention to break away from the C&S. When efforts to get him to bring the GGF under the oversight authority of the C&S failed, he was formally excommunicated in 1952, together with all the members of the GGF, for gross insubordination to constituted ecclesiastical authority of the C&S.
The founding of the Redeemed Christian Church of God is a direct consequence of the excommunication of Akindayomi, together with his small band of followers, from the C&S in 1952. On being driven out the C&S, he quickly reconstituted the Glory of God Fellowship into a church, and changed the name to the Glory of God Church (Ijo Ogo Oluwa) (GGC). In Nigeria, there is a long history of “fellowship groups” within larger churches metamorphosing into full-fledged churches, as was the case with the Precious Stone Society in Ijebu-Ode (a prayer fellowship group in the Anglican Church) that morphed into “Faith Tabernacle Church” in 1922 (Ayegboyin and Ishola 1997:65-69). The GGC was a church like its parent group (C&S) in all respects: doctrine, liturgy and ethos, for Akindayomi’s spiritual capital was acquired mainly in the C&S. Not satisfied with its present name, and suffering from a crisis of identity, the GGC was changed to the Redeemed Church (RC) (Ijo Irapada) later in 1952. Yet again in 1954, RC modified its name to the Redeemed Apostolic Church (RAC), an effort that clearly demonstrates the agitations and anxieties of the nascent group to generate a separate identity different from its Aladura mother-church. Four years after its inception, the RAC sought and got affiliated to the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (AFM), a segregated, White mission Pentecostal church, which was jointly founded by John G. Lake and Thomas Hezmalhalch in 1908 (see Heglesson 2006). The affiliation was a strategy to acquire respectability as well as to fend off undue scrutiny and suspicion by the colonial government of Lagos which was visibly uncertain and uncomfortable with indigenously founded popular Christian congregations. With the commencement of the affiliation with the AFM, the RAC changed its name to the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (Nigeria Branch). The affiliation lasted from 1956 to 1960, but not without another change of name midway to the Apostolic Faith Mission of West Africa. The relationship with the AFM was terminated when Nigeria got political independence from Britain and subsequently severed political and cultural relationships with South Africa because of the latter’s apartheid policy. After disaffiliation with the AFM, the church finally settled for the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), a name it has continued to hold. Church legend claims that God revealed it mysteriously to Akindayomi in a vision. For nascent churches, the claim of legitimacy is usually rooted in divine authorisation; “social perceptions of legitimacy are … key determinants of the success of religious start-ups” (Miller 2002:440).
The RCCG has evolved to become the most complex pentecostal organisation in Nigeria, a church of distinction with many doctrinal, liturgical and historical layers and hues (Adeboye 2007). It evolved from an Aladura church, imbibing the emphasis on prayer and fasting and other spiritual techniques in the management of life’s crises. (Aladura is a Yoruba word that means “owners of prayers”). In a similar manner, it actively borrowed so much from Classical Pentecostal churches, such as the Assemblies of God Church (AOG), the Four Square Gospel Church, the AFM and the Faith Tabernacle. Since its establishment, its social, liturgical and doctrinal identities have changed from one decade to the other; it may be reasonably argued that the RCCG changes (organisationally, doctrinally, liturgically and economically) every five years. Increased complexity is one way the church grapples with expansion and competition and wealth. To deepen its self-understanding and appear respectable, the RCCG cultivated the doctrines of other flourishing Classical Pentecostal churches around it; from 1952 to 1982, it adopted and used the Sunday School Manual of the AOG as its own. It was only in 1982 when it designed its own under Akindayomi’s successor, Enoch Adejare Adeboye. In the 1970s, the RCCG stabilised and Akindayomi was able to attract the first crop of educated members. In 1975, he travelled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to attend a Pentecostal revival event, together with his would-be successor, Enoch Adeboye. That was his first trip outside Nigeria. In 1979, he again paid a repeat visit to the USA for a similar event. These visits to the U.S. marked the beginning of the doctrinal, liturgical and social re-orientation of the RCCG away from its original holiness emphasis or world-rejecting Pentecostal spirituality to prosperity, this-worldly, social-economic accommodation and immersion that blossomed under Josiah’s successor. In addition to visiting the USA, Josiah went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Rome before his death.
Namatay si Akindayomi noong Nobyembre 2, 1980, pagkatapos ng 28 na taon ng pagtatatag, nangunguna at pagbabago ng isang simbahan ng Aladura sa isang simbahang Classical / Holiness Pentecostal. Sa iglesya na itinatag niya at pinamunuan, ang pinansiyal na koleksyon ay hindi pinapayagan sa panahon ng mga serbisyo; ang mga kababaihan at kalalakihan ay ibinukod sa panahon ng pagsamba; ipinagbabawal ang mga kababaihan na magsuot ng pampaganda at pantalon at dapat takpan ang kanilang mga ulo habang nasa simbahan. Higit sa lahat, ang mga kababaihan ay hindi nag-ehersisyo ng anumang pamumuno at hindi inordena bilang mga pastor o deacon. Ang mga emosyonal na sisingilin, mabagsik, lingguhang serbisyo sa pagsamba kung saan ang mga miyembro ay tumangis at humihiyaw nang malakas para sa matagal na panahon ay nakuha ang dalawang sobriquets ng iglesya: "ang tumatangis na iglesia" (Ijo elekun) at "ang iglesia ng mga tumatangis" (ijo ), Ang mga gawi at doktrina na ito ay epektibo na ginawa ng RCCG upang linangin ang isang merkado ng angkop na lugar. Ito ay naging, sa mga salita ng isa sa mga senior pastor (na ngayon ay isang miyembro ng Governing Council nito, ang pinakamataas na organ ng iglesya) "isang iglesiang panlipunan" na puno ng "matanda, hindi makakaalam, mahihirap na miyembro" na halos eksklusibo Yoruba extraction. Sa pagkamatay ng tagapagtatag, ang RCCG ay may tatlumpung isang maliit na kongregasyon na nakakalat sa Lagos at iba pang mga kanayunan ng Yoruba, ang kabuuang populasyon na hovered sa paligid ng isang daan o mas mababa.
Ang RCCG ay may double founding: kasaysayan na ito ay natagpuan ni Josiah Akindayomi (ang propeta-healer) at muling itinatag ng kanyang kahalili, na re-charismatised ang buong istraktura, organisasyon, doktrina at ritwal ng simbahan. Ang Akindayomi ay ay nagtagumpay sa pamamagitan ng isang batang lektor sa unibersidad na si Enoch Adejare Adeboye, na nagtanggap ng tungkulin noong Enero 20, 1981 matapos ang isang labanan at mapait na pamumuno sa dalawang iba pang mas matatandang mga kalahok. Ang pakikibaka ng pamumuno ay hinati ang simbahan sa tatlong paksyon, ang bawat isa ay pinamumunuan ng isa sa mga kalahok. Ang RCCG ay namumulaklak habang ang iba pang dalawa ay natuyo sa paglipas ng panahon. Ipinanganak noong Marso 2, 1942, eksakto ng isang dekada bago ang pagtatatag ng RCCG, muling nakilahok sa Adeboye mula sa Anglican Church sa 1973. Nag-aral siya sa University of Ife (tinatawag ngayong Obafemi Awoluwo University, OAU) mula sa 1964 hanggang 1967, kung saan nakuha niya ang isang BSc degree sa matematika sa 1967. Gumugol siya ng ilang taon sa Unibersidad ng Nigeria, Nsukka, sa silangang Nigeria, bago ang digmaang sibil ng Nigerya (1967-1970) ngunit hindi makatapos ng kanyang pag-aaral bilang isang resulta ng kontrahan. Siya ay relocated sa University of Lagos, kung saan siya nakuha, unang isang Master ng Agham (MSc) degree sa Applied Mathematics sa 1969, at isang titulo ng doktor sa isang disertasyon sa hydrodynamics sa 1975. Pagkatapos ay nagturo siya ng ilang oras sa University of Lagos bago sumali sa University of Ilorin (Ukah 2008; Bible-Davids, 2009; Faseke 2011). (Dahil sa kanyang intimate relationship sa unibersidad ng Nigerian system, kamakailan lamang siya ay pinagkalooban ng isang propesoral na silya sa matematika sa apat na unibersidad sa bansa, katulad ng University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, University of Lagos, at ang University of Nigeria, Nsukka.)
Naging miyembro siya ng RCCG sa 1973 matapos sumama ang kanyang asawang si Folu Adeboye sa grupo dahil sa kanyang paghahangad para sa mga espirituwal na solusyon para sa ilang mga sitwasyon. Ang pagiging pinaka-edukadong tao sa simbahan noong panahong iyon, siya ay naging tagasalin / interpreter para sa tagapagtatag (mula sa Yoruba hanggang Ingles) at ang kanyang kanang kamay na lalaki o nakakaalam. Siya ay mabilis na nagtindig at na-ordained isang pastor sa 1977, isang limang taon lamang matapos maging miyembro at hindi dumalo sa anumang paaralan ng bible o seminary. Siya ay may kaugnayan sa pagmamay-ari sa Akindayomi na malinaw na nagpakita ng kanyang kagustuhan para sa kanya sa iba pang mga karapat-dapat na kandidato para sa pamumuno ng simbahan. Nag-resign siya mula sa kanyang posisyon sa pagtuturo bilang isang senior lecturer sa 1984, tatlong taon matapos umakyat sa pinakamataas na posisyon ng pamumuno ng simbahan. Ang gawain ng pagbabago ng mga fortunes, doktrina at ritwal na gawi ng RCCG ay nahulog sa Adeboye na obertaym na matagumpay na na-rebranded, pinalawak at literal na umunlad sa simbahan. Sa 1981 nang ipagpalagay niya ang pagkaulo ng iglesya, ito ay nailalarawan bilang "isang tribal church" ng tatlumpu't siyam na maliliit na parokya na may humigit-kumulang na isang daang miyembro; gayunpaman, sa 2014 ang RCCG ay may 32,036 na mga kongregasyon o mga sangay sa mga bansa ng 170, na may pandaigdig na miyembro na nagmumula ng ilang milyon. (Iginiit ng Iglesya na may pitong milyong miyembro sa Africa, isang figure na mahirap i-verify kung isasaalang-alang ang problema ng maraming mga affiliation sa simbahan sa mga Pentecostal Christians.) Upang simulan ang proseso ng pag-rebranding, ang bagong lider ay nagsimulang dumalo sa Taunang Kenneth Hagin Sr. (1917-2003) kampo ng kabataan sa Tulsa, USA; Ang Hagin sa pangkalahatan ay itinuturing na "ama" o tagapanguna ng pananampalataya o Prosperity Gospel (McConnell 1987; Harrison 2005; Lee 2005: 99). Naglakbay rin siya sa Yoido Full Gospel Church ng David Yonggi Cho sa Timog Korea, bukod sa iba pang mga lugar, kung saan isinama niya ang mga ideya at gawi (tulad ng bahay cell system) upang palaguin ang simbahan at ibahin ang mga ito sa loob at sa labas. Gumawa siya ng dalawang magkaibang uri ng mga kongregasyon bilang karagdagan sa tatlumpu't siyam na maliliit, etnikong parishes na minana niya. Ang mga lumang kongregasyon ay tinawag niya na "Classical Parishes;" ang kanyang dalawang bagong uri ng parishes na tinawag niya: "Model Parishes" (nilikha sa 1988) at "Unity Parishes" (nilikha 1997). All three types continue to exist, each championing different aspects of RCCG or Akindayomi’s spirituality. Noong Setyembre, 1988, kinuha ni Adeboye ang RCCG sa mga kampus sa unibersidad sa pamamagitan ng pagtatatag ng RCCG Campus Fellowships. Siya ay hinikayat ang mga kabataan, edukado, pataas na mobile, mga tao na sa 1990 ay naging mga sundalo ng simbahan, nagdadala ng ideolohiya nito sa lugar ng trabaho at sa pamilihan at kahit saan pa sila naglakbay. He promoted the church in a blitz of media productions (radio, television, audio and video cassettes, compact discs and DVDs, satellite television broadcasting, etc.), actively recruiting (through a parachurch group called “Christ the Redeemer’s Friends Universal (CRFU), founded in 1990) the very wealthy of the society, such as captains of industries, and fraternising with the politically powerful such as presidents and federal ministers of State. He recruited the most important and influential corporate advertiser/marketer in Nigeria, a retired managing director of Nigeria Breweries plc, Felix Ohiwerei, to become the church’s chief programme marketer. Mula sa 1990s, ang RCCG ay naging plataporma upang mag-advertise ng mga kalakal ng consumer pati na rin ang kampanya para sa pampulitikang opisina (Ukah 2006). Multinational companies and financial conglomerates such as Guinness, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, jointly funded its mass programmes and in return marketer their goods and services during such events.
DOCTRINES / BELIEFS
Because the RCCG experiences rapid seasonal rebranding, its doctrines morph over time from one emphasis to another. Although it is an evangelical Christian organisation, its doctrinal universe straddles both Yoruba cosmovision and Judeo-Christian worldview. The RCCG is both Christian and Yoruba at the same time; officially, it senses no tension or contradiction in this structural double consciousness. At inception in 1952, it embraced all the hallmarks of Aladura Christianity and spirituality, such as belief in visions and dreams as channels of divine communications, the power of prayer to bring about healing, prophecy and prognostication, and the spiritual efficacy of sacred objects, such as consecrated water, candles, sacred hills, rivers and places. In addition, the nascent church paid attention to the spiritual needs of women, knowing that the patronage of woman is critical to the success or otherwise of any religious enterprise. As the church embarked on a systematic appropriation of doctrine through formal and informal relationships with Pentecostal formations, such as the AFM of South Africa, it gradually started shedding its Aladura identity and at the same time taking on overt Pentecostal self-presentation. For example, Akindayomi dropped the title of prophet (woli) (inherited from the C&S) and took on the title of “Reverend.” Similarly, he stopped wearing the long white robe characteristic of a prophet in the C&S and started dressing in formal business suits and a hat. By the 1970s, the church’s core Pentecostal orientation was nearly complete, together with a great deal of stress on women’s spiritual needs.
Sa 2005, ipinakilala ng pamunuan ng RCCG kung ano ang nangyari noon nang massively propagated bilang "Vision and Mission Statement."
Ang pangunahing dahilan sa pag-streamline ng mga puntong ito ay ang karamihan sa huling tatlong dekada ng kasaysayan ng RCCG, ang sistema ng paniniwala ng iglesya ay na-oscillated mula sa kabanalan sa kasaganaan sa himala sa empowerment sa ekonomiya at interbensyon sa pulitika na nakabalangkas bilang patriyotismo. Kahit na karaniwang tinatawag na "RCCG Vision / Mission Statement" (sa isahan), ito ay isang hanay ng anim, magkakaugnay na mga pahayag na idinisenyo upang i-highlight ang mga paniniwala ng iglesya sa panahon ng pinakamabilis na pagpapalawak nito at doktrina pagpapalambing o equivocation. Ang mga pahayag na ito ay ang mga sumusunod:
To make heaven
To take as many people as possible with us
To have a member of the RCCG in every family of all nations
To accomplish No.1, holiness will be our lifestyle
To accomplish Nos.2 and 3 above, we will plant churches within five minutes walking distance in every city and town of developing countries and within five minutes driving distance in every city and town of developed countries
We will pursue these objectives until every nation in the world is reached for Jesus Christ our Lord.
The RCCG makes a strong claim that its core beliefs are Bible-based. The Bible is the constitution of the church and cannon of faith; it is infallible, being revealed and inspired by the Holy Spirit. The church believes in the Trinity (God the Father as Creator; God the Son as the Redeemer of humanity, and God the Holy Spirit as the purifier of humans) and the power of the Holy Spirit to work miracles in present times. Belief in miracles of redemption, of healing (that is, healing without medicine) and of wealth are foremost in its doctrines. The church believes in three types of baptisms: water baptism, baptism by the Trinity and baptism by the Holy Spirit. Further, the church believes in the power of prayers, repentance, and restitution as a sign of repentance. The prophetic tradition runs deep in the history, beliefs and practices of the RCCG; the leader self-presents as an oracular personage who broadcasts divine intentions to the community of believers, including politicians and socially powerful individuals. Apocalyptic and eschatological doctrines, such as the belief in the millennial reign of Christ, the coming tribulation to precede the Second Coming of Christ, eternal punishment (literally in hell made of burning sulphur) following the final judgement (consisting of three types: of believers, of nations, and of unbelievers) and the emergence of a new heaven and a new earth are specific strands of popular doctrines in the RCCG. Satan, the devil, demons, witches and a plethora of other evil and malignant spirits are as real in RCCG as the Holy Spirit and the power of its leader to produce miracles. The church believes in monogamous marriages; divorce is only possible in the case of adultery; remarriage even after divorce is only possible at the death of a divorced partner. The church teaches that a dedicated Christian should not wear the clothing of the opposite sex, or jest, or make foolish jokes, or go into debt unnecessarily. A dedicated Christian is dead in Christ and to this world, therefore, should separate themselves from things of this world in worshipping the dead. Worshipping the dead means also following tradition or cultural lifestyle. Children are to be dedicated in church on the eighth day after birth, and Sunday is a holy day defined as the Lord’s Day and the first day of the week. Church leaders and those in spiritual authority must be obeyed in all things as the will of God, as rebellion against church ministers is rebellion against the will of God.
RITUALS / PRACTICES
Ang kasaysayan ng RCCG ay ang pinaka-kahanga-hangang halimbawa ng proseso ng relihiyosong rebranding bilang isang mabisang diskarte sa kompetisyon sa Nigeria. Ang ganitong organisasyonal na self-reinvention ay hindi limitado sa kalagayan ng paggawa ng mga bagong doktrina tungkol sa kapangyarihan ng pagiging relihiyoso upang makabuo ng yaman at kasaganaan kundi pati na rin sa pag-imbento ng mga bagong ritwal at mga gawaing pang-ekonomya na epektibong lumabo sa hangganan sa pagitan ng relihiyon at ekonomiya o pulitika. Katulad ng mga doktrina nito, ang ritwal ng ritwal ng RCCG ay multi-layered, mula sa mga gawain sa relihiyon na nagaganap sa mga lokal na kongregasyon sa isang lingguhan na batayan sa mga nagaganap sa pambansang antas sa buwan-buwan o taun-taon. Ang mga buwanang at taunang relihiyosong mga pangyayari ay gaganapin sa malawak na Redemption Camp, isang prayer ground na dahan-dahan at patuloy na dumarami sa unang relihiyon na itinatag na lungsod sa Nigeria (higit pa sa ibaba). Mayroon ding mga ritwal na na-kopya at na-export mula sa kanyang punong-tanggapan ng Nigerian sa iba pang sentrong pang-rehiyon tulad ng London, Amsterdam, New York o Berlin.
Sunday is a sacred day for the church when its most important weekly ritual service is held. The service, which lasts between two and three hours, is made up of praise and worship session, a sermon of the lead pastor’s choosing, prayers and offertory sessions. Depending on the pastor and the needs of the church, financial collection may be taken more than once, sometimes four times in a single event. Tuesdays are dedicated to a bible study service called “Digging Deep;” while Thursdays are for a special deliverance service called “Faith Clinic.” Both events take place in the late evenings to enable workers to attend. “Let’s-Go-A-Fishing” is an evangelistic outreach programme that is held during the week of Easter and Christmas. The RCCG does not celebrate Easter or Christmas in the traditional Christian sense but rather dedicates these periods to “winning souls” to Christ or conversion drives.
Sa ngayon ang pinakasikat na kaganapan sa ritwal sa RCCG ay ang Service of Holy Ghost (HGS), na unang gaganapin noong Marso, 1986 at gaganapin tuwing huling Biyernes ng buwan. Ang pinuno ng iglesya ay nagpapahiwatig na ang pagpili ng huling Biyernes ng buwan ay inspirasyong banal; gayunpaman, ito rin ang kaso na ang partikular na katapusan ng linggo na ito ay ang oras na ang mga suweldo at suweldo ay binabayaran sa Nigeria para sa mga manggagawa at empleyado, na ginagawang ang pinaka-pinansiyal na kaakit-akit na panahon ng buwan para sa simbahan upang humiling ng mga ikapu at iba pang mga koleksyon sa pananalapi mula nito malalaking kliyente. Ito ay isang night vigil event na nagsisimula sa paglubog ng araw sa Biyernes hanggang sa maliliit na oras ng Sabado, at pagdalo sa mga saklaw ng HGS mula sa 200,000 hanggang 500,000. (Ang publisidad ng simbahan ay sinasabing kung minsan ay mayroong isang milyong o higit pang mga dadalo, ngunit ito ay imposible sa pisikal dahil mayroonnowhere in Nigeria that has that capacity of accommodating a million human beings at any one time.) Because the present leader of RCCG was born in March, every March HGS is tagged “Special” and lasts for a week instead of a night and two days as do the rest of the year’s events. The popularity of HGS has led to it being exported to other countries and university campuses, where it is called “Campus Holy Ghost Service.” Closely following the structure of HGS, and tapping into its popularity, is the Holy Ghost Congress (HGC), which is an annual version of HGS. Originally called Holy Ghost Festival, the first celebration of HGC was held in December, 1998. It was initially a single night’s event, but it has since been expanded into a full week of activities. Sometimes RCCG self-reporting claims that attendance at HGC constitutes the largest religious congregation in the world; however, this honour belongs to the Maha Kumbh Mela, the mass Hindu pilgrimage in the city of Allahabad in northern India. This pilgrimage encompasses over fifty-eight square kilometres and involves more than forty million pilgrims. The most important annual event of the church is its National Convention, a period for the leadership and its members to congregate, share a common vision, and plan ahead for the following year’s activities. The annual convention takes place in the middle of August and lasts for a week. Divine Encounter is a ritual event designed specifically to attend to women’s need for children. It is held on the first Monday (morning) of each the month, for an hour. There is also Ministers’ Conference that is held twice a year (May and August) when ministers of the church come together to discuss church life and to discipline and refresh themselves. Considering the sheer number of ritual events spread across the calendar, it is fair to infer that the RCCG is an activist religion that demands considerable time, commitment, energy and money from its members and patrons.
ORGANISATION / LEADERSHIP
The RCCG started as an egalitarian movement of twelve individuals around the leadership and spiritual resources of a renegade prophet of C&S. However, as the church has expanded, it has bureaucratised and restructured its leadership to become almost exclusively male-dominated and ultra-hierarchical. Officially, the church says the Holy Spirit is its leader; however, it is human leaders who carry out the instructions vested with sacred authority. At the top of the pyramid of authority is the General Overseer (GO), Enoch A. Adeboye, whose words are law with divine sanction. (The GO is fondly called “Daddy GO,” and all the pastors are addressed as “Daddy” or “Mummy,” depending on their gender, by their congregants.) The GO holds office for life while all other pastors (except Mummy GO) must retire at the age of seventy. In principle, the Governing Council of the church is the next most powerful entity in the church; in practice, however, it is the spouse of the GO, Mrs. Foul Adeboye, who goes by the official title of “the Mother-in-Israel” (or the fond name of Mummy GO). As a mark of respect to authority as well as gerontocratic reverence, all pastors of the church defer to her. The Governing Council is made up of eighteen high-ranking, long-serving pastors. There was an office of Deputy General Overseer created in 1981; the title of the office was changed to “Assistant General Overseer: in 1997. In 2002, six offices of Assistant General Overseers were created and filled by top pastors. The church has a set of “Special Assistants to the General Overseer” (SATGOs), the number of which varies from time to time. At one time there was only one SATGOs, but in 2014 the number was increased to ninetten; the seven new additions are Regional Coordinators in charge of RCCG Global Regions: North America, South America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Northern Africa, Southern Africa, and the Middle East/Asia. Even though spiritual, administrative and financial power is concentrated in the person and office of the GO, the expansion of the governing council indicates the tension the exists between the tendency to monopolise charisma by concentrating it in one person (the GO) and in one place (the Redemption Camp) and the increasing clout of the church’s foreign missions in the resource mobilisation and decision-making process of the church. There is also a new administrative unit, called World Advisory Council (WAC), which meets every December during the HGC. As its name indicates, its function is to advise the governing council and raise proposals for its considerations. The WAC is made up of all former and current members of the governing council and all current and former Special Assistants to the GO.
Ang pinakamaliit na yunit ng pangangasiwa sa RCCG ay ang "House Fellowship," isang hanay na bumubuo sa isang parokya. Ang isang parokya ng RCCG ay maaaring kasing dami ng pitong katao o malaking bilang ng ilang libo. Bilang isang patakaran, ang karamihan ay gayunpaman napakaliit. Ang bilang ng mga parokya ay bumubuo ng isang "Area," habang ang ilang mga "lugar" ay bumubuo ng isang "Zone." Sa pagkakasunod-sunod ng kumplikado at pataas na kapangyarihan, ang isang hanay ng mga "zone" ay bumubuo ng isang "Lalawigan," habang ang isang grupo ng " bumubuo sa isang "Regional." Ang bawat yunit ay pinamumunuan at kontrolado ng isang pastor (opisyal na tinatawag na "pastor-in-charge ng parokya / lugar / rehiyon / zone / lalawigan") na mas mababa at may pananagutan sa opisyal sa itaas niya. Tulad ng gitna ng 2014, mayroong dalawampu't walong lalawigan sa Nigeria at higit sa parokya ng 20,000.
The RCCG clearly is the wealthiest religious organisation in Nigeria. To put this in historical perspective, in 1981 the church could not pay its workers’ salary of less than N 300 but could spend N 300 million on a day’s event in 1999 and afford a twenty-fou million U.S. dollar ( N 4b) Gulfstream 4XP jet for its leader in 2009. It is the single largest owner of private property in the country. The RCCG also has the largest religious site, The Redemption Camp, in Nigeria. In 2012, it measured more than 1,540 hectares, a considerable increase from 770 hectares in 2010. The Redemption Camp is the largest physical space dedicated to religion in Africa. The church aggressively expands its land holding to accommodate its vision of constructing a city of God that will be like no other in Nigeria. What started as a prayer camp in 1983 (measuring a mere 14.25 acres) now encompasses more than 2,500 distinct buildings (956 of which are bungalows and 562 are duplexes, fifteen are dedicated religious structures, 336 are chalets or hostels or dormitories, 184 are offices and 170 are uncompleted structures still under construction). The Redemption Camp has a population of about 20,000, and it is the site of a 750 metres by 1,000 metres auditorium. It also houses the church’s university (Redeemer’s University), a maternity, and five banks, among other structures. The Camp is self-sustaining: it supplies about 8,800,000 litres of water per day for its inhabitants and 10.4 megawatts of electricity power from two gas turbines constructed in 2010. The Camp is divided into twenty-two zones, containing more than nine residential estates for member-owners. By church law only church members are allowed to buy housing units and live within the walls of the Camp (Ukah 2014). About forty percent of the residential housing units are built and owned fully by members. The rest are built and owned by mortgage companies owned fully by the church that sell their property to eligible members. The prices of the units range from N12.5 million (€63.500) for a three-bedroom apartment to N18.5million (€93,900) for a three-bedroom duplex. A three-bedroom, semi-detached bungalow goes for N10 million (€47,970); a two-bedroom semi-detached is on sale for N7 million (€33,579); a one-bedroom semi-detached is selling for N4 million (€19,188). As the church expands in membership, so also it converts urban landscape as a testimony to its economic and political power and strength. From a church of holiness, the RCCG steadily transformed into a property church, heavily invested in the property market of Nigeria and in material accumulation, even when its first article of belief is “To make heaven” (Ukah 2014).
ISSUES / CHALLENGES
RCCG is faced with what many “success” organisations face: the problem of free riders. Many people join the church to reap from its harvest of successes or conceal their ill-gotten wealth or simply be associated with the story of a successful organisation. Similarly, the church has attracted many wealthy individuals who contribute part of their wealth in financing the activities of the church and so demand special treatment. The church leadership accords these rich individuals the special treatment they demand, to the resentment of long-standing but poor members who are ignored or relegated to the background. Holiness is reinterpreted in financial terms: to have money or be wealthy is in itself a sign of righteousness and divine approval, which demands no further explanation (Ukah 2011). The church also faces a self-made paradox: it was a word-rejecting organisation that previously shunned worldly professions such as the military or unethical businesses, such as tobacco and alcohol production and marketing, yet it is now in alliance with big businesses no matter what they are engaged in producing and marketing. Similarly, the church is a refuge to powerful, dubious and morally bankrupt politicians who are regarded as primarily responsible for running Nigeria’s political and financial problems. There is also a discernible tension between the church’s global aspiration or claim to power and its deeply entrenched Yoruba character. This is evident in rituals and in the composition of its leaders, ninety percent of whom are of Yoruba extraction. Furthermore, for many Nigerian Pentecostal organisations, leadership transition periods are moments of monumental crisis; RCCG survived one such crisis in 1980/1981. Another transition period is approaching with the advance in age of its present leader. Many aspiring candidates, including some members of Akindayomi’s children, are emerging and jostling for favored positions to compete for power and authority. Fighting to head RCCG is not just about leading a spiritual or religious entity; it is in literal and practical terms to be in total control of an impressive economic and political organization and empire that stretches from the West Coast of Africa to the shores of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and China. With its enormous wealth and property, it is obvious that leadership position in the church is now more attractive than ever. However, as the Nigerian diaspora grows and institutionalises, so also the RCCG is expected to consolidate its global outposts, its wealth and power, these challenges notwithstanding.
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1 Septiyembre 2014