Vanguard (Lagos)

10 October 2009

Nigeria: Refreshing Times at Deeper Life as Kumuyi Launches Satellite TV, Relaxes Stringent Marriage Conditions

It is indeed times of refreshing as the General Superintendent of the puritan conservative Pentecostal church, the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi whose church members are banned from watching television for fear of pollution, subtely joined the big league of eminent Nigerian preachers who are taking advantage of modern technological dev-elopment to beam their preachments and other activities via satellite to the rest of the world.

As the nation marked her 49th independence anniver-sary, history was being made in Lagos when the church shed some of its conservatism by formally launching its own satellite television station to be at par with its more liberal counter-parts like the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, The Synagogue of All Nations, SOAN, Believers LoveWorld Ministries a.k.a. Christ Embassy and lately Word of Life Bible Church.

Similarly, in a question and answer session that followed a teaching at the church, the holiness preacher who has been collaborating with the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, CAN, also relaxed some stringent conditions intending couples must go through to be joined in marriage, saying that the church which was founded in 1973 has come of age and will no longer be held captive by the traditions of men.

Set up over 30 years ago by the Ilesha-born former University of Lagos mathematics lecturer, Dr. Kumuyi, the DCLM which started with 14 members in a house at the varsity campus, prided itself as one of the foremost holiness preaching ministry and as a result, members were enjoined to do away with all 'worldly' elements in their voyage to heaven including the most powerful communication tool in this generation--the television.

Members threw away their televisions while others who were not too financially comfortable were taunted by more 'religious' members for daring to sell theirs instead of outrightly throwing them away. Today, it is still regarded as sacrilege for a church worker to own a television. Those whose homes are used for house fellowships have been reprimanded by church authorities for daring to disobey laid down church regulations by being 'worldly.'

But all of that will be challenged as the leadership of the church, which lately has been coming out of its shell to collaborate with other church organisations, is subtely bowing to the inevitable law that change is the only permanent thing on earth. Hitherto, the DCLM, a member of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, pays its dues but does not actively participate in any of the body's activities including their biennial conferences. The GS, Kumuyi seldom interacts with his colleagues openly on spiritual matters.

Vanguard gathered, during the week, that the satellite TV, which will be known as Deeper Life TV, is throwing up several unanswered questions: Will the restriction be lifted or how can members watch the new TV? Is the church changing its rules? The Deeper Life TV, according to sources, will not be affiliated to any of the three existing pay TV networks in Nigeria, DSTV, HiTV and DaarSat but viewers can tune to it on the free-to-air basis.

At present, the church has more than one million members in over 60 countries of Africa, Europe, Russia, Asia and America. We recall that when the church took off in his living room at the Unilag, the focus was on holiness and as the church grew there arose the need to do away with distracting worldly things like the television which some of the critics believe is responsible for mass exodus of youths from the church.

Our reporter gathered from inside sources that the primary aim of the television is to evangelise the world for Christ, as Pastor Kumuyi's messages will form the crux of the content of the Christian programmes of the station which is expected to broadcast 24 hours daily.

Similarly, young men and women in the church can now heave a sigh of relief as the GS has ordered marriage committees to use their own commonsense to address certain issues because there is no marriage committee in the Bible, adding that some acts of the MC has driven intending couples to sin. According to him, Marriage Committee does not make good marriages, instead they were administrative creations of the church which helped to direct people, but the real people who make marriages work are the two characters involved.

Pastor Kumuyi admitted that the church had matured since 1973 when it was established and there is need to adapt to certain changes so that people we minister to will not misunderstand us.

"I was talking to a group co-ordinator some days ago when he came to tell me about an intending couple whose age difference was over 12 years and I told him they should go ahead and wed them," he said, adding that the age restriction was just an administrative decision of the church which had no foundation in the Bible.

"It is better you get married in the will of God, rather than stay there and commit fornication behind closed doors," he said.

He vowed to stay with the Word of God instead of following the traditions of men, adding "church administration is good but they must not be placed above the Bible."

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