analysisBy Luke Okoro
Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi is the General Superintendent (G.S) of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry a.k.a The Deeper Life Bible Church. He was an outstanding academics,
Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi is the General Superintendent (G.S) of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry a.k.a The Deeper Life Bible Church. He was an outstanding academics, having distinguished himself as a senior lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Lagos (Unilag) in the 1970s, from where he also nursed the Deeper Life Movement.
Yes, Deeper Life was a movement or better still, a spiritual phenomenon that swept the country, indeed, the christendon in the 1970s and the 1980s in ways that passed "all human understanding." The impact was so strong and real that even those who never saw the Kumuyi's (couple) began to dress like them and also to speak like the G.S. whose trademark black suit and short sleeved white shirts were believed to be a uniform.
As a fact, many of his followers choose not to have a number of such dresses (even if it is of same colour like the Kumuyi's), arguing that it was carnal to do so. They were to learn with time that their G.S. was not always wearing the black suits as uniform. He had quite a number of them, sown in modesty and worn with a cultured humility, that has over the years stood him out from the rest of other ministers.
Truly, his teachings were fundamentally different from the usual run-of-the mill teachings associated with most ministers of God then, especially, those of the non-pentecostal hue, who held ace in the gospel business. The defining character of the movement then was the National December Retreat held to coincide with the Christmas.
The program sought to remove the 'Deeper Lifers' from the carnal festivities attached to the Christmas celebration by the 'so-called' christians, since the movement does not believe in such a celebration. In any case, Jesus Christ did not ask anybody to celebrate His birthday, which Christmas seeks to epitomize.
While fully subscribing to the celebration of Easter, Kumuyi devoted his time, talent and energy to the indoctrination of his followers, making them to appreciate the truth of the gospel in ways that would necessarily set them apart from the rest of the world.
Like his forebears in John and Charles Wesley, with their holiness club that metamorphosed into today's Methodist Church, Kumuyi taught uncompromising faith to the point that his followers were thought to be anti-social, but they were not. They spoke like him, they dressed like him and since they may not have seen him physically do certain things, they imagined how he would done such things and acted out their imaginations.
Therefore, it was not surprising that when in one of the conventions, he described the television as the 'devil's box,' that almost all his followers threw away their TV sets. Those, who did not, left the ministry, while those kept theirs and still remained in the fold were regarded as 'carnal brethren,' who have lost their first love.
This reading of the mind and lips of the G.S. by his followers made it possible for those who formed the marriage boards and committees to inject extraneous and selfishly private intents in the marriage process. They insisted on two full-adults making their proposals and consents before them. They insisted on monitoring these same adults in their visits to one another. And very often, they canceled out a budding relationship for potential marriage on account of the involved brethren breaching these unwritten and wieldy rules. It was indeed, a period of spiritual discouragement by those who should propel the Deeper Life revival to the next level.
The effect was visible as many who should have moved with the revival in the movement were not captured. Those who were captured were not retained. Most importantly was the fact that young people who should grow the church and strengthen the work of the leadership were cheaply offered to other kind of ministries, whose liberalization of the truth or the gospel had done the church no good.
It would have been stretching the argument that some of these new generation and ashamedly carnal and heaven unmindful preachers that dot the country's spiritual landscape, would not have stolen, or enticed or received the attention of some of the youths had this preacher of the deeper christian living not been misread by those who followed him before now.
Yes, one uses the word 'misread' advisedly because this spiritual icon never wrote in any of his books or preached in any of his messages that the devil's box (TV) should be discarded by his followers. Or that those who form the marriage committee should place unnecessary hurdles on the path of intended couples. Like Wesley, Kumuyi has preached the sanctification of the soul through its rebirth and the expressionof the inner (the sanctified) life in word, deed and thought as noted in 1 Timothy 4:12.
Therefore, it is a thing of joy and a timely intervention, when on October 1, this quintessential Bible teacher, launched a satellite Television station (received via subscription) into the mass communication market. For one thing, it has resolved the doubts surround his misunderstood position on the matter. For another thing, it will reduce the growing disinterest among the younger Deeper Lifers in the ministry.
Even those who may have left in the past on account of this misunderstanding have also been given another window to return. True, some left the ministry because they did not want to be branded carnal or disobedient on account of watching TV news or working in a TV station.
It is also sound wisdom for the G.S. to realize that the kingdom business must be carried out as a team hence the involvement of the ministry in the activities of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). This is fitted step at a time like this. For instance, the events in the North do not give room for solo effort of any one Christian group. Apart from the effort being subsumed, the lives of the group's members are also unduly exposed to danger.
Interestingly, he has also promised to address the marriage conundrum. This must be quickly done because some members of the committees across the country appear to have been 'planted' by satan to stop as many sisters and brothers at their prime from getting married. Must our sisters in the twilight of their youth and full blown males in their 40s and early 50s be prevented from marrying simply because 'they have not prayed enough.' When is prayer really enough? And can prayer also be enough?
Certainly not! But these are the aberrations that had ruled these committees over the years. Sadly, it has left some of these sincere ladies unmarried, some merely married to warm the beds of their husbands, some of whom had simply walked away from both the marriage and the church, it had been that bad, regrettably.
No doubt, at 75, Kumuyi is an icon, a saintly whiz-kid and a spiritual enigma whose capacity to have kept the Deeper Life Ministry intact and spiritually untainted for nearly four decades is mystifying. It is also a thing of divine excitement that he has steered the movement from sinful controversies now notorious among christian leaders and churches. He has shown trust in the manner of the pilgrims of old.
As the years of glory subsist, this big daddy of over 1 million Depper Lifers across the globe should strive and deepen the new face of the ministry to avoid the satanic verses of the past rearing their ugly interjections any more. The days of the locust must be fully expiated. And as an elder statesman and respected christian leader of transparent integrity, Daddy Kumuyi must continue to add voice to the political leadership of the land.
As he can see, the political leadership he met as a young man in the 1960s has continued to slid in character, content and delivery over the years, even today. Beyond prayers, he should also point the way forward. No doubt, we need the saintly voice of his like to reassure us that all is well with our dear nation.
Kumuyi was born in 1941 into an Anglican home. It was a very strict Christian home, he said, "We would get up in the morning, read the Bible, sing hymns, and go to church regularly. When I went to secondary school I lost interest in the church because our principal taught us atheism. But after a while I thought again and started going to various churches in town.
Eventually, in 1963, a group of singers and preachers from a Gospel church got permission to come to the school. I understood the Gospel message, and was born again on April 5th, 1964. I read John Wesley, Charles Finney, Spurgeon, and lots of other books. I got involved with the Scripture Union, and I grew."
He made a first-class degree in Mathematics at the University of Ibadan; then went back to Mayflower School where he had his college education, to teach. After five years he went to the University of Lagos to do a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and became a lecturer there in 1973; and that was when he started a small Deeper Life Bible Study group now present in over 60 countries in the globe.