A prolific writer and preacher with the vow of poverty, Rev Chris Christian has impacted many lives from the pulpit and through his religious literature. Regarded as Nigeria’s most prolific author, he has published over 200 books, and is still counting. He is the General Supervisor of the Transnational Ministries of the Locust Army, a ministry formed in 1999. Henry Akubuiro caught up with the preacher at his church office in Ajah, Lagos, and he confessed how COVID-19 advanced his writing career with the publication of new books, why he extended his bookshop to other authors and why his books sell for giveaway prices.
For the greater part of this year, COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the entire world, with all facets of life experiencing lull. Aside being a preacher, you function as a writer. How has it affected your writing?
COVID-19 has advantages and disadvantages. First of all, it has helped me to stay inside and get more focused on my writing. The other way round, it has reduced the contacts outside. I think it is really God’s will that it happened, because, seeing the prophetic predictions, we know that COVID-19 is end time, and it is pointing towards the prophetic agenda for God this time, so we don’t really see it as negative. That’s why we say we need to be more careful and prayerful; let’s see what God wants to achieve with it.
You mean Covid-19 is God’s will to fulfil his will?
Yes. As you can see, it is trying to go away. When it is done, it will go away, because nothing can overtake God. He is in charge. So everything, including COVID-19, is made subject through divine act of God.
What’s more surprising is that, contrary to the projection that it would take a huge toll on Africans, it has had the least impact on the continent…
If you look at the prophetic agenda of God for this season, Africa is a continent in prophesy. It is a last millennium prophetic continent. Africa is having a security light of God to be the salt of other nations. So Africa is enjoying divine immunity. It’s obvious. There is what God wants to achieve in this particular millennium through Africa and Africans. If it must be achieved, the continent must be protected. When I was preaching initially that COVID-19 wouldn’t ravage Africa, people were doubting it, but we can see now that the hand of God is very strong on Africa. It will always be strong on Africa in this particular millennium. The season of God for Africa is this particular time. When a man is enjoying divine immunity, God will not allow the enemy to ravage him. WHO is taken aback by what is happening in Africa, but there is hand of God in it. Again, the symptoms of coronavirus are something we are used to here; we operate under very harsh conditions. If we really want to be honest with ourselves, I don’t think COVI9-19 really came to Africa.
As a preacher who write religious literature based on divine inspiration, did you see the pandemic coming?
I didn’t see it coming, but I have an understanding of what the season is all about. I also know that, outside COVID-19, the earth will come under pressure. COVID-19 is one of the signs of the end that has not happened yet. There are other signs of the end that haven’t manifested, and we are still expecting them. I knew something that looked like COVID-19 would come, but I didn’t know exactly in what form. But, if you look at it, the impact was overwhelming. Since I was born, I have never seen something that defied intellectualism, medical experts, even, sometimes, prayers, like COVID-19 –some nations, like America, prayed, yet people are still dying, because the hand of God is there. But, now, He is trying to take it away. This is a time for the abnormal –you know, one of my books spoke on an abnormal time –and abnormal things happen in abnormal times; and, in abnormal times, we can’t be normal. The problem people are having is that they are trying to be normal in abnormal times. This is a weird season, and a weird season should be dealt with in an abnormal way.
Are you thinking of writing a book on COVID-19?
No (laughs). I have mentioned it in some of my recent write-ups, but I am not sure of writing a book on it. If I want to write on the signs of the end, which I haven’t done, I will bring it in briefly.
Back to your writing and the impact of COVID-19, how did you fare?
I wrote seven books during the COVID-19 lockdown, and I am working on 14 at the moment. As I said, during that period, there was no movement, so I had all the time to myself to write books. For the new 14 books I am writing, about 10 chapters have already been completed in each of them. I do primarily writing –I am not a travelling preacher. There was a particular time, during the lockdown that I spent five weeks indoors in my office in the church without going home. Because people were not coming to the church, there were no distractions, so it aided me with focus and concentration.
I noticed, on entering the church premises, a screaming notice announcing the opening of a bookshop, when did you start the bookshop?
It has always been there, selling my books, except that we have started bringing in other authors and make it larger, so we no decided to announce it. Before now, there were people who didn’t know there was a bookshop here. They only got to know through that advert.
What kind of books are on sale here?
Different things. There are those who write on leadership, while some are motivational writers. We also have business books and some on attitude. They are not purely religious books.
How’s the patronage like since they say Nigerians don’t read?
We cannot say Nigerians don’t read. Large percentage don’t read, but Nigerians read. If we say Nigerians don’t read, it’s not correct, because people read. You can only talk in terms of percentage. When I started writing, a lot of people around me weren’t reading, but, as I kept writing, I have succeeded in influencing many people around me to read.
With hundreds of books already published, you ought to be a millionaire author. Do you make millions from your writings?
It depends on your target. My emphasis is not actually on moneymaking as a writer, but for knowledge dissemination. Some of my books sold for 1,000 for tree copies so that many people would get to read them. There are some people who want to read but they can’t afford to buy the books, so if we insist on money, it won’t get to some hands. So, most of the time, I don’t get a lot of money from the books. The good thing is that the books have continued to spread.
Right now, we are making attempts to get foreign publishers to publish the books. The last time we made attempts to publish with Amazon, it said it didn’t want anything to do with Nigerians. So we are trying to use American door to get into Amazon. I don’t know why they don’t know why they don’t like Nigerians.
Are you satisfied how far your books have travelled?
No, but I am making serious attempts to exploit the American and UK markets, because we can’t take over the world from Nigeria, because of the reactions of people to literary works. I want to really get to where people appreciate revelations because of the maturity of their minds.