• As church sets to open 36,000-capacity worship centre
• VP, Adeboye, others to grace occasion
As Deeper Life Bible Church, founded in 1973, by Pastor W.F. Kumuyi, then a university teacher (at the University of Lagos), prepares to officially open its ultra-modern 36,000-seater worship centre, a source close to the church, has revealed the men of God who influenced the Founder/General Superintendent’s life and ministry.
The source, one of the foundation members of the church, but who insists on remaining anonymous, alluded to John Wesley (1703-1791), a British religious reformer and founder of Methodist Church Movement, Charles Finney, an American Presbyterian preacher (1792 – 1875), known in Christian Pentecostal circle as “Father of Modern Revivalism” and Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), a Baptist preacher and founder of Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, as three of the foremost preachers whose writings influenced and shaped Kumuyi’s religious life and ministry.
While Kumuyi is reported to have copied his doctrine of restitution and sanctification from John Wesley, who, with his brother Charles and fellow cleric, George Whitefield, founded Methodism he is said to have modeled his teachings on austere life and self-denial on Finney’s propagation of salvation by grace being affirmed by works. The Deeper Life, like Finney, believes that acts of unrepentant sin and worldliness are signs that a person has not received the full salvation that Christ provides, and which includes sanctification and inner freedom from sin and sinful tendencies.
Kumuyi’s famous style of preaching, his three-point arrangement and division of message was reportedly based on a similar style adopted by Spurgeon known in his day as “the Prince of Preachers.”
Spurgeon who produced powerful sermons of penetrating thought and precise exposition, totaling 3,600 sermons and published 49 volumes of commentaries, sayings, anecdotes, illustrations and devotions, by the time of his death in 1892, was also reputed to have built the largest church edifice of his day, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, that seated 5000 worshippers with standing room for another 1000.
The purpose-built church auditorium was officially opened for public worship in London, on March 18, 1861. A source close to the church told Sunday Sun that Deeper Life Bible Church is set to publicly open its new church cathedral for worship on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and the General Overseer Worldwide, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, state governors and other anointed men of God, from within and outside Nigeria, are some of the dignitaries expected to grace the occasion.
Elsewhere, the event which will be televised live will be watched by millions of church worshippers, admirers and interested Nigerians who are expected to hook up to the live telecast either through their TV sets or life streaming on the Internet for the interest of other viewers around the globe.
The multi-million naira edifice with modern roofs and classy seats said to be imported from France, central air-conditioning and central sewage disposal systems, to create maximum comfort for worshippers, was built by the Italian construction company, Cappa D’Alberto.
When contacted for comment, Pastor Segun Babatope, the church’s Head of Media and official spokesman, noted that “while the magnificent structure is something to be happy about as it would help in the world evangelization vision of the general superintendent and conservation of saved souls, the church is not out to compete with other churches that are engaged in the building of massive auditorium that sit or would sit far larger crowd of worshippers, some 75,000, some 100,000. So, it is nothing to create big headlines from, as that would detract from the church’s vision and focus in putting up the structure.”
Talking about Kumuyi’s spiritual mentors, interestingly, while two of them, Finney and Spurgeon kept bushy beards in their days, Kumuyi, a First Class honour recipient in Mathematics from the University of Ibadan, does not. Rather, he is always clean-shaven and neatly dressed, something he is said to have copied from Wesley, his foremost mentor, among the three. The majority of the male members of his church and ministry also do not keep beards or bushy hairs. “Although our GS (General Superintendent) made mention of Finney and Spurgeon from time to time,” the source said, “the passion with which he referred to Wesley in most of his sermons shows that his teachings and writings definitely had more influence on him than those of the other two (Finney and Spurgeon).”
Some people believe that what we know today as Deeper Life doctrine may be a conflation of Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist teachings, going by the various influences these religious reformers exerted on Kumuyi.
But our source argued that this observation may not be totally true based on the fact that the GS, as he is fondly called by millions of his members, was also a one-time member of the Anglican Church (now Anglican Communion), Celestial Church of Christ, Scripture Union (SU) movement and Apostolic Faith before breaking away to found Deeper Life.