The name Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa is one that cannot be forgotten in a generation that desires to worship a living God. Yes, i mean a living God. Although gone to be with the Lord, his message about God and the display of his power is still imparting many and causing the faith of many to mature, baptizing many young men and women with the power to stand against and destroy evil in this generation.
HIS LIFE OF FAITH
Benson Andrew Idahosa (11 September 1938 – 12 March 1998) was a charismatic pentecostal preacher, and the founding father of the Church of God Mission International with headquarters in Benin City, Nigeria. As the first pentecostal Archbishop in Nigeria, he was well known for his life of faith.
T. L. Osborn referred to him as “The greatest African Ambassador of the Apostolic Christian faith to the world”.
Archbishop Benson Idahosa was born to non-christian parents in a predominantly non-christian community. He was rejected by his father, John, for being sickly as he constantly had fainting spells as a child, and after one of his spells, his mother was instructed by his father to abandon him in a rubbish heap thinking him dead. Hours later, he was rescued by his mother.
As a youth, he got converted to Christianity by a certain Pastor Okpo, and joined his congregation as one of its first members. He was very active in converting many to Christianity as he had read the whole book of John and was passionate about soul winning. After experiencing a revelation from God calling him into ministry, he began to conduct outreaches from village to village. He then bought a motorcycle to help him travel the distance to preach the gospel, before establishing his church in a store in Benin City. By 1971, he had established churches all over Nigeria and Ghana.
Renowned for his boldness, power, and prosperity-based preaching, as well as an enormous faith in God’s supernatural power, he was key to the strong wave of revival in Christianity and marked conversions from animism that happened between the 1970s and 1990s in Nigeria. He is regarded by Christian folks as the father of Pentecostalism in Nigeria. Many prominent Nigerian pastors today were his protégés.
With his main task being evangelism, he launched Idahosa World Outreach television ministry (IWO TV), which was a broadcast reaching a viewing audience of 50 million people. This was a first in Nigeria as the gospel was on every screen in every home.
He was used by God to perform many miracles, including healing the blind and raising up to twenty-eight people from the dead at different times in his ministry.
He had strong connections with international ministers like Billy Graham, T. L. Osborn, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Reinhard Bonnke, Morris Cerullo, and Oral Roberts, amongst others; and preached the gospel in 145 nations in his 59 years of life. At the time of his death in 1998, he had preached to more whites than any black man, and to more blacks than any white man.
His desire to meet the needs of the total man led him to establish several other arms of the ministry apart from the church. They include; the Faith Mediplex, All Nations for Christ Bible Institute, Word of Faith Group of Schools, and Benson Idahosa University.
CRITICISM COULD NOT STOP HIM
- He faced a lot of criticism as he brought a lot of firsts into Christianity in Nigeria and Africa.
- He was excommunicated by Pastor Okpo for buying a motorcycle but was later accepted into the church when the same motorcycle was used to take the pastor’s pregnant wife to the hospital.
- He was accused of turning the church into a disco hall when he bought drums and other musical instruments for praise and ministrations.
- He was accused of leading people to hell when he fostered the gospel on TV and when he bought a car.
- He first mooted the ownership of Universities by churches in Nigeria.
- He built the Largest Bible School in Nigeria, where foreigners taught and still teach and learn.
He preached the gospel in 145 nations in his 59 years of life. At the time of his death in 1998, he had preached to more whites than any black man, and to more blacks than any white man.
BREAKING NEW GROUNDS
In 1989, Archbishop Benson Idahosa led 1 million people in a crusade at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos for the first time.
In contrast to the pervasive ignorance and lack of foresight of the church at that time, he chose to minister the gospel, raise the dead, and heal the sick in demonstration of power and in prosperity.
In summary, he was a 1 in a 1000 kind of preacher. With words backed by the God who sent him, this great man was able to call down physical and spiritual fire from heaven, he would call blindness, paralysis, or death on anyone standing as a barrier to the work of the gospel or perverting truth just like Prophet Elijah did.
Archbishop Benson Idahosa was a man whose presence demons, wizards and witches could not withstand. He drove away hundreds of witches and wizards in Benin and thousands in Nigeria as a whole.
The anointing, grace, power, and authority in Christ that was on Archbishop Benson Idahosa is still on the Earth today.
God wants to impart men and women with it, but only those who are willing to follow Jesus Christ and walk in dimensions no one has ever heard of nor experienced before can receive it.