•Speaks About His 30 Years In The Ministry
+The 30th Year Anniversary Of His Church
On Sunday 25th August 2019, the Redemption Parish of the Celestial Church of Christ, Oke-Ado, Ibadan came alive, as members celebrated the 30th Adult Harvest Thanksgiving Service. The founder and host pastor, Ven/Sup/ Anthony Victor Brown was the Chief Host. He runs 5 parishes of the church across Ibadan and Lagos. The Oke-Ado parish is the headquarters.
A few days after the event, City People interviewed Evangelist Tony Brown at his Lagos Parish of his Church also called Redemption Parish (Special District) 5-7 Omojuwa Estate, Kosofe Bus/Stop at Mile 12.
He spoke about his 30 years in the Ministry and the 30th Year Anniversary of the Church. He told City People how the church has remained at the same spot it has been since inception. “The journey was not an easy one at the beginning, “he explained. “It wasn’t a one year plan or a 2-year plan. No. The journey went on for 7 years. God kept calling me to come and serve him and I kept ignoring his call until I saw his Divine Call again and things happened miraculously. Before then, I was very stubborn, till 1989. I remember that day”.
“We went for a Harvest in Iperu-Remo. As we got to Iperu there was heavy rain. As I said, God had been calling me and I have been stubborn about it. I didn’t want to serve him. I was reluctant. Then the Holy Spirit appeared to me in a trance on that day and he told me God will destroy me and my children if I don’t hearken to the call. He said my children will die as a punishment. The rain that day was heavy. The whole of Iperu was flooded. It destroyed the whole ceremony”.
“I told God to show me signs for me to know if he was the one truly talking to me”.
“The rains were so heavy that it was impossible to stop the rain. I now told the Holy Spirit that if he wants me to believe it was God talking to me if I stretch my hands out to the sky he should give me the powers to stop the rain. He now said that is ok. I stretched my left hand and the rain immediately stopped. It was then I knew that the die is cast. I knew I had to take God seriously. The following Monday after the Iperu Harvest I quickly set out to look for a place we can start using as a place of worship, although we had a room in the house I live in. I lived in a 4 bedroom flat and I kept a room for my altar. I got a new place eventually and the landlord was nice to me. He gave me 6 months of grace to settle down to start the Ministry”.
“That is how I took off. Immediately, I took off, it was a miracle upon miracle. There were a lot of testimonies. Within 3 months, the church was packed full. The church was spirit-filled. It was a spirit-filled church. We have been there at Oke-Ado, the present site where I am till today”.
How did he become a member of Celestial Church? “It is a long story. I was in the classroom writing my exams. It was Economics. I suddenly saw a hand on the blackboard. My sight went. Suddenly I couldn’t see again. I couldn’t continue with my exams again. I heard a voice. Are you ready to carry my cross? Are you ready to serve me? I couldn’t see again. There was a total blackout, vision wise. I was in complete darkness. The voice said Answer me so that I can open your eyes and you can see. On the long run, I answered God. I said yes, I will serve you. After I said Yes, I started to see, I started to see light again”.
“Days after I became sick because I didn’t take the voice seriously. I fell ill. It was suspected case of Peptic Ulcer.
What further happened was where I work, once I receive my salary, the pain will begin. It will be very severe, for 2 to 3 days. The pain will come. It went on like that. Eventually, I decided to come back home from London in 1979. I went to my mother who made arrangements to take me to Asaba to see a Herbalist. I am from Sapele. That is where my mom lived. Before we got there, the Herbalist left Asaba to meet us halfway. He asked us to go back. The Herbalist told us what he experienced. He said he was at home when they told him they were bringing somebody who he found out is greater than me. They worshipped idols. He said he went into a trance and he saw me in a white garment leading the children of God in a prayer service. It was the Herbalist who recommended that I should go to a white garment church and join”.
“I then left Sapele for Ibadan, it was in 1979/80. That is how I met my wife, who is now deceased. I went to the Celestial Church at Oke-Ado, along Joyce B road. On this fateful day, I got my salary and the pain started again. I felt so miserable that I wanted to terminate my life. I could not bear it any longer. I wanted to take some pills and kill myself. I had this tablet in my hand and I was about to swallow it. It was my wife who stopped me. She said why don’t you just go to the Celestial Church you have been asked to go to. It is opposite us here.
I told her that I am not going. I said I cannot go to that church where they don’t wear shoes. She replied me immediately. She said is it shoes that is your problem? Let’s go. And off we went. When we got there, the Shepherd didn’t take me seriously when he saw my Afro hairdo. He was testing my fate. He didn’t think I was serious. He didn’t take me seriously for 3 months. He did sanctification for me and I continued to serve. Then late Baba Oshoffa came to Ibadan and he placed his hands on me. From that day, I never had the pain again. That was the entry point, till date. There has been no going back.”
What will Evangelist Brown call the beauty of being a Celestial member? “It is beautiful being a member of CCC,” he explained “I was born into Methodist Church. My mum is from Methodist. My grandfather is a Reverend at the Baptist Church in Sapele. There are churches and there are churches. There are some churches that are Holy Spirit-filled. There are respect and dignity at CCC, total respect. There is a great difference between CCC of today and what obtained than when Baba Oshoffa was still in control. The CCC we got from Baba Oshoffa was so spirit-filled, full of the Holy Spirit. I have become so involved in Cele Affairs. For instance, in CCC you just don’t say I am born again. In CCC you have to go from process to process, not just Baptism. It is a process. You have to go from a process to the next. It will take you 10 to 15 years before you can become a Shepherd. But things have changed now. We are facing great challenges from people coming through the back door, not through the main door”.
“The name Cele is beautiful. Cele means something heavenly, Celestial. It is heaven that we are presenting on earth. Cele means heavenly bodies on earth. The African tactics can’t bring the church together because we Africans are selfish, we talk of Egos, large egos. Some of us have turned Cele into an African Church, doing things that suit us. The only thing still keeping us together is the Holy Spirit. Many of our Pastors run parishes full of lies. It’s sad how some of us run our parishes. When the Holy Spirit does not speak they will say the Holy Spirit has spoken. We now have so many factions, so many Pastors, so many Prophets who give false prophecies. We have been launching since 1985, since the demise of late Baba Oshoffa. We have missed him for the past 34 years.”
What is the way forward?
“We must all come together. We should come together as one. Prophets have been fighting each other. This must stop. We are all self-centred. This must stop. We should not be thinking of worldly things, things of the world. There are 3 poisons affecting the celestial church. They are Money, Power and Women. We must get rid of the 3 vices. We must avoid playing politics. There is serious politicking, based on lies. There are so many of us prophets saying God has said this or that when God didn’t say so.
“I don’t see how the church can be one, at the moment, unless God decides to make the Church one, unless God does it, to make the Church accomplish what he sent the church to accomplish”.
We need to go back to God in prayers. We are very far away from the mission. What we are promising now is not what God sent Baba Oshoffa to do. Those in Authority are not taking care of the Shepherd. We should allow the Holy Spirit to work. The Holy Spirit has been put behind, in the Celestial Church, not in front again like before. Hence, the reason we are in a log jam. Our problem is with, We the leaders. We all have to come together to tell ourselves some home truths. As it is, we don’t know when we would come out of this log jam”.