Ever since a fb friend posted the archival picture below, my mental focus had shifted back to a fascinating story in the life of a people, the story of the religious revitalization movement of the second and third decades of the last century, a story of cultural integration of the christian religion into an African milieu and the stupendous power of revival, redemption, revitalization, restoration and salvation that was unleashed on a people as oppressive strongholds were uprooted and destructive principalities were dethroned….a witness account –
“Joseph Babalola has been able to accomplish more in six weeks than the Anglican Church has been able to do in sixty years.”
That was Christina Matthews, a CMS missionary in Africa and a native of New Jersey who witnessed Babalola’s work at Ikare, one of the four major revival centres of 1930. Matthews’ comment made at the peak of the Revival of 1930 and published in The Morning Post which was also reprinted in The Christian Herald of October 1932 underscores the enormity of the Revival, its considerable historical significance, the results and impact of that revival on the religious, political, educational and social planes and its role in ushering Nigerians to a new awareness of God and laying the foundation for Pentecostalism in Nigeria. Much more, it situates the paramount place of Joseph Ayo Babalola in the growth and development of Nigerian evangelism.
The Great Revival of 1930 shook Nigeria’s social, economic, cultural and religious structures to its foundations. Close to 2million people witnessed the Revival in Ilesha….” Babalola’s stoic asceticism and single minded dedication to his calling remain unparalleled in these times of indefensible compromises…
Apostle Ayo Babalola was a christian revivalist, given to aggressive proselytization of the word of God, faith healing and miracles..they are key to what sociologists call revitalization and several of such has been documented in diverse societies. It has been documented for example, that at least 15 stone dead people came back to life in Babalola’s revivals. According to the revitalization theory, special people are called at critical conjunctures of a people’s life to call people back to order from spiritual turpitude, moral degeneracy, demonic oppression, needless suffering and restoring the hope of eternal salvation…when men and women know it does not all end here, there is an incentive to be more upright.