Benson A Idahosa –The Revelation
“During one of my night’s sleep, I was woken up by a voice while my room was filled with the presence of God. The Lord was telling me about His plans for my life -I have called you that you might take the gospel around the world in my name, preach the gospel, and I will confirm my word with signs following”.
Benson A. Idahosa took, known for his courage, authority and prosperity-based preaching, as well as an great belief in the supernatural, was influential to the strong wave of revival in the Christian faith and noticeable conversions from animism that took place in Nigeria between the 1970s and 1990s. Among the christian community, he is noted and referred to as the father of Pentecostalism in Nigeria, and was the founding President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). Many Nigerian pastors including the likes of David Oyedepo, Ayo Oritsejafor (current President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)), Felix Omobude, Bishop Mike Okonkwo and Chris Oyakhilome, Apostle Johnson Suleman were his protégés.
Arch Bishop Benson A Idahosa (11 September 1938 – 12 March 1998) was born to non-Christian parents in a mostly non-Christian community and he was the fourth of nine children of Late Pa John Idahosa. He was rejected by his father, John, for being frail and sickly. He constantly had fainting spells as a child, and on one of his spells, his mother, Sarah, abandoned him at a rubbish heap presuming him dead. Hours later, he came to, and began wailing and was rescued by his mother. He grew up in a underprivileged household and had no access to education until he was fourteen years old, when he was able to attend a local school. As a young man, he repented and became a christian through the hand of a certain Pastor Okpo of the Assemblies of God were he became one of his first members. He was very active in evangelism and had a supernatural encounter; a revelation from God calling him into ministry. After this experience he began to do more evangelistic meetings and outreaches. He would ask the Chiefs who head the villages for permission to conduct an evangelistic meeting in their village, during which he established his church in a store in Benin City. Within few years they outgrew the place and finally bought a piece of land to erect a bigger building.
While studying for a Diploma in Divinity at the United States of America, he read T.L.Osbourne’s book on evangelism and he was inspired to massively evangelize Benin his home town. On return to Nigeria, Arch Bishop B A Idahosa organized the first of his many crusades at Ogbe stadium in Benin which attracted 10,000 people. This crusade was publicized on radio stations, print posters and leaflets; the first of its kind in Nigeria by a black man, as it was American evangelists who usually do this sort of thing.
By 1971, he had founded churches all over Nigeria and Ghana. The headquarters of his ministry, Church of God Mission (Faith Miracle Center), is a massive cathedral that accommodate about 10,000 people. His ministry has branches all over the world, ranging from Africa to Europe and America to Asia. Because his main assignment is evangelism, he initiated Idahosa World Outreach television ministry (IWO TV), which was a broadcast reaching an estimated viewing audience of 50 million people.
God performed many miracles through his hands, including healing the blind, and raising up to twenty-eight people from the dead at different times in his ministry etc. He was known for many notable quotes among whom are "Faith is not a superstition or an intention but an action” “my God is not a poor God", "your attitude determines your altitude", "it is more risky, not to take a risk", "I am a possibilitarian", "A big head without a big brain is a big load to the neck", "If your faith says yes, God cannot say no", among others. He had strong ties with renowned gospel preachers like Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, T. L. Osborn, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Reinhard Bonnke, Morris Cerullo among others; and preached in over 144 countries of the world.
In 1981, Arch Bishop Benson A Idahosa was ordained as the first Pentecostal Church Bishop in Nigeria by David Du plesis (known as Mr. Pentecost) and two other Bishops. He also pioneered a television ministry, ‘Redemption Hour’ which made him to become the first TV evangelist in Africa.The desire of this highly anointed Man of God to be a blessing and to meet the needs of the total man inspired him to start many projects 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 which is currently under the leadership of his son, Rev. F. E. B. Idahosa.
In 1971, he earned a diploma in Divinity from Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. Other qualifications includes:
- Doctorate of Divinity in 1981 from the Word of Faith College in New Orleans.
- In 1984, he earned a Doctorate in Law at the Oral Roberts University.
- He was the founding president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN)
- He was a member of the College of Bishops of the International Communion of Christian Churches.
- He was once the President of All Nations for Christ Bible Institute.
Arch Bishop Benson A Idahosa was married to his wife, Margaret Idahosa who is the current presiding Arch Bishop of the Church of God Missions. They have about four children. Before his death in 1998, he was reported to have preached to more whites than any black man, and to more blacks than any white man.