The leadership tussle rocking the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) worldwide may take a different dimension as another ardent member of the church has claimed that he is actually the authentic successor to the founder, Rev. Samuel Biléhou Joseph Oshoffa, who founded the church on 29 September 1947 in Porto-Novo, Benin and died in 1985.
Prophet Ehoun Xavier Gbedayi, a.k.a Sent by God, one of the prominent Celestial Church pastors in Benin Republic pastoring the Celestial Church of Christ, Jesulegowa-Adjagbo, Abomey – Calavi, Republic of Benin, was in Nigeria recently with his wife, Marlene Ehoun, who incidentally is a former beauty queen, formerly known as Marlene Quenum, won the Miss Benin 2007.
The prophet, who was invited to Nigeria basically for weeklong power-packed crusades orgnanised by the celestial church brethren in Nigeria, claimed that late Oshoffa had predicted his coming before his death, noting that Oshoffa’s trademark was the performances of unprecedented miracles during his time and that the late CCC founded had handed over this legacy to him as his true successor.
Gbedayi, who however said his recent visit to Nigeria, was divine mission, noted, “My coming to Nigeria is not by my own power but God called me to come. When I came, my first port of call was at Makoko II branch of the church in Nigeria, in Makoko, Lagos.”
Gbedayi, who claimed he has been a close follower of Oshoffa for many years noted, “I have not just started this work. I have been a servant of God since 15 years ago, healing the sick and raising the dead. I have faced various challenges in carrying out the work of God but wherever I go to, God is always with me and He performs unprecedented miracles through me. “
He explained that God has sent him back to Nigeria again, after his last visit 13 years ago, adding, “While I was at Makoko during my recent visit to Nigeria, God again proved himself that He sent me. There were uncountable miracles and people were speechless when they saw what God did through me. When the leaders at the headquarters in Nigeria saw what God did, they wanted to install me immediately as the successor of Oshoffa but I declined their bidding, saying it was not yet time for me to take up the mantle of leadership. Late Oshoffa had prophesized that the person that will take his place will come with great signs and wonders and these have happened since 15 years ago.”
Gbedayi joined Celestial fold a year before he was called to duty on November 7, 2001, to preach at seven parishes in Abomey – Calavi, Republic of Benin, after which God told him again the next day to go across another seven parishes at Tofin community in Benin Republic, and then the third day, he got the gift of mission where he became a prophet at Veki Village in Benin Republic on the same day, he began a missionary journey to Gbesou, still in Benin Republic and on November 10, 2001, God appeared to him physically at 9am in the morning during which the day turned to night. Ever since then, he got greater power for miracles and healing and it has been so ever since, though with various challenges which he has surmounted with God by his side.
The Celestial Church of Christ worldwide is said to have come into being by divine order on September 29, 1947 in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin (Formerly Republic Of Dahomey). The movement was founded by Samuel Joseph Bilewu Oshoffa, a former carpenter, born in Dahomey (now Benin) in 1909 and raised as Protestant (Methodism). He had a divine revelation on May 27, 1947, during a solar eclipse, in a forest where he was lost. He felt called to pray, to heal the sick and raise the dead and founded his church in September 1947. Having appointed himself prophet, reverend, pastor and founder, he occupied the highest office of the movement. The hegemony he exercised on doctrine and discipline issues made his succession difficult after his death in 1985 in Lagos.
The movement has continued to grow since Oshoffa’s death, but has also suffered setbacks, the most immediate being severe difficulties related to the matter of succession.
Oschoffa was succeeded by Alexander Abiodun Adebayo Bada, who was head of the church until his death on 8 September 2000. Bada was briefly followed as leader by Philip Hunsu Ajose, who died in March 2001. There was a dispute over the succession to Ajose, with some declaring Gilbert Oluwatosin Jesse the leader, while others recognised the Reverend Emmanuel Oshoffa, son of Samuel Oshoffa. Following Jesse’s death, his faction declared that Superior Evangelist Paul Suru Maforikan was the new spiritual leader of the church.
Contrary to the procedure of succession in Nigeria, Porto-Novo, the supreme headquarter, successfully chose Benoit Agbaossi (1931-2010) to the head of the church, who in his turn appointed Benoit Adeogun as the next Rev. Pastor shortly before his death in 2010.
In June 2015, the Celestial Church of Christ was enmeshed in another leadership crisis as Rev. Olatosho Oshoffa, another son of the late founder of the church, declared himself as a unification leader worldwide. His elder brother, Emmanuel Mobiyina Oshoffa, is one of factional head of the church until this latest development. Prior to this, there had been issues between the two Oshoffa brothers. Reverend Olatosho claimed he saw his father twice in his dream mandating him to unite all factions claiming right to the pastoral seat and he has reached out to his elder Rev Emmanuel Mobiyina Oshoffa, Rev Owodunni, Rev Adeogun, Rev Paul Maforikan, Rev. Shoneken and others for unification of the church worldwide and to make Imeko the Celestial holy site accessible to all worshipers.
It is therefore a mind-blowing revelation having Gbedayi, the Beninian’s claimed being Oshoffa’s successor. He nonetheless, claimed with glaring evidences he was definitely the authentic successor of late Oshoffa.
Gbedayi, who whose last visit to Nigeria was on May 19 and lasted for about two weeks, went round town performing signs and wonders at crusades held in Makoko, Ikate, Aja, and even in Ijoko in Ogun State and many other places. With all the signs and wonders that Gbedayi performed lately coupled with all he has done in the last 15 years, raising the dead and curing the sick, he claims that without any reasonable doubt, he is the rightful and authentic successor to late Oshoffa.
Buttressing further his authenticity, he said, “These are what late Oshoffa used to do, raising the dead and curing all kind of sicknesses, were his trademark and those are just some of the things, God has used me to do in Benin Republic until He asked me to come to Nigeria. I have been a good representative of late Oshoffa in Benin Republic over the years and now I been instructed by God to come and prove to my Nigerian brethren that I am actually the authentic successor of late Oshoffa.”