Chapter 12




It is our duty in this chapter to use the computer to assist us in arriving at the thematic priorities of Joanah from her own writings and then analyze them to arrive at her central theology of writing and compare same with theology of practice, derived from actual observation of what she practices and also preaches. While studying her theology, the reader is given the liberty to study the aging process of Joanah for each page bears witness of this, beginning with her wedding picture at the age of 26 to the age she died at 83 years, spanning close to 50 years.


Subject analyses

1- soteriology 2- christology 3- pneumatology 4- others



When we examine the subjects dealt with by Joanah we obtain at least four categories

  • Soteriology
  • Christology
  • Pneumatology
  • Others, which include poems, apocrypha, marriage etc

We find soteriology which means theme of salvation topping the list of thematic priorities of subject of theology. Despite Joanah’s theological practice (rather than themes) which we shall examine below, the Holy Spirit has just two articles, soteriology has 14 out of a total of 30 writings while has Christology has 4.

Does it mean that Joanah preaches what she does not practice? Of course not. I believe that the functions of the media for ministrations differ. Thus if a person were to write a tract which would be read by someone far away from his (writer’s domain) then it is expected that he/she would write about what would lead to conversion of the individual, instead of themes which he/she may never see. Aside from this, while books can be written for the mature Christian, tracts are usually (not absolutely) written for evangelism to expand the kerygma.

That is to say Joanah writes more about salvation and conversion than any other subject. It is clear that in the choice of subjects to write, soteriology may take the lead since normally evangelism cannot be separated from tract publishing. This does not mean that salvation is the main issue within the church. It is from analyses of homilies that we can derive a proper church thematic priority. Out of a total of 25 writings, 14 are soteriological -forming a 56% percent.


1- soteriology 2- christology 3- pneumatology 4- others



Thematic priorities

Trinity/Theology proper: We tried to examine how many times the Persons of the Trinity appeared in Joanah’s  writings


1 Holy Spirit 2 God 3 Jesus Christ



Out of 33,414 words, God appeared 652 times, Christ 575 and Holy Spirit 195 times with percentages as follows God (1.9%), Christ (1.7%) and Holy Spirit (0.6%). This is perfectly in order of priority in theology proper. Again Holy Spirit falls short of the other themes.

But how do we see the technique that she (Joanah) claims allows you to receive the Holy Spirit? She says you must repeat the words ‘please give me the Holy Spirit’ and continue that process for as long as you can continue, then you will obtain the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. According to Joanah, the experience is so profound you cannot miss it. She then explains what may happen to you while you concentrate on your prayers and wait patiently for the Holy Spirit to come upon you. Some have argued that this method is the proof that the entire enterprise is demonic. For this process described by Joanah is one of the processes known to allow one to enter a state of demonic frenzy. Many who make this point are genuine born again Christians but they do not realize that they contradict themselves. In one second, they say no Christian can be demon possessed. In the other they say baptism of the Holy Spirit is demonic and since most of the baptism is practiced by Christians, where did they obtain their demons? While I do not agree with this argument of frenzy, I must say that the method advocated by Joanah is simply the method she used to obtain her own baptism. The methods can vary. All that is important is fervent request on the part of the individual receiver with a very serious intent. It is only when you block out your mind completely either with the use of drugs etc or otherwise that demons can have access to you and the practice may then turn demonic. Once your concentration is on Jesus and the cross and the things of God, it is impossible, whatever the method you use alone, to become demonized. Please, emphasis is on you being in a solitary place to do this asking as Joanah emphasized in her teaching. This may not work however if others are praying for you to receive the Baptism. If a demonic person is praying for you, (or laying hands on you) he has a right to place demons into you and he can do so easily and you can then manifest counterfeit gifts of the Holy Spirit.[1] But do not forget Joanah’s first admonition; -find a solitary place to request for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The major function of the Holy Spirit in the life of a modern Christian is the fact that it is a gift that helps you become aware of your spiritual environment. Without it, you cannot easily do battle with satanists, sorcerers, magical practice etc. With it, you see visions or dreams or prophesy concerning danger relating to the spirit world. You become more aware of your spiritual nature. Your inner intuitive area becomes taken over by the Holy Spirit so that the Holy Spirit superintends this area. You then gain insight into problems which come your way. For example, your intuition (which comes as a priori knowledge) may warn you not to go to somewhere where there may be danger. How else would Paul have known and therefore be prepared for the arrest that was to take him to Rome and end his apostolic career, if he had not been told by a prophet Agabus? (Ac 21:11). ‘Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint’ (Prov 29:18).


1-God, 2-Christ 3- Holy Spirit




Love, joy, peace themes

From Joanah’s writings we can pick the three themes of Christian life as been the most important to her. She seems to be very concerned about peace on earth, love for one another, which is related to peace, and then joy, which is what a Christian needs in life as he/she journeys in the not too easy life’s tracks. She had in fact confessed to the joy of being baptized in the Holy Spirit which she experienced in Jos in 1949-50. She believes strongly in this joy of a Christian and when she sings her famous popular choruses, they always tended to include ‘joy’

In our analyses we found that ‘love’ appeared 123 times, ‘joy’ 34 times, and ‘peace’ 78 times. So ‘love’ then is the highest in Joanah’s writings and we shall examine it in her practice below.

1- love 2-joy 3- peace



Other themes

‘Prayer’ appears only 36 times in the entire writing. It is no wonder for the thrust of all the writing is to evangelize and prayer is certainly not a prominent priority in such circumstance. ‘Salvation’ appears 15 times, conversion 7 times, born again 10 times, regeneration none at all. ‘Sin’ appears 178 times, ‘repentance’ 4 and ‘repent’ 17. ‘Baptism’ appears 16 times, wisdom 15 times.


Jonah’s homilies

Joanah’s preaching is slightly different from her writings. They are very moralistic with great emphasis on the baptism of the Holy Spirit together with its fruits, rather than gifts. She emphasizes love during her homilies as one would expect.


Joanah’s practice theology

Those who knew Joanah well will easily point out that the main theme of her practical CHRSITIANITY IS NOT HOLINESS per se but ‘love.’ Love characterizes everything thing this woman does. She gives and gives and gives and does not regret a single minute of it. She is not interested in piling up wealth in this world. Lay up your

Joanah preaching


treasure in heaven is such a big theme to her that it is all in all. A person who combines compassion with love and an apostolic command is certainly not an ordinary person and such combination is quite rare either in history or in the present modern world.


Joanah’s hermeneutic

By examining her writing, we can easily formulate the hermeneutic of this woman. That is to say, what kind of interpretative school of the Bible does she belong? It is of course obvious that she practices the conservative school of thought with careful biblical theology and little systematic theology- which ordinarily does not concern the average Christian and is best left to the central church. So Joanah does not question the church doctrine on divine healing- which she completely agrees with but insists that it was necessary in the days of Babalola to show the providence of God for His people in times of need. Those days are gone, she argues; do not let us punish our followers and the followers of Jesus unnecessarily by dissuading them from taking medicine so that they die in their faithlessness. I must agree with her! Joanah also does her exegesis in an atmospher of literal biblical exposition

Again on wearing jewellery, her hermeneutic was spelt out clearly as she said

‘After all, the high priest of old wore garments with embroidery and precious stones.

This reply is curt and shows its hermeneutic clearly.’


Joanah’s Feminist theology

Today a completely new theology finds a place for the modern woman in the church which tries to do justice to the biblical data at the same time finds a raison d’être for the woman in order to make the modern woman completely comfortable as a responsible member of the house hold of God. Joanah was woman; she is completely feminine having been endowed with all the gifts of womanhood, including considerable beauty, enhanced by great tending. She was proud of being a woman. Her ministry would not have reached the height it reached if she did not allow her gifts to centre on her ministry. The men today who revere her see in her a model of womanhood; a model of mother hood; a model of a mother-in- Israel (Judg 5:7)and she sees herself in that role daily as she takes up her cross. She never for once wanted to be a male. She would humbly recommend men for ordination and make them seat in the chancel while she seats outside. Her theology of feminism was humble, evangelical, down to earth and down right epistemological. She did not feel she needed to change her gender to be more effective in the ministry. Rather she saw her role as that of a mother; a great mother. It does not however mean she supported the view of the church that women should not be ordained into the ministry, but she realises of course that she must be submissive to church government and doctrine!

            To me, that answers the role of women not only in the church but also in society. The power that women hold on men is natural, not supernatural, sociological and not biological, psychological and not myological. In other words, it is not the role of muscles that determine the respect of a woman in society. The chastity, motherliness etc and indeed beauty which are all feminine attributes, assures the respect of a woman any day in any society. There are many examples in history, especially those of the chivalric orders which we appeal to even today, and indeed in the church and Bible. In those days chilvarous knights will kill themselves for chaste and beautiful (not sensous) women. Joanah’s view of feminist theology does not exclude her from dressing so well that people will glorify God because of her. She maintained all her ministry life the ability to dress up to the glory of God but without the sensual aspects of female dressing which appropriates the principles of nakedness and its concomitant or indeed indicant of perverse sexuality. That is the bane of the modern woman and her lost glory is derived from this singular feature. Conn agrees with above.


Unlike the animals, she (woman) is endowed with those unique qualities that complement the man (Gn.2:19-20). As ‘bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh” (Gn. 2:23), woman bears the closest of kin sociality to man (Gn. 29:14;Jdg. 9:2; 2 Sa. 5:!; 19:12-13). They are ‘one flesh’ (Gn.2:24). As ‘the glory of man’ (1 Cor. 11:7), woman must pray and prophesy in public worship with covered head. Her glory (worth, importance, honour) is so bright it will distract from the glory of God. The covering of the hair is not a sign of subservience but of authority ( 1 Cor. 11:10).[2]


Let us examine Joanah’s thematic priority, using word analyses. Again we find she uses the word in her writings ‘man’ 380 times and ‘woman’ only18 times. That says it all. She is not ashamed to use man to refer to both man and woman and does not thereby feel inferior. She was only using the English language in her writing for her native Yoruba does not have such semantic gender ‘inequality’. Because that is what we can zero the entire feminist enterprise to, at least the radical or rejectionist ones,- the discrimination of language rather than the real discrimination of gender in biblical data.


1, Male, 2, female


African theology and Joanah

We can summarize the modern issues we recognize as African Christian theology as follows

  1. What does evangelicalism mean to the African? Does he ordinarily accept all the parts of the Bible as the word of God or he wishes to make his own inclusions?
  2. Antisupernaturalism means nothing to the African for he sees, according to him, the works of the supernatural everyday.
  3. In view of number 2 above it is difficult to find a true atheist in Africa.
  4. It is important not to take away some of the culture- bound syndromes of the African away from his theology. A common ground must be sought always.
  5. It does not seem possible to continue African Christianity without an injection of Pentecostalism. That is to say, if Pentecostalism is abrogated today in Africa, many will leave the church for their traditional African religions.
  6. The last point leads to this one. Without a viable alternative, African theologians insist that the elements of African traditional religion must be admitted into modern Christianity in Africa to give it a balance. This last issue is impossible to reconcile with modern evangelicalism

There are other features which make African theology more profound than the above but they do not concern us here.[3]

How does Joanah’s theology handle each of the points above


What does evangelicalism mean to the African?

It means total reliance on the word of God which says that all idols, whether African, Asian or European are abomination unto him. There is nothing in any of them that can be offered to the modern African Christian. The African Christian must make a complete conversion and turn away from his past and that of his ancestors.


This is arrant nonsense. We see supernaturalism every day displayed by the devil through demons impersonating as idols or gods of Africa. They are part of the deceit of the devil and must all be jettisoned.


The above is the reason why you cannot find a true atheist in Africa. The African argument is loud and clear. If you can see evil, then there must be good. If there is devil, then there must be God who lays claim of ownership of the universe. If you can use certain forces to do evil, there must be God that would resist destruction of his own creation.

Culture-bound syndromes[4]

Any type of culture-bound syndrome, whether African or not, are from the devil and deliverance must be performed to free the individual. For the African, the syndromes include Ogbanje, emere, marine spirits etc.[5]


Pentecostalism (not necessarily aladuraism[6]) is a must for Africa for without it, it is impossible to combat the problems of the ordinary African, which includes culture-bound syndromes which abound everywhere and also practices of black or juju magic which cannot be dealt with by Roman Catholicism or indeed Anglicanism, but by pentecostalism. The situation in Africa today is not dissimilar from that in the USA or many other European countries of Satanism. Firstly, the pentecostalist does not deny there existence. Secondly he has a recipe for their cure using the Bible and the Bible does not say it cannot be done. So what is the problem?

Injection of African Traditional Religions into African Christianity:

No way. It cannot even work. The best example here is the issue of infertility. Before the advent of Europeans into Yoruba land there was nothing called bareness. All women can deliver at least one baby for all they need to do is go to the right goddess of fertility who will give them a baby, whether the tube is blocked or it is due to a male factor or indeed absence of womb. The best example known in Nigeria is the Oshun shrine in Oshogbo (deity is goddess) which still gives babies to any who requests it today! Since the advent of western medicine, you now have women who are genuinely barren. That was unheard of in Africa. So how do you expect these Africans to grapple with a problem of a new religion that does not work? This was the basis and indeed expressed raison d’être of the Babalola revivals for so many barren women got babies by drinking the ‘living water’ during his revivals. Without the supernaturalism admitted into these revivals, they would not even have been accepted by the Africans as being genuine. Do not forget the first miracle which prompted the revivals was the raising of the dead to mimic the miracle of Lazarus (Jn12:1). Joanah preached and practiced what she preached. She prayed for the barren and some were able to deliver babies. With such vindication by God, who is there to dissent?

            But the bane of African theology is the use of false miracles because of slippery slope phenomena. How do we cope with this problem? Some solution has been proffered here but is seems to be silent in Joanah’s writings.[7]


Joanah’s theology of prayer

The proseuchology of Joanah was very profound. When I was in the University, I used to use the room next to hers. Just like Martin Luther, she prayed through out almost every night, so much that I concluded that she does not sleep. She has short naps during the day and in the immediate dawn periods but the rest of the time, she prayed. It is her prayer that has influenced me personally to follow her footsteps. She has achieved much through prayer and hence she cannot be a Calvinist in any form. She is the example of the biblical Elijah who was no Calvinist for how could he (Elijah) have seen that God in eternity past had decreed that there would be no rain in Israel for 3 years? Rather than ask God about it, he went on to make the order without obtaining permission. That is the height of prayer that moves mountains. No wonder Joanah accomplished her mission on earth before she left for the glory that is beyond the clouds. Hence Joanah was woman of love who believed and practiced prayer and praise.


Joanah’s Songs of theology

I have a God who never fails x3

Who never fails x3



Joanah used to compose songs when she is under the influence of the Holy Spirit and many of such songs have become popular all over the world. The most popular chorus which she composed is this simple song which everyone knows. But very few know that the song was composed in her house at Abadina, University of Ibadan in 1974. She first heard it abroad herself in 1986 in the U.S.A to her delightful surprise. It is very much linked with her theology of prayer. Which is that God never fails to answer payers.


Joanah’s Praise worship and dance

Joanah has always been well known for praising God through songs and dancing; she can be on this for hours and during the period she exhibits so much joy. She is so happy in the church when compared to the home. She is indeed a model of David who said of the house of God. ‘I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.’ Ps 23:6. David also danced and danced and danced for God (2 Sam 6:14). .









Bediako K. African Christian Theology. In: New Dictionary of Theology, eds S.B. Ferguson and D.F. Wright, Leicester: IVP, pp 8-10

Brown Rebecca. Becoming  A vessel of Honor In The Master’s Service, Springdale: Whitaker House. 1990.

Yap, P.M. Mental diseases peculiar to certain cultures: a survey of comparative psychiatry. Journal of Mental Science 97:313-327, 1951



[1] We had quoted Rebecca Brown in this very important topic which is polemical in modern evangelicalism- whether a Christian can become demon possessed or not.

Devil’s counterfeits: Prophecy This is divination spirit which is able to tell the past more than the future (Acts 16:16). Satan can only see the future if God allows him to see (Jer. 37: 19). However ‘do not treat (godly) prophecies with contempt’ (1 Thes. 5:20). Healing – always followed by sickness in other parts of the body. ‘How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possession unless he first ties up the strong man?’ (Matt. 12:29). Satan cannot cast out Satan (Matt. 12:26). Speaking in tongues – all idol worships have speaking in tongues as part of their arsenals. Not all tongue – speaking are from God. Slaying-in-spirit – If a man falls unconscious after being slain in spirit it is probably demonic. The Spirit of God may make you fall but will rarely make you go unconscious. ‘Be self-controlled and alert’ (1 Pet. 5:8). Child bearing – this is the commonest ‘miracle’ the devil performs since it gives him the opportunity to bring into the world men-demons. Children obtained from the devil are not real; they suffer commonly from congenital malformations, and die young; more importantly, they are demons (see below).


[2] Conn mentions three schools of hermeneutic in feminist theology of today. The first is the rejectionist model, which throws out completely the entire biblical data that, according to the model, supports chauvinism in all its forms. The second is the loyalist or evangelical approach which attempts to see no sexual discrimination in the entire feminine hermeneutic of the Bible. He says ‘The other loyalist model argues that the full biblical data called for an egalitarianism and mutual submission. It fears the collapse of the hierarchical framework into a form of female subordinationism’ p 255.

[3] Kwaku Bediako says of African Christian Theology ‘The rapid spread of Christianity in Africa in the 20th century has been one of the notable features of modern Christian history. For some time now it has been acceptable even to speak of a shift in Christianity’s geographical and cultural centre of gravity. The heartlands of the faith are no longer old Christendom of Western Europe and its extension in North America, but rather are to be found in the ‘Southern’ continents: Latin America, parts of Asia and the Pacific and particularly tropical Africa.

‘This phenomenal rate of expansion of Christianity in Africa has led to an awareness that the Christian faith as professed by Africans ought to find expression in terms that arise out of Africa in cultural values and life experience. The effort to think through faith in Christ in terms which reflect authentically African perspectives has produced ‘the quest for an African (Christian) theology’ since the mid-1950s.

‘Admittedly, a certain amount of spontaneous theologizing goes on in the life and witness of Africa’s Christian communities and this is probably most evident in the so-called African Independent Churches. However African theology in its academic and literary form has emerged largely from the Departments of Religion in the various universities on the continent.  It is worth noting that the vast majority of Africa’s theological academics are also ordained churchmen who maintain an active association with their churches. Already one can discern some positive achievements of this first flowering of African theological reflection.

‘The agenda of African theology is quite startling. The historical roots of African Christianity lie in the modern missionary enterprise from the West. Given the generally negative Western evaluation of indigenous African religions, it has come as a surprise that virtually all of Africa’s leading theologians, though trained in theology according to Western models, have concentrated their research and writing on those very religious traditions of the African ‘past’ which were considered to be theologically insignificant. ‘…An important question raised by Africa’s Christian theological writing to date is how to account for this high level of interest that Africa’s Christian theologians have manifested in the pre-Christian religious traditions of Africa, and often of the particular writer’s own people’ pp 8-9. In New Dictionary of Theology IVP, 1988.

[4] Yap first popularized these conditions in Asia.


Satan is the head of demons. The spirit clearly says that in latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Tim 4:1). Demons are able to possess persons, animals, trees and inanimate objects. Demons are used for all counterfeit miracles of the devil. Do not accept any one to lay hands on you for they may be transferring demons. Also, if anyone is praying for you, be attentive and bind demons so they don’t enter you. ‘Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure’ (1 Tim 5:22). Satan likes to imitate God and pretends he is the Most High God. ‘I will ascend above the top of the clouds. I will make myself like the Most High’ (Is. 14:14). This is why he has set up dubious kingdoms in all the physical realms of the earth such air, sea and underneath the earth. He controls such spirits (demons) as water – spirits whose chief demon the Bible calls Leviathan (Is. 27:1) and sons of Satan (or men-demons). They habit the flesh of man before birth and the Psalmist described them as follows: ‘Even from birth the wicked go astray… their venom is like the venom of a snake… Break their teeth in their mouths, O God… like a still-born child, may they not see the sun’ (Ps. 58:3-8). There are many today who parade themselves as human beings but are half demons. (i.e. sons of Satan). Some become Head of State (e.g. Hilter), criminals and false prophets. The Pharisees of Jesus time were these. ‘You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire’ (Jn. 8:44). To illustrate these sons of Satan invaded the earth and were wiped out at the time of Noah (Gen. 6:4), Christ told a parable of Weeds. Sons of Satan (including female demons) were weeds planted without the knowledge of the Creator (Matt. 13:24). But they would be left alone till the Day of Judgment when ‘every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots’ (Matt. 15:13). This explains why God allows such men-demons to roam about the earth. Many are found in Christian fellowships but you can easily recognize them by their fruits. ‘The good man brings good things stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks’ (Lk. 6:45). Another demonic spirit that disturbs the church is familial spirit of witchcraft (Is. 8:19; Rev. 21:8).

[6] Bediako makes reference to the African Independent churches (to which Bethel and CAC are inclusive but not necessarily typical) as follows- ‘A notable feature of the phenomenal growth of Christianity in Africa in the 20th century has been the emergence of the so-called African Independent Churches. In 1968 a survey identified six thousand  such churches with a total membership of nearly ten million spread over thirty-four countries on the continent and giving very indication that their numbers were still on the increase. A sign of their importance is the fact that these churches are now being considered as a fourth Christian strand alongside the Roman Catholic Orthodox and Protestant traditions. They are in most cases the results of breakaways from mission churches. They testify to the vitality of an African genius in religion (e.g. Babalola for CAC) and a capacity to adapt a missionary faith to African needs and situations,

It is probably not the case that all the movements which are grouped under this general name qualify as genuinely Christian churches. It can be shown that some of them are non-Christian religious movements which use Christian symbols, or else teach heterodox forms of Christianity. However it is undeniable that a large portion of them are probably Christian churches and reveal in their various ways an apprehension of the Christian faith in African terms.’ It is this last statement by Bediako that is the main rasion d’être of this book. To publish a profound theology with writings for Christian posterity, not for Africanism. Note that the neo-pentecostal churches headed by such figures as Pastors Adeboye, Oyedepo or Kumuyi in Nigeria of the early 2000s are also African Independent churches but are so much like the mission churches that they are often times missed out when taking a census and this is mainly due to their non vernacular posture.


                The devil has counterfeit for all miracles of God (e.g. Pharaoh’s counterfeits Ex. 7:11). But God still performs His miracles just as in Bible times. ‘I am the Lord, I change not’ (Lam. 3:6). Avoid those who say miracles are no longer possible. (‘Having a form godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them’ (2 Tim. 3:5). To believe however that any miracle is from God, you must first apply the following 5 – rules. Test everything. Hold on the good. Avoid every kind of evil. (1 Thes. 5:21).

1.        Does the miracles worker select those who would have the miracles? Only God selects; the devil gives all who fulfill his pre-requisites.

2.        Are the miracles to glorify God or the worker? Do they make him richer than normal?

3.        Are the miracles physically or spiritually destructive of the individual? Does the individual become a better Christian or healthier? Satan has no free gift. Hence any miracle from him is bound to make the person physically and/or spiritually bankrupt sooner or later. Some become mentally disturbed, hallucinate, and get poorer or sicker unless they go back for more and more miracles. Some become sex maniacs, compulsive masturbators or homosexuals or kleptomaniacs. Beware! Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 Jn. 4:1).

4.        Does the miracle worker exhibit works of flesh such as immorality drunkenness, dishonesty etc or the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

5.        Is the miracles worker Christ-like in his devotion to prayers and fasting (Mk. 1:12,35). This may be difficult to confirm.