PROFESSOR A.M.A. IMEVBORE
Professor Tony Imevbore
Pastor Imevbore was Joanah’s assistant for many years. He has now taken over the mantle of leadership of Bethel from Joanah. He demonstrated so much humility that the Lord blessed him above all his mates. He became a great scientist, a great Pastor and leader and teacher. In 1984 his name was mentioned as first amongst the list of African scientists by the Voice of America. Professor Imevbore has more publications in his field of Hydrobiology in this country than any other person in that field. Who says that God has measures when dealing with Bethel? This is man who has been given the job of continuing where Joanah left off. He is already well favoured by the CAC because of his great pleasant nature and humility. He is also the Prochancellor and Chairman of Council of the Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU) of the CAC. He has been known as a great asset to the church for many years. He was ordained as a minisiter of the church as far back as 1968. Professor Imevbore is a typical sanguine, with good nature, kindliness and with strong leadership qualities. We wish him many years of living on earth and reward of the kingdom of heaven at the very end.
Professor Imevebore went to University of Ibadan in the days when it was called University College Ibadan and graduated with BSc (Honours) in Zoology. He took up interest in research after his graduation and started a life of research. He obtained his PhD in Hydrobiology and subsequently took interest in the field of ecology. He started to lecture as Assistant Lecturer in Zoology at the University of Ife before he met Joanah in 1964. He then rose through the ranks and was Senior Lecturer in Zoology of the same University when he did the now famous Mission to University at Ibadan in 1969. He later was promoted full Professor of Zoology in 1971 and immediately became the first African Head of Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Ife in the same year. In 1973 he rose to become the Dean of Faculty of Science of the same University. He became Director of the Institute of Ecology shortly after then, a post he held until his retirement. After a very distinguished career in academics and research which took him round the whole wide world, he retired voluntarily at the age of 55 years to give room for junior members of his Department who could not be promoted to the rank professors because of quota. He has since been self employed.
While still in active academic life, he took up a lot of consultancy works in the sciences of Zoology, Hydrobiology, Community Health and epidemiology and Fishery in addition to obtaining considerable research grants from several international bodies. He undertook consultancy services for such organizations as great as the World Health Organisation (WHO), Abuja Federal Capital Territory, etc. He still runs some of the consultancy jobs today privately. He was appointed Chairman of CAC Special District in 2004 in recognition of his contribution and that of Bethel to the overall development of the CAC corporate body, and later Prochancellor of JABU. He lives in Ife with his darling wife Mary. They are blessed with six children as follows - Emma, Edie, Victor, Michael, Deborah, Samuel and David and of course many grandchildren.
He regards Joanah as his own mother. When his biological mother died, according to him, God told him his mother was now to be Joanah and he has since then related with her in that capacity. Joanah was responsible for crucial advice during a number of periods of his life. For example, when he was going to leave the ivory tower of the University for greener pastures in early career, Joanah advised against it. If he had done that, he would not have been as famous and accomplished as he is today.
Some of his remarks about Bethel when Joanah was alive are hereby published to see a little of his theology, which is not different from Joanah’s, and his way forward in Bethel and the CAC.
Bethel Family Meeting (December 2004)
Pastor (Prof) A.M.A. Imevbore, DGS
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all, in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Ile-Ife. We thank God for granting you journey mercies. We pray that this brief visit you are making to Ife will be richly rewarded by our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank specially, the Evangelical committee and all the people responsible for the Leadership program for their excellent work.
Distance, absence and the past often form a dark region to which the eye and the mind very often cannot punctuate. As a result we seem to forget that we are members in Bethel, of a close family not just of a denomination but of a specially appointed group, divinely empowered and inseparably connected to accomplish great things in our generation. Christ by himself established Bethel assemblies, He is therefore not only our historical patron, He is the author of our system the author of doctrine, and Founder who determines the form of existence of all we call success today. To remember Christ is not only to call to mind our acknowledgement of Him but also to count our obligations to Him.
Christ is our life – our deliverer, our advocate, our Messiah. His hands hold us up from death and hell all the time (Jn. 10:27-30). Indeed as Peter puts it in 1 Pet. 2:7 “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious”. Christ is precious to all who believe. The principle by which His preciousness is apprehended and appreciated is stored in many verses in the scriptures. I will just take one; first is Mk. 16:16-18, we find here that the evidence of this appreciation comes from “believing” in Him.
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover”.
We know these promises of God bear an important part in the work of redemption. They are the object of faith and hope because the lessons to which they relate are not only of the present, but are also of the future and are the blessings which specially prove the divinity of Christ and our deliverance from sin, hell, suffering and torment. The Lord Jesus Christ is therefore especially precious because His promises are:
· never failing Josh. 23”5-15, 1 Kings 8:56
· backed by God’s oath: Heb. 6:12-20
· always fulfilled on schedule; Gal. 4:4, Acts 7:6-17
· constantly and exceedingly great; 2 Pet. 1:4
· never slow; 2 Pet. 3:9
· and kept by faith; Heb. 11:13-40
As Christians we also know too well from experience that the fulfillment of these promises bring great confidence and joy among the body of believers. They provide consolation and strength in a world ridden by Satan and evil devices.
The question then is: “Why do we no longer see our signs or why did we ever receive our signs?” (Ps. 74:4). During this seminar we have to ask ourselves these questions – Is our appreciation of Jesus Christ followed by these signs, and if not, why are they not? Let us remember that the signs:
· casting out devils
· speaking with new tongues
· taking up serpents
· being immune to poisons
· healing the sick and
· performing miracles by the Holy Spirit.
Recalls the essence of our being the witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 8:16). “The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
We are expected to enjoy these privileges arising from our relation to God. If we enjoy these privileges, it assures us that we are heirs of God. The partakers of all those benefits and blessings which He he has provided for His children (Rom. 8:17). Since we do not enjoy them we must be sincere enough to admit that something is radically wrong.
When we grieve the Holy Spirit, when we resist the Holy Spirit, disobey Him, are stubborn, when we covet, murmur, rebel against leadership, discourage the … of God, refuse spiritual guidance, are not united, we make light the message of God, speak against the workers of God, show lukewarmness towards his work, when our hearts are far from him even though we profess love with our mouths; when we have departed from our first love – the early zeal towards his work, we will certainly not enjoy these signs.
I hope therefore that this leadership program will provide an opportunity to re-examine ourselves, our loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ, to ask God to rekindle in us the zeal to enable us serve him. We must reawaken a new sense of loyalty to Him and of our dependence and full faith in the office of the Holy Spirit. We must stop disobeying Him and try to achieve our heavenly vision.
We need the help of the Holy Spirit to realize the vision of Bethel and we must guide against self deception in this matter.
May the Good Lord help us to re-examine our ways and bring us back to His full restoration (Ps. 51:11). May God bless his word.
The Vision of Bethel With the C.A.C.
PASTOR (PROF.) A.M.A. IMEVBORE, DGS.
The word Church is used in 5 ways.
· a building designed as a place of worship
· all who possess faith in Christ regardless of their theological belief
· a denomination
· a single organized Christian group
· a Body of Believers as the Universal Church
· The word means a group called out of the world to have a special relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
· As we know, God gave man four basic institutions:
§ The family to illustrate the unity of God Gen. 2:24
§ Human government to illustrate the judgment of God. Rom. 13
§ Israel to illustrate the election of God. Rom. 9:1-18, Rom 11:1-5
§ The Church to illustrate the love of God. Eph. 5:22-27.
The Origin of the Church
The word church was first prophesied in Mt. 16:18 “On this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”, However the church actually began on the Day of Pentecost when about 3,000 souls were added to believers. Acts 2:41.
“And God added to their number daily those who were save” Acts 2:47.
The Purpose of the Church
The ultimate purpose of the church is to bring honour and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. It does this as it fulfills two purposes.
a) carrying out the great commission in Mt. 28:19-20 to make disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all things that He has commanded.
b) Edifying the body of believers (Eph. 4:12) to edify is to build up so that they may realize all that God has provided as well as to be equipped to perform the work in the Body of Christ.
The Early Church
1. The early church relied on the Power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:2-3, Acts 2: 43, 5:12-14)
a) Miracles were manifested in sound and sight. In John 3, Jesus used the wind to symbolize the Holy Spirit – The wind is invisible so is the Holy Spirit.
b) Jn. 3:8 the wind blows where it is going, so is anyone who is born of the spirit. The wind is also irreversible and indispensable.
c) There appeared unto them cloven tongues like of fire and they sat upon them.
d) Fire of the Holy Spirit cleanses, clearing away the diseases and waste material.
e) The fire of the Holy Spirit thus consumes up self righteousness and sins both of the flesh and human spirit.
f) The Holy Spirit also helps one to witness (Acts 2:14) – “But Peter standing up with the eleven lifted up his voice and said to them: Ye ….; Acts 4:33.
g) The kind of preaching leads to the question “brethren what shall we do”? And the answer will be plain” “Repent and be baptized” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved and thy house” (Acts 16:31).
2. The early church relied fully on prayer (Acts 4:23-31). Persecution was common. (Acts 4:1-3). Hence the early church faced all persecution with prayer. At each persecution, the apostles moved from a meeting of peril into a meeting of prayer – from an atmosphere where they were surrounded by threatening, ridicule and insult into a place where they were engulfed with love, fellowship and understanding.
Let us now examine the inner life of the Church. Acts 4:33-37.
a) The people at their prayer meetings were of one accord – one heart and one soul, one in intent, purpose and concentration
b) They had all things in common, and they were truly united. (Acts 2:46, 4:32-37, Ps 33:1)
c) They continued steadfastly in doctrine, fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayer Acts 2:42.
d) Their purpose was to lift Jesus high! Their repentance brought conversion and time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
e) Their holiness and their prayerful life allowed them to enjoy the Lord – including the ministry of angels (Acts 5:19). 18-22; Genesis 35:7) and above all a school of prophets (II Kings 2:1-3). These are the reasons why God gave us this name.
The directive came with the following clear conditions:
1. Don’t speak about what to wear or eat. Ask converts to give their hearts to the Lord. Preach holiness, righteousness etc.
2. Do not allow any outside evangelist who will change the programme of God in Bethel. Only allow Bethel trained workers of God to work in Bethel. (Any time we have disobeyed, we have run into trouble).
3. Do not carry money to other assemblies. Use your money as God will direct you.
4. Do not tell Christians not to attend hospitals. This is not to deny the power of spiritual healing but to allow those with little or no faith to use medical care as they understand. Acts 5:29.
5. God will correct your wrong doings and use you to correct the wrong doings of the world.
6. Bethel is a University – a training school. God will raise Apostles, Pastors, Evangelists, Teachers, Prophets and Prophetess.
7. As the Lord was with Jacob so will He be with Bethels Lk. 4:41-42, Acts 14:9-28.
8. This proof of God’s word will be that there will be no deaths in Bethel Churches.
As the leaders continue to pray together and to enjoy unity of purpose, further instructions were received. Among them I will highlight the following:
Start of monthly peace rally in all Bethel Assemblies. Carry out the first one at Bethel Ife.
The programme has now been well established at Ife
· Hymns: Thy Kingdom come O Lord.
· Peace Perfect Peace
· Sermon on Peace through Christ
· Hymn: Be glad in the Lord and Rejoice
· Hymn: Prayers for Peace.
· Hymn: Let us rejoice with a gladsome mind.