Aladura is a classification of churches that abide by a Christian religious denomination or trend inspired by activities of progressive church elements, J.B Sadare, D.O. Odubanjo, I.O Sanya and others in 1918. There are over 3 million adherents worldwide.
“Aladura” means “praying people” in Yoruba.
Aladura churches emphasize the power in praying and believe in faith healing and various elements associated with Pentecostalism. Most of the founders of the churches were associated with Anglicanism, though some Methodists joined the movement as well. The churches despise the power of traditional African religion, because they deem that power to be basically malign. Therefore, they sometimes burn cult images as “idols” and oppose both polygamy and witchcraft. Unlike Kimbanguism, the churches tend to avoid politics and focus instead on the “holiness movement
The Aladura movement started at Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria in 1918. This movement later metamorphosed to Faith Tabernacle and finally to Christ Apostolic Church. Today, many churches in Western Nigeria can be correctly called “Aladura”.
They can be categorized into Pentecostals and Spiritualists. The popular Aladura indigenous churches are:
Christ Apostolic Church, popularly called CAC, is the precursor of Aladura Pentecostalism.
The Aladura Spiritualists are also called “White Garment” churches.
Christ Apostolic Church
The first Aladura movement emerged from St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria in 1918 after the Sexton, Ali, related a dream to four elders of the church, J.B. Sadare, E.O. Onabanjo, D.C. Oduga, and E.O.W. Olukoya. They started vigorous prayer sessions. In consequence, they initiated the “Prayer Band”, popularly called “Egbe Aladura”. After D.O. Odubanjo joined the movement in 1919, they became influenced by the doctrines of the Faith Tabernacle of Philadelphia. They rejected infant baptism and all forms of medicine, whether western or traditional. This led to a conflict of doctrines with the Anglican Church, and, as such, they were forced out of the church. Joseph Sadare was compelled to give up his post in the Synod and others were forced to resign their jobs and to withdraw their children from the Anglican School. The Aladura movement began as a renewal movement in search of true spirituality
A revival took place in 1918 during the outbreak of an influenza epidemic. The group filled with the Holy Ghost claim to have used prayer to save many lives affected by the epidemic. This consolidated the formation of the prayer group. This movement grew gradually and formed branches throughout Nigeria. The name of the group went through several changes, such as Prayer Band, Precious Stone, Diamond Society, and Faith Tabernacle, in that order, until 1930. A great revival started in July 1930 by the raising of a dead body by Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola at Oke-Oye in Ilesa. People traveled from neighboring cities and countries to receive healing at Ilesa. Several people were healed through the power of prayer and there were evidences of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The revival lasted about 60 days and it is still regarded as the greatest revival ever in Nigeria. Faith Tabernacle of Nigeria later invited the Apostolic Church of England in 1931 to form an Association which lasted till 1939.
The Revival group went through several name changes until, after 24 years of its formation, it finally adopted the name Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) in 1942. Today, CAC has spread worldwide and definitely is the precursor of Aladura Pentecostal Churches in Nigeria. The Church has established several schools at all levels, including Joseph Ayo Babalola University
Several other churches stemmed out of Christ Apostolic Church.
Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim
Moses Orimolade Tunolase, who was later called Baba Aladura, or Praying Father, founded the Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim in 1925, also as a prayer group within the Anglican Church. Captain Christiana Abiodun’s later adopted daughter fell into a trance, and Moses Orimolade Tunolase, who was already an itinerant evangelist and teacher, was the only one who could awaken her. By 1925 they had left the Anglican church to become independent. Their most distinctive ministry was to openly ferret out and challenge witches on their long evangelistic journeys through the countryside. These long trips were typical of Cherubim and Seraphim (as they are most commonly called) evangelists and missionaries. Today the church is one of the most popular, most attractive and most influential of the Aladura churches worldwide.
The Church of the Lord (Aladura
Josiah Ollunowo Ositelu founded the Church of the Lord (Aladura) on 27 July 1930 at Ile Lisa, Ogere-Remo.
Ositelu was born in 1902 to Dawodu Ositelu and Madam Rebecca Ejironike. His parents named him “Fakoya” at birth; however, Ositelu told his father he was “Oyelowo” and his baby brother should be called “Oyeleke”. Eventually, Ositelu became School Master Catechist at Orile Imo – Ishan – Erukute, Asha, Erunbe (Oko Egba). Ollunowo Ositelu all his life used cold water to bath and drink, and never ate pork.
Ositelu also went on missionary journeys throughout Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone.
Celestial Church of Christ
The Celestial Church of Christ (usually known as Cele) was founded in 1947 by Samuel Oshoffa in Porto Novo, Benin.
Celica Church of Christ
Celica Church of Christ was established on November 15, 1992, at Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, by Prophet Adetunji Adeonigbagbe and was announced to the world via a press conference on that day. The International Headquarters of the church is located at Km 7, New Ife Road, Ibadan. The church has branches in Nigeria, England, the United States of America and South Africa. The church can be distinguished by its chant of hosanna and the mode of dress, a white garment with a blue cross at left hand side of the garment. The logo of the church is an eye, a cross and bible. The church believes in the efficacy of prayers and guidance by the Holy Spirit in all its programmes.