DK Olukoya: Garlands for an apostle of “heaven on earth” at 64 | The Guardian Nigeria News

On this special day, we can only celebrate an apostle of the modern faith, Dr. Daniel Kolawole Olukoya, who is 64 years old today. The General Overseer of the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries (MFM) is a multi-faceted man, but his radical role in the development of society and youth is worth mentioning.

As a Philosophy of Religion student in the fall of 2012, I learned the ABCs of religion in an attempt to satisfactorily define the subject. The acronym ABC stands for: Assurance of Salvation; Believing in a divine figure and in the conversion of non-believers. These are the three main ingredients shared by all religions without which none is complete. For one, the assurance of salvation is central because it guarantees life in the afterlife. And it is for this reason that one of the main purposes of religion is to take believers to heaven or to prepare them for the rapture. This notion, ab initio, aims to make the most of the now in view of eternity. However, the danger of religion’s heavenly purpose is that some religious extremists and fanatics, who are not particular to the Christian faith, become completely eschatological, denying life and living themselves.

But religion can be more symbolic in teaching how to live life to the fullest without being paralyzed by fear of the unknown, and that’s the category Olukoya falls into. A religion with a more positive outlook on life will realize that society itself is the foundation of all our becoming and perhaps a mirror image of that to come. In societies that are kinder to life and less hellish to live in, it is less difficult to imagine a vision of heaven and live accordingly with fewer incentives. This view easily negates the position that social welfare is inversely proportional to religious patronage. On the other hand, the fact that there are too many social ills to deal with is an indictment of religion and its roles in society. The point is that religious practitioners must strike the right balance between aiming for the hereafter and having life here in its abundance. Only in the latter case would religion be most positive and sociologically relevant in attracting more people to the faith.

One such religious leader leading this charge is today’s celebrant. Love him or hate him, his ministry has one of the largest philanthropic commitments to social development. His critics will find his growing congregation, his group of churches, his routine services and the human failings of some lieutenants rather odd for a 21st century Pentecostal church. I also highly doubt that their next door neighbors will warm to their unorthodox way of worship and the mantra of dying by fire. Truly, MFM is an unusual contemporary religious setting. It was modeled on the incendiary Christianity and aggressive evangelism of the Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, to rekindle the revival of apostolic signs and wonders, put Satanic agents to shame, and free today’s captives. But radically different from the Apostolic of old is the modernity that Olukoya has infused into evangelism, manifesting itself in the social transmission that the church does in education, corporate social responsibility and sports development.

Note that the personality of the General Overseer is itself a marvel. It is ironic that an outstanding scientist with a first-class degree in microbiology, a doctorate in molecular genetics, and perhaps the first African to be so decorated, would give up the laboratory and a successful career in genetics to become a pastor of a church. Yet he continued to inspire both the faith and the secular world by consistently demonstrating that fire or spiritual revelation is no substitute for empirical knowledge and enlightenment; nor should religious beliefs compete with a good education to dispel ignorance. In other words, the journey to heaven starts from the earth and should be based on knowledge. And it is this understanding that has turned into the church’s consistent investment in quality schools, one of which is Mountain Top University (MTU) which is next to the City of Prayer.

Quite consistent with his first love as well, Olukoya continues to contribute to the field of genetics and biotechnology through the Daniel & Fola Biotechnology Foundation to develop budding genetic scientists in Nigeria. For his University of Lagos Alma Mata in 2021, he opened a brand new sprawling and fully equipped research building, popularly known as DK Olukoya Central Research & Reference Laboratories, in the institution. In addition, the renovation of the ground floor entrance to the UNILAG Senate building and the annual awarding of MFM first-class student-members worldwide are all to his credit.

To further complement its social interventions, its support for the development of sport. For the past seven years, MFM FC has been a resounding fairytale for many league football fans in Lagos. What started as an inter-church football competition has morphed into MFM FC, and Lagos State’s sole representative in the feisty Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL). Even the team’s fortuitous relegation to the National League (from next season) and club management scheming will not spoil Olukoya’s huge investment to maintain the club’s team and as a mill. talents for Nigerian footballers. In other sports of basketball, track and field and wrestling, ace talents like Odunayo Adekuroye who had been given platforms to bud, would be forever grateful.

Olukoya is rarely one to utter political comments that will make headlines. Yet his insistence on a society governed by morality and values ​​resonates constantly. On being awarded another doctorate, honoris causa, by the University of Lagos in April 2019, he became a social crusader advocating for compulsory courses on the life ethics of integrity, diligence and dignity . He saw, by divine revelation or empirical evidence, that society is in peril without the consistent and refined virtues of Omoluabi (i.e. the Yoruba notion of a moral example). Clearly, the good character of a few in a multicultural, dynamic and demanding world is no longer enough for a development agenda. On the contrary, good character in young people must complement awareness of the technological age and the demands of today’s world. In this embedded ethic, a sharp intellect will drive young people to focus and pursue personal ambitions, while core moral values ​​will make those aspirations conscious and temper their achievements to align with the common good of society.

Clearly, Dr. Olukoya continued to refine the sociological relevance of Christianity and gave practical meaning to life and new inspiration to God’s work. He is not one to deceive his congregation about life and its struggles. He would even say: “a life without struggle is a fraudulent life”. Individuals, however, must continue to strive prayerfully and practically to come out of it. This ride between miracles and useful work is the way of modern religion, if it is to continue to push for an advanced society and ipso facto bring heaven to earth. It is for these noble contributions that Dr. Olukoya deserves our appreciation as he is one year older today, and to urge him to do even more in the years to come. We wish the Apostle more grace and inspiration in the true service of God. Ire o!

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